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Deaths drop for common cancers, cancer drug reverses alopecia, and workplace stress increases type-2 diabetes risk

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Monday 18 August.

The Guardian reports that deaths from the UK’s four most common cancers have tumbled by 30% in the past two decades as a result of improved screening, care and treatments.

Cancer Research UK figures show that between 1991 and 1993 146 people out of every 100,000 were likely to die of breast, bowel, prostate or lung cancers, but in 2010 to 2012 this has dropped to 102 in every 100,000.

But there is more to do, and Cancer Research UK’s chief executive Harpal Kumar said:  ‘There are over 200 different forms of the disease. For some of these, the advances are less impressive, such as pancreatic, oesophageal and liver cancer.’

Alopecia suffers could benefit from treatment with the cancer drug Ruxolitinib, which reversed hair loss in some sufferers within four months, the Telegraph reports.

The drug, and rheumatoid arthritis drug tofacitinib were both shown to reverse the hair loss in patients with alopecia areata who took a 20mg dose, twice a day. It is thought to work by removing T-cells which attack the hair follicles.

Lead researcher, Dr Raphael Clynes of Columbia University Medical Centre said: ‘This disease has been completely understudied - until now, only two small clinical trials evaluating targeted therapies in alopecia areata have been performed, largely because of the lack of mechanistic insight into it.’

And finally, the Daily Mail reports that those under the most stress at work are 45% more likely to develop type-2 diabetes.

A study by the Institute of epidemiology in Munich followed 5,337 adults between 29 and 66 over a 12 year period, found that –of the 300 participants who developed the condition - those reporting the most stress at work had an increased risk, despite having a healthy BMI.

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