Intended for healthcare professionals


Seven days in medicine: 11-17 September 2019

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 19 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5585


New blood test predicts prostate cancer

A blood test for circulating tumour cells has been found to accurately predict aggressive prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is currently detected with a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) followed by a prostate biopsy, but PSA testing lacks specificity and sensitivity. The new test measures circulating tumour cells that have left the original tumour and entered the bloodstream. Published in the Journal of Urology,1 a study in 98 pre-biopsy patients and 155 patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer found that a test for the presence of circulating tumour cells in blood samples accurately predicted subsequent biopsy results.

Secondary care

NHS hospitals face “toxic” PFI legacy

NHS hospitals will pay £80bn (€90.1bn; $99.6bn) for private finance initiative (PFI) funding despite receiving only £13bn of actual investment, the Institute for Public Policy Research warned in a report.2 Analysis of data from HM Revenue and Customs found that some trusts were spending as much as a fifth of their budget on PFI payments. The worst affected trusts were North West Anglia, Sherwood Forest, University Hospitals Coventry, and St Helens and Knowsley. The NHS has so far paid only around £25bn of the £80bn expected total cost of PFI since it was first introduced in 1998.

Deprivation increases emergency department visits

The 10% of people living in the most deprived areas of England made more than twice as many visits to emergency departments as those in the least deprived 10%, figures from …

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