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Health: News In Brief

Wednesday, May 5, 1999 Published at 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK

Drinking fluids cuts bladder cancer risk

Drinking more fluid can lower the risk of bladder cancer, scientists have claimed.

A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that men who drank at least 11 eight-ounce glasses of fluids such as water, fruit juice, milk or coffee cut their risk of two common types of bladder cancer - papillary and flat transitional cell carcinomas - in half.

Men who drank at least six glasses of water a day cut their risk of bladder cancer in half compared with men who had less than one glass, regardless of how much they drank in total liquids.

Bladder cancer strikes an estimated 310,000 people worldwide each year.

Researchers believe the bladder lining suffers less exposure to cancer-causing substances in urine when the urine is diluted and urination is more frequent.

Free helpline for lymphoma cancers

A free helpline has been launched for people affected by lymphoma - a form of cancer which is becoming increasingly common in the UK.

The Lymphoma Association is hoping to raise £250,000 to run the service and supply information leaflets.

There are several types of lymphoma, which affects both adults and children.

The most common is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Around 8,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with it every year.

Symptoms include swelling in the neck, armpits or groin, fatigue, weight loss and night sweats.

The freephone number is 0808 808 5555.

Prostate cancer test can predict relapse

US scientists believe they have found an effective test for predicting if prostate cancer will return after treatment.

The researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have developed a chart with measures PSA, an antigen found in the prostate, the timing of increase of PSA levels after surgery and a test which shows how aggressive the cancer is.

PSA is found in all prostate cells, but is very high in cancer patients.

The researchers say the tests provide an early warning that the cancer could return. Around 80% of patients are cured with surgery, but a small percentage of cancers come back and more than 40% of these patients die within five years.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, they said people whose PSA levels rose significantly within two years were thought to have an aggressive form of cancer.

They also found that people with high levels of PSA before surgery were more likely to suffer a relapse.

Scientists find genetic marker for Gulf War Illness

US doctors claim to have found a type of genetic damage in almost half of veterans who claim to be suffering from Gulf War Illness.

Healthy veterans do not have the deformities, according to a study by the Chronic Illness Research Foundation which is published in the journal Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology.

The researchers believe exposure to toxic chemicals in some weapons, experimental drugs or oil well fires could have caused the genetic mutations.

They add that the immune system's response could have produced other supposed symptoms of the illness, such as rashes, fatigue and muscle and joint pain.

Less painful breast cancer probes

A needle test that is less painful, cheaper and quicker than a biopsy could help people with suspected breast cancer, say US scientists.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say the needle test makes a small hole in the breast, requires no stitches and takes only an hour.

It can also be done under local anaesthetic, results are returned within two days and it is said to cost around a third of a surgical biopsy.

The researchers tested the probe on more than 1,600 women over a six-year period.

Many patients whose mammograms show suspected breast cancer need a biopsy to extract cells for laboratory examination.

Most will not have cancer. The biopsies sometimes require general anaesthesia, a large incision and can mean at least a day in hospital.

Charlie is nurses' darling

Charlie Fairhead - star of the BBC's Casualty programme - has been voted top TV nurse by his real-life colleagues.

The Nursing Standard, the Royal College of Nursing's magazine, rated Charlie ahead of ER's Carol Hathaway and another Casualty nurse, the peroxide blonde Sam.

Charlie, played by Derek Thompson, got 33% of the vote, compared with 21% for nurse Hathaway, played by Julia Margulies, and 12.5% for Sam, played by Jonathan Kerrigan.

He is the longest surviving member of the cast and has had to juggle medical and staff crises as well as battling over beds and funding.

A spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing said: "I think so many nurses chose Charlie because he has faced the kind of problems that all nurses have encountered in hospitals.

"They empathise with the way he has to deal with patients, administration problems and emotional issues - he is the human face of nursing."

A spokeswoman for the BBC said it was "thrilled" at the results.

Casualty has come in for criticism from doctors in recent months because of its realistic portrayal of suicides.

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Health Contents

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Medical notes

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Internet Links

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