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Controversial GP backed by families of patients; the sunscreen ‘scam’ and why four lattes a day is good for you

By Nigel Praities

Our roundup of health news headlines on Monday 21 June.

Dr Howard Martin, the GP who admitted hastening the deaths of some of his patients, has been backed by some relatives of patients he may have 'helped'. One of them calls him an ‘angel of mercy', whereas others are outraged.

Daily Digest is suffering a mild case of scratchy sunburn this morning and is even more disturbed to hear suggestions that chemicals in sunscreen could be behind rising cases of skin cancer.

The Daily Mail – in full scare story reporting mode – describes how chemicals used to deactivate UV rays (most commonly cinnamates, benzophenones and amino benzoic acid) react adversely with sunlight when they are absorbed generating free-radical damage.

Researchers from the University of California said the changes are similar to those that pre-empt skin cancer. Another thing to worry about – joy.

But in good news, drinking four cups of coffee a day can protect against oral cancer, a new study shows.

People with a heavy coffee habit are apparently 39% less likely to suffer from cancers of the mouth and pharynx – cue celebrations in the Pulse office.

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

Daily Digest - 21 June 2010