Cancer Continuing to Damage Australian’s Health
The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has highlighted Cancer as the biggest issue reducing the number of healthy years enjoyed by people in the country, despite rates of the condition being lower than those of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease rates may be higher, however, according to the ‘Burden of Cancer on Australia’ report, Cancer kills more people at a younger age - resulting in a greater number of years lost. Throughout the country the report concludes that 782,349 years of life have been lost due to Cancer, whilst the condition accounted for 19% of the total burden of disease figure.
Five Cancers were identified as being the biggest risk; with lung, breast, prostate and pancreatic accounting for almost half the burden facing the country. Lung Cancer was the biggest killer meanwhile, accounting for one in five of the years lost - with over 20% of the total cases of all forms attributed to tobacco smoking.
The global battle against Cancer will continue for many years to come, as the search for a cure becomes even more advanced. Australia looks set to play a big role in that pioneering research in the future, as it is faced with a major issue.
New Zealand Upholds Smoking Ban at Mental Health Facilities
New Zealand’s Supreme Court has supported a hospital’s smoking ban in mental health units in its region, after decreeing that it didn’t breach a patient’s human rights.
Waitemata District Health Board faced the legal action after a patient, who spent almost two weeks on the intensive care unit of a mental health facility, objected to its smokefree policy. Under this ruling staff, patients and visitors are not allowed to smoke on the premises.
After failing in an attempt to claim that the DHB’s smokefree policy breached the Bill of Rights act, the unnamed individual then attempted to force the facility into providing a dedicated smoking room, under the Smoke-free environments act. This was also rejected by the Supreme Court however.
Speaking following the ruling, DHB Chief Executive Dale Bramley was understandably pleased. He said: "To allow patients to smoke in our facilities when we know this is damaging to health is inconsistent with our goals. I believe the healthcare sector must lead by example and this decision enables us to do so.
"Smoking kills around 5000 people each year in New Zealand and district health boards play a key role in promoting and supporting better health outcomes."
"Today's decision allows Waitemata DHB to continue its focus on caring for patients and we are pleased that the lengthy court process is now finalised".
Junk Food Ads Could be Banned in Canada
Junk food adverts aimed at children are set to be banned in Canada, as Health Canada starts a 45 day consultation period in Ottawa.
If the trial period goes as planned legislation could be introduced to limit, or even ban, junk food advertising that is aimed at children nationwide.
Childhood obesity rates in Canada are currently soaring, with some statistics showing that they have tripled since the 1980s, whilst clear evidence exists to show that obese children will become obese adults. This can put a huge strain on the country’s healthcare services, with an increased prevalence of many lifestyle related conditions.
Currently only Quebec has restrictions on advertising unhealthy products during peak times, and with similar locations like the United Kingdom already introducing restrictions on what can be advertised during these times, it looks as if Canada will be the next country to go national in its attempts to lower childhood obesity levels.