Prostate Health

How Men Can Improve their Prostate Health

As men get older they experience prostate problems and sometimes prostate cancer. Actually the statistics are shocking – 1 in 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. The good news is that men can lower their risk and improve their prostate health with sensible lifestyle decisions.

Things Men Can’t Control

Family history – if a man has a close male relative with a history of prostate cancer then he is at higher risk
Naturally high testosterone levels – also includes men on testosterone therapy – this is a higher risk factor
Ethnicity – African American men have a higher risk factor than other ethnicities

Things Men Can Control

  • Smoking – quit smoking; smoking will greatly increase your risk factor for prostate and other cancers
  • Alcohol – quit drinking or severely limit your alcohol intake
  • Coffee – limit your daily intake of coffee to one cup per day
  • Exercise – an exercise program will improve your overall health
  • Kegel exercises – these exercises consist of tightening the muscles around the man’s scrotum and anus for a few seconds and then relaxing; 10 repetitions 5 times per day is recommended
  • Weight – maintain a healthy weight throughout your life
  • Diet – consult your doctor and / or a nutritionist; include foods with lycopene such as red peppers and tomatoes; include soy and fish with high levels of omega-3 acids such as tuna and salmon.
  • Doctor Visits – visit your doctor regularly for checkups; it is far better to diagnose any cancer early rather than later

New Cancer Treatments

New Cancer Treatments

For the past several decades radiation and chemotherapy were the cancer treatments most often used by doctors. These treatment tools were often referred to as “shotgun” approaches because they would harm and kill healthy cells as well as cancer cells. But as we have seen throughout history, new technology will provide new tools – in this case, new cancer treatments. These new cancer treatments are “rifle” approaches in that they only target cancer cells and do very little or no harm to healthy cells. These new treatments will and are changing how doctors treat their cancer patients.

The United States accounts for more than 50% of the new cancer cases reported worldwide. In the next 15 years some experts are predicting that the number of people diagnosed with cancer worldwide will increase by almost a factor or ten. Obviously new treatment tools in the battle against cancer is important not only in the United States but for other around the globe.

The Most Promising new Cancer Treatments

  • Antibody-drug Conjugates
  • Immunotherapy
  • Signaling Pathways

Antibody-drug Conjugates (ADCs) are also referred to as “smart bombs” or “cancer smart bombs.” ADCs are antibodies that have been modified by scientists and they are designed to identify and kill cancer cells with a chemotoxin (the bomb). Other versions of ADCs use other strategies to assist in the killing of cancer cells. Some ADCs will 1) block the growth signals of the cancer cells, and 2) help identify the cancer cells for the patient’s immune system. Some ADCs under development possess a “triple threat” to cancer cells – chemotoxin, blocking cancer growth signals, and identification of cancer cells for the patient’s immune system

Immunotherapy is a strategy that helps a patient’s immune system recognize cancer cells and then kill them. One of the major problems in the battle against cancer is that the body’s immune system has trouble finding and identifying cancer cells among the healthy cells. Immunotherapy holds great promise because it is the body’s immune system killing the cancer cells, not a foreign toxin. Immunotherapy is currently delivered as a vaccine and is being tested in prostate, breast, lung, cervical, and head cancers.

Signaling Pathways are normal pathways that the body uses to regulate cell death, which is a normal function and leads to the generation of new cells. However, cancer can “hijack” these signaling pathways in their quest to reproduce and spread. New Signaling Pathways treatments are designed to prevent cancer cells from “hijacking” this normal body function.

It will take time to develop these and other new cancer treatments. However, their potential to help cancer patients is exciting and huge.

Often cancer patients will experience chronic pain. Call us about your pain treatment options.

Nuevos Tratamientos del Cáncer

En los últimos decenios la radiación y la quimioterapia fueron los tratamientos contra el cáncer más frecuentemente utilizados por los médicos. Estas herramientas de tratamiento se refieren a menudo como enfoques “escopeta,” ya que dañarían y matar a las células sanas como a las células cancerosas. Pero como hemos visto a lo largo de la historia, la nueva tecnología proporcionará nuevas herramientas – en este caso , los nuevos tratamientos para el cáncer . Estos nuevos tratamientos contra el cáncer son “rifle” enfoques en cuanto a que sólo atacan a las células cancerosas y hacen muy poco o ningún daño a las células sanas . Estos nuevos tratamientos van y están cambiando cómo los médicos tratan a sus pacientes con cáncer.

Los Estados Unidos representa más del 50% de los nuevos casos de cáncer reportados en todo el mundo. En los próximos 15 años, algunos expertos predicen que el número de personas diagnosticadas con cáncer en el mundo se incrementará en casi un factor o diez. Obviamente las nuevas herramientas de tratamiento en la lucha contra el cáncer es importante, no sólo en los Estados Unidos, pero para otros en todo el mundo .

Los más prometedores nuevos Tratamientos del Cáncer

  • Antibody-drug Conjugates
  • Immunotherapy
  • Signaling Pathways

Antibody-drug Conjugates (ADCs) también se les conoce como “bombas inteligentes ” o “bombas inteligentes de cáncer . ” ADCs son anticuerpos que han sido modificados por los científicos y que están diseñados para identificar y eliminar las células cancerosas con una quimioquina ( la bomba ) . Otras versiones de ADC utilizan otras estrategias para ayudar en la destrucción de células cancerosas. Algunos ADCS 1 ) bloquear las señales de crecimiento de las células cancerosas , y 2 ) ayudar a identificar las células de cáncer para el sistema inmunológico del paciente . Algunos ADC en desarrollo poseen un ” triple amenaza ” a las células cancerosas – quimioquina , bloquea las señales de crecimiento del cáncer , y la identificación de las células cancerosas para el sistema inmunológico del paciente.

Immunotherapy es una estrategia que ayuda al sistema inmune del paciente reconozca las células cancerosas y luego matarlos. Uno de los principales problemas en la batalla contra el cáncer es que el sistema inmunológico del cuerpo tiene problemas para encontrar e identificar las células de cáncer entre las células sanas. La inmunoterapia es muy prometedor , ya que es el sistema inmunológico del cuerpo destruye las células cancerosas , y no una toxina externa. La inmunoterapia es actualmente suministrada como una vacuna y se está probando en la próstata, de mama, de pulmón, de cuello de útero, y cánceres de cabeza.

Signaling Pathways son las vías normales que el cuerpo utiliza para regular la muerte celular , que es una función normal y conduce a la generación de nuevas células . Sin embargo , el cáncer puede ” secuestrar ” estas vías de señalización en su búsqueda para reproducirse y extenderse. Tratamientos Nueva vías de señalización están diseñados para evitar que las células cancerosas de la función normal del cuerpo “secuestro.”

Hará falta tiempo para desarrollar estos y otros nuevos tratamientos contra el cáncer . Sin embargo, su potencial para ayudar a los pacientes con cáncer es emocionante y enorme.

Symptoms of Throat Cancer

The Symptoms of Throat Cancer

Throat cancer discussions tend to include cancers of nearby tissues and structures. Usually people include cancers of the larynx, pharynx, and the upper esophagus under the term “throat cancer.” And sometimes thyroid and oral cancers are also included. All of these structures are interconnected so a medical problem in one area could spread to a nearby area.

Throat Cancer is more common in men than women because men engage in lifestyles that raise the risk of this cancer. I am referring to lifestyles that include heavy drinking and tobacco use, including pipe smoke and chewing tobacco. The presence of the HPV (human papillomavirus) virus is also considered a risk factor. An additional risk factor is a diet with little or no fruits and vegetables. Men between the ages of 50 and 70 years are the largest category of throat cancer patients. The symptoms of throat cancer are the same in women as in men.

  • A lump in the throat
  • A cough
  • A cough with blood
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Discomfort in the throat
  • Ear or Neck pain
  • Weight Loss

The Good News

Most symptoms of throat cancer are usually noticed by the patient at an early stage of the cancer. Anytime doctors can diagnose a cancer in its early stages is a definite advantage in the treatment. Standard cancer treatments are available and include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. All of these cancer treatments are very refined such as minimally invasive transoral robotic surgery and radiation that delivers precise doses of radiation to tumors. It should also be noted that the prognosis and survival rates for most throat cancer patients is good.

Pancreatic Cancer

The Symptoms of the “Worst” Cancer – Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer is sometimes called the “silent” or the “worst” cancer because it is seldom detected in its early stages. When this cancer is detected in a patient it is usually in a latter or advanced stage and the chances of survival are low. So what is the pancreas and what are the symptoms of the “worst” cancer – pancreatic cancer?

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach that is tasked with some very important functions for the human body. First, it produces various enzymes that are necessary for the proper digestion of food. Second, it produces various hormones including insulin, which is critical for the proper use of sugars and starches in food. When the pancreas can not function properly (pancreatic cancer) the results are usually lethal.

Pancreatic cancer will grow and spread to other organs and other parts of the body if undetected and untreated. Generally the first symptoms are pain in the abdomen and/or back. The pain can vary and some patients have reported that the pain increases after eating or lying down. Other common symptoms are depression, jaundice (yellowish discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes), loss of appetite, vomiting and/or nausea, loss of weight, bowel complaints, light-colored stool, and general fatigue.

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of pancreatic cancer but they have identified risk factors. If one or more of these risk factors is present in an individual then he/she has a higher risk or probability of developing pancreatic cancer.

Primary Risk Factors for Pancreatic Cancer

  • Smoking (most important)
  • Diabetes
  • High Fat Diet
  • Age (over 45)
  • Cirrhosis of the Liver
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary Lifestyle

The best way to protect yourself from this very lethal cancer is to eliminate as many of the risk factors as possible. You can’t change your age but you can certainly change your diet and quit smoking. And don’t forget to exercise on a regular basis.

Heart Disease Facts

6 Things you Must Know about Heart Disease

When you take a close look at Heart Disease you realize there are many factors within your control.  Some items you can’t control such as your age, family history, or genetic predisposition. But none of those factors should prevent you from keeping your heart as healthy as it can be. Below are some of the most important facts about heart disease you should know.

1) Heart Disease is Treatable – Today’s tools for prevention, detection, and treatment are far better than just a decade ago. Visit your doctor regularly and be aware of your overall health and your heart’s health. If you are diagnosed with heart disease you have a variety of treatment plans available. Lifestyle changes are usually number one, two, and three on the list.  But we also have improved medications and surgical procedures available.

2) Lifestyle Changes – This should be no surprise – Most people with heart disease have poor diets, don’t exercise, and are overweight. And smoking is a huge factor in heart disease. Make positive changes in your lifestyle and your heart will be healthier.  Sure it takes effort but a healthy weight, nutritional diet, and regular exercise can add decades to your life.

3) Women suffer from Heart Disease Too – Unfortunately for women, often the first symptom of heart disease is death. Women can experience the classic symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain and nausea but they also experience less dramatic symptoms such as dizziness or fatigue. Women should be equally aware of their heart health as men.

4) Heart Disease is the leading Cause of Death in the USA – According to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention heart disease is the leading cause of death of both men and women. The good news is that prevention and treatment are far more advanced today.

5) You may be able to Exercise with Heart Disease – Talk to your doctor. Many patients with heart disease can begin a moderate exercise program which will strengthen their hearts.  It will also improve your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

6) Know your Numbers – Know your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol numbers and actively discuss them with your doctor. And that includes your weight too.

I have seen many people pass away in their 40s and 50s — 20 or 30 years too early. In almost all cases their poor lifestyle choices were behind their early departures.  Don’t be one of these people – start working with your doctor and living a healthier life.

No More Chemotherapy

Cancer is the enemy and chemotherapy had been one of the tools that doctors have used against it. Doctors have also used two other primary tools, surgery and radiation. However, all three treatment tools have drawbacks. Surgery is invasive and presents other risks. Radiation seeks to destroy abnormally dividing cells but can kill healthy cells also. Chemotherapy treatment is designed to destroy cancer from within but it can also destroy healthy cells.

There is no doubt that cancer treatments with these three tools have improved over the last few decades. However, we are now in a new era of cancer treatment known as “molecularly targeted therapy.” Molecularly Targeted Therapies are more precise strategies designed to attack the cancer and not affect healthy cells. This translates into more effective cancer treatments and fewer complications and side-effects.

Molecularly Targeted Therapies are specific drugs that can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. The basic strategy is to find a specific function that cancer and cancer tumors use to survive and thrive. For example, cancer cells need fuel and they need to reproduce. If researchers can find a specific method to interfere or prevent the cancer cell from obtaining what it needs, such as fuel, then the cancer cells will die.

One of the first drugs that was developed using this strategy is imatinib, also known as Gleevec. This drug, and other new ones, have accomplished success rates as high as 83%. And this is an area that is in its infancy. There is a good chance that these Molecularly Targeted Therapies will prove superior to the most advanced chemotherapy treatments currently used.

It should be mentioned that these new therapies are not perfect. Many cancer tumors have a variety of genetically different cells so often cancer tumors are a challenge that will require multiple drugs. In addition, many cancers can develop a resistance to a specific drug so it will be necessary for doctors to also combat these resistant cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is still a valuable tool for cancer doctors. New delivery methods such as encasing the toxic drug in nano-particles or fat-based bubbles are raising the effectiveness of chemotherapy while reducing the harm to healthy cells. But the future of cancer treatment seems to be Molecularly Targeted Therapy.

Colon Cancer

This is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

A new report by the American Cancer Society shows death rates for colon cancer are down more than 30%, but colorectal cancer remains America’s third most common cancer.

How can I avoid Colorectal Cancer?

Some studies have found that people who take multi-vitamins containing folic acid, vitamin D, or calcium may lower colorectal cancer risk. Taking aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, but these drugs can cause stomach ulcers and other side effects. This is why taking NSAIDs specifically for this purpose is not recommended for people at average colorectal cancer risk.

Colorectal Tests include

  • Colonoscopy, which checks the entire colon and rectum; every 10 years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, which checks rectum and lower colon; every 5 years
  • Fecal occult blood test, annually

How to avoid getting Colorectal Cancer

A diet high in fiber, fruit, vegetables, eating fresh fish and avoiding red meat may lower your odds of colorectal cancer by 12%, reports a recent review of more than 40 studies. Being overweight or obese raises the risk, especially in men.