2013年9月30日星期一

Breast cancer: treatments and changes to diet will mean 95% of women are cured by 2050



  • Academics from 30 universities drew up action plan to tackle disease

  • In 40 years they say death from breast cancer will be 'rare'

  • Improvement could happen even if a cure is not found

  • Claim number of women developing illness will drop by a fifth before 2025

  • There are nearly 50,000 new cases and 11,500 deaths every year


By Sophie Borland


|


Nearly all women will survive breast cancer by 2050, researchers claim.


They believe that within the next 40 years treatment will be so effective that more than 95 per cent of cases will be cured.


Scientists also predict tens of thousands of cases will be prevented in the first place through improved diet, exercise and cutting back on drinking and smoking.


Graph: The number of women surviving breast cancer has risen in recent years, and experts say 95% will be cured by 2050

Graph: The number of women surviving breast cancer has risen in recent years, and experts say 95% will be cured by 2050



In one of the largest pieces of work of its kind, academics from more than 30 universities across the UK have drawn up an action plan for how to tackle breast cancer over the next few decades.


They have calculated if nothing is done to improve diagnosis and treatment, 185,000 women will die from the disease between now and 2030.


But with certain medical advances – which they say are achievable – within 40 years it will be rare for women to die from the disease. This could happen without even developing a formal cure for cancer.


Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, which funded the research said: ‘My hope is that we will see a future – by 2050 – where breast cancer can be overcome, it can be prevented, it can be cured and so it can be outlived.’ She added: ‘Time is pressing. If we look at the impact of doing nothing, of not moving forward, then by 2030 we’ll have more than 1.2million women living with breast cancer.’


Breast cancer is by far the most common form of the disease in women. There are nearly 50,000 new cases every year and 11,500 deaths. But the researchers calculate by 2025 the numbers of women developing the disease could fall by a fifth. They hope to be able to pinpoint exactly how diets, exercise and stopping drinking and smoking all prevent the illness.


Decline: Researchers say the number of women developing breast cancer could drop by a fifth before 2025 (file picture)

Decline: Researchers say the number of women developing breast cancer could drop by a fifth before 2025 (file picture)



And when women do get the illness, the researchers hope it will be diagnosed early enough so it can be cured. The academics, whose study is published today in the journal Breast Cancer Research, have drawn up a series of targets where prevention, diagnosis and treatment could be improved.


These include improving tests for the disease so it can be detected before women have noticed a lump or any changes to the breast. And by 2025 they hope to have developed a blood test capable of diagnosing breast cancer well before any symptoms have occurred.


Researchers also say women should be offered personalised treatment so they are given certain combinations of drugs and treatment depending on the exact make-up of their tumour. In addition, they calculate that the number of women whose cancer spreads to other parts of the body could fall by a quarter by 2020 through improved diagnosis and medicines.


They also hope that by 2025 they will be able to predict each woman’s risk of getting the disease based on her family history, weight and other lifestyle habits.


At present 85 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer can expect to live for at least five years, compared with 52 per cent in the 1970s. However, Britain still lags behind other countries such as Canada and Australia where well over 90 per cent live at least five years.











With Congress deadlocked, government begins shutting down


— The U.S. government started shutting down early Tuesday after a deeply divided Congress deadlocked over the budget and health care and let the federal fiscal year run out without any agreement over how to keep the money flowing. It was the first such collapse of the government in nearly two decades.




The partial closure will delay Social Security payments, passport and visa applications, shutter national parks and museums and furlough hundreds of thousands of federal employees. Essential services will still be provided; the military remains on duty.


President Barack Obama declared the government had officially run out of money when the fiscal year expired at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.


“Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility,” Obama said in a video message sent to the U.S. military around the globe. “It has failed to pass a budget and, as a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again.”


The White House Office of Management and Budget sent an alert to all executive branch government offices, telling them to start implementing shutdown plans: "Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations."


The shutdown came after the Senate and the House of Representatives engaged in a high-stakes political showdown well into the night _ sending bills back and forth across the Capitol _ but never coming close to a deal. It was driven by House efforts to try to force a weakening of the new Affordable Care Act, all of which the Democrats rejected.


The Republican-controlled House voted 228-201 late Monday to fund the government for two months while delaying the new federal health care law’s mandate that Americans be required to have insurance and canceling health care subsidies for members of Congress. The Democratic-led Senate voted 54-46 to reject the proposal, just as it did earlier in the day to a similar measure that would have postponed the entire health care law, the president’s signature domestic achievement.


As the clock ticked toward deadline, the House readied a new tactic, looking to set up direct negotiations with the Senate by appointing a team of budget negotiators called “conferees” to work with Senate counterparts to hash out a compromise in the coming days. But the Senate flatly rejected that proposal without a temporary budget extension.


“We like to resolve issues,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “But we will not go to conference with a gun to our head.”


About 800,000 of the more than 2 million federal employees will stay home after the plans are implemented sometime Tuesday. But more than a million active-duty military will remain on the job and be paid, according to legislation passed by both chambers and signed into law late Monday.


Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said he was deeply disappointed in Congress’ decision “to allow politics to trump the best interests of the American people.”


“Today, in communities across our country, vital federal services are being interrupted and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been told to stay home without pay because Congress has failed to carry out the most basic of its constitutionally mandated duties,” he said.


After the government reopens, lawmakers must decide whether employees – both those who worked and those who didn’t – should get paid following three years of frozen pay and increased workloads.


Some critical services would remain, but others would not.


Mail delivery would continue but loan programs to small businesses, farmers and homeowners would cease. Inspectors still would regulate food and drugs but research programs would be halted. Taxes would be collected but judges would have to go home when the courts run out of funds. Prisoners still would be held in federal custody but money for recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy would be reduced.


The health care law that is the focus of the dispute between Republicans and Democrats would continue to be implemented, because much of its funding comes from other sources, including new taxes and fees and cuts to other programs.


“Let me be clear about this. . . . The Affordable Care Act is moving forward,” Obama said. “That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down.”


Earlier Monday, Obama placed separate calls to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He told them anew that he would not negotiate on health care as part of the budget bill.


Boehner told the president in a 10-minute call that the health care law is “costing jobs and that American families are being denied basic fairness when big businesses are getting exemptions that they are not,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.


But Reid criticized House members for their fixation on the health care law.


“Albert Einstein defined insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Tonight, we have more proof that House Republicans have lost their minds. Instead of allowing all 435 members of the House of Representatives to vote on the Senate’s bill to keep the government open for business, Speaker Boehner is once again pushing a government shutdown.”


As the day wore on, there were some signs that Republicans in both chambers were starting to differ over how to proceed. Some House members initially thought of killing the latest proposal because it didn’t go far enough, while some senators floated a proposal that would extend for one week the government’s current spending levels, which would prevent workers from being furloughed and keep government agencies and services open as lawmakers continued to haggle over larger issues.


“Despite the Democrats’ refusal to work with the House to solve the problem, Republicans are working to protect the troops, prevent a shutdown and find solutions to the difficulties caused by Senate Democrats’ delay,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell.


But Senate Democrats were cool to the idea, and it remained unclear whether the House and White House would accept the plan.


“You cannot negotiate when you take hostages and extort,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. said. “We’re happy to negotiate. There’s a budget. They can talk about spending for (Obamacare) in the budget. You don’t do it this way.”


During the contentious floor debate in the House on Monday, Democrats and Republicans stuck firm to their beliefs.


Boehner mimicked Obama during his phone call earlier.


“I talked to the president earlier tonight – ‘I’m not going to negotiate, I’m not going to negotiate, we’re not going to do this,’” Boehner said of his talk with the president. “Well I would say to the president, this is not about me, and it’s not about Republicans in the Congress. It’s about fairness for the American people.”


House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., grew angry on the floor during the debate.


“What a shameful day this is in the House of Representatives,” Hoyer told his colleagues. “Tonight is about the continuing destructive obsession our Republicans friends have.”


The president and his political appointees would still report to work. Lawmakers would do the same but would decide who on their staffs was essential.


Some lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced Monday that they would forego their salaries during a shutdown and contribute the money to charity.


“Elected leaders should not be treated better than the American people, which is precisely why hardworking Americans deserve the same Obamacare exception that President Obama has already granted members of Congress,” he said.


Congress has failed to meet the deadline for approving spending bills 17 times since the 1970s, resulting in partial shutdowns lasting from one day to three weeks. The last time was for a 21-day stretch in December 1995 and January 1996 when some – but not all – spending bills had been signed into law.


David Lightman and Maria Recio of the Washington Bureau contributed to this report.



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Audit slams Kansas incentive program, charges it does little for rural Kansas


It may be called Promoting Employment Across Kansas, but a critical new audit of the PEAK program shows that Johnson and Wyandotte counties are the overwhelming beneficiaries of the incentive tool at the heart of the metropolitan economic border war.



Auto workers built Chevrolet Malibus at the GM Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan.



All but a handful of the 38 companies using PEAK tax incentives to move since the program was enacted in 2009 have moved to Johnson County, according to documentation in a recent performance audit commissioned for the Kansas Legislature.


About 1,550 jobs went to Johnson County as of December 2012, the period covered by the audit. All but 110 were from Missouri.


Four companies moved about 1,200 jobs to Wyandotte County. However, almost 1,100 were described as moving from Michigan and Canada to the Fairfax GM plant.


Only one Kansas county outside the metro reported any jobs relocated by PEAK during the audit period. Cherokee County, in the southeast corner of the state, lured the 47 employees of Orthopaedic Specialists of the Four States LLC — also from Missouri.


The PEAK audit, commissioned by the Kansas Legislature, paints a picture of an understaffed office within the Kansas Department of Commerce that has done a poor job monitoring companies receiving millions of dollars of tax incentives.


PEAK allows a firm creating jobs to keep 95 percent of those employees’ state income taxes for up to seven years. The state auditors estimated it has created 5,200 jobs in Kansas, 2,800 of them moving from outside the state, in exchange for $21 million in forgone withholding taxes through December 2012.


“Our conclusion is this program has grown faster than people expected, and it doesn’t appear to have the horsepower to administer it,” said Scott Frank, legislative post auditor.


Commerce officials acknowledged that their primary emphasis has been on making deals, but defended their management of the incentive tools.


“No incentives were awarded or misappropriated because of a delayed review by us,” said Pat George, state secretary of commerce. “They can’t find a place where a dollar was misspent.”


And despite the criticism by the auditors, who said poor record keeping prevented them from determining whether the job-creation program was working as intended, it’s unlikely any significant changes are in the works.


The two lawmakers who requested the study, Sen. Kelly Kultala, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., and Sen. Tim Owens, a Republican from Overland Park, lost their bids for re-election last year. And lawmakers in charge of overseeing the PEAK program think only minor tweaks are necessary.


“My main interest is is how successful the Commerce Department has been in landing new jobs in Kansas,” said Rep. Marvin Kleeb, an Overland Park Republican who is chairman of the House Commerce Committee. “That’s the benchmark we should look at.”


Not that Kansas is alone in poorly monitoring the new generation of incentive programs that have caused so much tension within the Kansas City metropolitan area in recent years.


An audit a year ago of the Missouri Quality Jobs program, which allows firms to keep up to 100 percent of their employee withholding taxes for a set number of years, also found inadequate recordkeeping and other problems, rating its overall management by the state Department of Economic Development as poor.


“Data used to project the economic impact of the Missouri Quality Jobs program are significantly overstated,” the state auditor concluded.


“Significant weakness also exist in the manner in which actual program data are obtained.… As a result of these deficiencies, the overall economic impact of the Quality Jobs program cannot be accurately assessed.”


A follow-up audit released last month found limited progress by the Missouri Department of Economic Development in correcting problems. Two of the audit’s seven recommendations were implemented. The rest were either partly implemented or not at all.


Similar paperwork problems were found in Kansas with PEAK.


“Assessing the benefits of the PEAK program is difficult because the Department of Commerce has not compiled meaningful information on the program,” the audit found.


Auditors also said the Commerce Department acknowledged “lack of staff and frequent changes to statutory requirements contributed to the delay” in filing annual reports to the Legislature about PEAK. The auditors reported the department was more than a year behind filing reports.


George admitted that his staff put deal-making first, saying it was “all hands on deck” when it came to pursuing opportunities for new jobs.


In its formal response to the audit, the department said it plans to beef up its PEAK administrative staff. Because of “the popularity and success of the program,” the department said, “additional resources have become necessary.”


Plans call for increasing the number from the equivalent of two full-time and one part-time employees to four full-time staffers.


As for why rural and small-town Kansas have experienced scarce benefit from PEAK?


“We would love it if it did,” George said.


“The requests for PEAK are a little less for rural counties.… It’s aligned with where the economic activity has taken place. The greater growth has been in the Kansas City metro, Lawrence, Manhattan and Topeka.”


The biggest disagreement between auditors and the Department of Commerce was over whether the department had exceeded a mandated cap on the amount of PEAK incentives authorized for existing Kansas companies adding jobs.


Auditors said the law was clear that a $6 million annual cap had been placed by the Legislature on incentives to existing companies.


Based on their analysis, auditors said that cap would be exceeded by $1.5 million in the current fiscal year and was on track to be exceeded by $22.5 million over the next 10 years based on contracts already agreed to by the department.


Auditors called for a moratorium on any further PEAK incentives for existing companies to expand until the matter was resolved.


George said his department already is working with lawmakers to clarify the law. He said that a $6 million cap would make the program practically useless for encouraging existing companies to hire new workers.


“I’ve spoken to other legislators and the governor’s office and we plan to clarify that,” George said.


The department also disputes whether the statutory cap has been violated, noting only $2.24 million in PEAK incentives were actually released this year for that aspect of the program.


Kleeb, who is described as the “godfather” of PEAK, described the audit report as a “small cloud” that he wants to have lifted quickly. The lawmaker said he’s had no problem obtaining reports from the Department of Commerce about the program.


“I’ve asked for reports from Commerce on incentives and I was able to get reports,” Kleeb said. “That’s what surprised me about the audit.


“The auditors are saying in short there wasn’t a button to push, a quick way to get information. That being said, the information is there.”


Frank said auditors were hampered from doing their job by the poor recordkeeping at Commerce.


“We were disappointed to see the kind of information the department compiled,” he said.


“We had to dig the information out of the files ourselves. We’d prefer to verify information and analyze it, but we had to start from square one.”


Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation and one of the area’s more high-profile critics of the border war, said he’s also had problems getting information.


“They are not as transparent as the program is intended to be,” Hall said. “I’m not surprised about the auditors’ concerns.”


The former legislators who commissioned the PEAK audit were not surprised at the results.


“It answered our questions to the point that we don’t have the data,” Kultala said.


“It looks as if the Department of Commerce has mismanaged the program and doesn’t have the material to determine whether it’s working or not.… It also doesn’t help rural counties; it’s been all metro counties.”


Owens observed if the PEAK program was not monitored properly, the state wouldn’t know whether it had achieved lasting economic growth.


“Will the company stay in the state or take the money and run?” he asked.


Finally, auditors said the PEAK program’s attractiveness might fade as a result of another major economic development initiative being pursued by Kansas — cutting income taxes.


“As income tax rates are reduced, the tax incentives companies receive under the PEAK program will also decrease,” the audit said.


For example, a company pockets $2,300 annually in withholding taxes for a $50,000 PEAK job now; that figure is expected to drop to $1,500 by 2018 when that income tax bracket drops from 6.45 percent to 3.9 percent.


George responded that rather than being a drawback, it would only make his job easier.


“We’ll have a great incentive program plus lower taxes,” he said.



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Child and adult reported injured in KC shooting


Breaking News


Updated: 2013-10-01T02:20:47Z






An adult and a small child were seriously injured in a shooting Monday night in central Kansas City.



Read more Breaking News


The shooting occurred about 8:50 p.m. in the 3900 block of Bellefontaine Avenue. The victims, one described in police radio broadcasts as a 2-year-old girl, went to Children’s Mercy Hospital by private vehicle before police arrived on the scene. Dispatchers described their injuries as life-threatening


Initial reports indicated that the girl was in a car that was shot at by the occupant of another car.




| Tony Rizzo, trizzo@kcstar.com









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Hutchinson teenager charged in murder, arson waives hearing


— The attorney for the teenager accused of killing his mother and sister in a fire at their home waived his right to a detention hearing Monday in Reno County District Court.







Sam Vonachen, 14, faces two first-degree murder charges, a charge of attempted first-degree murder and a charge of aggravated arson. Investigators have accused him of setting the fatal fire last week that killed his mother, 47-year-old Karla Vonachen, and sister, 11-year-old Audrey Vonachen. The attempted murder charge relates to his father, 48-year-old Steve Vonachen, who was home at the time of the fire early Thursday morning but escaped.


The fire at the family’s two-story home on East 19th Avenue started just before midnight Thursday. Investigators said that the first floor of the home was engulfed in flames and that an accelerant had been poured in several rooms on the first floor. Karla and Audrey Vonachen were found in a second-floor bedroom, investigators have said.


Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder has said he intends to prosecute Vonachen as an adult.


Schroeder had no comment Monday about the case. Vonachen’s court-appointed lawyer is Greg Bell. Efforts to reach him Monday were unsuccessful.


Vonachen’s next hearing is a pre-trial conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22.


Chief Judge Patrick Macke Dick is presiding over the case.



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Rise of the grumpy grannies: Third of men say old age is best time of their lives... but only a quarter of women agree



  • Survey suggests old men like Victor Meldrew are on the wane

  • Study polled 1,000 men and women over the age of 65


By Daily Mail Reporter


|


Actor Richard Wilson

'I don't believe it': Grumpy grandads such as Victor Meldrew, played by Richard Wilson, appear to be on the decline as more aging men say their later years are the best of their lives



Women are grumpier than men when they reach old age, a survey reveals today.


The nationwide research appears to challenge the idea of men becoming bad tempered with age - epitomised by the archetypal grumpy old man Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave.


Both men and women are happiest during middle age but women become more cantankerous the older they get.


Exactly the same number of men and women - 21 per cent - said they felt happiest with their life as a young adult.


A total of 36 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women said they were most content during middle age.


But surprisingly, 30 per cent of men said they were the happiest when they passed 65 - compared to just 26 per cent of women.


The results also found that life does indeed begin at 40, with 64 per cent saying their happiest times have been from middle age onwards.


The survey, commissioned by British manufacturer Stannah, questioned 1,000 men and women over the age of 65 about the happiest times of their lives.


Just four per cent of men and women said the happiest time of their life was when they were a child and another four per cent said that time was still to come.


An overwhelming 77 per cent of people quizzed said they think older people can either make a valuable contribution to society or do more if given the chance.


The research also shows 66 per cent of pensioners think society values elderly people less than they did when they were young, while 60 per cent feel their needs are not understood by the Government.


Pugh comic

pugh.jpg



Patrick Stannah, joint managing director of Stannah Lift Services, said: 'The results of this research bring out some entertaining comparisons.


'But on a more serious level they confirm that for most people life really does begin during middle age.


'Whilst at times society may seem to value youth over experience, these results indicate that when it comes to happiness, Britain’s middle aged and over 65s are far more satisfied with life.


'Despite this, it is unnerving to see that Britain’s 10 million over 65s still feel undervalued by society and misunderstood by government.


'As we celebrate UK Older People’s Day we must consider how we can all work together to engage Britain’s over 65s, who are extremely keen to continue contributing positively to society.'