Tag Archives: prostate cancer

15 signs of cancer men shouldn’t ignore

One of the best ways to fight cancer is to catch it in the early stages, when it’s more treatable. The problem is that the warning signs for many kinds of cancer can seem pretty mild and so we ignore them.

Below are 15 signs and symptoms of cancer to which men especially should pay attention. Some are linked more strongly to cancer than others. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you should have a good talk with your doctor.

1. Problems When You Pee

Many men have some problems with urinating as they get older, e.g.:

  • A need to pee more often, especially at night
  • Dribbling, leaking, or an urgent need to go
  • Trouble starting to pee, or a weak stream

prostate cancer

An enlarged prostate gland usually causes these symptoms, but so can prostate cancer. See your doctor for an exam to look for an enlarged prostate and/or a PSA blood test.

2. Changes in Your Testicles

“If you notice a lump, heaviness, or any other change in your testicle, never delay having it looked at,” says Herbert Lepor, MD, urology chairman at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Unlike prostate cancer, which grows slowly, testicular cancer can take off overnight.” Your doctor will look for any problems with a physical exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound of your scrotum.

3. Blood in Your Pee or Stool

These can be among the first signs of cancer of the bladder, kidneys, or colon. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in America. Although you’re more likely to have a problem that’s not cancer, like hemorrhoids or a urinary infection, it’s a good idea to see your doctor for any bleeding that’s not normal, even if you don’t have other symptoms.

colon cancer

4. Skin Changes

When you notice a change in the size, shape, or color of a mole or other spot on your skin, see your doctor as soon as you can. Spots that are new or look different are top signs of skin cancer. You’ll need an exam and perhaps a biopsy, which means doctors remove a small piece of tissue for testing. With skin cancer, you don’t want to wait, says Marleen Meyers, MD, an oncologist at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center.

5. Changes in Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped glands found in your neck, armpits, and other places. When swollen, that’s often a signal that something’s going on in your body. Usually, they mean your immune system is fighting a sore throat or cold, but certain cancers also can make them change. Have your doctor check any swelling that doesn’t get better in 2 to 4 weeks.

6. Trouble Swallowing

Some people have trouble swallowing from time to time. But if your problems don’t go away and you’re also losing weight or vomiting, see your doctor to get checked for throat or stomach cancer, beginning with a throat exam and barium X-ray. During a barium test, you drink a special liquid that makes your throat stand out on the X-ray.

7. Heartburn

Most cases of heartburn can be ameliorated with changes to your diet, drinking habits, and stress levels. But if heartburn doesn’t go away or gets worse, it can signify stomach or throat cancer.

8. Mouth Changes

If you smoke or chew tobacco, you have a higher risk of mouth or oral cancer. Keep an eye out for white or red patches inside your mouth or on your lips. That’s another reason to have regular dental visits because the first sign of many diseases appears in your mouth.

mouth cancer

9. Weight Loss Without Trying

Pants fitting a little looser? If you haven’t changed your diet or exercise habits, it could mean that stress or a thyroid problem is taking a toll. But losing 10 pounds or more without trying isn’t normal. Although most unintended weight loss is not cancer, it’s one of the signs of cancer of the pancreas, stomach, or lungs. Your doctor can find out more with blood tests and tools that make detailed pictures of the inside of your body, like a CT or PET scan.

10. Fever

A fever is usually not a bad thing — it means your body is fighting an infection. But one that won’t go away and doesn’t have an explanation could signal leukemia or another blood cancer. Your doctor should take your medical history and give you a physical exam to check on the cause.

11. Breast Changes

Since breast cancer is uncommon in men, accounting only for 1% of all  breast cancers, men tend to ignore breast lumps. If you find a lump, don’t take any chances. Tell your doctor and have it checked.

12. Fatigue

Many types of cancer cause a bone-deep tiredness that never gets better, no matter how much rest you get. It’s different from the exhaustion you feel after a hectic week or a lot of activity. If fatigue is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. She can help you find the cause and let you know if there are ways to treat it.

13. Cough

In nonsmokers, a nagging cough is almost never cancer. Most go away after 3 to 4 weeks. If yours doesn’t, and you’re short of breath or cough up blood, don’t delay a visit to your doctor, especially if you smoke. A cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Your doctor can test mucus from your lungs to see if you have an infection, and give you a chest X-ray to check.

lungs

14. Pain

Cancer doesn’t cause most aches and pains, but if you’re hurting for more than a month, don’t just grin and bear it. Ongoing pain can be a signal of many types of cancer, especially those that have spread.

15. Belly Pain and Depression

It’s rare, but depression along with stomach pain can be a sign of cancer of the pancreas. Should you worry? Not unless this cancer runs in your family, then you need to see your doctor.

Source: WebMD

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~Éowyn

Omega-3 protects our brains from normal ageing and dementia

normal vs Alzehimer's brain

Shereen Jegtvig reports for Reuters, Jan. 22, 2014, that a new study suggests that omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain from the loss of volume that happens with normal aging and which is seen more severely in people with dementia.

A team of researchers led by Professor James Pottala found that older women with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had slightly less brain shrinkage than women with low fatty acid levels.

Pottala, an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine in Sioux Falls and chief statistician for the Health Diagnostic Laboratory in Richmond, Virginia, said, “The brain gets smaller during the normal aging process – about 0.5% per year after age 70, but dementia is associated with an accelerated and localized process of brain shrinkage.” 

He and his colleagues analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study to see whether omega-3s were associated with brain shrinkage in general, and in specific brain regions involved in memory and other cognitive processes.

The data covered 1,111 women who were, on average, 70 years old and had no signs of dementia at the beginning of the study. At that time, the amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in their red blood cells were measured.

DHA accounts for 30% to 40% of the fatty acids found in brain cell membranes, and it’s especially concentrated near the synapses where the cells communicate with one another, Pottala and his colleagues note in their report, published in the journal Neurology.

Eight years after the women’s blood was tested, they underwent MRIs to measure the volume of gray matter and white matter in their brains. The researchers found that women with the highest EPA and DHA blood levels at the study’s outset:

  • had brains that were about two cubic centimeters larger overall than women with the lowest levels. 
  • had larger hippocampus, a brain region critical to forming and storing memories — 2.7% larger in women who had fatty acid levels twice as high as the average. Of 13 specific brain regions the researchers looked at, the hippocampus was the only one where they saw a significant difference.

The analysis adjusted for other factors that could influence the women’s brain size, including education, age, other health conditions, smoking and exercise.

The researchers didn’t measure cognitive function, only brain volume, so they cannot say whether the size differences they saw had any link with differences in memory or dementia risk.

Pottala says higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids can be achieved by dietary changes, such as eating oily fish twice a week or taking fish oil supplements.

Since the study does not prove that blood levels of omega-3s are the cause of the brain-size differences observed, or that those differences have any effect on cognitive function, the researchers caution that more research is needed to know whether raising omega-3 levels would make any difference to brain health.

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Omega-3s are also good for heart health. The American Heart Association recommends that Americans eat two servings a week of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like sardine and wild salmon.

However, other research has raised questions about whether high levels of omega-3s may raise the risk of prostate cancer.

~Eowyn