Women it’s time to make a move, says Cancer Council

This International Women’s Day (March 8), Cancer Council Queensland is calling on women to get active – for the sake of their health.

Research shows a staggering 59 per cent of Australian adult women don’t exercise enough, resulting in the risk of a range of chronic diseases. By the age of 25, 62.5 per cent of Australian women are overweight and by the age of 45, 80 per cent are overweight.

The figures have prompted the Australian Government to launch a new awareness campaign, Girls Make Your Move, in an effort to encourage young women to put their health first.

Cancer Council is hoping that women of all ages will benefit from the groundbreaking new campaign, and have prepared five tips to help get you on the move:

1. Start slow and steady:
If exercising has been nothing more than a distant thought until now, ease your way into a new routine to avoid excessive strain on your body. Over a number of weeks, slowly introduce new forms of exercise as you build up your fitness. Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day can significantly improve your everyday health and wellbeing.
2. Make the right choice:
Exercising doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or running a half marathon. Pick an activity that is right for your body and that you enjoy. Whether you choose pilates, yoga, volleyball or even kickboxing – signing up for an activity you are interested in will keep you going back for more.
3. Exercise incidentally:
Collecting the mail? Do a few squats at the mail box. Watching your favourite television show? Do lunges or stretches instead of sitting on the couch. Integrating small forms of exercise into your daily routine is easy to do and will help you feel fitter, stronger and healthier.
4. Get support:
Exercising with friends, family members or a partner can significantly increase your motivation. Find someone you can trust to help achieve your goals and keep you accountable. Peer support has been proven to improve an individual’s health and wellbeing – and can even increase life expectancy.
5. Fuel your body:
Increased physical activity levels may leave you extra peckish. Opt for nutritious snacks that will nourish your mind and body in the right way. Aim for at least two pieces of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day, plenty of fibre, lean meats, low fat dairy products, and stay hydrated. Complementing exercise with a nutritious diet will leave you more energised than ever before.

Although the thought of getting active may seem overwhelming at first, follow these five easy tips to stay healthier and happier, and help reduce your risk of chronic disease later in life.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20

VIDEO: Learn where to spray to keep mozzies at bay

Queensland Health has developed a video to show residents how to spray in and around their home to kill mosquitos that spread Zika and dengue fever.

Zika virus and dengue fever are spread when a person is bitten by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it was important to be vigilant about mosquitoes and everyone could play a role. “We know the Aedes aegypti mosquito is active during the day, but they often go unnoticed as they are silent and found in dark areas,” Dr Young said. “Simple, preventive action can be taken in and around the home using a household residual surface spray.”

These dark areas include underneath and behind living room furniture including sofas, tables, chairs and sideboards. In the bedroom, places such as behind and under the bed and inside the wardrobe should be sprayed—on top, underneath, behind and inside. For wet areas such as the toilet and laundry it’s important to spray any low-lying storage areas.

Dr Young also emphasised the importance of spraying outside the home to remove any possible breeding sites for mosquitoes. “Outside the home, it’s vital to spray around the porch and patio areas and this includes under outdoor furniture, BBQs and any garden shed or workshop areas. The Aedes aegypti mosquito breeds in shallow, pooled water that can accumulate in containers around your home. If you find a container or object that can pool water around the house, either tip it, store it or throw it out,” Dr Young said.

The DIY home spraying video can be viewed below:

For more helpful information, visit: www.health.qld.gov.au

Cancer patients without partners have greater risk of death

New research has found male and female cancer patients without a partner at diagnosis are more likely to die within 10 years than those with a partner, regardless of their cancer type.

The Cancer Council Queensland and QUT study examined 176,050 cases of the ten leading cancers in Queensland, diagnosed from 1996 to 2012. The study found the chance of death was 26 per cent higher for unpartnered men and 20 per cent higher for unpartnered women than their partnered counterparts, across all cancers.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO said the research showed the beneficial effects of having a partner at diagnosis on cancer survival for cancer patients. “The study showed cancer patients without a partner were not only at increased risk of death from their diagnosed cancer, but also from other causes of death,” Prof Dunn said.

“This pattern was consistent across the 10 leading cancers examined in Queensland, and independent of cancer stage. The reasons for higher survival in partnered patients still remains unclear, but are likely to include economic, psychosocial, environmental, and structural factors.

“Having a partner has been linked to a healthier lifestyle, greater financial resources and increased practical or social support while undergoing treatment. Support from a partner can also influence treatment choices and increase social support to help manage the psychosocial effects of cancer.

“Health professionals managing cancer patients should be aware of the increased mortality risk among unpartnered patients, and tailor follow-up treatment accordingly.”

Out of the 176,050 patients analysed for the study, 68 per cent had a partner, which included those who were married or in a de facto relationship. The study did not consider changes in partner status since diagnosis.

The survival advantage of having a partner at diagnosis was evident across all cancers, but the magnitude of the effect varied by combination of site and sex. The survival advantage for partnered versus unpartnered men ranged from two per cent (lung cancer) to 30 per cent (head and neck cancers). The survival advantage for partnered versus unpartnered women ranged from two per cent (kidney and lung cancer) to 41 per cent (uterine cancer).

“The results of this study are a reminder for all Queenslanders to seek support for their cancer diagnosis – regardless of whether they are partnered or unpartnered,” Prof Dunn said. “Free resources, advice, referrals to our Cancer Counselling Service offered at no out-of-pocket cost and a listening ear are available from qualified health professionals on 13 11 20. We urge all Queenslanders affected by all cancers to reach out for financial, emotional, and practical assistance.”

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

Private health insurance hikes hit four-year low

Private health insurance premiums are set to increase from April, but we are being told the costs to patients could have been much higher.

Premiums will rise an average of 5.59 per cent, down from almost 6.2 per cent last year.

It is the lowest rise Australians have seen in four-years.

It comes after Health Minister Sussan Ley stepped in, demanding health insurers either lower their premium increases or justify the hikes.

Ms Ley said 20 health funds had resubmitted a lower increase, with some cutting back as much as 1.5 per cent, easing costs for more than 93 per cent of Australians with private health cover.

Families and couples with a combined hospital and general treatment policy will on average save up to $166 while singles will save up to $83 when compared with the original premium requests by insurers for 2016.

“Consumers will be $125 million better off as a direct result of our request for insurers to resubmit lower premiums,” Ms Ley said.

She said Wednesday’s announcement was the first step in a broader overhaul of private health insurance, in a bid to deliver lasting savings for consumers.

Ms Ley said the government was looking at greater transparency around health policies, targeting so-called “junk” policies, confusing terminology and hidden payments.

It’s also working to change the way private health insurers are required to pay for medical devices like pacemakers, with savings expected to begin flowing to consumers from next year.

Under existing rules, a pacemaker for a private patient can cost the insurer $43,000 compared with $17,000 if they were treated as a public patient, which drives premiums higher.

PREMIUM INCREASES BY THE BIGGEST FUNDS IN 2016

Medibank – 5.64pct (compared with 6.59pct in 2015)

Bupa – 5.69pct (6.50pct)

HCF – 5.42pct (6.50pct)

NIB – 5.55pct (6.55pct)

HBF – 4.94pct (5.96pct)

Industry average – 5.59pct (6.18pct)

Gold Coast locals need to make cancer screening a priority, Cancer Council warns

New statistics have revealed only 35 per cent of eligible Gold Coast residents are participating in bowel cancer screening, and fewer than 60 per cent are taking part in breast and cervical cancer screening.

Cancer screening in Australia by Primary Health Network*, released by the AIHW, provides a report card for each Primary Health Network on the three free national cancer screening programs currently available.

The data shows around 56 per cent of eligible Gold Coast women participate in breast screening, and more than 57 per cent get a pap smear every two years. This compares to a national average of 54 per cent across all age groups for breast screening, and over 57 per cent for cervical screening, with bowel screening lagging behind at just 37 per cent.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift called on Gold Coast locals to make cancer screening a priority. “It’s crucial that all Gold Coast locals participate in recommended cancer screening – the earlier we detect cancer, the better the prognosis,” Ms Clift said. “We need more eligible Queenslanders to make the effort to participate in recommended screening – it could save your life.”

“We know that regular pap smears are the best way to detect cervical cancer early. It’s crucial that all eligible Queensland women prioritise regular pap smears and get screened every two years.

“When it comes to breast cancer screening, women aged 50-74 should have a mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Queensland. Women at a high risk or with a family history should discuss their screening options with a GP.

“The National Bowel Cancer Screening program currently invites men and women turning 50, 55, 60, 64, 65, 70, 72 and 74 to screen. Participants are sent a free, easy to use screening kit that can be completed at home. It’s important that if you receive a kit, you use it.”

Up to one third of all cancers can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes including participating in recommended cancer screening. Around 3400 Gold Coast locals are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about 1000 die from the disease, the latest Cancer Council data shows.

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