The Health News Australia October 19 2017

  • Health Minister Greg Hunt says he will never lift the ban on e-cigarettes despite an ongoing Senate inquiry into their use. As a consequence, the commercial supply of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes remained prohibited in Australia under state and territory legislation.
  • Authorities have warned that peak hayfever season has ­arrived and the potentially ­serious health risks are not to be sneezed at. SA Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Doctor Nicola Spurrier said high pollen counts in spring led to exacerbated asthma symptoms and subsequent high rates of hospital admissions.
  • People at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer will be offered free genetic testing, with the Medical Services Advisory Committee deciding to list the test on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The public became much more aware of BRCA gene test when US actor Angelina Jolie announced she had the mutation and had a double mastectomy.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th of  October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/health-minister-definitively-rules-out-legalising-e-cigarettes/9055736

Health Minister Greg Hunt says he will never lift the ban on e-cigarettes despite an ongoing Senate inquiry into their use. Minister Hunt said: “It’s not going to be happening on my watch as far as I’m concerned.” E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that heat a container of liquid nicotine into a mist to be vaporised. It is widely agreed they are likely to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes and are often used as an aid to quit smoking. Last year, the Therapeutic Goods Administration or TGA received an application to re-schedule nicotine, so it could be purchased in liquid form legally. After months of consultation, the TGA decided in March against any changes.

As a consequence, the commercial supply of nicotine for use in e-cigarettes remained prohibited in Australia under state and territory legislation. Minister Hunt said he met with the head of the TGA today and accepted the TGA’s point there’s no strong evidence e-cigarettes are a pathway to quitting cigarettes. “There is clear evidence that it’s likely to lead to the uptake of cigarette smoking,” he said. Asked why he had made this decision before the Senate inquiry reported its findings, Minister Hunt said the parliamentary process was a good way of “dealing with and exposing” the health claims associated with e-cigarettes. He added:  “It’s big tobacco which is arguing the case for these e-cigarettes and they’re only doing it because it’s in their interests.”

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/warm-weather-increasing-pollen-count-triggering-hay-fever-and-asthma-attacks/news-story/3f355ff585a806fb6f5bae941fac5f06

Authorities have warned that peak hayfever season has ­arrived and the potentially ­serious health risks are not to be sneezed at. South Australia Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Doctor Nicola Spurrier said high pollen counts in spring led to aggravated asthma symptoms and subsequent high rates of hospital admissions. She said “In South Australia, we have the highest rates of asthma-related hospitalisations and mortality per capita in the nation, and during spring the allergies that cause hay fever can make asthma even more difficult to manage.”
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This year SA Health has partnered with Asthma Australia to warn asthmatics of the dangers of days of increased pollen count. Asthma Australia SA management program co-ordinator Clara Tait said hayfever – or allergic rhinitis – could continue through summer, with many suffering symptoms after Christmas. “Our health line, which helps callers deal with asthma and hay fever, has been very busy,” she said. She added: “It’s also important to treat your hay fever – take your preventer regularly as prescribed and check your device technique to get the most out of your medication, as this can make all the difference. Always carry your blue puffer with you and treat symptoms as they arise.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-12/breast-and-ovarian-cancer-test-free-for-high-risk-patients/9040274

People at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer will be offered free genetic testing, with the Medical Services Advisory Committee deciding to list the test on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women, with one in eight diagnosed before the age of eighty. Melody Caramins from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia said the BRCA one and two  genetic test would be available for free for at-risk patients and their families.
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The public became much more aware of the BRCA gene test when US actor Angelina Jolie announced she had the mutation and had a double mastectomy. The genetic test had cost patients as much as two thousand dollars, but the price had dropped to about six hundred dollars. Pathologists say increased access to the test means more patients with the mutation are likely to be identified.

Doctor Caramins said patients with breast or ovarian cancer would be able to get the test for free, once medical specialists assess their family history and risk. If someone has breast and ovarian cancer and has the mutations, all their relatives will be able to have the test for free.

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She also said: “If they do have it, they can then decide on what action to take such as a double mastectomy.” If people do not qualify for the free test, they can still have it and pay for it themselves.

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