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Call to step up breast cancer research, good news for early menopause sufferers and why we should all move to Germany

A round-up of the health news headlines on Tuesday 1 October

Many of the headlines this morning are dominated by breast cancer stories with publication of a major report from the Breast Cancer Campaign   – with both good news and bad. On the one hand, the charity believes over 180,000 women could die from breast cancer by 2030 unless action is taking to plug ‘critical gaps’ in research. But the researchers who have produced the report also say that with ‘achievable’ improvements, breast cancer could become a rare disease over the next 40 years, with 95% of cases curable.

Elsewhere there is good news for women whose chances of motherhood are blighted by early menopause, as researchers in Japan and the USA have helped a post-menopausal women aged 30 years to give birth to a baby boy, using a new technique to extend her fertility window.

The procedure involves surgical removal of an ovary, which is then treated in vitro with hormones to stimulate any remaining egg follicles before it is re-implanted. Professor Kazuhiro Kawamura from St Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, the scientist who led the research, is now looking at whether the technique could help older post-menopausal women in their 40s to conceive. But Professor Nick Macklon, from the University of Southampton, cautioned that older women’s eggs are of lower quality, so the technique may be less successful for them.

Finally, the Telegraph reports on news that the best place to grow old is Sweden, closely followed by Norway and Germany,  a phenomenon at least partly due to these countries’ generous welfare conditions and pensions, reliable transport and ‘community spirit’.

A shortage of buses and trains, as well as poor employment opportunities and education in later life dragged Britain down to 13th in the league table of elderly health, according to the research.

Sir Richard Jolly, a development economist involved in the research, said: ‘This shows it’s not just pensions that count but a lot of other things. Germany does so much better than the UK though it is not that much richer as a country. If Britons have a place to move to when they get older it should be Germany.’

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