Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cancer and Stress: How to Manage them

Great advances have been made in the treatment of cancers over
the years so that many cancers are treatable nowadays. But
Having it is a stigma for many people. The fear of getting
cancer often causes stress.

A major concern of cancer patients is treatment's side effects.
The side effects from chemotherapy or radiotherapy renders
some patients unable to work, causing additional stress for
them if their income is affected. Futhermore, some treatments
are expensive.

Cancer-related stress can induce psychological and behavioural
changes such as loss of confidence and social withdrawal which
, in turn, may affect the patient's relationship with his
or her family and friends.

Proper stress managementis therefore important during treatment,
as well as during recovery period. Stress may also affect the
immune system by turning abnormal cells into cancerous ones.
Inability to deal with the disease-related stress can also
affect patient's treatment.

Worryin about the relapses is stressful. Studies show the
recurrence rate of patients suffering from stress is higher than
that of patients who can deal with their stress.

Patients, their carers and health-care professionals should
work together to combat cancer-related stress. Patients should
tell their doctors about their concerns, learn more about the
disease and its treatment by asking questions. Talking to
family members or friends is also good way to relieve
stress. Carers should give moral support to patients and should
encourage them to take part in healthy social activities.
Support from self-help groups also helps.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Amblyopia: Things You Need To Know about Lazy Eye

Amblyopia, commonly known as "Lazy Eye", is a
disorder characterised by poor vision in an
eye that is otherwise physically normal. it's
estimated that between 2 and 5 per cent of
children in the world have it.

It normally occurs during childhood, and many
people do not know they have it until they
are older while testing their eyes. This is
because the vision in their stronger eye is
normal. However, in serious cases the affected
person may experience other visual disorders,
such as poor depth perception (poor perception
of distance).

This is due to weak transmission of visual images
to the brain, occuring over a long period during
a person's early childhood. The poor transmission
may be due to an obstruction caused by congenital
cataracts, misalignment of eyes, causing a person
to squint, or anisometropia (different degrees of
shortsightedness, longsightedness and astigmatism
in both eyes causing objects to look blurry near
or far.

Torsten Wiesel and David Hubei, neuroscientists at
Harvard Medical School, won the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine in 1981 for their work in
revealing the irreversible damage to a part of
the brain, responsible for vision, caused during a
child's so-called "critical period" (from birth to
two years of age). Detecting the condition at
early childhood increases the chances of successful

Myopia, also called shortsightedness, is a condition
in which a person is able to see objects clearly
when they are near, but not when they are far.
The prevalence of myopia is very high in Asia, up
to 90 percent in some countries.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery

Sinusitis is an inflammation or infection of the air pockets on either side of and behind the nose. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, molds and possibly by allergies. Sinusitis causes mucous to build up in the nasal cavity obstructing breathing through the nose.

People with sinusitis who do not respond well to medication should consider undergoing surgery. Nowadays, doctors can perform a sinus operation with the help of a slender nasal telescope. The method is known as Nasal Endoscopy. The procedure is performed entirely. Through the nostrils so that no incisions are made on the face.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Health Tips for Travellers

More and more Hong Kong people are traveling to undeveloped
countries for leisure nowadays. But not all of them are
aware of the health dangers they face during those trips.
To save themselves from possible trouble, they should seek
health advice before taking off.

Health hazards vary from country to country. Developing
countries pose higher risks. Travellers often come down
with diarrhea while visiting countries in Asia, Africa
and Central America because of contaminated food and water.

While in those countries, visitors should maintain good
hygiene, and avoid eating vegetables, meat, and seafood
and other raw foods. They should avoid consuming ice and
water straight from taps.

They should also guard against mosquitoes, prevalent in
tropical and subtropical countries, by wearing clothes
with long sleeves and by applying insect repellents to
the exposed parts of their bodies while outdoor, and
have mosquito nets to keep insects away when sleeping.

There are vaccines and drugs for preventing certain
diseases but they should be taken at least four weeks
before the trip. If you feel unwell on your return home,
consult a doctor immediately.

Children, elderly people and pregnant women are more
vulnerable to getting sick while travelling abroad.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pre Surgery Therapy for Children

Children awaiting surgery are usually very afraid.
Their fear may affect their behaviour before the operation,
or even after. They need help.

Encouraging them to play to distract them from thinking about
the operation is effective therapy.

The University of Hong Kong carried out a study on pre-surgery stress suffered by children. It recruited 203 children, aged between seven and twelve, for the study.

The children were divided into 2 groups. One was told about the surgery in simple language to help them better understand what it is. The children were shown around the hospital - even the operating theater - where they were encouraged to handle different operating tools and perform pre-surgery on a doll.

The other group was cared for in the normal way and spent much of the time playing.

The study revealed that getting the children to play so that they may not think about the upcoming operation was more effective in reducing their anxiety that trying to explain to them what surgery means.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Treating Dementia

Dementia is a disease that affects mostly old people.
It causes the brain celles to degenerate, rsulting in loss
of memory and changes in personality and behavior. Sufferers
also lose their ability to recognise
people and places and to control their emotions.

Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that dysfunctions
of the heart, liver, spleen, or kidney can also cause dementia.
They believe Chinese medicine is effective in treating the
disease at an early stage. It can stabilise and slow down the
disease's progress.

Chinese medicine can be used together with Western drugs to
treat dementia. Long term use of Chinese medicine is safe. The
aim of the treatment is to balance the "qi" of the body.
Apart from medication, acupuncture and "qi gong" (breath control
exercise) may also be used in treating dementia. Sufferers should
be encouraged to take part in social activities to help improve
their brain function and should eat more vegetables, fruit, fish,
and nuts. These foods protect the brain cells and prevent the
brain from degenerating, improving blood circulation by massaging
the head, face, and neck is also recommended. Sufferers should
also stay optimistic at all times and avoid depression.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Encouraging improvements in Treating Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the biggest killer
in Hong Kong. More than 80 percent of
cases are caused by what is known as
non-small cell carcinoma (NSCLC). But
encouraging advances have been made in
recent years in the treatment of NSCLC.

The current standard way of dealing
with early-stage NSCLC is to resects completely
the part of the organ affected by it. However,
the 5 year survival rate is still less than

In the past decade, cisplatin-based
chemotherapy had been used on patients
following resection. Their survival rate
is more favorable, and the side effects
from this king of chemotherapy were more

Adjuvant chemotherapy, or additional
chemotherapy, can be considered as part of
standard treatment for younger patients in
early disease stage who have responded well
to resection.

The standard first-line treatment for recurring
or advanced lung cancer is a treatment that uses
a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
for patients in relatively better conditions,
using a combination of platinum and a newer
chemotherapy agent (e.g paclitaxel, docetaxel
or gemcitabine) can further improve their
survival rate.

The treatment of the future for lung cancer
will probably involve the development of novel
molecularly targeted therapies and their
application together with chemotherapy.

Using Bevacizumab, a drug which targets
the angiogenesis in tumors, in conjunction
with chemotherapy have shown very good results,
but this treatment also increases the risk of
haemoptysis, the coughing of blood, which is

Encouraging improvements have been made
in treating lung cancer in recent years. providing
more options for patients to deal with the
deadly disease, This augurs well for lung
cancer victims who may see some notable
breakthroughs in the near future.

Extract form the health feature by
University of Hong Kong