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News digest – trebling prostate cancer risk, women smokers, ‘quadruplex’ DNA and more

Posted Jan 26 2013 12:00am
  • Boys born in 2015 will have almost three times the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lives than those born in 1990, according to stats we released this week. Here’s our press release and the BBC’s story .
  • Women who smoke are now far more likely to be killed by their habit than they were in the 1960s, a major US study found. Our news story has more detail.
  • On a more positive note, the introduction of smoke-free legislation in July 2007 led to a sustained drop in children being admitted to hospital for asthma in England. This is further evidence of the power of legislation against the deadly impact of tobacco. Here’s our news story .
  • The biggest science story of the week came from our Cambridge Research Institute, where scientists have found compelling evidence for an unusual DNA structure called ‘quadruplex DNA’. The Independent and the BBC both covered of the work, and we’ve written before about this fascinating area of research.

  • Delays in diagnosis are cutting short the lives of women with ovarian cancer, according to a UK charity. The report is a timely reminder that urgent attention must be given to ovarian cancer – and treatment, not just early diagnosis, needs to be improved. Our news story has more detail.
  • We liked this Mirror article about why it’s important for women to attend their cervical screening appointments.
  • The Daily Mail says the so-called “two week wait” – a key NHS target for GPs to refer everyone with cancer symptoms to a specialist within two weeks – hasn’t had any impact on survival rates. On the plus side, the study shows that the two week wait has been successful in speeding up the time from diagnosis to first hospital visit. And a review of cancer waiting time targets in 2010 found that patient anxiety had been greatly reduced as a result of the waiting time standards. But it’s concerning that many of these gains appear to be offset by delays later on during patient treatment and survival in the longer term.
  • A new blood test that measures cells’ response to radiation could detect inherited faults in a person’s BRCA genes, according to Israeli researchers. Our news story has more detail.
  • Docetaxel significantly increases survival for incurable gastric cancers, according to a study from our scientists this week. Here’s our press release .
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