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News digest – cancer blood test, junk food ads, science snapshots and… ‘gene tests for all?’

by Katie Roberts | Analysis

20 January 2018

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An image showing the structure of DNA
  • News of a blood test that can detect multiple cancers in people already diagnosed made headlines this week. The BBC, ITV and Sky News all jumped on the potential benefits, but this encouraging step forward isn’t a quick fix for detecting cancer earlier, as our blog explains.
  • The TV programmes young people watch the most carry junk food ads, and kids remember seeing them. That’s according to a report we released this week, which was picked up by the Telegraph, Mail Online and others. We blogged about why the findings suggest that TV ad regulations are in need of updating.
  • We’re teaming up with Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco to help customers lower the risk of heart and circulatory disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes through healthy living. Our press release has more on the ‘Little helps for healthier living’ scheme, which was picked up by the Mirror.
  • Scientists in London captured detailed snapshots of a key molecule that helps read our DNA code. This vital process is often hijacked inside cancer cells, and by understanding how it works in more detail scientists hope to open the door to new research into possible treatments. HuffPost and BBC News have the images and the science.
  • New genetics research could help to explain how a breast condition becomes invasive breast cancer. Our news report has more on the story.
  • Sending reassuring reminders boosted bowel scope screening uptake by more than a fifth, according to new research we funded along with St Mark’s Hospital. Our press release has the details.
  • The Telegraph covered the development of a blood test that can confirm the presence of prostate cancer. This research could stop people who don’t have prostate cancer needing further tests, but right now it can’t tell the difference between life-threatening cancers and harmless ones.
  • Health budget cuts mean smokers in many areas can’t access help to quit. Only three in five local authorities offer all smokers support, including stop smoking medications. The results are from a report by Cancer Research Report and Action on Smoking on Health (ASH), which featured in the Mail Online.
  • Having reconstructive surgery immediately after a mastectomy does not delay chemotherapy treatment, but it could increase complications. That’s according to new research covered by HuffPost.
  • A group of MPs have urged GPs to offer a blood test to people with one or more symptoms of blood cancer. Sky News has this one.

And finally

  • ‘Angelina Jolie gene testing for all?’ asked the BBC, after a study suggested testing all women aged 30 and over for genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer could be cost effective and save lives. But there’s still lot’s we don’t know. We don’t fully understand how high the risk is with some of the faulty genes studied, or how common they are. And having an increased risk doesn’t mean that cancer will definitely develop,  so it could cause unnecessary anxiety. The news was also picked up by the Mail Online and Sky News.