Archive for ‘Prostate’

September 22, 2014

We Love… Prostate Cancer Networking Group!

PCNGWe love Prostate Cancer Networking Group… and we think you should like them too!

 

In Kansas City, this wonderful organization seeks to help:

 

Men who have, or have had, prostate cancer give valuable support to others through their involvement with the prostate cancer networking group.  Just as men have received support from this group, they can in turn offer other patients and their families patience, strength, and endurance through their experiences with diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

 

Isn’t that just what the doctor ordered? Cancer care reaches far beyond treatments and deeply into the lives of those affected by it.

 

Emotional support isn’t spoken of nearly often enough when it comes to the Big Battle – partly because patients are so focused on physical well-being that repercussions elsewhere in life fall second to simple survival. But to live the best possible life during and after cancer is our wish for all those who fight… and the Prostate Cancer Networking Group is here to fill that gap!

 

As doctors, our biggest hope is to see and end to cancer entirely.  Until then, we work as a team providing care and support needed. Everyone deserves a guide on the road to their best possible health and we appreciate Prostate Cancer Networking Group for filling that role for men with prostate cancer!

 

PCNG meets regularly:

We invite all prostate cancer survivors, their partners and those helping in the fight to join us.”

Meetings held 3rd Wednesday, monthly 6:30 – 7:30 PM

Gilda’s Club Kansas City 21 West 43rd KC, MO

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 19, 2014

Pattern Baldness: Prostate Indicator Light?

Larry David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)If the trashcan is tipped over AND you see the dog racing out of the kitchen, you may assume that one caused the other to happen. It’s a common way of looking at the world.

 

However, the dog may just be chasing a naughty four-year-old from the room… IF something happens about the same time as something else, did one cause the other?

 

In medicine, studies ask this question all the time.

 

A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests there’s a relationship between a specific type of baldness and aggressive prostate cancer. This study proves a relationship, but does not answer the question of cause.

 

As with too many cancers, we don’t know what causes prostate cancer, but we can identify risk factors (age and family history most importantly). This study newly identifies baldness as a risk factor for prostate cancer. With certain types of baldness, the risk of aggressive prostate cancer was increased by 39%. That’s a big increase!

 

What type of baldness was associated with this significant increase in cancer risk? So called male pattern baldness is the type associated with prostate cancer risk. This is the type of baldness you most often associate with older men – hair loss at the crown of the head in conjunction with a receding front hairline. So, should this type of hair loss send you running to the oncologist’s office? No. But knowing the risk of prostate cancer is increased should mean increased vigilance. Regular screening exams are important for those at high risk – and that’s the most important takeaway from this study.

 

No matter what, embrace the hair you have (or don’t) and take care of the rest of your body too. That’s how you stay on the road to your best possible health!

(Image Credit: Larry David at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0))

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

September 15, 2014

Prostate Health: 4 W’s + an H

Elderly_exerciseProstate health awareness is lagging in the national conversation and plaguing men in the United States. We’ve all heard the 1-in-8 statistic for women’s breast cancer… but do you know the number for men’s prostate cancer? Hold onto your hats: this is a 1-in-7 occurrence.

 

What do these numbers add up to? More than a quarter million men in the US will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 30,000 will die from it.

Why is prostate cancer so serious? Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (just behind skin cancer), and the second most common cancer-killer for men (just behind lung cancer). If signs and symptoms show up and are handled appropriately, a prostate cancer warrior can turn into a prostate cancer survivor – and join the 2.5 million healthy others in this country.

 

Who is at risk? The answer is every man. For better or worse, prostate cancer occurs mostly in men over the age of 65 (66 is the average age of detection) and is seldom seen in men under the age of 40. Though no one knows for certain what causes prostate cancer, there are certain risks to be aware of for prostate cancer:

 

Main risk factors for prostate cancer:

 

  • age over 60
  • African American men are more often affected and may have more serious (advanced stage) disease
  • genetics plays a role in prostate cancer in a small percentage of cases
  • family history, particularly if prostate cancer is present in a brother or father
  • family history when prostate cancer is seen in a brother or father before the age of 65 is even more important in risk
  • some studies have shown a link to higher consumption of red meat

 

Possible signs and symptoms:

 

  • Most men will be asymptomatic! Or..
  • Blood in urine.
  • Impotence.
  • Pain in bones of the back, chest and hips.
  • Trouble urinating.

Where do we go from here? Because early stages of prostate cancer are not associated with signs or symptoms, regular screenings are imperative. To understand your personal risk and to figure out what steps you should be taking, have a discussion with your doctor.

 

How do we look for prostate cancer? The screening tests include digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. These two steps are the cornerstone of screening asymptomatic men for the disease. These should begin around the age of 50 for average risk men, possibly earlier for those at higher risk due to family history or for African American men. If either of the screening tests is abnormal, further evaluation by a urologist will likely follow. Prostate ultrasound and biopsy may be the next step. Prostate MRI may be indicated in some men as well, particularly for problem-solving complex cases.

 

For more information, here’s a link to the American Cancer Society prostate health site. Special thanks to Kansas City Urology Care for sponsoring the Zero Prostate Cancer Run/Walk!

(Image attribution: “Elderly exercise” by National Institutes of Health. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health at www.mammographykc.com and general radiology at www.diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com. Visit our sites for more helpful information!

 

March 13, 2014

Self-Exams for Men (and Women)

Operation Truck Nuts - Successful by The359 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Cropped

Operation Truck Nuts – Successful by The359 via Flickr Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) Cropped

Okay, we’re slightly nerdy.

Aside from being fans of thought-gems on TED.com you may have noticed on our other blog, MammographyKC.com that we’re also fans of Lifehacker. We can’t help it – there are thought-gems there too. Recently, they did a report on Three Self Exams Everyone Should Perform. Because early detection saves lives, and we as radiologists have the capacity to assist in early detection, we are great fans of self-exams.

But there’s so much to learn!

Self-exams put the power in your hands. You are the first line of defense when it comes to taking care of yourself, from eating right to exercise to noticing unusual changes in your body. But you have to pay attention! This is why we loved the article so much – it encourages you to pay attention.

We’ve written about breast self-exams on our MammographyKC blog (here) so today we’d like to use the Lifehacker article as a jumping-off point to talk about men’s health and the scrotal self-exam.

Men’s health is something we care about too.

The Lifehacker article gives good tips on how a man can perform his own scrotal self-exam. Knowing how to do it and what to look for are step one!

Testicular cancer is a leading cancer type in young men – and if found early, most testicular cancers respond well to treatment. Scrotal self-exam after puberty is one of the ways of finding scrotal changes that may be a sign of this cancer. Testicular cancer will often present as a firm or hard persistent lump in the testes.

If you find a scrotal lump on self-exam, step one is to get in to see you doctor. He will perform a careful physical exam and may also evaluate blood work. Depending on the results of those tests, you may be referred to a radiologist for a scrotal ultrasound.

Earlier on this blog, Dr. Sid Crawley talked about scrotal ultrasound and what to expect. It’s a non-invasive and relatively quick procedure. Besides masses or lumps what other symptoms may prompt a request for a  scrotal ultrasound? Pain, feeling of heaviness/fullness, infertility and scrotal trauma are also reasons men may be referred for scrotal ultrasound. Remember any persistent scrotal changes should not be ignored!

What can we see on scrotal ultrasound?

Scrotal ultrasound examines the scrotum and contents including the two testicles, spermatic cords, and each epididymis. The exam evaluates for the presence or absence of masses within or outside the testes, infection, trauma, fluid accumulation (hydroceles) and testicular torsion (an abnormal twisting of the testes which causes blood circulation to be impeded and can lead to permanent damage or loss of the testes). The sonographic evaluation will help guide your clinician to the appropriate course of treatment.

Just as we talk about in the breast, all lumps are not cancers. Many benign cysts and other benign masses may feel like a lump or knot. The beauty of scrotal ultrasound is being able to examine right where you are having symptoms, and answering the question of what is this lump!

A quick word about scrotal trauma – many times, trauma to the scrotum prompts a first scrotal self-exam. If you feel a lump do not assume the lump must be from the trauma – one of the most common scenarios for finding testicular cancer is the patient who first feels a lump after an episode of trauma.

Take a breath.

Most often, the scrotal ultrasound will reveal benign, treatable conditions. A monthly scrotal self-exam is an excellent means of keeping aware of your body and finding changes early. So breathe easy and take care of yourself with a simple monthly self-exam.

November 21, 2013

Why would a doctor order a prostate MRI for a known cancer? with Dr. Scott Sher

November 19, 2013

Can a prostate MRI show information about cancer? with Dr. Scott Sher

November 14, 2013

Talk to me about prostate MRI… with Dr. Scott Sher