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News digest – HPV vaccine, exercise, alcohol labels and ‘tanning genes’

by Katie Roberts | Analysis

12 May 2018

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An image of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

HPV vaccine is ‘safe and effective’

A vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer is safe and reduces cell changes that can lead to cancer, report BBC News and NHS Choices. The vaccine was most effective when given to women under the age of 26, as our news report also explains.

Impact of breast screening error has been overrated

News of a breast screening error broke last week, with an estimated 450,000 women in England missing out on their final routine screening appointment. Headlines were quick to report the potential impact of this error, but follow-up commentaries have said the figures used were unhelpful and misleading. We also blogged about how women now need reassurance, not misleading statistics.

Exercise can reduce tiredness after testicular cancer treatment

High intensity interval training reduces tiredness and improves self-esteem in men with testicular cancer. Men with the lowest fitness levels benefitted most from the 12-week exercise programme, which involved walking on a treadmill at varying speeds and inclines. Our press release has the details.

Exercise also hit the headlines in Australia, after leading cancer experts recommended prescribing exercise to all cancer patients. The Guardian and Independent have this one.

London mayor to ban junk food ads on public transport

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, plans to ban junk food adverts on London’s tube and bus network. Khan said the ban was designed to help reduce childhood obesity. The Guardian and our news report have the details.

NHS England chief calls for junk food advert clampdown on Facebook

Facebook should be forced to restrict junk food adverts to tackle childhood obesity, says the head of NHS England, Simon Stevens. The remarks were made at a conference hosted by The King’s Fund and covered by the Telegraph.

Health Campaigner, Dan Parker, also called for stricter regulation of junk food ads online. The Sun and the Telegraph have the details.

Promote health benefits of Mediterranean and Nordic diets, says WHO

Following a Mediterranean or Nordic-style diet could reduce risk of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, says a World Health Organisation report. Aspects of both diets match widely-held recommendations for a healthy balanced diet, so it isn’t surprising. The Times and The Guardian covered the healthy eating review, which revealed that despite the evidence, only 15 of 53 European countries actively promoted the diets.

Warning labels on alcohol could cut drinking

Labels warning of the health risks of drinking alcohol could make some people cut back, according to an international survey. Labels warning that alcohol increases the risk of seven cancers appeared to be the most effective, with 4 in 10 people saying it would or might affect how much they drank. The Guardian has the full story.

And finally

Scientists have identified genes that appear to play a role in controlling how skin reacts to sunlight. Speaking to the Independent, lead researcher Dr Mario Falci said the results shed light on why some people with similar complexions react so differently in the sun. The discovery could help researchers to understand how skin cancer develops.