Tuesday, 12 January 2016

New cases of cancer now over 14 million

The number of people dying from cancer each year has increased, according to the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The global death toll went up by 8%, increasing from 7.6 million – calculated in a 2008 survey – to the figure of 8.2 million that was estimated for 2012.
In respect of just actual diagnoses of cancer, this has also increased, with over 14 million being diagnosed with cancer in 2012. This marks a significant increase from the 12.7 million cases that were recorded in 2008.
Last year, an estimated 1.7 million women were given new a new diagnosis of breast cancer, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This represents an increase in excess of 20% from 2008, with both incidence and mortality going up.
In fact, the disease is now the most prevalent of all cancers in women across 140 countries around the world.
Dr David Forman, from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, said: “Breast cancer is also a leading cause of cancer death in the less developed countries of the world. This is partly because a shift in lifestyles is causing an increase in incidence, and partly because clinical advances to combat the disease are not reaching women living in these regions.”
IARC’s report, named GLOBOCAN 2012, offers the most recent available statistics for 28 different types of cancer within 184 countries, providing an extensive look into the problem of cancer across the globe.
The report states that the most diagnosed cancers worldwide in both sexes combined are lung, breast and colorectal cancers. The cancers found to commonly result in death are lung, liver and stomach cancers.
Overall, lung cancer – primarily caused as a result of smoking – was found to be the world’s most common cancer. The 1.8 million cases recorded is 13% of the total.
The burgeoning problem of cancer is believed to be linked to a change in lifestyles in the developing nations, shifting more closely towards industrialised countries
However, the report noted “huge inequalities” between rich and poor countries. For instance, new cases of cancer being higher in developed countries, it is the less developed countries that have much higher death rates. Reasons for this are thought to be due to lack of screening and access to treatment, meaning cancerous tumours often not being found at an early enough stage.
Christopher Wild, IARC’s director, commented: “An urgent need in cancer control today is to develop effective and affordable approaches to the early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer among women living in less developed countries.”

Lazy Brits are not exercising enough, study finds

lifestyle changesNew research has painted a damning picture of Britain’s adults…Almost half of us are simply never doing any exercise.
The British Heart Foundation carried out a study and made the alarming discovery that a shocking 44% of adults do not engage in any form of moderate-intensity exercise, meaning British activity levels are shamefully amongst the worst across Europe.
An estimated five million adults are sat down for over a third of the day (8 hours), whilst around one in ten Brits say they are never walking anywhere for more than ten minutes at a time.
Britain is three times less active than our Dutch counterparts over in the Netherlands and overall ranks at a dismal 16th place in a table of 28 European countries for fitness levels. This means we are on an equal inactive level with Slovakia, Romania and Ireland.
According to the NHS physical activity guidelines, adults aged 19-64 should be aiming for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per day to stay healthy, which includes cycling or fast walking every week and muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days each week that are making all the main muscle groups work. However, less than a third of women and less than half of men are actually reaching 150 minutes of the moderate-intensity exercise.
The study has resulted in further warnings about an increasing problem of obesity, which needs to be properly tackled sooner than later.
Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support at the BHF, commented: “The figures are a worrying indication of the overall picture of our nation’s heart health.
“Alongside funding research into improving outcomes for heart patients, we need to create environments that make it easier for people to better understand and cut their risk of heart disease.
“Research has shown that even making small, more active changes to your daily routine can improve your heart health.
“With the warmer nights and lighter evenings, the summer is the perfect opportunity for people to start making these changes.”
The new worrying statistics were amassed by researchers at Oxford University, who analysed previously conducted national surveys covering exercise levels and sedentary behaviour.
The surveys show that a mere 10% of UK adults are involved in a sport or physical activity on a regular basis or physical activity. This is in comparison to a slightly better rate of 15% in Sweden, Spain and Slovenia. In addition, 9% admitted to never walking for over ten minutes at a time.
In 2014, NHS officials warned that an insufficient amount of exercise could be attributed to around one in six deaths – i.e. fatalities from conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease, this is comparable to the death rates from smoking. They stressed that inactive lifestyles are not only to blame for obesity, but for problems such as muscle and joint complaints, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

‘Tidal wave’ of cancer cases to hit by 2035

A ‘tidal wave’ of cancer cases is expected in the next two decades unless restrictions are implemented, in particularly on alcohol and sugar.
This is the claim from World Health Organization (WHO) scientists, who estimate that the worldwide number of new cancer cases in a single year will skyrocket by 70%; from 14.1 million in 2012 to 19 million by 2025, 22 million by 2030, and then further rise to around 24 million by 2035.
The warnings were laid bare in the latest World Cancer Report released by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who stress the “real need” to boost cancer prevention methods by tackling three lifestyle choices that often cause cancer – smoking, obesity and drinking.
Chris Wild, the director of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, told the BBC: “The global cancer burden is increasing and quite markedly, due predominately to the ageing of the populations and population growth. If we look at the cost of treatment of cancers, it is spiralling out of control, even for the high-income countries. Prevention is absolutely critical and it’s been somewhat neglected.”
Less developed countries will bear the brunt of the cancer cases, with incidence rates expected to go up by 44% in the next decade, whereas more developed countries are likely to see a rise of only 20%.
Differences in rates are primarily because of the variance in quality of healthcare and preventative measures, i.e. screening programmes and vaccines for cancers developed from infections such as the human papilloma virus (HPV). The gap is expected to grow however as those in less developed countries adhere to more ‘industrialised lifestyles’; eating more processed food, drinking more alcohol and smoking more.
According to the 2014 WHO World Cancer Report, the main factors involved with preventable cancers include:
. Air pollution and other environmental factors.
. Alcohol.
. Delayed parenthood, having fewer children and not breastfeeding.
. Infections.
. Obesity and inactivity.
. Radiation, both from the sun and medical scans.
. Smoking.
Dr Bernard Stewart from the University of New South Wales in Australia, was one of the editors in the report and he says prevention has a “crucial role in combating the tidal wave of cancer which we see coming across the world”.
Dr Stewart argues it is our human behaviour which is causing a lot of cancer cases such as the sunbathe “until you’re cooked evenly on both side” attitude in his homeland.
He added it was not the IARC’s job to govern what is to be done, but he commented: “In relation to alcohol, for example, we’re all aware of the acute effects, whether its car accidents or assaults, but there’s a burden of disease that’s not talked about because it’s simply not recognised, specifically involving cancer. The extent to which we modify the availability of alcohol, the labelling of alcohol, the promotion of alcohol and the price of alcohol – those things should be on the agenda.”
Dr Stewart also says sugar is one issue that also needs tackling as high sugar intake is merely adding to the obesity crisis, which is then increasing a person’s risk of cancer once obese.

Could Erectile Dysfunction treatment Viagra also help for slimming?

scalesAt Medical Specialists® Pharmacy we know that losing weight can sometimes be a hard task. We know this due to the thousands of patients that come to us for weight loss treatments such as Xenical or Alli, after previously struggling to shed the pounds.
However, according to researchers in China, erectile dysfunction drug Viagra may actually be a radical method of losing weight.
Laboratory and animal studies have discovered that ‘the little blue pill’ – as Viagra is often labelled – produces alterations in body fat, causing calories to be burned for energy as opposed to being stored.
As animals have only been assessed, a trial has now begun to see if the same premise holds true for humans. A group of men will be administered either a Viagra tablet or an ineffective placebo, to be taken three times daily for a duration of seven days, with any possible fluctuations in body-fat analysed.
Public Health England say that two-thirds of British adults and a quarter of children between the ages of two and ten can be classified as overweight or obese. The risks from being obese are well-known and include serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and pressure placed onto the joints, leading to osteoarthritis.
Fat accumulates within the body when we consume more calories than we burn, however not all fats are generated in the same way. Most of the typical adult’s bodily fatty tissue is white fat, linked to the storage of excess calories. The body also has a smaller amount of brown fat, which actually work to burn calories to generate heat, so the body is kept warm.
Brown fat is most prominent in new-borns, as they need to be kept warm but are less capable of regulating body temperature. Unfortunately, we lose most of this brown fat as we get older, except for small amounts (particularly around the neck and shoulders) which are used to keep a constant core body temperature.
As we grow into adults, we lose most of our brown fat. But small amounts – teaspoonfuls – remain, particularly around the neck and shoulders, where it is needed to help maintain a constant core body temperature.
Whilst white fat can comprise of around 20 to 25% of a person’s bodyweight, brown fat only takes up between 3 and 7.5% of bodyweight, however, some scientists are looking at methods of boosting the prowess of brown fat – or even ways of producing more of it.
They discovered that exposure to cold temperatures can help to induce a process called ‘browning’ – the conversion of the unhealthy white fat into energy-burning, heat-generating brown fat, and research would suggest erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra can actually kick-start browning.
Viagra (generic name sildenafil) works in erectile dysfunction patients by helping to relax the smooth muscles of the penis and boosting blood flow. However, trials have shown that mice administered the drug over lengthy periods of time were less prone to obesity, despite having a high-fat diet.
With that in mind, researchers based at the University of Bonn in Germany decided to give mice Viagra for a week to see any potential effects on their fat cells.
Remarkably, the researchers discovered that Viagra manage to change white fat cells into ‘beige’ fat – which, similar to brown fat, burns the energy from food and converts it to heat. Writing in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the researchers say that Viagra basically is able to ‘melt’ away the unhealthy fat, but precisely how it does that is unclear at this moment in time, but it is generally thought that sildenafil increases levels of compound cGMP.  This compound passes signals between cells and is thought to be linked to fat browning and speeding up metabolism.

Health watchdog warn doctors not to blame obese patients for being fat

obeseDoctors have been warned to refrain from blaming and pointing the finger at patients for being overweight or obese.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have created new draft guidance for tackling obesity, and in particularly the correct manner in dealing with obese patients. In the past NICE have asked doctors to actually stop saying the word “obese” as it may be deemed “derogatory”.
All doctors, GPs and other health professionals should now strive for a more sensitive tone which is “respectful” and “non-blaming” as this will “minimise harm”, according to the health watchdog.
Rather than looking at short-term and temporary weight loss, the guidance on lifestyle weight management programmes will aim to help overweight and obese people to both lose weight and then maintain the healthier weight, focusing on achievable goals, with positive long-term lifestyle changes.
NICE advise that more patients should be referred “lifestyle weight management” programmes such as Weight Watchers as programmes which thoroughly assess their diet, levels of activity and behaviour may save money in the long-term. Specifically, adults with a BMI in excess of 30 kg/m² and those identified as overweight or obese through the NHS Health Check or other services should be referred to these programmes.
Obesity is linked to a huge range of serious health problems such as type-2 diabetes, certain cancers (e.g. breast and prostate cancer), arthritis, heart disease (from smoking and high cholesterol), infertility, asthma, back pain, depression and kidney disease.
NICE say that such conditions, and the many more that have been linked to obesity, place a massive strain on the already stretched NHS, costing an estimated £5.1 billion each and every year and “placing a huge strain on the health service”.
Professor Mike Kelly, director of the centre for public health at Nice, said: “Being overweight or obese can have serious consequences for an individual’s health, not only physically with increased risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, but it can also affect their mental health as a result of stigma and bullying or discrimination. Levels of obesity in England are rising, with a little over a quarter of adults classified as obese and a further 41% of men and 33% of women overweight.
Professor Kelly continued: “This is a huge proportion of our population. This new draft guidance focuses on the provision of effective lifestyle weight management services and makes a number of recommendations to ensure that the providers of programmes whether from the private, public, or voluntary sector follow good, evidence-based practice.This draft guidance isn’t about quick fixes, it is about ensuring lifestyle weight management services support people in the long-term. Programmes that address diet, activity and behaviour change can help people who are obese lose weight but they are only cost-effective if the weight is kept off.”

National Obesity Awareness Week 2015 encourages small changes now for long-term gains

National Obesity Awareness WeekMonday saw the beginning of National Obesity Awareness Week 2015, a campaign that aims to take back control of the nation’s spiralling obesity crisis, and, as many of us will have ‘weight loss’ as one of our New Year’s resolutions, there is no better time to act than now.
Alarmingly, around 25% of adults are deemed to be obese. According to NHS Choices, a BMI of 30 to 39.9 means you are considered obese, and the government claims that unless the problem is tackled, 60% of men, 50% of women and 24% of children will be obese by the year 2050.
Clearly, obesity is an incredibly serious problem that needs fighting. It effects not only our personal health – increasing the risk of problems including heart attacks, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes and arthritis – but can have a detrimental impact to society.
McKinsey and Company produced a report last year documenting the country’s various yearly outgoings, with their economic analysis estimating that the fight against obesity is costing the UK even more than tackling armed violence, war and terrorism. According to their calculations, the problem of obesity costs the UK in excess of £46.5bn ($73bn) a year, in comparison to the £43bn ($67bn) it costs the country due to armed violence, war and terrorism. The biggest social cost to the country though – and by some distance – remains smoking, with the impact from smoking costing a staggering £57bn ($86bn) in 2012.
On a global scale, armed violence, war and terrorism is costing the economy $2.1 trillion a year, and obesity isn’t too far behind, at $2 trillion, with the following social burden being alcoholism, costing $1.4 trillion.
Unfortunately, obesity appears to be a growing problem. Almost a quarter of children are considered to be obese upon leaving primary school, in addition to the one in four adults also obese. Over 12,000 hospital appointments are made each year because of health issues associated with obesity, placing further pressure on an already stretched NHS budget.
However, this is where National Obesity Awareness Week comes into play, aiming to promote the various methods how the government, businesses and us as individuals can implement positive steps to boost our health, with the information and resources from the campaign enabling a long-term positive change. This doesn’t mean people have to make astronomical alterations, but smaller, manageable and sustainable changes that can be kept up beyond National Obesity Awareness Week – this might be cutting down on sugar in your diet, reducing alcohol intake, or increasing the amount of exercise you do.
The campaign encourages everyone to get involved, whether it is events, activities and promotions taking place around the country, or people can even organise their own event with the online supporters’ pack.
The National Obesity Awareness Week website is also full of fantastic, useful information, such as exercise tips to help successful weight loss, an explanation of calories and the number of calories expended in an hour of doing various exercise such as running or swimming, why low-fat diets don’t always work for those trying to lose weight, healthier cooking recipes, a breakdown of the vitamins and minerals we need in our diets and their purposes, how to stay active during pregnancy and much more.
So, whatever it is you decide to do to take part, why don’t we all commit to making 2015 the year we take action with manageable and sustainable changes to turn the obesity crisis around before it is too late.
Medical Specialists® Pharmacy can also help those trying to lose weight, with our fantastic range of obesity treatments such as Xenical and Orlistat. Used in conjunction with a balanced diet and exercise, these treatments are very effective and can help people regain their confidence to enjoy a happier and healthier 2015!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Medical Specialists® Pharmacy inundated for Selincro requests for Dry January

selincroNow that the festive work office party, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are firmly out of the way, many will now be taking stock of exactly how much alcohol they have drank during the last few weeks, with some people undoubtedly thinking about cutting down on drinking.
With the beginning of a New Year, there is never a better time than now to put into action the process of reducing alcohol intake, or even stopping drinking for good, and much of the country will no doubt have ‘cut down on boozing’ near the top of their list of resolutions. Another popular choice of resolution is ‘lose weight’ and reducing alcohol intake can actually help to reach this goal due to the high amount of calories in alcohol.
In addition to January being the month when the nation usually kick-starts their resolutions, the first month of the year is also known as ‘Dry January’ due to the annual campaign of the same name, pioneered by the small national charity Alcohol Concern, who challenge all drinkers to abstain from booze for the entire 31 days of January.
Yes, that means no quick cheeky pint after work with colleagues, or an ‘unwinding’ glass of wine with an evening meal, or a heavy session out on the town with mates. It should be remembered though that this is an awareness raising campaign and a fundraiser for Alcohol Concern. It is not a medical detox programme and those with severe drinking problems may need to go to a hospital or clinic to detox as the withdrawal symptoms will be severe and probably require specialist treatment.
For those that do undertake the Dry January challenge, there will be plenty of benefits to be felt in the short-term. Abstainers could look forward to better sleep, weight loss, a boost in skin and hair quality, and let’s not forget all the money saved from not spending it on alcohol – just think of all the other things that can be bought with the extra pennies! As it is only a month off the booze, it is unlikely that any major change in liver function will occur in the 31 days though.
However, everybody needs a break at times, and the human body is no different. Therefore, Medical Specialists® Pharmacy encourage the nation to get on board with Dry January and it may even have a positive effect to future drinking habits. Research has shown that those who successfully complete the challenge actually manage to cut down on their drinking in the future, drinking less alcohol each day, getting into a drunken state less frequently and having more willpower to be able to say “no” to having an alcoholic drink.
It is not just members of the general public though that are seemingly embracing Dry January. One famous face has surprisingly decided to test himself and see if he go 31 days without any alcohol. UKip leader Nigel Farage is the famous face in question, deciding to go teetotal for the first month of the year.
Farage is possibly the most surprising celebrity banishing the booze for a month considering the controversial politician – even during campaigning – is often snapped joyously at the pub with a glass of ale in his hand, perhaps helping his image as a more approachable and jolly party leader. However, like many of us, Farage has admitted to a season of overindulgence and has now temporarily given up drink. Speaking to Sky News, he said: “I started before the New Year. I’m not being particularly virtuous, it’s just I need a break. It does us all good to have a break now and then.”
Medical Specialists® Pharmacy are fully behind the Dry January campaign, and have already witnessed a huge surge in the requests for alcohol dependency treatment Selincro during the last few weeks especially, as thousands around the country prepare for a dry month. However, we understand that this can be difficult for some to achieve without some motivation, which is why Alcohol Concern have provided a unit calculator on their website. All people need to do is tally up the number of drinks they have consumed, say on a typical Friday or Saturday night out, and see the probable alarming number of units and calories this equates to. As many look to lose weight in the New Year following the Christmas excesses, seeing the shocking total calories that drinking adds will no doubt provide the final motivation to truly achieve a completely dry January!