Ask the Doctor
Professor Kerryn Phelps answers readers’ questions on a variety of health concerns.
Q As I have no close living relatives, what should I do with my advanced healthcare directive, to make sure my wishes are honoured? F.B. An advanced healthcare directive comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. You could ensure a close friend is clear about your instructions and give them a copy of the directive, and your lawyer and family doctor can also keep a copy in your files.
Q I am 85 and don’t want any more cancer treatment, but my doctor is pushy. What can I do? What are my rights? D.O.
You have the right, provided you are fully informed of all of your options and the likely outcome of your decision, to undergo or decline any recommended treatment. If you do not agree with the advice you are being given, ask your GP to refer you for a second oncology opinion.
Q Does my child really need to clean his teeth twice a day? Isn’t once enough? C.C.
Professional advice is twice a day, after breakfast and before bed. As
soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day.
Q I am 80 and the bunions on my feet are really affecting the shoes I can buy. Most of the time I just wear slippers. Am I too old to have my feet operated on? I’d love to get rid of my bunions. B.R.
If you are in reasonably good health, your age should not be a barrier to bunion surgery. There is a relatively new minimally invasive technique which has a shorter recovery time and is less painful than the standard method. Ask your doctor or podiatrist about treatment options.