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News digest – larger waistlines and prostate cancer, GP gut instincts and bee venom

by PA Media Group | Analysis

5 September 2020

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Larger waistlines linked to increased risk of dying from prostate cancer 

Men carrying excess weight around their stomach may be more likely to die from prostate cancer, according to new research. The study got a lot of attention in the media this week, but despite many opting for headlines about ‘beer bellies’, the results have nothing to do with alcohol. Here’s what we had to say:  

“Although the link between obesity and cancer is well established, its role in prostate cancer specifically has been less clear. This large UK study suggests that the body fat around the waist, rather than total body fat could affect the chances of dying from prostate cancer. But both BMI and waist circumference as measures of body fat aren’t perfect, so there’s lots more work to do to untangle this complicated relationship.” – Karis Betts, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager.  

GP intuition ‘key’ in diagnosing cancer 

Many of us will have experienced the familiar sensation of a gut feeling. And new research suggests that GPs may benefit from trusting them, revealing that patients referred to hospital based on their GP’s ‘gut instinct’ were 4 times more likely to have the disease than when no gut feeling was recorded. More on this at The Times (£) and Daily Mail 

Watch cells sniff their way through the Hampton Court Palace maze 

No you’ve not read that wrong – we’re talking about cells in a replica of Hampton Court Palace’s maze. Read more about what our scientists are learning and watch the cells in action at The New Scientist 

World’s major cancer research funders unite  

Great news this week, as we announced a new partnership with the US National Cancer Institute have come to accelerating research into tackling cancer’s greatest challenges. Our press release has more info.  

The changing landscape of children’s cancer treatment  

Head to our blog for the lowdown on two innovative studies dedicated to improving children’s cancer treatment.  

Different cancers go through same genetic mutations 

Some interesting early results from the Francis Crick Institute, as researchers identify how different types of cancer go through some of the same DNA changes over time. The findings could bring scientists closer to understanding how tumours evolve. Read more on this at Daily Mail 

NHS ‘strongly advises’ people to attend cervical screening 

The NHS are reassuring people that it’s safe to take part in screening, after new survey results reveal that women from an ethnic minority background are twice as likely to be worried about contracting coronavirus after attending a doctors surgery than white women. Dr Raj Patel, deputy director of primary care for NHS England, said: “NHS services are safe and people need to come forward for essential care, checks and treatment. I would strongly advise anyone invited for a cervical smear test to attend because screening saves lives.” And if anyone is concerned, it’s worth speaking to your GP practice about COVID safety. The Guardian has the full story.  

And finally 

Honeybees. Or honeybee venom, to be more precise. BBC News have picked up results showing that the venom from honeybees can kill aggressive breast cancer cells in the lab. It’s an exciting development, but scientists caution that it’s early days yet.  

Scarlett Sangster is a writer for PA Media Group