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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Movember #4: My Appointment

Sorry for the delay in writing this post.  I've had some trouble getting an appointment with my Family Doctor that fits in with my schedule.

The anticipation of what may be ahead of me wasn't the best.  I mean, who wants a prostate exam?  When I entered the room and explained the purpose of my visit, my Doctor asked if I had any symptoms.  Since I did not have symptoms, and I am only 29, she ordered a PSA but did not do a digital prostate exam.  She explained that unless one has symptoms, only those over 50 require regular prostate exams.  My initial thought was "But....I told everyone on my blog I would get one!".  But, after thinking about it, I decided it would be a bit awkward to insist on an exam against the advice of my Doctor. The good news is, my PSA levels are fine.

I hope you've found these blog posts helpful.  If you ever have any questions or concerns about your prostate, please consult your Medical Doctor.

Dr. Jeff Marshall, BScKin, DC
Back Home Chiropractic
Bidgood's Plaza
Goulds, NL

Monday, 12 November 2012

Movember #3

One of the most common questions I get regarding prostate cancer is who/when to get tested.  People who absolutely need to talk to their doctor are men who:

- Will soon be 50 years old
- Are over 50 years old and have not yet talked to their Doctor about prostate cancer
- May be at higher risk due to a family history of prostate cancer
- have symptoms of prostate cancer (See Movember #2)

The two main tests for prostate cancer are the PSA test, and a Digital Rectal Exam.

PSA Test

PSA, or Prostate Specific Antigen, is a marker in the blood that is tested to see if there is a problem with the prostate.  It is important to remember that PSA is not specific to prostate cancer, but indicates that there may be a problem that needs further investigation.  "Normal" PSA levels increase as we age.  If your PSA levels are above normal for your age, your Doctor may order additional testing. 
Like everything, there are pros and cons to PSA testing.  Here are some of them, but again, it is important to talk to your Doctor
Pro's of PSA:
- put your mind at ease
- tell you if you need further testing
- detect cancer early (before symptoms)
- detect before it speads, therefore when it is easier to treat

Con's of PSA:
- can not tell you how serious the cancer is.  More testing will be required
- not 100%.  It may give you a false negative or a false positive.  Your doctor will take the results in context of your personal situation to make the decision to test further or not.

Digital Rectal Exam

- Since your prostate pushes up against your rectum, your doctor can feel for it's shape, firmness, contour, etc.  This exam is very quick and not nearly as uncomfortable as you may think.

When used together, a PSA and DRE is the best way to detect problems early.  When detected early Prostate cancer is very treatable. 

Just to hammer home the importance of regular testing, lets take a look at the 5-year survival rates.  If detected early, and a point where there is no spead from the prostate the 5- year survival rate is nearly 100%.  If the cancer is regional, that is only in the area of the prostate, the 5-year survival rate is still nearly 100%.  If the cancer has spread to distant areas, the 5-year survival rate drops to 29%. 

I have my appointment booked with my Doctor tomorrow.  To be honest, i'm not looking forward to it.  But, early detection is everything and I'm sure it won't be the highlight of her day either!

Dr. Jeff Marshall, BScKin, DC
Back Home Chiropractic
Goulds, NL

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Movember 2: What is a Prostate and What Are Symptoms of Enlargement?

What Is the Purpose of the Prostate? thumbnail
Weighing about1 oz., the prostate is roughly the size of a large walnut. It is located just below the bladder and pushes up against the front of the rectum.
The prostate produces "seminal fluid" which protects and nourishes sperm as they travel to the Uterus.  This fluid, which makes up about 20-30% of ejaculate, is basic, which protects sperm from the acidic environment in a woman's vaginal area leading to the uterus.

The prostate is partially made up of muscle. So when it contracts as sperm is being released, it cuts off the urethra, preventing  sperm from coming in contact with urine.

It is very important to be aware of the symptoms of prostate enlargement.  However, keep in mind that most prostate enlargement is NOT cancer and is classified as BPH or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. That being said, always follow up with your Doctor if you notice any of these symptoms
- Frequent urination, especially at night
-  Intense need to urinate, or urgency
- Difficulty starting/stopping flow of urine
- Weak, decreased, or interrupted flow
- Burning, painful urination
- Blood in urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation

Now we know what a prostate is, what it does, and what symptoms to look for are.  Tomorrow I will post a short note about what the tests are, who should get them, and when.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask

Dr. Jeff Marshall, BScKin, DC
Back Home Chiropracic
Goulds, NL

Monday, 5 November 2012

Movember Series: Part 1

It's that time of year again.  November is upon us and Men around the world are growing mustaches to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer.  Since my mustache growing abilities are sub-par to say the least, I've decided to write a series of blog posts about Prostate Cancer culminating in a final post where I speak of my experience in getting a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam.

First of all, it's important to know the risk factors for Prostate Cancer.  There are modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.  Unfortunately, we can't choose our parents or age. 

As men get older, your chance of developing Prostate Cancer.  In fact, at age 50 years there is a 30% incidence or Prostate Cancer, 35% at 60 years, and 40% at 70 years.  So clearly, getting regularly tested gets more crucial as we age.  The Canadian Cancer Society recommends getting screened yearly after the age of 50.  But, knowing the incidence rate at age 50 stated above, it's important to be aware of symptoms to watch for before the age where regular testing should start (I will review these symptoms in tomorrow's blog).  Like many chronic diseases, heredity plays a factor.  If a family member has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, you are in a higher risk group.

Lucky for us, there are modifiable risk-factors as well.  In other words, there are things we can do to prevent Prostate Cancer (and other cancers as well).  Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables while staying active will reduce your risk for many problems, including Prostate Cancer.

Now that we've covered the risk factors, tomorrow I will write about things like: what is a Prostate?  What does it do?  What are the symptoms of Prostate Enlargement/Cancer?  I hope you find this series helpful, and if you have any further questions or concerns please contact me.

Dr. Jeff Marshall BScKin, DC
Back Home Chiropractic
Goulds, NL