Pathology in PNG

Pathology laboratory opens in Port Moresby

Don't Chew betel nut

Don't Chew Betel Nut, Don't Smoke, Reduce Alcohol, Eat Healthy, Exercise Regularly

Fighting Cervice Cancer in PNG

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Choosing Food

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PNG's MRI Scanner

Public health system in PNG gets first MRI scanner

Monday, February 27, 2017

Expansion of cancer ward by volunteers in PNG

Former Radiation Oncologist Doctor John Niblett says during his time at the Cancer Centre he invited colleagues from overseas to do voluntary work at the Centre.

He said a Dr Anthony Knittle visited to calibrate the cobalt machine and help radiation therapists in computerized planning every four months, Chris Walsh senior tutor in radiation therapy at the Royal Brisbane hospital upgrade training of radiation therapists and Catherine Beaufort senior Tutor at Alfred hospital in Melbourne helped upgrade training of PNGNCTC Radiation therapists and teach students of radiation therapy at the University of Technology and Ian Lynch a senior Radiation Therapist who had worked in Australia, New Zealand and Vietnam visited the cancer centre during his time to help for free.

“These people contributed to the expansion of the cancer center in Lae for free,” said Dr Niblett. Post Courier

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why eating a lot of fat is worse for men than women

It's generally agreed that eating too much fat is bad for you, but exactly how much damage it can do depends on whether you are a man or a woman, writes Dr Zoe Williams.

Eating too much fat can make you put on weight and lead to heart disease - especially if you eat too much of the wrong kind of fat, such as the omega-6 fats found in many processed foods. But now it seems sausages, pastries and cakes are even worse for men than they are for women.

A recent study measured how the two sexes responded when they spent a week eating large amounts of these foods and how it affected their ability to control blood sugar levels. I wanted to test this diet myself, and in order to compare my response to that of a man I persuaded the person behind the research, Dr Matt Cocks of Liverpool John Moores University, to join me.

Before we started, our body fat was measured and our blood sugar levels recorded. We were given glucose monitors to wear to keep track of our blood sugar throughout the week.

Zoe's typical day on the high fat diet

§  Breakfast: Three eggs, 30g cheddar cheese, 60g chorizo, 10g butter

§  Lunch: 10g butter, cheese and onion roll, pork pie, two cheese strings

§  Dinner: 150g pork belly, 30g cheddar cheese, 60g coleslaw, three hash browns

§  Snacks: Can of cola, 30g nuts

In order to have an impact in just one week, our diet contained about 50% more calories than we would normally eat. A typical evening meal included a couple of sausages, some hash browns, a few slices of bacon, and a lump of cheese.

Twice during the week, Matt and I also drank a sugary drink to introduce sugar into our blood stream. This mimics what happens when we eat carbohydrates which our bodies break down into sugars. The glucose monitors would be able to show us whether the diet was affecting our ability to clear this sugar from our blood.

When we looked at the results we saw that, like the women in Matt's study, my ability to control my blood sugar levels didn't get any worse on the diet. Matt, however, got 50% worse at clearing glucose from his blood.

The same trend was apparent in Matt's research, where on average men got 14% worse at controlling their sugar levels.

"One of the first steps towards type 2 diabetes is poorer control of glucose," says Matt. "So what we're seeing here, is that I've really lowered my control of sugar, and if I continued with that for a long time, that would probably progress me to type 2 diabetes."

The diet Matt and I undertook was extreme but in the real world the same processes will be happening to a lesser extent in people who regularly over consume unhealthy fats.

So what can men do about it?

The best advice is to eat a balanced diet but exercise can also help.

"If you have a meal and then you exercise, then you're going to start to burn that meal," says Matt. "So say you eat a very high fat meal or a sugary meal, you can start to remove the negative effects by going for a walk afterwards."
Source:  BBC

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Understanding how cancer begins

The World Cancer Day falls on Saturday February 4, and we wanted to celebrate this day by putting together this article to help in raising awareness about cancer in our country.

Have you ever wondered how a person develops cancer?

To start with, we know that cancer is a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.

But how does cancer form in a person?

To answer that question, one has to understand the genetics of cancer.

Firstly, it will make your read easier to know about human genes as explained by Cancer.Net:

Genes are found in the DNA in each cell that makes up your body. They control how the cell functions, including how quickly it grows, how often it divides, and how long it lives. Researchers estimate that there are 30,000 different genes in each cell.

Genes are located on 46 chromosomes, which are arranged in two sets of 23 chromosomes. You inherit one set of chromosomes from your mother and one set from your father. One chromosome in each set of 23 determines whether you are female or male. The other 22 chromosome pairs, called autosomes, determine your other physical characteristics.

Genes control how your cells work by making proteins that have specific functions and act as messengers for the cell. Therefore, each gene must have the correct instructions or "code" for making its protein. This is so the protein can perform the correct function for the cell. All cancers begin when one or more genes in a cell are mutated, or changed. This creates an abnormal protein or no protein at all. An abnormal protein provides different information than a normal protein, which can cause cells to multiply uncontrollably and become cancerous.

About genetic mutations

There are two basic types of genetic mutations:

Acquired mutations are the most common cause of cancer. These occur from damage to genes during a person’s life.  They are not passed from parent to child. Factors such as tobacco, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, viruses, and age cause these mutations. Cancer that occurs because of acquired mutations is called sporadic cancer.
Germline mutations, which are less common, are passed directly from a parent to a child. In these situations, the mutation can be found in every cell of a person’s body, including the reproductive sperm cells in a boy’s body and egg cells in a girl’s body. Because the mutation affects reproductive cells, it passes from generation to generation. Cancer caused by germline mutations is called inherited cancer, and it makes up about 5% to 10% of all cancers.
Mutations and cancer
Mutations happen often, and the human body is normally able to correct most of them. Depending on where in the gene the change occurs, a mutation may be beneficial, harmful, or make no difference at all. So, one mutation alone is unlikely to lead to cancer. Usually, it takes multiple mutations over a lifetime to cause cancer. This is why cancer occurs more often in older people who have had more opportunities for mutations to build up.

Types of genes linked to cancer

Many of the genes that contribute to the development of cancer fall into broad categories:

Tumor suppressor genes are protective genes. Normally, they limit cell growth by monitoring how quickly cells divide into new cells, repairing mismatched DNA, and controlling when a cell dies. When a tumor suppressor gene is mutated, cells grow uncontrollably and may eventually form a mass called a tumor. BRCA1, BRCA2, and p53 are examples of tumor suppressor genes. Germline mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes increase a woman’s risk of developing hereditary breast or ovarian cancers. The most commonly mutated gene in people who have cancer is p53. In fact, more than 50% of all cancers involve a missing or damaged p53 gene. Most p53 gene mutations are acquired mutations. Germline p53 mutations are rare.
Oncogenes turn a healthy cell into a cancerous cell. Mutations in these genes are not inherited. Two common oncogenes are:
HER2, which is a specialised protein that controls cancer growth and spread, and it is found on some cancer cells, such as breast and ovarian cancer cells
The ras family of genes, which make proteins involved in cell communication pathways, cell growth, and cell death.
DNA repair genes fix mistakes made when DNA is copied. But if a person has an error in a DNA repair gene, these mistakes are not corrected. And then they become mutations, which may eventually lead to cancer. This is especially true if the mutation occurs in a tumor suppressor gene or oncogene. Mutations in DNA repair genes can be inherited, such as with Lynch syndrome, or acquired.
Despite all that is known about the different ways cancer genes work, many cancers cannot be linked to a specific gene. Cancer likely involves multiple gene mutations. Some evidence also suggests that genes interact with their environment, further complicating genes’ role in cancer.

Doctors hope to continue learning more about how genetic changes affect the development of cancer. This knowledge may lead to improvements in finding and treating cancer, as well as predicting a person’s risk of cancer.

World Cancer Day is February 4, Saturday.

Over the weeks, Loop lifestyle will bring more information on cancer.

LoopPNG : Picture: MedecineNet

Cancer patient needs overseas treatment

39 year old Winnie Mou Solien from Gaire village in Central currently admitted at Angau hospital in Lae with cervical cancer at stage 2B needs overseas radiation treatment costing more than K50 000.

According to husband Jerry Solien, he is aware that the K50 000 is only for the treatment at the identified Manila hospital but the travel and living expenses can total up to K100 000.

Mr Solien said Winnie was referred to Angau last November from the Port Moresby General hospital and admitted on 02nd December 2016 and finally undergoing external beam radiotherapy last month on 04th January at the Cancer Centre.

Mr  Solien said given the current status of Winnie’s treatment now encountering added complications, she need’s overseas treatment once her current radiation treatment plan ends in a month’s time.

Mr Solien said he is now faced with the huge task of raising more than K50 000 to bring her wife to Manila for further treatment and the money is needed to be raised within the next four weeks only.

“Otherwise the treatment is not complete after my wife completes her radiation treatment in Lae,” said Mr Solien.

Mr Solien said the needed treatment is there but all he needs is the financial assistance to bring his wife overseas.

He said so far he spent up to K6 000 to come to Lae seeking treatment.

Mr Solien is appealing for much needed financial assistance from the public at this time and for more details to assist, you can call him (Mr Solien) as well her younger sister who is assisting to seek the much needed funds.

Contact details are as follows; Jerry Solien phone number is 75349282 and her sister, Gini Segana Katrina Solien mobile number 79166279.

Donations can be made to account number 6001460758, Westpac bank, Waigani branch and account name is Gini Segana Katrina Solien.

According to the Doctor John Niblett, the only Radiation Oncologist currently in PNG, the late stage two of cervical cancer is not curative through surgery.

He said if surgery is done the cancer will come back.

Dr Niblett said radiation therapy of cervical cancer at stage two is 60% curable, stage three is 35-45%-45% curable and stage four is 15% curable. Post Courier