Posts Tagged ‘colon cancer’

Male Health Month

May 21, 2015

June is Male health. Here are 10 health concerns for men:

1. Prostate cancer. Approximately 30,000 men die of prostate cancer each ear. All meds should undergo a baseline prostate specific antigen blood test at age 40. Men with a family history of prostate cancer, African American men, and veterans exposed to agent orange are at high risk. These men should consider getting screening each year beginning at age 40.

2. Benign enlargement of the prostate is also a concern for men after the age of 50. 50% of them between the ages of 50 and 60 will develop enlargement of the prostate which is a benign disease but affects a man’s quality of life.

3. Erectile dysfunction. Failure to achieve and maintain an erection can be caused by heart disease, diabetes, certain medications, lifestyle, or other problems. Effective drugs are available for treating this common condition that affects over 30 million American men.

4. Cardiovascular disease. Heart disease and stroke are often associated with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Both can usually be controlled with diet and exercise, sometimes combined with medication.

5. Testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men between the ages of 20-35 and in most cases can be cured.

6. Diabetes. Men with diabetes or more likely to suffer from heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems and erectile dysfunction.

7. Skin cancer. Anyone who spends a lot of time in the sun is at risk for skin cancer.

8. Low testosterone. As men age, their testosterone decreases. This can called Andropause, a condition similar to menopause in women.

9. Colorectal cancer. Cancer of the colon and rectum can usually be treated if caught early.

10. Depression. Men are less likely than women to seek help for depression and are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. Help can take the form of medication, counseling, or a combination of both.

I know in New Orleans we have the attitude that “if ain’t broke don’t fix it”. That may apply to your car but not to your body. Take good care of yourself and see your doctor once a year for fine-tuning your health and wellness.

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A Pill Or Pounding the Pavement To Produce Good Health And Lower Healthcare Costs

January 5, 2014

Many times I am consulted by patients for a solution for their medical problem. Most often it comes with a pill, an injection, or a surgical treatment. But I enjoy having conversations with middle-age men who visit my office to find a solution to their problem with erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence. Many of these men are 50-70 years of age and are over-weight; take multiple medications for arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. I then have the following conversation with them:

Mr. Smith if I could offer you a pill that would lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, decrease your pain in your back, knees and hips, decrease your obesity, decrease your glucose level and improve your diabetes, improve your mood, decreases your risk of prostate and colon cancer, has absolutely no side effects and is very affordable and would be covered by your insurance company, and best of all it will make your penis appear 1-2 inches longer, would you take the pill?

One hundred percent of the men say, “Why yes. Will you write me a prescription?”

I respond by gently tapping the man on his shoulder and say, “Mr. Smith, I’m so very sorry, it’s not a pill; it’s exercise!”

That’s exactly what exercise will do for you. It will improve your overall health and will make it possible to throw away so many of the multiple medications that middle age men AND women take. We are a polymedicated society and look for a pill to solve our healthcare needs. Except for genetics, which we can’t change, there are lifestyle changes that ALL of us can make that will improve our health and allow us to live longer and healthy lives.

Let’s look at the facts about obesity in America.
Obesity rates are soaring in the U.S.
Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among adults. About 60 million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese.

Similarly since 1980, overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents – increasing the number of years they are exposed to the health risks of obesity.

Fact: Most people still do not practice healthy behaviors that can prevent obesity
The primary behaviors causing the obesity epidemic are well known and preventable: physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

Despite this knowledge: Only about 25% of U.S. adults eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

More than 50% of American adults do not get the recommended amount of physical activity to provide health benefits.

No one knows with any degree of certainty what the Affordable Healthcare Act (ObamaCare) will bring to modern medicine. One thing we do know for sure that one of the best ways to control healthcare costs is to control obesity. Obesity-related costs place a huge burden on the U.S. economy Direct health costs attributable to obesity have been estimated at $52 billion in 1995 and $75 billion in 2003 and by now is over $100 billion of the more than a trillion dollar healthcare budget.

Bottom Line: As Everett Dirkson, the late Senator from Illinois, once said, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” This holds true today as it was uttered by the senator nearly 50 years ago. Americans must take responsibility for their health. We need to quit looking for the quick fix or a pill to solve our healthcare problems. We need to start exercising. You will be happier, your doctor will be pleased with your weight reduction, and the percent that Americans spend on healthcare related to obesity will come down. Advice from Doctor Baum…..get moving!

P.S. How does the penis get longer from weight loss? When you lose that belly fat and reduce your abdominal girth, you will see your toes and the end of your penis for the first time in many years!

Dr. Neil Baum is a physician at Touro Infirmary and can be reached at 504 891-8454 or through his website, http://www.neilbaum.com

Screen Tests Are Not Just For Male Movies Stars

February 9, 2012

Getting the right screening test at the right time is one of the most important things a man can do for his health. Screenings find diseases early, before you have symptoms, when they’re easier to treat. Early colon cancer can be nipped in the bud. Finding diabetes early may help prevent complications such as vision loss and impotence. The tests you need are based on your age and your risk factors.

Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men after skin cancer. It tends to be a slow-growing cancer, but there are also aggressive, fast-growing types of prostate cancer. Screening tests can find the disease early, sometimes before symptoms develop, when treatments are most effective.
Screenings for healthy men may include both a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The American Cancer Society advises men to talk with a doctor about the risks and limitations of PSA screening as well as its possible benefits. Discussions should begin at:
• 50 for average-risk men
• 45 for men at high risk. This includes African-Americans.
• 40 for men with a strong family history of prostate cancer
The American Urological Association recommends a first-time PSA test at age 40, with follow-ups per doctor’s orders.

Testicular Cancer
This uncommon cancer develops in a man’s testicles, the reproductive glands that produce sperm. Most cases occur between ages 20 and 54. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men have a testicular exam when they see a doctor for a routine physical. Men at higher risk (a family history or an undescended testicle) should talk with a doctor about additional screening. I suggest that most men learn how to do a self-examination. You can gently feeling for hard lumps, smooth bumps, or changes in size or shape of the testes. If you find an abnormality, contact your doctor. For more information on testis self-examination, please go to my website: http://www.neilbaum.com/testes-self-examination-tse.html

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer. Men have a slightly higher risk of developing it than women. The majority of colon cancers slowly develop from colon polyps: growths on the inner surface of the colon. After cancer develops it can invade or spread to other parts of the body. The way to prevent colon cancer is to find and remove colon polyps before they turn cancerous.
Screening begins at age 50 in average-risk adults. A colonoscopy is a common test for detecting polyps and colorectal cancer. A doctor views the entire colon using a flexible tube and a camera. Polyps can be removed at the time of the test. A similar alternative is a flexible sigmoidoscopy that examines only the lower part of the colon. Some patients opt for a virtual colonoscopy — a CT scan — or double contrast barium enema — a special X-ray — although if polyps are detected, an actual colonoscopy is needed to remove them.

Skin Cancer
The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma (shown here). It begins in specialized cells called melanocytes that produce skin color. Older men are twice as likely to develop melanoma as women of the same age. Men are also 2-3 times more likely to get non-melanoma basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers than women are. Your risk increases as lifetime exposure to sun and/or tanning beds accumulates; sunburns accelerate risk.
The American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology recommend regular skin self-exams to check for any changes in marks on your skin including shape, color, and size. A skin exam by a dermatologist or other health professional should be part of a routine cancer checkup. Treatments for skin cancer are more effective and less disfiguring when it’s found early.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Your risk for high blood pressure increases with age. It’s also related to your weight and lifestyle. High blood pressure can lead to severe complications without any prior symptoms, including an aneurysm — dangerous ballooning of an artery. But it can be treated. When it is, you may reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. The bottom line: Know your blood pressure. If it’s high, work with your doctor to manage it.
Blood pressure readings give two numbers. The first (systolic) is the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats. The second (diastolic) is the pressure between beats. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, and in between those two is prehypertension — a major milestone on the road to high blood pressure. How often blood pressure should be checked depends on how high it is and what other risk factors you have.

Cholesterol Levels
A high level of LDL cholesterol in the blood causes sticky plaque to build up in the walls of your arteries (seen here in orange). This increases your risk of heart disease. Atherosclerosis — hardening and narrowing of the arteries — can progress without symptoms for many years. Over time it can lead to heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle changes and medications can reduce this “bad” cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The fasting blood lipid panel is a blood test that tells you your levels of total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides (blood fat). The results tell you and your doctor a lot about what you need to do to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Men 20 years and older should have a new panel done at least every five years. Starting at 35, men need regular cholesterol testing.

Type 2 Diabetes
One-third of Americans with diabetes don’t know they have it. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness from damage to the blood vessels of the retina (shown here), nerve damage, and impotence. This doesn’t have to happen. Especially when found early, diabetes can be controlled and complications can be avoided with diet, exercise, weight loss, and medications.
A fasting plasma glucose test is most often used to screen for diabetes. More and more doctors are turning to the A1C test, which tells how well your body has controlled blood sugar over time. Healthy adults should have the test every three years starting at age 45. If you have a higher risk, including high cholesterol or blood pressure, you may start testing earlier and more frequently.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It’s in the blood and other body secretions of infected individuals, even when there are no symptoms. It spreads from one person to another when these secretions come in contact with the vagina, anal area, mouth, eyes, or a break in the skin. There is still no cure or vaccine. Modern treatments can keep HIV infection from becoming AIDS, but these medications can have serious side effects.
HIV-infected individuals can remain symptom-free for many years. The only way to know they are infected is with a series of blood tests. The first test is called ELISA or EIA. It looks for antibodies to HIV in the blood. It’s possible not to be infected and still show positive on the test. So a second test called a Western blot assay is done for confirmation. If you were recently infected, you could still have a negative test result. Repeat testing is recommended. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, ask your doctor about the tests.
Most newly infected individuals test positive by two months after infection. But up to 5% are still negative after six months. Safe sex — abstinence or always using latex barriers such as a condom or a dental dam — is necessary to avoid getting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. If you have HIV and are pregnant, talk with your doctor about what needs to be done to reduce the risk of HIV infection in your unborn child. Drug users should not share needles.

Glaucoma
This group of eye diseases gradually damages the optic nerve and may lead to blindness — and significant, irreversible vision loss can occur before people with glaucoma notice any symptoms. Screening tests look for abnormally high pressure within the eye, to catch and treat the condition before damage to the optic nerve.
Glaucoma Screening
Eye tests for glaucoma are based on age and personal risk:
• Under 40: Every 2-4 years
• 40-54: Every 1-3 years
• 55-64: Every 1-2 years
• 65 up: Every 6-12 months
Talk with a doctor about earlier, more frequent glaucoma screening, if you fall in a high-risk group: African-Americans, those with a family history of glaucoma, previous eye injury, or use of steroid medications.

Bottom Line: There’s a saying New Orleans that if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well that doesn’t apply to maintaining your car and it certainly doesn’t apply to your health and well-being. Men need to have screening tests in order to detect disease states early when they are treatable and curable.

Meet Doctor Fido-Dogs That Can Sniff Colon Cancer

May 1, 2011

The notion that dogs can sniff danger is not a new one, but researchers in Japan say that this ability includes the ability to detect colon cancer by sniffing it.  A Labrador retriever sniffed out the disease in stool so accurately that the dog’s diagnosis almost always matched that of a the more invasive colonoscopy.  The results are a first step toward a means of developing an early detection system for colon cancer

Dogs have been helping owners with diabetes to sense through smelling breath times when blood sugar levels are low, and encouraging owners to check their blood sugar and treat themselves.

They’ve also been used as service dogs for seizure patients, with the ability to detect subtle behavioral changes and special odors that emitted before patients have a seizure.

Dogs have so many million more sensor cells than humans in their noses that send messages to their brain.  With regard to cancer, researchers have started looking at canine sniff tests for melanoma, as well as prostate, bladder, lung, breast, and ovarian cancer.

So the researchers decided to look at dogs’ detection power in colon and rectal cancer  as well. They took breath and stool samples from colorectal cancer patients at a hospital in Japan and compared them with those of healthy controls.

The Labrador retriever, trained in scent detection of cancer, smelled each sample group and sat down in front of the sample in which it detected the scent of cancer.

Bottom Line: Dogs keen sense of smell can be huge assistance in the future for diagnosing various disease states such as colon cancer.  This gives new meaning to the word “sit”

The Colon and the Prostate Just Got Closer-Treatment for Prostate Cancer Increases the Risk for Colon Cancer

November 13, 2010

There are hundreds of thousands of men with prostate cancer who are receiving therapy that decreases their testosterone levels either by taking injections (Eligard, Lupron, Zolodex, or Trelstar) that decrease the production of testosterone by the testicles or by having the testicles surgically removed.   These treatment options have several side effects including osteoporosis, diabetes, and heart problems.  Added to that list is the slightly increased risk of colon cancer.

A recent report from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported a small increase in colon cancer of 2.2% for men who have been treated with drugs to lower the testosterone level or who have had castration for the treatment of their prostate cancer compared to 1.8% of colon cancer in men who did not receive hormone deprivation treatment.

With this new revelation, men on hormone deprivation should obtain routine screening for colorectal cancer and adopting a healthy lifestyle, complete with plenty of exercise.

Bottom line: Men with prostate cancer receiving hormone deprivation need to be aware of the risks associated with this treatment which now includes a slight increase in colon cancer.