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Women get cancer earlier, why men should drink six cups of coffee and the key to eternal life

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Friday 3 May.

A record number of women under 50 years are being diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK, warn newspaper headlines this morning. One in five breast cancer cases are now among women under the age of 50, The Guardian reports.

Research by Cancer Research UK found that 10,068 women under the age of 50 in the UK were diagnosed with the disease in 2010 - 2,356 more than in 1995. The charity suggested that growing alcohol consumption, the use of the contraceptive pill and women having fewer children and later in life could be contributing factors.

The Daily Mail reports that drinking coffee every day can cut a man’s risk of prostate cancer by almost 20% - but only if he gulps down six cups a day. New research shows heavy coffee drinkers are less likely to develop a tumour than those who drink none at all, or just a few cups daily.

Scientists found it helped to ward off localised cancer - the slow-growing types that are mainly confined to the prostate - but had less effect on more aggressive forms of the disease. In the latest probe by experts at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, nearly 45,000 men aged 45 to 79 were studied over a 12 year period to see how many developed localised, advanced or fatal prostate cancer.

Would you stay a GP if your patients were to live FOREVER? Staying with the Daily Mail, new research has found that a single region of the brain may control the ageing process.

Researchers believe that the hypothalamus - the area of the brain which controls hunger, thirst, body temperature and fatigue - may be the ‘fountain of ageing’, controlling how the body declines over time. They say they have discovered a specific age-related signalling pathway which opens up new strategies for combating diseases of old age and extending lifespan.

Senior author Professor Dongsheng Cai, at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the United States, said: ‘Scientists have long wondered whether ageing occurs independently in the body’s various tissues or if it could be actively regulated by an organ in the body.

‘It’s clear from our study that many aspects of ageing are controlled by the hypothalamus.

‘What’s exciting is that it’s possible - at least in mice - to alter signalling within the hypothalamus to slow down the ageing process and increase longevity.’

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