News digest – A&E diagnoses, teen inactivity, NHS staff shortages and arthritis drugs
NHS staff shortages in Scotland limiting progress
Lives are being put at risk in Scotland because of NHS staff shortages, says BBC News. A new report looking at cancer care found that more than 18 in 100 people diagnosed with cancer had to wait longer than 62 days for their diagnosis. Our CEO called for NHS Scotland to publish their long-term cancer workforce plan, which will help the NHS prepare for rising demands on the health service in the future.
One in 5 diagnosed with cancer in A&E in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, 1 in 5 patients are being diagnosed with cancer in A&E. According to BBC News, the problem, which is more likely to affect older patients, could result from people waiting too long to see a specialist.
Health warnings on e-cigs may stop people switching from smoking
Vaping has had mixed coverage recently. Our study looking at the impact of different types of warning labels on e-cigarettes has found that language matters. Researchers found the current messages on e-cigarettes, which focuses on the addictive nature of nicotine, put some smokers off using them to quit. Whereas a warning label stating that the product is less harmful than smoking made smokers more likely to consider using the products, without encouraging non-smokers to start. Read the Independent for the details.
Global inactivity among teens
Youngsters around the world are not doing enough exercise, according to new figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported by the Guardian. The survey of schools from 146 countries found that around 4 in 5 teens from 11 to 17 years old are not meeting the recommended daily hour of physical activity. And UK figures from 2016 showed that more than 85 in 100 girls and almost 75 in 100 boys were not active enough. The researchers suggested that measures to make sure sport and leisure facilities are safe, accessible and affordable could help young people be more active.
Drug combo shrinks pancreatic cancer in mice
New research in the US has shown that a drug combination using two existing cancer drugs can shrink pancreatic cancer tumours in mice, reports the Mail Online. The scientists say this combo may be effective because it attacks the cancer with a double hit, as one drugs starves cancer cells of nutrients while the second stops the disease entering survival mode when its fuel supply is cut. It’s a promising step, but the drugs now need to be tested in people to see if the combination could have the same effect.
Delays to cervical screening results
Pulse reports new data released from Public Health England (PHE) showing that over half of cervical cancer screening letters were delayed last year. Only around 48 in 100 letters were received within the expected 2-week time frame, with over a third of people waiting more than 3 weeks for their results.
A drug used to treat arthritis can stop breast cancer spreading and settling in the bones of mice. It’s thought the effect could be because the drugs block a molecule made by the bone that encourages breast cancer cells to grow into tumours in the bone. But before this existing drug can be repurposed, trials need to be carried out to see if the drug have the same effect in people. Read the Telegraph for more on these interesting findings.