Chronic heavy drinking has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, pancreas and rectum. Consuming as little as three ounces of hard liquor every day for several years can cause damage.
Aspirin Linked to Reduced Lung Cancer Risk
Aspirin has already risen from the ranks of a mere pain reliever to become a highly valued heart attack and stroke prevention tool, and now researchers say preventing lung cancer may be added to its list of benefits.
Cancer and Nutrition
To prevent cancer, avoid dietary fats. Eat a diet rich in soy, fruits, vegetables and fiber.
Cancer Risk Factors
The following are various types of cancer and their risk factors:
* Breast- Family history of breast cancer, obesity, late childbearing and childlessness
* Bladder- Smoking (nearly half of cases), hair dye - bladder cancer is more common in men than women
* Cervical- First intercourse at an early age, multiple sexual partners, smoking, history of genital herpes
* Colorectal- Being over 50 with colon polyps or ulcerative colitis, family history of these disorders or colon cancer, high-fat, low-fiber diet
* Leukemia- Exposure to radiation, benzene and other chemicals
* Lung- Smoking (83 percent of cases), exposure to asbestos resulting in mesothelioma (you can learn more about asbestos exposure at www.baronandbudd.com), radiation and secondhand tobacco smoke
* Lymphoma- Being over 50, no other known risk factors
* Oral- Smoking, chewing tobacco and heavy alcohol use
* Pancreatic- Smoking, high-fat diet
* Prostate- Risk increases with age; more than 80 percent of cases occur after 65
* Skin- Fair skin, severe sunburn in childhood, frequent sun exposure, family history of skin cancer
* Uterine- Being post-menopausal with a history of infertility, ovulation failure or abnormal bleeding, also obesity, hypertension and diabetes
The earlier cancer is detected, the greater the chance it can be treated before it spreads to other areas of the body. That's why self-examinations (such as checks of the breasts, testicles and skin) are important to build into your routine. And it's why regular medical screenings (such as mammograms, fecal occult blood tests, Pap smears and prostate exams) are crucial even if you feel perfectly healthy.
More Precise Cancer Treatments
Once, a cancer was a cancer was a cancer. Now, scientists have succeeded in using DNA to determine whether a particular type of cancer will be resistant to certain therapies, paving the way to choosing more effective, tailor-made treatments for patients.
Nutrition and Cancer Patients
A great tasting, nutritious milkshake for cancer patients requiring extra calories in small amounts is made by adding 2 large scoops of ice cream and 1 package of vanilla-flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast to 8 ounces of milk and blending until smooth.
Orange Zest and Cancer
Don't toss away that orange peel -- it may help protect you against cancer. Grated citrus zest -- the outmost layer of the peel, not the white pith -- includes compounds may provide health benefits, such as inhibiting development of some cancers and lowering cholesterol. Scrub the rind with warm water and a drop of soap before starting to grate. Press a piece of wax paper onto the grater to make clean-up easier; the zest accumulates on the paper instead of getting stuck in the holes of the grater. Best of all, you can use the zest for a flavor boost in low-fat baked goods, pilafs, salad dressings, marinades and fruit salads.
Seven Cancer Warning Signs
1. A change in bowel or bladder habits
2. A sore that does not heal
3. Unusual bleeding or discharge
4. Thickening or a lump in the breast or other area
5. Chronic indigestion or swallowing problems
6. An obvious change in a wart or a mole
7. A nagging cough or hoarseness
Startling Facts About Smoking and Cancer
Eighteen little-known facts about smoking might motivate even a veteran smoker to give up the habit:
1. Cigarette smoke contains tar, made up of over 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known to cause cancer.
2. Chemicals in smoke include cyanide (a deadly poison), methanol (wood alcohol), formaldehyde (a preservative), acetylene (fuel used in torches) and ammonia (found in fingernail polish remover). It also contains nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, both poisonous gases.
3. Smokeless tobacco (snuff) exposes a person to at least 10 times more cancer-causing substances than smoking does.
4. Smoking filtered cigarettes lowers the risk of lung cancer by only about 20 percent.
5. Smokers are more likely to get pneumonia than are nonsmokers.
6. Smokers are more likely to have and die from stomach ulcers than are nonsmokers.
7. Smoking causes and worsens heart disease, emphysema, bronchitis, sinusitis, and cancers of the lung, mouth, larynx (voice box), and esophagus (swallowing tube), and increases the risk of bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach and cervical cancers.
8. Women smokers experience earlier menopause and have less dense bones, making them more susceptible to osteoporosis and hip fractures.
9. Children whose parents smoke are at a higher risk for pneumonia and bronchitis.
10. Diseases caused by cigarette smoking kill about one in four smokers.
11. By the time lung cancer is diagnosed, it has usually spread to other parts of the body. The survival rate is low: only 13 percent are still alive five years after diagnosis, fewer than 10 percent after 10 years.
12. Lung cancer now kills more women than any other type of cancer.
13. Smoking takes an average of seven years off a person’s life.
14. Smoking causes one out of every six deaths in the United States.
15. Nine out of ten smokers say they want to quit.
16. More men have quit smoking than women.
17. More than 43 million Americans have quit smoking, and–over the past decade–the percentage of smoking adult Texans has decreased from 31 to 22 percent.
18. Between 1964 and 1985, approximately 750,000 deaths were avoided or postponed as a result of decisions to quit smoking or not to start.
And That’s Not All! Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in America, but it could be prevented 80 to 90 percent of the time if only people would not smoke. That's why vaping is becoming the trend now. It is a very good alternative to smoking. Aside from the health benefits of using a vaporizer (See www.Davincivaporizer.com to learn vaping.), it dramatically decreases the risk of those cancer-causing elements you normally can get from smoking.
Tea for Tumors
Research shows one kind of tea can be up to 100 times more potent at blocking growth of cancer cells than another. While all tea (green, oolong or black) contains antioxidant compounds called catechins that protect against cancer (especially of the lung, breast, colon, stomach and skin) by neutralizing free radicals, green tea contains about 7 times more catechins than black tea. Green tea also has unique catechins that block an enzyme involved in breast, prostate and colon cancers. Green tea is 10 to 100 times stronger than black tea in blocking the growth of cancer cells. Catechins also prevent heart disease and stroke, primarily by defending against the harmful effects of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.
Understanding Blood Counts
Counting and examining blood cells are very important in the diagnosis of blood cell diseases.
Blood has several different types of cells in it:
* Red blood cells pick up oxygen as blood passes through the lungs and release it to the cells in the body.
* White blood cells help fight bacteria and viruses.
* Platelets are the cells that form a plug in response to a cut or wound. The platelets aggregate and plug up the site of bleeding.
Normal blood counts fall within the range that has been established by testing healthy men and women of all ages.
The approximate normal ranges of blood cell counts for healthy adults are as follows:
* Red blood cell (RBC) count: 4.5 to 6.0 million red cells per microliter of blood in men, 4.0 to 5.0 million red cells per microliter of blood in women
* White blood cell (WBC) count: 4.5 to 11 thousand white cells per microliter of blood
* Platelet count: 150 to 450 thousand platelets per microliter of blood
Hematocrit is the percent of the blood that is composed of red cells:
* 42% to 50% is normal in men
* 36% to 45% is normal in women
Hemoglobin is the compound in the red blood cell that carries oxygen.
* 14 to 17 grams per 100 milliliters of blood is normal for men
* 12 to 15 grams per 100 milliliters of blood is normal for women
White cell differential count, sometimes referred to as a "diff," measures the proportion of the total white cell count that is composed of one of the five principal white cell types. The observer can also tell if the white cells in the blood are normal in appearance.
The five types of normal white cells that are counted are neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Blood contains about 60% neutrophils, 30% lymphocytes, 5% monocytes, 4% eosinophils and 1% basophils.
Vitamin E and Cancer
Vitamin E has been found to reduce cancer risk when consumed at recommended levels.
Want to Quit Smoking?
Most people who quit smoking have tried before, so don’t give up! Try these tips:
* List the reasons you want to quit. Refer to the list every time you want to smoke.
* Typical triggers to smoking include working under pressure, feeling depressed, having a drink, drinking coffee, driving a car, finishing a meal and watching someone else light up a cigarette. Learn to look for these triggers and then avoid them, for example, by cutting down on alcohol and caffeine.
* Reward yourself for not smoking. Spend the money saved from not buying cigarettes on a treat for yourself.
* Keep lots of low calorie snacks handy, including sugarless gum.
* Try taking a few deep breaths when you start to feel stressed.
* Quit smoking with a friend, bet someone you will quit, or get involved with a group having the same goal of quitting.
* Take your mind off smoking by keeping your hands busy with handwork or hobbies.
Watermelon and Cancer Prevention
Juicy, red watermelon is not only delicious, it may help prevent cancer. As long as you spit out the seeds, watermelon is the biggest supplier among fresh fruits and vegetables in the antioxidant lycopene, which is believed to play a big role in the prevention of the killer disease. Antioxidants such as lycopene work in your body by disarming free oxygen radicals, which are thought to contribute to the development of many cancers. A 2-cup serving of watermelon contains 15 - 20 milligrams of this vital plant pigment. Other sources include tomatoes, red grapefruits and guavas.
Breast Cancer and The Pill
Although birth control pills have been only weakly linked to breast cancer in some studies, new research shows that the hormone-heavy pills used 25 years ago may have significantly increased breast cancer risk among women with a family history of the disease.
Breast Cancer Facts
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. One in nine women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. (Men may also develop breast cancer, but just one in every 100 cases of breast cancer is in a man). Over 180,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States and that number is increasing.
Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Increasing age: As women grow older, their risk increases. Breast cancer is rare before the age of 30 and is most common in women older than 65. In fact, the biggest known risk factor is age.
History of previous breast cancer: A woman with a history of cancer in one breast has a higher chance of developing cancer in the other breast.
Family history of breast cancer: Close female relatives—a mother or sister, for example, increase a person's risk. Still, only about five to 10 percent of women who get breast cancer have a family history of the disease.
Absence of pregnancy: Both pregnancy and breast-feeding are associated with lowered risk and the earlier the pregnancy, the lower one's risk. Women who have a full pregnancy before the age of 18 have just one-third the breast cancer risk of women who give birth after age 30 or who have never had a child.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Most people associate breast cancer with a lump, but the symptoms can include a thickening within the breast or the overlying skin, redness of the skin, a change in the shape of the breast, discharge from the nipple, or a change in the shape of the nipple or its retraction. (Eight out of 10 breast lumps are benign; that is, they are not cancerous).
Breast Self-Examination (BSE) Technique
Breast Self-Examination (BSE) should be done every month.
When to do BSE: * If you still menstruate (have your period) the best time is two or three days after your period ends. These are the days when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen.
* If you no longer menstruate, pick the same day of every month. It will be easy to remember.
* If you take hormones, check with your doctor about the best time for your BSE.
Facing a mirror Standing before a mirror to look for asymmetry in breast size, nipple inversion, bulging, or dimpling is the preferred method to maximize visualization. Note any skin or nipple changes, such as a hard knot or nipple discharge.
Inspect breasts in the following 4 steps:
* Arms at sides
* Arms overhead
* Hands on hips - Press firmly to flex chest muscles.
* Bending forward
Right breast * Place a pillow under your right shoulder.
* Put your right hand under your head.
* Check the entire breast area with the finger pads of your left hand.
* Use small circles and follow an up-and-down pattern.
* Use light, medium, and firm pressure over each area of the breast.
* Feel the breast with the surfaces of the second, third, and fourth fingers, moving systematically and using small, circular motions from the nipple to the outer margins.
* Gently squeeze the nipple for any discharge.
Left breast * Repeat these steps on your left breast using your right hand.
In the shower
Breast self-examination (BSE) can easily be performed during bathing or showering, because some women discover breast masses when their skin is moist.
* Raise your right arm.
* With soapy hands and fingers flat, check your right breast.
* Use the same small circles and up-and-down pattern described earlier.
* Repeat on the left breast.
A new, simpler technique for detecting abnormal breast cells before they develop into life-threatening breast cancer is in the pipeline. Called ductal lavage, the procedure involves a doctor inserting a catheter the width of two human hairs into the nipple and washing out enough cells from milk-producing ducts to screen for precancerous changes. Scientists have known for years that milk ducts are a great place to test for these scary cells. Unfortunately, insurers don't always pay for the test, which can cost from $350 to $700.
Gene Defects Linked to Breast Cancer
Gene defects that trigger an extremely rare and deadly childhood disease may also signal an increased risk of breast cancer. The discovery could help doctors screen women for cancer risks. The disease, Fanconi anemia, affects only about 500 families nationally, but the study found that six genes known to cause it are directly linked to one of the two genes responsible for the inherited risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
New Breast Cancer Drug Hot on Tamoxifen's Heels
A new breast cancer drug shows early signs of being better than the best currently available treatment at helping postmenopausal women with early-stage disease live longer after having surgery to remove their tumors. Women who have taken a newer type of drug called anastrozole, brand name Arimidex, were more likely to be alive and disease-free three years after surgery than women who took what is now considered the "gold standard" in breast cancer prevention, tamoxifen.
October Means Mammogram
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many hospitals and clinics offer free mammograms. Please have one today! It could save your life.
Preventing and Detecting Breast Cancer
Because 75 to 80 percent of women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors, early detection offers the best hope for surviving the disease. The first step is to understand your risk factors - age, family, and personal history of breast cancer. The next is to follow the early detection guidelines recommended by the American Cancer Society:
* Self-Examination - Women should examine their breasts monthly beginning by age 20. Over 90 percent of breast cancers are found by women themselves. But because fewer than one third of women perform regular breast self-examinations (BSEs), these cancers are often found when they are over an inch across. In general, the smaller the lump found, the better a woman’s chance of long-term survival.
* Physician Examination - An exam by a physician is recommended every three years until age 40, and then every year. This is an important part of an overall physical exam, but only a supplement to monthly breast self-examinations.
* Mammography - This examination is recommended once between the ages of 35 and 40 as a baseline (for comparison), and then once a year beginning at age 40. Studies show very high survival rates in women whose breast cancer was first detected by mammography. When a mammogram finds a small breast cancer, usually only the tumor is removed, not the whole breast.
Cervical Cancer Causes and Risks
The cause of cervical cancer is unknown, but a variety of interacting factors are probably at fault. These include early sexual activity, multiple sex partners, and sexually transmitted diseases. Viruses associated with sexually transmitted diseases are also thought to play an important role, as are hygiene and douching practices. Smoking and a lower socio-economic status may also be involved.
Cervical Cancer Facts
Cervical cancer is a slow-growing, highly predictable cancer of the cervix, where the narrow, outer end of the uterus opens into the vagina. Caught early, it is easily cured. Each year in the United States, approximately 12,800 women are diagnosed with the disease and 45,000 more with carcinoma in situ, an early-stage cervical cancer. Many thousands more are treated for a pre-cancerous condition known as dysplasia.
Cervical Cancer Prevention
The risk for cervical cancer can be lowered by limiting the number of sexual partners, using condoms, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, and getting regular Pap smears. Catching the disease early is simple and inexpensive, and in its early stages, cervical cancer can be completely cured. If you are at least 15 years old, if you are sexually active, and if you are not having Pap smears every year, do yourself this favor: make an appointment today for this important screening test.
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Symptoms of cervical cancer include painless vaginal bleeding, an unusual vaginal discharge, and painful intercourse. But often, the only way you will know is by having a Pap smear, a simple, accurate, inexpensive screening test used to identify the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix.
Colorectal Cancer Facts
Colorectal (colon and rectum) cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Most develop from polyps, growths that originate in the mucous lining of the colon or rectum. These grow slowly and can be detected by means of effective, easily performed tests, making colorectal cancer one of the most curable forms of cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of cancer of the colon and rectum isn't known, but it's believed that the disease is associated with a diet high in fat and low in fiber (roughage). Not surprisingly, colorectal cancer is more common in Western countries, where the diet tends to be highly refined, with less roughage. People over age 50 are more susceptible, and African-American men have a slightly higher risk. Anyone with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, polyps in the colon, or ulcerative colitis is at particularly high risk and exposure to asbestos has been identified as a risk factor.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
The most common symptom is bleeding with bowel movements. Other symptoms include pain during bowel movements, change in frequency of bowel habits, change in stools, abdominal pain or swelling, fatigue, anemia, and weight loss.
Early Detection and Prevention of Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is very curable when found early and there are several things you can do to lower your risks:
* Eat at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day.
* Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
* Have a digital rectal examination every year after age 40.
* Have a stool blood test every year after age 50.
* Have a flexible sigmoidoscopy at age 50, and then, after two normal examinations a year apart, every three to five years.
* If you are over 50 and notice blood in your stools, see your doctor immediately.
Endometrial Cancer Causes and Risks
The cause of endometrial cancer is unknown, but a significant factor seems to be prolonged exposure of the endometrium to the hormone estrogen. Menstruating women are exposed to estrogen every month. Thus, women who are at high risk for the disease are sometimes prescribed birth control pills to decrease their production of the hormone. In postmenopausal women, estrogen replacement, a common treatment, greatly increases the risk for endometrial cancer. But this risk can be reduced when progesterone, another hormone, is added to the estrogen. Women who are "on the pill" automatically decrease their risk of developing endometrial cancer, as do those who maintain their ideal body weight. Also at higher risk are menopausal women who have never been pregnant and those with a history of infertility, failed ovulations, irregular periods (menses), or irregular bleeding.
Endometrial Cancer Facts
Cancer of the endometrium (the membrane lining the uterus) is the most common of the female reproductive tract cancers, ahead of ovarian and cervical cancer. It occurs mainly in women older than 50 and affects about 35,000 American women each year.
Endometrial Cancer Prevention
Prevention of endometrial cancer involves maintaining ideal body weight, avoiding unnecessary estrogens and, if at high risk, being screened at menopause for early signs of endometrial changes that might lead to cancer.
Symptoms of Endometrial Cancer
The main symptom of endometrial cancer, abnormal bleeding, occurs early, a factor leading to early diagnosis. For this reason, the overall cure rate is high, 70 to 80 percent.
Liver Cancer Facts
There are two types of liver cancer: primary and secondary. Liver cancer is considered primary if the cancerous tumors develop in the liver. Primary liver cancer is rare, accounting for just one to two percent of malignant tumors in patients in North America. Secondary liver cancer, which is approximately 20 times more common, results when cancer cells from another part of the body (breast, lungs, etc.) spread or "metastasize" to the liver. A secondary liver tumor is often not found until it causes symptoms.
Liver Cancer Risk Factors
Liver cancer is more common among persons who consume large amounts of alcohol than among persons who do not drink. Liver cancer occurs more frequently in persons with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and other chronic liver ailments than in persons without those diseases. Between 50 percent and 70 percent of all liver cancer cases in the United States are associated with cirrhosis. Liver cancer is also more likely to strike men than women and persons of either sex over 40 years of age.
Liver Cancer Symptoms
The symptoms of liver cancer are similar to those of other liver diseases: pain, especially in the abdominal area; unexplained weight loss; loss of appetite; pain or swelling in the upper right abdomen; and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the whites of eyes).
Ovarian Cancer Causes and Risks
The cause of ovarian cancer is not known. Several risk factors are known, however. Family history plays a huge role. When two or more close relatives (mother, aunt, or sister) have had ovarian cancer, the risk can jump from 1 in 70 to as high as 1 in 2. This relationship is still being studied. Women who have never been pregnant are also at higher risk.
Ovarian Cancer Facts and Symptoms
Ovarian cancer, a tumor of the ovaries, is the second most common gynecologic cancer and it's the deadliest. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any cancer of the female reproductive system. And it is the fourth leading cause of death from cancer in women, behind breast, lung and colon cancers. The mortality rate is so high because ovarian cancer spreads quickly. And even when symptoms appear, they tend to be ignored because they are so vague, such as pressure, swelling, bloating, and discomfort in the lower abdomen. A tumor in the ovary can grow for some time before it causes any serious problems. In more than 75 percent of cases, the cancer has spread beyond the ovary before it is diagnosed.
Ovarian Cancer Prevention
How can you protect yourself from ovarian cancer? Birth control pills and pregnancy protect you to some degree. But the only sure way to prevent ovarian cancer is the removal of the ovaries. This type of surgery is recommended mainly for women who are approaching menopause or who are past it, when they are having some other type of gynecological surgery and for women having a family history of the disease, after their childbearing years.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the abnormal growth of benign (not cancerous) prostate cells. In BPH, the prostate grows larger and pushes against the urethra and bladder, blocking the normal flow of urine. BPH can sometimes lead to bothersome problems with urination, such as frequent daytime and nighttime urination, dribbling, and difficulty starting and stopping urine flow.
Early Detection of Prostate Cancer
Follow these early detection guidelines for the best results:
* Have a digital rectal examination every year after the age of 50. (If you are an African-American male or you have a family history of prostate cancer, have this examination every year after age 40.)
* Have a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
* Eat a low fat diet.
* See your doctor immediately if you notice any of the warning signs of prostate problems.
Prostate Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
Prostate cancer runs in families and is associated with a high fat diet. Prostate cancer is most common in Europe and in America, where African American men are at 30 percent higher risk. Increasing age is a factor, with men over 55 at greater risk. Other risk factors are multiple sex partners and venereal disease.
Prostate Cancer Facts
Cancer of the prostate gland is one of the most common cancers in men. It's estimated that one out of every 11 men will develop it. Fortunately, prostate cancer is usually a slow-growing type of cancer, and the highest risk is not until after age 55. Because of earlier detection and improvements in prostate cancer treatment, more than 90 percent of patients diagnosed early are alive five years after treatment.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
There are usually no symptoms in the earliest stages of prostate cancer. Some symptoms of the condition benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a harmless, but annoying enlargement of the prostate that frequently occurs in older men, may be mistaken for symptoms of prostate cancer.
You should see your doctor if you experience:
* Weak or interrupted flow of urine
* Inability to urinate or difficulty urinating
* Need to urinate frequently, especially at night
* Blood in the urine
* Painful or burning sensation when urinating
* Continuing pain in the lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs
PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
An elevated PSA blood test does not always mean cancer. A temporary PSA elevation is found in prostate infection, benign enlargement, prostate surgery and urinary retention.
Skin Cancer Facts
For all forms of skin cancer, years of exposure to strong sunlight seems to be the main cause. Other causes of skin cancer include repeated exposure to radiation or certain chemicals, such as coal tars and asphalt, scarring from disease or burns, and genetic and hormonal factors.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. There are two main types: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma begins in skin cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Two kinds of non-melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, originate in different types of cells in the epidermis, or outer skin layer. Melanoma is the "black mole" kind of skin cancer. It is less common and more dangerous because it tends to spread rapidly. Squamous cell carcinoma is less serious, but can also spread to other parts of the body. Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly, doesn’t spread quickly, and is usually not life threatening. Every year, about 32,000 new cases of melanoma and 700,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States. Skin cancer is the most easily detectable, curable and preventable cancer. The cure rate for non-melanoma skin cancers is about 95 percent when properly treated.
Skin Cancer Prevention
Skin cancer prevention tips:
* Avoid sun exposure and exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
* If you must be out in the sun, always use protection: wear a long-sleeved shirt or cover-up, a hat that shades your face and sunglasses.
* Always wear sunscreen (with a sun protection factor of at least 15) on exposed body parts, even during the winter, when sun reflected off the snow may be intense. Apply it 15 to 30 minutes (or more) before going out in the sun.
* Avoid sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM when the sun's rays are their most fierce.
* Check your skin monthly for unusual moles or changes in existing skin markings, using a full-length mirror and a hand mirror to see your back. See a dermatologist if you notice any changes and for regular skin checkups.
* Don’t use sunlamps or tanning centers.
The best way to detect skin cancer early is to perform monthly self-examinations. First, count and plot your moles so that you can note any changes. Then, each month examine each part of your body using a full-length mirror and a hand mirror. Be sure to check the front, back, sides, forearms, upper underarms and palms, backs of legs and feet, including spaces between toes, the back of the neck and scalp, under the hair and the back and buttocks.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
Fair-skinned Caucasians living in sunny places are at greatest risk for developing skin cancer. People who work outdoors, the elderly, anyone who has had a severe sunburn and people repeatedly exposed to radiation or hydrocarbons found in coal tars, pitch, and asphalt are also at risk. Other risk factors include having skin damage or defects, being an albino and having a family history of skin cancer or a condition called dysplastic nevi syndrome, characterized by larger-than-normal moles that begin growing later in life. People whose immune systems are weaker than normal (such as chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS) are also at greater risk.
Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Any unusual skin condition, like a change in a mole or other pigmented growth or spot, or a wound that doesn't heal should cause concern. Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, a growing bump, itchiness, pain and tenderness are all possible symptoms of skin cancer. Melanoma may begin in or near a mole or other dark spot on the skin. Warning signs in moles are asymmetry (when the shape of one half doesn’t match the other half); ragged, irregular, notched or blurred borders; different shades of color and growth; and size (larger than a pencil eraser).
Testicular Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
Testicular cancer runs in families. Young Caucasian men are at greatest risk for developing testicular cancer. Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans are at medium risk, and African-Americans are at very low risk. Having an undescended testicle is the major risk factor. About 50 percent of men with testicular cancer have experienced trauma to their testes; however, it is not known whether trauma plays a causal role or whether it only brings attention to a pre-existing condition. Other factors that are possibly involved include having had the mumps, which often affects the testicles, having been born to a mother who was given estrogen or had X-rays during pregnancy and delivery, and having certain rare conditions affecting the sexual organs.
Testicular Cancer Facts
Cancer of the testes, the male reproductive glands, is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15 and 35. There are different types of testicular cancer, most of which involve the sperm-producing cells. About 6,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, but with early detection and treatment, the cure rate for testicular cancer has increased greatly, to as high as 96 percent.
Testicular Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
Because of the increased risk from an undescended testicle, boys with this problem should have the condition surgically corrected before they reach the age of three. When corrected at a later age, the condition continues to pose higher risk.
Testicular cancer is very curable when found early. Your best protection is monthly self-examination, especially if you are in a high-risk group. Self-examination involves rolling each testicle gently between the thumb and fingers of both hands, and it is best done after a warm bath or shower. If you notice hard lumps or nodules, contact your doctor immediately.
Testicular Cancer Symptoms
There are usually no symptoms in the early stages of testicular cancer. A painless bump on the testicle or slight enlargement of a testicle and change in its consistency may be the first sign of a problem. Pain does not usually occur until a later stage of the disease, but a dull ache in the lower abdomen and groin, accompanied by a feeling of heaviness, may be an early warning sign.
DISCLAIMER: NurseTips is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or hands-on treatment. If you are concerned about your health or that of a child, please consult your family's health provider immediately and do not wait for a response from our professional. For the full Disclaimer, click here.