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News digest – Alcohol causes 7 types of cancer, pancreatic cancer spending triples, oily fish and… pickled sharks?

by Misha Gajewski | Analysis

23 July 2016

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The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living by Damien Hirst (1991)
  • Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer, says an article published in the journal Addiction. This re-affirms what we already know about the link between alcohol and cancer. And according to the review people consuming even low to moderate amounts have an increased risk. The Guardian and the Independent among others covered this. For more information about how alcohol causes cancer check out our website.
  • Cancer Research UK has tripled its investment in pancreatic cancer, one of the hardest cancers to treat, since launching its research strategy in 2014. The Express covered this and here’s our press release.
  • The Daily Mail and Telegraph reported that people diagnosed with bowel cancer have a lower risk of dying from the disease if they eat oily fish. But the study only found a link between eating more omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon, and a lower risk of dying from bowel cancer so it’s not yet clear whether increasing omega 3 in patients’ diet was directly causing this lower risk.
  • The Health Committee has accused the Government of issuing “misleading” figures over its pledge to increase NHS funding. MPs on the Commons Health Committee said the Government’s claim that the NHS would receive £8.4 billion by 2020/21 actually translates into £4.5 billion because ministers used a different calculation compared with previous years. The BBC and Guardian have the full story. We also covered this.

Number of the week


The amount of money we are now spending on pancreatic cancer research.

  • There’s been an increase in the number of aggressive prostate cancer cases according to a new study. The study suggests the rise could be due to infrequent screening. The Times, subscription needed, covered this as did Newsweek.
  • The Atlantic had this fascinating piece on how researchers are using a modified version of the bacteria salmonella to combat cancer.
  • UK scientists discovered a gene that affects the growth of blood vessels and they think it could help lead to new treatments for cancer. The idea would be that if you could control the gene you could control the blood vessels that feed the tumour and help it grow. However, there is yet to be a drug that can target this gene so more research is needed. The Independent has the details.
  • Reuters and the Financial Times report that British scientists are planning to develop “anti-evolution” drugs to stop tumour cells from developing resistance to treatment.
  • Stat News reports that the first CRISPR trial in humans will be next month and it will attempt to battle lung cancer. And for more information about what CRISPR is and how it’s changing the world of cancer research check out our blog post.

And finally…

  • A while back there was a story about how a Damien Hirst exhibit, the one with pickled animals, was releasing cancerous fumes into the gallery. That story has since been debunked as the scientists who wrote the paper claiming the exhibit was cancerous have admitted that the paper was ‘inaccurate and unreliable’, reports Time Out. So you can continue to see the pickled shark without fear of getting cancer. Huzzah!