The meaning of "what's news"?

Hi! I hope everybody is well and, most importantly learning Eng faster than ever with the help of our kind moderators and other forum members!

Well… today, I’ve got a query regarding the question “What’s news?” . Could anyone please explain to me

  1. what it really means and when to use it?
  2. What sort of answer am I expected to give in reply?
  3. if it sounds okay to use “what’s news” in the following context? :
    My friend was engaging in a phone conversation with
    her aunt while I was sitting in the same room. After
    she finished, I would like to ask her “in general how her
    sickness was and/or what she’s going to do with it”.

    Could I say “what’s news”? If not, can anybody
    suggest other alternatives?

Thank you very much for your help (:

“What’s news?” is basically the same as, “What’s new?” and the answer would be the same. Literally it means, “What news do you have to tell me?” The expression is slangier than, “What’s new?”

Thanks heaps Jamie! I got it now (: