Posts tagged ‘cancer’

When you see your doc, be sure to bring up family history of disease

9. pathophysiology-of-colon-cancer

9. pathophysiology-of-colon-cancer (Photo credit: TipsTimes)

When you see your doctor, it’s hard enough to figure out what questions to ask.  Should I get screened for this, or screened for that? I have emphasized throughout this blog the importance of getting screened for prostate cancer. Guys simply don’t like to visit the doctor. But colorectal health is also vital.  With proper and timely  screening, many men and women can avoid colon cancer.  But it takes a candid conversation with the doctor to set up a colonoscopy.

According to this HealthDay.com article, a new study suggests that a family history of the disease may be important for even more distant relatives.

In many cases, colon cancer may have no symptoms. And when symptoms appear, the disease could be advanced, so it’s important to talk with your doctor as you approach age 50….much younger if you have a family history of the disease.  This article tells me that it’s important to tell your doctor if any relative (even distant) may have had colon cancer.  Just one more thing to remember when you set up your next doctor appointment.

Should older men (75 and up) get the PSA test for prostate cancer?

exam table

exam table (Photo credit: Lynn Kelley Author)

Over the life of this blog, I have shared my experience with prostate cancer. I was diagnosed with the disease a few years ago. The cancer was found at an earlier stage, so I elected to have radiation treatment. So far, my PSA levels have been low, and that’s a good thing. HOWEVER, I respect the fact that cancer is a tough and sneaky foe, so I will continue with my PSA tests.

There is a study that came out in the October 16th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that suggests that many doctors order PSA tests for men 75 and older. Current guidelines, according to HealthDay.com, advise against PSA tests for elderly men. HealthDay reporter Steven Reinberg has the lastest information.

As I have stated many times in this blog, I am not a doctor or a health care professional. I’m simply a baby boomer trying to inspire other men to see the doctor. I certainly do not have the authority to suggest whether older men need these tests.

I do feel a guy needs to meet with his doctor to discuss prostate cancer screening, and the earlier the better. While many prostate cancers are slow growing, men 75 and older have a perfect right to discuss prostate cancer screening with their physicians.  At the end of the day, a decision needs to satisfy the doctor, the patient and the patient’s family.

Could embarrassment be behind lower cancer survival rates among the British?

Close up on the Big Ben

Close up on the Big Ben (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know I try to emphasize the importance of seeing the family doctor. As much as we may not want to do this, it’s essential we get regular cancer screenings.  Catching cancer early gives you a much greater chance of long-term survival.  Part of our responsibility is to report cancer symptoms to the doctor.  With a simple Google search, we can find out if a symptom may indicate a serious disease. But Google can’t substitute for a doctor visit.

The following article, by Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor with The Telegraph, suggests that folks from Britain are not reporting cancer symptoms.  In the article, you’ll learn that researchers surveyed nearly 40 thousand people, ages 50 and up, from Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and Britain.

The article says, “One in three people in Britain were worried about wasting the doctor’s time compared with less than one in ten in Sweden.”

According to the article, experts reveal that cancer survival rates are lower in Britain.

We all need to work a little harder at communicating with our doctors….so that we can, someday, put a dent in the number of cancer deaths reported on both sides of the pond.

 

During this hot summer, do you know which sunscreen to use?

For some parts of the United States, this has been a brutally hot summer. Temperature records have been set left and right. Do you know when to apply creamy sunscreen? Do you know the SPF number of the sunscreen? As you get pumped up to go the beach for relief, it’s easy to drop by a store and pick up the nearest bottle of sunscreen.

But you need to do your homework. HealthDay.com has a great article on how to interpret SPF numbers. The issue is critical because too much sun can cause skin cancer. You do not want to be over-exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Information from the American Academy of Dermatology explains these SPF numbers and how to re-apply sunscreen as you’re soaking in the rays during this toasty summer.

Don’t think you can escape potentially harmful UV rays if you live in a cooler part of the country. Sunshine, even through filtered clouds on a cool day, can affect the skin.

This article links to the American Cancer Society, where you can learn more about sun safety.

Are you a cancer survivor? If so, work on maintaining a healthful lifestyle

We were all told, as children, to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But how many of the baby boomers among us, especially cancer survivors, are adhering to this advice?  As a prostate cancer patient, I want to make sure my cancer doesn’t return (I finished radiation treatments  over a year ago).  I have to admit that I have been sloppy in my eating habits in recent weeks.  I have also been letting up, a bit, in my weekly walking regimen.

After reading the following article by HealthDay reporter Jenifer Goodwin, I need to get back to the basics.

Goodwin points out in her article that eating healthful foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean protein), getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may give you a better chance of living long-term with cancer.

The article is based on recommendations from the American Cancer Society.

I hope my fellow cancer survivors (those of baby boomer and all ages) can join me by getting on the bandwagon and getting serious about maintaining a healthful lifestyle.

Obesity and cancer risk — guest post by Joleen Krupa

Obesity Campaign Poster

Obesity Campaign Poster (Photo credit: Pressbound)

Obesity is a condition that affects more than 60 percent of people in the United States. An obese person has an unhealthy amount of body fat as determined by health professionals. Genetics, eating disorders, medication, unhealthy dieting and stress can cause a person to become obese. Once that individual reaches an obese state, he or she is at risk for other diseases. Medical experts have long reported that obesity is linked to health problems such as gallstones, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Recently medical experts have added cancer to the list of dangerous conditions linked to obesity.

Scientists from all over the world have conducted studies of people with cancer to come to this conclusion. In one study of over 250,000 patients, a small increase in body mass increased the risks of several types of cancer over 50 percent. The studies reviewed over 20 types of cancer. Obesity was a factor in several cases of the disease. Some of the most common areas where cancer has fallen upon obese individuals are the esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, breast, endometrium, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder. Specialists expect the trend to continue over the next 20 years.

Why Obesity Contributes to Cancer

Obesity plays a factor in various types of cancer for various reasons. In breast cancer, the risk may come from an increase of estrogen in postmenopausal women. The more fat tissue a woman has, the more estrogen her body can produce. This puts obese women at risk because it can cause the rapid growth and development of estrogen-responsive breast tumors.

The same may be true for obesity’s role in endometrial cancer. Obese women are four times more likely to develop cancer of the endomentrium than women who are not obese. This may be due to the increased amount of estrogen in their bodies.

Colon cancer often develops in obese men. However, women also develop this condition. Professionals have guessed that this may have something to do with insulin development. High levels of insulin may contribute to colon cancer and its rapid progress. High levels of insulin may also play a role in the connection of obesity and kidney cancer.

Cancer of the esophagus is common in obese patients. Some doctors attribute this to the frequent esophageal inflammations that occur with obese patients. Many people who are overweight experience gastroesophageal reflux disease, which increases their risk for cancer.

Decreasing the Risk of Cancer

Specialists have not been able to gather enough evidence to prove that losing weight decreases the risks of cancer. Doctors have reported some minimal breast cancer risk reductions in women who have lost weight, but the data was not enough to form an absolute answer. However, medical experts have found that losing weight decreases people’s risks for other illnesses. Additionally, proper dieting increases overall health and boosts the immune system. Therefore, it is safe to say that one could decrease his or her chances of developing cancer by performing activities and incorporating routines that promote weight loss.

This guest article was contributed by Joleen Krupa who frequently writes about heath career education like Radiation Therapy Schools.

You can email Joleen Krupa at joleenwkrupa@gmail.com

The battle against cancer: Step by step

As we wrap up 2011 and get ready for the new year, it’s heartening to know that step-by-step, chunk-by-chunk, the ugly disease of cancer is becoming less lethal and more manageable.

Of course there are still cases that reveal cancer found at the metastatic, incurable stage, but thanks to cancer research, early detection, better therapies and the study of genetics, many people are living longer lives after being diagnosed with cancer, a disease that causes cells to multiply and get out of control.

Four decades ago, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, which declared a war on cancer. As pointed out in the following article by HealthDay reporter Amanda Gardner, Dr. Raymond N. DuBois Jr., said, “Back at that time point (when Congress passed the act) cancer essentially was a death sentence.”

Having prostate cancer myself, I am happy that more men (you baby boomers out there!) are getting screened for prostate cancer. Throughout this blog, I have posted articles relating to this disease (as well as my experiences) and when to get screened. Every man needs to start a dialogue with his doctor about prostate issues.

Let’s hope the war on cancer intensifies as we move through 2012.