This site is intended for health professionals only

Cancer care lottery, over-drinking ladies and pot-belly blindness

By Ellie Broughton

Our round-up of the health headlines on Friday 1 April.

First off, some serious news: cancer patients are getting patchy access to a dedicated care fund, The Times has discovered (pay wall). From today onwards, the Cancer Drugs Fund will offer £200m to pay for more expensive little-used drugs, but a six-month trial of the scheme has burnt through half the budget and treated fewer patients than expected.

Mike Hobday, head of policy at Macmillan, welcomed the scheme but said it was ‘very worrying' to see such large regional variations in the way funds were spent.

On a lighter note,the Telegraph recommends that ladies skip after-work drinks today, as figures show that one in five women now drink too much. 18% of women consume more than 14 units a week – around seven small glasses of wine – and the number of women drinking more than 35 units a week – around 17 glasses – has doubled since 2009. Excessive drinking in the male population, it added, remained at a constant.

There are two big health concerns for the Daily Mail today: pot bellies and water-walk balls. Collecting spare tyres in middle age, the paper says, ‘could significantly raise a man's risk of blindness later in life'.

Abdominal fat releases oestrogen into the blood stream, which in turn inflames blood vessels at the back of the eye – luckily for women, their more constant levels of oestrogen protect them from the trend towards age-related macular degeneration.

Across the pond, the US watchdog warns that funsters walking on water in giant balls could be suffocating to death. but Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says the use of airtight ‘water-walk' balls in this country is 'well managed'. So you can walk on water this weekend with your mind at ease.

Spotted a story we've missed? Let us know, and we'll update the digest throughout the day...

Daily digest


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.