Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

News digest – gut bacteria, aspirin, bowel cancer in women and… ‘wonky willy’ cancer risk?

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

4 November 2017

0 comments 0 comments

Aspirin tablets
  • Bacteria in cancer patients’ bowels may influence how well immunotherapy drugs work, according to two studies we, the BBC and STAT News covered. The studies also linked specific types of bacteria, as well as the overall diversity of bacteria in the gut, to the effectiveness of immunotherapy drugs.
  • Taking regular aspirin could reduce the risk of some digestive system cancers by up to 47%, report The Sun and Express. The unpublished results were presented at a conference, but taking aspirin regularly can cause harm  , so speak to your doctor if you’re considering it.
  • This week was sugar awareness week and The Guardian and Telegraph report that ‘meal deals’ could have lots of hidden sugar – one combination found at a popular supermarket chain contained 30 teaspoons of sugar and more than 1,000 calories!
  • Slightly more women than men are diagnosed with bowel cancer as an emergency in England. This is despite women visiting their GP more with ‘red flag’ symptoms, reports the Mail Online. The findings will be presented at next week’s National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool – here’s the press release for more info.
  • Researchers in Japan say they’ve developed a computer programme that can tell the difference between harmless bowel growths and cancer. The Telegraph reports that the unpublished research showed a computer could correctly identify 94 out of 100 bowel cancers in endoscopy images . But much larger trials of the AI tech will be needed before we can understand its potential.
  • Smoking rates are falling but The Guardian reports that tobacco firms are using marketing tactics in an attempt to keep smoking cheap enough for people in poorer areas.
  • New research suggests that chemotherapy might have an impact on the fertility of  female cancer patients’ children. The same effect wasn’t seen in the children of male patients, which the Telegraph suggests is because sperm are constantly regenerating.
  • Drugs used to treat acid reflux may double the risk of stomach cancer, according to The Guardian and Express. The researchers suggested that the longer you take the meds, called proton pump inhibitors, the greater your risk is of developing the disease. NHS Choices had this excellent in-depth piece on the study and the news reports.
  • Cancer death rates in poorer areas of Scotland are significantly higher compared to the least deprived, says BBC Scotland. People with lung cancer living in the most deprived areas were three times more likely to die than those living in the least deprived areas, according to the latest national figures.

And finally

  • The Sun’sWonky Willy Cancer Risk’ headline made light of a study linking a condition called Peyronie’s disease to a higher risk of developing certain cancers. The study, also featured in the Telegraph, is the first to suggest that those with the disease, where a build-up of scar tissue causes the penis to curve, may have a higher chance of developing stomach, skin and testicular cancer. But more work that takes into account other potential risk factors is needed before we can work out if there’s a link.