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MATTERS

BE CLEAR ON CANCER CAMPAIGN

OCT 24 - 30, 2013

HEALTH INSIDE:

i Kidney & Bladder Cancer p33 i Infertility Awareness Week p34 iSuper Food: Nuts p34


32 | THE VOICE OCTOBER 24 - 30, 2013

HEALTHMATTERS


HEALTHMATTERS

OCTOBER 24 - 30, 2013 THE VOICE | 33

Do not ignore blood in your urine

XDr Frank Chinegwundoh,

leading urology expert urges us all not to ignore the signs of kidney and bladder cancer

By Hazelann Williams

K

IDNEY AND bladder cancer are two separate, but very serious illnesses that, although caused by different things, manifest themselves in a very similar way – namely blood in your urine. If you have passed blood and urine when going to the toilet, even if it was only once, it could be a symptom of bladder or kidney cancer. Around 10,300 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in the UK; with the biggest risk factor being smoking and chemical related. Smokers are six times more likely to develop bladder cancer and there is an increased risk for people who have worked chemicals such as plastics, rubber and metal.

OBESITY

Kidney cancer is the eighth most common cancer in adults in this country with about 7,300 people falling ill to the disease each year. The main role of the kidneys is to filter out waste products from the

blood and to produce urine. We have two kidneys in our body and usually only one of the kidneys is affected by cancer, however the illness has been increasingly linked to obesity, which is also on the rise in the UK and is itself a health risk. However, the main culprit when it comes to the low survival rate of these cancers is lack of awareness. Although most people would agree that passing blood when you use the toilet is a pretty alarming thing, new figures show that the public don’t recognise the seriousness of the sign – almost a third (30 per cent) of people would wait and see if they spotted blood in their urine again before taking any action, which could delay their diagnosis.

SYMPTOMS

Dr Frank Chinegwundoh, urologist and expert in the field of kidney, bladder, prostate, and urinary diseases is spearheading the current campaign to raise awareness on kidney and bladder cancer, he is urging anyone who may have the symptoms of the illness to visit their GP straight away.

“I would say it is critical that at the first sign of blood in the urine you go and see a doctor,” explained the surgeon. “You can have a cancer in your bladder or kidney that has been there for months or a year or even plus and it just happens to be on one occasion that it starts bleeding, the important thing is to get it checked immediately.”

IGNORE

“What happens is that some people bleed for months and then it stops so they think everything must be fine but that’s not the case, you could have a major problem. It just has to have bled once, if you ignore it by the time you do seek medical attention the cancer could have grown to a much larger size and be at a later stage,” said Dr Chinegwundoh. As with most illnesses spotting the symptoms and getting treatment early can mean the difference between life and death. In fact Dr Chinegwundoh says that both cancers can be treated fairly easily and beaten if caught early enough. “If caught early both diseases

can be beaten, they both require surgery but the treatments are pretty straight forward. Tests involve X-rays and passing a camera into the water ways of your bladder, which takes less than five minutes to do under a local anaesthetic, so they can be done easily and quickly.”

BLEEDING

Although there is not an increased risk for the African or Caribbean community, the urologist believes that there is still an increased danger if we fail to see the signs of the illness and seek treatment as soon as possible. “Not realising the significance of bleeding and being scared of the possible consequences or hoping for the best, delays diagnosis and treatment and can cost lives. It’s my hope that people become aware that cancer of the kidney and bladder exists and they will be aware of the symptoms and they should ring alarm bells. Go and see your GP and they will refer you immediately, it may not be cancer, it may be something else, but you need to get checked to be sure.”

KIDNEY AND BLADDER CANCER IN ORDER to beat kidney and bladder cancer you need to be able to spot the signs of the diseases. Around 10,300 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer and about 9,300 people with kidney cancer each year in the UK. While both cancers can be caused by very different things they both manifest in a similar way, namely blood in the urine. However, there are other symptoms to look out for, if you experience any listed below consult your doctor right away:

Bladder Cancer t t t t t

*GZPVTQPUCMPPEJOZPVSVSJOF FWFOPODF "OFFEUPVSJOBUFPOBNPSFGSFRVFOUCBTJT 1FMWJDQBJOBOEDSBNQT 6OFYQMBJOFEXFJHIUMPTT 4XFMMJOHJOZPVSMFHT

Kidney Cancer t t t t t

*GZPVTQPUCMPPEJOZPVSVSJOF FWFOPODF "DPOTUBOUQBJOCFMPXZPVSSJCT "MVNQJOZPVSBCEPNFO /JHIUTXFBUT 'BUJHVFBOEMPTTPGBQQFUJUF

'PSNPSFJOGPSNBUJPOPOUIFTJHOTBOETZNQUPNTPG bladder and kidney cancer please visit the website: www.nhs.uk/bloodinpee


34 | THE VOICE OCTOBER 24 - 30, 2013

HEALTHMATTERS

African Caribbean Superfood secret facts file… Shush!! In a nut shell By Jacqueline Asafu-Adjaye, Sponsored Features Editor

O

fficially it is British summertime right up to the 27th of October, and you cannot help but notice that Christmas has arrived unusually bright and early in most high street stores. If your nearest and dearest stuffed your Christmas stocking with a hand – operated device that shatters nutshells, commonly known as a Nutcracker, along with copious amount of nuts and other dried fruits instead of your favourite bottle of Chanel you would probably go nuts. But in actual fact that would be probably the most loving gift you could ever receive. Nuts are nature’s diamonds. Rich in protein, minerals and vitamins and they are also an excellent source for essential fats. Many shun nuts during periods of dieting, due to the popular misconception that nuts aid weight gain. However a recent study published in the medical journal on obesity, has proven those fears to be groundless. Those crunching their way through a variety of nuts at least twice a week are

much less likely to get as fat as those who rarely eat nuts. WALNUTS a fabulous tasting nut with an appealing woody crunch. The secret health benefit of the walnuts lies in its heart protective qualities and in particular the high concentration of omega3s. Were you to quarter fill your cup with Walnuts, you would have probably met your daily value for these essential fats. A quarter filled cup of walnuts provides 90.8 per cent of these essential fats. Adding Walnuts to your dietimproves the condition of the heart and is an opportunity to significantly improve the heart. Those with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis will find the anti – inflammatory properties really helpful. PEANUTS a popular snack and ingredient in Ghanaian dishes are actually not nuts. Peanuts are beans and their relatives include peas, chickpeas, lentils and other beans. This African Caribbean superfood snack grows in a strange manner. Peanuts begin life as a flower and due to it’s heavy weight the flower bends towards the ground and eventually burrows underground, which is where the peanut matures into the form we

know so well. The Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced peanuts to Africa, where they were treated as sacred foods. Due to the fact that peanuts were so revered by Africans pre-slavery, during the kidnapping of Africans into slavery, slave captors often placed peanuts onto their slave ships. It was the slave ships that introduced peanuts to North America. Peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats. COCONUTS also known as the ‘Honey of the Gods’, secret fact lies in its multiple benefits and usage. This big brown hairy nut is nature’s handbag. It carries both highly edible and non-edible benefits. The white meat of the coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice milk, and oil. The coconut palm’s many medicinal values are renowned around the world and is often used as part of alternative medicine, to treat: abscesses, asthma, baldness, ulcers, tuberculosis and bronchitis. This nut’s high medicinal value has earned it the nickname, ‘The Tree of Life’. A large number of Pacific and Caribbean Islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure to many ailments.

Winning through against all odds

T

o mark the start of National Infertility Awareness Week Barbados Fertility Centre have asked their patients to speak up about infertility and share their stories of what they have been through, and what they are still going through to achieve their dreams of being parents. Continue on page 35


HEALTHMATTERS Continued from page 34

Barbados Fertility Centre share just a few of their break through pregnancies. Duane shares his own experience of infertility:

My wife asked me to write about our experience with infertility. According to her, throughout the whole process I’ve been pretty much silent. I guess many men are, because this is seen as something that women go through and women have to bear the physical burden of treatment. I can only speak for myself. We never thought that we would have any problems having children. So it was a shock when we found out that I was infertile. Most times people think if a couple can’t have kids, it must be the woman, but I am living proof that it affects men too. For a while, I thought why me? Why did everyone else get to be normal and I wasn’t? There was so much about infertility that we didn’t know. My wife really wanted a baby and I guess we never gave it a second thought. We put aside every plan we made and went straight into IVF, first at a local clinic and then in Barbados. At the time, I didn’t really focus on how I felt. I was sorry I had to put my wife through this, because all the medications and injections were making her ill. It was hard to watch someone you love go through something like this because of you…though my wife insists this is not a blame game. The first attempt at IVF failed and we were devastated. Nothing else seemed important…just getting this to work and having our baby was our focus. We went to Barbados and spoke to Dr. Skinner and Anna and decided to start another cycle as soon as we could. For me, the whole process was nerve wrecking. We were just trying to get through each stage successfully even after the positive pregnancy test. Seeing the joy on my wife’s face when our daughter was born was priceless. It was the most incredible thing when she started to cry, that’s when I knew for sure she was alive and breathing. We were so nervous about every little thing including bringing her home, because she was a “preemie”. Now that she’s almost a year old and so much bigger its hard to believe all that we went through. But it was definitely worth it. It seems when I come home eve-

OCTOBER 24 - 30, 2013 THE VOICE | 35

ryday, she’s bigger and learning something new. It’s still amazing to me. Sometimes when I look at her, I can’t stop smiling.

Another patient Shelly Ann shares her story in support of National Infertility Awareness Week:

I am polycystic, with severe endometriosis and diagnosed with a low ovarian reserve at 30 years. When I got my diagnosis, I was devastated. Having a baby was all I could ever think about. I had alienated myself from everyone and everything I loved. I hated going to baby showers and tried to avoid them. I dreaded having to hear that someone else was expecting because even though I was happy for them… it wasn’t me! I felt so guilty for feeling that way too but it hurt so much. Nobody really understood what I was going through… “Give it time”… “Relax, it will happen”. But when you have a low ovarian reserve, you don’t have ’time’. My only real chance of having a baby was IVF treatment. It didn’t matter that I would have to take daily injections, if it was going to get me my miracle; I was willing to try anything. After a cancelled cycle due to poor response, another failed cycle (negative pregnancy) and a chemical pregnancy after another IVF treatment - I seriously started considering adoption. Financially, emotionally and physically, I was drained. But I wasn’t ready to give up yet. My philosophy has always been NO regrets… I thought, if it didn’t work, at least I gave it my ALL. I was influenced by a friend to try Barbados Fertility Clinic instead this time. After my first cycle with them, on Christmas Eve, I was blessed with the most amazing Christmas present…. A positive pregnancy test! I now have an 8-month old daughter who is everything I have ever prayed for and more. She is living proof that miracles can happen. Still now, there are times when I look at her in disbelief, that I actually have a daughter and that I am a mummy - still sounds surreal just writing it. In every struggle there is a lesson to learn. This journey has taught me so much…I learned to appreciate the blessings I did have like supportive family and friends and to never take these things for granted. Someone somewhere is probably praying for what you have. I think back on my experience and I want to share my story and I pray that it gives you hope. I know what it feels like to want something so bad and the despair that is felt with each negative pregnancy test. But I urge those suffering with infertility to keep the faith. There IS hope. I personally know of many people who have had success with IVF and other fertility treatments. I think the struggle is best summed up in the adage “I don’t need easy, I just need possible”. You can overcome this it IS possible!

NEED DONOR EGGS? There is a marked decrease in women’s fertility after the age of 35, and if you have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months with no success then you must seek medical advice. Some women may need to consider the use of donor eggs in order to achieve a pregnancy, however waiting lists in the UK can be as long as 3 years and if you need an Afro Caribbean egg there is no time limit on how long you can wait. But help is at hand - Barbados Fertility Centre will be exhibiting at The Fertility Show at Olympia from Nov 2 to Nov 3 2013. Please come along and meet Dionne Holmes, IVF Donor/Recipient Coordinator for more information on our EXCELLENT donor egg programme with success rates of 72% and no waiting list for treatment.

www.barbadosivf.com 001 246 435 7467 dholmes@barbadosivf.com

Organization Accredited by Joint Commission International

Health matters october 2013 edition  

This month we take a close look at kidney and bladder cancer. Do you know what steps to take when you see blood in your urine? We also tak...

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