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Cancer patients ‘written off’, MI deaths could have been prevented and why GPs could soon abandon the stethoscope

GPs can throw away their stethoscope, claims the Daily Mail this morning. The newspaper says that handheld portable ultrasound devices are the future, now that fears over the quality of the images they produce have been addressed.

The claim comes from a peice in the journal Global Heart from editor Professor Jagat Narula and Professor Bret Nelson, both from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. They say: ‘As LPs were replaced by cassettes, then CDs and .mp3s, so too might the stethoscope yield to ultrasound. Medical students will train with portable devices during their preclinical years, and witness living anatomy and physiology previously only available through simulation.’

Some cancer patients are being ‘written off’ as being too old for treatment, a charity has warned in the Independent today. The claim from Macmillan Cancer Support comes after figures showed that more than 130,000 people in the UK have survived for at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 65 or above.

Macmillan Cancer Support’s chief executive Ciaran Devane said: ‘With a proper assessment and appropriate treatment, our research shows that many older cancer patients can live for a long time and can even be cured.’

More than 11,000 lives could have been saved in the past seven years if treatment for heart attacks in the UK was as good as that available in Sweden, according to the Independent this morning. Research shows that 30 days after a heart attack, death rates for UK patients were a third higher than for those in Sweden.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said early adoption of emergency angioplasty in Sweden had played a major role. He said: ‘The lesson here for the UK is that we need to be led by the research and introduce pioneering practices quickly and on a large scale.’




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