Credit: Vaping360 on Flickr/CC BY 2.0

  • Thousands of cancer patients are missing out on genetic tests that could help decide whether or not they should receive a ‘targeted’ cancer drug, according to our report. Sky News covered this, and we blogged about what this means for patients and why NHS England must act now to stop this.
  • E-cigarettes were all over the news this week. First, an independent review, commissioned by Public Health England, found that across a range of nicotine products the devices are estimated to be ‘at least 95 per cent less harmful’ than smoking tobacco. Here are the reports from the Guardian, BBC and Independent.
  • And two surveys of e-cigarette use in young people also made the news. One, from the UK, found that the devices don’t appear to be encouraging younger people to start smoking tobacco, as reported in the Mail Online and Independent. The second, from the US, found the opposite. So we asked Professor Linda Bauld, one of our experts in cancer prevention, to take a look at where the evidence on e-cigarette use in young people stands in this article we co-commissioned with The Conversation.
  • A large US study topped up the substantial volume of evidence showing that people who drink alcohol as well as smoke can have even higher risks of cancer. The BBC was among the many media outlets to cover the study, which interestingly, hints that – when it comes to cancer risk – it’s the total amount of alcohol that matters, not how regularly you drink it. NHS Choices also took an in-depth look.

Number of the week:


The estimated number of people who missed out on a targeted cancer treatment in 2014.

  • A fascinating study showed that microscopic metal particles could be used to guide immune cells carrying a cancer-killing virus towards tumours in mice. How? By using the magnetic field from an MRI scanner. The BBC covered this, but it’s still very early days.
  • Reuters covered early trial results looking at treating patients with different types of cancer with a drug designed to target a particular faulty gene in them.
  • Could cranberries fight bowel cancer? Not based on the findings reported in the Mail Online and Mirror, which centred on a purified chemical and mice with the disease.
  • In another diet-based story, coffee was looked at as a potential way to stop bowel cancer coming back. But the study was too small to make any strong conclusions, so these reports should be treated with caution.
  • A large study looked at death rates from a common early stage form of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ. The Guardian has more on this.
  • Our interest in understanding the inherited risks of cancer have been around for a while, according to this interesting article in The Conversation.
  • Mosaic featured an in-depth look at medical cannabis in the UK. Cannabinoids – chemical compounds found in cannabis – are interesting molecules with potential for human health, but a long way from being a cure-all for cancer. More in our blog post.
  • The Mirror hyped up a ‘vaccine’ for breast cancer, which doesn’t actually exist yet.
  • And another interesting article from The Conversation touches on what it takes to be confident in saying that something might cause cancer.

And finally

  • “A daily aspirin may slash bowel cancer risk for the obese,” says the Mail Online (and others). Our blog post explains why pretty much every media outlet misled their readers with these headlines, and here’s what NHS Choices had to say.