Skip to main content

Together we are beating cancer

Donate now
  • Science & Technology
  • Health & Medicine

News digest – specialist prostate cancer scans, HPV vaccine catch up, breast cancer risk and surgery gel spray 

by Katie Roberts | Analysis

15 December 2018

0 comments 0 comments

Image of an MRI scanner and a radiographer

Specialist prostate cancer MRI scans recommended on NHS

A type of specialist MRI scan has been recommended as one of the first tests for diagnosing people with suspected prostate cancer. Studies have found that using mpMRI could help 1 in 4 men with an abnormal PSA test or rectal exam avoid a biopsy. And for those who did need a biopsy, the scan can help to guide the procedure, making it less invasive. The Telegraph and our news report have the details.

HPV vaccine catch-up programme for boys in doubt

Public health minister, Steve Brine, reportedly confirmed in a letter to the shadow public health minister that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine would not be offered to boys aged 13-18. The Government announced in July that it would extend the HPV vaccination programme, which can prevent HPV-related cancers, to include boys aged 11-13. But according to The Guardian, the Department of Health and Social Care has decided that a catch-up programme for older boys would “place additional pressure on the NHS” and those boys were already indirectly protected by the vaccination of girls.

Immunotherapy combo gets initial ‘no’ for advanced kidney cancer on NHS

A combination of immunotherapy drugs will not be available for people with a certain type of advanced kidney cancer on the NHS in England. The combo was not cost effective, according to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), as the long-term benefits of the treatments aren’t yet known. Our news report has the details.

Breast screening error statement based on incorrect info, says inquiry

In May this year, Jeremy Hunt announced that an admin error meant that nearly 500,000 women had not been invited for breast screening. But as The Guardian reports, an independent inquiry has ruled that the statement was based on “an incomplete understanding of what had happened”. We blogged at the time about how women need reassurance, not misleading statistics.

Breast cancer risk could initially increase after giving birth

Research looking at 15 studies including almost 900,000 women has found that the risk may increase for a short period after childbirth for women who had children later in life. But despite the alarming headline from the Mail Online, the findings weren’t conclusive. The researchers also pointed out that breast cancer in women under 50 is uncommon and therefore the difference in risk, if any, would be small. The New York Times also covered the research.

Obesity responsible for 4 in 100 cancers worldwide

Obesity could have been responsible for around 545,000 cancers around the world in 2012, according to the Mail Online. A global study revealed that rates vary considerably depending on where you are the in world, with obesity reported to account for almost 7 in 100 cancers in the US but less than 1 in 100 cancers in India.

More women affected by cervical screening letter error

3,591 more women have not received information about cervical cancer screening, reports BBC News. This figure adds to the 40,000 women who were already known to have been affected by the administration error, which meant women didn’t receive their invitations to screening. A small number of the letters were about abnormal test results.

Restaurant meals have more calories than fast food equivalents

The average calorie count for meals in 21 UK restaurants was 1,033, compared to 751 in fast food chains, according to new research. BBC News covered the study, which looked at more than 13,500 meals from 21 sit-down restaurants and 6 fast food outlets. Health experts warn that meals should not exceed 600 calories.

And finally

Scientists are developing a gel spray that could help to slow the regrowth of tumours after surgery, reports New Scientist. The gel is a new twist on immunotherapy, working to boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer by blocking signals from cancer cells. The gel has so far been tested in mice, but those initial tests suggest that tumours that were sprayed with the gel after surgery grew more slowly. According to the scientists who developed the gel, the next step is test it in larger animals.