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News digest – a bathtub of sugary drinks, struggling pathology labs, plain cigarette packaging in Oz and…. jet lag?

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

26 November 2016

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  • The week started with a Government announcement that an extra £2 billion will be spent on scientific research by 2020. Our CEO, Sir Harpal Kumar, welcomed the announcement and said the Prime Minister “has indicated that science is a key priority for this Government”.  For more, see our news report.
  • We calculated that, on average, teenagers drink a bathtub of sugary drinks a year. Worrying figures collected from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey also revealed that even 4 to 10 year olds drink the equivalent of nearly half a bathtub of sugary drinks a year. This story got nationwide coverage, including BBC News, Guardian and Telegraph.


  • Further adding to obesity concerns, the Telegraph and Daily Mail reported that British children are among the most inactive in the world.
  • But it’s good news Down Under, as new research suggests plain cigarette packets are putting teens off smoking. Standardised packaging laws were passed in Australia in 2012 and in the UK in May 2016.

Number of the week


The percentage of mouth cancer cases linked to lifestyle factors.

  • The BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail covered our new report revealing that UK pathology labs are struggling. Our report found that labs are snowed under due to the increasing number of samples sent off for testing. Our press release has more info.
  • After a historic year in politics the Autumn Statement, delivered by the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, was hugely anticipated. We blogged about what it means for cancer prevention, patients and research.
  • The future of US Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer ‘moonshot’ initiative has been the focus of much discussion as Donald Trump prepares to take office in the White House. STAT News has the details.
  • The Telegraph reported that female, teenage cancer patients aren’t given the same opportunity to preserve their fertility as male patients. We spoke to some children’s cancer survivors about their experience.
  • In light of Mouth Cancer Action Month, new figures we released show that mouth cancer rates in the UK have soared by 68% in the last 20 years. We spoke to Charlie, who recently had surgery for mouth cancer, to hear her story.
  • Keeping blood vessels that supply tumours with oxygen and nutrients in good condition could help stop the spread of cancer, according to Belgian research. Our news report has the details.
  • Research in mice found that chemotherapy can cause some of the healthy cells surrounding a tumour to produce molecules that encourage the hardiest tumour cells to start growing more aggressively after treatment. We covered this one.

And finally

  • Frequent long-haul flyers are ‘increasing their risk of liver cancer’, according to misleading headlines from the Daily Mail and Telegraph. The study behind the headlines actually used light to control the sleep patterns of mice in a lab to see how altering their body clock might affect how liver cancer develops. But this is very early stage research and there is no good evidence to suggest that sleep disturbance is linked to an increased risk of liver cancer.