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Could lentils help fight cancer? Pixabay/CC0

  • Beer bellies and bulging midriffs can’t be passed off as a harmless feature of a little festive indulgence – new figures from an NHS survey reveal that 27% of adults in England are now obese. Not only is being overweight or obese linked with 13 types of cancer, but as our news report states this growing problem is a huge strain on the NHS.
  • It’s not just adults who are piling on the pounds – the same survey showed that obesity in children remains worryingly high, and that many parents aren’t recognising that their children are overweight. This finding was widely reported in the media and highlights the urgent need for government action to help tackle the issue.
  • New research in mice has suggested that certain breast cancer cells may spread very early on in disease development. As we explained to the Daily Mail, this discovery could lead to new ways to fight breast cancer in women whose disease has spread.
  • The Mirror and Daily Express reported that a malaria drug could be used to treat patients with advanced prostate cancer. But as the study was in cells and mice, it’s too early to say if it will work in people.

Number of the week

1.5 billion

The number of pounds in weight people in England have gained over the last 20 years

  • Continuing his legacy, President Obama signed a law committing new investment in cancer research. And this new legislation won’t just benefit people in America – research impacts people right across the globe, so this is fantastic news.
  • Women taking the drug tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer could be mistaking symptoms of the menopause for side effects, making them less likely to keep taking the drug. These findings highlight the need for women to be given accurate information about the benefits and side effects of the therapy, as our press release explains.
  • Encouraging early results from a large clinical trial have shown that an immune-boosting drug can help lung cancer patients live longer and experience fewer side effects. Our news report details how the drug kicks the immune system into action.
  • A new study on cells and worms has suggested how a diabetes drug might work on cancer cells, the Daily Mail reports.
  • In 2013, Angelina Jolie went public about having a faulty gene that increases the risk of breast cancer, and her decision to have a preventative mastectomy. A recent study found that there was a dramatic rise in the number of US women undergoing testing for the same gene fault in the weeks after her announcement. But there wasn’t a similar increase in the overall number of mastectomies – our news report suggests why.

And finally…

  • A nutritionist who spoke to the Express claimed that plant chemicals found in foods like dried beans and lentils may help slow cancer development or even cause cancer cells to commit suicide. But these ideas are based on lab experiments and aren’t backed up by studies in people. There’s no good evidence that a single food on its own can help fight or prevent cancer. But a healthy balanced diet can reduce the risk of developing the disease – read our website for the facts and simple tips for a good diet.

Justine