Monthly Archives: June 2017

Grenfell

It has been a tragic couple of months for London, Manchester and Britain as a whole. The terror attacks and the fire in the Grenfell Tower block are deeply saddening, and have really emphasised my appreciation for and the importance of not only our emergency services, but also the accepting and tolerant communities we have established.

I’m sure many of you, if not most, have seen images of these attacks. For me, a particular twitter post brought down the earth the realities of being a member of the emergency services. The sacrifices which these people are willing to make to help others, and the bravery of each and every one of them. I never thought a name on the back of a helmet could signify so much, but I believe it is a reflection of how we can be so willing to help others, regardless of race, religion, age, sexuality, and any other factor.

 

Following the Grenfell Fire, I read a really interesting article entitled, ‘Ahmed Kazmi: A GP’s experience of the Grenfell Tower fire’. http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2017/06/16/ahmed-kazmi-a-gps-experiences-of-the-grenfell-tower-fire/

Yet again, this made me step back and think of what the role of a doctor really is. The article reinforced to me that as a doctor you are not always curing people, saving lives or treating illnesses, and often this is just a small part of the day. One of the most important aspects of being a doctor is undoubtedly, dealing with people and Ahmed Kazmi proves that, as by comforting and playing with children, he was still acting as a doctor. I can see how it could have been very easy for him to leave the centre, seeing they didn’t need his medical knowledge. However, this has emphasised to me that help comes in so many forms, treatment, operations, a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand.

This makes me think again of the BBC documentary ‘Hospital’ in which a young junior doctor sat with the wife of a patient, after telling her that his chances were slim. Despite her stressful and busy day, finding the time to help and care for each patient and their family is essential, and in that situation it seemed to make even the silence much more comfortable.

I just thought I’d write a short article as I believe that this is something every aspiring medic should understand and consider – help and care come in a number of ways, and it is incredibly important to give every patient the time and support they both need and deserve.

Aspirin and Cancer

When talking to a friend today, she mentioned her idea for an EPQ – investigating the link between aspirin and cancer. Aspirin is taken by many to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke [1], although I had not heard of its link to cancer before. I thought this was a really interesting topic, and have heard many stories of doctors themselves taking aspirin daily to improve their health. Therefore I would like to share the research I have done into possible uses for aspirin.

In doing this, I found that the most potential has been found regarding colorectal cancer. A hereditary condition called Lynch increases the risk of the development of cancers such as bowel cancer, womb cancer and colorectal cancer [2]. As it causes no symptoms itself, many with the condition often do not know they have the faulty gene which causes it [2]. In a trial of those with Lynch syndrome, those given aspirin had a 63% less chance (relatively) of developing colorectal cancer, in comparison to those who didn’t take aspirin and merely had a placebo [1]. I’m sure you’ll agree this is a huge decrease, and could potentially save lives and money for the NHS. While the cost of prescribing a daily dose of aspirin for a vast amount of the population would be high, the true question is whether this outweighs the cost of treating patients with colorectal cancer. Most importantly however, doing this is likely to save lives and provide a much better quality of life (cancer free).

Although, aspirin has not only been found to affect those with increased risk of colorectal cancer. In a similar study published in 2016, the long term use of aspirin was investigated. After 6 years of taking aspirin, there was a reduction of 19% in the risk of colorectal cancer, and 15% reduction in the risk of nay type of gastrointestinal cancer [1]. Colorectal cancer however, is not the only cancer that aspirin can effect. A systematic review also found an 11% decrease in the risk of death from prostate cancer [3]. This shows taking one small tablet each day could have huge benefits on health, especially when coupled with the reduction of heart attacks and strokes.

Undoubtedly, aspirin in low doses benefits human health. However, before everyone starts popping aspirin pills, the long term effects of the drug need to be investigated and known, alongside costs being totalled up. Aspirin may have negative effects on other areas of the body yet the evidence for the apparent use of aspirin in preventing cancer, heart attacks and strokes is abundant.

[1] https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/research/aspirin-cancer-risk

[2] http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/diagnosing/causes-and-risk-factors/genetic-testing-and-counselling/lynch-syndrome.html

[3] http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/04April/Pages/Daily-low-dose-aspirin-may-help-combat-cancer.aspx

Exams and Revision

After months of preparation, my AS exams finally finished yesterday and it’s safe to say a feel a little more free! In light of this, I thought I’d share some of the resources I made when revising, as they could be of use for others! For guidance I am studying OCR A chemistry and AQA biology, so any notes are based on the textbook and specification for these courses, though I’m sure much of it applies to others too.

Chemistry Summary sheets:

Atoms:ions PDF

Halogens and G2 Metals PDF

PHYSICAL CHEM NOTES PDF

quantitative analysis PDF

Reactions 1 PDF

Reactions 2 PDF

Biology Summary Sheets 

Cell structure summary PDF I

MMUNITY SUMMARY PDF

PLANT TRANSPORT PDF

Exam season is a long and stressful one, but I am glad that I kept up my volunteering right up until we went on study leave (3 days before my first exam) as this gave me a good break, doing something I really enjoy. I know many people are not sitting AS exams this year, so this is a tip I would take forward onto next year – having some time away from revision is (in small doses) a good idea – for me it was my volunteering, and then once on study leave going to the gym. While I didn’t feel any of my exams went overly well, I know that I worked hard for them and so the grades I get will be the best I can, and if I’m honest I’m excited to forget about them until August!

While this post didn’t have much purpose, I just wanted to keep you in the loop with what I’m doing, as throughout the year priorities definitely change. Good luck to anyone still sitting exams! You’ll do great 🙂