World Health Day 2018

World Health Day SSP 2018

 

World Health Day is celebrated every year on the founding day of the World Health Organization.  Established in 1950 this event has a theme each year to draw attention to a current world health issue.  The WHO puts together regional, local, and international events on this day related to that theme.  Local governments also tend to jump on this band-wagon, after all, global health means everyone!   On this day you may take some extra steps to care for your health, consider getting a gym membership (and going!), starting a diet, or starting multi-vitamins!

Even better, get involved with the local events or organize one yourself!  Spreading the news of health and threats to the same can be an excellent way to celebrate this holiday, and inform others of the important issue of global health.  Themes throughout the years have varied, but always covered important issues of the day, covering everything from the Global Polio Eradication, staying active while aging, even road safety.  All of these issues were deemed to be important enough to global health that they merited an occasion of their very own on this date.

The World Health Organization is an agency of the United Nations that focuses on the public health of the world at large.  The WHO has a constitution that countries involved in the United Nations had an opportunity to sign, and unanimously did, agreeing to the tenets laid out within to promote the general health of the globe.  Through its efforts we have seen the eradication of small pox, and its focus then turned to communicable diseases, with a particular focus on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Everyone needs to be concerned about the health of themselves and their community, and as such it’s a good time to turn your attention to this year’s theme.  By checking in at their website at http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/ you can find out what the current theme is, and find all sorts of plans and activities that will help you raise awareness about this important issue.  You can keep up with it every year, and play a big part in helping to promote global health all around.

The World Health Organization has been involved in mobilizing many health efforts the world over. Describing what medicines are essential for public health, and which diseases to give a particular focus to.  The movement to eradicate smallpox started in 1958, initiated by pressure from Viktor Zhdanov, the Deputy Minister of Health for the then USSR.  In 1979, the WHO declared that smallpox had in fact been eradicated, making it the first disease in history to be eliminated by the dedicated efforts of humans.

As you can see, celebrating World Health Day is very important, and you can use it to organize fund-raisers to support local free clinics and other public health sources.  Everyone can take a hand in improving the overall health of the world, just by starting with yourself, your family, and your community.  Blood banks are often taking volunteers to help out with their efforts, and the ability to have healthy, fresh blood on hand is central to saving many lives.

You can also take the task at home, by getting to know your environment and property, and eliminate all possible sources of standing water.  Standing water is a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitos, who spread disease by consuming the blood of its hosts, and moving from victim to victim, spreading it as it goes.  So this year, take some time to spread the word about how you and your neighbours can improve the world’s health, on World Health Day!

 

 

https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/world-health-day/  

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World Tuberculosis Day 2018

World TB Day SSP 2018

 

Tuberculosis — or TB, as it’s commonly called — is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body, like the brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it.

In the 20th century, TB was a leading cause of death in the United States. Today, most cases are cured with antibiotics. But it takes a long time. You have to take meds for at least 6 to 9 months.

How Is It Spread?

Through the air, just like a cold or the flu. When someone who’s sick coughs, sneezes, talks, laughs, or sings, tiny droplets that contain the germs are released. If you breathe in these nasty germs, you get infected.

TB is contagious, but it’s not easy to catch. The germs grow slowly. You usually have to spend a lot of time around a person who has it. That’s why it’s often spread among co-workers, friends, and family members.

Tuberculosis germs don’t thrive on surfaces. You can’t get the disease from shaking hands with someone who has it, or by sharing their food or drink.

How Does Tuberculosis Affect Your Body?

A TB infection doesn’t mean you’ll get sick. There are two forms of the disease:

Latent TB: You have the germs in your body, but your immune system stops them from spreading. That means you don’t have any symptoms and you’re not contagious. But the infection is still alive in your body and can one day become active. If you are at high risk for re-activation — for instance, you have HIV, your primary infection was in the last 2 years, your chest X-ray is abnormal, or you are immunocompromised — your doctor will treat you with antibiotics to lower the risk for developing active TB.  

Active TB disease: This means the germs multiply and can make you sick. You can spread the disease to others. Ninety percent of adult cases of active TB are from the reactivation of a latent TB infection.

 What Are the Symptoms of TB?

There aren’t any for latent TB. You’ll need to get a skin or blood test to find out if you’re infected.

But there are usually signs if you have active TB disease. They include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor to get tested. Get medical help right away if you have chest pain.

Who’s at Risk?

You’re more likely to get TB if you come into contact with others who have it. Here are some situations that could increase your risk:

  • A friend, co-worker, or family member has active TB disease.
  • You live or have traveled to an area where TB is common, like Russia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
  • You’re part of a group where TB is more likely to spread, or you work or live with someone who is. This includes homeless people, people with HIV, and IV drug users.
  • You work or live in a hospital or nursing home.

A healthy immune system fights the TB bacteria. But if you have any of the following, you might not be able to fend off active TB disease:

Babies and young children also are at greater risk, because their immune systems aren’t fully formed.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on 3/, 017

 

 

 

Human Rights Day 2018

 

Human Rights Day SSP 2018

 

 

The Bill Of Human Rights

To build a culture of human rights, it is important for every citizen to know their rights and understand their responsibilities. The Constitution protects and promotes human rights for all people in South Africa. The following is a summary of the Bill of Rights.

Equality You cannot be discriminated against. But affirmative action and fair discrimination are allowed.
Human Dignity Your dignity must be respected and protected.
Life You have the right to life.
Freedom and Security of the Person You cannot be detained without trial, tortured or punished cruelly. Domestic violence is not allowed.
Slavery, Servitude and Forced Labour Slavery, servitude and forced labour are not allowed.
Privacy You cannot be searched or have your home or possessions searched without the proper procedures being followed by the police.
Freedom of Religion, Belief and Opinion You can believe and think whatever you want and can follow the religion of your choice.
Freedom of Expression All people (including the press) can say whatever they want.
Assembly, Demonstration, Picket and Petition You can hold a demonstration, picket and present a petition. But you must do this peacefully.
Freedom of Association You can associate with whomever you want to.
Political Rights You can support the political party of your choice. If you are a citizen and at least 18 years old, you can vote.
Citizenship Your citizenship cannot be taken away from you.
Freedom of Movement and Residence You can go and live anywhere in South Africa.
Freedom of Trade, Occupation and Profession You can do whatever work you choose.
Labour Relations You may join trade unions and go on strike.
Environment You have the right to a healthy environment.
Property Your property can only be taken away from you if the proper rules are followed.
Housing The government must make sure people get access to proper housing.
Healthcare, Food, Water and Social Security The government must make sure you have access to food and water, healthcare and social security.
Children Children under the age of 18 have special rights.
Education You have the right to basic education, including adult basic education, in your own language (if this is possible).
Language and Culture You can use the language you want to and follow the culture that you choose.
Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities Communities can enjoy their own culture, practise their own religion and use their own language.
Access to Information You have the right to any information the government has.
Just Administrative Action Actions by the government must be fair.
Access to Courts You can have a legal problem decided by a court or a similar structure.
Arrested, Detained and Accused Persons These rights protect people arrested, imprisoned or accused of a crime.

The Constitution states that the fundamental rights of all South Africans will be protected and respected. Various government bodies and institutions have been set up to ensure that rights are protected.

If your rights have been violated, you can report the matter to one of the following bodies:

South African Human Rights Commission

The SAHRC will help you if any of your human rights have been violated.

To lodge a complaint, you need to complete the online complaint form.

The SAHRC will usually not be able to help you where:

  • Your case does not involve a violation of any of the rights in the Bill of Rights.
  • Your problem happened before 27 April 1994.
  • Your case is a criminal case and you need a lawyer (in this case, please call the Legal Aid Board on 0800 110 110 or visit their offices.)
  • You have been convicted of a crime and you want to appeal.

For more information, contact the Western Cape Office:

Address: Seventh floor, ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8000 Tel: 021 426 2277 Fax: 021 426 2875 E-mail: ssalie@sahrc.org.za

Independent Police Investigative Directorate

If your rights have been violated by the police, you should contact the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

To lodge a complaint, fill in the complaint form completely and correctly. If you are unsure about any aspect of the complaint reporting process, please follow the guidelines.

You can e-mail your complaint to complaints@ipid.gov.za or fax it to 021 949 3196.

Postal Address: Private Bag X 43, Bellville, 7535 Physical Address: First floor, Fintrust Building, Corner Petrusa and Mazzur Street, Bellville, 7530 Tel: 021 941 4800 Fax: 021 949 3196 E-mail: complaints@ipid.gov.za

Public Protector

If you want to complain about a member of a government department, you should contact the Public Protector.

If you have been unable to solve the problem by talking to the government official and their supervisor, you should write to the Public Protector. The following information should be contained in the letter:

  • The nature of your complaint.
  • The background and history of the complaint.
  • The reasons why you feel the complaint should be investigated by the Public Protector.
  • The steps you have taken to solve the problem yourself.
  • Specific details – names of officials, dates etc.
  • Copies of any correspondence between you and the officials.
  • Your contact details.

In some instances, the Public Protector may require a statement under oath before investigating.

If you need help with the complaint, you can phone the Public Protector’s Office. Read more about the Public Protector.

Postal Address: Western Cape Regional Office, PO Box 712, Cape Town, 8000 Physical Address: Fourth floor, 51 Wale Street/Bree Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 423 8644 Fax: 012 423 8708

Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration

If your employer has violated your rights, you should contact the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after you have tried to sort the matter out at work.

The CCMA will:

  • Conciliate workplace disputes.
  • Arbitrate disputes that remain unresolved after conciliation.

For more information contact:

CCMA Cape Town Office Postal Address: Private Bag X9167, Cape Town, 8000 Physical Address: 78 Darling Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 469 0111 Fax: 021 465 7193/7/87/462 5006 E-mail: ctn@ccma.org.za

 

CCMA George Office Postal Address: Private Bag x6650, George, 6530 Physical Address: 62 Cathedral Street, Cathedral Square 2, George, 6529 Tel: 044 805 7700 Fax: 044 873 2906 E-mail: ctn@ccma.org.za

Commission on Gender Equality

If you were discriminated against because of your gender, you should contact the Commission on Gender Equality.

When making a complaint, you should try to provide as much information as possible. Complaints are strictly confidential.

For more information contact:

Physical Address: Fifth floor, ABSA Building, 132 Adderley Street, Cape Town, 8001 Tel: 021 426 4080/3 Fax: 021 424 0549

You can also lodge a complaint online. More information on lodging a complaint.

Office of the Consumer Protector

The Office of the Consumer Protector (OCP) acts as a “prosecutor” on behalf of consumers in order to bring their complaints/cases before the Consumer Tribunal, which is a special court that hears consumer complaints. There are steps to take before you lodge a complaint with the OCP.

For more information contact:

Physical Address: Ground Floor, Waldorf Arcade, 80 St George’s Mall, Cape Town, 8001 Postal Address: PO Box 979, Cape Town, 8000 Toll Free number: 0800 007 081 Fax: 021 483 5872 E-mail: consumer@westerncape.gov.za

 

 

About Listeriosis

Listeriosis SSP 2018

 

What is listeriosis? What causes listeriosis?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by a gram stain-positive motile bacterium named Listeria monocytogenes. The foodborne illness produces fever, muscle aches, and, in many people, diarrhea. Severe infections can cause headaches, meningitis, convulsions, and death. Most healthy people exposed to the bacteria have minor or no symptoms, but a few people, especially the elderly, pregnant females and their fetus, newborns, and anyone with a compromised immune system are especially susceptible to these organisms. Listeria bacteria are widespread throughout the world and are often associated with farm animals that may show no signs of infection. Research shows that many animals are uninfected carriers, and they suggest that some humans carry these organisms as part of their bowel flora. Except for pregnant women and their fetus or newborn, there is no direct transfer of Listeria from human to human.

The organisms (Listeria monocytogenes) that cause listeriosis have probably been infecting humans for centuries. Listeria was first isolated from an infected WWI soldier in 1918 and had many different names until 1940, when the genus and species names were firmly established. However, the bacteria were first recognized as a food-borne (food poisoning) pathogen in 1979. The bacteria can penetrate human cells and can multiply inside them. People with altered or impaired immune systems have cells that are less able to control the spread of these organisms into the blood or into other cells. In 2010, a known species, Listeria ivanovii, thought only to infect cattle, was found to infect humans so there are two Listeria species that can infect humans.

Outbreaks of listeriosis can occur with some frequency. For example, in 2017, soft raw milk cheese was a source of an outbreak (Vulto Creamery). In this outbreak, eight people were infected and two died. Other recalls of products in 2017 include 3 tons of cheese for possible Listeria contamination (La Nica Products INC.), macadamia nuts (Simple Truth brand), Ava’s Organic Cashews, and Queso Fresco cheese, for the same problem.

What are the risk factors for listeriosis?

The major risk factor for getting listeriosis is eating or drinking foods and liquids contaminated with Listeria bacteria. Foods and liquids that have been contaminated with animal feces or soil are the most frequently identified sources for these organisms. Drinking inadequately treated or unpasteurized liquids, especially milk products, is another source of infection.

Some individuals have an increased risk for getting listeriosis. In general, people with an altered or damaged immune system have a higher risk of getting listeriosis and its more severe complications. Specifically, people at much higher risk include pregnant females, newborns, the elderly, diabetics, cancer patients, AIDS patients, patients with kidney diseases, alcoholics, and those patients undergoing any immune-suppression therapy. Most individuals who get severe infections and/or die from listeriosis have one or more of the medical problems listed above.

Is Listeria contagious?

The bacteria are not contagious from person to person in most instances. The one exception is that a pregnant woman can transfer the bacteria to the fetus or the newborn. 

How is listeriosis spread?

Listeriosis is mainly a food-borne disease; except in the situation in which a pregnant woman can transfer the bacteria to the fetus or newborn, the disease is not contagious from person to person.

Foods that have been associated with Listeria outbreaks are many (for example, soft cheeses, yogurt, apples, smoked seafood, deli meats, hot dogs, fruits, and vegetables). There have been many outbreaks of the disease over the world; an event occurred in Texas in October 2010, tentatively related to locally processed celery; 10 people were diagnosed with listeriosis and five died. Most people infected had underlying medical problems or conditions. In 2011, approximately 146 people got infected from Listeria-contaminated cantaloupes and about 32 people died. In February 2012, over 1 million eggs were recalled after several processed in a processing plant were found to be contaminated with Listeria. The eggs were sold under the brand names of Columbia Valley Farms, GFS, Glenview Farms, Papetti’s, Silverbrook, and Wholesome Farms. The egg brands were sold in 34 states. The year 2015 had at least three outbreaks of listeriosis. Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, Calif., produced apples that eventually were determined to be contaminated with the bacteria. The organisms were first noticed in apples that were caramel coated. Hummus produced by the Sabra Dipping Company was recalled (30,000 cases of hummus) because the food was found to be contaminated with Listeria. Also in 2015, the very popular brand of ice cream, Blue Bell, caused a serious outbreak of listeriosis. The company shut down its facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas to rid them of Listeria. During the outbreak, 10 individuals were hospitalized and three died. In 2016, CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, recalled 11 frozen vegetable products because of Listeria contamination. Nine people were hospitalized and three died during this outbreak to date. Unfortunately, this outbreak is complicated by the fact that some of the vegetable products in the recall date back as far as 2014. Individuals who have stored frozen CRF products that date back as far as 2014 need to get rid of the potentially contaminated frozen products, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Problems with products in 2017 are listed above.

What are listeriosis symptoms and signs?

  • Fever, muscle aches, and occasionally, gastroenteritis (nausea and/or diarrhea) are the usual symptoms associated with listeriosis.
  • Some individuals may also experience fatigue and a decrease or loss of appetite.
  • These symptoms usually last up to one week and may spontaneously resolve.

However, in some people, the organisms can spread to the brain.

What is the incubation period for Listeria?

The incubation period between exposure and symptoms is quite variable (three to 70 days, with 21 days as average) and may extend up to about two months or more according to some reports.

Pregnant women who are otherwise healthy usually have only minor symptoms. However, being infected with Listeria during pregnancy often cause problems for the fetus:

  • miscarriage,
  • stillbirth,
  • premature birth, or
  • cause infection and,
  • potentially, death of newborns.

Breastfeeding in humans has not been shown to transmit the bacteria to newborns; however, animal studies show the organisms are transferred in breast milk of other mammalian species. Researchers consider it is theoretically possible for the organisms to be transmitted in human breast milk.

Occasionally, localized skin infections may occur, especially in people who handle animals that are infected with Listeria. These skin infections rarely lead to further complications such as brain infection.

How long does a Listeria infection last?

Normal healthy people who become infected with Listeria usually recover from the infection. However, more serious infections that require antibiotic treatment may last longer. For example, if abscesses develop in the brain, the antibiotic therapy will be required for about six weeks.

What types of doctors treat listeriosis?

Although primary-care physicians can treat listeriosis, other specialists may be involved, especially if the illness is serious. Other specialists such as infectious-disease, critical-care, and OB/GYN physicians, especially if a woman is pregnant, are likely to be consulted. In those patients who are immunosuppressed, physicians that are treating the cause of the immunosuppression should also be consulted.

How do health care professionals diagnose listeriosis?

Preliminary diagnosis is usually based on the patient’s clinical history and physical exam, especially after the patient gives a history of likely exposure to a contaminated food source during a Listeria outbreak. Without this information, the diagnosis is difficult to sort out from many other diseases; this situation may result in a delay of treatment as the physician may do other tests to rule out other diseases such as salmonellosis, shigellosis, botulism and E. coli infections. Definitive diagnosis of listeriosis is by culturing Listeria monocytogenes bacteria from the patient’s blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or amniotic fluid, usually on a medium that is selective for Listeria (for example, RAPID’L mono agar). Currently, no reliable tests are available to detect the bacteria in the stool; also, there are no reliable serological tests available (blood tests that can identify specific proteins associated with the bacteria or antibodies to the bacteria) according to the CDC. 

What is the treatment for listeriosis?

The majority of people with Listeria infections spontaneously clear the infection in about seven days. However, those patients at increased risk, especially pregnant women, usually require immediate IV antibiotic treatment to prevent, halt, or slow the development of more severe disease. For example, early effective antibiotic treatment of pregnant females may be lifesaving for the fetus.

In general, the length of antibiotic treatment increases with the severity of the infection. Meningitis is treated for three weeks while brain abscesses are treated for six weeks. The initial choice of antibiotics is usually IV ampicillin. Bactrim (trimethoprimsulfamethoxazole) also has been used successfully. However, each patient’s treatment should be individualized for optimal results; many clinicians recommend an infectious-disease consultant be involved, and if the patient is pregnant, her obstetrician and a pediatric specialist should help manage the treatment plan.

Are there home remedies for listeriosis?

There are no over-the-counter diagnostic tests for listeriosis, so it will be difficult or impossible to know if you are infected with Listeria; that makes it difficult to decide if you can treat the problem at home. Because listeriosis can be fatal in about 20%-30% of those who develop the disease, home remedies may be a dangerous option without consulting a physician. However, there are suggestions to try, like activated charcoal, syrup of ipecac, garlic, and/or alcohol-free goldenseal to treat food poisoning in general. However, before trying any of these options, you should discuss them first with your doctor.

 

How does a person get listeriosis?

The majority of people who get listeriosis have consumed Listeria-contaminated foods. Because the bacteria are often found in both soil and water, cultivated foods like vegetables can easily become contaminated, especially from fertilizer or animal waste. Listeria has been found in many types of raw food (even seafood) but especially in meats, vegetables, and cheeses. It has even been found in processed foods because of contamination during or after processing. After the contaminated food or fluid has been ingested, it may take up to three weeks for the organisms to cause symptoms.

The fetus may become infected after the mother ingests the organisms; the bacteria apparently reach the fetus via the bloodstream. Newborn infants can acquire the bacteria during a cesarean procedure or be exposed to them while traversing the vagina.

What are the complications of listeriosis?

The major complications of listeriosis include

  • blood infection (septicemia/bacteremia),
  • meningitis and/or encephalitis,
  • brain abscesses,
  • seizures,
  • miscarriage,
  • premature birth,
  • neonatal sepsis (potentially fatal),
  • stillbirth, and
  • death.

 

Is it possible to prevent listeriosis?

Yes, listeriosis can be prevented. The CDC recommends the following food safety measures:

General recommendations:

  • Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry.
  • Wash raw vegetables thoroughly (scrub with a clean produce brush in uncontaminated running water) before eating.
  • Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk.
  • Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods.
  • Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.

Here are food safety recommendations for people at high risk, such as pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, in addition to the recommendations listed above:

  • Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Avoid getting fluid from hot-dog packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable pâtés and meat spreads may be eaten.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole. Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna or mackerel, is most often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.” The fish is found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens. Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.
  • Avoid cross-contaminating other foods, utensils, and food-preparation surfaces with fluid from hot-dog packages, and wash hands after handling hot dogs.
  • Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, and Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, or Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, and Panela, unless they have labels that clearly state they are made from pasteurized milk. Cheeses that may be eaten include hard cheeses, semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella, pasteurized processed cheeses such as slices and spreads, cream cheese, and cottage cheese.
  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or eat foods that contain unpasteurized milk.

There is no commercially available vaccine to protect against infection by Listeria.

If a person has eaten recalled food potentially contaminated with Listeria, what should he or she do?

The CDC recommends the following to all people. If the person has no symptoms, they recommend no tests or treatment be done. However, if the person is in a high-risk group (see risk factor section above), they recommend contacting the person’s physician only if the person develops fever or signs of serious illness within two months of eating the food. The CDC makes these conservative suggestions based on the fact that the chance of developing Listeria infection, even after ingestion of a contaminated product, is very small.

However, people in the high-risk groups should have no delays in contacting their doctor if they suspect symptoms of listeriosis are developing. 

For more info on the topic please visit the following links:

http://www.kayafm.co.za/health-alert-what-is-listeriosis/

https://www.enca.com/south-africa/explainer-what-is-listerosis

Relationships

Relationship Help

Building Satisfying Relationships that Last

Relationships SSP 2018

 

A healthy, secure romantic relationship can be an ongoing source of support and happiness in life. It can strengthen all aspects of your wellbeing, from your physical and mental health to your work and connections with others. However, a relationship that isn’t supportive can be a tremendous drain on you emotionally. Love and relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change with your partner. Whether you’re looking to keep a healthy relationship strong or repair a relationship on the rocks, these tips can help you build a caring and lasting union.

How to strengthen your relationship and make love last

For most people, falling in love usually seems to just happen. It’s preserving that “falling in love” experience that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort. By taking steps now to preserve or rekindle your falling in love experience, you can build a meaningful relationship that lasts—even for a lifetime.

What makes a healthy love relationship?

Everyone’s relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. But there are some things that good relationships have in common. Knowing the basic principles of healthy relationships helps keep them meaningful, fulfilling and exciting in both happy times and sad.

Staying connected with each other. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each other and working together. While it may seem stable on the surface, lack of involvement and communication increases distance. When you need to talk about something important, the connection and understanding may no longer be there.

Don’t be afraid of (respectful) disagreement. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation or insisting on being right.

Keeping outside relationships and interests alive. Despite the claims of romantic fiction or movies, no one person can meet all of your needs. In fact, expecting too much from your partner can put unhealthy pressure on the relationship. To stimulate and enrich your romantic relationship, it’s important to preserve connections with family and friends and maintain hobbies and interests outside of the relationship as well.

Open and honest communication. Good communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, trust and bonds are strengthened. A big part of good communication is nonverbal cues. For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues or “body language.”

Tip 1: Spend quality time together

You fall in love looking at and listening to each other. If you continue to look and listen in the same attentive ways, you can sustain the falling in love experience over the long term. You probably have fond memories of when you were first dating your loved one. Everything seemed new and exciting, and you likely spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try. However, as time goes by, the demands of work, family, other obligations, and the need we all have for time to ourselves can make it harder to find time together.

Many couples find that the face-to-face contact of their early dating days is gradually replaced by hurried texts, emails, and instant messages. While digital communication is great for some purposes, it doesn’t positively impact your brain and nervous system in the same way as face-to-face communication. The emotional cues you both need to feel loved can only be conveyed in person, so no matter how busy life gets, it’s important to carve out time to spend together.

Do things together that benefit others

One the most powerful ways of staying close and connected is to jointly focus on something you and your partner value outside of the relationship. Volunteering for a cause, project, or community work that has meaning for both of you can keep a relationship fresh and interesting. It can also expose you both to new people and ideas, offer the chance to tackle new challenges together, and provide fresh ways of interacting with each other.

As well as helping to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, doing things to benefit others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to help others. The more you help, the happier you’ll feel-as individuals and as a couple.

Simple ways to connect as a couple and rekindle love

  • Commit to spending some quality time together every day on a regular basis. Even during the busiest times, just a few minutes of really sharing and connecting can help keep bonds strong.
  • Find something that you enjoy doing together, whether it is a shared hobby, dance class, daily walk, or sitting over a cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Try something new together. Doing new things together can be a fun way to connect and keep things interesting. It can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or going on a day trip to a place you’ve never been before.

Tip 2: Keep physical intimacy alive

Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, affectionate physical contact on brain development. And the benefits don’t end in childhood. Affectionate contact boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that influences bonding and attachment.

 

Tips to Improve Your Sex Life: Enjoy More Fulfilling Sex

While physical intercourse is often a cornerstone of a committed relationship, it shouldn’t be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, kissing—is equally important.

Be sensitive to what your partner likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want.

Tip 3: Stay connected through communication

Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. As long as you are communicating, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.

Tell your partner what you need, don’t make them guess.

It’s not always easy to talk about what you need. Even when you’ve got a good idea of what’s important to you in a relationship, talking about it can make you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even ashamed. But look at it from your partner’s point of view. Providing comfort and understanding to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden. So tell your partner what you need. And remember, everyone changes over time. What you needed from your partner five years ago may be different from what you need now.

Take note of your partner’s nonverbal cues

So much of our communication is transmitted by what we don’t say. Nonverbal cues-eye contact, tone of voice, posture, and gestures such as leaning forward, crossing your arms, or touching someone’s hand-communicate much more than words. For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues or “body language.”

Think about what you are transmitting as well, and if what you say matches your body language. If you say “I’m fine,” but you clench your teeth and look away, then your body is clearly signaling you are anything but “fine.”

When you experience positive emotional cues from your partner, you feel safe and happy, and when you send positive emotional cues, your loved one feels the same. When you stop taking an interest in your own or your partner’s emotions, your ability to communicate will suffer, especially at stressful times.

Question your assumptions

 

Effective Communication: Improving Communication Skills

If you’ve known each other for a while, you may assume that your partner has a pretty good idea of what you are thinking and what you need. However, your partner is not a mind-reader. While your partner may have some idea, it is much healthier to express your needs directly to avoid any confusion. Your partner may sense something, but it might not be what you need. What’s more, people change, and what you needed and wanted five years ago, for example, may be very different now. Getting in the habit of expressing your needs helps you weather difficult times, which otherwise may lead to increasing resentment, misunderstanding and anger.

Tip 4: Learn to give and take in your relationship

If you expect to get what you want 100% of a time in a relationship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Healthy relationships are built on compromise. However, it takes work on each person’s part to make sure that there is a reasonable exchange.

Recognize what’s important to your partner

Knowing what is truly important to your partner can go a long way towards building goodwill and an atmosphere of compromise. On the flip side, it’s also important for your partner to recognize your wants and for you to state them clearly. Constantly giving to others at the expense of your own needs builds resentment and anger.

Don’t make “winning” your goal

If you approach your partner with the attitude that things have to be your way or else, it will be difficult to reach a compromise. Sometimes this attitude comes from not having your needs met while younger, or it could be years of accumulated resentment in the relationship reaching a boiling point. It’s alright to have strong convictions about something, but your partner deserves to be heard as well. You are more likely to get your needs met if you respect what your partner needs, and compromise when you can.

Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but to keep a relationship strong, both people need to feel they’ve been heard. The goal is not to win but to resolve the conflict with respect and love.

  • Make sure you are fighting fair.
  • Don’t attack someone directly but use “I” statements to communicate how you feel.
  • Don’t drag old arguments into the mix.
  • Keep the focus on the issue at hand and respect the other person.

 

Conflict Resolution Skills: Turn Conflicts into Opportunities

Tip 5: Be prepared for ups and downs

It’s important to recognize that there are ups and downs in every relationship. You won’t always be on the same page. Sometimes one partner may be struggling with an issue that stresses them, such as the death of a close family member. Other events, like job loss or severe health problems, can affect both partners and make it difficult to relate to each other. You might have different ideas of managing finances or raising children. Different people cope with stress differently, and misunderstanding can rapidly turn to frustration and anger.

Relationship advice for getting through life’s ups and downs

  • Don’t take out your problems on your partner. Life stresses can make us short tempered. If you are coping with a lot of stress, it might seem easier to vent with your partner, and even feel safer to snap at him or her. Fighting like this might initially feel like a release, but it slowly poisons your relationship. Find other ways to vent your anger and frustration.
  • Some problems are bigger than both of you. Trying to force a solution can cause even more problems. Every person works through problems and issues in his or her own way. Remember that you’re a team. Continuing to move forward together can get you through the rough spots.
  • Be open to change. Change is inevitable in life, and it will happen whether you go with it or fight it. Flexibility is essential to adapt to the change that is always taking place in any relationship, and it allows you to grow together through both the good times and the bad.

If you need outside help for relationship problems

Sometimes problems in a relationship may seem too complex or overwhelming for you to handle as a couple. In that case, it’s important to reach out together for help. Available options include:

Couples counseling. Both partners need to honestly communicate what they need, face the issues that arise in counseling, and then make the necessary changes. It’s also very important that both people feel comfortable with the counselor.

Individual therapy. Sometimes, one partner may need specialized help. For example, if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, you may need counseling to help process the grief. If your loved one needs help, don’t feel like you’re a failure for not providing everything he or she needs. No one can fulfill everyone’s needs, and getting the right help can make a huge difference to your relationship.

Spiritual advice. Advice from a religious figure such as a pastor or rabbi works best if both partners have similar convictions of faith and a good relationship with the spiritual advisor.

Emotional Intelligence building. Helpguide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit provides articles, videos, and audio meditations designed to help you put the skills of emotional intelligence and communication into practice.

 

Resources and references

What is a Healthy Relationship? – A succinct checklist of the characteristics of healthy relationships. (Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence)

Am I in a Healthy Relationship? – Article aimed at teens to determine if your relationship is as healthy as it should be. (Kids Health)

Love is Not All You Need – Learn about the importance of listening, teamwork, and flexibility in making a relationship work. (Psychology Today)

What Research Tells Us About the Most Successful Relationships – Review what research studies reveal about what makes a relationship successful. (Lifehacker)

 

Valentines Day 2018

Valentines Day SSP 2018

 

Valentine’s Day Facts

1.)The day is celebrated as the commemorative day of Saint Valentine. The interesting fact is it is not certain whether this is one specific person, or the group of 14 martyred saints of ancient Rome, all of the same name.

2.) The Valentine’s Day chocolate boxes were introduced in 1868 by Richard Cadbury.

3.) Some popular symbols of love used to express the feelings are cupid, arrows, doves, love birds, roses, and hearts.

4.) Pope Gelasius I of Rome declared Saint Valentine’s burial day as the Valentine’s Day, in 496 AD.

5.)The girls during medieval times used to eat strange food items, as it was believed that by doing so they would dream of their future spouse or lover.

6.) The Saint to whom the day has been dedicated brought nothing romantic to be attached to the day. However, the earliest association of Valentine’s Day with romance goes to the credit of great writer Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in his Parlement of Foules, 1382,”For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make”, and hence beginning the tradition.

7.) During 19th century, physicians would prescribe chocolates to their patients, who would pine for a lost love.

8.) The cops of Saudi Arabia banned the sale of anything red or symbolizing love in 2002 and 2008, believing that this is a Christian festival, resulting in a black market of Valentine’s Day gifts in 2008, which witnessed an even bigger number of customers.

9.) Apart from lovers, spouses, and sweethearts, the other people who receive maximum number of flowers, cards and gifts on the day are, mothers and teachers.

10.) The University of Maryland, educates the masses and media about the Valentine’s day, through its academic experts.

11.)We all have heard the phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve”, but the phrase has actually come from Middle Ages, when according to a popular tradition, young men and women would draw chits from a bowl, to know the names of their valentines and then, would wear that name on their sleeve for the entire week.

12.) The day is also a great day for the beloved pets of many families, as it has been surveyed that people, in huge numbers, bring gifts for their pets also on Valentine’s Day.

13.) The famous gifts and cards company Hallmark, launched its first valentine product in 1913

14.) The Medieval concept of Courtly Love, where male lover would court and praise the beloved through chivalrous deeds and poetry, descended from the ancient traditions associated with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day Fun Facts

The age old occasion of celebrating the fervor of love dates back to the festival of Lupercalia. Since then, Valentine’s Day have been able to caught the attention of couples who want to celebrate this day n the best manner possible. Read to find out.

  1. Reports indicate that more than 36 million chocolates boxes which are heart shaped gets sold on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
  2. Although, women are generally excited about this romantic day, men too spend quite a lot to make their partners happy.
  3. Studies depicts that this Valentine’s Day shall witness a total of 8 billion candies shaped in the form of hearts.
  4. It was found out that more than 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are being exchanged each year to celebrate the fervor of love. Valentine’s Day is the second largest card sending occasions, the first one being Christmas when the card makers earn the maximum revenue from one and all.
  5. A total of 50 billion roses are brought to exchange them between the lovers.
  6. Women in Japan are expected to buy chocolates for men on Valentine’s Day. This weird tradition dates back to a marketing campaign by a famous Japanese chocolate company. As a gesture of good faith, all men who had received the chocolates from these women are expected to buy chocolates for them on March 14th.
  7. They say if you are a woman and you see a flying robin on Valentine’s Day, it is likely that you will marry a sailor. In case, you see a flying sparrow then you would marry a poor but a happy man. If it was goldfinch, then your luck is about to shine because there is a millionaire waiting for you. Now, don’t go around hunting birds on trees!
  8. Back in medieval days, there was a tradition which made young men and women write their names on a little piece of paper and drop them in a bowl on February 14. Later, men would pick names from the bowl kept for women and wear the chosen name on their sleeves; an indication for the woman to be their valentine. Now you know what it means, when someone says,” To wear your heart on your sleeve”. This famous tradition is still practiced by many in different corners of the world where Valentine’s Day is celebrated within young men and women to spot their valentines.
  9. This is perhaps the funniest of all. The story goes that, around 5% American women are in the habit of sending flowers to themselves on the eve of Valentine’s Day. It was told that a total of 198 million red roses were especially produced to meet the demand for red roses for Valentine’s Day. A rose is meant to define a woman’s likeliness and defines the feminine spirit too.

Other Related Valentine’s Day Facts

1.) Mother’s day and valentine’s day are the two biggest occasions on which flowers are given.

2.) Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine.

3.) In Finland Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s day”.

4.) In Slovenia, a proverb says that “St Valentine brings the keys of roots”, so on February 14, plants and flowers start to grow.

5.) In some Latin American countries Valentine’s Day is known as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship

6.) In Korea, the custom is if you do not receive any gift on Valentine’s Day, then you, along with all the singles, go to Korean restaurants and eat black noodles to mourn their single status.

Valentine Cards

1.) Every year around 1 billion Valentine cards are sent across. After Christmas it’s a single largest seasonal card-sending occasion.

2.) Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children between ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine’s cards with teachers, classmates, and fagmily members. Valentine

Flowers/Roses

1.) Received Valentine Flowers? Well I guess you are a woman. Of the 73% of people who buy Valentine’s Day flowers are men, while only 27 percent are women.

2.) A single perfect red rose framed with baby’s breath is named by some florists as a “signature rose,” and is the preferred choice for most for giving on Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and birthdays.

3.) The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. The color red stands for strong romantic feelings making the red rose the flower of love.

Cupid

1.) Cupid is a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Cupid was associated with Valentine’s Day because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards and gift tokens holding a bow and arrows as he is believed to use magical arrows to arouse feelings of love.

Love Letters and Poems

Refer:( Valentine Love Letters)

1.) Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare’s play lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters every year sent to Juliet on Valentine’s Day.

2.) The oldest surviving love poem till date is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C.

Wear your Heart on your Sleeve

1.) In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew the names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned on their sleeves for one week. This was done so that it became easy for other people to know their true feelings. This was known as “to wear your heart on your sleeve”

Valentine Gifts

1.) On February 14th, wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on Valentine’s Day in Wales. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite Valentine decorations on the wooden spoons. This Valentine decoration meant, “You unlock my heart!”

2.) The most beautiful and incredible gift of love is the monument Taj Mahal in India. Built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife; it stands as the emblem of the eternal love story. Work on the Taj Mahal began in 1634 and continued for almost 22 years and required the labor of 20,000 workers from all over India and Central Asia.

3.) In America, the pilgrims used to send confections, such as sugar wafers, marzipan, sweetmeats and sugar plums, to their affianced. Lot of value was placed on these gifts because they included what was then a rare product, sugar. After the late 1800’s, beet sugar became widely used and more available and sweet gifts continued to be cherished and enjoyed.

4.) Amongst the earliest Valentine’s Day gifts were candies. The most common were chocolates in heart shaped boxes.

The Valentine Heart

1.) The heart is associated to Valentine’s Day as it is considered the source of all human emotions. The custom of drawing a heart shape is supposed to have come from early attempts to draw an organ that no one had seen. The symbol came on to become as a sign of love.

2.) The heart has been the most common figure of romantic love over the decades. Ancient cultures believed the human soul lived in the heart. The heart may be linked with love because the ancient Greeks believed it was the goal of Eros, known as Cupid to the Romans. Anyone shot in the heart by one of Cupid’s arrows would fall hopelessly in love. Because the heart is also closely linked to love, its red color is considered as most romantic.

Birds

1.) Lovebirds are often associated with Valentine’s Day. These lovebirds found in Africa, are brightly colored and sit very close together with their mates, earning them their name.

2.) Doves are also part of the Valentine tradition. These birds are symbols of love and loyalty because they mate for life. A pair of doves will also share the care of all their babies.

3.) In olden times some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on the Valentine’s Day; it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

Love Knots

1.) A love knot is a symbol of undying love, as its twisting loops have no beginnings or ends. In olden times, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one’s eternal love.

 

2.) So friends now that we know the Valentine day facts, start your shopping today and express your love to your sweetheart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

World Cancer Day 2018

World Cancer Day SSP 2018

What Is Cancer?

A Collection of Related Diseases

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors.

Many cancers form solid tumors, which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not form solid tumors.

Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.

Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large, however. When removed, they usually don’t grow back, whereas malignant tumors sometimes do. Unlike most benign tumors elsewhere in the body, benign brain tumors can be life threatening.

Differences between Cancer Cells and Normal Cells

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. One important difference is that cancer cells are less specialized than normal cells. That is, whereas normal cells mature into very distinct cell types with specific functions, cancer cells do not. This is one reason that, unlike normal cells, cancer cells continue to divide without stopping.

In addition, cancer cells are able to ignore signals that normally tell cells to stop dividing or that begin a process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis, which the body uses to get rid of unneeded cells.

Cancer cells may be able to influence the normal cells, molecules, and blood vessels that surround and feed a tumor—an area known as the microenvironment. For instance, cancer cells can induce nearby normal cells to form blood vessels that supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients, which they need to grow. These blood vessels also remove waste products from tumors.

Cancer cells are also often able to evade the immune system, a network of organs, tissues, and specialized cells that protects the body from infections and other conditions. Although the immune system normally removes damaged or abnormal cells from the body, some cancer cells are able to “hide” from the immune system.

Tumors can also use the immune system to stay alive and grow. For example, with the help of certain immune system cells that normally prevent a runaway immune response, cancer cells can actually keep the immune system from killing cancer cells.

How Cancer Arises

Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.

Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. Cancer-causing environmental exposures include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun. (Our Cancer Causes and Prevention section has more information.)

Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. As the cancer continues to grow, additional changes will occur. Even within the same tumor, different cells may have different genetic changes.

In general, cancer cells have more genetic changes, such as mutations in DNA, than normal cells. Some of these changes may have nothing to do with the cancer; they may be the result of the cancer, rather than its cause.

“Drivers” of Cancer

The genetic changes that contribute to cancer tend to affect three main types of genes—proto-oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and DNA repair genes. These changes are sometimes called “drivers” of cancer.

Proto-oncogenes are involved in normal cell growth and division. However, when these genes are altered in certain ways or are more active than normal, they may become cancer-causing genes (or oncogenes), allowing cells to grow and survive when they should not.

Tumor suppressor genes are also involved in controlling cell growth and division. Cells with certain alterations in tumor suppressor genes may divide in an uncontrolled manner.

DNA repair genes are involved in fixing damaged DNA. Cells with mutations in these genes tend to develop additional mutations in other genes. Together, these mutations may cause the cells to become cancerous.

As scientists have learned more about the molecular changes that lead to cancer, they have found that certain mutations commonly occur in many types of cancer. Because of this, cancers are sometimes characterized by the types of genetic alterations that are believed to be driving them, not just by where they develop in the body and how the cancer cells look under the microscope.

When Cancer Spreads

Enlarge

In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed (primary cancer), travel through the blood or lymph system, and form new tumors (metastatic tumors) in other parts of the body. The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor.

A cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body is called metastatic cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.

Metastatic cancer has the same name and the same type of cancer cells as the original, or primary, cancer. For example, breast cancer that spreads to and forms a metastatic tumor in the lung is metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.

Under a microscope, metastatic cancer cells generally look the same as cells of the original cancer. Moreover, metastatic cancer cells and cells of the original cancer usually have some molecular features in common, such as the presence of specific chromosome changes.

Treatment may help prolong the lives of some people with metastatic cancer. In general, though, the primary goal of treatments for metastatic cancer is to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms caused by it. Metastatic tumors can cause severe damage to how the body functions, and most people who die of cancer die of metastatic disease.

Tissue Changes that Are Not Cancer

Not every change in the body’s tissues is cancer. Some tissue changes may develop into cancer if they are not treated, however. Here are some examples of tissue changes that are not cancer but, in some cases, are monitored:

Hyperplasia occurs when cells within a tissue divide faster than normal and extra cells build up, or proliferate. However, the cells and the way the tissue is organized look normal under a microscope. Hyperplasia can be caused by several factors or conditions, including chronic irritation.

Dysplasia is a more serious condition than hyperplasia. In dysplasia, there is also a buildup of extra cells. But the cells look abnormal and there are changes in how the tissue is organized. In general, the more abnormal the cells and tissue look, the greater the chance that cancer will form.

Some types of dysplasia may need to be monitored or treated. An example of dysplasia is an abnormal mole (called a dysplastic nevus) that forms on the skin. A dysplastic nevus can turn into melanoma, although most do not.

An even more serious condition is carcinoma in situ. Although it is sometimes called cancer, carcinoma in situ is not cancer because the abnormal cells do not spread beyond the original tissue. That is, they do not invade nearby tissue the way that cancer cells do. But, because some carcinomas in situ may become cancer, they are usually treated.

Normal cells may become cancer cells. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia. In hyperplasia, there is an increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue that appear normal under a microscope. In dysplasia, the cells look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer. Hyperplasia and dysplasia may or may not become cancer.

Credit: Terese Winslow

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in cells of the lung, and brain cancer starts in cells of the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.

You can search NCI’s website for information on specific types of cancer based on the cancer’s location in the body or by using our A to Z List of Cancers. We also have collections of information on childhood cancers and cancers in adolescents and young adults.

Here are some categories of cancers that begin in specific types of cells:

Carcinoma

Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer. They are formed by epithelial cells, which are the cells that cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body. There are many types of epithelial cells, which often have a column-like shape when viewed under a microscope.

Carcinomas that begin in different epithelial cell types have specific names:

Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that forms in epithelial cells that produce fluids or mucus. Tissues with this type of epithelial cell are sometimes called glandular tissues. Most cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate are adenocarcinomas.

Basal cell carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the lower or basal (base) layer of the epidermis, which is a person’s outer layer of skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in squamous cells, which are epithelial cells that lie just beneath the outer surface of the skin. Squamous cells also line many other organs, including the stomach, intestines, lungs, bladder, and kidneys. Squamous cells look flat, like fish scales, when viewed under a microscope. Squamous cell carcinomas are sometimes called epidermoid carcinomas.

Transitional cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in a type of epithelial tissue called transitional epithelium, or urothelium. This tissue, which is made up of many layers of epithelial cells that can get bigger and smaller, is found in the linings of the bladder, ureters, and part of the kidneys (renal pelvis), and a few other organs. Some cancers of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys are transitional cell carcinomas.

Sarcoma

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Soft tissue sarcoma forms in soft tissues of the body, including muscle, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissue around joints.

Sarcomas are cancers that form in bone and soft tissues, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, and fibrous tissue (such as tendons and ligaments).

Osteosarcoma is the most common cancer of bone. The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma, Kaposi sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

Our page on soft tissue sarcoma has more information.

Leukemia

Cancers that begin in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow are called leukemias. These cancers do not form solid tumors. Instead, large numbers of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells and leukemic blast cells) build up in the blood and bone marrow, crowding out normal blood cells. The low level of normal blood cells can make it harder for the body to get oxygen to its tissues, control bleeding, or fight infections.

There are four common types of leukemia, which are grouped based on how quickly the disease gets worse (acute or chronic) and on the type of blood cell the cancer starts in (lymphoblastic or myeloid).

Our page on leukemia has more information.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is cancer that begins in lymphocytes (T cells or B cells). These are disease-fighting white blood cells that are part of the immune system. In lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes build up in lymph nodes and lymph vessels, as well as in other organs of the body.

There are two main types of lymphoma:

Hodgkin lymphoma – People with this disease have abnormal lymphocytes that are called Reed-Sternberg cells. These cells usually form from B cells.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – This is a large group of cancers that start in lymphocytes. The cancers can grow quickly or slowly and can form from B cells or T cells.

Our page on lymphoma has more information.

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells, another type of immune cell. The abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in bones all through the body. Multiple myeloma is also called plasma cell myeloma and Kahler disease.

Our page on multiple myeloma and other plasma cell neoplasms has more information.

Melanoma

Melanoma is cancer that begins in cells that become melanocytes, which are specialized cells that make melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color). Most melanomas form on the skin, but melanomas can also form in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye.

Our pages on skin cancer and intraocular melanoma have more information.

Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

There are different types of brain and spinal cord tumors. These tumors are named based on the type of cell in which they formed and where the tumor first formed in the central nervous system. For example, an astrocytic tumor begins in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, which help keep nerve cells healthy. Brain tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Our page on brain and spinal cord tumors in adults has more information, as does our overview of brain and spinal cord tumors in children.

Other Types of Tumors

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ cell tumors are a type of tumor that begins in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs. These tumors can occur almost anywhere in the body and can be either benign or malignant.

Our page of cancers by body location/system includes a list of germ cell tumors with links to more information.

Neuroendocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors form from cells that release hormones into the blood in response to a signal from the nervous system. These tumors, which may make higher-than-normal amounts of hormones, can cause many different symptoms. Neuroendocrine tumors may be benign or malignant.

Our definition of neuroendocrine tumors has more information.

Carcinoid Tumors

Carcinoid tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor. They are slow-growing tumors that are usually found in the gastrointestinal system (most often in the rectum and small intestine). Carcinoid tumors may spread to the liver or other sites in the body, and they may secrete substances such as serotonin or prostaglandins, causing carcinoid syndrome.

Our page on gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors has more information.

 

Risk Factors for Cancer

It is usually not possible to know exactly why one person develops cancer and another doesn’t. But research has shown that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer. (There are also factors that are linked to a lower risk of cancer. These are sometimes called protective risk factors, or just protective factors.)

Cancer risk factors include exposure to chemicals or other substances, as well as certain behaviors. They also include things people cannot control, like age and family history. A family history of certain cancers can be a sign of a possible inherited cancer syndrome. (See the Hereditary Cancer Syndromes section for more information about inherited genetic mutations that can cause cancer.)

Most cancer risk (and protective) factors are initially identified in epidemiology studies. In these studies, scientists look at large groups of people and compare those who develop cancer with those who don’t. These studies may show that the people who develop cancer are more or less likely to behave in certain ways or to be exposed to certain substances than those who do not develop cancer.

Such studies, on their own, cannot prove that a behavior or substance causes cancer. For example, the finding could be a result of chance, or the true risk factor could be something other than the suspected risk factor. But findings of this type sometimes get attention in the media, and this can lead to wrong ideas about how cancer starts and spreads. (See the Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions page for more information.)

When many studies all point to a similar association between a potential risk factor and an increased risk of cancer, and when a possible mechanism exists that could explain how the risk factor could actually cause cancer, scientists can be more confident about the relationship between the two.

The list below includes the most-studied known or suspected risk factors for cancer. Although some of these risk factors can be avoided, others—such as growing older—cannot. Limiting your exposure to avoidable risk factors may lower your risk of developing certain cancers.

 

Symptoms

Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Only a doctor can tell if your symptoms are caused by cancer or some other problem.

Diagnosis

If you have a symptom that does not go away or a screening test result that suggests cancer, the doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or some other cause. Learn about tests and procedures that help figure out the reason for your problems.

Staging

Staging is the process of determining details about your cancer, such as tumor size and if it has spread. The stage guides decisions about treatment.

Prognosis

Prognosis describes how serious your cancer is and your chances of survival. Learn about survival statistics and how they are used to estimate prognosis.

Questions to Ask about Your Cancer Diagnosis

These questions may help you learn more about your cancer what you can expect next.

Research

Find research articles on cancer diagnosis and staging, which may include news stories, clinical trials, blog posts, and descriptions of active studies.

http://www.worldcancerday.org/

Five Rules to Improve Your Financial Wellness

Financial Wellness SSP 2018

The term “personal finance” refers to how you manage your money and how you plan for your future. All of your financial decisions and activities have an effect on your financial health now and in the future. We are often guided by specific rules of thumb – such as “don’t buy a house that costs more than 2.5 years’ worth of income” or “you should always save at least 10% of your income towards retirement.” While many of these adages are time tested and truly helpful, it’s important to consider what we should be doing – in general – to help improve our financial habits and health. Here, we discuss five broad personal finance rules that can help get you on track to achieving specific financial goals. 

  1. Do the Math – Net Worth and Personal Budgets

Money comes in, money goes out. For many people, this is about as deep as their understanding gets when it comes to personal finances. Rather than ignoring your finances and leaving them to chance, a bit of number crunching can help you evaluate your current financial health and determine how to reach your short- and long-term financial goals.

As a starting point, it is important to calculate your net worth – the difference between what you own and what you owe. To calculate your net worth, start by making a list of your assets (what you own) and your liabilities (what you owe). Then subtract the liabilities from the assets to arrive at your net-worth figure. Your net worth represents where you are financially at that moment, and it is normal for the figure to fluctuate over time. Calculating your net worth one time can be helpful, but the real value comes from making this calculation on a regular basis (at least yearly). Tracking your net worth over time allows you to evaluate your progress, highlight your successes and identify areas requiring improvement.

Equally important is developing a personal budget or spending plan. Created on a monthly or annual basis, a personal budget is an important financial tool because it can help you:

  • Plan for expenses.
  • Reduce or eliminate expenses.
  • Save for future goals.
  • Spend wisely.
  • Plan for emergencies.
  • Prioritize spending and saving.

There are numerous approaches to creating a personal budget, but all involve making projections for income and expenses. The income and expense categories you include in your budget will depend on your situation and can change over time. Common income categories include:

  • alimony
  • bonuses
  • child support
  • disability benefits
  • interest and dividends
  • rents and royalties
  • retirement income
  • salaries/wages
  • Social Security
  • tips

General expense categories include:

  • childcare/eldercare
  • debt payments – car loan, student loan, credit card
  • education – tuition, day care, books, supplies
  • entertainment and recreation – sports, hobbies, movies, DVDs, concerts, Netflix
  • food – groceries, dining out
  • giving – birthdays, holidays, charitable contributions
  • housing – mortgage or rent, maintenance
  • insurance – health, home/renters, auto, life
  • medical/healthcare – doctors, dentist, prescription medications, other known expenses
  • personal – clothing, hair care, gym, professional dues
  • savings – retirement, education, emergency fund, specific goals (i.e. vacation)
  • special occasions – weddings, anniversaries, graduation, transportation – gas, taxis, subway, tolls, parking
  • utilities – phone, electric, water, gas, cell, cable, Internet

Once you’ve made the appropriate projections, subtract your expenses from your income. If you have money left over, you have a surplus and you can decide how to spend, save or invest the money. If your expenses exceed your income, however, you will have to adjust your budget by increasing your income (adding more hours at work or picking up a second job) or by reducing your expenses.

To really understand where you are financially, and to figure out how to get where you want to be, do the math: Calculate both your net worth and a personal budget on a regular basis. This may seem abundantly obvious to some, but people’s failure to lay out and stick to a detailed budget is the root cause of excessive spending and overwhelming debt. 

  1. Recognize and Manage Lifestyle Inflation

Most individuals will spend more money if they have more money to spend. As people advance in their careers and earn higher salaries, there tends to be a corresponding increase in spending, a phenomenon known as lifestyle inflation. Even though you might be able to pay your bills, lifestyle inflation can be damaging in the long run because it limits your ability to build wealth: Every extra dollar you spend now means less money later and during retirement (see How to Manage Lifestyle Inflation).

One of the main reasons people allow lifestyle inflation to sabotage their finances is their desire to keep up with the Joneses. It’s not uncommon for people to feel the need to match their friends’ and co-worker’s spending habits. If your peers drive BMWs, vacation at exclusive resorts and dine at expensive restaurants, you might feel pressured to do the same. What is easy to overlook is that in many cases the Joneses are actually servicing a lot of debt – over a period of decades – to maintain their wealthy appearance. Despite their wealthy “glow” – the boat, the fancy cars, the expensive vacations, the private schools for the kids – the Joneses might be living pay check to pay check and not saving a dime for retirement.

As your professional and personal situation evolves over time, some increases in spending are natural. You might need to upgrade your wardrobe to dress appropriately for a new position, or, as your family grows, you might need a house with more bedrooms. And with more responsibilities at work, you might find that it makes sense to hire someone to mow the lawn or clean the house, freeing up time to spend with family and friends and improving your quality of life. 

  1. Recognize Needs vs. Wants – and Spend Mindfully

Unless you have an unlimited amount of money, it’s in your best interest to be mindful of the difference between needs and wants so you can make better spending choices. “Needs” are things you have to have in order to survive: food, shelter, healthcare, transportation, a reasonable amount of clothing (many people include savings as a need, whether that’s a set 10% of their income or whatever they can afford to set aside each month). Conversely, “wants” are things you would like to have, but that you don’t need for survival.

It can be challenging to accurately label expenses as either needs or wants, and for many, the line gets blurred between the two. When this happens, it can be easy to rationalize away an unnecessary or extravagant purchase by calling it a need. A car is a good example. You need a car to get to work and take the kids to school. You want the luxury edition SUV that costs twice as much as a more practical car (and costs you more in gas). You could try and call the SUV a “need” because you do, in fact, need a car, but it’s still a want. Any difference in price between a more economical vehicle and the luxury SUV is money that you didn’t have to spend.

Your needs should get top priority in your personal budget. Only after your needs have been met should you allocate any discretionary income toward wants. And again, if you do have money left over each week or each month after paying for the things you really need, you don’t have to spend it all.

  1. Start Saving Early

It’s often said that it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. That may be true (technically), but the sooner you start, the better off you’ll likely be during your retirement years. This is because of the power of compounding – what Albert Einstein called the “eighth wonder of the world.”

Compounding involves the reinvestment of earnings, and it is most successful over time: The longer earnings are reinvested, the greater the value of the investment, and the larger the earnings will (hypothetically) be.

To illustrate the importance of starting early, assume you want to save R1,000,000 by the time you turn 60. If you start saving when you are 20 years old, you would have to contribute R655.30 a month – a total of R314,544 over 40 years – to be a millionaire by the time you hit 60. If you waited until you were 40, your monthly contribution would bump up to R2,432.89 – a total of R583,894 over 20 years. Wait until 50 and you’d have to come up with R6,439.88 each month – equal to R772,786 over the 10 years. (These figures are based on an investment rate of 5% and no initial investment. Please keep in mind, they are for illustrative purposes only and do not take into consideration actual returns, taxes or other factors). The sooner you start, the easier it is to reach your long-term financial goals. You will need to save less each month, and contribute less overall, to reach the same goal in the future.

  1. Build and Maintain an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is just what the name implies: money that has been set aside for emergency purposes. The fund is intended to help you pay for things that wouldn’t normally be included in your personal budget: unexpected expenses such as car repairs or an emergency trip to the dentist. It can also help you pay your regular expenses if your income is interrupted; for example, if an illness or injury prevents you from working or if you lose your job.

Although the traditional guideline is to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, the unfortunate reality is that this amount would fall short of what many people would need to cover a big expense or weather a loss in income. In today’s uncertain economic environment, most people should aim for saving at least six months’ worth of living expenses – more if possible. Putting this as a regular expense item in your personal budget is the best way to ensure that you are saving for emergencies and not spending that money frivolously.

Keep in mind that establishing an emergency backup is an ongoing mission (see Building an Emergency Fund): Odds are, as soon as it is funded you will need it for something. Instead of being dejected about this, be glad that you were financially prepared and start the process of building the fund again. 

 

The Bottom Line

Personal finance rules-of-thumb can be excellent tools for achieving financial success. But It’s important to consider the big picture and build habits that help you make better financial choices, leading to better financial health. Without good overall habits, it will be difficult to obey detailed adages like “never withdraw more than 4% a year to make sure your retirement lasts” or “save 20 times your gross income for a comfortable retirement.”

Read more: Five Rules to Improve Your Financial Health | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/111813/five-rules-improve-your-financial-health.asp#ixzz53mCl5MEj

HIV Day 2017

 

HIV Poster SSP 2017.jpg

What is the prevalence of HIV in South Africa?

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region worst-affected by HIV and AIDS.  HIV/AIDS in South Africa is a prominent health concern; South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS compared to any other country in the world with 5,6 million people living with HIV, and 270,000 HIV related deaths recorded in 2011.  (UNAIDS)

The HIV prevalence for South Africa is the percentage of people that are HIV positive in the population out of the total population at a given point in time. One of the main HIV statistics for South Africa is that by the middle of 2017, 12.6% of the population, that is 7.06 million people are HIV positive.1Statistics South Africa  Mid-year population estimates 2017 www.statssa.gov.za

There are 1.86 million more People Living with HIV (PLHIV) than in 2008, when the percentage was 10.6, that is 5.2 million people. The increased prevalence of HIV in 2017 is largely due to the combined effect of new infections, and a successfully expanded ARV treatment programme, which has increased survival among people living with HIV.

Looking at the total population, the prevalence in women aged 15-49 is 21.17%, the prevalence in adults aged 15-49 is 17.98% and the prevalence among youth aged 15-24 is 4.64%.2Statistics South Africa  Mid-year population estimates 2017 www.statssa.gov.za

Overall women had a significant higher HIV prevalence than men. The prevalence of HIV was highest among women aged 30-34 and among men aged 35-39. In the teenage population the estimated HIV prevalence among women was eight times that of their male equivalents. This suggests that female teenagers aged 15-19 are more likely than their male equivalents to have sex, not with people in the same age group, but with older sex partners. In the age group 30-35 over one third of all women were estimated to be HIV positive.

 

Why is the South African HIV/AIDS prevalence so high?

Many factors contribute to the spread of HIV. These include: poverty; inequality and social instability; high levels of sexually transmitted infections; the low status of women; sexual violence; high mobility (particularly migrant labour); limited and uneven access to quality medical care; and a history of poor leadership in the response to the epidemic.

Research shows high levels of knowledge about the means of transmission of HIV and understanding of methods of prevention. However, this does not translate into HIV-preventive behaviour. Behaviour change and social change are long-term processes, and the factors that predispose people to infection – such as poverty and inequality, patriarchy and illiteracy – cannot be addressed in the short term. Vulnerability to, and the impact of, the epidemic is proving to be most catastrophic at community and household level.

How has this affected the everyday lives of South Africans?

The hardship for those infected and their families begins long before people die. Stigma and denial related to suspected infection cause many people to delay or refuse testing; fear and despair often follow diagnosis, due to poor-quality counselling and lack of support; poverty prevents many infected people from maintaining adequate nutrition to help prevent the onset of illness; limited access to clinics, waiting lists for ARV treatment programmes and eligibility criteria for access to ARVs mean that many people become seriously ill before accessing treatment; loss of income and support when a breadwinner or caregiver becomes ill, and the diversion of household resources to provide care exacerbate poverty; the burden upon family members, particularly children and older people caring for terminally ill adults, and the trauma of bereavement and orphan hood compromise the physical and mental well-being of entire households. This all happens in a society where the majority of children live in poverty and more than 25% of the economically active population is unemployed.

Women face a greater risk of HIV infection. On average in South Africa there are three women infected with HIV for every two men who are infected. The difference is greatest in the 15-24 age group, where three young women for every one young man are infected.

However, South Africa has made positive strides in managing the HIV and AIDS epidemic since the end of 2008. The numbers of people on antiretroviral treatment has increased dramatically to   1 900 000 and there were 100 000 fewer Aids-related deaths in 2011 than in 2005.

What are the proposed solutions?

For many years, the burden of care and support has fallen heavily on the shoulders of impoverished rural communities, where sick family members return when they can no longer work or care for themselves. Community-based care has been promoted as the best option since it would be impossible to care properly for hundreds of thousands of people dying from AIDS in public hospitals. The resilience and capacity to care for dying people and provide for those they leave behind in impoverished communities is extremely overstretched. There remains an acute need for social protection and interventions to support the most vulnerable communities and households affected by this epidemic. The challenge we still face is that people are not testing timeously therefore only once they are very ill at quite a late stage of disease progression do they only realise that they are HIV positive. The central focus remains that we continue to mobilise an increased uptake in HIV testing and counseling, behaviour change communication and combination prevention and treatment.

For more contextual information about HIV/AIDS in South Africa click here: Useful Links

Source: https://www.aids.org.za/hivaids-in-south-africa