- A new, more accurate screening test for bowel cancer called FIT (Faecal Immunochemical Test) is on hold in Northern Ireland because there is no Stormont health minister. Bowel cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of death from the disease in both the UK and in Europe.
- New data shows that women especially in the US are twice as twice as likely to use antidepressants as men. Experts say that while depression rates may have risen, the data also suggest doctors have likely become better at recognizing and treating depression and anxiety disorders with medicine.
- Nurses are warning that school-leavers are putting themselves at risk of deadly meningitis if they do not take up the offer to be vaccinated against the disease. The MenACWY jab protects against four strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis and septicaemia – strains A, C, W and Y.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 18th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
A new, more accurate screening test for bowel cancer is on hold in Northern Ireland because there is no Stormont health minister. Bowel cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of death from the disease in both the UK and in Europe. Up to sixteen thousand people in the UK die from the disease every year. The new test is being rolled out in England, Scotland and Wales, but Northern Ireland is lagging behind.The Department of Health said the UK recommendation for the new test was endorsed by the Northern Ireland Screening Committee in July. Now it is up to a Northern Ireland health minister to consider it – when that minister is appointed. Asha Kaur, policy and campaigns manager, Bowel Cancer UK, said the new test was much more accurate and also easier to complete than the current screening test.
“This means we could potentially save more lives from bowel cancer,” she said.
The Faecal Immunochemical Test or FIT detects tiny amounts of blood in the stool just like the current screening test. Miss Kaur said England, Scotland and Wales have committed to replace the screening test with FIT. Scotland will introduce it first in November two thousand seventeen, followed by England in two thousand eighteen and then Wales. But Northern Ireland is waiting for a new health minister to approve it. On average fifty nine percent of people living in Northern Ireland who are sent the bowel cancer screening test for free in the post actually complete it, but this drops to fifty seven percent in Scotland, fifty six percent in England and fifty four percent in Wales. Bowel Cancer UK believes this should be increased with the new easier FIT test.
Women in the United States are twice as likely to use antidepressants as men, new data show.
The data, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show a significant increase in both genders taking the drugs over a fifteen-year span. But while the percentage increase over time was similar among men and women, double the rate of females reported taking the medication at any time. Antidepressants are one of the three most commonly used therapeutic drugs in the US, and while most are taken to treat depression it can also treat other conditions, such as anxiety.
Experts say that while depression rates may have risen, the data also suggest doctors have likely become better at recognizing and treating depression and anxiety disorders with medicine. As for the gender gap, there is no clear reason that explains it, but many medical professionals warn there appears to be more of a stigma attached to men seeking mental health treatment than women.
Using the most recently available data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers estimated recent US trends in the presence of antidepressants overall. They also looked at these trends in relation to demographic characteristics such as age, race and gender. Analysis was based on data for four three-year survey cycles beginning in nineteen ninety nine and ending in two thousand fourteen. In total thirteen thousand nine hundred fifty one people answered survey questions about their medication use. During the two thousand eleven to two thousand fourteen cycle, twelve point seven percent of people reported that they had taken antidepressant medication in the last month. By comparison, seven point seven percent took it in the cycle lasting from nineteen ninety nine to two thousand two. Overall antidepressant use increased with age, and it occurred in both sexes and in all races.
School-leavers are putting themselves at risk of deadly meningitis if they do not take up the offer to be vaccinated against the disease, nurses are warning. People living in England who are aged seventeen and eighteen are eligible for the free jab. The Royal College of Nursing says only a third took up the offer last year.
The MenACWY jab protects against four strains of meningococcal disease which cause meningitis- strains A, C, W and Y. MenW is one of the most aggressive and life-threatening forms and can be fatal. As well as affecting the brain, the infection can cause life-threatening blood poisoning. Officials say there has been a rapid increase in MenW cases across England, from twenty two cases in two thousand nine and two thousand ten to two hundred ten in two thousand fifteen and two thousand sixteen. Young people who have not yet had the MenACWY vaccine remain eligible up to their twenty fifth birthday and should contact their GP surgery to get immunised. Year nine pupils (aged thirteen to fourteen) are also routinely offered the jab in school.
Doctor Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England said: “Remain vigilant and seek urgent medical help if you think someone may be showing signs of infection.”