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Aspirin can ‘significantly reduce’ chances of bowel cancer, chickens blamed for UTIs, and the eight year old who smokes two packs a day

A round-up of the health news in the papers on Wednesday 21March.

Most newspapers today are reporting that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of inherited forms of bowel cancer.

The Telegraph says: ‘Middle-aged people can significantly reduce their chances of being diagnosed with cancer by taking an aspirin a day for as little as three years'.

While the Daily Mail's headline reads : ‘An aspirin every day 'cuts cancer death risk by 37%' and can stop disease from spreading'

The reports focus on a new study that has found that aspirin not only appears to stop cancers developing in the first place, but can also stop them from spreading round the body. The study's author said that the results were significantly pertinent for people with family history of cancer.

However, the Metro does note that ‘separate research has suggested healthy people taking the anti-inflammatory drug could be doing more harm than good'.

Sticking with the cancer theme, the Guardian reports that despite previously held beliefs, it is safe for women with breast cancer to become pregnant.

The paper says that ‘New research suggests that women with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer, the commonest form of the disease, can conceive without it increasing their risk of the disease returning.'

This contradicts established medical practice which believes that pregnancy can raise levels of oestrogen and thus cause the caner to return. Most women in this situation are advised to wait two years before trying to get pregnant, but now do not have to worry about waiting.

From the sublime to the ridiculous and the Daily Mail reportsthat one million women in the UK suffer from urinary tract infections each year due to...chickens.

The paper reports that a team from McGill University in Montreal compared ‘the genetic fingerprints of E.coli from urinary infections to 320 samples of E.coli from chicken, pork and beef', and found chicken was ‘a surprisingly close match'.

The disease comes directly from the animals rather than from human contamination, and the over-use of antibiotics in farming has been blamed, leading to a stronger, drug-resistant, form of E.coli. This also means that treating humans has become more difficult and more expensive.

With between five and 10% of all UTIs caused by this chicken bug, women are being advised that ‘Proper kitchen handling and cooking of chicken helps kill the germs and so reduces the chances of catching an E. coli infection'.

Finally, the Telegraph has a video of an eight-year-old Indonesian boy who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day. The disturbing footage of the boy, who has dropped out of school because his teachers don't allow him to smoke, and flies into a nicotine-withdrawal- induced rage if he cannot smoke, is being used to highlight Indonesia's lax smoking laws.

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