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Liver and skin cancer rates soar, NHS death stats 'out of date' and meningitis B vaccine delay 'harming babies'

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Friday 20 June.

Rates of liver and skin cancers have risen sharply over the past decade, a situation blamed on bad lifestyle choices, The Guardian reports this morning.

A report from the Office of National Statistics shows diagnoses of liver cancers went up by 70% in men and 60% in women between 2003 and 2012, while malignant melanomas rose 78%in men and 48% in women.

There were also big increases in the number of oral, uterine and kidney cancers.

‘These cancers are strongly linked to lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity,’ the report says.

Elsewhere, The Independent reports that official NHS mortality figures for England and Wales are years out of date, ‘posing a public health risk’.

Apparently a coalition of doctors, scientists and charities - including The Royal Statistical Society, mental health charity SANE and Sense About Science - have written to the Government complaining that researchers have to wait months or even years for deaths to be registered, undermining public health and policy development.

Professor Sheila Bird, from the Royal Statistical Society, said: ‘A whole range of studies in the public interest, that help to protect the public health, rely fundamentally on knowing who has died and when.

‘By failing properly to count the dead, discoveries that these studies should make are delayed or undermined.’

Lastly, the Daily Mail claims hundreds of babies have been injured or have died in the past three months because of delays introducing the new meningitis B vaccine.

According to the paper, the Government has not yet started negotiations with the vaccine’s manufacturer about supplying it to the NHS, despite approving its introduction three months ago.

In response a Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘We want to agree a price as soon as possible so children can benefit from the vaccine, but we need to make sure NHS funds are used effectively and it is right we follow due processes to make sure this happens.’

‘We will be entering formal negotiations shortly so plans for the immunisation programme can be finalised.’

 

 

 

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