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Cancers diagnosed early would 'save NHS £44m'

If four of the most common cancers - colon, rectal, lung and ovarian - were diagnosed early, it could save the NHS £44 million in treatment costs ever year, a report has found.

According to Cancer Research UK's report, Incisive Health:

  • Early diagnosis in those cancers would benefit at least 11,000 patients.
  • Diagnosis figures for seven cancers in England - breast, colorectal (bowel), lung, melanoma (skin), Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, ovarian and prostate - showed that 46% were detected at a late stage in 2012.
  • Breast cancer had the best diagnosis rate - 83% of cases of were identified early, highlighting the benefits of national screening.

Report: Almost half of cancers 'caught too late'

Almost half of cancers diagnosed in England are discovered late, knocking back the chances of successful treatment, according to a report.

Testing for cancer has evolved past a standard biopsy - these blood tests were used to screen men for prostate cancer. Credit: PA

Some 52,000 cancer patients could improve their chances of survival if they were diagnosed early - and save the NHS £210 million, the report from Cancer Research UK claims.

Experts believe if all cancer patients had tumours detected earlier an extra 5,000 people would survive five years or more after their initial diagnosis.

Lung cancer had the worst record of delayed diagnosis, with 77% of cases being spotted late.

Early-stage tumours can often be removed by surgery, but once a cancer has started to spread around the body it becomes much more difficult and costly to treat.

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New Afghan president finally named

Credit: Reuters

The new president of Afghanistan has finally been named, ending months of tension.

The country's election commission said Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai will be the next president, and his one-time rival Abdullah Abdullah, will fill the newly created position of chief executive, a post similar to prime minister.

The decision came just hours after the leading candidates signed a power-sharing deal, but the commission pointedly did not release final vote totals amid concerns that doing so could inflame tensions.

The deal brings to a close an election season that began in April, when millions of Afghans first went to the polls despite threats from Taliban militants, and ended when the two candidates signed a national unity government agreement and embraced in a hug.

Charity: Political parties 'need to invest in families'

All three main political parties "need to invest in families" as they are the UK's most valuable asset, a children's charity has warned.

Anne Longfield, 4Children's chief executive, said the family vote would be "key" in the 2015 general election and called on MPs to improve childcare.

All the main political parties know that the family vote will be key at the ballot box next year.

With half of people calling for more support for children and families, it is clear that the scale of ambition needs to radically change.

Families are looking to all the parties to set out what they will do to make Britain great for children and families.

It is time for a real shift of ambition to give children and families the support they need to flourish. Families are our country's most valuable asset and political parties need to invest in them.

– Anne Longfield

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Family life 'harder than ever' say almost half of Britons

Almost half of Britons feel family life has become harder over the last 30 years, a YouGov poll for a children's charity has found.

Almost half of parents feared their child's future would be worse than their own. Credit: PA

Some 46% said family life was harder in 2014 than it was three decades ago, according to charity 4Children.

Even more parents (49%) wanted the Government to do more to help them balance the demands of work and raising children in the 21st century.

Whichever party wins next year's general election should open schools from 8am to 6pm to help struggling parents cope, 4Children said.

They also wanted to see free childcare extended to 25 hours a week for all children aged between one and four by 2024, and for Sure Start to be turned into "children and family community hubs".

Blair warns 'airpower will not suffice' in battle against extremists

Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Airpower alone will not defeat extremists like the Islamist State militants currently holding large swathes of territory in northern Iraq and parts of Syria, former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

The Government has supplied arms including heavy machine guns to Kurdish fighters on the front line and has also been involved in transporting materiel supplied by other countries.

But Mr Blair said in his essay: "Air power is a major component of this, to be sure, especially with the new weapons available to us. But - and this is the hard truth - air power alone will not suffice. They can be hemmed in, harried and to a degree contained by air power. But they can't be defeated by it.

"If possible, others closer to the field of battle, with a more immediate interest, can be given the weapons and the training to carry the fight; and in some, perhaps many cases, that will work. It may work in the case of Isis.

"There is real evidence that now countries in the Middle East are prepared to shoulder responsibility and I accept fully there is no appetite for ground engagement in the West.

"But we should not rule it out in the future if it is absolutely necessary.

"Provided that there is the consent of the population directly threatened and with the broadest achievable alliance...we have, on occasions, to play our part."

Former Northern Ireland secretary 'backed' paramilitary amnesties

Credit: PA Wire

Former Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid supported a selective and reversible government amnesty scheme for alleged paramilitaries but excluding members of the security forces, a newly-published document revealed.

His May 2001 letter to Tony Blair said distinguishing between deserving and undeserving terrorism suspects would be difficult since all were innocent in the eyes of the law.

He also envisaged having to use special legislation to override resistance to an amnesty law in the House of Lords.

The Labour government had already accepted publicly that discontinuing prosecutions for offences committed before the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement by supporters of organisations on ceasefire would be a "natural development", the note to the Prime Minister said.

The Good Friday Agreement meant anyone convicted of paramilitary crimes was eligible for early release.

However, this did not cover those suspected of such crimes, nor did it include people who had been charged or convicted but who had escaped from prison.

Labour reaches out to 'Yes' voters

Credit: Alix Franck/ABACA

Labour is to reach out to supporters who voted for independence in last week's referendum, shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran will announce.

While there were only four local authorities where the Yes campaign won a majority, three of them were Labour controlled council areas.

In a bid to address that, Ms Curran is today expected to announce an action plan to understand why some Labour voters wanted to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom.

As part of this she and other leading figures from the party north of the border will visit the 10 parts of Scotland with the highest Yes votes.

Ms Curran will tell the Labour conference in Manchester that they need to show independence supporters that by remaining in the UK they can help create a better Scotland.

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont will tell activists there that the party must address the "deficit of hope" that exists.

Their speeches to the conference comes just four days after Scotland voted by 55% to 45% to stay in the union.

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