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New PHA cancer awareness campaign

The PHA has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of cancer signs and symptoms, and to encourage anyone who experiences any of these to contact their GP.

At least one in three of us will get cancer, and with an increasing number of cases each year in Northern Ireland, the campaign is very timely. The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the easier it can be to treat, so the ‘Be Cancer Aware’ campaign highlights how important it is to know what to look out for and to get yourself checked if you notice anything which could point towards cancer.

Health Minister Jim Wells joined  PHA at the launch event at the Grove Health and Wellbeing Centre, which was attended by a broad range of representatives from cancer charities, as well as cancer survivors.

Scientists have proposed a new idea for detecting brain conditions including Alzheimer's - a skin test.

Their work, which is at an early stage, found the same abnormal proteins that accumulate in the brain in such disorders can also be found in skin.

Early diagnosis is key to preventing the loss of brain tissue in dementia, which can go undetected for years.

But experts said even more advanced tests, including ones of spinal fluid, were still not ready for clinic.

If they were, then doctors could treatment at the earliest stages, before irreversible brain damage or mental decline has taken place.

Read more..

Courtesy of BBC News

This week we heard about a consultation which includes the idea of re-introducing prescription charges.

You might remember a few years back, in 2010 the Health Minister at the time, Michael McGimpsey, MLA abolished charging for prescription. Now, the Minister for Health, Jim Wells, is asking people about paying for prescriptions. The Minister told the Assembly, that charges would help finance a Specialist Medicines Fund, which patients could apply for specific drugs.

A few years ago, people told us that while they didn’t mind paying a small charge, they wanted vulnerable people to be protected.   People felt the economic and social situation of patients and clients in Northern Ireland need to be taken into account; for example medication for pensioners, children and people on low incomes should remain free.

Do you think we should be charged for prescriptions? Would you pay?

To view or add your comments, click here

Information courtesy of Patient and Client Council

Current discussions about health and social care have been asking if patients expectations are too high.  

People tell us that they expect to receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place. People expect that their services will be as safe as possible and there will be honest dialogue with them when things go wrong.

People also expect that they will be involved in discussions around the services that they are receiving particularly where changes are planned to these services.  

Better communication with patients and the public would help to ensure that service providers understand better what the expectations of people are which would lead to a more responsive health and social care service.

To read or add your comments, click here

Avoiding tobacco, alcohol and excessive sun exposure; maintaining a healthy body weight; and being physically active are among 12 ways to prevent cancer prescribed by the new European Code Against Cancer. The Code also recommends participation in organized screening programmes for bowel, breast and cervical cancer.

WHO’s specialized cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), developed the Code to improve cancer control. Revised with the best available scientific evidence, the 4th edition of the Code lists 12 ways to adopt healthier lifestyles and boost cancer prevention across Europe. It is the outcome of a two-year collaboration between cancer specialists, scientists and other experts.

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) is the term used to describe a condition in which there is a reduced level of thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in the body. This can cause various symptoms, the most common being: tiredness, weight gain, constipation, aches, dry skin, lifeless hair and feeling cold. Treatment is usually easy by taking a tablet each day to replace the missing thyroxine. Treatment usually works well and symptoms usually go.

Cross-section diagram of the neck showing the thyroid gland

Endometriosis can cause painful periods, persistent pain in the pelvic area, infertility, and other symptoms. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. Treatment options include painkillers, hormone treatments, and surgery.

What is endometriosis?

The endometrium is the tissue that lines the inside of the womb (uterus).

Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus. It is 'trapped' in the pelvic area and lower tummy (abdomen) and, rarely, in other areas in the body.

The topic of organ donation is frequently discussed and debated.  Organ donation traditionally refers to the removal of organs after death to be given to someone who is ill and awaiting a transplant. Increasingly there is a move to organ donation where people donate organs while still alive. This usually but not exclusively happens within a family circle. This is referred to as Live Organ Donation.

The current system for organ donation in Northern Ireland is an opt- in system which means that people who chose to donate their organs have to sign the organ donation register. The percentage of the population in Northern Ireland who have signed up to the organ donation register is lower than in other parts of the United Kingdom, currently standing at around 30%.  In UK surveys about 90% of people when asked would be willing to donate their organs after their death.

Every medical soap opera seems to include at least one blood pressure check. But what exactly is blood pressure, and why do we worry so much about it?  

Blood pressure – what is it?  
When you have your blood pressure checked, you will be given two figures, the higher ‘over’ the lower (140 over 80, for instance). Your heart pumps blood around your body day and night, supplying it with the oxygen it needs to work. Your arteries carry blood away from the heart and your veins carry it back. The higher figure is the pressure inside your arteries - measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) - while your heart is pumping, and the lower figure is the pressure when your heart is resting between beats.

We would like to share the new MindMateNI App – a very useful resource to have. 

Mind Mate App

It offers location based information and contact to mental health resources and organisations in a very straight forward and fast way.

This free mental health app is NOW AVAILABLE to download in the following stores:  




BLACKBERRY:  “MindMateNI”<> was developed by Youth Workers and local software company TotalMobile Ltd. The location-based app shows users where mental health services can be accessed in the surrounding area.

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