Attentive partners improve health

Having an attentive partner can significantly improve a person’s long-term health and even life expectancy, new research suggests.

Those in a long-term relationship who believed their partner had become less caring – when questioned after 10 years – said they responded less well to everyday stresses.

The team, led by the University of Edinburgh, also found the stresses recorded after a decade were linked to a higher risk of death in the subsequent decade.

Lead researcher Dr Sarah Stanton said: “The results suggest that if people have someone they can turn to – and whom they think supports them – then it can help them deal with the stresses of everyday living.

“This also has downstream associations with later health outcomes.”

Psychologists assessed a group of around 1200 people, aged 25 to 74, who had spouses or live-in partners.

They were assessed over a 20-year period starting between 1995 and 1996 as part of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States.

Those taking part were asked to rate how much their partner understood, cared about and appreciated them, and then responded to the same questions a decade later.

Researchers found people who reported a significant drop in their partner’s responsiveness during the first decade of the study ran a 42 per cent higher risk of mortality in 2015 – 20 years after the first wave of testing.

The team says the link to a risk of earlier death is explained by those people experiencing more negative reactions to daily stresses.

© PAA 2019

Jog Run

WATCH: Locals urged to sign up for Melanoma March

Gold Coast and Tweed locals will have the chance to march for a cure for melanoma as the annual Melanoma March returns to Coolangatta in 2019.

Starting from The Strand at Coolangatta on Sunday 3 March, members of the community can join as individuals, corporate teams, families or friendship groups to walk the 4km round circuit between The Strand and Point Danger to raise funds and awareness for a cure for melanoma.

Donna and Adam Argus from Murwillumbah will be taking part again in this year’s Melanoma March Coolangatta as Adam continues life-saving treatment for melanoma after being diagnosed at just 27 years of age and given 3 to 6 months to live.

Now, at 31, Adam has kicked his initial prognosis and has been able to live as normal a life as possible raising their young family thanks to the immunotherapy drug treatment, Keytruda.

myGC caught up with Donna to find out why she and Adam are encouraging locals to sign up and take part in the Melanoma March.

An initiative of the Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), Melanoma March is their major annual fundraising campaign to support melanoma research for the 14,000 Australian diagnosed with melanoma each year.

The Coolangatta march has been one of the highest regional fundraisers in the country and The Strand Marketing Manager, Sarah Clasen said the centre was proud to host the community event for the fifth consecutive year.

“Melanoma March Coolangatta attracts around 300 participants each year, and over the past four years, our generous community has raised nearly $90,000 for melanoma research – which is helping to improve survival rates as a result of ongoing research projects,” she said.

Melanoma March Coolangatta will commence at The Strand on Marine Parade at 7:00am (QLD time) with registration from 6:30am (QLD time) and take a picturesque 4km loop along the foreshore of Coolangatta Beach, turning at Point Danger with participants encouraged to walk, march, stroll or even run the course. Registrations and donations for Melanoma March Coolangatta can be made online here: strandcoolangatta.com.au/

Child Hospital

New data reveals childhood cancer burden in Australia

While childhood cancer incidence rates are on the rise in Australia, mortality rates have decreased by 38 per cent over the last two decades, new Cancer Council Queensland figures show.

The latest data from the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry, which is independently managed and funded by Cancer Council Queensland, has been released for International Childhood Cancer Day today.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the findings reinforced the need for ongoing research in this area to help reduce the burden of this disease on our youngest generation.

“The incidence rate of childhood cancer rose by 34 per cent in the 33 years between 1983 and 2015,” Ms McMillan said.

“Around 770 children aged 0-14 are now diagnosed with cancer each year in Australia and around 100 children die from the disease.

“Leukaemias are the most common type of cancer diagnosed among Australian children, accounting for around one third of all cases.”

Ms McMillan said while cancer remains the leading causes of disease-related death in children over the age of one year, the data shows survival rates are significantly improving.

“Five-year relative survival for childhood cancer has continued to improve over the last three decades in Australia, with large improvements observed for children with several types of cancer,” Ms McMillan said.

“However, there is still work to be done, with little or no improvement in survival for child with some types of brain cancers or liver cancer.

“Awareness and further funding are sorely needed in order to secure a future in which suffering is significantly reduced for all types of childhood cancer.”

International Childhood Cancer Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and promote a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by children and adolescents with cancer and their families.

Ms McMillan encouraged all Queensland families affected by cancer to reach out for support.

“The impact of childhood cancer goes far beyond the numbers. It’s a tragic moment when a family is given the news their child has cancer, and the burden goes beyond the physical – it can affect finances, emotional stability, mental health and many social aspects of life,” Ms McMillan said.

“Cancer Council Queensland is committed to reducing the effects of a childhood cancer diagnosis on family, friends and the local community. It’s why we independently fund and manage the Australian Childhood Cancer Registry – one of the few national registers of childhood cancer in the world.

“Cancer registries are vital for monitoring the success of cancer treatment, early detection and prevention strategies.

“Our information and support phone line, 13 11 20, is available for family and friends with questions relating to childhood cancer – from treatment and managing emotions, to outlining ways to discuss cancer with children and young people.

“We also have a no cost counselling service for adults who may be caring for a child with cancer, as well as resources relevant to the emotional experience of cancer.

“We welcome all Queenslanders to call us for confidential support, advice or simply a listening ear from our qualified health professionals.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.

Love heart

Valentine’s Day: Be frisky, not risky

QUEENSLAND Health is urging lovers to ‘wrap it up’ with a condom to avoid gifting their partners with a sexually transmissible infection (STI) this Valentine’s Day (Night).

Senior Medical Officer of Communicable Diseases Dr Jonathan Malo said recent Queensland Health market research had found 30 percent of young Queenslanders aged 15 to 29 hardly ever used protection.

More than 23,000 people contracted chlamydia in Queensland last year, while almost 5000 were diagnosed with gonorrhoea.

“Nationally and in Queensland there are high and increasing rates of STIs,” Dr Malo said.

“If you’re aged 15-29 years you are at the highest risk of contracting an STI.

“Condoms used together with water-based lubricant are the best way to protect yourself and your partner from these infections, as well as other STIs, yet our research shows us that not everyone is using them.

“Our data shows us that condom use is mainly motivated by a desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STI prevention is a secondary driver at best, and for only half of all condom users.

“Our research also showed that the majority of young people had never been tested for an STI because they were too embarrassed to talk to a health professional or because they didn’t believe they were at risk.

“If you’re sexually active, it is recommended that you have a sexual health check at least once a year, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

“Quite often people will not realise that they have an STI and could be unknowingly passing it on.

“By educating yourself, wearing protection and having regular sexual health check-ups you can be frisky without the risky.”

Queensland Health recently launched a series of new sexual health animations, including ‘how to put on a condom’, to help educate Queenslanders.

“The animated videos cover specific STIs and how they affect the body, as well as topics including emergency contraception, the reproductive cycle, and what to expect when you have a sexual health check-up,” Dr Malo said.

“Not all young people are the same and the same goes for their sexual and reproductive health needs, which is why we have created some animations specifically showing the impact of STIs on the male anatomy versus the female anatomy.

“These animations are just another way we can communicate with Queenslanders who are looking for information online and encourage them to not only wear condoms, but to book a sexual health check.

“Queenslanders can get tested for STIs through their local general practice, sexual health clinic, or some community health services.”

To watch the animations, click here.

For more information on sexual health checks, click here.

Yoga Burleigh Beach

World Cancer Day brings alarming new statistics

It’s been revealed that over 200,000 Australian cancer cases could be avoided if adults followed dietary and physical activity guidelines.

New research funded by Cancer Council Australia and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has revealed that if Australian adults followed the existing Australian Dietary and National Physical Activity guidelines, as many as 190,500 overweight/obesity-related cancers could be prevented over a 25-year period.

In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, it was also found that almost 20,000 inactivity-related cancers could be avoided if adults committed to just five hours of physical activity a week.

The findings released for World Cancer Day have prompted a call for personal and government action.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan explained that individuals can take steps to reduce their risk of lifestyle-related cancers.

“We already know that one-third of all cancer cases could be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, quitting smoking, being SunSmart and limiting alcohol.

“Every Queenslander has the power to reduce the impact of cancer for themselves and the people they love – whether that’s through making healthy lifestyle choices, taking part in cancer screening programs, or raising funds for the cause,” Ms McMillan said.

Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO Cancer Council Australia, said that while it is important for people to look after themselves, the Federal Government also needs to do more to reduce these alarming statistics.

“In the lead up to the next federal election, both sides of politics need to recognise their responsibility to help protect children from mass marketing of junk food; improve the Health Star Rating food labelling system to provide simpler, more informed choices to consumers; and promote more public education about the benefits of good nutrition and exercise,” Ms Aranda said.