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News digest – liver cancer death rates, snacking culture, barriers to screening and fact checking NHS claims

by PA Media Group | Analysis

2 November 2019

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Prostate cancer cell
A prostate cancer cell

Increase in liver cancer deaths partly down to rising obesity

Our new stats reveal deaths from liver cancer in the UK have risen by around 80% between 2007 and 2017. The Guardian reports that while rising levels of obesity and the fact that more people are being diagnosed are both contributing factors, liver cancer survival is notoriously low. Our press release has the full story.

High levels of two hormones increase prostate cancer risk

New research suggests a link between men with higher levels of testosterone and a certain growth hormone in their blood and a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. The study included more than 200,000 men, but while these findings help us understand the disease better, more research is needed before we can use this information to help more men survive the disease. Read more about this on ITV News.

‘Britain must become more like France’ to tackle obesity, says top UK doctor

According to Government findings, only 5 out of 100 children in Paris are obese compared to 22 in 100 in London. We don’t know exactly what’s behind the difference, but as highlighted by Dame Sally Davies in The Telegraph, snacking habits do differ in the two countries.

Experimental cancer drug show promise

An experimental cancer drug, which targets a common genetic fault found in cancer cells, has shown early signs of promise in people with lung cancer. The new drug, AMG 510, shrunk tumours in two of the four patients tested. It’s a positive step towards targeting a previously ‘undruggable’ protein that drives cancer growth, but it’s still early days. The drug now needs to be tested in much larger groups. Mail Online has this one.

Pakistani woman hid breast cancer from relatives because of fear of stigma

Saj Dar hid a cancerous lump from her relatives for weeks, for fear of how they would take the news. And data from Macmillan suggests she’s not alone. Statistics show the uptake of cancer screening is much lower among black and Asian people than in the Caucasian population. This is thought to be due to lack of conversation, language barriers and cultural sensitivities in minority communities. Read more of Saj’s story at BBC News.

The future of AI could revolutionise drug discovery

Right now, only around 1 in 7 of drugs successfully go from being tested in mid-sized, phase 2 trials to being approved for patient use. But researchers hope this can be significantly improved with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). Learn more about AI’s potential for drug discovery in this Stat News article.

And finally…

If this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions are anything to go by, the NHS and its future could become a key issue in the upcoming election campaign. BBC News takes a closer look at some of the claims made during the exchange, including pledges for new hospitals and recognising the rise in waiting times for cancer treatments.

Scarlett Sangster is a writer for PA Media Group