Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Cancer - early diagnosis and risk reduction

Whilst cancer is a subject we all flinch from, the truth is that early diagnosis saves lives. The NHS in the UK has a simple online guide to the symptoms of the three biggest killers. For information have a look at:

The most common cancer found in young men aged between 15 and 34 years is testicular cancer. ) It is rare but guys still need need to check your testicles
For more about cancer in Ireland checkout the Irish Cancer Society

Remember if you are worried don’t wait – go talk to your doctor.

For ways to reduce the risk of cancer have a look at these related articles:

Harms of Smoking


If you would like to talk to somebody confidentially about your alcohol and/or cigarette use contact: Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Officer, at 091-492048. Alternatively e-mail her at or just drop in to Aras Ni Eimhigh.

Alcohol – bad news, good news & even better news

Alcohol - the bad news
The most common drug used in Ireland is alcohol.

It can be useful for relaxing and socializing. However, there a number of problems associated with alcohol – not least that the pounds it will pile on you. Alcohol also has an impact on your heart, liver and mental wellbeing.

Beyond the glitzy adverts the truth is that alcohol is a factor in half of all suicides in Ireland. One in four deaths of young men aged 15-39 in Ireland is due to alcohol . Recent research has also linked alcohol consumption to breast cancer in women .

Alcohol plays an active role in depression, suicide and rape. With depression the affects be of an incremental nature as despondency increases over a number of years.  With constant use, alcohol will affect motivation, which will impact on a student’s ability to complete assignments, attend lectures or prepare for exams.

Alcohol - the good news
The good news is that cutting back and slowing down alcohol consumption can boost your wellbeing considerably. The NHS publication ‘Cutting down on alcohol' highlights the following benefits of reduced drinking, including: feeling better in the morning; improved immune system; more energy; better skin tone; a better mood. The NHS also has easy advice on how to cut down alcohol.

However, please note that Irish and UK alcohol measurements are different, so the NHS ‘Drink Checker’ would not be an accurate guide for students in NUI Galway. For a good non-judgmental way to begin looking at your engagement with alcohol is to try out the e-pub facility in NUI Galway: 

Alcohol – even better news
Everyone who completes the e-PUB before Monday, 4th of November, 2013 and confirms completion will be entered into a draw for a fantastic array of prizes. For details see Free competition for NUI G students. Stunning Prizes including Google Nexus 7 Tablet! Enter now! 


Tales for Halloween - in books and on youtube

As well as writing riskybizzness (the free book version of which is out soon) I write and perform spooky stories that are perfect for Halloween. 

One of my darker scary stories is Transformation, which is a dark adult fairy story set in modern Galway: Be warned though - it is not for the faint hearted. 

Galway Bay Folk Tales  is a book everybody can enjoy – it is my take on all those weird and wonderful (and sometimes dark and creepy) tales that can be found in the west of Ireland. One of the stories in it ‘The Girl Who Went For The Messages’ is perfect for Halloween.

My online blog novel Marcus Marcus & the Hurting Heart also has elements of very dark and scary stuff. But, again a word of caution – only read it if your into really weird sci-fi and fantasy.
But as I said I also tell stories, in particular tales from Scotland and Ireland.  Here is a link to a youtube clip of me telling a spooky comic Scottish folk tale called ‘Three Red Hats.’ This version was performed to a group of Irish and International students. The story is told over two youtube clips. The credits only last for 19 seconds then the fun begins in earnest. Oh yeah, this is an adult version but it can be easily adapted for younger audiences. If you enjoy it please have a go at telling it yourself. Enjoy!

For more about my work please check out

And finally keep an eye out for the launch of the riskybizzness booklet - I may even tell a tale or two at the event.