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Wed, 16th November 2016
 

We all hate discussing cancer, but as it's still the second commonest reason for departing Planet Earth, constant reminding is essential. 50,000 Aussies drop off the twig each year with heart and blood vessel disorders. 35,000 with cancer and around 3,000 with respiratory disease. So you see why the constant hue and cry.

Today, heaps of cancers can be prevented; others diagnosed early and successfully managed with positive outcomes. Lots stealthily grow with minimum or no symptoms. One of the deadliest is ovarian cancer in women. Symptoms are often few, or non-existent. Some may complain of pelvic pain, bloating and difficulty in eating, and nothing more. If there is no obvious reason, the doctor may order a CA125 blood "marker". This can pre-diagnose up to 90 per cent of cases, according to a recent large scale study of "high risk" ladies. So today, the guidelines are careful questioning about symptoms, then the CA125 test. It must be treated early and aggressively, otherwise it is a guaranteed one way ticket to doom. Never be embarrassed to ask your doctor about symptoms that persist, even though they may seem minor at the time.

 
TOE BABY

Q: 

My new grandson (11 days old) seems to have "ingrown" toenails. They are very small and deeply set in the nail bed. The space between the nail and top of the toes is quite large. Do I panic?

A: 

Of course you panic. Not because of the toenails, but panic with joy and rejoicing that you have a wondrous "Gift From God" (or thanks to the doctors black bag, and the cabbage patch). It is incredible how these tiny bodies unfold and a new life starts. I still stare at a new baby in amazement. He will change every day for the next twenty years. The feet and toenails, like all other organs, will take care of themselves. Just "enjoy" whilst the precious moment lasts.

 
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LUNG DISORDER

Q: 

My 69 year old partner, non-smoker, is suffering from asthma, chronic airway disease, and now lung cancer. She could not stand up to intensive therapy. She recently saw an American report indicating radio-therapy ablation is possible, and may cure.

A: 

Radio frequency ablation has been used for at least twenty years in Australia, but mainly for treating a point in the heart where abnormal beats originate. For this it may be dramatically successful and lifesaving. Treating lung cancer is a different issue. Best is good management at a thoracic unit of a large public hospital. I have had several patients live for at least ten years after surgical removal of a cancerous lung lobe. It is ironical she is a non-smoker. She must have inhaled heaps of passive smoke in earlier life.

 
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THYROID IN PREGNANCY

Q: 

I am in early pregnancy and understand more iodine is necessary to produce a normal baby.

A: 

This is true, and with normal iodine intake, the body automatically produces much more of the important thyroid hormone. If deficient, it may lead to early miscarriage, premature labour and foetal loss. This dependency on the mother continues well into early breast feeding. Check with your doctor, for blood measurements are readily available. A good balanced diet and iodised salt provides adequate iodine for most in Australia. Log onto "thyroidfoundation.com.au" if you want to know more.

 
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COUGH

Q: 

Is there a simple therapy for persisting cough?

A: 

Warm moist air is often effective, like steam, or "water vapour" in the bathroom. Sudden exposure to cold air makes it worse, warm air soothes. "Nedocramil" oral puffer spray (script needed), two puffs whenever the cough troubles is often very helpful and harmless. It is basically for asthmatics, but coughs also respond well. It includes patients on heart medication called the ACE inhibitors who may develop an annoying persisting cough. Sipping honey often is also helpful.

 
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SPORTING KNEES

Q: 

I love watching and playing football, but the rough handling players get often leaves me a bit apprehensive.

A: 

Watching is exciting and makes the neurons jump. Everything is for the moment. Doctors see the pathetic outcomes of many players in subsequent years. Knees, hips, joints in general suffer most. Busted bones, torn muscles, dislocations, arthritis are part of the "after-play". It sure beats the gladiators of old, where usually only one bloke remained at the end.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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