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Cervical cancer victory could slash the death rate by 35%

Scientists have hailed the biggest cervical cancer breakthrough in 20 years as they have been using a course of existing drugs ahead of radiotherapy treatment.

Scientists, who have been based in London, have assessed whether a short course of induction chemotherapy (IC) – a drug that is used to destroy as many cancer cells as possible – before chemoradiation (CRT), which is a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, could reduce women’s rates of death and relapses.

pink october, breast cancer, women's health

They found that after five years, 80% of those who received IC and CRT were alive and 73% had not seen their cancer return or spread.

Against this backdrop, in the standard treatment group, results looked a lot different as 72% were alive and 64% had not seen their cancer return or spread.

Following this victory, Cancer Research UK have called the results ‘remarkable’ and have said these treatment options should be introduced for patients as soon as possible.

Dr Mary McCormack, leader investigator from the trial from UCL Cancer Institute, said: ‘Our trial shows that this short course of additional chemotherapy delivered immediately before the standard CRT can reduce the risk of cancer returning or death by 35%.

‘This is the biggest improvement in outcome in this disease in over 20 years.

‘I’m incredibly proud of all the patients who participated in the trial; their contribution has allowed us to gather the evidence needed to improve treatment of cervical cancer patients everywhere.

‘We couldn’t have done this without the generous support of Cancer Research UK.’

The news has been welcomed with open arms as around 3,200 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed in women each year. The disease is most commonly found in females in their early 30s.

Dr Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Timing is everything when you’re treating cancer. The simple act of adding induction chemotherapy to the start of chemoradiation treatment for cervical cancer has delivered remarkable results in this trial.

‘A growing body of evidence is showing the value of additional rounds of chemotherapy before other treatments like surgery and radiotherapy in several other cancers.

‘We’re excited for the improvements this trial could bring to cervical cancer treatment and hope short courses of induction chemotherapy will be rapidly adopted in the clinic.’

Image: waldryano

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