The Health News – 29 May 2015

Overview:

• Queensland’s first children’s hospice catering to terminally ill children and their families will offer a range of services, including a dedicated suite for end-of-life care, fee free.

• Young people and their GPs are too often ignoring the signs of bowel cancer because it is seen as an illness only older people get, experts have warned.

• PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a blue pill containing the same combination of medicines used by people already living with HIV.

Health news on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29TH May 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-28/brisbanes-hummingbird-house-set-to-provide-suite-for-end-of-life/6503442

Queensland’s first children’s hospice catering to terminally ill children and their families will offer a range of services, including a dedicated suite for end-of-life care, fee free.

Hummingbird House will be one of only three in Australia, joining the Bear Cottage in Sydney and a facility in Melbourne.
The facility is being built on the campus of Wesley Mission Brisbane’s Wheller Gardens site on Brisbane’s northside and will aim to provide world-class respite and end of life care for terminally [ill] children.
Building began on the $6 million project in February.

Founder of Hummingbird House Gabrielle Quilliam said the facility had been five years in the making.
“There are over 3,700 children who need a space like this in Queensland,” she said.
“Currently families receive support from the Lady Cilento Hospital palliative care service but for out-of-home respite and end-of-life care the only options for hospice care were in other states.
“There are support services in the community but this specialised paediatric palliative care is really a gap in services for respite.”
The house will be a fee-free service for families with the group relying on fundraising and government funding.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-28/bowel-cancer-being-missed-in-young-people2c-new-study-says/6503430

Young people and their GPs are too often ignoring the signs of bowel cancer because it is seen as an illness only older people get, experts have warned.

Bowel Cancer Australia released the results of a survey of people under age 50 who were diagnosed with the disease, which found four out of five people who developed the illness before age 50 no had idea they could be at risk.
This was considered important as many early onset cases were not picked up until they were far advanced, leaving patients with fewer treatment options.
Gastroenterologist Cameron Bell said specialists were concerned young people and GPs were ignoring important symptoms because bowel cancer was seen as something only people aged over 50 get.
“Young people have to realise that symptoms like bleeding, abdominal pain and change in their bowel habits could be something sinister and shouldn’t be ignored,” Dr Bell said.
“And GPs need to recognise the same thing.”

More than 1,000 Australians aged under 50 will be diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and the numbers are increasing.
“The important thing about bowel cancer is to catch it early,” Dr Bell said.
“A higher proportion of these young cancer patients had stage three and four, that is more advanced disease, at diagnosis.”
Experts were not sure why the number of cases was rising but there were theories, he said.
“The lifestyle factors of interest in this young group are sedentary lifestyles, high intake of fast food, poor diet, weight excess, lack of exercise and alcohol,” Dr Bell said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-28/prep-five-perspectives-on-the-hiv-prevention-pill/6502124

Australia recently set itself an ambitious goal: put a stop to new cases of HIV by 2020.

It will be a tough deadline to meet given the number of people living with the virus has been steadily increasing since 2000.
Now a major breakthrough in the fight against the epidemic is generating a lot of buzz in the gay community.
PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a blue pill containing the same combination of medicines used by people already living with HIV.
International clinical trials have proven that when taken once a day, PrEP can reduce the risk of infection by up to 90 per cent.
PrEP, manufactured by Gilead and marketed as Truvada, is not yet approved for preventative use in Australia so many gay men are forced to come up with creative ways of obtaining the drug.
More than three decades after the outbreak of HIV/AIDS in Australia, the risk of contracting the virus still lingers in the minds of many gay men.
“We’ve been raised for 30 years to be afraid of sex,” Melbourne university student Steven Spencer told 7.30.
Condoms have long been the focus of sexual health awareness campaigns within the gay community but research from Sydney’s Kirby Institute has shown rates of unprotected sex are on the rise.

Getting access to PrEP is difficult in Australia, especially for those who missed out on the Victorian trial and similar research projects in New South Wales and Queensland.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is yet to give PrEP the green light, forcing men like Chris Williams to import the drug from overseas using a prescription from a doctor.
That can cost a staggering $750 a month.
Even the generic version is out of reach for many gay men, especially students and low-income earners.
In response, a social media campaign featuring a cast of people who are HIV positive has been launched in the hope of having PrEP added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

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