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Caesareans ‘on demand’, cancer survival times and the benefits of a cup of coffee

Our roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 23 November.

The Telegraph was one of a number of papers today to claim that hospitals are offering caesareans to ‘all pregnant women who ask for them’ in the wake of new guidelines recommended by NICE.

NICE are reportedly concerned that some women are too scared to give birth naturally and, according to the Telegraph, ‘should always have the right to a caesarean, even if they have no physical or mental health need’.

The Guardian, however, makes the Telegraph’s headline: ‘Caesareans for all’ seem rather shrill by reporting that NHS guidelines aim to push down the demand for c-sections by ensuring midwives explain the pros and cons of natural birth versus caesarean section.

The Daily Mail, continuing its optimism yesterday regarding cancer, reports that cancer sufferers are surviving six times longer than they would have in 1971. The figures, compiled by Macmillan Cancer Support show that average survival time after diagnosis among all cancers has risen from just one year in 1971 to six today.  Such advances have not been made against cancers of the lung, brain and pancreas where life expectancy has not risen by any more than a few months in the last 40 years.

Continuing the theme, the Mail also reports that ‘four cups of coffee a day could help keep womb cancer at bay’ citing researchers at Harvard School of Public Health.

The research shows that women who drink more than four cups of coffee a day are 25% less likely to develop womb cancer. However, the caveats that exercise is still the ‘most important’ prevention method and adding cream and sugar to your coffee or smoking ‘may cancel out the effects’ of coffee drinking, could prevent the Harvard researchers’ results from providing a major breakthrough in cancer prevention.