23 January 2019

Research shows and increase in bowel cancer among young Australians.

Bowel cancer mostly affects people over the age of 50, but recent evidence suggests it’s on the rise among younger Australians.

A study, published recently in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, found the incidence of bowel cancer, has increased by up to 9% in people under 50 years of age, from the 1990s to date.

The research examined all recorded cases of bowel cancer from the past forty years in Australians aged over 20 years. Previous studies assessing bowel cancer incidence in young Australians have also seen an increase in the younger age group.

This trend is also seen in young people in the United States.

Could unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, like increased intake of highly processed foods be the problem?

Read more at The Conversation

                                                                                                           Image from Shutterstock

18 January 2019

Your mental health in 2019

Currently one in five Australians experience mental ill health every year.

Australian Psychological Society President Ros Knight says people who spend a lot of time caring for others need to make time to care for their own mental health.

Reflecting on your own mental and emotional wellness and taking steps to manage it is something nurses and midwives would benefit from doing every day.

Here are 10 psychological tips to help you stay mentally healthy in 2019.

Be kind to yourself: Treat yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you’d show a good friend facing struggles. Self-compassion fosters resilience in the face of adversity.

Contact with others: Deep, meaningful relationships help mental health. Listen to others, be genuine, share your thoughts and feelings and celebrate everyday positive experiences with friends.

Accept your feelings: Avoiding difficult emotions, keeping feelings to yourself or stewing over problems reduces wellbeing. Be open to experiences and accept all your feelings and thoughts, including the difficult ones.

Keep your perspective: Look for constructive solutions, think flexibly and see situations from different perspectives when you are confronted by everyday problems.

Live up to your values: Live a life consistent with your values. Be aware of your own values – of how you would like to lead your whole life, behave towards others, and treat yourself.

Read the remaining 5 tips here on ANMJ.

17 January 2019

Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018-2023

The Framework will guide activities in NSW until 2023 and marks the beginning of the journey towards zero suicides in NSW.

The launch of the Framework in October 2018 was accompanied by investment in new and expanded initiatives to implement priorities under the Framework including:

  • aftercare services for people who have made a suicide attempt
  • alternative services for people presenting to emergency departments in distress
  • more counsellors for regional and rural communities
  • strengthening practices in the mental health system to eliminate suicides and suicide attempts among people in care
Read more or download the Framework here on the Mental Health Commission of NSW website.

                                                                                   Source: mental health commission of NSW

Life Check

Millions of Australians are being asked to take a free online Life Check on a new website launched on January 15 2019, as the Liberal National Government continues rolling out its More Choices For A Longer Lifemeasures, supporting Australians to live longer, better lives.

Australians aged 45 and over can now access free advice to plan and take positive steps towards better health and greater security.

The online Life Checks cover four areas that research has shown are keys to our wellbeing: Health, work, finance and social life.

As quoted on “We should be aiming to live well to 100 or more,” said Minister Wyatt. “We’re already living 25 years longer than we did a century ago and we owe it to ourselves, our families and the nation to live the best we can.

To take a Life Check, visit

08 January 2019

Doctors back pill testing at music festivals in Australia

Experts in the field of drug policy in Australia know that existing policies are failing. Calls for total abstinence: “just say no to drugs” and even cruder enforcement strategies have had little to no impact on drug use or the level of their detrimental effects on the community.

Whether we like it or not, drug use is commonplace in Australia, particularly amongst the young. "In 2016 43% of people aged 14 and older reported they had used an illicit drug at some point in their lifetime". And "28% of people in their twenties said they had used illicit drugs in the past year".

The inflexible attitudes of today's policy-makers contrast dramatically with the ground-breaking approaches to public health policy for which Australia was once known. Since the 1970s many successful campaigns have improved road safety, increased immunisation rates and helped stem the spread of blood-borne virus infections.

Wearing seatbelts was made compulsory across Australia in the early 1970s. Random breath testing and helmets for bike riders were introduced in the 1980s. These actions alone saved many thousands of lives.

In the late 1980s the introduction of needle exchange, methadone treatment programs, and more recently, extensive access to effective therapies for hepatitis C, have reduced the health burden from devastating infections such as HIV and the incidence of serious liver disease, dramatically.

All of these programs had to overcome forceful and continued hostility from opposition that argued they would do more harm than good. "But in all cases the pessimists were proved wrong". Road safety measures did not cause drivers and cyclists to behave more recklessly. Clean needle availability did not increase intravenous drug use. Ready access to condoms did not provoke greater risk taking and increased cases of AIDS.

Read more at The Conversation


20 December 2018

Cancer Council NSW tips for a healthier Christmas

While many of us are happy to indulge over Christmas, the extra girth gained seems less appealing once the New Year rolls around.

Weight gain over the festive season is a major contributor to excess yearly weight gain, especially for people who are already carrying more weight than they would like.

But rather than fearing the fare on offer, a few simple considerations when preparing food for Christmas can keep it fun and fulfilling, and healthy too

The Cancer Council suggest these tips to help keep the extra kilos at bay which not only includes increasing fruit and vegetable but has cancer prevention benefits too.

                                                                Source: pixabay

Contemplating the last Christmas together

Most Australians are looking forward to Christmas, to catching up with family, sharing a meal and family memories, and then relaxing over summer. However, around 200,000 Australian families will be affected by death and dying this Christmas.Yet many of us are unable to talk about what is happening and may avoid the topic of dying, which can leave families feeling isolated and unsupported.
Read more here on CareSearch to discover suggestions that have been made to help people facing bereavement at Christmas.

                                                                                                   Source: Caresearch

18 December 2018

Guidelines for Guidelines

The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) recently launched 'Guidelines for Guidelines, providing guideline developers with practical advice on how to meet the 2016 NHMRC Guideline Standards.

It is an online resource comprised of a collection of peer reviewed modules that form a handbook that covers every aspect of the planning, development, review, implementation and updating of guidelines.

Public feedback is encouraged at

Read more about the Guidelines here.

                                                                                              image credit: NHMRC

13 December 2018

BHI Healthcare Quarterly

BHI (Bureau of Health Information) has released its latest Healthcare Quarterly report, for July to September 2018, featuring measures of activity and performance in public hospitals and ambulance services in NSW.

Presentations to emergency departments were down 3.2% on the same quarter in 2017 and overall, timeliness of care in NSW emergency departments improved when compared with the same period last year.

Read the full report here or watch the video from the BHI website:

11 December 2018

Australia’s international health performance is in the spotlight

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has built a tool that can be used to compare Australian data on health and healthcare with comparable international data.

International health data comparisons 2018, gives a new way of comparing Australia’s performance on variety of health-related measures using the data from 36 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries.

The tool delivers users with interactive data visualisations to create a comparison of key health indicators including life expectancy, health risk influences and causes of death. It also gives an understanding of how Australia’s healthcare system lines up, including data on our pharmaceutical market, health insurance coverage, and elective surgery waiting times.

The data shows that Australia performs well across most of the indicators.

To read more and gain access to the new data tool go to the AIHW website.

07 December 2018

Great books about living with mental illness

Books that contain characters we relate to can provide a way to transcribe the messiness in our minds and understand other people's emotions.

Mental illness can sometimes make it challenging to find the concentration required to read, but these nine books are worth the effort, as recommended by SANE Australia.

Check out the books here
                                                      Source: SANE Australia

04 December 2018

Looking for research information on the treatment of chronic respiratory conditions in Australia? This report might help.

Utilising PBS and MBS data to report on the treatment and management of chronic respiratory conditions 2016–17.

The above report investigates the use of the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) claims data to respond to vital research questions for reporting on the treatment and management of chronic respiratory conditions in Australia. Including high level analysis on medications dispensed for the treatment and management of chronic respiratory conditions in 2016–17, as well as dispensing patterns.

To download the report and read more go to the AIHW website

30 November 2018


Australian waistlines are continuing to grow. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s latest report on the subject, published in June 2018, almost two in three adults were overweight or obese in 2014-15.

Twenty-eight per cent were obese in 2014-15, an increase from 19% in 1995. And 26% of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2014-15.

Pharmacists and other health professionals are in an excellent position to help people who are overweight make some lifestyle improvements.

It’s now well known that loss of just five to 10% of body weight can have significant health benefits, including for the cardiovascular system, an impact on diabetes, kidney disease and knee problems related to weight.

Read the full report here at

27 November 2018

Vaccine-preventable diseases

A new update has been released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Globally, vaccination is a successful and cost-effective health intervention. Funding for vaccination against 17 diseases to eligible people has been provided by the Australian Government through the National Immunisation Program.

This release is a series of downloadable fact sheets providing information about these diseases and how they affect the Australian population. Information includes statistics on cases reported, patients hospitalised and morbidity.

Read the release on the AIHW website.

8 hours sleep per day : Do we really need it?

Most of us try to live by the rule of eight hours of work, eight hours of play, eight hours of sleep. Tradition has long told us we need to have eight hours of sleep per day. Some profess that they need more, while others say they can function fine on four or five.

Is the human brain wired to need eight hours, or is everyone different? The Conversation asked five experts if everyone needs eight hours of sleep per day.

5/5 Experts say NO

Read their detailed responses here.