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News digest – HPV jab for boys, low sugar chocolate, diabetes and complementary therapies might affect survival

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

21 July 2018

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Boys should be given HPV jab

An expert committee has recommended that the HPV vaccine should be given to boys as well as girls. The decision came as extending the programme was deemed cost effective for the benefit it could bring in preventing cancer in men. This new advice was reported widely and we covered the details in this blog post.

Delays in x-ray results ‘could affect patient care’

A healthcare regulator in England is calling for a limit on how long it takes for people to get scan results back, according to the BBC. It hopes the measure will speed up care across England. Radiology reports, including those from x-rays, MRI and CT scans, are important in diagnosing many cancers. Our news report has more.

Number of stop smoking aid prescriptions from GPs has dropped

The number of stop smoking aids prescribed by GPs has plummeted across England, Scotland and Wales in the last decade, reports the Guardian. Government cuts and a lack of support for GPs has been blamed. We also covered this one.

Eating late and cancer risk

New research from Barcelona suggests that eating dinner before 9pm can decrease the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, reports the Mail Online. But the study didn’t consider other things that can increase your cancer risk, such as drinking alcohol, so this doesn’t add much to the picture.

Experimental blood test may detect early signs of melanoma

Australian scientists are putting an experimental blood test designed to detect melanoma through its paces. The test can pick up signs of the disease in melanoma patients’ blood. The next step will be to see if it can pick up these same signs in people who don’t known they have skin cancer. Read the Guardian for more.

Popular chocolate bar to reduce sugar by 30%

Cadbury’s has announced that a change in recipe will see its classic Dairy Milk chocolate bar contain 30% less sugar. According to the BBC, this follows Public Health England’s push for confectionary companies to reduce sugar in their products by a fifth or make them smaller.

Diabetes and cancer risk

A large review of published research adds to the evidence that people who have diabetes have a greater risk of developing cancer, says Telegraph. They found that the link seemed to be stronger in women but the reasons why this is the case is unclear and needs to be investigated further.

And finally

New research has looked at how using complementary therapies with conventional cancer treatment can impact patient survival. According to the BBC, the study found that people who used a complementary treatment, such as yoga or herbal medicines, with conventional cancer therapy were more likely to opt out of at least one part of their cancer treatment. And they had a higher chance of dying as a result. Some media outlets confused the terms ‘complementary therapy’ with ‘alternative therapies’. The differences between the two can be found here. We spoke to the researcher who led the study, who explains his results in this post.