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News digest – discount junk food deals, lung cancer immunotherapy, cigarettes and wine

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

30 March 2019

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White blood cell
White blood cell

Shopping for special offers may increase likelihood of obesity

Shoppers who fill their supermarket trolleys with food and drink offered on special promotions have more than a 50% increased chance of being obese, says the Independent. Our research also found that almost half of all chocolate and savoury snacks were bought on promotion. Read our press release for more.

Impact of drinking alcohol on cancer risk estimated in terms of cigarettes smoked

The BBC asks, ‘how many cigarettes are in a bottle of wine?’ after new research aimed to estimate this, to help people consider the effects of moderate drinking on cancer risk. We blogged about whether it’s helpful to communicate cancer risk in terms of cigarettes smoked.

Lung cancer immunotherapy approved for NHS patients in England

An immunotherapy drug will be made available on the NHS in England for certain people with lung cancer, reports the Mail Online. NICE approved the new treatment after doctors and patients said new options were needed. We also covered this latest decision.

Adding nitrites to meat questioned

The Guardian covers a leaked report for the British meat industry examining the growth of the toxin Clostridium botulinum that causes botulism. It is understood from the leaked report that nitrites, which are often added to meat and are one of the chemicals linked to increased cancer risk, do not affect the levels of dangerous bacteria in food. This means they may not be necessary to preserve its shelf life.

More breast cancer patients could be spared chemo thanks to genetic tests

The Telegraph reports that offering more women with breast cancer a genetic test could spare them chemotherapy. Currently the NHS offers the test, called Oncotype DX, to certain patients whose disease has not spread to the lymph nodes, but new research suggests this could be extended those whose disease is more advanced.

Child cancer survival worse in developing nations

The chance of a child surviving their cancer for five years depends on the wealth of the country they live in, according to the Guardian. More than 80 of out 100 of children diagnosed with cancer in rich states will live for more than five years, compared to fewer than 30 out of 100 of young people living in developing nations.

Should the legal age to buy cigarette be increased?

The Mail Online reports the suggestion of a British doctor to increase the legal age that you can buy cigarettes from 18 to 21. He says it could protect younger school children from exposure to older pupils who smoke.

And finally

The Sun reports on a research which suggests eating vegetables like onions and garlic could reduce the risk of bowel cancer. But the study asked people taking part to recall what they ate and fill in a questionnaire. This type of research isn’t always very accurate as it’s hard for people to remember exactly what they’ve consumed. The study also took place in China, so it’s unclear how the findings might apply to people in the UK, where eating and cooking habits can be very different. When it comes to diet and cancer, it’s unlikely that one specific type of food on its own could have a big impact on cancer risk, it’s best to stick to an overall healthy, varied diet.