One in two people will be diagnosed with cancer

One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, according to a new forecast by Cancer Research UK. This estimate replaces previous figures which predicted that more than one in three people would develop a cancer at some point.

There is a lot you can do to make it less likely you get cancer

The shift is because we are all living longer and cancer is primarily a disease of old age – more than 65% of cancers are diagnosed in people over 65. With longer life expectancy the number of diagnosed cases of cancer is expected to rise.

The good news is that cancer survival rates have more than doubled over the past 40 years, and around half of patients now survive the disease for more than 10 years – although this can depend on the type of cancer.

There is a lot you can do to make it less likely you get cancer, like giving up smoking, being more active, drinking less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight. As is often the case, prevention is better than the cure…

Ask your pharmacist about steps you can take to improve your general health.

Walking football all the rage for the grey wave?

The banks may have more to answer for than plunging the country into financial crisis. The new sporting craze of ‘walking football’ was created in 2011 to help keep older players involved in the game for longer, and rose to prominence after featuring in an banking advert last year.

Walking football

Games are played at a slower pace to reduce the threat of pain, discomfort and injury, with players briskly walking through matches and reaping a multitude of health benefits along the way, according to Aston University researchers.

In an ageing society, with rising levels of obesity and the growing numbers of people with late onset diabetes, this more sedentary version of the beautiful game has the potential to make a significant impact.

In the UK around 22% of men die before the age of 65. Although physically active men have a 20-30% reduced risk of premature death, by the age of 55-64 only 32% of men say they take the recommended half hour of exercise five times a week.

If you have itchy feet go to to find a club near you.

Fed up with paying for prescriptions?

England is now the only one of the four home nations that levies a prescription charge, and there it is only paid by around 10% of patients.

Prescription charge

Children and pensioners are exempt, along with people with certain long term conditions (LTC) such as diabetes and cancer. But patients with other LTCs such as asthma and multiple sclerosis do have to pay, and it is not clear how the distinction is made. An estimated 7 million people of working age in England have a long term condition.

A survey by the Drug & Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) shows that two thirds of pharmacists and GPs think that the current exemption criteria for prescription charges in England should be widened to include anyone with a long term condition (A similar number want the charges lowered or abolished altogether).

Around 40 leading pharmacy and medical organisations belong to the Prescription Charges Coalition, which is calling for all those with long term conditions to be exempted from paying prescription charges. It is currently running a public petition to present to whichever government wins the May general election.

Got a leaky bladder – you are in good company

A leaky bladder –or urinary incontinence, to give it the medical name – affects around a third of women. It is more likely to occur with increasing age, and is caused by a number of underlying health problems.

Urinary incontinence ?

While it is rarely life-threatening, it can awkward and unpleasant. It is also thought that many women are too embarrassed to seek advice, or they do not know what treatments are available.

Urinary incontinence can be brought on by stress (physical or emotional), urgency (a sudden need to urinate) or an overactive bladder. Keeping a ‘bladder diary ’and recording when leakage occurs can help your pharmacist to provide the most appropriate advice and products.

Lifestyle changes are important as they can improve symptoms. As a first step bladder training for a minimum of 6 weeks is now recommended. This should include advice on the amount and types of fluids to drink, and coping strategies to reduce urgency. Pelvic floor exercises may also be included.

Absorbent pads can provide security and comfort and help you continue with normal activities. A variety of such products will be available from your pharmacy, along with practical advice n their use.

Two in 3 smokers will die from their habit

If you need any further encouragement to quit smoking, then be advised that a large Australian study of more than 200,000 people has confirmed that up to two in every three smokers will die from their habit if they continue to smoke.


Smokers have around three times higher risk of premature death compared to those who have never smoked, and will die an estimated 10 years earlier than non-smokers, the study showed.

It also found that compared with non-smokers, smoking just 10 cigarettes a day doubles the risk of dying and smoking a pack a day increases the risk four- to five-fold.

So speak to your pharmacist about how to go about quitting, where to go for support and which products are available to help you. You could consider e-cigarettes, but why switch from one addiction to another if you don’t have to?

Focus on ovarian cancer

March was Ovarian Cancer month. The disease is responsible for some 4,300 deaths every year in the UK, making survival rates here among the worst in Europe.


Each year there are 7,000 new cases and by the time three quarters of these are diagnosed the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. So what should you look out for?

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequent (they usually happen more than 12 times a month) and persistent, and include:

• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
• Difficulty eating/feeling full
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Needing to wee more urgently or more often

Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue. If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP and get checked out.

GPs are now instructed to carry out tests in women especially over the age of 50, if they experience any of the above symptoms on a persistent or frequent basis

Find out more at

What is the Care Quality Commission?

You hear the Care Quality Commission (CQC) mentioned quite often in the news these days, so what is it? Basically it is the body that regulates healthcare in England.

So what is it?

It is responsible, for example, for regulating GP practices, out-of-hours services, NHS 111, and dental practices (it does not inspect pharmacies, which have their own regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council).

It is relatively new in this job, only starting in 2013. There are around 8,000 GP practices in England and it plans to have inspected each of these at least once by April 2016.

When inspecting a practice the CQC asks asking five key questions: is it safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well led? It will also look at how services are provided to people in specific population groups such as older people and those with long-term conditions or poor mental health.

Practices will be rated as ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’, or ‘Inadequate’ for each of the five key questions and for each population group.

Find out more at

Look after your lips

Did you know that more moisture is lost through the lips than through any other part of the face or body? When the lips lose moisture, the skin covering them becomes tight and can start to split. With the weather turning colder outside and the central heating coming on inside, your lips are more likely to become chapped or dry.

You lose more moisture through them than any other part of your body

You can get a lip balm from our pharmacy – preferably containing petroleum jelly or beeswax – that will provide a barrier and help seal in moisture. Apply regularly.

You can also help yourself a bit. Don’t be tempted to pick and bite off flakes of dried skin: it will only make your lips bleed and heal more slowly. Irritating the skin around the mouth may also trigger a cold sore if you’re prone to getting them.

It’s also tempting to keep licking dry or cracked lips. However, this will only dry your lips more, as the saliva evaporates and the repeated licking or wetting “washes” the natural grease off the skin.