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GP cancer test to save thousands, Lansley plans for the back of a fag packet and eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

By Ian Quinn

Our roundup of health news headlines on Tuesday 23 November.

Thousands of women’s lives could be saved by a dramatic improvement in testing for cervical cancer, reports today’s front page of the Daily Mail.

The test, which will cost only £15 a time and could be available in GP surgeries within 12 months, is said to deliver overnight results and be vastly more accurate than the smear test which is currently used to spot early signs of the disease, according to researchers.

An even more exciting breakthrough, at least if you have some experiences you would rather forget, comes with news that scientists have discovered a pill to block out bad memories. The report reckons the pill, which erases traumatic memories in the brain, could literally cause Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

It may be particularly useful for soldiers who have experience distressing events on the battlefield, says the research, although quite what it will do for their battle skills on the front line as they greet Taliban fighters with a friendly high five remains to be seen.

The papers also cover news that tobacco companies could be forced to sell cigarettes in plain grey or brown packaging in Britain in an attempt to deter youngsters from taking up smoking.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley is said to be considering switching all brand packs to a standard colour in the belief that brightly coloured packages lure prospective smokers from a young age.

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