The Health News Australia March 19 2018

  • Researchers have discovered an important biomarker in patients with a hard-to-treat form of blood cancer that could improve patient outcomes. Australian cancer researchers have made a breakthrough that could lead to an effective treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer that affects around one thousand eight hundred Australians every year. Multiple myeloma grows in the bone marrow and mainly impacts older people, with the average age of diagnosis being 70 years.
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Western Australia, with Aboriginal communities in the north hit particularly hard by a syphilis outbreak. Across the population, Syphilis has more than doubled the five-year average, up 112 per cent. More than 95 per cent of cases reported in Perth were in men. However the rate increased by 38 per cent among Aboriginal people, associated with an ongoing outbreak in the Kimberley region, and decreased by 13 per cent among non-Aboriginal people.
  • The findings of a national survey suggests that Australians are unknowingly increasing their risk of skin cancer because they don’t know when they need sun protection the most. The latest National Sun Protection Survey, released by Cancer Council Australia, found fewer than 1 in 10 adults understood that sun protection is required when uv levels are 3 or above. Melanoma rates have dropped in the under forties age group due to the success of past ‘slip, slop, slap’ campaigns. But the sun protection message needs to be continually reinforced.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/oncology/4/news/aap/researchers-have-made-a-breakthrough-that-leads-to-an-effective-treatment-of-multiple-myeloma/3240/

Researchers have discovered an important biomarker in patients with a hard-to-treat form of blood cancer that could improve patient outcomes. Australian cancer researchers have made a breakthrough that could lead to an effective treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer that affects around one thousand eight hundred Australians every year.

Multiple myeloma grows in the bone marrow and mainly impacts older people, with the average age of diagnosis being seventy years. Treating it has remained a “medical mystery” for doctors, however, the discovery of a new biomarker may soon change that, researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute say.

Published in prestigious journal Cancer Cell, a study on one hundred fifty two patients with multiple myeloma, led by scientists at QIMR, found a particular molecule called IL-eighteen suppressed the immune system to help create a bone marrow environment that allowed the cancer to grow.

The study analysed the impact of IL-eighteen on one hundred fifty two patients with multiple myeloma and found strong evidence that high levels of the molecule were associated with poorer survival. Senior scientist Professor Mark Smyth says IL-eighteen works as an immunosuppressive, so basically ends up suppressing T-Cells which are the body’s protective mechanism against cancer.
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The Leukaemia Foundation has welcomed the discovery of the biomarker, hailing it as an important step towards more personalised care of people living with this type of blood cancer.
As a result of the disease, bones can become weaker and break more easily. Patients also experience anaemia, bone pain, kidney damage, frequent infections and increased bleeding and bruising.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-17/stis-on-the-rise-in-western-australia/9559236

Some sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in Western Australia, with Aboriginal communities in the north hit particularly hard by a syphilis outbreak. Across the population, syphilis has more than doubled the five-year average, up one hundred twelve per cent. More than ninety five percent of cases reported in Perth were in men. However the rate increased by thirty eight percent among Aboriginal people, associated with an ongoing outbreak in the Kimberley region, and decreased by thirteen percent among non-Aboriginal people. Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said Aboriginal people in the north had been failed.

Meanwhile, in two thousand seventeen, gonorrhoea notifications increased by fifty percent on the five-year average, but were down thirteen percent from two thousand sixteen. Chlamydia notifications over the past five years remained relatively stable. People aged twenty to twenty nine years old were the highest represented group and made up over half of all chlamydia notifications.
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Western Australia  Minister for Health Roger Cook urged people of all ages to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
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Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact. It starts as a small painless sore on the mouth, anus or genitals, which can become a body rash and without treatment go on to damage organs, including the brain. Mister Cook said safe sex was one of the easiest ways to prevent STIs.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/confusion-the-enemy-of-sun-smart-message

The findings of a national survey suggests that Australians are unknowingly increasing their risk of skin cancer because they don’t know when they need sun protection the most. The latest National Sun Protection Survey, released by Cancer Council Australia, found fewer than one in ten adults understood that sun protection is required when ultraviolet radiation levels are three or above.

UV is a major cause of melanoma – the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia – and levels can remain high during autumn despite the temperature drop. The survey also suggests Australians remain confused about weather factors and sunburn. In summer two thousand sixteen and two thousand seventeen, twenty four percent of those surveyed incorrectly believed that sunburn risk was related to temperature, while twenty three per cent incorrectly cited conditions such as cloud cover, wind or humidity.

Heather Walker, chair of Cancer Council Australia’s National Skin Cancer Committee, says the knowledge gap is concerning and it is time for the federal government to “step up” and invest in a new national sun protection campaign.

Melanoma rates have dropped in the under forties age group due to the success of past ‘slip, slop, slap’ campaigns. But the sun protection message needs to be continually reinforced, says Miss Walker.

Miss Walker says the last federal government-funded sun protection campaign was nearly a decade ago. Some of the country’s experts in the field will meet at the Australian Skin and Skin Cancer Centre in Brisbane in the hope of developing new educational strategies.

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