Breastfeeding protects against infection, multivitamins protect against cancer, and new abortion clinic in Ireland protects itself against potential protests
A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 18 October
In some more upbeat news today, the BBC have reported that taking a multivitamin each day could lower the risk of cancer in men.
The study, which was carried out by US researchers, followed nearly 15,000 men, aged 50 and over, for more than a decade. 17 cancers were found per 1000 people taking daily multivitamins compared to 18 cancers per 1000 people taking dummy sugar pills.
It is unknown, as yet, whether a similar effect would be seen in women, or younger men.
Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Ireland’s first private abortion clinic is bracing itself for protests as it has been announced it is due to open on Thursday. The clinic, which is run by Marie Stopes, will operate in the centre of Belfast to provide medical abortions to women within Northern Ireland’s current legal framework.
In Northern Ireland, abortions can only be carried out when the life of the mother is under threat, or if continuing the pregnancy would have serious physical or mental outcomes for the baby.
Also in the Guardian, researchers from Unicef UK have found that the NHS could save at least £40m a year if more women were given help to breastfeed. Not only has it been found that breastfeeding can lower a women’s risk of breast cancer, it can also help to protect babies against illnesses such as ear aches and stomach and chest infections.
The researchers estimate that if women who currently do not breastfeed were to do so for 18 months, there would be 865 fewer cases of breast cancer, saving the NHS more than £21m.
Unicef UK’s deputy executive director Anita Tiessen said: ‘As a society we are failing mothers and babies, and this new report shows that low breastfeeding rates in the UK are costing the NHS millions of pounds each year, as well as causing untold distress and suffering for families.’
Finally, a review has suggested that obesity surgery is frequently seen as a ‘quick fix’ and that patients are not given enough time and information to give valid consent for major surgery surgical procedures.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death examined the care given to over 300 patients across the UK. It was found that in only 32% of the cases was the care of patients thought to be ‘good’ by the advisors.
Report co-author Ian Martin told the BBC: ‘Consent often happens on the day the patient is admitted for surgery. This means there is no time for patients to reflect on their choices and have the opportunity to ask further questions about the risks and benefits of surgery before committing themselves to an operation.’