Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Aware – Informed – Alive

By Maria Jauhar, M.D.

September’s observance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is aimed at addressing a terrible mismatch. On the one hand, prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among U.S. men. Yet the five-year survival rate from early diagnosis is almost 100%. After 10 years, 98% of men survive – if they were diagnosed early.

Clearly awareness is a lifesaver in prostate cancer. And awareness is what this month is all about.

Clearing Up Complexity

Terms like “near-100% survival” seem simple enough, yet controversy persists about whom to screen, how to screen, and when to screen for prostate cancer. Much of the controversy appears to stem from trying to foresee appropriate treatment, rather than focusing first on diagnosis.

It is true that there are many subtypes of prostate cancer. Some are aggressive and lethal. Others are slow-growing and pose little threat to a man’s lifespan, though this conclusion depends on a man’s age at diagnosis. Options range from intervention to active surveillance.

These assessments cannot be made however without discovering the disease, so debates about treatment methods and advisability seem best saved for after diagnosis.

Screening – When and How?

The subject starts to make a lot more sense in an established patient-doctor relationship. It is at the public health, statistical, broad population level that so much debate carries on about what age and what methods are correct for prostate cancer screening.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that there is no single answer, because one man in every seven gets prostate cancer. Multiply that by the subtypes of the disease, the age at diagnosis, and the other health characteristics of each patient, and it is no wonder that one-size-fits-all answers are suspect.

The best answer in each case comes from knowledge of the person as well as the disease. So screening and diagnosis might best begin in general practice, before the potential controversy of the specialists’ perspective.

Attention is Energy

With one man in seven getting prostate cancer, and nearly all surviving it if they catch it early, there are lots of prostate cancer “veterans” around. Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to get some dialog going with this huge resource of first-hand experience. If you haven’t discussed your prostate cancer risks with you physician now is a good time to do so. One-on-one, case-by-case is where the complexity and debate evaporate, and a clear path begins.

And if you don’t have a physician, we’re here to help. To schedule an appointment with us, call 912.897.6832 or use our online appointment request form.

8 Powerful Men’s Health Tips

By Maria Jauhar, M.D.

June is Men’s Health Month, which makes this the ideal time to offer up some great tips for improving and maintaining your health. Here are eight that will start you on the road to optimal health.

1. See Your Doctor

If you don’t have a doctor, get one. And if you have one, see him or her at least once a year to discuss all aspects of your health. And don’t assume that just because you are feeling well, that you are. There are many silent killers that go undetected before it’s too late. An annual checkup can make sure you steer clear of chronic conditions and catastrophic illnesses.

2. Eat Well

Eating well means that you get all the nutrition your body requires. Along with sleep, your dietary habits are crucial to overall well being. Stay away from counting calories and focus instead on nutrition and variety. Most important, don’t skip breakfast and include plenty of fiber in your morning meal. Fiber in the morning will reduce hunger cravings in the afternoon, which is when most people grab sugar-laden snacks to fend of fatigue. Try a morning bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and flaxseed oil, which will keep your metabolism cranking longer. For lunch and dinner, select foods with bright, rich colors, as these are packed with flavonoids and carotenoids, which powerful compounds that bind the damaging free radicals in your body and lower inflammation. Set a daily goal of eating nine fistfuls of colorful fruits and vegetables.

3. Speaking of Sleep…

Get at least seven hours of sleep a night, which will not only help you live longer, but also will lower your stress, sharpen your memory, and reduce food cravings. Strive to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning – including weekends.

4. Get Serious About Exercise

Studies have shown that if you sweat for at least one hour per week (from exercise, not from sitting on the beach under a hot sun), then you’ll enjoy numerous benefits, including a reduced risk of heart attack and lower blood pressure. Like your food and vegetables, variation is key. You need to vary your workouts to achieve maximum workout efficiency. Most important, be sure to include an age-appropriate mix of aerobics, muscle training, and stretching.

5. Get Rid of the Gut

To determine whether your beer belly is getting out of control, do this: Put a tape measure around your body at the level of your belly button. That number should be less than half your height. So, if you are 5-feet and 10-inches tall, you need to keep your waist at no more than 35 inches. Why? Because that beer belly is increases your likelihood of having a heart attack or developing diabetes.

6. Take Care of Your Prostate

As you get older, your prostate grows, which can lead to urinary problems and prostate cancer. If you are at least 50, have your prostate checked every four years. In addition, a really healthy, low-fat diet has been shown to reduce the likelihood of prostate growth and may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

7. Keep Track of Your Vitals

Your vital numbers include your blood pressure (which, ideally, should be below 115 over 75), LDL cholesterol (under 100), resting heart rate (under 70), and fasting blood sugar (under 100). If your numbers aren’t ideal, change your diet until they improve and see your doctor if you need help getting them under control.

8. Be Proactive About Your Health

If you haven’t had an annual physical in more than a year, then schedule an appointment with us by clicking this link. More than likely, your insurance plan fully covers the cost of your physical. Along with your physical exam, we can discuss other preventive medicine services with you, including healthy lifestyle management programs, medical weight loss programs, anti-aging programs, and more.

June is the Time for Men to Get Healthy

By Maria Jauhar, M.D.

June is Men’s Health Month, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994 to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Men’s Health Month is anchored by National Men’s Health Week (June 13–19), which includes “Wear BLUE Day” on Friday, June 17.

Wear BLUE Day is a time to show your friend, brother, dad, boyfriend, spouse, or boss, that you care about them and their health by wearing blue. Why is this important? Because men live sicker and die younger. It is for this reason that Wear BLUE was created by Men’s Health Network to raise awareness about the importance of male health and to encourage men to live longer and healthier lives.

Men’s health awareness can mean many different things. It means raising awareness of making healthy lifestyle choices, making regular annual visits to the doctor, getting educated on heart disease or diabetes, starting general health conversations with their male friends, and much more.

Men’s Health Facts and Statistics

Here are some unsettling facts about men’s health:

  • Men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death and are the victims of over 92% of workplace deaths. In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women.
  • Women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Depression in men is undiagnosed, contributing to the fact that men are 4 times as likely to commit suicide. Among 15- to 19-year-olds, boys are four times as likely as girls to commit suicide. Among 20- to 24-year-olds, males are six times as likely to commit suicide as females. Even worse, the suicide rate for men age 65 and above is six times greater than it is for women.
  • The chance of being a homicide victim places African-American men at unusually high risk, with the odds for black males being 1 in 30, for white males being 1 in 179, for black females being 1 in 132, and for white females being 1 in 495.
  • According to a New York Times article, 25% more newborn males die than females; 60% of SIDS victims are boys; men suffer hearing loss at two times the rate of women; testosterone is linked to elevations of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and declines in HDL, the good cholesterol; men have fewer infection-fighting T-cells and are thought to have weaker immune systems than women; and, by the age of 100, women outnumber men eight to one.
  • More than 30 million men suffer from prostate conditions that impact their quality of life. Each year, more than 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 30,000 will die from it.

How to be Proactive About Your Health

If you haven’t had an annual physical in more than a year, then schedule an appointment with us by clicking this link. More than likely, your insurance plan fully covers the cost of your physical. Along with your physical exam, we can discuss other preventive medicine services with you, including healthy lifestyle management programs, medical weight loss programs, anti-aging programs, and more.

 Resources

  • Men’s Health Network
  • Men’s Health Month
  • Wear BLUE
  • Men’s Health Fact Sheets