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Sex-selective abortion in the UK, cervical cancer warning and are MPs eating too much of the gross national product?

A round-up of the health news headlines on Wednesday 15 January.

Sex-selective abortions in favour of baby boys are reported to be widespread across the UK, according to a striking front page from the Independent this morning. Following ‘rigorous’ analysis of census data the paper concludes that illegal abortion is commonplace for some UK ethnic groups where parents are keen to avoid daughters and ‘has reduced female population by between 1,500 and 4,700’.

The Guardian reveals that women previously treated for CIN3 are at increased risk of developing and dying from cervical or vaginal cancer, compared to the general female population.

The findings come from a Swedish study featured in the BMJ which looked at 150,883 women. But Professor Julietta Patnick, director of the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, said the findings should not affect women’s decision to go for screening.

‘Any abnormalities that might be found can … be treated in order that they do not go on to develop into cancer. Where a cervical cancer is found through screening it is usually at a very early stage where treatment has a greater chance of success. It is essential that women are aware of this when deciding whether or not to be screened.”

And finally, on a lighter note (or not as the case may be), MPs are to be put in the spotlight, but not for their winding rhetoric. The Telegraph reports this morning that Lord McColl of Dulwich - a surgeon with 50 years’ experience in the NHS - has commanded that every MP and Lord will measure and report their waistline and height to check they are not obese.

Lord McColl told the paper: ‘It is an important issue and we notice quite a bit of obesity in the ranks - they are eating too much of the gross national product.’

Spotted a story we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update the digest throughout the day…

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