Author Archives: Alicia Pittman


Pink Month for Breast Cancer Research

Are you Breast Aware

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia and the second most common cancer to cause death in women, after lung cancer. It is uncommon in males.

Over 15,050 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age 85 is 1 in 8 for women.

Women aged between 50 and 74 are invited to access free screening mammograms every two years via the BreastScreen Australia Program.

It is recommended that women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, aged between 40 and 49 or over 75 discuss options with their GP, or contact BreastScreen Australia on 13 20 50.

This year we will be dressing in Pink in support of Breast Cancer research and those fighting cancer, and for our friends and family members that we have lost to breast cancer.

This year, thanks to the local businesses of Muswellbrook, we are running a raffle with some amazing prizes. Tickets are $2 each of 3 for $5.

Donations big or small help Cancer Council support women going through cancer treatment. We  have a donation well in our foyer.

breast cancer raffle prizes










October – November 2019

Memory Loss

The prospect of memory loss is one of the major concerns of people who are getting older. The "good news" is that while the total number of people with dementia is increasing, the percentage of the population with dementia is declining.

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Vaccination In Children

Over the course of the 20th Century there was a steep decline in deaths from infectious disease. One of the main reasons for this has been the advent of vaccinations. In simplest terms, this involves exposing an individual to a protein (or other recognizable part) of a bacteria or virus and "tricking" the body into mounting an immune response. We know that once antibodies are produced on one exposure that we become immune to the particular bug. Thus, a vaccine allows us to develop immunity without actually contracting the illness.

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Benign muscle growths which form in the wall of the uterus are called fibroids or myomas. It is estimated that up to 80% of women over the age of 50 will have them but most will not have any symptoms or need treatment.

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Prostate Enlargement

The prostate glad sits beneath a man's bladder and produces semen fluid. It gets larger as men get older and some can experience side effects. benign, (non-cancerous) enlargement or hypertrophy of the prostate (BPH) is far more common than prostate cancer and, to some degree, affects all men as they age.

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Alcohol amd Drug Abuse

Alcohol is a major factor in many diseases, violence and family disruption. Illicit drugs also cause major problems but, despite headlines, on a smaller scale. Prescription drugs lead to more deaths each year than illicit drugs.

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August – September 2019

Galling Gallstones

Bile produced in the liver to help digest fats is stored in the gall bladder. The Liquid can crystallise, which over time, can grow into gallstones. It is estimated that 10% of Australians are affected. Risk factors include being female, over 40, overweight and a family history of gallstones.  Use of oestrogen(e.g. the contraceptive pill) and having diabetes can also increase the risk.

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What is in a handshake?

The handshake is believed to have existed for thousands of years but its origin is unclear. One theory is that it was a gesture of peace - showing a right arm devoid of a weapon. Another is that it consecrated an agreement between people. The earliest recording comes from the ninth century BC.

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Eczema – Prevention and Treatment

Many children will have eczema at some stage and it is common in adults too. Typical symptoms are redness, itching and inflammation of the skin. The commonest areas are the face, elbows, knees and hands, but any part of the body can be affected.

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Avoid the Bite

Mainland Australia is free of malaria although it is found on the Torres Strait Islands. Malaria is potentially fatal infection caused by a parasite which is transmitted by mosquito bites.

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Swollen Ankles

Ankles can swell for many reasons, most of which are not serious. It is best to think about causes as being local (e.g. injury) or a 'distant' (e.g. kidney disease)

The ultimate cause is a build up of fluid at the feet and ankles. Most people as they age will experience this to some degree as the circulation can slow. It is more noticeable at the end of the day and may not be apparent on waking.

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Sinusitis on the Nose

The body has a number of air-filled sinuses which sit below, above and behind the eyes, and are in communication with the nasal passages. Their role is to warm and filter air and produce mucous to trap inhaled dust and other irritants. Too much mucous production, swelling of the linings or blockage can lead to sinusitis.

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June – July 2019

Post Traumatic Street (War Veterans)

First described in the 1970's in Vietnam War Veterans, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a reaction that people can develop after being through or witnessing a traumatic event which threatened life or safety of themselves or others. This includes war, natural disaster, assault or serious accident. It is estimated that 12% of Australians may experience it during their life. Risk factors, aside from trauma include a past history of other mental health problems and stress.

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Parkinson’s Disease

A progressive degenerative condition that affects body movements, Parkinson's disease affects around 40,000 Australians. It is more common in men and it is more common in older people. It is caused by a loss of dopamine production in the brain but why this happens is not known. Genetic factors, some toxins and head trauma may be involved.

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Headache is one of the commonest symptoms we experience. Virtually everyone will get a headache at some stage, but some people will get them often. Whilst there are serious cases, the vast majority not and treatments are generally successful.

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One of the most common health problems are haemorrhoids, affecting about 300,000 Australians each year. Haemorrhoids are essentially a "varicose vein" at the anus and can be internal (inside the rectum) or external. Risks related to repeated pressure in the abdomen which may be from pregnancy, constipation or heavy lifting. Sitting on hard surfaces for prolonged periods is another risk factor. There may be a genetic tendency.

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Whooping Cough

Whilst rare these days due to vaccination, there are still over 1000 cases of the infection "whooping cough" in Australia each year. It is caused by the bacteria Bordetella Pertssis spread from person to person. The infection causes irritation of the lining of the airways and increased mucous.

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Flu Vaccinations

flu picBrook Medical Centre are now taking bookings for your annual Flu Vaccination, which are bulk billed consultations.


FLU SEASON is generally July – August , so no need to rush. Indeed you have better immunity if you have the immunisation late April during consultations if available or May in our Flu Clinics.

We are pleased in 2019 to be able to immunise with more effective vaccines. 

The changes,

  • Free Vaccine for children from 6 months of age to 4 years of age
  • 5 different age- specific influenza vaccines. 

 This  vaccine  will cost $20 if you are not eligible under the National Influenza Vaccination program. This  can be paid upon arrival for your appointment, as we stock this and almost all  travel vaccines here at Brook Medical Centre.

Free influenza vaccine 

Under the National Influenza Vaccination Program, free seasonal quadrivalent influenza vaccine is available for the following people:

  • all people aged 65 years and over
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 6 months to 4 years
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over
  • pregnant women
  • Children aged between 6 months and four years old.
  • people aged 5 years and over with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza,(and you may wish to discuss with your regular GP if your medical condition is covered)


Chronic conditions include :

  • Cardiac disease,  cyanotic congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
  • Chronic respiratory conditions, including suppurative lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe asthma
  • Other chronic illnesses requiring regular medical follow up or hospitalisation in the previous year, including diabetes mellitus, chronic metabolic diseases, chronic renal failure, and haemoglobinopathies
  • Chronic neurological conditions that impact on respiratory function, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and seizure disorders
  • Impaired immunity, including HIV, malignancy and chronic steroid use
  • Children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy .


Please contact us to book an appointment in one of our Doctors


Influenza Information



April – May 2019

Otitis Media

The human ear has three parts - outer, middle and inner. All three can get infected. Otitis media is an infection of the middle ear. It is most common in children and peaks between 6 and 18 months. The cause may be a bacteria or virus. It can affect one or both ears and may come with a "cold" type illness or just by itself. It is more common in indigenous children.

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Sleep – What happens to your body!

In the 20th century, people slept for nine hours. By the turn of the 20th century this had shrunk to seven and a half. Since then our 24/7 society, complete with computers and smart phones has affected us all. Even one generation ago TV stations closed overnight. However, our need for sleep has not disappeared.

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Warts and All

Warts, extremely common, especially among children, can appear anywhere and are most often found on the hands, knees and feet. These small eruptions on the skin are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (of which there are at least 70 types).

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Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence means no amount of voluntary effort stops the flow of urine. The two main forms of incontinence are urge where one cannot hold on when feeling the need to pass urine and stress where coughing, sneezing or movement can cause urine flow. Incontinence is far more common in women than men (affecting up to 50% of women) and while not being age specific, it is more frequent in later years.

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Hepatitis C – Avoiding Damage

Hepatitis C was first "discovered" in 1989. Catching the virus was associated with blood infusions before 1990 but today the main risk factors are sharing intravenous drug needles, tattooing and body piercing (if not sterile). Hepatitis C is no longer officially classed as a sexually transmissible disease but its spread via sexual contact is still possible if there are cuts or open wounds. Needle stick injuries carry a very small risk. The virus is not spread by hugging or through sharing food.

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February – March 2019

Allergy to Furry Family Friends

Allergy to pet cats or dogs is something that runs in families - usually in people with an inherited tendency to asthma, hayfever or eczema. Of course, you have to live with an animal or have frequent contact with it for this to happen. Once allergy develops, what you do about it depends on the level of symptoms.

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Living with Obesity

Over the last 40 years, there have been an increase in the number of people overweight or obese, helped by the reduction in body mass index (BMI) classifying weight from 27.5 to 25 in the late 1980's. This has significantly inflated the statistics. 

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Exercise for You

The human body was designed to be active and for most of human history it has been.

Till modern times, work was often physical as was the means of getting from 'A' to 'B'. Even as recently as the 1970's we got out of our chairs to change TV channels. The estimated incidental movement was taken over by labour-saving devices between the mid - 1960's and today is around 2000 calories per week (or a day's food intake)

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A typical migraine headache affects one side of the head, is throbbing in nature, is often accompanied by nausea or vomiting and perhaps sensitivity to light, and can last up to days. 

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e Health and You.

When booking in for your appointment, you may be asked if you are registered with eHealth or would like to register. This process only takes a couple of minutes but it could be very beneficial to your health in the future.

Having a My Health Record means your important health information like allergies, current conditions and treatments, medicine details, pathology reports or diagnostic imaging scan reports can be digitally stored in one place. Healthcare providers like doctors, specialists and hospital staff can see these details online from anywhere at any time when they need to, such as in an accident or emergency.

A My Health Record will be created for every Australian who wants one after 31 January 2019. It’s your choice. If you don’t want a record created for you, complete this online process. You will need your Medicare card and driver licence (or other identification) to complete the opt-out process. Opt Out Here


For more information or to make a My Health record click here





buy a bale

Support for our Farmers

New South Wales is currently experiencing the worst drought in 116 years. Water is a precious commodity and quickly disappearing. We have had little rain and thus little food growth for our farmers to feed their stock. Our farmers are struggling everyday to make ends meet, to support their families and their livelihoods. Can you help?

Here at Brook Medical Centre, we are supporting our local farmers. To help get a truck load of hay, we need to raise at least $2750 and that is just for the hay.

buy a bale






Buy a Bale and help us support our local farmers.

Total as at 31st October 2018 is $998.46. This total includes website donations as well as donations in the the Buy a Bale Barrels that we have had at our front counter.

Thankyou to the local community for your support with our fundraiser.



August – September 2018

Not a Dry Eye

The eyes need constant lubrication which is provided by the tear glands. Eyes become dry for two main reasons. Firstly, tears can evaporate too quickly. This can be in aeroplanes. in air conditioning, in dry air or smoky conditions. It is temporary and is improved by the use of lubricant drops and removing yourself (where possible) from the situation. Secondly, it can be due to reduced tear production. This can be because of advanced age, various medical conditions (e.g. Diabetes, Lupus, Sjorgren's Syndrome, Scleroderma), certain medications (e.g. antihistamines, antidepressants, blood pressure tablets) and tear gland damage through trauma.


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Breathless with Emphysema

Emphysema is a form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Inheritance plays a part, however, most cases are related to smoking or long term exposure to dusts or pollutants which damage the air sacs in the lungs where oxygen enters the blood stream.

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Febrile fits in kids

These are seizures in children (generally between six months and five years) due to a rapid rise in temperature. Up to one in twenty children will experience these. While frightening to watch, they do not cause brain damage and are not a prelude to epilepsy.

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Managing hayfever – Why, What & How

Runny or blocked noses, sneezing, congestion, watery eyes and headache are just some of the symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hayfever) which affects nearly one in five Australians. It is not necessarily caused by hay and you don't get a fever. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can last days or months.

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V is for Varicose Veins

Widened, often twisted, veins near the skin surface are called varicose veins. They are most common in the lower legs.


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