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Media Monitoring: 8 – 14 February

By February 14, 2024No Comments

Simple sponge test can prevent cancer that ‘hides in plain sight’

  • An innovative test which can prevent cancer deaths needs to be made more widely available, a cancer charity has warned.
  • The capsule sponge test collects cells from the oesophagus and can detect abnormalities which make a person more likely to develop oesophageal cancer.
  • If oesophageal cancer is detected early at stage one the five-year survival rate is 55% — but if not, the survival rate drops to 20%.


How common is King’s incidental cancer diagnosis?

  • The King, 75, went in for treatment for an enlarged prostate – and during that procedure, the signs of cancer were spotted, leading to the diagnosis made public on Monday.
  • This route to diagnosis is surprisingly common. While there is a big focus on screening programmes and urgent referrals from GPs, one in five cancers is actually diagnosed when patients are being seen for something else, according to Macmillan Cancer Support analysis of NHS data.
  • Over the past 12 months, 66,000 cancers have been diagnosed and treated through this route.


Disease X: Researchers analyse virus ancestry to predict next global pandemic

  • A new study involving scientists from the Universities of Edinburgh and Liverpool and Peking University in China has found 70 virus groups that pose the greatest risk, helping us get a step closer to figuring out Disease X.
  • Researchers at the University of Edinburgh looked at the history of 743 different RNA viruses, including those that affect humans.
  • Through analysis, the researchers uncovered a striking dichotomy between viruses capable of human transmission and their strictly zoonotic counterparts.


King’s diagnosis prompts 51% increase in searches for NHS cancer advice

  • An webpage offering advice on the possible signs and symptoms of cancer has seen a jump of over 50% in the number of visits since news broke of the King’s recent diagnosis.
  • Latest figures from NHS England reveal that, in the 24 hours following the Buckingham Palace announcement, visits to the page on cancer signs and symptoms rose to 14,668 compared to a daily average of 9,737 last week (29 – 30 January) – an increase of 51%.
  • Visitor numbers peaked in the hour following the initial statement, with 1,530 visits being made to the page – an average of one visit every three seconds.


New UK Biobank centre to drive “innovation, collaboration and discovery”

  • The role of UK Biobank new Manchester centre in driving “innovation, collaboration and discovery” has been hailed.
  • Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan visited Bruntwood SciTech’s Manchester Science Park this week (7 February) to officially mark the future site of the centre ready for construction.
  • UK Biobank is a comprehensive source of health data used for research, providing access to de-identified data to approved researchers worldwide. It is set to occupy three floors of a new 131,000 sq ft building.


Keir Starmer promises patient health records in one place under Labour


Welcome to e-bug – AMR resources for children

  • Developed by UKHSA, this website holds valuable resources for educating children about AMR.


AI regulation: a pro-innovation approach – policy proposals


The Monthly Diagnostics data for December 2023 can be found here.

  • The total number of patients waiting six weeks or more from referral for one of the 15 key diagnostic tests at the end of December 2023 was 416,900. This was 26.8% of the total number of patients waiting at the end of the month.
  • Nationally, the operational standard of less than 1% of patients waiting six weeks or more was not met this month.
  • Compared with December 2022 the total number of patients waiting six weeks or more decreased by 65,000 while the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more decreased by 4.5 percentage points.
  • In the last 12 months, the proportion of patients waiting six weeks or more at the end of a month has varied between 23.3% (November 2023) and 30.8% (January 2023).
  • The estimated average time that a patient had been waiting for a diagnostic test was 3.5 weeks at the end of December 2023.
  • There were 1,554,600 patients waiting for a key diagnostic test at the end of December 2023. This is an increase of 14,100 from December 2022.
  • A total of 2,043,500 diagnostic tests were undertaken in December 2023. This is an increase of 170,400 from December 2022.


Ben Kemp