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Aspirin linked with blindness, smear tests attendance falls and Prince William in cancer fundraising plea

A roundup of the health news headlines on Tuesday 22 January.

Scientists have found a link between regular use of aspirin and wet age-related macular degeneration, the Telegraph reports.

Aspirin - taken by millions to ward off heart attacks, strokes and cancer - appears to greatly increase the chance of developing wet AMD according to Australian academics who studied almost 2,400 middle-aged and elderly people for 15 years.

Almost one in ten of the ‘regular’ users of aspirin, taking it at least once a week, developed wet AMD after 15 years. This compared to one in 27 of the ‘occasional’ users (3.7%). Writing in JAMA, the researchers concluded: ‘Regular aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased incidence of neovascular [wet] AMD.’

Meanwhile, The Mirror reports this morning that the number of women taking their recommended smear tests is falling, despite this increasing their risk of cervical cancer going undetected. The paper writes that almost a third of women aged 25 to 29 years did not have a smear test while among women aged 60 to 64 years the number is at a 15-year low.

‘Screening is very important ­because we can stop cervical cancer from developing,’ says Martin Ledwick, from Cancer Research UK. ‘This is one of the few preventable cancers.’

Someone who is determined to beat cancer is Prince William, according to the BBC. The Duke of Cambridge has launched an appeal to raise £100m over 10 years for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The Duke, who is the president of the charity, said the money would help the specialist centre provide ‘innovation and personalised treatment’. He and the Duchess of Cambridge opened the hospital’s new cancer unit for children in Sutton in September 2011.

In the video, which was uploaded to YouTube, the duke said: ‘This year please help the Royal Marsden to continue their amazing work as a centre of innovation and help make a difference for people with cancer everywhere.’

 

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