Episode

Inside Health

BBC Radio 4

Health

Dr Mark Porter demystifies health issues, separating fact from fiction and bringing clarity to conflicting health advice, with the help of regular contributor GP Margaret McCartney

Website

Preventive HIV therapy, Sugar tax, Bowel cancer, Surgery

March 22nd, 2016

Episode 310 of 329 episodes

The average five-year-old consumes their own body weight in sugar every year in this country - a scary illustration of the scale of the sugar problem. The new sugar tax is supposed to tackle this, but what's the evidence that a tax on sugary drinks alone will make a difference? Dr Margaret McCartney reviews the evidence from other countries, which have also used fiscal measures to nudge their populations into eating a healthy diet. PrEP - pre-exposure prophylaxis - is the latest advance in the ongoing battle against HIV. Studies show this preventive HIV therapy can reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86%. So the announcement by NHS England that it wasn't its responsibility to commission the drug has been met by shock and disappointment. Sexual Health and HIV consultant, Dr Jake Bayley, tells Mark that PrEP is a game changer in preventing HIV in high risk groups and the news that it won't be rolled out nationally, as expected, means the UK is falling behind in HIV prevention. "We don't like to talk about our bottoms", Maureen Williams tells Inside Health is one reason why take up of bowel cancer screening across the country is so patchy. Maureen was one of the first people to receive the faecal occult blood test ten years ago as part of the roll out of the bowel cancer screening programme and despite having no symptoms, they found early stage bowel cancer. Ten years later Maureen campaigns for people to complete and return the potentially life-saving test. The clinical head of the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Programme talks to Mark about the new, simpler screening test called FIT, the Faecal Immunochemical Test, due to be rolled out in Scotland, and perhaps soon in the rest of the UK as well. Researchers in Taiwan have concluded that most patients who undergo surgery can start showering 48 hours after an operation - a finding that flies in the face of traditional thinking that scars need to be kept dry and under a dressing for a week or more, before getting wet. Consultant Surgeon Nicholas Markham from North Devon District Hospital details the dramatic changes for patients undergoing surgery, including keyhole surgery, changes in the use of anaesthetic, access to food and water and bed rest.

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