Ask the Doc­tor

Pro­fes­sor Ker­ryn Phelps an­swers read­ers’ ques­tions on a va­ri­ety of health con­cerns.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

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.

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