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News digest – HPV vaccine, prostate cancer urine test, IVF breast cancer risk and baby food

by Gabriella Beer | Analysis

29 June 2019

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

Review adds to the evidence of HPV vaccination success

A review of lots of different studies has added to evidence showing that the HPV vaccination in girls has reduced rates of HPV infection, and pre-cancerous cervical changes, in several countries. Experts say it’s still too early to see the effect of the HPV vaccine on cervical cancer. But, with reductions in early cell changes that can become cancer, they expect to see a drop in cases of cervical cancer over the coming years.

Experimental urine test for prostate cancer shows promise

An experimental urine test could feature among the detection tech used for prostate cancer. According to the BBC, UK researchers say the test may be able to point out who will need aggressive treatment as well as those who can be monitored. Now the early results need to be confirmed in a larger group of patients.

Cancer patients waiting longer for treatment in Scotland

A lack of staff could be to blame for cancer patients in Scotland waiting longer to start treatment. BBC Scotland reports new figures showing that in the first three months of this year, just over 81 in 100 cancer patients started treatment within the Scottish Government’s 62-day target, compared with 85 in 100 a year earlier.

What’s on the horizon in immunotherapy?

The Atlantic suggests that current therapies approved to treat certain cancers, which unleash the immune system against cancer, are just the beginning.

Government yet to make progress on childhood obesity plans

Health campaigners say plans to tackle childhood obesity have been held up by government’s focus on Brexit, reports the BBC. Several measures central to the refreshed obesity strategy announced a year ago are yet to be introduced. This includes a ban on energy drink sales to under-16s and a crackdown on junk food advertising. We spoke to a former junk food advertiser turned campaigner about why restrictions on junk food advertising are important.

Potential link between fertility treatments and breast cancer risk in older women

Results of a large study presented at a conference this week suggest that women above the age of 40 who use fertility treatments, such as IVF, to get pregnant might be at greater risk of developing breast cancer, reports The Independent. However, overall research evidence hasn’t shown that women who’ve had fertility treatments are at higher risk of breast cancer. More work is needed before we can say anything for sure, as there could be other underlying reasons at play.

Vaping is cheaper than smoking

The Mail Online reports that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes could save smokers money. A study from scientists at UCL suggests some people could save up to £15 a week making the change. The researchers’ calculations were based on an average of around six cigarettes per day.

And finally

Baby food can often come with a hefty dose of sugar, according to a study from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health covered by the BBC. It warns that even weaning products that claim to have ‘no added sugar’ are often sweetened by honey or fruit juice. The researchers say that the amount of sugar in baby food should be restricted because eating sugary foods can contribute to children becoming overweight and obese.