Breaking Health News

Minnesota has a few notable cancer health disparities according the Department of Health Disparities Task Force.

-American Indian men and African American American men have the highest incident of cancer of the lung and bronchus when compare to white males. (Their risk of dying from lung and bronchus cancers is nearly twice that of white males.)

-American Indian men in Minnesota have the highest rates of colon cancer, and it is more than 80% higher than the rates of white males.

-American Indian women have the highest rates of colon cancer in the state.

-African American menin Minnesota have the highest incience of prostate cancer, and at risk of dying from it. (2 1/2 times more than white men)

-The breast cancer mortality of Minnesota African American women is 30% higher than white women despite the fact that the incident rate is 25% lower.

-The risk of being diagnosed with cervical cancer is highest among Hispanic, African American and Asian Pacific Islander women in Minnesota. (These populations are twice as high as white women, and they are three times more likely to die of cervial cancer.)

-Minnesota has one of the largest populations of Sub-Saharan African refugees and immigrams and they have the highest rates of cervical cancer in the world.


{June 23, 2009}   Men Can Stay Healthy

According to The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality the most imporant things men can do to stay healthy are:

-Get recommended sceening tests.

-Be tobacco free.

-Be physically active.

-Eat a healthy diet.

-Stay at a healthy weight.

-Take preventive medicines when needed.

What are the screening tests:

-Your cholesterol should be checked.

-Tell your doctor, if  heart disease runs in your your family.

-Ditto, tell your doctor if diabetes runs in your family.

-Tell your doctor if colorectal cancer runs in your family.

-It’s really important to tell your doctor your family medical history, medical issues and diseases  of  your parents and grand parents.

-Let your doctor know if you are depressed.

-There are sexually transmitted diseases you  may need to be checked for, especially if you are a man and have had sex with another man, had unprotected sex with multiple partners, used injection drugs, have had sex with people who are HIV-infected, have been treated for sexually transmitted diseases, or had a blood transfusion between 1978-1985.

{June 23, 2009}   Colon Cancer is Preventable

colon cancerIf you are 50 or over you need to be screened for colon cancer. If you are younger than 50 and there is a family history of colon cancer, tell your doctor. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends three screenings for colon cancer. 

1.There is the colonoscopy every 10 years. You are sedated, as they explore your colon with a camera and tubing. I have never really remembered the procedure.  Once I remember the biopsies. I remember  the doctor saying, “I work where the sun doesn’t shine.” My husband who gets polphs can remember the procedures. Remember polphs can turn into cancer.

2.Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is a five year procedure that is cheaper but it only tests two feet of your colon. You are not sedated. What if they miss the polph?

3.The Fecal Blood test is turning in a stool sample to look for traces of blood.

They are recommending people over 75  do not have the colon test, and for sure after age 85.

If you don’t want to do these procedures, I read that the Mayo Clinic has a non-invasive procedure in clinical trials. It is called a CT colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy. It has gone through studies for more than 10 years at The Mayo Clinic. It takes images of your colon. You still have to drink the prep, unfortuanately. They also use a stool DNA test.

Colon cancer is preventable. People who are 50-70 years of age should be screened. I have met young people who have had colon cancer, and some people have died from it.

Prostate cancer is a common cancer in men. For years men have been hearing that they should have the test if they are 50 or older. Men have a 17% chance of getting prostate cancer and only a 3% chance of dying from it according to the American Family Physican. Many older men prostate cases are slow growing.

The blood test that men have is the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, and it is not that acurate. The U.S. Preventive Services is recommending that men 75 and older shouldn’t have the test.  We know that men have slow growing prostate cancer, as they age. Cancer does not develop, so often there will be no recommended treatments.

The PSA test could indicate inflammation, an enlargement or even an infection. There is evidence out there that men who have PSA’s of 4ng/mL do not have cancer.  Hopefully doctors are not recommending prostate surgery on this test alone.

Doctors use the old digital rectal exam (DRE)  to check the prostate. Some feel the blood test should not be done after this. Studies have show that 72%-82% of men who have had a biopsy because of an enlarged prostate did not have  cancer. That’s high numbers, isn’t it?

African Americans have a 60% higher change of having prostate cancer and the more aggressive form. The treatments could involve hormone therpay, cryotherapy (freezing), high-tech surgery, and radiation.

 There were 28,000 deaths from prostate cancer last year and 186,320 new cases.

To treat or not to treat is the question. I can remember a few years ago when I was in Atlanta and the man who invented the PSA test had an ad in the paper. It was to let the people know at the conference that the PSA test was not being used as  intended.

et cetera