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Ben Stiller reveals prostate cancer diagnosis

Hollywood A-list actor Ben Stiller has opened up about early testing for prostate cancer saved his life, after being diagnosed with the disease back in 2014.

Hollywood actor Ben Stiller has revealed he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014, and that an early detection test saved his life.

In a US radio interview with Howard Stern this week, Stiller shared the news, saying that despite having no family history of prostate cancer, nor being in a high-risk group, he had “mid-range aggressive cancer” at just 48 years of age. 

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As Stiller writes in a candid personal essay published online, his doctor started running “baseline” prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests from when he was 46, purely as a precaution. 

After watching his “PSA tests rise for over a year and a half, testing me every six months” Stiller says his doctor referred him to a urologist, who then did an MRI and ultimately a biopsy, which led to him being diagnosed in 2014. He had no symptoms. 

For the following three months the actor was treated before undergoing surgery to remove the tumour. In September of that year he was given the all clear, and at the time of writing  “got a test back telling me I was cancer free.” 

Stiller insists that if his doctor had waited to test him until he was 50, as the American Cancer Society recommends, “I would not have known I had a growing tumour until two years after I got treated. 

“If [Stiller’s doctor] had followed the US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, I would have never gotten tested at all, and not have known I had cancer until it was way too late to treat successfully.” 

American medical guidelines advise men to commence testing for prostate cancer after the age of 50. But, as Stiller writes, “Taking the PSA test [early] saved my life. Literally. That’s why I am writing this now.” 

In Australia, the advice is much the same. According to Better Health, the Victorian state government health authority, “Current guidelines recommend that men over age 50, or over the age of 40 with a family history of prostate cancer.” 

There are also no government-sponsored prostate screening programs, unlike breast, bowel and cervical cancer initiatives, which citizens are sent reminders to undergo. 

However, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, and according to the Cancer Council, “it is estimated that one in six males will be diagnosed by the time they are 85”.

Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told CNN that there is a viable case for delaying testing, despite Stiller’s positive and life-saving experience. 

“The tests have bad operating systems,” he said. “They sometimes miss cancer that needs to be found, and they find cancer that doesn’t need to be found.”

CNN also writes that when PSA tests offer misleading or inaccurate results, it can lead to men being unnecessarily diagnosed and treated, which has its own downsides. 

“This is a complicated issue, and an evolving one,” writes Stiller. “But in this imperfect world, I believe the best way to determine a course of action for the most treatable, yet deadly cancer, is to detect it early.” 

We look forward to seeing how this debate evolves in Australia, but in the meantime, are delighted that Stiller is healthy and nine years on, totally cancer-free. 

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This weight loss drug mimics exercise to make you lose weight

Move over, Ozempic. Researchers have developed a drug that mirrors the results of exercise, and in turn, can lead to weight loss. 

Imagine if there was a drug that convinced the body’s muscles they were exercising, without lifting a limb. And what if it boosted the metabolism and endurance, too?

It sounds far-fetched, doesn’t it? But scientists have found a drug that can do just that.

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a new drug known as SLU-PP-332, which they claim does all of the above.

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In studies performed on obese mice, they found the drug tricked the animals’ bodies into thinking they were exercising more, when in fact they hadn’t changed their fitness regimens.

“This compound is basically telling skeletal muscle to make the same changes you see during endurance training,” Thomas Burris, a professor who led the research, told Eureka.

“When you treat mice with the drug, you can see that their whole body metabolism turns to using fatty acids, which is very similar to what people use when they are fasting or exercising,” Burris added. “And the animals start losing weight.”

Burris and his team medicated the mice twice a day for a month, which caused them to lose 12 per cent of their body weight. Incredibly, the mice didn’t alter their diets and didn’t exercise any more than usual.

“They use more energy just living,” he said.

What does this discovery mean? Well, in a time when Ozempic is being touted as the best way to drop weight without lifting a finger, SLU-PP-332 could be a direct competitor – and in more ways than one.

Researchers believe it could have the potential to treat diabetes, obesity and age-related muscle loss. 

“This may be able to keep people healthier as they age,” Burris said.

But it will be some time before it hits the market. SLU-PP-332 will need to be refined and ideally converted into pill form instead of an injection. It will also need to be trialled on other animals, and then eventually humans. 

What are the chances of it hitting the market?

Eureka reported, „Other exercise mimetics have been tested, but none have made it to market, in part because it takes years to develop a new drug.“

According to the publication, traditionally, weight loss-targeted drugs were tricky to get through drug regulators because of „how complex obesity is“. But the likes of Ozempic and Wegovy have changed that and led to more research.

„This development led to a surge of interest, research, and funding for drugs that could treat these metabolic diseases through different biological pathways.“

Read related topics:Weight Loss

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What do Australians die from? COVID-19 is the third-leading cause of death

The virus is now one of the top five leading causes of death in Australia, trumped only by heart disease and dementia.

For all of us, death is inevitable. But in 2022 more Australians died – and we have Covid to thank.

There were 190,939 deaths last year, almost 20,000 more than 2021.

“Deaths due to COVID-19 Covid were a significant contributor to the increase, causing just under 10,000 deaths and mentioned as a contributing factor on a further 2,782 death certificates,” data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics claims.

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The bulk of those deaths are attributed to the Omicron variant, which was first discovered in November 2021. “The Omicron variant was the dominant strain during 2022, with multiple waves across the year associated with the variant.”

In 2020, it was the 38th leading cause of death in Australia, and in 2021, it was the 33rd.

The pandemic also marked a change to our list of top five leading causes of death for the first time since 2006. Covid is now deemed deadlier than lung and bowel cancers, the ABS reports.

What’s more, “This is the first time in over 50 years that an infectious disease has been in the top five leading causes of death in Australia.”

That last time was back 1968 and 1970, when influenza and pneumonia were deemed as the fifth leading cause of death.

For those who died from Covid in 2022:

  • Their median age was 85.8 years
  • Over half were male
  • Pneumonia was present in 41.7 per cent of Covid deaths
  • Cardiac conditions were the most commonly reported pre-existing conditions in 33.0 per cent of Covid deaths
  • The most common underlying cause of death was dementia
  • NSW (3,608) and Victoria (2,956) had the highest number of deaths

Heart disease topped the list with 18,643 deaths, followed by dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease with 17,106.

These were trailed by Covid, and then Cerebrovascular disease with 9,829 deaths.

Cerebrovascular disease includes stroke, vertebral stenosis, carotid stenosis and intracranial stenosis, aneurysms, and vascular malformations.

Lung cancer came in fifth with 9,048 deaths, making it our deadliest cancer.

Read related topics:Coronavirus

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Bowel cancer: Kellie Finlayson’s terminal cancer battle is hell, but inspiring

The wife of AFL star Jeremy Finlayson was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer at age 25, after welcoming their first child.  

At 25, Kellie Finlayson was on a high. She’d just welcomed her first child, daughter Sophia, with her husband, Port Adelaide player, Jeremy Finlayson.

It was a time when she should have been enjoying the baby bubble and making special memories as a family of three. Instead, she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer and forced to fight for her life.

„Long story short, because it is a very long story, I got diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in November 2021, at three months postpartum, and within a week, that was upgraded to stage four,“ she explains during a recent episode of Healthy-ish, with further testing showing the cancer had spread beyond her lymph nodes.

„I had no idea what that meant, obviously, because unless you’ve had or live around anyone who has [cancer] you just don’t know much about it. To me it was just another stage of having cancer which is scary enough as it is.“

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Finlayson endured eight months of treatment, which included chemotherapy, and was given „watch and wait“ advice from her specialists.

At that point, „My surgeon was very happy with how far I’d come and was pretty optimistic about my life. So, I went on living it as much as I could.“

But all that changed in December 2022, a little over a year since her diagnosis.

„I thought I had Covid because I had a really tight chest and couldn’t breathe. I thought I was being melodramatic, which I probably put down to my husband (laughs) because when he had Covid he was a bit of a drama queen.“

A quick trip to the hospital to pick up some medication to help with her symptoms resulted in a nurse sending her for a precautionary CT scan. 

The tests came back showing a large blur in her chest cavity the size of a softball.

„We found out it was pneumonia masking a tumour, and when they went in to have a look in my lungs…they found one tiny little tumour which was also cancer.“

For most, a second cancer diagnosis is all consuming. From the diagnosis itself to treatment, and then the reality that the years might be cut short.

But for Finlayson, the disease isn’t the hardest pill to swallow.

„The hardest part has probably been the things that have been taken from me, not so much with the dealing of the disease,“ she tells host Felicity Harley.

„So, my fertility, my first year as a mum, my ability to support my husband in a career that’s quite stressful because I’ve had to put myself first. His stress has become less important, or less of a priority. Things that I thought my first year of motherhood would be like that they haven’t been, what I thought I’d be able to do post-children.“

On her social media platforms, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Adelaide-based mum is fighting fit. People even comment on her ability to get out and about between treatments. But it’s important to remember cancer looks different for everyone. At one point she weighed less than 45kg. „I was tiny and I was unwell. I was a ghost of myself.“

Today, Finlayson is living her life to the max.

„I believe that if I’m not living my life, what’s the point of still being alive,“ she says.

Right now, she says she’s „very well“ which is „extraordinary“.

„My bloods are showing that I’m very well, my tumour markers are stable. In basic terminology under five is considered a normal tumour marker, and I’m sitting under two which is obviously extraordinary. So, my tumour markers are actually lower than Jeremy’s who doesn’t have cancer.“

According to Bowel Cancer Australia, 15,531 Australians are diagnosed with the disease each year, including 1,716 people under the age of 50.

It claims the lives of 5,350 people annually.

It’s a huge misconception that bowel cancer is an „old person’s“ disease. There are more and more stories of women showing up with bowel cancer or symptoms of bowel cancer, particularly postpartum.

„I think since being diagnosed…and obviously speaking about it so openly, the amount of people I’ve heard who have similar stories or have parents in their 40s who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer…even my own surgeon who’s been diagnosed since me…it’s just crazy,“ she admits.

„It is the leading cancer killer for people in my age bracket, the 25 to 36, so that’s huge.“

In her own experience, Finlayson tells Harley the symptoms we should all be looking out for. Worryingly, four of the five are things women experience on the regular, particularly if they’re pregnant or postpartum.

„The five symptoms I’d list off are abdominal pain, infrequencies in the bowel, blood in the stool is obviously a huge one, unexplained tiredness is another one, and also weight loss.“

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Why is my period late? 3 reasons why you missed a period

If you’re sexually active, your first instinct is no doubt to race down to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test. However, there are several other reasons why your menstrual cycle has skipped a beat.

Missing a period can be stressful, but it is quite common. 

While it’s easy to assume that a late period indicates pregnancy, that’s not always the case. There are actually many reasons why your cycle might be off schedule – some are harmless, while others may require medical attention. Understanding them is an important step towards maintaining your reproductive health and overall wellbeing.

Ahead, we’ll run through some of the most common reasons why your period could be late.

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“The first thing we exclude with a late period is pregnancy,” says Dr Kirsty Wallace-Hor, a GP at Kin Fertility. “This is especially important if someone is trying for a baby, if they have had unprotected sex, or if they’ve been inconsistent with taking their contraceptive pill. This can be checked with an at-home urine pregnancy test, or by doing a urine or blood test with your GP.”


Certain medications can cause changes in your cycle, particularly hormonal contraceptives, which for some people, can lead to late or irregular periods, or even stop them altogether.

“This can be done deliberately with the combined oral contraceptive pill, but it can also happen even when you aren’t intentionally trying to skip periods, particularly when you’ve been taking the pill for a while. Provided you have been taking your pill regularly, this isn’t dangerous, and your period will return to what’s normal for you when you stop the pill,” Dr Wallace-Hor clarifies.

“When starting a new contraceptive, it’s important to discuss with your doctor what you can expect in terms of changes to your period, and how long it may take to return to “your normal” if you stop using that contraceptive,” she adds.

Other drugs like antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-epilepsy medications and chemotherapy can also mess with your cycle.

Medical conditions

“Certain medical conditions can impact the regularity of your menstrual cycle, including polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid disorders, and diabetes. Irregular periods are also common during the menopause transition,” Dr Wallace-Hor explains.

“Weight changes, nutritional deficiencies (such as from disordered eating or untreated coeliac disease), emotional stress, and stress caused by illness and excessive exercise can also cause late or irregular periods.”

What should you do if your period is late?

If you struggle with irregular periods, Dr Wallace-Hor recommends you seek medical help for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it can be a symptom of a more serious health condition, and the earlier you get a diagnosis, the better.

And secondly, because there is treatment. “Irregular periods can be managed by treating any underlying medical conditions or causes, or by regulating them with hormonal contraception. Medication can also be used to treat any associated symptoms like painful or heavy periods.”

Lifestyle changes like working out regularly, reducing stress, taking the right supplements (with the advice of your GP or health professional), ditching cigarettes and avoiding alcohol can help as well.

An irregular menstrual cycle isn’t something you have to live with. Speak with your doctor and get it back on track.

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These are the foods most likely to give you food poisoning

One emergency department doctor has revealed the top three culprits for food poisoning and spoiler alert, you’ll likely find them hard to part with. 

Have you ever eaten some dodgy takeaway or tested the validity of ‘use by’ suggestions? If so, you’ve probably experienced a treacherous evening in hell, swearing off a particular meal indefinitely. Now imagine witnessing the cycle of food poisoning day in and day out. 

After treating thousands of patients for terrible bouts of food poisoning, An ER doctor and trauma surgeon has divulged the most common foods associated with food poisoning cases, advising people to avoid them at all costs. 

Dr Gabe, another TikTok doctor putting his 12 years of medical training to good use, has racked up over 64 thousand followers on the platform, sharing helpful tips and explanations relating to a myriad of health conditions and commonly asked questions.

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These are the top three foods Dr Gabe would never put on his shopping list. 

#1. Raw cookie dough

Before you shed a tear for your favourite ice cream flavour, Dr Gabe insists raw cookie dough in this form is usually safe, as the eggs are pasteurised and the flour has been heat-treated. Instead, the cookie dough you should be wary of is your homemade or store-bought batch. 

“Buying a raw batch that needs to be baked first is a big no-no,” he says. “Raw flour could contain E-coli and should always be cooked.”

#2. Unpasteurised dairy products

Situated in the United States, Dr Gabe is understandably seeing a higher prevalence of unpasteurised dairy product-related hospital admissions. Many states in the US still allow the production and distribution of unpasteurised milk and cheese.

“I’m not sure why this has been an emerging trend recently, but consuming foods made with raw unpasteurised milk like cheese puts you at risk for salmonella or E-coli poisoning,” says Dr Gabe, acknowledging the rise of controversial food trends on the very dame platform he preaches health advice from. 

Here in Australia, Food Standards Australia New Zealand have been notoriously strict about such products until December last year, when amendments to regulations were made to allow local production and sale of raw milk products.

#3. Raw oysters

Bad news for those of us who have been hanging out for a summer Aperol sprits and ice cold plate of a dozen Sydney rock oysters. Despite acknowledging he might make a few people unhappy by saying so, the physician says these salt-water molluscs are the number one food he has learnt to avoid after a career in the emergency department. 

“Oysters are considered filter feeders which live in coastal or brackish waters, meaning they absorb a lot of harmful bugs from their environment,” the doctor explains. 

“Those nasty bugs, Vibrio, could lead to some serious food poisoning,” he adds. “I personally would only eat oysters if they were fully cooked.”

As more potentially harmful products gradually surface on the market, it’s probably a wise idea to follow Dr Gabe’s advice and steer clear, or you could easily end up in the emergency department feeling less than fresh. 

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