Posts Tagged ‘skin cancer’

ED, Viagra and Melanoma-The Jury Is Still Out

June 27, 2015

Viagra remains one of the most popular drugs for treating erectile dysfunction or ED. The drug is quite safe and has been used by millions of men world wide. Recently there was a report of a relationship between Viagra and the potentially lethal skin condition, melanoma.

A potential link between erectile dysfunction drugs and melanoma may exist, but inconsistencies in the data make a cause-and-effect relationship questionable.
Men who had a history of using phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors (Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis) had a 20% greater risk of melanoma as compared with men who never used the drugs. However, the strongest association involved men who filled a single prescription for a PDE5 inhibitor. Total number of prescriptions filled did not significantly affect melanoma risk.
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Moreover, the PDE5 inhibitor-melanoma association pertained only to early-stage disease (stage 0-I), did not differ by type of PDE5 inhibitor, and was not limited to melanoma, as an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma was seen among users of PDE5 inhibitors. This was reported online in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The findings are consistent with those of a similar study reported a year ago. However, the previous study was based on data that showed only whether a man had ever used a PDE5 inhibitor. Extracted from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the data were limited to the original PDE5 inhibitor, sildenafil (Viagra), and lacked details about use of the drug, such as the number of prescriptions filled.

The study was not able to prove cause and effect relationship. A longer follow-up and more detailed assessment of the dose and frequency of Viagra use at multiple times in the would be necessary for future studies.

In theory, a causal association between PDE5 inhibitor use and melanoma has biologic plausibility. Several studies have provided evidence of interaction between PDE5 and melanoma.

A Swedish study of the 435 men who used PDE5 inhibitors and developed melanoma, 275 had filled one or more prescriptions for sildenafil and 224 had filled at least one prescription for Levitra or Cialis.

Overall, men who used PDE5 inhibitors had a slight increase for melanoma versus nonusers. The risk of melanoma did not differ significantly across the three types of ED drugs.

Bottom Line: What’s my advice. Whether you use Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis, or not, I suggest you make use of plenty of sun screen. Nothing less than a SPF of 35. Also, if you are at risk for melanoma, i.e., are light completed, have frequent exposure to sun, then see a dermatologist at least once a year for a total body examination.

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.

Can Treatment For ED Cause Skin Cancer

June 21, 2014

A recent study has implicated Viagra as a cause of skin cancer. A study found that men who used the erection-enhancing drug sildenafil (Viagra) were 84% more likely to develop melanoma, a very significant skin cancer. That’s especially important for older men, who are at greater risk for developing melanoma and also at greater risk for dying from it. An estimated 76,000 Americans (more than half of them men) will be diagnosed with melanoma this year, and almost 10,000 will die from it.

Here are two truths about this work that you need to know. 1) This study does not show that Viagra causes skin cancer. Instead, it shows that in a large group of men, those who said they used Viagra ended up being diagnosed more often with melanoma than those who didn’t use this drug. The study shows a connection, but not a cause. 2). Even if Viagra does promote melanoma, the absolute increase is small.

The study grew out of laboratory research on how Viagra acts on cell-to-cell signaling pathways. This work demonstrated that the drug mimics key parts of a process that lets melanoma cells spread to other parts of the body. Skin cancer that spreads (metastasizes) is hard to control and can end in death.

Over the next decade, among the 29,929 men who said they had never used Viagra, 128 developed melanoma. Among the 1,618 Viagra users, 14 developed melanoma. In other words, 4.3 of every 1,000 who didn’t take Viagra developed melanoma compared to 8.6 of every 1,000 men who took Viagra.

After statistical adjustments, the increase from 4.3 to 8.6 is the 84% increase in risk that many news reports focused on. Researchers call that the relative risk (one group compared to another). The absolute increase, 4.3 cases per 1,000 men, represents an increase of 0.43%.

Whether a similar connection might exist between other erectile dysfunction drugs and melanoma isn’t known.
The raw numbers suggest that the risk for melanoma associated with Viagra is small. It’s even smaller than what was reported in the study because not all of the 14 cancers in the Viagra group can be attributed to the drug. Many factors affect a man’s risk of melanoma—the most important of which are age and cumulative exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Should men who use Viagra worry about getting melanoma? Right now, no one can say. The relationship could be pure coincidence.
My advice to men: Protect your skin from too much sun and have routine skin checks to identify melanoma and other types of skin cancer early, while they are still treatable.

Bottom Line: In short, be afraid—but not of Viagra. Be concerned about getting too much sun and pay attention to weird-looking moles that could turn into metastatic cancer. Cover up when you go outside, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen liberally when you do go out into the sun to work and play.

3 Cups Of Coffee A Day May Keep The Skin Doctor Away

November 12, 2011

Just when you heard that coffee is bad for you, here’s some news to use that can counter the bad news. Brand-new research finds that people who drink coffee are at reduced risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. And the more they drink, the lower the risk.
The data came out of the Nurses’ Health Study at the Harvard School of Public Health that followed 113,000 subjects. They found 25,480 incidences of skin cancer, 22,786 of the basal cell carcinoma, 1,953 squamous cell carcinoma and 741 melanoma.
The data showed that women who consumed more than three cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 20 percent lower risk of basal cell carcinoma compared with those who drank less than a cup a month. For men, the reduced risk was more modest, just 9 percent. But those percentages add up, given that about 1 million new cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year, according to the press release announcing the unpublished research.
There was no association between coffee consumption and either squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma. And the researchers found no reduction in skin cancer risk among those who drank decaffeinated coffee.
Though easily treated through minor surgery and not typically deadly, basal cell carcinoma can, if left untreated, spread to other parts of the body. Those with a history of basal cell carcinoma are at increased risk of more dangerous squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Bottom Line: Coffee, like almost everything else in life, needs to be taken in moderation. It may just decrease your risk of skin cancer….but I still suggest using sun screen!
This blog was modified from an article in the Washington Post on 10-25-2011 Jennifer LaRue Huget