Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia with around 12,000 people diagnosed in Australia each year. The symptoms of lung cancer can often be vague and mimic those of other conditions, so it’s important to know what your cough is telling you.
The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can include:

  • a new cough that has persisted for 3 weeks or more
  • A changed cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • A chest infection that won’t go away
  • Chest Pain and/ or shoulder pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • A hoarse voice
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

If lung cancer is found at an earlier stage there is more chance of a better outcome.

Please make an appointment with your GP if you have any concerns.

Cervical screening has changed in Australia. The Pap test has been replaced with a new Cervical Screening Test every five years. The latest medical and scientific evidence shows that having a Cervical Screening Test every five years is just as safe, and is more effective than having a Pap test every two years.

The test is a quick and simple procedure to check the health of your cervix. For you, if you have ever had a Pap test before, the way the test is done will look and feel the same.

Although it will feel the same for you, the way your sample is stored and tested is different. The latest medical and scientific evidence shows the new Cervical Screening Test is more effective at detecting the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical abnormalities, at an earlier stage.

Do I need a Cervical Screening Test?
If you are a woman aged 25-74 years of age and have ever been sexually active you should have a Cervical Screening Test every five years until the age of 74.

Your first Cervical Screening Test is due at 25 years of age or two years after your last Pap test. If your result is normal you will be due in five years to have your next test.

Where can I get more information?
If you have any questions about the new Cervical Screening Test, book an appointment to talk with your doctor.

Find out more about the Cervical Screening Test atcancerscreening.gov.au/cervical or call 13 15 56.

Cervical Screening home page.

Please Welcome Dr Darryl to The Pines Family Practice
Dr Darryl D’Souza graduated from the University of Queensland Medical School in 2007. Prior to his General Practice qualification, he was training to specialise in Emergency Medicine but moved to focus on General Practice as he felt he could offer more to preventative and chronic disease management. He obtained specialty qualification in Rural General Practice in 2013 and has been practicing for 5 years as a General Practitioner in Queensland and New South Wales. He still involves himself with acute and critical care medicine primarily in rural and remote communities throughout Australia, particularly with far north Queensland and rural Western Australia. He is confident with addressing most health and lifestyle issues and has had much experience and interest with Tropical medicine and Infectious Diseases, Indigenous health, Travel medicine/advice, Child health, Men’s health and Preventative health. Darryl is an engaging and empathic young doctor who loves meeting people from all walks of life and all ages. He firmly believes that continuous learning and teaching is the key to keeping a sharp mind while respecting the mind, body and soul is the key to great health and well-being.
Prior to his career as a medical doctor, Darryl attained an Honours degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry and spent a few years in childhood leukaemia research. He has also obtained a Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene through the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and is currently completing a Master in Public Health and Tropical Medicine through James Cook University. He hopes to further his learning by supplementing procedural and minor surgical procedures for skin cancer care to his practice.

The Thyroid gland in the front of the neck controls the metabolism of the whole body. Sometimes the gland becomes overactive or underactive. This happens most often in women over 50 who have a family history of thyroid problems or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Failure of the thyroid to produce enough thyroid hormone usually comes on slowly. Symptoms are excessive tiredness, coarse or dry skin, hair loss, weight gain, poor memory and intolerance of cold weather.

An over active thyroid speeds up the body – anxiety, rapid heartbeat, weight loss, trouble sleeping and menstrual changes.

If you feel it may be a problem for you, discuss it with your doctor. The problem shows up on a simple blood test and can be managed with a daily tablet.

Unfortunately, thyroid problems cannot be remedied with a change in diet or lifestyle.

High fashionable sports drinks offer improved sports performance and recovery but is this at the expenses of your teeth?

Athletes who regularly sip on sports drinks are bathing their teeth in sugar and mild acid, just the recipe for dissolving tooth enamel and promoting tooth decay. The risk is greater if a mouth guard is used after consuming a sports drink.

To prevent this problem, rinse the mouth with water immediately after your sports drink.

During strenuous exercise, especially in hot weather, the body needs more than just water replacement. Taking some carbohydrate helps the body conserve muscle, maintains blood sugar levels and delay fatigue.

If there’s one life decision that’s worth taking a little time over, it’s choosing a GP.

The right GP can make a big difference to how healthy you are and may ultimately save your life.

As well as diagnosing illness, a good GP can draw your attention to problems you never knew mattered, decide if you need certain tests, refer you to the right specialists, monitor your progress, offer reassurance or advice, and keep you out of hospital or limit the care you need there.

If you have a chronic or serious illness, your GP relationship will be especially important.

So how to choose?

First off, consider asking around. You may have friends who all swear by a particular GP, or one they think you should steer clear of.

Other health professionals like pharmacists or physiotherapists might also have suggestions.

And there are now many online rating and review sites too — although critics argue these are easily exploited by vested interests.

Other early considerations include the practice’s opening hours, whether it has arrangements in place for after-hours care, and if it’s in a convenient location for you.

Don’t settle on the first GP you see if it doesn’t feel like a good fit.

How they bill?
Do you want someone who bulk bills, meaning they charge the standard Medicare fee for their service so you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket? Or is this a less critical issue for you?

Many GPs set their own fee for their service, which means there will be a gap between the amount Medicare reimburses and the amount you fork out.

While plenty of good doctors will bulk-bill, it’s more likely doctors who do so will have to move patients through quickly. This is because the current Medicare fee hasn’t kept pace with increases in costs of delivering services.

If you’re willing to pay a private fee, odds are you will get a more in-depth consultation.

“You’ve got to keep in mind that often it takes a little time for a good doctor to sort out your health needs.”

What to watch out for

  • A GP that doesn’t seem to be listening to you
  • Feeling rushed during your consultation
  • Lengthy waiting times on a regular basis
  • A doctor who seems to jump to a referral or prescription too readily
  • A doctor who always has all the answers all the time and never admits they’re unsure or don’t know something

One point that many experts agree on is that seeing the same GP over time can have substantial benefits. When patients see multiple medical practitioners without consistency, it’s easy for test results, prescriptions and pathology to be duplicated and information to fall through the cracks. When you see your GP on a regular basis, and it’s your GP, there’s a very good chance you’re living longer compared to patients who are choosing to see multiple medical doctors with their health concerns.