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10 cancer symptoms you should look out for & do not ignore them

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

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Most of us think we know the telltale signs of cancer: a lump in the breast, unexplainable tiredness, sudden weight loss… but experts are pointing to lesser known symptoms to watch out for that may lead to earlier detection of the disease.

Professor of medical oncology at Southampton University and lead clinician for Cancer Research UK, Peter Johnson says many early signals are “vague and non-specific”.

“It’s these that people need to be aware of and report to their doctors. But we’re not good at paying attention to our own bodies, to what’s normal for us, so we ignore minor symptoms which occasionally can be caused by early cancer,” he told The Telegraph.

Clinical oncologist Dr David Bloomfield says in most cases catching the disease in its early stages ensures a cure.

He says it’s important to not only be aware of the symptoms noted below, but if something else appears unusual and doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks, get it checked out.

Here are 10 symptoms to note that could lead to early cancer detection:
1. A hoarse or croaky voice

This can be a common component of a cold, but if it persists it should be checked out. The symptom can indicate “an early, curable head or neck cancer such as one of the vocal cords,” says Dr Bloomfield.

2. Heavy night sweats

While the summer heat or the onset of menopause in women could more than likely be the cause of night sweats, it’s a symptom that could also be a sign of lymphoma.

Dr Shankara Paneesha, consultant haematologist in Birmingham, told The Telegraph: “People with lymphoma have high metabolisms because lymphoma cells use a lot of energy, so they get severe, drenching night sweats where they need to change their pyjamas and sometimes the bedding.”

3. Persistent heartburn

For many, heartburn is a common issue following a particularly spicy or fatty meal. But if your heartburn lasts more than two to three weeks and requires regular antacid medication it could signal stomach or oesophageal cancer.

Occasionally it can be linked to ovarian or pancreatic cancer.

4. Middle back pain

For the vast majority, back pain is due to a musculoskeletal issue. But for some it can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer.

Pippa Corrie, consultant and associate lecturer in medical oncology at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says there is a particular sign to note:

“The classic symptom is pain in the upper abdomen that spreads out across the back,” she says.

Situated at the back of the abdomen, as the pancreas grows, it begins to invade nerves which signal back pain.

“While most musculoskeletal back pain will occur in the lower back, that associated with pancreatic cancer is about a hand’s breadth above that and may also come with other symptoms, such as people being off their food, tiredness and weight loss.”

5. Post-menopausal bleeding

This can be a sign of endometrial cancer. Dr Bloomfield says any kind of post-menopausal bleeding should be checked with your GP.

Endometrial cancer is also associated with being overweight.

6. Trouble urinating

As men age, the prostate gland grows. This can increase the need to urinate, especially at night.

Difficulty passing urine or needing to go more frequently could indicate prostate cancer.

7. Finding it hard to swallow

Trouble swallowing can be an indication of a stroke or brain but occasionally it can be an early symptom of a head and neck cancer such as of the vocal cords, oesophagus, mouth or tongue.

Most commonly found in those who smoke and drink regularly, other symptoms can include pain at the back of the mouth.

8. Changes in stools

Blood in faeces is a commonly known indication of bowel cancer. But it’s also important to note any sudden changes in colour, frequency and pain.

In rare cases it can also be an indicator of ovarian or pancreatic cancer.

9. A persistent sore

Changes to moles including itching and bleeding are commonly known as symptoms of skin cancer. Other symptoms include small lumps on the skin that continue to grow, and some cases produce an ulcer that won’t heal.

10. Mouth ulcers

The majority of mouth ulcers are from a viral infection, will clear up in three to four days and are notably painful.

An ulcer in the mouth or on the tongue which lasts for three to four weeks and may or may not be painful could indicate cancer.

Also look for white marks on the tongue or thick, white patches. These need to be checked by your GP as they indicate changes to the mouth’s lining which could lead to cancer.

Henry Sapiecha

Killer cancer we know very little about

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Kristin Washbourne thought she was doing all the right things to cure what she thought was indigestion. Then she was given a two per cent chance of survival

AT 45, worn out from chasing after two small children and sometimes neglecting to take care of herself, Kristin Washbourne didn’t even think to question her GP when he told her the abdominal pain she had been experiencing was probably indigestion.

She accepted the diagnosis, went to the chemist for some antacids, and promised to take better care of herself.

It wasn’t until loading up on yet more packs of the indigestion tablets, that a very insistent young pharmacist warned her that if she’s been taking the treatment for more than 10 days she had to see her doctor about it.

She’d been popping the over-the-counter pills daily for almost a full year.

“Over that year I had been mentioning the pain to my doctor, but also blowing it off a bit and blaming myself,” she told news.com.au.

“I was a bit overweight, not exercising as much as I should, but I sort of kept downplaying it, but after that I asked him to send me off and get tests for ulcers and bacterins that caused ulcers.”

The tests didn’t eventuate, instead Kristin made another promise to take better care of herself.

But a little while later, after a week of extreme fatigue during the summer holidays – barely being able to move for the pain, and feeling like she could only feel OK if she didn’t eat – Kristin began taking the symptoms a bit more seriously and had her husband rush her to the emergency room.

A lick of fake tan had concealed her yellowing skin, and through her tiredness she didn’t notice her eyes had gone a creamy colour.

This picture was taken a couple of days after Kristin Washbourne was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a two per cent shot at survival. She hadn’t even realised her skin and eyes were turning yellow. Picture: Kristin Washbourne

This extreme jaundice, combined with the stomach pains, the fatigue, and some strange bowel movements, all pointed to one thing: pancreatic cancer.

“It was something that I had never even thought of, and looking back now, even when I got the diagnosis, it makes me realise how much I didn’t know,” she said.

Instead of freezing at the word cancer, Kristin said she felt strangely relieved. She thought: “They cure cancer these days, I guess I’ll be fine.”

But what Kristin didn’t know then, and what most Australians aren’t aware of, is that when it comes to pancreatic cancer, there’s no such thing as an easy fix.

It is one of the most aggressive cancers with one of the lowest survival rates.

Of the nine people diagnosed in Australia every day, only one is likely to survive.

When Kristin was diagnosed, just five years ago, she was give a two per cent chance at survival.

On average, when an Australian is diagnosed with the disease, they’ll only have six months to live.

It was the terrifyingly low instances of survival from pancreatic cancer that make Kristin not only lucky to be alive, but also made her journey so difficult.

Even though she was given such a dark prognosis, her treatment was successful and she never felt as sick as she thought she should.

After a gamut of tests and surgery that left her with a scar from her pubic bone to her sternum that made Kristin look “all zipped up”, she cried for 48 hours, didn’t sleep for days, and stayed in hospital for weeks.

Kristin’s daughter Marla has dyed her hair purple to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. Picture: Kristin Washbourne

Eight rounds of chemo and radiation left her “knocked out” for months, but every step of the way she was just thinking, it could be a lot worse.

As she went through her recovery, Kristin’s understanding of the seriousness of the disease continued to develop, and she realised how lucky she was.

“The pain (from the surgery) was incredible, the recovery from that was just unbearable, but it eventually was over and I felt pretty much OK,” she said.

“In my recovery, I had a really bad feeling of survivor guilt. I lost 30kg, There were months when I was basically bedridden, completely knocked out by steroids, but every step of the way I knew most other people didn’t make it to that stage.”

When Kristin started to feel better, things began to get even more uncertain.

“The trouble is for me, once I started getting better, it gave me a boost when the oncologist was pretty happy that I was still around so I thought maybe I was here for good,” she said.

“So what I wanted to know was, what happens next? But I couldn’t find any survivors to talk to. No one could tell me what was going to happen, how my life would change, if I would carry on as normal.

“It was a really hard time. I was so desperate to talk to someone to find out what happens next, but the survival rates are even lower than the awareness rates when it comes to this disease.”

Five years on from her diagnosis and fighting fit, Kristin has accepted that she is a survivor, and feels the responsibility to use her experience to help people who have been diagnosed, and those who may be delaying diagnosis like she did for so long.

“The thing about this disease, is there is no reason for it. There’s not like a family history as with breast cancer so you know to get checked, there’s no really obvious or specific symptoms like with bowel cancer or prostate cancer,” she said.

“The only hope now is to know the symptoms, and know if someone’s telling you they’ve got indigestion, if it persists, then go and do something. That’s the only way we’re going to catch it.”

Even when she lost weight and was going through chemo, Kristin’s cancer experience was nothing like what she expected. Picture: Kristin Washbourne

St Vincent’s Hospital pancreatic cancer specialist Dr Lorraine Chantrill says the reason pancreatic cancer doesn’t get the same level of awareness as some others with lower death rates, is the same reason Kristin found it difficult to find answers about her recovery.

“The main reason it doesn’t get that recognition is because people die from it,” she said.

“There are very few people who survive who can go on to campaign for it. The other cancers that have got a lot of visibility are cancers that people survive.”

Dr Chantrill says recognition and awareness around the disease are “getting better”, and it’s rising in line with survival rates.

Having the unenviable badge of one of the worst cancers is getting it noticed as well.

But while recognition is increasing, the symptoms are still vague and hard to pin down.

“It’s a cancer that generally presents in people who are older than 60, it often presents with some vague symptoms like upper abdominal pain, but in people who develop diabetes without being overweight, people who have change in their bowel habits of suddenly lose weight for no reason, we want those people to keep persisting with their doctor and to go and get tests,” she said.

“I think we can start to end the nihilism around pancreas cancer and start actually making a difference and it’s thanks to some really brave people who have participated in research.”

This coming Wednesday is world pancreatic cancer day. The Sydney Opera House will be lit up in purple lights and landmarks across the world will follow.

Kristin’s daughter, Marla, has died her hair purple ahead of the day, and Kristin will wear purple clothing.

Whenever anyone asks them why, they’ll start the conversation Kristin, Dr Chantrill and others affected by pancreatic want Australians to start having.

“If people start talking about it, and people start being aware of it, that’s going to lead to more awareness, more fundraising, more research, and more survivors,” Kristin says.

Leah in hospital after the cancer diagnosis. Picture: 60 Minutes

Mr Debono said the image of Leah in hospital after she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour “haunts me”.

“I never thought I would be thrown into any of this,” he said.

“I was holding onto her till the end.”

He and Leah’s parents are desperately trying to figure out how the medical system could fail the young Aussie, who was told she was cancer-free.

“We watched her take her last breath. You don’t ever want to have to go through something like that, it’s really cruel,” Leah’s father, Lex, told 60 Minutes.

“The GP looked at it, assured her that there was nothing … Some trained professionals may not have done their job properly.”

They are also sharing Leah’s story to spread awareness around melanoma and warn Australians about the risks of this deadly disease.

Henry Sapiecha

Prostate Cancer in pics & information.See what it is & how it can be treated here.

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer develops in a man’s prostate, the walnut-sized gland just below the bladder that produces some of the fluid in semen. It’s the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Prostate cancer often grows very slowly and may not cause significant harm. But some types are more aggressive and can spread quickly without treatment.

prostate_diagram image www.newcures.info

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Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

In the early stages, men may have no symptoms. Later, symptoms can include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  • Weak or interrupted urinary stream
  • Painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen

Advanced cancer can cause deep pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

man_in_hallway image www.newcures.info

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Enlarged Prostate or Prostate Cancer?

The prostate can grow larger as men age, sometimes pressing on the bladder or urethra and causing symptoms similar to prostate cancer. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It’s not cancer and can be treated if symptoms become bothersome. A third problem that can cause urinary symptoms is prostatitis. This inflammation or infection may also cause a fever and in many cases is treated with medication.

englarged_prostate image www.newcures.info

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Risk Factors You Can’t Control

Growing older is the greatest risk factor for prostate cancer, particularly after age 50. After 70, studies suggest that most men have some form of prostate cancer, though there may be no outward symptoms. Family history increases a man’s risk: having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles the risk. African-Americans are at high risk and have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world.

men_golfing image www.newcures.info

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Risk Factors You Can Control

Diet seems to play a role in the development of prostate cancer, which is much more common in countries where meat and high-fat dairy are mainstays. The reason for this link is unclear. Dietary fat, particularly animal fat from red meat, may boost male hormone levels. And this may fuel the growth of cancerous prostate cells. A diet too low in fruits and vegetables may also play a role.

slice_of_pizza image www.newcures.info

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Myths About Prostate Cancer

Here are some things that will not cause prostate cancer: Too much sex, a vasectomy, and masturbation. If you have an enlarged prostate (BPH), that does not mean you are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Researchers are still studying whether alcohol use, STDs, or prostatitis play a role in the development of prostate cancer.

couple_in_covertible image www.newcures.info

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Can Prostate Cancer Be Found Early?

Screening tests are available to find prostate cancer early, but government guidelines don’t call for routine testing in men at any age. The tests may find cancers that are so slow-growing that medical treatments would offer no benefit. And the treatments themselves can have serious side effects. The American Cancer Society advises men to talk with a doctor about screening tests, beginning at:

  • 50 for average-risk men who expect to live at least 10 more years.
  • 45 for men at high risk. This includes African-Americans and those with a father, brother, or son diagnosed before age 65.
  • 40 for men with more than one first-degree relative diagnosed at an early age.

man_on_exam_table image www.newcures.info

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Screening: DRE and PSA

Your doctor may initially do a digital rectal exam (DRE) to feel for bumps or hard spots on the prostate. After a discussion with your doctor, a blood test can be used to measure prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by prostate cells. An elevated level may indicate a higher chance that you have cancer, but you can have a high level and still be cancer-free. It is also possible to have a normal PSA and have prostate cancer.

dre_prostate_exam image www.newcures.info

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PSA Test Results

A normal PSA level is considered to be under 4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood, while a PSA above 10 suggests a high risk of cancer. But there are many exceptions:

  • Men can have prostate cancer with a PSA less than 4.
  • A prostate that is inflamed (prostatitis) or enlarged (BPH) can boost PSA levels, yet further testing may show no evidence of cancer.
  • Some BPH drugs can lower PSA levels, despite the presence of prostate cancer, called a false negative.

If either a PSA or DRE test are abnormal, your doctor will order other tests.

blood_sample image www.newcures.info

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Prostate Cancer Biopsy

If a physical exam or PSA test suggests a problem, your doctor may recommend a biopsy. A needle is inserted either through the rectum wall or the skin between the rectum and scrotum. Multiple small tissue samples are removed and examined under a microscope. A biopsy is the best way to detect cancer and predict whether it is slow-growing or aggressive.

prostate_biopsy image www.newcures.info

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Biopsy and Gleason Score

A pathologist looks for cell abnormalities and “grades” the tissue sample from 1 to 5. The sum of two Gleason grades is the Gleason score. These scores help determine the chances of the cancer spreading. They range from  2, less aggressive, to 10, a very aggressive cancer. Gleason scores helps guide the type of treatment your doctor will recommend.

gleason_prostate-cancer_diagram image www.newcures.info

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Prostate Cancer Imaging

Some men may need additional tests to see if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. These can include ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan (seen here). A radionuclide bone scan traces an injection of low-level radioactive material to help detect cancer that has spread to the bone.

In the MRI scan shown here, the tumor is the green, kidney-shaped mass in the center, next to the prostate gland (in pink).

mri_of_prostate_cancer image www.newcures.info

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Prostate Cancer Staging

Staging is used to describe how far prostate cancer has spread (metastasized) and to help determine the best treatment.

  • Stage I: Cancer is small and still within the prostate.
  • Stage II: Cancer is more advanced, but still confined to the prostate.
  • Stage III: Cancer has spread to the outer part of the prostate and nearby seminal vesicles.
  • Stage IV: Cancer has spread to lymph nodes, nearby organs or tissues such as the bladder or rectum, or distant organs such as bones or lungs.

stages_of_prostate_cancer image www.newcures.info

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Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

The good news about prostate cancer is that it usually grows slowly. And 9 out of 10 cases are found in the early stages. Overall, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100% for men with disease confined to the prostate or nearby tissues, and many men live much longer. When the disease has spread to distant areas, that figure drops to 28%. But these numbers are based on men diagnosed at least 5 years ago. The outlook may be better for men diagnosed and treated today.

grandfather_and_grandson image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Watchful Waiting

With low-risk cancer, one option is to watch and wait. This is determined by your biopsy, PSA test, and Gleason scores. Your doctor will order periodic testing. Other treatments — with the risk of sexual or urinary problems — may not be necessary. Some men who are older or have serious health conditions may not need treatment. However, more aggressive treatment is usually recommended for younger men or those with more aggressive disease.

doctor_discussing_prostate_exam_results image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation to kill cancer cells can be used as a first treatment or after prostate cancer surgery. It can also help relieve bone pain from the spread of cancer. In brachytherapy, tiny radioactive pellets about the size of a grain of rice are inserted into the prostate. Both methods can impair erectile function. Fatigue, urinary problems, and diarrhea are other possible side effects.

ct_scan_of_pelvis image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Surgery

Removing the prostate, or radical prostatectomy, is used to eliminate the cancer when it is confined to the prostate. New techniques use smaller incisions and seek to avoid damaging nearby nerves. If lymph nodes are also cancerous, prostatectomy may not be the best option. Surgery may impair urinary and sexual function, but both can improve over time.

prostate_cancer_surgery image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy may shrink or slow the growth of cancer, but unless it is used with another therapy it will not eliminate the cancer. Drugs or hormones block or stop the production of testosterone and other male hormones, called androgens. Side effects can include hot flashes, growth of breast tissue, weight gain, and impotence.

syringe_with_droplet image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy kills cancer cells throughout the body, including those outside the prostate, so it is used to treat more advanced cancer and cancer that did not respond to hormone therapy.  Treatment is usually intravenous and is given in cycles lasting 3-6 months. Because the chemotherapy kills other fast-growing cells in the body, you may have hair loss and mouth sores. Other side effects include nausea, vomiting,  and fatigue.

chemotherapy_treatment image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy freezes and kills cancerous cells within the prostate (like the highly magnified cells shown here.) It is not as widely used because little is known about its long-term effectiveness. It’s less invasive than surgery, with a shorter recovery time. Because the freezing damages nerves, as many as 80% of men become impotent after cryosurgery. There can be temporary pain and burning sensations in the bladder and bowel.

prostate_cancer_cells image www.newcures.info

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Treatment: Prostate Cancer Vaccine

This vaccine is designed to treat, not prevent, prostate cancer by spurring your body’s immune system to attack prostate cancer cells. Immune cells are removed from your blood, activated to fight cancer, and infused back into the blood. Three cycles occur in one month. It’s used for advanced prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone therapy. Mild side effects can occur such as fatigue, nausea, and fever.

prostate_cancer_vaccine image www.newcures.info

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Hope for Advanced Cancer

Your doctor will continue to monitor your PSA levels and may perform other tests after treatment for prostate cancer. If it recurs or spreads to other parts of the body, additional treatment may be recommended. Lifestyle choices may matter, too. One study found that prostate cancer survivors who exercised regularly had a lower risk of dying, for example.

grandfather_walking_with_grandson_bushland image www.newcures.info

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Coping With Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side effect of prostate cancer treatments. Generally, erectile function improves within two years after surgery. Improvement may be better for younger men than for those over 70. You also may benefit from ED medications. Other treatments, such as injection therapy and vacuum devices, may help.

couple_holding_hands image www.newcures.info (2)

www.club-libido.com

www.clublibido.com.au

www.mylove-au.com

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Food for Health

A cancer-conscious diet may be the best choice for survivors who want to bolster their health and those hoping to lower their risk. That means:

  • Five or more fruits and veggies a day
  • Whole grains instead of white flour or white rice
  • Limit high-fat meat
  • Limit or eliminate processed meat (hot dogs, cold cuts, bacon)
  • Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day (if you drink)

Foods high in folate may have some action against prostate cancer (such as spinach, orange juice, lentils). Studies found mixed results on lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes.

www.foodpassions.net

lentils_and_spinach_food image www.newcures.info

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Supplements: Buyer Beware

Be wary of supplements that are marketed to prevent prostate cancer. Some herbal substances can interfere with PSA levels. A 10-year study showed an increase in the risk of cancer for men who took folic acid supplements. A 5-year study of selenium and vitamin E did not show a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking vitamins or supplements.

supplement_pills image www.newcures.info

www.druglinks.info

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ASD

Henry Sapiecha

 

HAEMOCHROMATOSIS.WHAT DO I LOOK FOR TO SEE IF I HAVE IT

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Haemochromatosis. What are the symptoms? How do you know if you have it?

Sample chart only

The following are symptoms and serious consequences of iron accumulation in various parts of the body, sometimes these symptoms may take many years to present themselves, other times, they can surface at a very young age.  Remember, if anyone in the family has haemochromatosis or is a carrier, the whole family should be tested.  Not all symptoms may appear and sometimes symptoms and damage is mild, but if undetected, haemochromatosis can cause catastrophic damage to organs, heart, liver, pancreas, brain.  If you have liver disease or raised liver enzymes, always be careful in taking any medication eg: pain relief medication for symptoms such as arthritis.  It is our recommendation that you check with your doctor first.

Fatigue and lethargy.

Arthritis and joint pain particularly common in the knuckle and first joint of the first two fingers.

Diabetes (often called “bronze diabetes” when it is known that iron overload is the cause).

Liver abnormalities, cirrhosis, fibrosis, liver enlargement.

Heart disease such as cardiomyopathy.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are common misdiagnoses.

Loss of Body Hair /Partial loss of body hair eg. on lower legs.

Discoloration of skin, slate grey appearance or bronze discoloration often similar to a suntan.

Loss of sex drive, impotence, infertility, early menopause, scanty or absent menstruation.

Has been attributed to causing Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease in some people.

Abdominal pain

Liver Cancer and other cancers.

Sometimes setting off metal detectors!!

What Symptoms can be reversed by Phlebotomy?


Phlebotomy
will stop iron accumulating in the tissues and iron stores will be reduced to normal. Unfortunately, some serious clinical conditions such as liver cirrhosis or diabetes will not be cured if they are already present before hand. Early diagnosis is extremely important.

Fatigue, lethargy and abdominal pain should decrease.

Bronze discolouration of the skin should fade.

 Cardiomyopathy should improve unless cardiac damage is severe. In severe cases iron chelation treatment can reverse congestive heart failure.

Liver Cirrhosis will stay the same.

Sexual dysfunction and arthritis do not usually improve.

Most people can expect a normal life expectancy provided their iron overload has not been extremely high for a long period of time when the treatment is started.

Remember, everyone is an individual, just because one person did not have a particular symptom reversed does not necessary mean that it cannot happen! Try to keep a positive attitude and focus on YOU and work with your doctor to get the best results you can, whether by decreasing your symptoms or preventing symptoms and the very destructive effects of haemochromatosis, take control and reduce your iron to safe levels through regular phlebotomies