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News digest – breast screening error, gene tests, childhood obesity and mobile phones

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

5 May 2018

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NHS breast screening error

Around 450,000 women in England between the ages of 68-71 years old weren’t invited for their final breast screening appointment due to an error with NHS computers. The oversight was reported widely and discussions around the coverage of estimates that ‘up to 270 lives may have been shortened by the error’ are ongoing. We also covered this one.

Genetic test could guide chemotherapy for breast cancer

Women with a certain type of hard-to-treat breast cancer could benefit from genetic testing, says the Telegraph and Mirror. The study, that we also reported on, showed women with triple negative breast cancer who had a faulty BRCA gene did better on a different chemotherapy drug than those on standard treatment.

Cancer researchers need phones to process data

Mobile phones could help cancer researchers analyse large sets of data quicker. The new citizen science project involves an app called ‘Dream Lab’, which anyone can download and crunches numbers while the owner of the phone sleeps. The BBC and The Sun have more on this.

Jamie Oliver on obesity

The Guardian, BBC and ITV covered the TV chef’s continuing campaign against childhood obesity. Oliver is now asking for the sugar tax to be applied to milk drinks too. For more on this specific request read the Huffington Post.

Cancer Research UK appoints new CEO

We appointed our new Chief Executive. Michelle Mitchell will be leaving the MS Society in the summer to take the place of Sir Harpal Kumar. Third Sector and our press release have more info.

High earners most likely to be drinkers

Those earning more are more likely to drink alcohol, according to a new study featured in the Mail Online and The Sun. Using alcohol as a method to ‘de-stress’ is suggested as a possible reason why those with bigger banks accounts booze more regularly.

Cancer Research UK commits £18million to brain tumour research

We’re teaming up with The Brain Tumour charity to take on brain tumours. The Guardian covered our new awards that total £18 million to tackle six of the biggest challenges in brain tumour research. Our blog post explores these six research themes in more detail.

HPV vaccine in boys

The BBC reports that a group of doctors have paid for their sons to have the HPV jab, which sparked an MP to call for widespread HPV vaccination in boys. The Mail Online has more on this.

And finally

Reports from the Telegraph and Mail Online suggest that a steep rise in cases of an aggressive brain tumour in England is linked to mobile phones. But this claim, which came from the press release promoting the research to journalists, wasn’t supported by the results of the study. Research calculated the number of brain tumours that were diagnosed in England between 1995 and 2015. The study found a sharp rise in the number of glioblastomas diagnosed over that time, but it wasn’t designed to find out what’s behind the increase. Our blog post takes a closer look at the study and its findings. But as it stands, there isn’t any conclusive evidence linking mobile phones and brain tumours.