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Weekly News Summary – 25th January 2018

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Welcome back to this week’s edition of the news summary blog. This blog outlines the highlights in health news that occurred from 19th to 24th January. This week scientists have made a huge advancement in developing a blood test for cancer, a survey has indicated that one in three women do not attend cervical cancer screenings due to embarrassment and Labour are pushing for “misleading” A&E wait times to be investigated.

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A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University has trialled a blood test to detect eight common forms of cancer. The universal blood test for cancer aims to catch cancer early and improve treatment. The blood test works by detecting small traces of mutated DNA and proteins that are released from tumours. The test looks for mutations in 16 genes that are regularly affected by cancer. During the trial over 1,000 patients with common cancers were tested and the new test, CancerSEEK found 70% of them. Although the test was able to detect advance cancers, currently it is not clear whether it can diagnose cancer in its early stages.

A survey conducted by a cervical cancer charity has found that one in three women don’t attend cervical cancer screenings due to embarrassment. Those who are aged 25 to 29 are least likely to attend their screening appointments. Women reported that poor uptake is often due to embarrassment and a lack of knowledge about the importance of screening. The study highlights the need for more education and improved awareness of the key role of screening in cervical cancer prevention.    

The Labour party are calling for Jeremy Hunt to investigate the methods used to collect data that showed misleading A&E waiting times. The government are under pressure to outline how some NHS trusts have improved A&E waiting times by breaking regulations on how they record their figures. The UK Statistics Authority have intervened and NHS England could be required to recalculate figures released. Currently the figures published are the joint worst on record in the history of the NHS.   

Words: Joelle Booth

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