The Health News – 22 March 2016

Overview:
• Baby boomers living in rural and regional areas in Australia are at the greatest risk of developing bowel cancer, One in 12 people are at risk of the disease, the KPMG report said, and people between the ages of 50 and 79 should be tested every two years.

• When Dr Parisa Pour Ali migrated to Australia from Iran she faced employment obstacles so great that she considered changing careers. Now she is a much-needed rural doctor working on the far-south coast of New South Wales.

• The Garvan Institute of Medical Research’s work on antibodies in health and disease has been given a shot in the arm, with the announcement that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has awarded a 5-year Program grant to researchers in its Immunology Division.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd of March 2016. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-21/regional-baby-boomers-are-in-the-crosshairs-of-bowel-cancer/7262616

Baby boomers living in rural and regional areas in Australia are at the greatest risk of developing bowel cancer, new research has revealed.

One in 12 people are at risk of the disease, the KPMG report said, and people between the ages of 50 and 79 should be tested every two years.

About 4,000 people die from bowel cancer every year and there are 15,000 new cases diagnosed annually.

Home test kits are sent in the mail and can also be obtained at pharmacies or from general practitioners.

Demographer Bernard Salt, who prepared the report, said his team examined the incidence of bowel cancer over the past decade.

“We found even though there are more deaths in capital cities like Melbourne, the death rate is higher in rural and regional areas.

The data revealed bowel cancer rates were highest in rural and retirement communities where the 50-79 age group makes up to at least one-third to one-half of the local population.

The largest number of bowel cancer deaths are in the capital cities but the actual rate of deaths is highest in rural and regional centres.

Perth and Hobart had the highest bowel cancer death rates.

In rural and regional centres, where 44 per cent of the population or more is in this age group, bowel cancer is most lethal in areas including Victor Harbor in South Australia, Inglewood in Victoria, Tenterfield and Eurobodalla in New South Wales and Break O’Day in Tasmania.

Participation in the national screening program is low.

Only about 36 per cent of the people who get a test kit in the mail do the test.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-21/migrant-doctor-finds-work-in-the-bush/7259312?section=health

When Dr Parisa Pour Ali migrated to Australia from Iran she faced employment obstacles so great that she considered changing careers. Now she is a much-needed rural doctor working on the far-south coast of New South Wales.

Despite a sustained shortage of doctors in rural Australia, it is extremely difficult for migrant doctors to find work.

Following seven years of medical training in Iran it took a further two years of accreditations before Dr Pour Ali was allowed to practise in Australia.

However she also endured a year of frustrating rejections before she eventually found work in Merimbula, in a region that was part of a program to place migrant doctors.

Peter Cumming, the practice manager of the clinic that employed Dr Pour Ali, said the problem for rural clinics was finding doctors.

He said that younger, Australian-educated, fully qualified general practitioners would not come to the town because they wanted to pursue their careers and further training in the cities.

Dr Pour Ali and Mr Cumming both said the added challenge for migrant doctors was language.

Mr Cumming said Dr Pour Ali had excellent English but the problem for migrant doctors was always colloquialisms and slang.

However, she said she learnt a lot from her patients and from friends.

Mr Cumming said there were a number of valued migrant doctors in the region, filling a great need.

http://www.garvan.org.au/news/news/antibodies-on-the-agenda-major-funding-boost-for-garvan-immunologists

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research’s work on antibodies in health and disease has been given a shot in the arm, with the announcement that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has awarded a 5-year Program grant to researchers in its Immunology Division. Funding for the Program will begin in 2017.

The research teams, led by chief investigators Professor Christopher Goodnow, Professor Stuart Tangye, Professor Robert Brink and Associate Professor Daniel Christ, will work together to improve the diagnosis and treatment of antibody-associated diseases and to transform how antibodies are developed into therapies.

Research covered under the NHMRC Program grant will be a wide-ranging exploration of the role of antibodies in health and disease and their development as therapeutics. The Program’s strategy has three overarching aims:

  1. To understand why immunisation succeeds – and why it sometimes fails;
  2. To develop new approaches to the treatment of autoimmune disease; and
  3. To invent better strategies for producing new antibody-based therapies.