Cancer BREAKTHROUGH: Blood test detects eight types of cancer when they’re ‘more curable'

A blood test could detect cancers at a point where they’re more curable, researchers have claimed.

The test, known as CancerSEEK, could identify eight common types of cancer; ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, oesophageal, colorectal, lung and breast cancers.

It successfully detects the disease 70 per cent of the time, studies have shown.

CancerSEEK would cost the patient about £360 ($500) for a single blood test, the US scientists estimated. That’s about the equivalent price, or cheaper, than current screening tests for any single type of cancer, they claimed.

“Potentially we can use a blood test like this to screen for undiagnosed cancers in asymptomatic people, and identify cancers at a point where they are more curable,” said The Institute of Cancer Research, London’s Professor of Molecular Oncology, Nicholas Turner.

“This paper is a step along the way to a possible blood test to screen for cancer, and the data presented is convincing from a technical perspective on the blood test.”

The test works by searching for tiny amounts of mutated DNA and proteins in the blood.

The mutated DNA and proteins are released by tumours.

CancerSEEK was tested on more than 1,000 patients with cancers that hadn’t yet spread to other parts of the body.

The blood test successfully identified the cancers 70 per cent of the time.

Five of the eight cancers analysed currently have no screening programmes for early detection.

But, more research is needed to confirm the test’s effectiveness, said Turner.

“The study does not support use of the blood test outside research studies,” he said.

“It has not shown yet whether the blood test has the characteristics required for population screening, nor whether the blood test will improve outcome.”

There was also a one per cent ‘false positive’ rate with the blood test, which could be a concern for population screening, he added.

“We need larger population studies to assess blood tests like this, and it is important that we wait for the results of these studies before people consider having the tests.”



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Japanese flu symptoms - this could be a sign that you’re infected with contagious virus

Japanese flu symptoms are very similar to other types of flu, according to pharmacist and Jakemans expert, Marvin Munzu.

You could have the infection if you’re suffering from a bad cough, Munzu said.

While the symptoms are similar to the deadly Australian flu infection that’s swept across the UK, the signs aren’t as severe.

But, the symptoms are more contagious, he said.

“Aussie and French flu are strength A, which means that they have more severe symptoms than Japanese flu.

“The symptoms for Japanese flu are very similar to other types of flu. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, coughing, high temperature, sneezing, tiredness and in some very rare cases vomiting. 

“The flu vaccine given to children provides protection again Yamagata, this will be what is available at your GP and within schools.

“This protection is not in the adult vaccine; however this is nothing to worry about as Japanese flu tends to only effect children.”

A sudden fever - a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or above - muscle aches, a sore throat, headaches and loss of appetite could also be signs of infection, according to the NHS.

It could also lead to vomiting, diarrhoea and tummy pain.

The best way to treat flu is to rest and keep warm, it said.

Drinking plenty of water and taking painkillers could also help to reduce symptoms.

While Japanese flu - or B-Yamagata, as it’s also known - is more contagious than Aussie flu, it may not have as big of an impact on the UK, Munzu said.

“I don’t think it will have the same impact as the Japanese flu as tends to effect mainly children.

“This type is flu is a weaker strength [strength B] of flu, meaning it has less serve symptoms.”

Washing your hands regularly with warm water and soap could help to lower your risk of infection, the NHS said.



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Aussie flu spread by simply breathing - The best way to avoid infection revealed

Aussie flu has spread across the UK, and 485 people have been hospitalised by the deadly viral infection since the beginning of October.

While washing your hands regularly and avoiding crowded areas may help to lower your risk of infection, spreading the virus may be inevitable, researchers from the University of Maryland have claimed.

Flu can be spread by simply breathing, they found, as the infected can contaminate the air around them without sneezing or coughing.

The deadly Australian flu virus, influenza A(H3N2) has been recorded in all postcodes of the UK, and can lead to life-threatening complications, including pneumonia.

“We found that flu cases contaminated the air around them with infectious virus just by breathing, without coughing or sneezing,” said lead researcher of the report, Dr Donald Milton.

“People with flu generate infectious aerosols [tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air for a long time] even when they are not coughing, and especially during the first days of illness.

“So, when someone is coming down with influenza, they should go home and not remain in the workplace and infect others.”

The researchers collected air samples of exhaled breath from 142 people with confirmed flu infection. They also researched the air around them after speaking, spontaneous coughing and sneezing.

Almost half of all air samples contained the flu virus, the scientists revealed.

The best way to prevent flu infection is to complete avoid people altogether, they concluded.

Another researcher working on the study, Sheryl Ehrman, said: “The study findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, washing our hands all the time, and avoiding people who are coughing does not provide complete protection from getting the flu.

“Staying home and out of public spaces could make a difference in the spread of the influenza virus.”

Aussie flu symptoms include a dry, chesty cough, muscles aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.

You shouldn’t visit your GP if you think you may be infected with Aussie flu, as you risk spreading the virus further.

You should only see your GP if you’re over 65, are pregnant, or have an underlying medical condition, it’s advised.

The number of people visiting GPs with flu has increased 150 per cent since the start of the year, according to latest Public Health England figures.



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Favourite songs will help you beat dementia: Old tunes can revive lost memories

Doctors believe we retain the clearest memories for songs we enjoyed between the ages of 10 and 30. 

The effects are thought to be so profound that British researchers have set up a task force to explore the role music can play in mitigating dementia’s devastating effects. 

They want people to learn to play instruments to help prevent the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and have called for music-based therapies to be officially adopted. 

Baroness Sally Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre, which has set up a Commission on Dementia and Music, said: “People with dementia have largely been denied the power of meaningful music. 

“They often live in a silent world yet music can bring a person back to life. Despite growing evidence music helps to improve the quality of life of a person with dementia, we are not seeing enough being done to improve access to appropriate music-based activities.” 

A report compiled by the ILC was presented to MPs, policymakers, academics, clinicians and charity leaders at the House of Lords yesterday. 

They were told regions of the brain associated with musical memory may overlap with regions that are left relatively unscathed by dementia. 

The Utley Foundation, a family trust set up by husband and wife Neil and Nicky Utley, has agreed to fund a music ambassador to help people with dementia and their carers. 

Meanwhile, the commission has gathered written evidence from more than 50 experts.

Analysis of that evidence suggests that even if certain areas of the brain are badly affected by dementia, a person may still be able to understand and enjoy music. 

It can also minimise symptoms such as agitation and aggression, reduce anxiety and depression and has the potential to improve speech. 

Despite this, it is estimated provision may be available in just five per cent of care homes, leaving as many as 320,000 with no access to the arts. 

Paula Bain, of Playlist for Life, a charity harnessing the benefits of music for sufferers, said: “Last week a carer told us of a woman who was completely ‘locked in’ – she wouldn’t speak and rarely came out of her room. 

“Her son had stopped visiting because he found it so distressing. He said his mum used to sing 10 Green Bottles when they were out in the car. So later the carer started to sing 10 Green Bottles and the woman instantly opened her eyes and began singing.” 

She added: “They showed us a film of the woman listening to her playlist – Memory from the musical Cats was playing. She was alert and engaged, stroking the carer’s face. And the son had started visiting again because they would listen together. It was amazing.” 

Dr Karen Harrison-Dening, of Dementia UK, said: “Music is increasingly being used to help people with dementia relive past experiences and tap into powerful emotions. It can provide comfort and pleasure and provide a way to help people connect.” 

Dr Laura Phipps, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Listening to or playing music can be a stimulating and social experience.”



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Flu warning: Number of doctor visits up by 150 PER CENT since start of the year

An estimated 31,300 patients attended their GP practice in England with influenza-like-illness (ILI) between January 8 and 14 - a rise of more than 9,000 on the previous week.

The Midlands and East England, which includes Birmingham, Norwich and Nottingham, were worst affected where 57.9 patients per 100,000 population presented with flu-like symptoms.

This marks an increase from 35.5 per 100,000 the previous week, analysis by the Royal College of GPs’ Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) found.

Professor Simon de Lusignan, RSC medical director, said: “We’re seeing numbers of presentations of respiratory conditions change little this week.

“But unsurprisingly given what we’ve been hearing anecdotally from GPs, rates of influenza-like illness have risen again.

“Whilst flu rates in primary care are still within what we term the ‘medium threshold’, the virus does seem to be affecting patients aged over 65 most, with rates moving into the ‘very high threshold’.

“As ever, flu is unpredictable so it remains impossible to speculate how rates will change in the coming weeks.

“They may increase further, they may level out or even decline. 

“The RSC will continue to compile data, so that we can inform preparedness plans for next year as comprehensively as possible.”



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Aussie flu MAPPED: Countries across the globe hit by influenza virus - with cases rising

Almost 200 people were admitted into intensive care during the second week of January, the latest report from Public Health England (PHE) revealed. 

Aussie flu - the H3N2 strain of the influenza virus - was responsible for 20 of those patients.

In total, 598 people were hospitalised with flu during the second week of January, and almost 50 of the hospital patients were infected with Aussie flu.

But influenza isn’t just sweeping the UK - the report published by PHE also revealed other countries in the world to see an increase in cases in the last week. 

Countries in the world to see increased reports of influenza in the last week

Europe

Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Ireland and Romania. 

USA 

A map produced by FluView has revealed the states worst hit by the virus.

According to the map, flu is widespread across mainland USA as well as Alaska. 

Hawaii and Guam have had regional activity and the District of Columbia local activity.

The US Virgin Islands has also reported sporadic cases of the virus amongst its population. 

As of the week ending January 6, Puerto Rico is yet to have any cases of influenza reported. 

The PHE report said: “In North America, overall influenza activity continued to increase in the region, with detections of prominently influenza A (H3N2) viruses.”

Canada

The PHE report stated: “Overall, influenza activity is high and continues to increase across Canada.” 

Western Asia

Increasing influenza activity was reported in Israel and Jordan - predominately influenza B and A (H1N1). 

East Asia 

Northern and Southern China and the Republic of Korea has shown increased influenza activity, but with detections of Japanese flu being dominant.

South East Asia 

There have been low levels of influenza activity reported here, but in southern Asia, increased activity has been reported in Iran. 

Northern Africa

Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. 

Other areas hit by the influenza virus 

The PHE report said: “In Western Africa, influenza activity continued at lower levels compared to previous weeks. In Eastern Africa sporadic influenza detections were reported in Madagascar, Mozambique and the United Republic of Tanzania. 

“In the Caribbean, Central American countries and in the tropical countries of South America. low to now influenza activity was reported.” 

With regards to the flu outbreak in the UK, PHE’s Medical Director, Professor Paul Cosford, said: “Our data continues to show that more people are visiting GPs with flu symptoms, and we are seeing more people admitted to hospital with flu.

“In terms of hospital admission, this is the most significant flu season since the winter of 2010/11 and the preceding pandemic year of 2009, although it is not an epidemic.

“We are currently seeing a mix of flu types, including the A[H3N2] strain that circulated last winter in the UK, and then in Australia.

“The A[H3N2] strain particularly affects older, more vulnerable age groups.

“The best form of protection against flu is to get the vaccine if you are eligible and to practice good respiratory and hand hygiene.”

Do you have the symptoms of Aussie flu? 



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Aussie flu symptoms? Three signs you have the deadly virus and not a cold

Aussie flu has infected thousands of people across the UK, and the number of cases continues to rise, Public Health England has warned. 

A new report produced by the health body today revealed almost 600 people were hospitalised for flu last week, with 17 confirmed flu-related deaths. 

The influenza virus and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses, because but they’re caused by different viruses they have subtle changes in their symptoms. 

There are three things to look out for to differentiate between whether you have a cold or flu - and one of them involves a quick test. 

How quickly symptoms develop 

The first different to note, according to Lloyds Pharmacy Online Doctor, is flu symptoms usually develop very quickly, whereas the symptoms of a cold usually develop over one or two days. 

Symptoms of a cold and flu 

Both share some of the same symptoms - a runny or blocked nose, a sore throat and a cough. 

But symptoms of a cold can also involve sneezing, whereas symptoms of flu can include a suffer fever (above 38C), a heave, chills, tiredness and aching muscles. 

The £20 note test

Dr Ranj Singh suggests using a £20 note to help you determine the difference. 

He told Mirror Online: “A silly test to differentiate between cold and fu would be to leave a £20 note on the floor 

“The person with a cold will pick up the money, but the person with the flu won’t even care that it’s there.” 

If you think you may have Aussie flu, you’re advised to stay at home and drink plenty of fluids. 

See a GP if you’re over 65, are pregnant, or have an underlying health condition.

But if you’re yet to catch it, how can you prevent getting it? 



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Flu vaccine: New nasal spray could become MORE effective than the jab

How to get rid of piles - and always do this to prevent haemorrhoids returning

Piles aren’t usually painful, and many people may not even realise they have them, but when symptoms do occur they can cause a level of irritation. 

According to the NHS, symptoms of haemorrhoids includes: 

  • Bleeding after passing a stool - the blood is usually bright red 
  • Itchy bottom 
  • A lump hanging down outside of the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool 
  • A mucus discharge after passing a stool 
  • Soreness, redness and swelling around your anus 

It’s recommended you make a visit to see your GP if symptoms persist, if rectal bleeding happens, or you experience pain. 

Medication you can apply directly to your back passage or tablets can be bought from a pharmacy or prescribed by a GP. 

But in most cases, symptoms settle down after a few days without the need of any treatment. 

Some simple lifestyle changes can be carried out to prevent piles happening or coming back - one of which is not to delay going to the toilet. 

What causes piles?

The condition may be caused by increased pressure in blood vessels, which makes them become swollen and inflamed.

It could also be caused by straining too much on the toilet. 

You’re more likely to develop piles if you’re overweight, pregnant, have a family history of haemorrhoids, regularly lifting heavy objects, or sit down for long periods of time.

Piles is more likely to develop as you get older, as the body’s tissues become weaker.



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Bowel cancer: Eating a diet rich in THESE could increase your risk by a third

High blood pressure symptoms? This chart will determine if you have hypertension

High blood pressure is a condition that affects more than one in four adults in the UK. 

But many symptoms go undetected - the only sure way to find out if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked. 

All adults over 40 are advised to have theirs checked at least every five years, and this can be done at your GP surgery, at some pharmacies, as part of your NHS Health Check and in some workplaces. 

You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a blood pressure monitor at home. This chart can tell you what your reading says about your blood pressure. 

Blood pressure is recorded in two numbers - the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. 

The systolic pressure is the higher number and indicates the force your heart pumps blood around the body. 

The diastolic pressure is the lower number and is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. 

Both numbers are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). 

A chart by Blood Pressure UK shows ranges of high, low and healthy blood pressure readings. 

High blood pressure is considered to be between 140 over 90mmHg or higher. 

Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90 over 60mmHg and 120 over 80mmHg. 

Low blood pressure is considered to be 90 over 60mmHg or lower. 

What happens if you have high blood pressure? 

The NHS advises: “Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes. 

“Whether medication is recommended depends on your blood pressure reading and your risk of developing problems such as heart attacks or strokes. 

“Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems.” 

What can you do to reduce high blood pressure? 

The NHS also recommends: 

  • Cutting your salt intake to less than 6g a day
  • Eating a low-fat, balanced diet - including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables 
  • Being active 
  • Cutting down on alcohol 
  • Losing weight 
  • Drinking less caffeine 
  • Stopping smoking 
  • Getting at least six hours of sleep a night if you can  

If you’re a caffeine addict, studies have also shown that switching to decaf coffee can help lower high blood pressure. 



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Breast and ovarian cancer: All woman over 30 'should be tested for gene mutations'

Scientists from Barts Cancer Institute at Queen Mary University of London said screening the entire population rather than just those at high-risk of carrying either a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation would be more cost effective and could help prevent more cancers cases.

Actress Angelina Jolie has previously revealed she carries the "faulty" BRCA 1 gene, which sharply increases the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

In 2013 the actress had a preventative double mastectomy to reduce her chances of developing breast cancer.

Researchers believe a programme to test all women over 30 could result in up to 17,000 fewer ovarian cancers and 64,000 fewer breast cancers.

They compared costs and health benefits of different strategies for genetic testing and found "population-based testing" would prevent more cases than the current approach of screening women with a personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Dr Ranjit Manchanda, consultant gynaecological oncologist at Barts Cancer Institute, said: "Our findings support the concept of broadening genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer genes across the entire population, beyond just the current criteria-based approach.

"This could prevent thousands more breast and ovarian cancers than any current strategy, saving many lives.

"With the costs of testing falling, this approach can ensure that more women can take preventative action to reduce their risk or undertake regular screening."

Carriers of either gene have a 17 per cent to 44 per cent chance of developing ovarian cancer and a 69 per cent -72 per cent chance of developing breast cancer over their lifetime.

For women who do not have the genes, the risk drops to just 2 per cent for ovarian cancer and 12 per cent for breast cancer.

Athena Lamnisos, chief executive of cancer research charity The Eve Appeal, hailed the study as promising and said it offers an "an exciting step forward in prevention".

The research, supported by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.



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