Friday Five

Excess lung cancer deaths, Britain closer than rest of Europe to ending pandemic, warning to get Covid booster and miscarriage treatment – this week’s Friday Five

Delay in diagnosis due to lockdown could result in extra 2,500 lung cancer deaths

The UK Lung Cancer Coalition (UKLCC) has estimated that the stay at home guidance for people with a cough could fuel 2,500 additional lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the most common cause of death in the UK, accounting for around 35,100 deaths every year.

It estimates that delays in diagnosis caused by Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions may result in a drop of up to 5.3 per cent in five-year survival in England. The proportion of people living at least five years could drop from 17.6 per cent (for patients diagnosed 2014 to 2018) to around 12.3 per cent for those diagnosed during the pandemic, it said.

Professor Robert Rintoul, chair of the UKLCC’s clinical advisory group, said: “Prior to the pandemic, real progress was being made in raising five-year survival rates…. But Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on early diagnosis of lung cancer and has compromised our target of driving up five-year UK survival to 25 per cent by 2025…Lung cancer patients have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”

Read the full story in The Telegraph.

Study suggests Britain is nearer the end of its pandemic than any other European country

Scientists have suggested that the UK is the closest in Europe to the end of the Covid pandemic. A combination of infections and vaccinations, has resulted in a high level of immunity which means it has the least potential for a devastating wave, scientists calculated.

The study has estimated that if all vaccinations and restrictions were to stop today, England would have 10,000 more deaths, compared with 114,000 in Germany and 16,000 in Greece, which is a sixth the UK’s size. The findings, which made some simplifying assumptions about immune protection, were based on a calculation of the distribution of immunity in different age groups and countries.

Lloyd Chapman, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, made clear that the seemingly positive prognosis for the UK has come at a large cost: “In a sense we paid a very high price for being further along a path towards having a high level of immunity in the population,” he said. “Whether that was the right strategy or not, I think in a way only time will tell.”

Read the full story in The Times.

Warning to get Covid booster by 11 December if eligible to avoid waning immunity before Christmas

Ministers have issued a fresh warning to millions of Britons to get their Covid booster jab by 11 December to ensure they have “very high protection against Covid by Christmas Day” as new evidence shows the risk of infection increases with the time since the second dose.

It comes as new research shows immunity against infection falls significantly in the six months after two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Experts say the major study highlights the importance of boosters. The findings, based on a study of 80,000 people in Israel, showed that the chances of a breakthrough infection was roughly double by four months after the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech and had increased more than tenfold by six months.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson added: “People who have had their booster vaccine by 11 December will have very high protection against Covid by Christmas Day. Following a rise in cases and a return of lockdown restrictions in Europe, those eligible for a booster have been urged to take up the offer as soon as possible to protect themselves and their families, and help to reduce the pressure on the NHS.”

Read the full story in The Guardian.

 

Miscarriage hormone treatment could lead to over 8000 more babies born each year

New guidance from NICE, the health watchdog, has said that women who experience bleeding in early pregnancy and have had at least one miscarriage should be treated with the hormone progesterone.

The naturally occurring hormone, progesterone, helps prepare the womb for the growing baby. The trial found that the more miscarriages a woman had, the more effective progesterone was. About one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage – the vast majority in the first few months or trimester.

One of those behind the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research research, Prof Arri Coomarasamy, from the University of Birmingham, said: “This is a very significant moment…We have an intervention that works that can stop a miscarriage. This gives hope to thousands of couples throughout UK but it’s really important to appreciate that only some miscarriages can be prevented by progesterone. There are other causes for miscarriages…We still need to study them. We need to find other effective treatment.”

Read the full story in BBC News.


Quote of the week

This week Steve Verze from Hackney will become the first person in the world to receive a 3D-printed prosthetic eye. It is hoped the eye will be more realistic than a traditional acrylic prosthetic eye and will cut the time it takes for patients to be fitted with their prosthetics in half. Mr Verze said:

“I’ve needed a prosthetic since I was 20, and I’ve always felt self-conscious about it… When I leave my home I often take a second glance in the mirror, and I’ve not liked what I’ve seen…”his new eye looks fantastic and, being based on 3D digital printing technology, it’s only going to be better and better.”

Read the full story in BBC News.