2015 Medical Successes

Once again the New Year is ahead of us, so here at Primary Care People, we wanted to evaluate all the great medical revelations that has happened this year. To end a successful year for our company, and the healthcare industry, we look back at how much progression has been made.

A lot of medical journals and papers this time of year will reflect on the achievements and progress that has been made. We have picked the highlights we believe might lift your day and remind us of how much we can celebrate in the healthcare industry this year.
Our Top Medical Revelations This Year:

  • Gene Editing – A ‘miracle’ event happened this year, when baby Layla Richards, was told that all treatments for her leukaemia had failed and she was going to die. The Doctors decided to give her an experimental drug that consist of a vial filled with genetically made immune cells to kill the cancer. Which, ended up saving her life. This leaves exciting discussions on the prospect of similar methods being used to treat a whole range of cancer cells.

  • A 27 year old woman in Belgium was the first in the world to give birth to a baby using ovarian tissue frozen when she was a child due to concerns of her infertility.
  • The first face transplant took place on a fire fighter who suffered from third degree burns. As well as the first skull and scalp transplant took place this year, and the first penis transplant (of which the patient now has a child on the way!)
  • A man with dry age-related macular degeneration receives bionic eye and can see his wife again after 10 years.
  • results are close to knowing what substances may help prevent alzheimer’s, including a drug that will slow it down by a third.

Due to just these few cases of huge progression, medicine is growing stronger as the years go by. There has been numerous progressions for the testing and results of cells, multiplying, protecting and growing anew.

Although there has been a huge progression in 2015, and the NHS issues are still in the limelight, we can recognise the wonderful news about medicine and where it is heading. We take this opportunity to look on the brighter side, and recognize the excitement of what has been happening in the medical industry.
Should you wish to open your New Year looking for new work, Primary Care People are here to help and provide you with whatever you desire. Please get in touch if this is the case.
Call: 0203 137 2114
Email: work@primarycarepeople.co.uk

We’d also like to thank all our clients, GP’s and Nurses for committing to your job, all for worthwhile causes. We appreciate your hard work, and wish you all a Happy New Year!

Red Meat Can Cause Cancer

The internet has gone cancer crazy this morning as the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed a report on the damaging affects red meat has on our health.

We are often amongst the flurry of warnings of Cancer. It is within all our families, constantly in our newspapers and TV Screens, and unfortunately for some of us personally. Cancer itself is an epidemic that has a good way of striking fear in our hearts as soon as we hear the word.

What seems to be interesting here is that for so long the media and health organisations have painted cigarettes as the monster of cancer. And whilst the report does detail smoking is more harmful, we cannot ignore this lightly.

There have been snippets of being made aware that too much alcohol is bad for us, as is the use of mobile phones even. However living in our modern age we are not probed to detach ourselves from them. Processed meat, and the meat selling industry as a whole also makes a lot of money (alongside alcohol and cigarettes) so we do not know if this revelation will have a huge impact.

However the report states that for every ’50g portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%’ [1]. The report does go on to say that we do not need to stop eating meat, but do be careful in the consideration of how much meat we eat.

But if we think logically about the now proven ramifications eating red meat can have, we know just as well how harmful it is. These new results make way for a more substantial change we can have in our diet. Quite often we have been told we must eat meat for protein and iron, however perhaps we have not been sourcing our diets in the right way due to poor health information.

In fact it is known that raising cattle, and beef is more harmful to our environment that anything else in the world. And so a lot of the headlines are still choosing to phrase that we should not eat sausages and bacon which is quite often pork. Due to the amount of money (and damage already done) that is made from beef.

The same can be said for highlighting just ‘processed’ meat, and not meat as whole.

Although raising all animals in agriculture is harmful, and all red meat is harmful to our bodies, we should take this news report welcomingly. To monitor our own health and make a concious effort to see how our diet guides our health and our life.

Let us know your thoughts.

[1] IARC Monographs evaluate consumption of red meat and processed meat. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] World Health Organisation, pp.1-2. Available at: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf [Accessed 27 Oct. 2015].

Cuts Have Been Made To Cancer Treatments

New cuts to cancer treatments have been warned to cause severe problems for future patients. However, there is a flip-side to consider; health spokesmen say it’s to make room for new and improved drugs to be funded.

These cuts are coming from the decision of the NHS as they over-funded the cancer treatment budget by £100m.

Patients currently using the drugs will still be allowed to use them, but the restrictions will be put in place from the 12th of March. However new treatments have already been discussed, and are set to be put in place from April.

Fund chair Professor Peter Clark said the review – carried out by doctors, pharmacists and patients’ representatives – had prioritized the treatments with the “best clinical benefit” to get the most out of “every pound…There were drugs that did not offer sufficient clinical benefit so we simply cannot go on funding those,” [1]

He went on to say that pharmaceutical firms over the country has worked with the NHS in decisions to lower some prices of medicine in order to save money further. Therefore although this may seem extreme for a lot of patients,  this potentially could make room for cancer treatments to be more advanced in the long run.

The fund will also increase again to £340m next year, even though the cuts will save £80m a year.

However, executives of charities have commented on this decision, and feel this is a bad move on behalf of the NHS.

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, said the announcement was “just another symptom of a drug appraisal system in meltdown”. While Mark Flannagan, chief executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, said “It’s likely that 65% of patients with advanced bowel cancer face the probability of an earlier death by being refused innovative treatments that were available before,”. And Stephen Whitehead, of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said the move was “extremely disappointing”. [2]

However if some patients extremely still need the drugs, they can apply as an ‘exceptional case’. And it has been stated that the raise in funding next year is to ensure all patients are receiving the most beneficial drugs they need.

Therefore the question must be, is it worth a year to hold back, to earn years of potentially ‘better’ drugs? Or is this another saving tactic for the NHS, with a danger for patients?

[1] BBC News, (2015). Cuts to cancer treatments announced. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30787132


Cancer really is just bad luck

A new study has shown that some cancers are down to just a bad chance rather than genetic mutations.

Dr. Bert Vogelstein and Cristian Tomasetti, PhD, publish their findings in the journal Science. Researchers claim 65% of cancer cases are a result of random DNA mutations, while the remaining 35% can be explained by a combination of these mutations and environmental and hereditary factors. [1]

However, the researchers are not denying that lifestyle does not affect the chance of some cancers. Smoking, drinking and poor diet can still progress to the disease.

Cancer research still heavily believe in warning against the remaining third chances, such as; sun exposure, being overweight, etc. We must still take care of ourselves to avoid damaging our cells even further, despite the possibilities of still simply receiving some bad luck.

The researchers explained how this ‘bad luck’ can occur:

Old tired cells in the body are constantly being replaced with new ones made by dividing stem cells. But with each division comes the risk of a dangerous mutation that moves the stem cell one step closer to being cancerous…[Researcher’s] concluded that two thirds of cancer types were “due to bad luck” from dividing stem cells picking up mutations that could not be prevented. [2]

This again would really be down to everyone’s individual body clocks. Unfortunately this cannot be measured or controlled. The body works to protect you, but in some unfortunate cases this can backfire on the body.

Due to this problem, researches suggested we should not primarily focus on the prevention of cancer – for only a third would be monitored this way. But we should start a process of how we manage early detection of the disease, in a state that is curable.
We must not diminish, nor forget those new ambitions to stay healthy. Nor should we feel disheartened, but another reminder perhaps, to live sensibly, and on the odd occasion, it really is ok to indulge ourselves.

But what are your thoughts on this new study? We want to know your thoughts.

[1] Whiteman, H. (2015). Two thirds of cancer cases down to ‘bad luck,’ new study claims. Medical News Today. Available at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287542.php

[2] BBC News, (2015). Most cancer types ‘just bad luck’. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30641833

Does Cancer Have a Price?

Most would say that you cannot put a cost on life, yet, we earn just to live and we pay out to survive. We tend not to question this system of living as it is all we’ve known. However we tend to bring this into consideration when our lives are put in jeopardy through illness.

We have discussed before the affects of cancer, as the illness does continue to take claim to more lives every year. What made us strike up the topic again was a recent news article from the BBC. Labour pledges that more funds will be placed into cancer funds to ensure cancer is the primary disease that is tackled, and the best care is received to patients.

This could indeed be a ploy for the party, however, if they followed through with their promise – patients and families could be looking at a rise in more time and recovery rates.

What we do wish to question is – the amount that needs to be invested still is obscene amounts of money – but of course ones that are worth it. However, is there a price we won’t say no to? To give a patient suffering breast cancer another 6 months, costs £90,000 a course to run.

The money and time spent should be given undoubtedly. And current PM David Cameron, did set up a fund of £200 million, that has been increased to £280m. This fund however is due to run out in 2016, which the labour party wish to replace with their cancer fund.

Mr Burnham (Shadow Health Secretary) made claim that their fund would target all patients in need, instead of a selected few.

“My goal is to make the NHS the best health service in the world for the treatment of cancer. We will only achieve that if we give patients access to the most effective forms of treatment, particularly advanced radiotherapy…The problem with cancer policy under the current government is that it prioritizes one form of cancer treatment over others and places one group of patients ahead of another. This is indefensible when we know surgery and radiotherapy are responsible for nine in ten cases where cancer is cured… 40,000 people every year who could benefit from radiotherapy are missing out.” [1]

However, there has of course been a backlash from the conservative party who pointed out Labour have not always agreed with the Cancer Drugs Fund and therefore may not be able to rely on the promises being made.

But what would excite all of us is the prospect, for we ourselves cannot generate the money needed for particular treatments. Some treatments do not get run purely due to them not being cost-effective for the NHS to run. With more invested, patients will have a better chance at receiving help.
Sarah Woolnough, Cancer Research UK’s executive director of policy, said that our biggest issue with cancer is the lack of ‘commitment to diagnosing more cancers early. Surgery and radiotherapy are more likely to be effective when the disease is diagnosed in the earliest stages…Early diagnosis and access to treatment must be key priorities for a future government if it’s serious about improving the UK’s cancer survival rates.’ [2]

The main question we want to ask is; is there a price you would deny? Those patients missing out, miss out due to treatments not being available to them. Would we pay anything for this to be necessary? Surely.. we would?

[1] Gallagher, J. (2014). Labour pledges cancer therapy fund. BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30385594 [Accessed 9 Dec. 2014].

[2] Ibid

New Leukaemia Drug Approved by NHS

A new drug has been approved by the NHS to help those with Leukaemia. The BBC ran this story and noted that, Cardiff University trials showed it can reduce the risk of death by 59% by preventing cancer cells multiplying. [1]

This is an incredible break-through for patients with Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) – a form of blood cancer. This type of cancer targets those that already suffer with other relatable conditions such as, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore if the drug is successful, sufferers will stand a high chance at battling the cancer if they find it at early stages.

If patients suffer heavily with other conditions, this usually means they cannot receive aggressive treatment. However this drug allows a mild, yet effective way to protect the body.

Prof Chris Fegan, who led the trials at Cardiff University said: “Gazyvaro is a tolerable option that can not only keep these patients in remission for significantly longer, but offers a survival benefit over the current standard.” [2]

This is great news for CLL sufferers, for around 3,100 are diagnosed in the UK per year. However, CLL is different from most cancers, as it is not usually possible to cure.

To conclude, Gazyvaro is a remarkable drug to even reach the testing stages. We can only hope it succeeds in helping those who suffer.

What are you thoughts on this new medical development? Do you entrust the drug is a new era for medicine?

[1] BBC News, (2014). NHS leukaemia drug watchdog ‘U-turn’. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30274804 [Accessed 3 Dec. 2014].

[2] Ibid

Why Is Cancer Our Fear Holder?

Cancer has always been the most prominent and daunting term, not only in the medical industry, but in the way of life. We fear for those we care for when they are diagnosed. We fear the doctor’s results to not hear it. It is the dreaded word that haunts most of us.

We see health scares in the news regularly, and we are trained to fear for our health. Forever torn between the desires to devour due to advertisement, but held hostage by the idea of lowering our lifespan. Just today the BBC released their latest health article on the shocking rising numbers of those living with, and to be diagnosed, of cancer.

The article discusses the rise in numbers, and states that cancer was the biggest killer last year. Although those treated have risen in numbers, we can understand what an article like this can do.

In recent news Ebola has alarmed the globe, despite it being an issue for many of years. Cancer likewise, is an ever-present fear. It has been lingering around, turning on patients, but forever a new shock to us when we receive the bad news.

The question we wanted to ponder was; why does Cancer behold us? And, do people in medical care ever get used to dealing with it, or is it still terrifying?

Primary Care People recognize how much trust and responsibility is put into doctors and nurses in the medical environment. We feel a little safer in their hands, entrusting that they know best to cure and treat.

Although this is true, they are still affected like all of us to dealing with the disease. We are all emotionally connected to the thought of the disease, because we all know someone who has been affected, if not ourselves.

It has been commented on by doctors that it never gets any easier in witnessing the struggles their patients battle through. Dr. Stillman wrote:

I love practicing medicine. Unequivocally. Yet it sometimes seems as much a burden as a privilege…if we are lucky, trusted and maybe even loved by our patients. Yet on certain days, when our patients do not do well, the trade-off seems untenable.

How are we to protect ourselves from the emotional hazards of the practice of medicine? How are we to stand with our patients through the very worst while avoiding depression, significant stress reactions, and even substance abuse or addiction?

The work done by Cancer Research, Scientists, Doctors and Nurses, all over the world is extremely important work in battling the disease. The procedures are intricate, and the work is truly life changing. The hard work people in healthcare do cannot be diminished.

We wanted to take the time to truly think about the root of our health problems. Unfortunately some outcomes are heartbreaking. But because of the support we receive from primary care, we are guided to deal with this.

What we must remember is not only the treatment we receive, but those we receive it from. Our Doctors and nurses become our confidants. Seeing us at our weakest, and helping profusely in the process.

The question may be then, why are we all controlled by fear?

If our fear can minimized by the presence of medical help, then why can fear not be erased? We are told during palliative treatment to ‘Think positive’. Positive vibes radiate, a supportive team and a brave fighter can tackle this long term disease.

If we allow fear to manipulate us, then we cannot control the one thing we do have control over – our real well being – the actions of ourselves.

The internet can cause scare, and that is not what we are here to do. Human connection is the only way forward to share these concerns in a healthy way. Doctors and Nurses understand this primarily, which is why they are in their profession.

Perhaps this can lead to a weighted pressure upon Doctors and Nurses to be that support system?

But we thank them relentlessly. For it is their manner, and their caring attitude that allows our world’s biggest fear to be slightly minimized.

Please let us know your thoughts on dealing with the disease. We want to hear your opinion.