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Tackling The Scourge of Cancer; A Plea

The scourge of cancer continues to spread across our world beyond the boundaries of age race and color. In spite of our knowledge of can...

Prevent Hepatitis, Act Now


World Hepatitis Day!


Every 28th of July, marks the World Hepatitis Day. This year's campaign not only focuses on raising  awareness of the often underestimated viral inf , but also on preventive measures against it.

There are about 400million people living with hepatitis B and C worldwide. Up to 1.4 million people die due to the infection every year and there are millions of new infections on a yearly basis.

The transmission of the virus can be prevented through better awareness and services that improve safety practices including blood and injection safety, perinatal screenings and vaccinations.

Four Hundred million deaths is certainly more than enough for A Call to Awareness and Action.

Lets Join the Campaign Today

http://worldhepatitisday.org/

Ref: World Health Organization Media Center
WorldHepatitisDay website

Medic-ALL.Inc 2015!!! One Year Anniversary


LIFE AFTER MED SCHOOL Episode II


Choosing A Medical Specialty






Some medical students know exactly what kind of doctor they want to be long before applying or resuming medical school. For others, it takes years of lectures, coursework and clinical rotations for them to decide on what specialty they fancy the most. Even so, many more still have a hard time making up their minds long after graduation.

This decision could prove to be a task for many medical graduates! Asking one's self certain questions (starting with the questions in a first episode of the sequel ; "What You Must Know Before Leaving Med School") could help narrow down the choices.



The very first question to consider at this point involves your Personality.

1. What kind of Person am I?
Are you a people person? Do you genuinely enjoy listening to people? Are you interested in having a lot of patient contact? Or do you prefer as little as possible patient contact? Certain specialties such as Family Medicine, Psychiatry and aspects of Internal Medicine offer a lot of patient contact while others like Radiology and Pathology offer less patient contact. You may also want to consider your personality type in terms of your love for routine or for variety as the case may be. You don't want to be bored in your choice of specialty! SO IT BASICALLY STARTS WITH KNOWING YOURSELF!

The next 2 really important questions you want to consider have do with your Time.

2. How much Time do I want to have for myself and my family down the years? & How many years would I like to put into training?
These are really crucial questions that may well determine how happy you would be in your choice of specialty. Even though you would love to be the "Benjamin Carson" of your generation, the time it will take you to go through a Neurosurgical residency in any part of the world and practice as a Neurosurgeon is worth considering, especially if raising a family with a working wife (perhaps an equally ambitious medical  graduate also considering a surgical residency!) is important to you. You definitely have to be clear on how much time you want to give to the profession. COUNT THE COSTS!..

Along the same line as the previous 2 points involves considering the sort of lifestyle you wish to have outside the hospital doors!

3.  What type of lifestyle do I want?
After the long hours of work and  "crazy" calls, there is nothing wrong with wanting some kind of life outside of the hospital walls. If this is important to you, you want to narrow your focus in the direction of specialties that are less time intensive. Even within specialties certain sub-specialties consume less of the doctors time than others. So it's basically a question of how much free time you wish to have to yourself on the long run. This one is more important to some than others.


4. Do you love Emergencies?
Are you one of those that live for the "energy-drive and adrenaline-rush"  of the emergency room or are you allergic to stress? It is important to know if you are someone who does well under pressure as you consider a choice of specialty. Certain aspects of medicine are filled with life-threatening situations in which you are regularly involved in high pressure,  life or death situations in your patients. You want to sure of what you can handle before getting into a specialty. ARE YOU HARDCORE?

5. Does the Paycheck matter to you?
This is one, I was almost not going to talk about, not because it's not important , but largely because I personally have my reservations when it comes to practicing medicine with remuneration in mind. This is obviously a key factor in "Choosing a Medical Specialty" for many. However, there are many parts of the world where doctors employed by the government earn similar salaries irrespective of specialty or call hours, while in other countries there are differences in the paychecks of practitioners across specialties. Hence, those who are going to decide based on the paycheck will nurture the idea of practicing in another environment. This leads to the next question

6. Where do I want to Train/Practice?
The increasing trend of medical students trained in developing countries pursuing residency training notably in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia has largely been due to the desire to get the "best" training possible as well as better appreciation and a "better life" worthy of the sacrifices of the medical profession. Other reasons include a lack of availability of adequate training facilities for certain sub-specialties such as Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic  , Vascular Surgery, Interventional Cardiology and Intervention Radiology most commonly. Hence, answering the question of where you would want to train or practice could indeed open up more options of specialties that may necessarily not be "marketable" in your home country.  See What You Must Know Before Leaving Med School"Episode 1.




Finally, it is important that you choose a specialty that you love! You want to enjoy doing what you do, asides from being able to settle you bills, having time for your family and going on exotic vacations. For the sake of the patients you are going to care for and the younger colleagues who look up to you and are eager to learn from you, YOU NEED TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO. You therefore should consider this last question!

7. What Makes Your Day!
This may involve thinking back to your medical school days or internship years and  recalling the events of your clinical rotations or particular patient encounters. There are days you felt happy to be a medical student, call hours that you weren't in a hurry to disappear from, those rotations that stood out in your clinical years, all simply because you enjoyed yourself! Perhaps your "innate" area of expertise and dream specialty choice is embedded in those memories.

Having giving so much into this course of study and practice, the least we owe ourselves is to be Happy Doctors, Giving our All on a daily basis, simply because we are Passionate about what we do.

CLICK HERE FOR EPISODE 1 OF THE SERIES; What you must know before leaving Med School

Medic-ALL inc 2015! Anniversary Week Special

Tackling The Scourge of Cancer; A Plea


The scourge of cancer continues to spread across our world beyond the boundaries of age race and color.

In spite of our knowledge of cancers, their risk factors, tumor markers and oncogenes, cancer deaths seem to continue to skyrocket with almost no restrictions as to which organs can be ravaged and totally taken over by cancer cells.





As some have said, if we look at the situation from a certain angle the warning from the World Health Organisation of a tidal wave of cancer sweeping the globe over the next 20 years could be considered a good news. Cancer used to largely be considered a disease of old age, with cancers such as breast, lung, colon, ovarian prostate and cervical been expected mostly in older age group – this meant that more people in the world were surviving long enough to get it. But while it is good to grow old (rather than die young) no one wants to die of cancer. However many cancers still kill people before their time as we have begun to some of the above listed cancers in the middle age group. Cancer has continued to impose an immense and growing burden on families, health systems and states that care to notice. Hence the WHO’s alarm call

The World Health Organisation estimates that the worldwide burden will rise by 70 per cent from 14 million cases in 2012 to 24 million in 2035, much of it borne by poorer countries. Of all the exports of the modern world, cancer is one of which we should feel least proud. Once a disease of rich countries it is now a global epidemic – and the Westernisation of traditional lifestyles is in large part to blame. Cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, sedentary lifestyles – all are fuelling its growth. 

Many believe that a huge percentage of cancer cases could be avoided, with "simple" dietary and lifestyle modifications. For example, Dr Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer says "Prevention is the key, with the single most effective measure thought to be curbs on the tobacco industry.  

In China, One billion deaths were recorded from smoking alone in the last century. Lung cancer remains the commonest form of cancer in China – and the world. It accounts for almost one in five of all cancer deaths.  

Asides from cigarette smoking, certain Western diets have been associated the development of cancers. Even with a family history of cancer or in someone already battling the disease, it is believed that this lifestyle modifications can help in fighting off cancer.   


What we eat and what we don't eat has a powerful effect on our health including the risk of cancer. For example, a daily serving of red or processed meat (bacon, sausage, hot dogs) increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 20 percent , while eating whole soy foods like Green Soybeans (Edamane) can reduce the risk of breast cancer. How you prepare your meat also matters! ; Prepare meat, poultry and fish by baking, broiling or poaching fathers than by frying or charboiling. Whole grain breads, pasta and cereals should be choosen over breads, cereals and pasta made from refined grains. 

Dairy protein consumption has been implicated as a risk factor for prostate cancer, while eating more fruits and vegetables lower the risk of colon cancers and a variety of common cancers. Alcohol and Obesity have also been known to be drivers of cancers, especially breast cancers.  

Yes Cancers are deadly, unfortunately family history plays a role in many cancers yet we know that certain cancers are preventable, we've known that for the last 3 decades maybe. But what has the privileged West done about it? Are we really doing enough? Have we acted on all the volumes of information in our medical books and journals? From Smoking, to Obesity to Alcohol consumption to our diets? Are we going to watch the rates of cancer soar, from laryngeal to tongue to penile cancers. Is there yet something to be done by those who can? Bans on smoking and ultra-cheap alcohol may be a start, but can we do more? 

Is this a case of the Western world having started a global epidemic, asking the middle- and low income countries to do as they say , but not as they do? 

Certainly, tackling the scourge of cancer in the world over will require both genuine responsibility and action from all stakeholders in both the developed and developing economies from governments to individuals. Everyone has a Role, shall we?  


Medic-ALL Inc! ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL!!!

Malaria Vaccine Finally!

DISEASES
Doctor's age long quest for a malaria vaccine has finally paid off as health officials in Europe on Friday, approved the world's first vaccine for malaria


The ancient scourge spread by mosquitoes sickened nearly 200 million people in 2013, killing about 600,000 -- mostly in Africa.

The malaria parasite which is carried by mosquitoes can persist in the human body for years. It is harder to make a vaccine against a parasite as compared to a virus or bacteria, because the parasite has a complicated life cycle that takes it from the blood to the liver and back again.


Most of the victims of malaria are children under the age of 5. In fact, the disease claims the life of one child every minute. After almost three decades of research, Dr. Moncef Slaoui and his team at GSK have finally produced an effective vaccine.
According to Slaoui, the vaccine is only about 30 percent effective, but with malaria so rampant, it could be a game-changer, preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.
Dr. Slaoui has been working on the vaccine for 27 years, and it was really emotional for him to hear that it had been approved.

GlaxoSmithKline worked with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to develop the vaccine, which was called RTS,S when it was experimental but which now has the brand name Mosquirix. The European Medicines Agency has OK'd it for use in children 6 weeks to 17 months old.





The Vice president of product development for PATH, Dr David Kaslow, MD said in a statement that today marked a significant scientific milestone for the long-standing partnership to develop a vaccine, but stressed that there were yet many steps to be taken in order to have the vaccine reach children in Africa who are most in need of protection against the parasite.



The vaccine was tested in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and cost about $600 million to develop. It's now up to the World Health Organization to determine its roll-out date, which could be as early as 2016.

Ref: CBS news, NBC news
Medic-ALL Inc 1 Year Anniversary!


The Path to a Smoke Free World



Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times.”
Mark Twain


Growing up , I remember watching those tobacco adverts on television that ended with that "ironic" but scary WARNING, that stated clearly that tobacco smokers are liable to die young. At that time, like most people, I simply concluded that smoking would surely have harmful effects on the lungs which would ultimately lead to death.

As years went by however, "medical school happened" and I knew a lot better. I learnt and realized (some times after losing a chronic smoker and alcoholic to an advanced esophageal carcinoma) that the dangers of smoking were not restricted to the lungs and that it infact affected nearly every system in the human body! From increasing the risk of strokes to coronary artery diseases to lung diseases, lung cancers, the proven association with bladder, cervical, esophageal, pancreatic, blood, colon and a couple of other cancers and the obstetric and gynecological dangers (preterm births, stillbirths, low-birth weight, ectopic pregnancy e.t.c) , tobacco smoking seems to do it all, and I haven't even mentioned what it does to the sperm of men, the health of bones and the risk of cataracts! And as far as those tobacco adverts on Nigerian television back then are concerned, recent researches have indeed shown that smoking could singlehandedly shorten one's life by up to 14 years!


Cigarette smoking causes up to 480,000 deaths (human deaths!) per year in the United States! At least the United States has figures and a great healthcare system to go with that. I can't imagine what the figures are like in some other countries with less developed healthcare structures.


I recently came acroos an article on what we can best refer to as a "health-obsessed nation" where there is the world's lowest population of smokers according the the World Health Organization. The country, Turkmenistan, is an oil rich former Soviet republic with some unconventional methods but interesting achievements.







The country's "authoritharian" president, Berdymukhamedov, is a dentist by training who has been in power since the death of his eccentric predecessor, Niyazov in 2006. Niyazov, himself campaigned against smoking and built a 36km "path of health" into the mountains surrounding the nation's capital, Ashgabat which government officials were forced to walk.


Some months ago, the country with about 5 million people held a month of public exercises and sporting events under the slogan "health and happiness".


About 25 years ago, 27% of Turkmen over 15 and 1% of women smoked. A decade later Turkmenistan banned smoking in public places, state buildings and the army as well as all forms of tobacco advertising. Comparing that with 31.1% of the global male population over the age of 15 smoked in 2012 and 6.2% of women were smokers, a statistics that has probably worsened. Recently a WHO overview showed that only 8% of the Turkmenistan population smoke, and this is the lowest National indicator in world according to the World Health Organization's Director, Margaret Chan.


The question is , what will it take to have such success stories reproduced in many countries where tobacco smoking continues to account for huge morbidity and mortality. Perhaps the truth is that there are yet lessons to be learnt and imbibed from the isolated nation of Turkmenistan where fewer than one out of 12 people use tobacco if the world is serious about saving itself from the dangers of smoking.


Medic-ALL Inc Anniversary Special


Refs: World Health Organization, the Guardian, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention


See also ; Smoking: Breaking The Habit

Choosing A Medical Specialty

WHAT YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE LEAVING MEDICAL SCHOOL Episode II


Some medical students know exactly what kind of doctor they want to be long before applying or resuming medical school. For others, it takes years of lectures, coursework and clinical rotations for them to decide on what specialty they fancy the most. Even so, many more still have a hard time making up their minds long after graduation.
The decision could well prove to be a task! Asking one's self certain questions (starting with the questions in a first episode of the sequel ; "What You Must Know Before Leaving Med School") could help narrow down the choices.

The very first question to consider at this point involves your Personality.

1. What kind of Person am I?
Are you a people person? Do you genuinely enjoy listening to people? Are you interested in having a lot of patient contact? Or do you prefer as little as possible patient contact? There are certain specialties such as Family Medicine, Psychiatry and aspects of Internal Medicine offer a lot of patient contact while others like Radiology and Pathology offer less patient contact. You may also want to consider your personality type in terms of your love for routine or preference for variety as the case may be. You don't want to be bored in your choice of specialty!  SO IT BASICALLY STARTS WITH KNOWING YOURSELF!

The next 2 really important questions you want to consider have do with your Time.

2. How much Time do I want to have for myself and my family down the years? & How many years would I like to put into training?
These are really crucial questions that may well determine how happy you would be in your choice of specialty. Even though you would love to be the "Benjamin Carson" of your generation, the time it will take you to go through a Neurosurgical residency in any part of the world and practice as a Neurosurgeon is worth considering, especially if raising a family with a working wife (perhaps an equally ambitious medical graduate also considering a surgical residency!) is important to you. You definitely have to be clear on how much time you want to give to the profession. COUNT THE COSTS!..

Along the same line as the previous 2 points involves considering the sort of lifestyle you wish to have outside the hospital doors!

3.  What type of lifestyle do I want?...........

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