Great Western Branch Health Bulletin #18 October 2020
Great Western Branch Health Bulletin Winter 20208 October 2020
For more information on Prostate cancer visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate
For more information on Gallstones visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Gallstones/Pages/Introduction.aspx
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many years. Symptoms often only become apparent when your prostate is large enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis). When this happens, you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied. These symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, but they do not mean you definitely have prostate cancer.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis found only in men. The main function of the prostate is to help in the production of semen. It produces a thick white fluid that is mixed with the sperm produced by the testicles, to create semen. Tests for prostate cancer There is no single test for prostate cancer. All the tests used to help diagnose the condition have benefits and risks, which your doctor should discuss with you. The most commonly used tests for prostate cancer are blood tests, a physical examination of your prostate (known as a digital rectal examination or DRE) and a biopsy.
How is prostate cancer treated?
For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary. If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of "watchful waiting" or "active surveillance" may be adopted. This involves carefully monitoring your condition. Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages. Treatments include surgically removing the prostate, radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Some cases are only diagnosed at a later stage when the cancer has spread. If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, typically the bones, it cannot be cured and treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.
Living with prostate cancer
As prostate cancer usually progresses very slowly, you can live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment. Nevertheless, it can have an effect on your life. As well as causing physical problems such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence, a diagnosis of prostate cancer can understandably make you feel anxious or depressed. You may find it beneficial to talk about the condition with your family, friends, a family doctor and other men with prostate cancer. Financial support is also available if prostate cancer reduces your ability to work.
For more information visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood Sugar level to become too high.
There are two main types of diabetes:
- type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
- type 2 diabetes – where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2. During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes. Many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.
This is sometimes known as pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased. It's very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.
Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling very tired
- Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- Itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
- Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
- Blurred vision
Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.
Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach). When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy.
However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced doesn't work properly.
Although there are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight.
Further info: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Diabetes/Pages/Diabetes.aspx
Gallstones are solid lumps that develop from chemicals and substances in your bile. They can vary in size and take years to develop. There are two main types of gallstone -
- Cholesterol gallstones form if you have too much cholesterol in your bile. These are the most common type.
- Pigment gallstones form when there is too much bilirubin in your bile. Bilirubin is a waste product that's produced when your body breaks down red blood cells.
Your gallbladder is a small organ that sits just below your liver, which has an important function-it releases bite (produced by the liver) in to the intestines and helps break down fats. Many of us experience problems with their gallbladders which leads to a change of diet or the removal of the organ altogether. In the UK one to two out of every 10 people get gallstones but most people don't have any symptoms from them. Surgery to remove the entire gallbladder with all its stones is usually the best treatment, provided the patient is able to tolerate the procedure, which will be carried out by a physician who specializes in general surgery.
Further information on gallstones can be found at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Gallstones/Pages/Introduction.aspx