Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer usually affects men from age 20 to 39. Testicular cancer is uncommon: about 8,250 cases were diagnosed in 2006, with about 370 deaths. This represents only 1 percent of all cancer diagnoses. However, testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 34.

Although common sense suggests routine testicular cancer self-exams should catch it earlier, this has not been definitively established. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force also does not recommend testicular cancer self-exams. At the same time, there is no reason that men should not do self-exams.

Testicular self-examination is when you (or someone else) check your testicles for any abnormalities. It is important to know what feels normal and to be able to notice any changes. Changes are not always cancer. If it is cancer and you catch it early, you have the best chance for a cure. The best time to check is after a bath or shower when the scrotum is relaxed.

Most testicular cancers are discovered by the men who have them. The most common symptom of testicular cancer is a painless mass (lump) in one testicle. Other symptoms to look for are testicular discomfort, pain or swelling, any change in size or the usual "feel" of the testicle, a sensation of heaviness in the scrotum and/or dull aching in the abdomen, back, or groin.

Many men delay seeking medical attention once they notice something. That’s a shame, since early diagnosis can lead to a better outcome. Everyone is busy – but anyone can spare a few minutes for medical care. And please don’t be embarrassed to death.

And there's an app for that!

Monday, February 1, 2016

F is for February

Now that February is here many of the New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory. Thanks to Elizabeth Pector, MD for a fresh take on the “F’s.”

Even if you stuck with your intention to lose weight for a couple of weeks, chances are you were feeling better. Life is better without chronic heartburn from poor food choices or eating late at night.

Fear is a powerful motivator. If a close friend is diagnosed with colon cancer a patient will be open to booking a screening colonoscopy or mammogram.

Finances are a strong incentive. Many employers will offer a discount on insurance premiums or lower co-pays if patients have well exams or adopt better behaviors. Check with human resources to see what is offered.

This is a good time to counter fallacies with facts. Give the ‘natural remedies’ a try but don’t be too proud to accept help from pharmaceuticals. It’s terrific to get blood pressure until control with diet and exercise but that will take a will. Use medication as needed and then wean off as you are successful in achieving your goals. And remember that you already chose your mother and father – genetic risks don’t go away.