Inside Health

BBC Radio 4


Dr Mark Porter demystifies health issues, separating fact from fiction and bringing clarity to conflicting health advice, with the help of regular contributor GP Margaret McCartney


Welsh patient power, Liquid biopsies, Food allergies, Dosing errors

September 20th, 2016

Episode 325 of 329 episodes

A new medical movement in Wales is urging patients to take more control of the decisions about the care and treatment they receive. Called Choosing Wisely, it calls for a more equal doctor-patient relationship, an end to "doctor knows best". Dr Paul Myers, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales discusses the initiative with Dr Mark Porter and with Inside Health contributor, Dr Margaret McCartney. A new way of tracking cancer, through the blood, not from a biopsy of the tumour, is exciting oncologists worldwide. A liquid biopsy, a simple blood test, is proving to be a hugely promising development in cancer treatment. Circulating tumour DNA is measured in the blood, giving doctors the chance to target new treatments for the particular type of cancer. Dr Mark Porter talks to one of the pioneers in this field, Dr Nick Turner at The Royal Marsden Hospital and team leader at the Institute of Cancer Research about what liquid biopsies could, in the future, mean for cancer care. Traditional advice to parents has been to delay the introduction of foods like peanuts and eggs when they wean their babies onto solid food, in order to reduce the risk of food allergies later in life. But conventional wisdom has been turned on its head with a new body of evidence suggesting the opposite is true. In a new survey of the latest data, the Director of Imperial College's Paediatric Research Unit, Dr Robert Boyle, tells Mark that the two most common childhood food allergies, to peanuts and eggs, may be prevented by introducing them early. How accurate are parents when they're measuring out liquid medicine for their children? Not at all, according to a new study. Dr Margaret McCartney discusses the findings that 84% of the 2,000 or so volunteer parents made at least one error, and 20% made a big error. Scary stuff. But there's advice on how to avoid giving your sick child the wrong dose.