Tag Archives: Daily Telegraph

Please Shut Up! Leave NHS alone!

Paperwork is burying NHS

Yes, there is a lot wrong with the NHS, but the service must be doing  something right because now Dept. Health now complain people are so healthy they live longer!
Govt
Does nothing satisfy those living in Richmond (Ivory) Towers – a.k.a. Dept. Health?

Continue reading

Ashya – NHS too arrogant to help?

Will the NHS learn from this case – or will more patients be at risk?

Amongst all themedia hype, two aticles stand out.

The Daily Telegraph devotes its main page to Dr. Max Pemberton.  Pemberton is respected amongst medical journalists, and his weekly Health Feature is usually widely quoted.  He always speaks sense, and he has made me think with his article “Ashya Belongs in Britain”.  I don’t  in gree with what he says, but his is the first British medical voice that has come up with sensible, non-self justifiying comment on this sad case. Continue reading

NHS Losing our Records – and it wants us to allow outdated data to be used

Hatterr

NHS losing 2000 records a dayPatient confidentiality could be undermined by the new medica

Apart from losing our data, the Daily Telegraph says “Patient confidentiality could be undermined by the new medical records database” .  This appaently has been confirmed by the NHS’s own risk analysis.

According to the Daily Mail, the service that at time seems to copy The Mad Hatters’ Tea Party, apparently manages to lose over 2,000 of our patient records a day.  Now it wants us to allow it to give out our personal records to anyone who pays a fee.

Ebay

Again, the Daily Mai says, it has even sold some of our records on Ebay.  Apparently these were sold by mistake, but how can you sell a product on Ebay without going through a lot of checks and confirmations?  And who got the money they made?  Is it floating in the ether – unclaimed?

Perhaps these records were being sold by the Ward Nurses mentioned as “looking at eBay” by patients’ relatives, instead of attending to patients.

What happened to me

Attending a clinic in Out Patients at my local Foundation Hospital, the Receptionist looked up, “sorry, we’ve lost your notes.  We’ll re-book you”.

But to her astonishment, I just said I would wait, unit they had found them.  I had been inconvenienced attending the clinic;  I had a list of problems, and didn’t want to wait to find out what was wrong.

So I sat down with a pile of magazines and waited from 2 pm until finally, at 4.50, she came over to say they had found my notes, and the doctor saw me.  No apology – I just wondered if this was another way of reducing the waiting lists?

But I called their bluff, and saw the doctor, without re-sheduling an appointment and having another long wait.

When I phone NHS England, who officially are in charge for the programme (and spending out money like water) they deny all knowledge, tell me to go through to Dept. Health – who put me through directly to NHS England.  One hand doesn’t know what other is up to!

Charities

MENCAP and RNIB (Blind), etc.  have accused officials running the scheme of unfair treatment of those with disabilities.  And if Mum is showing signs of Dementia, do you want insurance companies refusing to accept her as a bad risk?  Allowing anyone to access this data (if they pay a fee) seems to usher in the 1930s and some rather nasty practices to ‘cleanse’ a population.

The NHS is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying “Medical records hold some of our most sensitive information and the threat to people’s orivacy of them being stolen … must not be underestimated”.

Now, if they removed our NHS number from the data being offered, we would have privacy – but this would negate what companies are paying for.

verite@greenbee.net

How NHS will make money from OUR data – but we will have difficulty seeing this

nhs

You can’t hide any of your private data today.

But the NHS is going to make money from collecting

our private Medical data in one easy-to-access form .

My email pings open with an invitation to a conference in London:

Did you know that NHS, NICE, G-BA, HAS, AETS, EFPIA, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, J&J and representatives from many other organisations are expected to gather together in April for the second annual Real World Data conference! 

At the event delegates are expect to learn how to create the perfect evidence story and practical steps to creating Risk Sharing Agreements. Your are urged”  find out the most imperative reasons that explain why your competitors have already confirmed attendance”.

As The Guardian says, pharmaceutical and drug companies will be able to access out data.

This could include private information that you might not want others to access.

Cost?

Early registrants benefit from a €600 discount!  
This is obviously a profitable field, and costs range from around £450 –
over £2000.
Makes you think.
And I am not alone
Many expert are worried what the NHS is going to do with all our private data. I wrote about this under https://aftercanceruk.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=14625&action=edit
Dr. Max Pemberton in Daily Telegraph of February 10th expressing concern over ‘Big Brother’ threatening tactics towards a caring GP, concerned enough about this data that he has told his patients that he is opting everyone out, until they tell him they want their data submitted.  “in trying to squash  Dr. Gancz’s rebellion, NHS bosses have made him a cause celebrate for those who feel the Government is becoming Big Brother-ish and dismissive of people’s concerns about confidentiality and privacy”.
And Daily Mail of Feb. 8th quotes ‘NHS Data Expert’ Prof. Sir Brian Jarman saying “insurance and drug firms would be able to identify patients ” from this data.  So be prepared for even more junk mail to clutter up our letter boxes.  Their Dr. Brian Scurr also has very factual piece, in which he warns readers not to delay if they wish to opt out.
verite@greenbee.net

 

Calls for NHS Chief David Nicholson to resign

So he counters with Video

 

 “Everyone Counts”

 

Sir David Nicholson

Sir David Nicholson (Photo credit: NHS avid Confederation)

The calls for the NHS’s supremo, David Nicholson, to resign are mounting.

He was in charge for some of the time when patients were being abused in Mid-Staffordshire hospital – but although Dr. Max Pemberton of Daily Telegraph, Julie Bailey of Cure the NHS and many others are calling for his resignation – and even to go to prison – he counters with a rambling video about the NHS.

He can’t even dress properly to be filmed – perhaps he considers it isn’t worth getting properly dressed when sending out his message to the NHS – or is this all he thinks the NHS is worth?

 

Watch the video on http://www.commissioningboard.nhs.uk/everyonecounts/everyone-counts-intro/

 

Who is it?

No – it’s not the Plumber – actually the video focusses on SIR David Nicholson – perhaps he can’t afford a tie on his vast salary

It’s entitled “Everyone Counts”  – one of the buzz phrases thought up by the expensve Consultant hangers-on employed by the NHS.  Problem is , they think up these phrases, but no-one actually thinks they should carry the idea on, and Plumber Nicholdson doesn’t seem to know either.

So don’t hold your breath – we STILL won’t be listened to. But it rather shows us, in a week when the Francis Report shocked the Nation, that patients still will have to fight their own battles;  NHS big-wigs still only pay lip service to consulting Patients.   Am still puzzling over why I can’t be sent a copy of the report from my recent MRI scan:  was told I couldn’t have it “due to patient confidentiality’!

And David Nicholson is still hanging on to his job, even after all the calls for his resignation post the Francis Report.

So whatever Francis Report said, it is still down to us to make a fuss if we don’t get what we are entitled to.

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Understanding NHS Jargon

Can’t understand NHS-speak?

The Skeptic's Dictionary

This might hel!

 

You are not alone!

 

The secret of dealing with medical  jargon today is

Don’t to let them get away with it.

Now Lansley has pushed through his mega-unpopular bill, his minions can excel themselves writing even more gobble-de-gook, to ensure we can’t understand what is going on.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Dr. James Le Fanu said he would like to ban  ‘the use of those meaningless buzzwords of managerial jargon that sustain activities to no good purpose’.

So, to help understand the NHS jargon, here are some basic translations of words and phrases you may come across, when dealing with hospitals, etc .

Definitions of some NHS buzz words

best practice – what you can get away with

clinical champion  – NHS-speak for someone who is given a nice job title to make them feel important;  often backed up with a clipboard

cohort – scholars thought these were Roman soldiers, but they are now seen to be lurking in hospital corridors

Complaints office  – this has developed the art of writing three pages saying nothing to a fine art;  you are supposed to be so pleased the NHS has wasted cost of a postage stamp on you, that you subside quietly

development opportunity  – what’s given to the new Outpatient receptionist who manages to lose all your notes

dignity – patient can’t tell if curtains are drawn or not

grow – NHS-speak for increase

LINk –  Local Initiative Network.   (another of those lovely Goverment quangos, but this has some credibility).  Tasked with checking QAs (Quality Assessments) reports from local hospitals.  LINks have the power to fling these reports containing the gobble-de-gook back and ask for them to be written in plain English.

mission statement – what the Chairman’s nephew comes up with when his company manages to get a contract to spend the money that was floating around the hospital after the last budget overspend

moving forward – opposite of what happens after the hospital committee has put in ‘improvements’

NHS Choices – the appointments office whose job it is to confuse you so you are unable to make an appointment that suits you,  With any luck the appointment is so much in the future you go privately, taking you off the list and saving the NHS money.

QA – quality assessment   These are the reports hospitals now have to produce for their local LINks.  Theory is they identify quality of hospital’s service.  Actually, a test in how those who compile QAs manage to ‘overlook’ items of important to patients, such as MRSA, Mixed Wards, etc.

rolling out – new ideas to paper over the cracks

service users– another term for patients. Sounds as if we are lumped in with cars being sent for annual MOTs.  Perhaps this could explain some of our treatment

Stakeholder engagement -NHS website explains this is all about “building relationships with people who (sic) you affect through your work, or who could make an impact on your success.  It is the foundation of effective organisational responsibility, and refers to the formal management of the human dimensions of change”.

Er – don’t they mean ‘getting on with people’?

STAR-PUs – watch out if you ever see this written on your notes! Apparently  it means  ‘Specific therapeutic group age-sex prescribing units’.  No-one else knows what it means either, but it sounds nasty

Symbiotic monitoring system”  and “synbiotix database”  –  latest jargon that  fills out spaces in a report.  You don’t need to know what it means – just where to insert it

Team Player – beloved phrase of NHS.  It was explained to me that a team player backs up their ‘team’ – in other words when someone is brave enough to whistleblow on bad practices, team players stand together, support each other and ignore what’s wrong.  It’s not about the patient.   In any ‘team’ meeting about a patient they are the last person you will ever see involved.   Wonder if that was why it took so long for something to be done in Mid-Staffs?

World class –  NHS services on a par with Third world services

 

Extract of more meaningless phrases culled from QAs

“the prevention of VTE is a national target and is a national CQUIN” “.

and/ “planned protocolised care pathways for example using the enhanced recovery programme methods”.  Er – what?

Asking NHS staff friends if they could interpret, they were clueless.  But they replied

Medic  A : My personal horrors are “people we serve” which generally means the opposite.
“Challenging” is another which just means “more difficult”. ”

In fact, the more one thinks of words the more there is a general rule that the meaning in the NHS is the opposite of the real world e.g. “consultation” “involvement” “choice” and of course “complaints”
Cynically yours!

B (brilliant surgeon) has the last word: “The more time they have on their hands the more junk they propagate. Only people as arrogant and devoid of work can believe that everyone else has time to spare!”

P.S  Proving NHS speaks a language most of us can’t understand, our local hospital has named a Ward Marie Celeste Ward. Marie Celeste was the name of the sailing ship  found abandoned mid-Atlantic, and has been a mystery ever since Sir Conan Doyle wrote about it.  Now, the name of this Ward has been giving patients nasty turns ever since, and does rather show that those working in hospitals do speak another language.

 

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Costs of dealing with drug side effects

Don’t blame patients

Various pills

Various pills (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

All too often today, you go to the doctor for a medical problem.

  • A rushed appointment leaves you frustrated.
  • You haven’t been able to voice half of your problems
  • But, like a child, you leave clutching a prescription for pills that are supposed to make you better
  • But somehow you are not sure.

No wonder so many patients don’t bother to take the prescription to the chemist.  Or even worse, collect the prescription but then never bother to take the expensive drugs.   In their mind they know that pills are not the solution to their medical problem, but aren’t able to take this further because doctors are using pills as a way of keeping us quiet.

So often handing out a prescription, and then ‘they’ won’t ask time-consuming questions,  seems to be today’s answer to a whole range of medical problems.  With appointments getting shorter and shorter, patients are already seeing the end result of the Health and Social Care Bill, with cuts everywhere including time spent with patients.  Solution seems to be prescribe more pills so we walk around in a zombie state, not alive enough to ask too many questions.

Or what is worse, when you do take the pills you are suddenly faced with horrendous side effects of whatever drug you have been prescribed.  Now you find you are regarded with suspicion – doctors don’t like patients who produce unfavourable reactions to drugs, because they have no idea how to deal with these.
LaLa’s Health Bill shows he has no idea how to run a health service, and doesn’t seem to realise that his Bill’s requirements to save money means that doctors will turn to prescribing pills, as the time-saving option, rather than taking time to talk through what is the cause of a patient’s problems.
It’s the same across the Atlantic
Latest information issued by Reuters Health in the States should worry LaLa.  He probably has no idea of the consequences of farming out treatment to a hodge podge of providers, but one thing that should have occured to him is that these medics, not knowing their patients, are more than likely to prescribe a drug as a solution.   And that is going to cost more money.
Painful rashes, nausea, vomitting  and other drug-related side effects of newer drugs will jack up treatment costs.
Skin rashes are another consequence, and Reuters says “the average cost of treating each cancer patient who came into a dermatology clinic with skin, hair and nail complaints was almost $2,000.  That included expenses related to doctors’ appointments, dermatology medications and lab tests”.
What happens here

As a patient who uses private treatment when I can afford it, but has to make do with NHS for most care, appointments take two different courses:

Dr. NHS  hardly looks up from their computer screen to ask what’s wrong.  I tell by talking to their bent head.   Am asked one or two basic questions.  Then doctor returns thankfully to their screen and says “take these pills three times a day”.  End of ten minute consultation.
Dr. Private  asks  what they can help with, and listens carefully.  Then asks a range of questions to my face, carefully watching whilst I answer, and prompting responses to which they ask more questions.  Then they suggest possible solutions, which may very well cover life-style changes:  cut down on certain foods;  take more exercise;  have I tried xxxxxxxx?  There is a discussion about consequences of different solutions, until after 20 – 30 minutes I go away with a plan of action – and very seldom any more pills to take.
Ellie-next-door went to see her Dr. NHS.   He said she had a temperature, and was about to prescribe   anti-biotics for her.  “Hold hard” said Ellie.  “Surely I read that these are losing their effectiveness because we are taking too many?  Wouldn’t it be better if I just went home to bed until my temperature goes down?”   Ellie did just that – result is her doctor isn’t speaking to her, but within three days she was up and running;  no temperature and NO horrid side effects from anti-biotics.
After starting on a new drug, my blood pressure reading went through the roof. My Dr. NHS put me on Amlodipine.  BP went down – thankfully – and I was just told to continue taking drug.  Instead, I have stopped taking the pills;  my BP is slightly above what it should be, but instead of talking about alternatives such as exercise, food etc. which is bringing the figure down, my doctor is cross because I am doing what I can to reduce BP by sensible means on my own.
Dr. Max Pemberton called us a ‘nation of pill poppers’ in the Daily Telegraph.  Then told a chilling story of his first ward round as a junior doctor.
“At nearly every patient’s bed, the Consultant took out his pen and…..  crossed off the medication they had been taking prior to admission.  I stood there and thought he must be mad………  But I came to realise that many of the tablets we dish out cause as many problems as they solve”.
Pemberton also mentioned an old lady whose life had changed (for the worse) after she went to her doctor to say she had trouble sleeping.  Side effects of the drug she was prescribed had eventually led her to have a serious fall, and she ended up in hospital.  This reminded me of Mother, who had had exactly the same problem, but when I suggested to the doctor that the sleeping pills were making her unsteady, causing three major falls, and should be withdrawn – he said this was taking away her rights as a patient.  Us kids changed her Temazepam to a similar-looking vitamin tablet – and no more falls.
The solution the Consultant gave to Pemberton’s old lady was a classic – and so sensible.  “If you can’t sleep at night, listen to the World Service.  It’s a lot safer”.

Drugs cause a vicious cycle – so if you are worried take your tablets off to your nearest Pharmacist.  Ask them what are consequences of taking each one,  and which ones you might do without.

No-one should become addicted or used to these drugs – keep them for when we really need them.

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Latest information on healthy wine drinking

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

Image via Wikipedia

Low Alcohol wines are best – and no longer taste vile!

Once upon a time ….. no-one who knew their wines would touch a low alcohol variety.

Offered this, wine lovers would shudder, and go on to better things.

But wine makers are a savvy lot, and – dare I say it – their job doesn’t always encourage the best of health, so they have started to take a serious look at reducing the percentage of alcohol in their wines, without impairing the gorgeous taste that makes wine what it is.

And with the medics all saying we must reduce our alcohol intake, wine lovers will welcome ‘new’ low-alcohol wines appearing on the shelves.  And When  Jonathan Ray, the well-known wine writer for the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator Magazine, lifts a glass to toast  low-alcohol wines, you can be sure that these are drinkable – very drinkable.

Recently Prof. Roger Corder has published The Wine Diet, and has made some very interesting comments about healthy amounts to drink – see http://after-cancer.com/food-and-diets/wine-is-good-for-you/

French growers are starting to produce some good low alcohol wines.  France’s record on cancer care is probably best in the world;  so it isn’t rocket science to deduce that a few vignerons have come face-to-face with their doctors, and decided that they need to take their warnings about alcohol seriously.

And they are succeeding

They aren’t the only ones.  Hop over the frontier to Italy, and wines such as Prosecco are gathering a following.  Again this was labelled as ‘poor man’s champagne’ and gained a bad reputation, but recently wine-loving friends have been passing round the bottle in smart  gardens, as the ideal drink for summer days.

Ray recently conducted a wine tasting for the Daily Telegraph, and said, “Prosecco is invariably lower in alcohol than champagne and other fizzes. This is hardly the most complex of examples, but it is light and refreshing with a touch of sweet fruit on the palate and a lively, crisp finish. Enjoy as an aperitif or as the base of such cocktails as the Mimosa (with fresh orange juice), Jo Jo (fresh strawberry) or Sbagliato (Campari and Cinzano Rosso). Sainsbury’s Prosecco Frizzante NV, 10.5%vol, Italy (£4.99; Sainsbury’s).

However, for serious drinkers, he is happy to recommend a 2002 Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Hunter Semillon, 10%vol, Australia (£19.99 as part of a mixed half dozen; Majestic). He says “this is seriously grown-up stuff which proves that lack of alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean lack of character. From the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, this is picked at early ripeness, cool fermented and aged briefly on the lees before being bottled. It is fresh and citrusy, but creamy and toasty too (despite no oak). Superb with roast cod and pancetta.

But if health is of serious concern to you, what about a 2008 Torres ‘Natureo’, 0.5%vol, Spain (£5.99-£7.99; Soho Wine Supply 020 7436 9736, The Bottle Stop 0161 439 4904, The Vineyard 01306 876828, Magnum Wine Shop 01793 642569).

According to Ray, “this is so low in alcohol that it isn’t officially wine at all. Made from muscat, it is fully fermented after which the alcohol is removed. Fresh, fruity and grapey with hints of apple and peach, it is surprisingly tasty, if a bit short on the finish.

The tourist board of the Rhone-Alpes region has become very health-friendly.  Lyon, the capital city (2nd city of France) has superb, world-renowned cancer treatment centres, and Isabelle Faure and her team at the Tourist Office are encouraging health tourism.  All over the region you can go for health checks, or specialised treatment.  A friend who went there for cancer  treatment had chosen to have her operation in one special hospital, “because they have an excellent wine list”.  (Needless to say she is French!)

Alexandra du Mesnil du Buisson, an English-speaking friend in the region,lives in the Chateau de Longsard – which has lovely apartments for rent – ideal if someone is undertaking cancer treatment, and the family wants to stay near by.

She emails  “I called our wine making friends and they  are very happy that I mentioned their wines.  They make a red sparkling wine at 6.3° It is made by the méthode ancestral as opposed to methode champenoise.

They own the largest wine estate of the beaujolais, Chateau Lacarelle, and they have now put a large portion of it into making organic wines.  Their web site for the organic wines is www.domainedesgrottes.com
If you wish to call to get more information please do on 00 33 474 034 080.

As for us at Chateau de Longsard, we have several self catering appartments in the chateau grounds, and are 30 min from most hospitals  ( by car ).  We have a ground floor appartment for guests with mobility problems,                        and other 2 bedroom appartments, all romantically looking the rose garden.

There are four-poster beds, and some dramatic split-level apartments. 

Our web site is http://www.lemesnil-longsard.com (only in french) and in english/french www.longsard.com

And off course there is no problem with languages as we are all fluent in English.  If you drive there the chateau is within a few miles of the main autoroute.

www.rhonealpestourisme.com

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What to do when drugs cause skin lesions, dry patches, itching etc.

Skin cells from burn
When this happens to your skin  Flickr

Information on this website is intended for information purposes only. Nothing is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

DON’T DESPAIR

Our skin is our largest and most important feature – so if you get painful, peeling, dry, itching skin,  during cancer treatment, DON’T think you mustn’t make a fuss.

For those who aren’t having cancer treatment, but have these symptoms – ask if these symptoms could be the result of taking antibiotics, medicinal drugs, etc.

Dermatology (the science of looking after skin) is very badly served in Britain, and far too often there isn’t enough time allocated for patients to discover what causes skin problems, so these are dismissed, or you have to wait months to see a consultant, by which time the condition has driven you nearly mad, or you come off the drugs.  Or doctors blame detergents, pollution, modern life-style or – as in my case “it’s your age”.

DON’T be bullied, or  even think that you are wasting doctor’s time if you have skin problems.   Our skin is our largest organ and needs looking after.

Sadly there are doctors that sniff and murmur “vanity” under their breath when we ask for help.  I came across a horror in my local hospital;  but when I challenged his diagnosis, he swept out defeated.

But it was him and Dr. 30 Second (who didn’t help with my eye problem) that made me start this website – which now has ‘visitors’ from 142 countries – proving that there are others like me who have skin problems!!

So this page is all about nice treatments, well-researched and helpful.  Don’t let nurses put you off.

If you want help with skin problems, don’t let excuses like “we are not allowed to recommend commercial products” put your off.  This is only laziness.  In other countries (with better post-cancer survival rates) it is normal for doctors to prescribe skin products for ‘cancer drug’ skin.  You can ask why is it that the drugs that are possibly causing the problems, are made by the most commercial companies in the world;  if doctors can recommend commercial drugs, then they should be able to recommend commercial products that will help with problems caused by those drugs.

How It all started

About two weeks after starting Tamoxifen, I woke up to find my body was a peeling, bloody mess, covered in lesions.  Cancer side effects had kicked in, and  I really needed a whole lot of advice and TLC.

Peeling off another layer, my (almost never seen) Oncology Nurse said “you do have a problem”, and that was all.  No help from her.

I needed help – fast.  So I went to a Dermatologist – whom I call PD (Pompous Dermatologist).  He was a Professor and in charge at our local Foundation Hospital.  He asked if I minded if he examined me in front of his students – I said I was delighted as I was sure it was drugs that had caused the skin lesions, and therefore students should know the consequences.

After a cursory examination, he told me “it’s your age”.  I started to challenge this – how could my body have erupted with these bloody blisters overnight, if it were age?  I had gone to bed with perfectly normal skin, yet woken up with blood all over me.

He refused to answer – but I could hear the students’ comments, and they were definitely on my side.  He realised this, got up and swept out saying he didn’t have time to answer any more questions.

I since heard that he had treated four friends in exactly the same way.  I HATE BULLIES – and got my own back as I had opted to go privately so I could see him straight away,  and refused to pay his bill.  He never pressed for payment.

After him I went to my private doctor, who spent over an hour talking me through all my symptoms, and eventually put me on a cortisone cream – which cleared everything up – telling me as soon as the skin was healed to come off the cream, start with a good body cream several times a day and go to a Consultant for advice.   I decided to go to France, where I was told they excelled in treating skin problems, but in the meantime would look around for a good body cream.  Having had such a bad experience with a Professor of Dermatology in Britain, I wasn’t going to go back.

What you do

I was lucky – having written articles about skincare, I bombarded the Press Offices of major skincare companies, asking if their research chemists had ever come across cancer skin side effects that might be caused by Tamoxifen.

Back zinged e-mail after e-mail saying they knew all about this.

All the companies mentioned here deserve a big thank you -they saved my skin and helped me stay on drugs.  But I can fully understand and sympathise with the 60% of us who elect to come off these life-prolonging drugs;  after all, who wants painful itching skin day after day, month after month?  With doctors telling you when you ask for help, “its your age”.

But don’t come off drugs – try, try and try recommended skincare products, until you find the one that will sooth and replenish your skin.  And help you stay on the drug.

Doctor’s letter

When I asked companies what they recommended for my skin, quite rightly, none of them would send me anything to help until I could produce a letter from my doctor saying my skin was healed. Once doctors gave me the go-ahead and said I could tolerate creams, etc.

Clinique took over – they make a fabulous Deep Comfort Body Butter. Rubbing that all over my skin three times a day eventually bought my horrible peeling skin under control, and now I only use it once a day (unless I go swimming, and then use again).

I did think I should try to see if the NHS could contribute to the cost, and was given several products to try, including Cetraben and Oilatum Cream; they are OK, but sadly not nearly as effective, so it was back to Clinique!

Daily Routine

Clinique said they were well aware of problems caused by drugs, had developed special creams to help patients and took stands at Dermatology and other medical conferences to tell the medical profession about this – but doctors just weren’t interested. They even have an excellent booklet written for the medical profession which lists every ingredient in their recommended range, so staff can check if anything might produce a reaction to certain drugs.  (I got hold of copies to hand to staff – but they landed in waste paper baskets).

What is it about the British medical profession that it can’t understand that women (and men) today want to keep their skin looking nice? Skin is our largest and one of our most important organs, and if it gets cracked and erupts, this sets up all sorts of problems, not the least germs getting in to the lesions causing havoc.

As I write this, Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub has written in the The Daily Telegraph “we in the medical profession ……..have to listen more to our patients”.

In France they listen, then you are likely to be prescribed products produced by La Roche Posay (more details in next chapter).  At their medical centre they have a totally different approach, where doctors work WITH the patient, rather than dismissing our concerns.

BME

Sadly, those with dark or black skins tell me they feel left out, and they have even less attention paid to skin problems than we do.  The companies I mention here all make suitable products for BME skin, and their Beauty Consultants (in major stores or chemists) can give advice if you need to use any special creams.

Anthelios (made by La Roche Posay – LRP)  is certainly recommended for people with black skin, those who have vitiligo and is also  for every skin type that is photosensitive or photosensitive as a consequence of photosensitising drugs (chemotherapeutic drugs are known photosensitises).

People with dark or black skin who require camouflage make up post procedure or as a consequence of a skin pathology can use the Unifiance range of make up (available in most countries that stock LRP including Ireland, but not UK, so those in Britain have to order it on the net). They don’t, however, have a range specifically developed for black skin, as Camilla Rummery, their Medical marketing spokeswoman, says “Our range is recommended for all skin colours. We have also done multiethnic studies on the Effaclar range (for acne and oily prone skin) and of course our Lipikar range is suitable for all atopic and dry skin”.

Sadly, when nurses compliment me on my skin, and I start to tell them why it is in such good condition, even though I am on hormonal drugs causing cancer skin side effects – you can see they aren’t paying a blind bit of notice. Their eyes glaze over at the mention of any commercial products – and they live by the NHS mantra “free at the point of delivery”. No matter if you can pay for something that will make your life easier and more comfortable – this dog-in-the-manger attitude is pathetic.

So if you find that nurses just brush aside your questions about what products to use for your skin colour, go to LRP or any of the companies’ Consultants, or go on their websites – you’ll find they are incredibly helpful.

So – unless you are very lucky, if you have peeling skin – blood lesions – itchy skin – etc., it is up to you to sort it out. Or get help from GOOD skincare companies.

Making money

Yes – these companies are in business to make money. But many years ago the major companies realised that if they produced creams that gave customer allergic reactions, consumer groups (particularly in the USA) were so powerful they would be driven out of business by the Courts. So they improved research and development (R & D), employed a whole lot of scientists and doctors who were passionate about skincare – and the result is creams that are almost miracle creams. Not quite – we still can’t believe the ads that promise eternally youthful skin, but if we use good products in the right way, we can do a lot to give ourselves better skin. And women – and men – today realise that good skin makes you feel better.

It is strange that two French and one  US company all launched in Britain in 2008, unless of course they read the Macmillan survey saying we spend so much on ourselves after cancer (upwards of £2,000 – £12,000 pp).

Outdoors

When you go outside, even in winter it makes sense to use a moisturiser of AT LEAST Factor 15 on your face everyday (two lots of Factor 8 are still only Factor 8).

In Summer, the Skin Care Campaign say cancer patients should wear at least Factor 30, and Factor 50 when the sun is bright.

Clarins are another company that takes sun protection very seriously, and make excellent fake tans. They recommend using their exfoliating creams before you apply fake tan for a much more even finish.

And whatever you do – HAVE FUN! I defy anyone to be miserable when there is a gorgeous lavender scent coming from the bathroom, as you slather on a gorgeous cream (and I bet you the men enjoy this too!)

See next posting in this section for more on the Hero Products that help our skin every day.

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Media

TELEGRAPH ONLINE

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/judithpotts/100216167/gps-should-be-encouraged-to-prescribe-exercise-at-the-same-time-as-medication/#disqus_thread

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/author/judithpotts/

TOTAL HEALTH  http://www.totalhealth.co.uk/healthy-interests/winter-foods-cancer-patient

DR. ALF BLOG   http://dralfoldman.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/three-open-questions-on-uk-healthcare-policy-a-detailed-response-from-john-gelmini/

HEALTH TALK ONLINE  Interview about Breast Cancer by Suman Prinjha of University of Oxford Dept. Primary Care   http://www.healthtalkonline.org

TOTAL HEALTH :  Web magazine for Doctors                 http://www.totalhealth.co.uk/contributors/ms-verite-reily-collins/top-tips-surviving-cancer-cancer-survivor

http://social.eyeforpharma.com/patients/patients%E2%80%99-week-2011-let-patients-help    Patient Week

Italy approves British remedy as safe Natural Remedy for Morning Sickness

Posted by ? October 2, 2010 ?

About Insurance:  http://www.spahaven.net/index.php/health-spa-news/sage-advice-on-travel-insurance/comment-page-1/?rcommentid=14416&rerror=incorrect-captcha-sol&rchash=cd78841ee5692608c493dcab8367bc4b#commentform

On Dept.Health’s own website http://healthandcare.dh.gov.uk/listening-exercise-how-to-get-involved/

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/judithpotts/100081847/coping-with-the-side-effects-of-cancer-drugs/

NHS future forum ‘listening’ events | Abetternhs’s Blog
abetternhs.wordpress.com/2011

http://breastcancer.about.com/od/lifeaftertreatment/tp/life-after-survivors.htm?nl=1

About.Com writes about Survivors – and helpful information

http://www.spatherapyaftercancer.com/spa-therapy-for-your-soul.html

http://www.azarticles.net/what-are-the-chances-of-breast-cancer-survival-in-the-uk/

http://www.mirrormakeoverstravelingcancerbook.blogspot.com/

I was impressed by all the information, the honesty and hard work that was put into finding answers, addressing questions and helping with just  the everyday experience of cancer. For those of us who have gone through the disease, this is so refreshing.  It is hard to get answers at times and equally hard is answers to what to really expect. Not everyone likes to hear the hard brutal truth and because of that we get the “sugar-coated” end or sometimes even worse, we are just expected to deal with what is sent our way.  Not with Verite Reily Collins!  Ms. Collins tackles some of the tough questions, and the biggest one of all Tamoxifen!

http://www.derbygripe.co.uk/nhs.htm

and http://www.derbygripe.co.uk/links.htm


About.com Search Results:

Verité Reily Collins is a Travel and Health Writer as well as a breast cancer survivor. She lives in Great Britain and writes about coping with recovery and

PRACTICE NURSE MPs lobbied on cancer services.  11th December

http://www.thatsfit.co.uk/2009/11/03/wise-words-from-cancer-survivors-powerful-advice-from-real-peo

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY 18.06.09

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154371.php

PRACTICE NURSE

Managing cancer treatment side-effects  14th Aug. 2009  (most recent)

European Approach to Cancer Care   –     12th December issue  pp 32

WOMAN My Breast Cancer Diary

http://www.breathlesssurvivor.blogspot.com/

YOGA MAGAZINE Comforting Cancer   ;  Cancer Awareness   ;Recovery after Surgery

ARABELLA Overcoming Cancer

THIS FRENCH LIFE Website  Info on Cancer Treatment in France http://www.thisfrenchlife.com/thisfrenchlife/2008/10/heading-to-the.html

LIFESCAPE MAGAZINE Cancer Resource Centre

http://EzineArticles.com/?id=1942593
“Hot Air From Health Minister” – published on EzineArticles.com:

Self Help Website http://www.self-help.org.uk/search/?entryid54=60400&p=9

Well-known Journalist Simone Costello has put this site up on her blog  http://fromrattopositiveparent.blogspot.com/

Cancer Association of Namibia recommends :  http://can.org.na/?page_id=11