The Medical Screenings All Men Need, and When

No matter how fast medicine moves us towards treatments, preventive medicine will always be the most effective and cheapest way to keep healthy. Yesterday, we went over the most common screenings for women. Today we’ll look at men’s health screenings, when you should get them, and what kind of experience you’re in for.

Source: The Medical Screenings All Men Need, and When

Curious to know about colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy preparation?

64oz to be drunk in 8oz servings every 15 mins – wasn’t awful tasting…similar to warm, flat, weak Gatorade.

As you’d expect, you’ll start with solid poop, then brown liquid to clear liquid.

What you don’t expect is the velocity which it shoots out of your butthole – near the end, I felt like I was jet propelled. It’s like your anus is blowing its nose FORCEFULLY.

I also didn’t expect how sore my butthole would feel afterwards. If you’ve had stomach flu where all you did was poop, you’ll have an idea how raw it felt.

It’s Official: Bacon, Hot Dogs, Other Processed Meat Cause Cancer

After years of research and hundreds of studies finding links between eating certain meats and cancers, health experts have finally broken out the branding irons.

Today, in a sizzling announcement, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) officially marked processed meat, such as bacon, hot dogs, and sausages, as “carcinogenic to humans,” a “group 1” designation. The agency, an arm of the World Health Organization, also classified red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” a “group 2A” grade.

Source: It’s official: Bacon, hot dogs, other processed meat cause cancer

This news is all over the place, but I was really surprised that there’s no actual scientific fact.  All I get is there was a meta-study that amounts to “there’s a correlation”.   It’s all speculative, nothing about how the meat is prepared or cooked.  It was almost a year ago that an actual link was found – in the neu5Gc content

Cancer Myths About Antioxidant Supplements Need to Die

The essence of a healthy diet is a bit of a mystery. Everyone knows that a diet full of plant foods—fruits, vegetables, and nuts—is good for you, as it can lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other ailments. But scientists, being scientists, want to know the exact reason, and they have long eyed antioxidants. These chemicals, found in high amounts in some plants, quench harmful molecules that can run amok in cells, fatally damaging DNA and the cellular machinery.

As the hypothesis that antioxidants offer health benefits took root in the minds of consumers, however, it shriveled in labs. Mounds of studies, conducted over decades, have found no conclusive link between antioxidants and lower disease risks. And, this month, two studies add to evidence that antioxidants may actually increase the spread and severity of some cancers.

Source: Cancer myths about antioxidant supplements need to die

What I’m missing in this story is whether free radicals can actually promote the growth of cancer cells as healthy cells are damaged. Yes, I get that the downside is that antioxidants can protect growing cancer cells, but what about before cancer cells develop? In other words, can the antioxidant protection against free radicals help prevent the formation of cancer cells in the first place? Or is there no link?

I’d like to point out another medical truism: if men were mice, we’d have cured cancer a long time ago.

Antioxidants May Lead to Cancer Spread, Study Says

Since the term “antioxidants” made the leap from the realm of biochemistry labs and into the public consciousness in the  1990s, Americans have come to believe that more is better when it comes to consuming the substance that comes in things like acai berries, green tea and leafy veggies.

A provocative new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature raises important questions about that assumption.

Source: The latest study about antioxidants is terrifying. Scientists think they may boost cancer cells to spread faster.

This article leaves off a couple of important points on the research

  1. Anti-oxidants increase the rate at which metastases form, and do not appreciably affect the growth of the primary tumor.
  2. The study focused on melanoma xenografts only, some of which are highly metastatic. This will probably apply to other kinds of cancer as well, but that needs to be more fully investigated.
  3. N-acetylcysteine isn’t just an antioxidant.

Here’s the journal article itself (behind a paywall).

Selenium, Vitamin E Supplements Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

When the SELECT trial started in 2001, there were high hopes it would prove that taking vitamin E or selenium could help prevent prostate cancer. The newest results from the trial show just the opposite—that taking selenium or vitamin E can actually increase the odds of developing prostate cancer.

Bottom line: men shouldn’t take selenium or vitamin E as a way to prevent prostate cancer, or anything else for that matter.

Although SELECT was supposed to last until 2011, it was stopped three years early because neither vitamin E nor selenium were showing any benefit—and there were hazy warning signs they might be doing some harm.

Source: Selenium, vitamin E supplements increase prostate cancer risk

There’s no mention of the quality of the supplements – some are just asparagus and lies, and/or could contain a ‘Amphetamine-like’ compound.  But the fact the study was stopped early is damning.

There’s nothing about if natural sources were better.

Fit Middle-Aged Men: Lower Risk for Some Cancers

Very fit men in their late 40s are less likely to get lung cancer and colorectal cancer than unfit men, a study in JAMA Oncology suggests.

Their high fitness levels also appear to increase their chances of surviving cancer if they are diagnosed later on.

University of Vermont researchers said even small improvements in fitness could help to reduce cancer risk.

Source: Fit middle-aged men ‘at lower risk for some cancers’

Prostate cancer gets a mention that fitness didn’t prevent so much, but in every case there’s a belief that fit men are more likely to be testing often if at all to catch things as early as possible.

It’s well known that people in better shape do better.  What’s “better”?  Low body fat, endurance, and a good diet are the best indicators of being “healthy”.  You can always get a work-up to determine blood pressure, cholesterol, and any vitamin deficiencies. It’s entirely possible to be in good shape physically, and yet be very unhealthy. People in better shape, with stronger immune systems, get higher doses of chemotherapy because they can tolerate the side effects better.  The higher the dose you can tolerate, the better the treatment outcome (generally) because you’re more likely to kill more cancer cells.

FYI: The recommendation for a hereditary history of colon cancer is generally to get a colonoscopy every 1-2 years, starting at 10 years before youngest case in the family.

Sushi Parasite Inspires Worm Test for Cancer

Dogs do it. Rats do it. Even some people seem to be able to sniff out cancer and other diseases. Now we can add the humble roundworm to the list of super-smellers.

Japanese researchers have discovered that Caenorhabditis elegans worms can detect cancer in people’s urine. They are working with technology companies Hitachi and Johnan to turn the finding into a diagnostic test that can be used to catch the disease in its early stages.

…The team are now investigating whether different cancer types release different odours, and whether this has an effect on the worms. They hope to have a commercial product ready by 2019. The idea would be that users send a urine sample to the company and get the results back the next day, says Hirotsu.

Source: Sushi parasite inspires worm test for cancer

It was only recently that dogs were trained to sniff out cancer, though dogs have been trained companions for detecting low blood sugar for diabetics in the past.  Much as I like dogs, the worms are a much better idea for a diagnostic test.  Being smaller means less space needed, and likely less resources to keep.  Don’t have to walk the worms 😉

Here’s to a cost-effective, non-invasive, diagnostic test that posted a 96% success rate.  No word about what stage the respective cancer was at, but the ability to test and test often is still pretty good.

I’m interested to see how the commercial aspect turns out for worms that have been used in research since 1963.  I shudder at the thought of repeating the breast cancer testing fiasco, and hope they see that the volume of commercialized test sales could offset upscale pricing.

Dogs Can Sniff Out Thyroid Cancer in Your Urine

Now we know why they smell our crotch!

Researchers from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) presented findings at the Endocrine Society’s ENDO 2015 conference March 6 in San Diego showing nearly 90 percent accuracy using scent-trained dogs to detect thyroid cancer.

“Detecting and diagnosing thyroid cancer can be difficult, because it’s often looking for a very small number of occurrences in a very large background of benign nodules. It is also difficult to say with certainty that a patient is cancer-free after surgery,” said Donald Bodenner, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of geriatrics at UAMS and director of the Thyroid Center and chief of endocrine oncology.

“Having a technique with which to do these things with a higher degree of certainty would be a tremendous advance in thyroid cancer,” he said.

the researchers believe the training could potentially be used in diagnosis of other cancers such as ovarian, breast, kidney, bladder and prostate.

Source: UAMS Researchers Use Scent-Trained Dogs to Detect Thyroid Cancer

Non-invasive, just shy of 90% accuracy… But I have to wonder about costs to train, house, and exercise the dogs for their life (10 years on average).  Still, it’d be one of the more fun lab jobs I can think of.

Study: BPS, BPA Alternative, Just as Bad

In a groundbreaking study, researchers have shown why a chemical once thought to be a safe alternative to bisphenol-A, which was abandoned by manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups after a public outcry, might itself be more harmful than BPA.

…BPA is an industrial chemical found in many polycarbonate plastics as well as epoxy resins, which are used to coat the inside of food cans. Over the past few years, dozens of studies have linked BPA, which mimics estrogen, with prostate cancer, infertility, asthma, heart disease and a number of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Source: BPA alternative disrupts normal brain-cell growth, is tied to hyperactivity, study says

Plastics are made from petroleum and a vast array of crazy modifying chemicals. We add chemicals to them to make them weatherproof, to color them, to prevent the color from bleeding, to prevent the plastic from hardening, to allow them to resist high temperature, to be soft, etc. Pretty much all of these chemicals are some form of noxious, often featuring a solvent, a chemical group that’s hardly ever friendly. The original petroleum product isn’t much better. At what point will we stop being surprised that petroleum products are unhealthy?

Look around your desk and ask which products will stop existing when we run out of oil. I’ll give you a hint, it’s anything with plastic in it.

New Test Works By Dripping Urine down a Tube

A team of chemists at Brigham Young University have developed a remarkably simple and cheap lab-on-a-chip test that can accurately detect markers of serious conditions like kidney disease or even prostate cancer using nothing but a drop of urine the and the perpetual pull of gravity.

Source: Scientists Can Detect Disease By Dripping Urine Down This Tiny Tube

A quick, cheap, non-invasive test?  Awesome.