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Articles / information - Breast cancer / Prostate cancer / Nursing care / NHS Direct / Sensible drinking and giving up smoking

Get all the information you need on breast cancer using the best medical search engine on the web for health.

 

Breast screening
Breast screening (mammography) is an x-ray examination of the breasts which can show breast cancer at an early stage. If you are a woman between 50 and 70 you are entitled to free breast screening. A mammogram takes a few minutes and involves only a tiny dose of radiation, so the risk to your health is very small. Your local screening centre or primary care trust should contact you and give you an appointment before your 53rd birthday.
Is breast screening for me?
If you are a woman between 50 and 65 you are entitled to free breast screening. By 2004, this will be extended to all women up to the age of 70. "I firmly believe that the Breast Screening Service is a very good thing," says Mrs Jean Sale, 65. "When I was examined by mammogram at the hospital, the lump could not be seen or felt and must have been very deep, because it only showed up on the ultrasound. I was operated on very quickly after the lump was detected." Six months later Jean had another mammogram and check up. "That was fine and I have to go back in another six months' time. I was quite worried at first but now I feel very relieved knowing it's all cleared."

Breast screening in England
Contact Breast Cancer Care, a national organisation, for free help, information and support for women with breast cancer or other breast-related problems. Helpline: 0808 8006 000 (The line is open Monday to Friday, 10.00 am to 5.00 pm).
Breast screening in Scotland
In Scotland, you can contact your local NHS Board or GP surgery for details of your nearest breast screening centre, or contact 0131 551 8836.

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Prostate cancer

The prostate gland is located in the male pelvis, at the base of the bladder. Its main function is to make some of the fluid of semen. There are three main things that could go wrong with your prostate. With any prostate problem, it is important you talk to your GP to see what your symptoms mean. GPs have been provided with a resource pack to talk to you if you are worried about prostate cancer.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) is common in older men, with the prostate growing naturally bigger causing difficulty or pain when passing urine. Several treatments are available.>Find out more

Prostatitis
Prostatitis can affect men of any age, and is an inflammation of the prostate causing pain and difficulty when passing urine.>Find out more

Prostate cancer
The risk of prostate cancer gets higher in older men. Symptoms are similar to other prostate problems, particularly difficulty in passing urine, but other symptoms include lower back pain, pain in the hips or pelvis, erection problems and, more rarely, blood in the urine. All these symptoms can also be caused by other problems. Prostate cancer behaves differently in different men, with some growing very slowly and some growing quickly. There are no known measures you can take to reduce your risk of prostate cancer.>Find out more

Find out more about prostate problems
With any prostate problem, it is important you first talk to your GP. You can also contact The Prostate Cancer Charity confidential helpline 0845 300838, or CancerBACUP freephone helpline 0808 8001234.

 

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Nursing care


In England and Wales if you are in a care home that provides nursing care or are planning to go into one and you don't qualify for financial support from social services, you may be able to get NHS-funded nursing care. In Scotland, people aged 65 and over who have sufficient funds to fund their own care and have been assessed by their local authority as needing personal care are entitled to £145 a week.
NHS-funded nursing care in England and Wales

Anyone receiving financial support from social services for their care in a care home providing nursing care will have the care they need from a registered nurse paid for by the NHS.
If you also receive support from social services, they will be responsible for the other costs of care and for assessing the level of any financial contribution that you may need to make.
In England
If you live in England, you can phone 0870 1555 455 for a free copy of the leaflet 'NHS Funding Care in Nursing Homes - what it means for you'. The line is open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Calls are charged at local rates. You can also contact your local Primary Care Trust directly.>Find out more

In Wales
If you live in Wales, you can phone 029 2082 5295. The line is open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday. Or you can contact your local health board directly. >Find out more

More information
You can find more information about benefits and services available to people in residential care or nursing homes on The Pension Service website.
You may also want to read or print off the leaflet 'GL15 Help if you live in a residential care or nursing home' from the Department for Work and Pensions website.


Free personal and nursing care in Scotland

If you live in a care home and are aged 65 or over, there will be no change if your costs are already being met from public funds.
NHS Helpline: phone 0800 22 44 88
People aged 65 and over who have sufficient funds to fund their own care and have been assessed by their local authority as needing personal care are entitled to £145 a week. Those who have also been assessed as needing nursing care are entitled to £210 a week.
If you decide to receive the £145, you will no longer be eligible to receive Attendance Allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance.
If you have been receiving either of these benefits and you decide to receive the £145, you must let the Department for Work and Pensions know on 08457 12 34 56.
If you live at home
If you think you need personal care, you should ask your local authority to carry out a care needs assessment.
You will not have to pay for any personal care you are assessed as needing. If you are already receiving services which include personal care, the local authority will not charge for the personal care part after 1 July 2002.
For general information and a copy of our leaflet 'Free Personal and Nursing Care from 1 July 2002 - What does it mean for you?' contact the NHS Helpline on 0800 22 44 88. You can also find copies at your doctor's surgery or library.
To discuss your needs and to apply for free personal or nursing care or both, you should contact your local social work services. For your nearest office look in the phone book under local government. >Find out more

 

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NHS Direct and NHS Helpline
NHS Direct in England and Wales is a confidential telephone service offering health advice and information at any time of the day or night. The NHS Helpline in Scotland is here to help you if you want information on the Scottish health services and health matters, or if you want information on social care services in your area.

NHS Direct

NHS Direct is for anyone needing health advice or information.
When you phone NHS Direct, a nurse will give you confidential advice and information. You can ring for advice if you are feeling ill and you are not sure what to do, or for health information on particular conditions such as diabetes and allergies. NHS Direct can also tell you where to find your nearest doctor, pharmacist, dentist or support group.
How to contact NHS Direct
You can phone NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. If English is not your first language, you can use a confidential translation service. Calls are charged at the local rate and, for patients' safety, all calls are recorded. (A textphone service is also available for people who have difficulties with their hearing or speech on 0845 606 4647.)
You can also visit the NHS Direct website for health advice and information.

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Sensible drinking and giving up smoking
Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. You can get help from a variety of sources. If you feel that you may be drinking too much, or you can't control your drinking, you may want to get help.

Giving up smoking

Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. Your body will begin to repair the damage done almost immediately. Within 10 years, the risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
Benefits of stopping smoking
Within five years of giving up you will have reduced the risk of a heart attack to about half that of a smoker. Within 10 years of giving up, the risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked, and the risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker. The most important part in giving up smoking is your desire to stop.
It is never too late to stop smoking.
Is giving up smoking for me?
Smoking kills over 120,000 people a year, and is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death in the UK. You'd probably like to give up smoking, but feel unable to stop because you are addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. Bill, in his late 50s, had to retire early from ill-health.
"Since I gave up smoking 15 months ago, I have bought a tree every time I collected enough from the savings I have made from not smoking. I now have over 30 trees in my garden."
NHS services
The NHS provides free services to help smokers stop including local stop smoking services which offer ongoing free face to face advice and support near your own home. Your GP can offer advice and information on local NHS services and also prescribe aids to help you stop, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), which can greatly increase your chances of stopping smoking successfully.
Giving up smoking in England and Wales
NHS smoking helpline
You can phone the free NHS smoking helpline for confidential advice and support on 0800 169 0 169. It is open from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm every day of the year and offers everything from basic literature to in-depth counselling, as well as giving support to families and friends of smokers. You can also get advice from the NHS Giving up smoking website.

Giving up smoking in Scotland
Smokeline
You can phone the Smokeline free for confidential advice and support on 0800 84 84 84. It is open from 12.00 noon to 12.00 midnight every day of the year and offers everything from basic literature to in-depth counselling, as well as giving support to families and friends of smokers.
Other services
Many pharmacists provide information and advice on the different varieties of NRT and may offer you support as well. You can also get advice from the Health Education Board for Scotland's website.

Sensible drinking

Advice from the Department of Health and from the Scottish Executive is that women should drink no more than two to three units a day and no more than 14 units in total for the week, men no more than three to four units a day and no more than 21 units in total for the week. It's also better not to drink at all before driving, or before vigorous sport or exercise.
Effects of alcohol on older people
It is important to remember that the effects of alcohol are increased as we get older.
The recommended levels are maximum amounts for fit and healthy individuals and older people should aim to drink less than that. There is one unit of alcohol in half a pint of standard-strength beer, a small glass (125 ml) of wine or a pub measure of spirits.
When you feel it is too much
If you feel that you may be drinking too much, or you can't control your drinking, you may want to get help.
Drinkline
Drinkline is a free and confidential alcohol helpline which can give you support, advice and information.
You can phone Drinkline on 0800 917 8282, Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 11.00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 6.00 pm to 11.00 pm.
Alcohol Focus Scotland

Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS), Scotland's national voluntary organisation on alcohol, produce a leaflet on alcohol and older people. AFS can be contacted on 0141 572 6700.
More information
You can get more information about alcohol and advice on sensible drinking from your GP or practice nurse. You can also get the following leaflets from the Department of Health order line by phoning 08701 555 455:
· 'Think about drink'
· 'Alcohol: Facts for young people and parents'
· 'Alcohol: The facts' (in English and five Asian languages)
· 'Your drink and you' (for African-Caribbean communities).
· 'Cutting down on drinking'
Cutting down on drinking
"I'd never seen my drinking as a problem - I could enjoy it most days without getting drunk," says Moira, 56. "But I was getting confused and couldn't leave the house. Then I had a fall and had to go into hospital - the doctors thought I had dementia."
The doctors noticed that Moira's symptoms disappeared in hospital, and soon realised it was because she wasn't drinking.
"With the help of a nurse and an alcohol adviser, I cut my drinking right down. I feel much better, my health has improved 100 per cent, and I've got a new lease of life. I'm out most days at my local community centre, and I see much more of my family - I now travel across London every week to visit my grandchildren."

 

 

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