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DR ELLIE CANNON: I can’t stop worrying that cancer runs in my family – and I’ll be next

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My mother died of bladder cancer at age 70 and my father had stomach cancer. My aunt and uncle both died of cancer and my husband has it too. So I’m constantly worried it’s going to catch up to me too. Am I eligible for any kind of special screening or monitoring that can help put my mind at ease?

Cancer is not one disease, there are many. For example, the causes and characteristics of bladder cancer are very different and unrelated to those of stomach cancer or other cancers.

For this reason, clusters of cancers that run in families may simply be due to chance. And since, statistically speaking, one in two of us will get cancer someday, it’s not even such a coincidence.

Sometimes we see a cancer family cluster because families tend to do similar things or live a certain way. We can see a lot of lung cancer in a family if there are a lot of smokers.

Or a cancer that could be related to working in a chemical factory could affect a family if they all worked there.

Cancer is not one disease, there are many. For example, the causes and characteristics of bladder cancer are very different and unrelated to those of stomach cancer or other cancers. (Given by models)

That said, specific cancers are known to be hereditary and more likely to run in families that share genetic flaws.

For example, there are families with a genetic problem called Lynch syndrome who are more likely to develop colon, uterine, stomach and liver cancer.

There is special screening for those who are known to be at high genetic risk for certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer.

Anyone concerned about a high rate of cancer in the family should discuss this with their GP and request a referral to a population screening if necessary. Referrals may also be made to geneticists to look for specific defective genes and advise on monitoring.

For anyone, even those with a family history, lifestyle factors like weight loss and avoiding carcinogens like smoking will always be an important part of cancer prevention.

I’ve been taking an osteoporosis drug called alendronic acid for ten years. After three years, my doctor suggested we take a break from it, which I did. But the pain in my hips and back that I had had before came back, so I went back to it. I’m worried because I’ve been taking it for seven years in a row now. Is it time for another break?

Alendronic acid is one of the most commonly used medications to treat osteoporosis – a disease in which thinning of the bones means that fractures become much more likely.

Osteoporosis itself does not cause pain, but the damage and fractures to the bones do. Treatment depends on a person’s risk of a bone fracture rather than pain or symptoms.

Alendronic acid is a weekly tablet that is only prescribed if someone is at high risk for a break.

Lower risk individuals are usually told to do exercise, such as strength training, as it can help improve bone density, as well as eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Smoking cessation is also important.

The Royal Osteoporosis Society offers excellent lifestyle advice. Calcium supplements may also be prescribed, and hormone replacement therapy may help postmenopausal women reduce the risk of fractures.

A rare type of femur fracture can occur in patients taking alendronic acid.

For this reason, any thigh, hip, or groin pain while taking these medications should be discussed with the primary care physician.

There are also rare but potential problems with damage to the jaw from medication, which is why dental checkups are so important when this treatment is prescribed.

Usually, doctors assess the need for medication after five years, when they check whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

Sometimes a break of one to three years is recommended before a new assessment is performed. This may involve a further bone scan.

For the past few days I have had terrible headaches and sore throats. I feel like I’m running into something, but I’m afraid it’s Covid – I’m going on holiday next week and don’t want to test positive. Do I have to take a test?

Yes! Part of living with Covid means testing regularly and being vigilant for symptoms that may be illness.

This does mean cancellations and missing a lot of things.

The classic symptoms of Covid are a high temperature, coughing and a loss of taste and smell, and having any of these symptoms should prompt anyone to get a PCR test, which you can get at home for free on the NHS and Websites from the government.

If you don't have any classic symptoms of Covid, you should talk to your GP first - who will no doubt recommend that you get a PCR.  Do not use lateral flow as these are for people who are completely asymptomatic.  (File image)

If you don’t have any classic symptoms of Covid, you should talk to your GP first – who will no doubt recommend that you get a PCR. Do not use lateral flow as these are for people who are completely asymptomatic. (File image)

Write to Dr. Ellie

Do you have a question for Dr. Ellie Cannon? Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk

If you don’t have any classic symptoms, you should talk to your doctor first, who will no doubt recommend that you have a PCR done anyway.

Do not use lateral flow as these are for people who are completely asymptomatic.

Many patients in my clinic have tested positive for Covid and have suffered what appears to be a summer cold.

This includes headaches, sneezing, runny nose and a sore throat – very similar to sinusitis.

Testing for Covid remains crucial. It is required by law to self-isolate if you test positive.

But not testing, to avoid this, then going on vacation — and sitting on a plane or train — is morally questionable, given the number of people you could infect.

Do the right thing.

Why Young Teens Should Get the Vaccine?

Vaccine leaders have said they will not recommend giving all healthy 12- to 15-year-olds the Covid shot.

While I respect their reasoning, I disagree with the decision.

First, it’s a complicated message from the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI), which said on Friday that because Covid poses a small risk to the health of young people, the benefits of vaccination DO outweigh the minuscule potential harm, but not. enough.

Vaccine leaders have said they will not recommend giving all healthy 12- to 15-year-olds the Covid shot.  While I respect their reasoning, I disagree with the decision.  (File image)

Vaccine leaders have said they will not recommend giving all healthy 12- to 15-year-olds the Covid shot. While I respect their reasoning, I disagree with the decision. (File image)

I’m concerned that it seems like the jab is risky for kids, which it just isn’t.

The committee also admitted it has not looked at the broader consequences of contracting Covid, such as loss of education and isolation, which are essential considerations as the impact on mental health is huge.

But the JCVI said this left the door open for the Chief Medical Officers and the government to make the final call. I sincerely hope they continue.

Our children have lost enough and the vaccine is also their way out of this.

Poking in the eye of the beholder

On a day out in Brighton over the bank holiday, I was unlucky to encounter an anti-vaccination protest led by the downright terrifying ex-nurse Kate Shemirani.

She screamed about the Holocaust, pedophilia and all kinds. I say protest – it was about 20 people, and nobody paid much attention to them.

But it remains frightening to see such disturbed people up close.

For someone so loudly concerned about harmful chemicals, she appeared to be covered in fake tan and, I’ve since discovered, she’s not averse to the weird Botox and lip filler treatment. In fact, she injected people with the stuff.

So it seems that shots are fine for beauty reasons, but when it comes to life-saving vaccines…

On a day out in Brighton over the bank holiday, I was unlucky to encounter an anti-vaccination protest led by the downright terrifying ex-nurse Kate Shemirani (above, file image)

On a day out in Brighton over the bank holiday, I was unlucky to encounter an anti-vaccination protest led by the downright terrifying ex-nurse Kate Shemirani (above, file image)

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