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News digest – forceful cancer cells, cervical screening, medicinal cannabis and misleading mobile phone headlines

by Lily Almeida | Analysis

3 November 2018

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Cervical screening could be stopped at 55 for some women if HPV test is used, says computer simulation

A computer model has estimated that cervical screening could be stopped at 55 if the order of screening tests is changed, the Mail Online reports. The HPV test detects signs of infection with the human papillomavirus, which causes virtually all cervical cancer cases, and the computer predicted that women who test negative at age 55 would have a very small risk of developing cervical cancer later in life. Our news report has the story.

Cancer cells exert stronger forces than ordinary cells

Research from University College London suggests that cancer cells can push through blood vessels with 200 hundred times the force of healthy cells. This could be the result of cancer cells having certain molecules on their surface that helps them cluster together and break through weak sections of blood vessel walls. The Mail Online has the full story.

Turing’s work could help develop personalised cancer treatments

Alan Turing’s codebreaking efforts that helped unlock the German forces’ Enigma Code in World War Two could be turned against cancer. The Telegraph explains how researchers at Edinburgh University believe that the same method Turing developed could one day be used to help develop personalised treatments.

Choice of cervical cancer surgery could affect survival

Two US studies have suggested that the type of surgery women undergo for cervical cancer could affect survival, the New York Times reports. The researchers found that women who underwent the minimally invasive surgery were four times more likely to see their cancer return. But survival was high in both groups, with 18 in 20 women alive four years after open surgery in one study, compared with 19 in 20 women who had minimally invasive surgery.

Medicinal cannabis prescribed in the UK

Cannabis-based products can be prescribed in the UK for the first time by specialist hospital doctors, BBC News reports. The products can only be prescribed when there is clear published evidence proving its benefit and if there are no other treatment options available. Cancer patients experiencing severe nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy treatment might be able to benefit from the new ruling. For everything you need to know about cannabis and cancer, read our blog post.

Being over or underweight could affect life expectancy

BBC News reported on a large UK study that found people who fall in either the highest (obese) or lowest (underweight) Body Mass Index (BMI) range could have a reduced life expectancy. People with a “healthy” BMI over the age of 40 had a lower risk of dying from a range of diseases, including cancer.

And finally

The Sun reported this week that there is “clear evidence” that mobile phones are linked to cancer. The misleading headline suggests that mobile phone usage could cause heart and brain cancer, but findings were only in male rats exposed to much higher levels of radio frequency radiation than mobile phones expose humans to. Our blog post takes a closer look at the findings, but as it stands, there isn’t good evidence linking mobile phones and cancer in people.