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GPs at forefront of cancer drive and why popular pills are bad for your heart, but a quick chat with your colleagues is good.

By Charlotte Barnes

Our roundup of health news headlines on Wednesday 12 January.

On the front page of The Daily Telegraph this morning is the announcement that GPs will be given more powers which could save the lives of 5,000 cancer sufferers a year.

GPs will be able to ‘order a range of cancer tests direct from hospitals without having to refer the patients first to a consultant'. This comes as part of an £800 million Government drive to make ‘England's survival rates among best in Europe' which Andrew Lansley will announce later today.

In other news, popping pills ‘may double or treble the risk of heart attacks and strokes in vulnerable people' reports The Independent. Research in Switzerland has shown people who take over-the-counter drugs, such as Ibuprofen, ‘regularly and in large doses are at a higher risk' of cardiovascular problems. However, the report stressed people ‘who take the drugs for a headache' are ‘unlikely to be affected'. So not goodbye yet to the stashes of Ibuprofen we keep in our drawers then...

As well as avoiding those popular painkillers, another way to avoid heart attacks is to wander around your office, The Daily Mail reports. The paper sates ‘those who take short breaks away from their seats' which last ‘as little as a minute' tend to ‘have smaller waists and lower blood pressure'. So, taking a stroll to have a chat with your colleagues as opposed to emailing them is good for you – we always said we were gossiping for health reasons.

And finally, the Daily Mail announces a new ‘blood test to check for Down's syndrome' which ‘could almost eliminate the need for invasive procedures'. The ‘highly accurate' test looks at pregnant women's DNA to ‘predict whether she is carrying a baby with the syndrome'. The study is published in the BMJ today.

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

Daily Digest 12 Jan 2011