Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Liver cancer on the rise: Canadians need to know the risk factors for this largely preventable cancer

TORONTO, May 29, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Liver cancer is one of the fastest rising of all cancers in Canada, yet most Canadians do not know enough about risk factors and prevention, according to Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013, released today by the Canadian Cancer Society in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada.

Since 1970, the incidence rate of liver cancer has tripled in Canadian men and doubled in Canadian women, rising every year by 3.6% in men and 1.7% in women.

Liver cancer has a very poor prognosis, with a 5-year relative survival rate of only 20%. While it is still a relatively rare cause of death in Canada (1,000 deaths expected this year), the death rate in Canadian men has doubled since 1970. And worldwide it is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death after lung and stomach cancer, accounting for about 700,000 deaths per year.

The main risk factors for liver cancer are chronic hepatitis B and C infections. However, hepatitis is not well recognized as a serious health threat. In addition, many people don't know that they have hepatitis. Approximately 600,000 Canadians are infected with hepatitis B or C, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Heavy alcohol use, obesity, diabetes, smoking and several other factors are also associated with a higher risk of liver cancer.

If more isn't done to address the risk factors for liver cancer, incidence and death rates are expected to continue to rise in Canada.

Recommendations from the report

To lower the rising rates of liver cancer cases and deaths, it will be important to:

...Find and treat people who have hepatitis B or C. This can reduce progression to chronic infection, which can lead to cancer.

...Encourage primary healthcare providers to offer the hepatitis B vaccination or appropriate testing and treatment for hepatitis B or C to at-risk people, including newcomers to Canada if they come from parts of the world where hepatitis B, hepatitis C or liver cancer are common .

...Raise awareness among Canadians about the risk factors for liver cancer, especially its links with hepatitis B and C, how to reduce the risk of liver cancer and how to get tested and treated for hepatitis infection if they belong to an at-risk group.

...Encourage primary healthcare providers to counsel patients about alcohol use, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, which can reduce the risk of liver cancer, in addition to having other health benefits.

...Conduct more research in Canada about the most effective ways to educate the public about the disease and to better understand the needs of liver cancer patients and survivors.

...Have more Canadian data to understand the best strategies for hepatitis B and C screening, and how best to engage communities in promoting screening for hard-to-reach populations.

"It's important to draw attention to the rising incidence and death rates for liver cancer so that we can tackle this important public health problem," says Dr Prithwish De, epidemiologist with the Canadian Cancer Society and the lead author of the special topic on liver cancer. "The good news is that liver cancer is largely preventable by modifying risk factors."

More about liver cancer in Canada

...In 2013, it is estimated that there will be over 2,000 new cases of liver cancer and about 1,000 deaths from the disease.

...The incidence rate is higher in Canadian men at 6.9 cases per 100,000 than in Canadian women at 1.9 cases per 100,000.

...Liver cancer is challenging to identify and treat because there are usually no symptoms until its later stages when the prognosis is poor. As a result, the death rate is high and the 5-year relative survival rate is low.

...Treatment can involve surgery, radiofrequency ablation, chemotherapy and/or radiation.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. Visit or call us at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Canadian Health Care Wait Times "Manufactured" Says Latest Research

CALGARY, Alberta May 22, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Wait times in the Canadian healthcare system have been manufactured by out-of-date and technically corrupt approaches to capacity management and planning. That's the conclusion of "Full House", the feature article of the latest Six Sigma Forum, a peer reviewed publication of The American Society for Quality.

"Every provincial jurisdiction in Canada has its own wait time creation myths," says author Robert Gerst of Converge Consulting Group. "In Alberta, it's population growth. In Ontario, budget cuts and restructuring. And across Canada, the emphasis on public over private funding. But the reality is our excessive healthcare wait times were manufactured by outdated approaches to capacity management and improvement."

For example, Full House details how utilization targets created the access crisis in emergency rooms and seniors care facilities in Alberta. Traditional capacity planning holds that utilization can be increased without impacting wait times. But modern, science-based approaches, recognize this isn't true. Increasing utilization produces exponential increases in wait times and cost. The result, Alberta spent millions manufacturing excessive wait times and millions more making them worse. Even recommendations made by the Health Quality Council of Alberta last year to address wait time issues were based on outdated methods and have almost no chance for success, the research concludes.

"In the current economic climate, increasing system capacity, doing more with less, has become a challenge, not only in healthcare, but in other areas of industry and government," according to Gerst. "Meeting that challenge requires a modern, rational approach to maximizing capacity and throughput."

Converge Consulting Group Inc. is a independent Canadian management consulting firm providing evidenced-based performance improvement and change leadership services to clients in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Too young for knee replacement?

TORONTO May 19, 2013 from Don't Fall by Will Gage

“You’re too young for a knee replacement. Come see me again in 10 or 11 years.” Have you heard this before? Or has one of your loved ones heard this? You may not be aware, and your physician might not be aware, that the demographics of knee and hip replacement patients are changing. Patients are getting younger. The fastest growing age group for knee and hip replacement surgery is between 45 and 54 years of age. What is going on? Joint replacement patients are getting younger and younger

According to the Canadian Joint Replacement Registry, which is managed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), over the past decade, the number of joint replacement surgeries in Canada has increased by about 100% – that is, the number of people getting joint replacement surgery has doubled. These statistics are consistent with results from around the world. And the world over, knee and hip replacement patients are getting younger and younger. Over this same period of time, the average age of joint replacement patients has decreased by a couple of years. However, the fastest growing group of patients has been between the 45 and 54 years of age. This group has grown by almost 200% - that is, the number of people getting joint replacement surgery has almost tripled in the past 10 years. The number of patients between 55 and 64 years of age has grown almost as much.

What is joint replacement?

Joint replacement is a surgical procedure to treat moderate and severe arthritis – most commonly, osteoarthritis. The most commonly replaced joints are the knee and the hip, but the elbow and shoulder joints can also be replaced. In effect, the ends of the two bones that meet to form a joint are removed and replaced with an artificial surface – an implant. For instance, for the knee joint, the end of the tibia – the main bone of the lower leg – and the end of the femur – the thighbone – are removed using a saw. The surgeon will use a “jig” or template to make sure that the cut ends of the bones are the right shape for the implant. Then, instead of having the cartilage at the ends of the bone meet to form the joint, the new implanted surfaces meet. The #1 reason for having joint replacement is to treat the pain of really bad osteoarthritis. Potential benefits of joint replacement surgery

The pain and discomfort associated with moderate and severe knee or hip arthritis can be debilitating. It becomes difficult to walk – forget about jogging. Staying active becomes incredibly challenging, because everything hurts. Having the joint replaced almost always results in reduced pain, reduced inflammation and swelling, improved range of movement at the joint, greater mobility, and improved quality of life. If you ask a patient why they elected to have their knee replacement done, these are the reasons that they’ll most likely give you. However, there are other potential benefits – or more to the point, threats avoided. We all know that a sedentary lifestyle is a threat to your health. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weight gain and obesity; diabetes; high blood pressure and heart disease; and stroke, to name just a few potential problems. And severe joint pain can make you sedentary. Joint replacement surgery typically reduces your pain, allowing you to become more active again, and effectively avoid and reduce your risk of all of these other problems. I, and others, have often thought that joint replacement surgery might be the best thing a person can do for their heart, let alone their knee. more at

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Understanding how the heart works

Your heart is an amazing powerhouse that pumps
and circulates 5 or 6 gallons of blood each minute
through your entire body.

...a Slideshow from

To understand heart disease, you must first know how the heart works. The heart is like any other muscle, requiring blood to supply oxygen and nutrients for it to function. It beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping blood through your circulatory system. The cycle of pumping blood throughout your body carries fresh oxygen to your lungs and nutrients to your body's tissues. Blood also takes waste, such as carbon dioxide, away from your tissues,. Without this process, we could not live.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease begins when cholesterol, fatty material, and calcium build up in the arteries. When this occurs in the arteries that supply the heart, this buildup, or plaque, causes the arteries to narrow, so that oxygen delivery to the heart is reduced. The reduction in oxygen delivery to the heart can create chest pain, also called angina.

The link between heart disease and heart attack

When plaque builds up to the point that it ruptures, it causes a blood clot to form in the coronary artery. The blood clot blocks blood from flowing to the heart muscle, leading to a heart attack. In a worst-case scenario, sudden cardiac arrest or fatal rhythm disturbance can occur.

What are the heart disease symptoms in women, seniors, and people with diabetes?

For many women, seniors, and people with diabetes, pain is not a symptom of heart disease at all. Instead of experiencing discomfort, they often have symptoms of malaise or fatigue.

read more and view the slideshow at

Friday, May 10, 2013

OPP urges residents to dispose of unused prescription meds

Police and Medical Officials Working Together
to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

ORILLIA, Ontario, May 10, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Saturday, May 11 is your opportunity to quickly and easily dispose of old and unused prescription medications that you may have in your home. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is making locations available across the province for residents to drive up and drop off medications that they no longer need.

"In recent studies, 24 per cent of surveyed teens admitted misusing prescription medications at least once within the previous year, with most of the teens taking the medication from home. The OPP fully supports this program as just one more way to reduce the threat to public safety." - Commissioner Chris Lewis, Ontario Provincial Police.

The misuse and abuse of prescription medications has become a public safety issue for communities and police services across the country, who are working together to draw attention to this public safety concern by participating in the Prescription Drug Drop Off Day on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

The OPP has over fifty locations across the province ready to accept unwanted or expired medications to keep them away from individuals whom they were never intended for. The abuse of prescription medications can lead to incidents of overdose and in some cases, death.

Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, residents can simply drive to any of the designated locations and anonymously drop off unwanted drugs. Police and medical officials urge you to do your part to combat this serious public health threat. Prescription Drug Drop Off Day is a one-day initiative sponsored by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).

For a list of participating OPP detachments near you, visit or contact your local OPP detachment.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New health program promises to slow down your aging processes and prevent chronic disease;

Nobel laureate Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn
shares telomere link in Toronto May 15-16

TORONTO, May 8, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Executive Health Centre today officially launches its innovative Telomere Performance Program that focuses on the Nobel Prize winning science of telomeres. This one-of-a-kind health action plan includes a new test of telomere length that reveals a person's true health status and biological age.

"Telomere Science has come of age," says Dr. Elaine Chin, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Executive Health Centre, leaders in personalized medicine. "Thanks to scientists like Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn (winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine and one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People), we now have a solid understanding of what telomeres are telling us. We know how to manage lifestyle, hormones, and disease risk factors to preserve telomere length and we can measure them to track improving health. Our telomere-based program is an exciting step forward for personalized preventive health care."

Dr. Chin hosts Dr. Blackburn's speaking engagements in Toronto, May 15-16.

Quoted on ABC, Dr. Blackburn said the discovery of the telomerase enzyme

"sort of translates into a fountain of youth; the number of years of healthy living is related to telomere length. We don't think clocks will be turned back, but it is a question of whether we will extend our health span."

Chin's team has incorporated Blackburn's research into its Telomere Performance Program, which augments the Centre's established and recognized health programs.

"We're confident our clients will be the first to realize the benefits of their 'built in health warning system' - their telomeres," says Chin.

"Telomere testing at Executive Health has been insightful for our clients in further personalizing their health action plans and motivating them to continue to improve their health," says Chin.

Now the Centre has launched so more people can be aware of what their telomeres can tell them about their health and their future.

About Executive Health Centre

The Executive Health Centre is one of the leading preventative health care clinics in North America. By applying advanced diagnostics and integrative health counselling, Dr. Chin and her team help health-aware individuals, executives and professionals achieve peak health for peak performance.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10% Growth in Number of Registered Organ and Tissue Donors in Ontario

ServiceOntario Initiatives, Registration Drives Credited With Increase

TORONTO, May 1, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - Between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, 245,886 Ontarians registered their consent to organ and tissue donation, bringing the total number of registered donors in the province to 2.6 million people. One out of every six registrations was completed at, where it takes two minutes to register consent or check your registration status.

"Over the past few years Ontario has worked hard to develop a world-class organ and tissue donor registration system," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care. "As of February this year, everyone who is renewing a driver's license or Ontario photo ID card is asked to register consent, in addition to those renewing their health cards. It has never been easier to be a hero - please take two minutes to register or check your consent status at"

Donor registration rates vary widely by community across Ontario and are highest in Northern Ontario. While overall registration rates in the Greater Toronto Area continue to lag behind those in the rest of the province, most communities, including Woodbridge (17 per cent), Vaughan (17 per cent), the city of Toronto (13 per cent), Markham and Thornhill (13 per cent) have reported more than a 10 per cent increase in the number of registered donors in the last year.

"Workplace registration drives run through have shown the impact and importance of community leadership in increasing registered donors," says Ronnie Gavsie, President and CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network. "To date, successful drives have been run by hospitals, police forces, university students and workplaces, with the top five inspiring 7,500 visits to online donor registration. I'd like to challenge all community leaders to help us save more lives by launching a registration drive in their own workplace."

Quick Facts:

...The overall rate of registered donors in Ontario edged up slightly in the last quarter to reach 23 per cent.

...As of March 31, 2013, there were 1,468 people in Ontario waiting for the gift of a lifesaving organ transplant.

...Northern Ontario has the highest rates of registration in the province, with three suburbs of Sudbury (Hanmer, Lively and Garson) reporting donor registration rates of over 50 per cent.

...The number of registered organ and tissue donors in the GTA grew slightly faster than in the rest of Ontario (12 per cent vs. 10 per cent) from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, but it continues to lag behind the provincial average, with an overall registration rate of 14 per cent.

...Woodbridge and Vaughan are the only two communities in Ontario with registration rates of less than 10 per cent.

...One donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of up to 75 more through the gift of tissue.

...Many Ontarians mistakenly believe they are registered donors because they have signed a paper donor card. Donor cards are not effective, as they are not always available when needed. Register online at

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation for transplantation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.