To screen or not to screen

To screen or not to screen

Breast screening has been in the news again. There is mounting evidence that it doesn’t save lives but does result in a lot of unnecessary trauma and treatment. As technology continues to advance it’s likely that doctors will be able to screen for more and more conditions earlier and earlier. And we can already decide to send off our DNA for testing without any discussion or...

Read More

It’s tough being a middle-aged woman with an eating disorder

It’s tough being a middle-aged woman with an eating disorder

Young girls aren’t the only people with eating disorders. Men get them too – and so do women well into middle age. Last year, I had an article on this subject published in Wellbeing magazine. I wrote it because I had both anorexia and bulimia for 12 years from the age of 19. I’m fortunate enough to have reached a stage now where eating is a pleasure rather than a torment but I still –...

Read More

My Journey with the BCNA

My Journey with the BCNA

It’s almost 16 years since I finished my year-long treatment for breast cancer and sent a copy of my newly-published book You can get through this! to Lyn Swinburne, founder of the young and still relatively small Breast Cancer Network of Australia (BCNA). She liked it, gave me a wonderful endorsement and bought a number of copies to give away to women she thought would find it helpful. A year...

Read More

Another positive result for acupuncture

Interesting to see more research supporting  the positive effects of acupuncture – this time managing the hot flashes (or flushes as I’ve always called them). I love it when science encourages us to be a bit more...

Read More

Sorry, ladies, but if men were attracted to older women the world would come to an end

Sorry, ladies, but if men were attracted to older women the world would come to an end

I feel very sorry for older women who are looking for a partner. It must be immensely dispiriting to keep on being rejected by men you consider age appropriate who are in search of women half your age. This Guardian piece tells a familiar story. Stella Grey – a non-de-plume – is sharing her experiences with online dating and, this week, she reports that “it’s disheartening that men in...

Read More

Exercise makes you eat more – unless you think it’s fun

Exercise makes you eat more – unless you think it’s fun

Does exercise make you eat more? It seems the answer is ‘yes’, but not for the reasons you might expect. According to the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, it has nothing to do with your body wanting to make up for burned calories and everything to do with rewarding yourself for making the effort. In two studies, they led two groups of adults on a two-mile walk around a lake. They told one group...

Read More

Run for your life? Maybe not

Run for your life? Maybe not

I’m all for promoting the benefits of exercise, and it’s interesting to see there’s some evidence that exercise during chemotherapy can help to shrink tumours, but I’m not impressed by the image of people running, or the glibness of this researcher when he says “People don’t take a drug and then sit down all day.” People’s reaction to chemotherapy varies...

Read More

Why the world needs more Katy Barfields

Why the world needs more Katy Barfields

One of the joys of being a journalist is that I get to interview people that I would have little or no chance of talking to in my everyday life. And just about everyone has something interesting to say. But the real joy is coming across someone like Katy Barfield. As founding CEO of Second Bite, Katy takes food that would otherwise go to landfill to a  Sacred Heart Mission in Melbourne where...

Read More

If fear of death doesn’t motivate us, what will?

If fear of death doesn’t motivate us, what will?

Now researchers are suggesting that they may be able to tailor a ‘survival’ diet for people who have had breast cancer. But I wonder how closely we’d stick to it? We already know that regular exercise can reduce the chances of recurrence yet, according to this American study, only one in three women living with breast cancer is meeting current physical activity guidelines. When we’re...

Read More

A new test predicts whether breast cancer will spread

A new test predicts whether breast cancer will spread

When I used to smoke 80 Marlborough Reds a day I had no fear of dying from lung cancer. I knew that it generally takes a few decades to develop, so I was confident there would be a cure by the time I needed one. Back then, most people thought of cancer much like TB or polio – a single disease that would eventually respond to a single treatment or immunisation. Now, of course, we know that...

Read More