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Ladies, it’s your turn!

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On the wall behind my desk I fly a flag. It has a blue cross on it with 13 stars on a red background. Most of the staff think it is the Australian flag, but it most certainly is not. It is actually an American Confederate flag, the standard of the rebels. You can now read into that, anything you like!

And talking about reading something into known facts, every week I will be confronted by a worried farang male who has just found out that his PSA test has become elevated. This must obviously herald the end of his world. Several pages are printed out from that well-known medical guru, Dr. Google. The end is nigh! But maybe it isn’t.

For the vast majority of cases, Prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer. In other words, you will die with your prostate cancer, and not from your prostate cancer. The most recent figures I have to hand are that 16 percent of males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lives, eight percent will develop significant symptoms, but only three percent will actually die from prostate cancer. 97 percent don’t die. There! Feel better now?

Having now dealt with the farang male obsession, as I indicated in the heading – Ladies, it’s your turn. And let’s deal with breast cancer, an emotive subject, and unfortunately then it becomes a very popular subject for the ‘pulp’ press, especially when Angelina Jolie pops up with a double mastectomy for genetic reasons. However, you should not ignore the fact that having the breast cancer gene is not a 100 percent indication that you will develop breast cancer. Ms. Jolie might have jumped the gun a bit.

Breast cancer is like all cancers - the sooner you find it, the sooner you can deal with it and the earlier treatment is administered, the better the outcome. In fact, did you know that Studies from the American National Cancer Institute show that 96 percent of women whose breast cancer is detected are still alive 5 or more years after treatment. This is called a 96 percent five year survival rate, one of the ways we measure the severity of life threatening cancers.

Now I mentioned breast cancer at the start of this item for a couple of reasons. One is the fact that screening tests can be done, and I would suggest that all you ladies over the age of 40 (or over the age of 30 if your mother or a maternal aunt died of breast cancer) should consider annual mammograms.

There are ‘specials’ available this month for the ladies. I suggest you look up what is available.