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News digest – incorrect HRT headlines, red meat and cancer, aspirin trial and…rhubarb?

by Nick Peel | Analysis

24 October 2015

1 comment 1 comment

  • Incorrect headlines claiming hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is ‘harmless’ littered the news on Monday. We responded in this blog post, and issued this press release clarifying that although there are benefits, HRT can cause cancer.
  • Some media outlets got a bit ahead of themselves in anticipation of an international announcement on whether red and processed meat will be classified as a cause of cancer by the World Health Organisation. We’re expecting the full story on Monday, and will be blogging about the news as it breaks. For now, our pages on diet have the most up-to-date info you need.
  • We launched the world’s biggest clinical trial testing whether aspirin can stop some of the most common cancers from coming back. The BBC, Guardian and Telegraph were among the many media outlets to cover the announcement.
  • UK scientists found that the number of moles on our arms could give an indication of how many we have on the rest of our bodies. This could help GPs spot those at higher risk of melanoma skin cancer. The BBC, Guardian and Telegraph all covered the research.

Number of the week


The number of arm moles that might be able to predict a higher risk of melanoma skin cancer.

  • A targeted cancer drug – nilotinib (Tasigna) – showed promise as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s. The Independent and Mail Online have the details.
  • The underlying biology of infertility could be behind an increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who have IVF, according to research presented at a US conference. The Telegraph covered this, but further studies will be needed to properly pin down what’s causing the increased risk of cancer.
  • The first case of cancer linked with the Fukushima nuclear disaster was confirmed by the Japanese Government this week. The Independent has the details.
  • Should a thyroid tumour be removed with surgery or not? The Wall Street Journal explored the tricky decision facing doctors and patients when a patient’s cancer may not actually cause them any harm.
  • Don’t get your knickers in a twist about your bra – there’s no good scientific evidence it can cause breast cancer (despite what you might read on Gwyneth Paltrow’s website).
  • Early research looking at old breast tumour samples found that a particular gene might be involved in helping the cancer cells spread to the brain. However, it’s still some way off being any kind of test doctors could offer to patients.

And finally


*The answer is rhubarb


  • Observer
    27 October 2015

    consider these findings:


  • Observer
    27 October 2015

    consider these findings: