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By chextall 09 Oct, 2017

Prostate Cancer-what you need to know about the most common cancer in Australia

Did you know: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australia with 1 in 5 men at risk of developing prostate cancer in their lifetime and 20,000 men diagnosed and close to 3,300 deaths each year. More men die of prostate cancer each year than women do of breast cancer.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate. These abnormal cells can continue to multiply in an uncontrolled way and sometimes spread outside the prostate into nearby or distant parts of the body.


Only men have a prostate. It is a small gland that sits below the bladder near the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the passage in the penis through which urine and semen pass.


In the early stages, there may be no symptoms. In the later stages, some symptoms of prostate cancer might include:

·        Feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate

·        Finding it difficult to urinate (for example, trouble starting or not being able to urinate when the feeling is there or poor urine flow)

·        Discomfort when urinating

·        Finding blood in urine or semen

·        Pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips.

These symptoms may not mean you have prostate cancer, but if you experience any of them, please see your doctor.


Factors that are most strongly linked to an increased chance of developing prostate cancer include:

Age: Prostate cancer is an age-dependent disease, which means the chance of developing it increases with age. The risk of getting prostate cancer by the age of 75 is 1 in 7 men. By the age of 85, this increases to 1 in 5.

Family history : If you have a first degree male relative with prostate cancer, you have a higher chance of developing it than men with no such history. The risk increases again if more than one male relative has prostate cancer. Risks are also higher for men whose male relatives were diagnosed when young.

Genetics: Genes are found in every cell of the body. They control the way the cells in the body grow and behave. Every person has a set of many thousands of genes inherited from both parents. Changes to genes can increase the risk of prostate cancer being passed from parent to child. Although prostate cancer can’t be inherited, a man can inherit genes that can increase the risk.

Diet: There is some evidence to suggest that eating a lot of processed meat or food that is high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Lifestyle: There is evidence to show that environment and lifestyle can affect the risk of developing prostate cancer.


Have you been checked?

Men over age 50, or 40 with a family history of prostate cancer, should talk to their doctor about testing for prostate cancer as part of their annual health check-up.

A doctor will usually do a blood test and/or physical examination to check the health of the prostate.


There is no direct evidence that the following protective factors can stop prostate cancer from developing, but they can improve your overall health and possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer:

Diet: Eat meals that are nutritious. Refer to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. What is good for the heart is good for the prostate.

Physical activity/exercise: There is some evidence to show that physical activity and regular exercise can be protective factors for cancer. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes of a day.

If you have any concerns please see your doctor, our team is here to help and support you and your family to ensure optimal health and vitality.

Book to make an appointment now, call 02 4328 5200 or book online. We look forward to seeing you at the practice.


Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

Australian Prostate Cancer

By chextall 09 Oct, 2017

Planning an overseas escape?

10 Top travel health tips for jet setting patients

Overseas travel opens you up to wonderful new experiences, but it can also expose you to potentially serious health risks. Remember – your health is your responsibility – with a bit of preparation, you can prevent an illness that could ruin your holiday, or worse.

Nothing upsets a fun holiday more than feeling under the weather. If you’re planning a trip, here are some top tips from Dr John Schulze, Practice Principal at Absolute Medical Services, to help you to stay healthy and in control of your wellbeing while travelling.

1.       See a doctor well in advance– even if you are well

Your doctor can advise you on measures which can be taken to avoid infectious diseases to which you might be exposed while overseas. This might include;

·        avoiding consumption of potentially contaminated water or food

·        advice on suitable medication to reduce the risk of acquiring infections

·        vaccination against serious disease.

2.       Get vaccinated

No matter where in the world you are going, it’s crucial that you have the right vaccinations. Visit your doctor at least 2 months before departure and they can discuss with you what vaccinations you might need. For instance, if you are travelling to certain parts of Asia or Africa, there’s a good chance you’ll need a malaria prevention and you may also need to travel with malaria tablets.

Many diseases which are a risk to travellers can be prevented by immunisation. You should talk to your doctor about any vaccines or boosters you may need.

Some countries still suffer high rates of infection from diseases that are rare in Australia due to our routine childhood vaccination. If you were born overseas, and you are returning to visit friends and family, you should still check with your doctor if you need any immunisations. Your immunity to some diseases may have changed or diminished with time.

3.       Be Yellow Fever aware

Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral infection spread by mosquitoes. A vaccine for yellow fever must be provided by approved Yellow Fever vaccination clinics. These clinics provide a vaccination certificate in a form that is approved by the World Health Organization. Absolute Medical Services in Lisarow is a registered provider and is one of the only medical practices on the Central Coast that has yellow fever vaccinations available onsite.

Yellow fever is not found in Australia, but some countries require proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever before you can enter. For some countries, Yellow Fever is a very serious risk and a country may vaccinate you when you arrive, refuse you entry, or put you in a quarantine facility if you are not vaccinated against yellow fever. It is very important to discuss this with your doctor.

4.       Take the right medications

Taking your required medications and prescriptions with you on holiday is essential for staying healthy. Carry extra medications just in case, along with your prescriptions. A letter from your doctor regarding your medications, prescriptions or health concerns is also wise.

Don’t forget to take other medications you might need as well, such as pills for motion sickness, headaches, hay fever, digestion and any other ailments that might be common in your chosen countries.

5.       Choose the right coverage

Pre-existing conditions can affect travellers such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, cholesterol and others – which can all affect your holiday time. Compare your travel insurance options so that you can find a provider that not only covers your trip, but also considers all pre-existing conditions as part of their travel insurance offering.

6.       Eat and drink smart

Eating right is a big part of staying healthy, so it’s a good idea to conduct research on the food/drink in each place you intend to go. Basic questions you can ask include:

•      What types of foods are available in this destination and can I eat them?

•      Is the tap water drinkable? (If not, you should stick with bottled water, even when brushing your teeth)

•      Are there any types of foods I should avoid? For example, in Asia, you should often avoid eating any fruit that you don’t peel yourself

•      Should I consume dairy products in this destination?

•      What types of foods will give me energy each day? Avoid consuming too much junk food or alcohol and try not to skip meals

If you are in doubt about how well you’ll cope food and drink-wise, then you need to avoid “street food” – which always looks great but may leave you with an upset tummy! Instead, stick to eateries in tourist areas, which will often serve more ‘western’ meals or book a hotel that has in-house dining options available.

7.       Dress for the climate

Weather and climate can have an enormous impact on your health when travelling. Ensure you:

•      Understand what the weather will be like at your destination and pack appropriate clothing and gear

•      Stay hydrated as much as you can in both hot and cold climates

•      Don’t overdo activities or sports in heat; even walking can be exhausting, so make sure you get lots of rest in between

8.       Fun in the Sun

Enjoying the sunshine is one of the best things about holidaying, but protecting yourself is also crucial if you want to stay healthy. If you’re heading to a particularly sunny destination, make sure you cover up with the right clothing (t-shirts, hats, sunglasses), use sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

9.       Know the local facilities

Understanding where hospitals or medical facilities (like GPs, pharmacies) are in each of your destinations can also be beneficial if you encounter an emergency or simply need to seek medical help. While medical services in most major cities will be common, other destinations can be lacking in medical help, so make sure you are aware of the options.

Investing in travel insurance before you go can also help manage the costs of any hospital or medical treatments, especially since these can be quite high for foreigners.

10.   Rest up

Getting plenty of sleep and rest while on holidays means your mind and body has a greater chance of staying healthy – and it will keep you energised and positive, too! Make sure you get enough sleep and rest as you travel; if you feel exhausted and worn out, organise a relaxing day or give yourself a day off sightseeing and exploring altogether.

On your return

If you become unwell in the two weeks after your return to Australia it is important that you see your doctor.

It takes time after you are exposed to an infectious disease for you to become unwell (the incubation period). For this reason, for the two weeks after you get back from overseas, you should pay close attention to your health.

If you are feeling unwell after being overseas you should see your doctor. It is important to tell your doctor that you’ve been overseas, where you went and what activities you undertook.

Enjoy your trip, be safe and well

By Dr John Schulze

Absolute Medical Services, Lisarow

Absolute Medical Services is a registered Travel Vaccination Centre on the Central Coast, which provides patients with comprehensive advice and appropriate vaccinations for all travel destinations.

AMS have the Yellow Fever Vaccination in stock at the Practice and provide the option of post-travel health screening for travellers returning from high-risk countries.


By chextall 24 Jul, 2017
As featured in ‘Seniors On the Coast’

Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits and can be most enjoyable for people of all ages. With some planning, a little thought and creativity, you can grow an interesting, productive and pleasant space whilst also experiencing a multitude of health benefits that come from doing what you love .

Highly respected medical practice, Absolute Medical Services (AMS) in Lisarow is delighted to be a major sponsor of the Plant Lovers Fair 2017, Kariong being held September 23rd and 24th. The Plant Lovers Fair 2017 will feature over 40 Exhibitors offering rare, unusual and hard to find plants for collectors and garden lovers from ornamental to food gardens, trees, shrubs and ground covers plus quality garden products. The popular event also has the additional draw card of TV presenter on ABCs Gardening Australia, Costa Georgiadis as fair ambassador. Find out more about the fair here

Practice Principal of AMS Dr John Schulze explains below how beneficial gardening can be for your health and wellbeing.

The fantastic health benefits that can be experienced when gardening:


Studies have demonstrated that individuals who engage in gardening report more positive moods than non- gardeners, they also experience measurably lower cortisol levels. Cortisol, “the stress hormone”, may influence more than just mood: chronically elevated cortisol levels have been linked to everything from immune dysfunction, obesity, memory problems and heart disease.

Healthy heart

The evidence is clear, too much sitting is dangerous for your health. Gardening may be just one way to achieve your target 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Make sure to expose your limbs (without sunscreen) for no more than 10 minutes during midday gardening: this will give you enough vitamin D to reduce risks of heart disease, osteoporosis, and various cancers.

Those with the lowest Vitamin D levels may be doubling their risk of dying of heart disease and other causes and in most cases, too much time spent indoors is a key culprit.

Improving mental health

Gardening can give you a natural lift and is showing positive results for patients with depression and other mental illnesses. This natural ‘gardening high’ comes from a combination of physical activity, awareness of natural surroundings, cognitive stimulation and satisfaction for the work.

But be aware of your limits and drink plenty of water.

Hand strength and dexterity

As we age, diminishing dexterity and strength in the hands can gradually narrow the range of activities that are possible or enjoyable. Gardening can keep hand muscles moving and agile.

However, don’t push your hands too far: gardening can also set the stage for repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel. Practice hand-healthy gardening by using a few simple warm-ups, positioning your body comfortably and ergonomically, and changing tasks frequently before strain becomes evident. Alternate use of your right and left hands to balance your body — using your non-dominant hand is one of many exercises to keep your brain functioning well as you age.

Lessening risk of Alzheimer’s

Researchers found daily gardening to represent risk reduction for dementia. Why does gardening make such a difference? Alzheimer’s is a mysterious disease, and the factors influencing its incidence and progression remain poorly understood. Gardening involves so many of our critical functions, including strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem solving, and sensory awareness, that its benefits are likely to represent a synthesis of various aspects.

Immune optimisation

Not only does the Vitamin D you’re soaking up in the garden help you fight off colds and flus, but it turns out even the dirt under your fingernails may be working in your favour! The “friendly” soil bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae, common in garden dirt and absorbed by inhalation or ingestion on vegetables, has been found to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma: all of which may stem from an inactive immune system. This organism has also been shown to alleviate depression, so go ahead and get your hands dirty.

Quick tips for a safe and healthy gardening experience when gardening outdoors:

·        Wear sunscreen and protective clothing including a hat, correct footwear and gloves.

·        Warm up, bend and stretch before you start.

·        Take regular breaks and don’t forget to stretch and change position often.

·        Bend at the knees and don’t strain when lifting heavy objects.

·        Drink plenty of water especially in warm weather.

·        Store garden tools and equipment safely.

·        Observe safety instructions when using potting mix, any sprays or fertilisers.

If you have any health concerns please contact your GP. Enjoy your time in the garden, and we look forward to seeing you at the Plant Lovers Fair on September 23rd & 24th at Kariong. More information here , tickets on sale now.


By Dr John Schulze

Practice Principal

Absolute Medical Services, Lisarow

By chextall 24 Jul, 2017

Top tips for preventing the flu this season

7 top tips to prevent the Flu this season: As featured in Kidz on the Coast magazine

With the arrival of flu season, many parents will be watching their children closely for symptoms of this dreaded virus. The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs).   The virus spreads easily in settings where many people are contained in close quarters such as schools and childcare, making children especially susceptible to the flu.

Influenza is a potentially fatal disease estimated to cause more deaths than road accidents every year: between 1500 and 3500 influenza deaths annually. We are urging Central Coast residents, especially those in the highest risk categories to get vaccinated and be flu fighters this season.

What are the symptoms?

Often confused with the common cold, flu symptoms are typically more severe. The following symptoms are good indicators that you or your child has the flu:

·        Rapid onset of fever

·        Excessive tiredness, lack of energy and general weakness

·        Muscle aches and chills

·        Dry cough

·        Stuffy, runny nose

·        Other symptoms that accompany the flu may include sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Remember, if your child comes down with the flu, keep them home from school or childcare for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. The flu is highly contagious and can infect other children and caregivers. Typical recovery time for the flu is one or two weeks. Flu is a serious illness that should be monitored closely.

Who is most at risk and are urged to get vaccinated?

Influenza is especially dangerous for:

·        Pregnant women

·        Young infants

·        Elderly people

·        Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

·        People with underlying medical conditions

If you fall under one of these categories, you may be eligible to receive a free vaccination.

If you suffer medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung disease or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes this can lead to complications from influenza, so it is advised to take preventative action and vaccinate annually.

Be a flu fighting family and follow our simple tips to avoid getting hit by the dreaded flu this season:

1.Get your shot

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. We recommend everyone over 6 months of age get vaccinated annually, especially if you are in the higher risk categories i.e. are pregnant.

2. Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Avoid sharing cups, bottles, and other utensils.

3. Stay home when you are sick

That’s right, if you don’t feel well, for the sake of all around, stay home when you are sick or keep your children home if they are unwell. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

4. Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

5. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Teach your children proper and consistent hand washing habits.

6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Encourage your children to keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading.

7. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, computers, phones especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

So, don’t delay, book your flu shot today for you and your loved ones and be a flu fighting family this season.

Provided by

Dr John Schulze

Absolute Medical Services

By chextall 24 Jul, 2017
As featured in ‘Babies on the Coast’ magazine

Tongue Tie, also known as ‘Ankyloglossia’ or ‘anchored tongue’ – is a common but often overlooked condition. Tongue-tie is a condition in which the thin piece of skin under the baby’s tongue (the lingual frenulum) is abnormally short and may restrict the movement of the tongue.

Tongue-tie occurs in about three per cent of babies and is a condition that may be genetic and is more commonly found in boys. The most immediate impact of a tongue-tie is on a baby’s ability to breastfeed effectively. It may interfere with a baby’s ability to latch and suckle at the breast leading to significant nipple pain and trauma, poor breast milk supply and a decrease in milk supply over time. Tongue-tie may also have an impact on oral hygiene and speech development.

Dr John Schulze, Practice Principal at Absolute Medical Services in Lisarow has been specialising in treatment of tongue ties for over a quarter of a century and is well recognised for his skill, compassion and expertise in this area. Dr Schulze explains ‘a baby with a tongue tie often cannot make the necessary movements that allow feeding to be satisfying for both mother and baby; instead, the experience becomes one of frustration for the baby, and pain, guilt and failure for the mothers’. Schulze goes on to add ‘for these mums and their bubs a quick and effective tongue tie release treatment can be their saving grace’.

Tongue-tie and feeding problems for babies

Many babies with tongue-tie can breast and bottle feed successfully. However, a tight tongue-tie can interfere with a baby’s ability to breastfeed and, in some cases, bottle feed. Mothers may experience sore or damaged nipples and the baby may have difficulty drinking enough to gain weight.

Causes of tongue-tie

There are two main causes of tongue-tie. Either the frenulum is too short and tight, or it has failed to move back down the tongue during development and is still attached to the tongue tip. In the second case, a heart-shaped tongue tip is one of the obvious symptoms.

Signs that a baby could be tongue-tied

Mum experiences:

·        sore nipples during and after breastfeeding

·        squashed nipples after breastfeeding

·        white compression mark on the nipple post breastfeeding

Baby experiences:

·        Difficulty latching onto the nipple

·        Loss in suction while feeding and sucks air

·        Mouth making a clicking sound while feeding

·        Failure to gain weight.


What to look out for-on baby’s tongue:

·        can’t poke out past the lips

·        can’t touch the roof of the mouth

·        can’t be moved sideways to the corners of the mouth

·        may look flat or square, instead of pointy when extended

·        tip may look notched or heart-shaped

Seek help from a professional

Tongue-tie may be hard to diagnose in newborns – it is important to consult with your doctor, or health professional if you are having trouble breastfeeding.

Treatment for tongue-tie

The surgical procedure performed to cut the lingual or labial (tissue in the centre of the upper and lower lip) frenulum is called frenectomy.

The baby’s head is held firmly and the frenulum is simply snipped (divided) with surgical scissors. Babies can be breastfed immediately after the procedure.

Studies of this procedure have found few risks and associated issues with this type of treatment. Problems are likely to be very rare, but can include bleeding, infection, ulcers, pain, and damage to the tongue and surrounding area.

Many Central Coast mums have visited Absolute Medical Services seeking the advice of Dr Schulze and his team of GPs, if you have any queries or concerns in this area please speak to your doctor or trusted health professional.

By Dr John Schulze

Absolute Medical Services, Lisarow
By chextall 24 Jul, 2017

Did you know?

·        Sickness and absenteeism costs organisations an estimated $2,700 per employee each year

·        Workplace absenteeism costs the Australian economy between $7 billion and $18 billion per year.

·        A workplace’s healthiest staff are almost three times more productive than its unhealthiest staff

Eight plus hours in a chair in front of a computer, five days a week can take an enormous toll on your body.

See below some top tips from our medical team that can help you and employees stay healthy, well and more productive at work:

1.       Keep hydrated- drinking 6-8 glasses of H20 daily is recommended. A common cause of dehydration in the modern workplace is air conditioning and can cause symptoms such as tiredness, loss of concentration and headaches. Keep hydrated for better productivity.

2.       Keep moving -every hour or so, get up from your desk and move around. Exercise is key to health and wellbeing. Walking during lunchtime is a great idea, not only are you burning calories, but you're de-stressing and refreshing at the same time.

3.       Heathy lunch - eat a healthy lunch at work and practice portion control so you aren't consuming too many calories and then sitting in a chair all afternoon. It may not be a case that you are eating unhealthy food, it's just that you are eating too much.

4.       Snack wisely- reach for fruit instead of a biscuit when you feel the 3pm slump coming on.

5.       Stretch often- ‘deskercise’ is now more critical than ever, stretch your neck, back, arms, legs consistently throughout the day, set your alarm clock if you need to remind you

6.       Avoid eye strain- eyestrain is another problem that can be encountered in front of a computer. It can cause headaches, difficulty focusing, and increased sensitivity to light.

To prevent eyestrain, make sure your computer is positioned correctly, you should be able to comfortably read what's on your screen at that distance, without having to squint.

7.       Vaccinate -against flu and if you are travelling, seek advice and appropriate vaccination for a more enjoyable and well- deserved break.

8.       Stress less- stress can impair your immune system, increasing the risk of illness, minimising it is essential. If you are feeling overly stressed, anxious or overwhelmed please seek advice from your GP on how to effectively manage stress levels.

If you have any concerns or would like advice on how to improve your health, wellbeing and productivity levels at work, the AMS team are happy to assist.

AMS have been servicing local businesses providing suitable corporate health services for over a decade and are proud to be able to offer the AMS Corporate Healthcare Program.

Find out more about the corporate services AMS provide here

Call us 02 4328 5200

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