Ovarian Cancer Risk Factors
· All women are at risk
· Symptoms exist – they can be vague, but usually get more intense over time
· Early detection increases survival rate
· A Pap test DOES NOT detect ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer risk factors include:
· Genetic predisposition
· Personal or family history of breast, ovarian, or colon cancer
· Increasing age
While the presence of one or more risk factors may increase a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer, it does not necessarily mean that she will get the disease. A woman with one or more risk factors should be extra vigilant in watching for early symptoms.
Current recommendations for management of women at high risk for ovarian cancer are summarized below:
· Women who appear to be at high risk for ovarian cancer should undergo genetic counseling and, if the risk appears to be substantial, may be offered genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2.
· Women who wish to preserve their reproductive capacity can undergo screening by transvaginal ultrasonography every six months, although the efficacy of this approach is not clearly established.
· Oral contraceptives should be recommended to young women before they embark on a planned family.
· Women who do not wish to maintain their fertility, or who have completed their family, may undergo prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The risk should be clearly documented, preferably established by BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing, before surgery. These women should be counseled that this operation does not offer absolute protection because peritoneal carcinomas occasionally can occur after bilateral oophorectomy.
· Since BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations also increase the risk of developing breast cancer, annual mammography screening is suggested, beginning at age 25.
· Women with a documented HNPCC Syndrome, also known as Lynch Syndrome, should undergo periodic screening mammography, colonoscopy, and endometrial biopsy.
Childhood Obesity Is a Major Public Health Problem
- Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal weight peers.
- Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
- Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.
Childhood Obesity Is Influenced by Many Factors
Many factors can have an impact on childhood obesity, including eating and physical activity behaviors, genetics, metabolism, family and home environment, and community and social factors. For some children and families, obesity may be influenced by the following:
- too much time spent being inactive
- lack of sleep
- lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
- easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
- lack of access to affordable, healthier foods
Addressing Obesity Can Start in the Home, but Also Requires the Support of Providers and Communities
We can all take part in the effort to encourage children to be more physically active and eat a healthy diet.
State and local health departments, businesses, and community groups can:
- Ensure that neighborhoods have low-cost physical activity opportunities such as parks, trails, and community centers.
- Offer easy access to safe, free drinking water and healthy, affordable food options.
Health Care Providers can:
- Measure children’s weight, height and body mass index routinely.
- Connect or refer families to breastfeeding support services, nutrition education, or childhood healthy weight programs as needed.
Early Care and Education centers and schools can:
- Adopt policies and practices that support healthy eating, regular physical activity, and limited screen time.
- Provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice these behaviors.
Working together, we all have a role in making healthier foods, beverages, and physical activity the easy choice for children and adolescents to help prevent childhood obesity.
Water and contact lenses don’t mix
Many people who wear contact lenses do not know that contact lenses and water are a bad combination—even when showering, swimming, or using a hot tub 1-4.
Water can introduce germs to the eyes through contact lenses
Water can cause soft contact lenses to change shape, swell, and stick to the eye. This is uncomfortable, and can scratch the cornea (the clear dome that covers the colored part of the eye), which makes it easier for germs to enter the eye and cause infection.
Most water is not germ-free. There are many different kinds of germs in water that can cause eye infections, but a particularly dangerous germ—an ameba called Acanthamoeba—is commonly found in tap water, lake water, well water, and other water sources 5. This germ can cause a very severe type of eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis, which is often very painful and difficult to treat—sometimes requiring a year or more of treatment 6-8. Although rare, this type of infection can result in the need for a corneal transplant, or blindness 9, 10.
Keep contact lenses away from all water
For contact lens wearers, it is best to remove lenses before showering, swimming, or using a hot tub—and contact lenses should never be rinsed or stored in water 1, 2, 11, 12. It is also important to wash and dry hands well before handling lenses 13-15, and to clean contact lens cases with solution rather than water to avoid contaminating the lenses with germs found in water.
For those who are actively involved in swimming or other water sports and concerned about being able to see well enough without wearing lenses, prescription goggles may be a good option—or possibly even a different form of vision correction, such as laser eye surgery.
Throw away or disinfect contact lenses that touch water
If water touches contact lenses for any reason, take them out as soon as possible. Throw them away, or clean and disinfect them overnight before wearing them again. This may help to reduce the risk of infection, but these recommendations are not based on scientific testing. The safest option is to keep contact lenses away from all water.
1. Hammersmith KM. Diagnosis and management of Acanthamoeba keratitisExternal. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2006;17(4):327-31.
2. Butcko V, McMahon TT, Joslin CE, Jones L. Microbial keratitis and the role of rub and rinsingExternal. Eye Contact Lens. 2007;33(6 Pt 2):421-3; discussion 424-5.
3. Beattie TK, Tomlinson A, McFadyen AK, Seal DV, Grimason AM. Enhanced attachment of Acanthamoeba to extended-wear silicone hydrogel contact lenses: a new risk factor for infection?External Ophthalmology. 2003;110(4):765-71.
4. Wu Y, Carnt N, Stapleton F. Contact lens user profile, attitudes and level of compliance to lens careExternal. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2010;33(4):183-8.
5. Visvesvara GS, Moura H, Schuster FL. Pathogenic and opportunistic free-living amoebae: Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri, and Sappinia diploideaExternal. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2007;50(1):1-26.
6. Guerriero S, La Tegola MG, Monno R, Apruzzese M, Cantatore A. A case of descemet’s membrane rupture in a patient affected by AcanthamoebakeratitisExternal. Eye Contact Lens. 2009;35(6):338-40.
7. Dart JK, Saw VP, Kilvington S. Acanthamoeba keratitis: diagnosis and treatment update 2009External. Am J Ophthalmol. 2009;148(4):487-499 e2.
8. Ross J, Roy SL, Mathers WD, Ritterband DC, Yoder JS, Ayers T, Shah RD, Samper ME, Shih CY, Schmitz A, Brown AC. Clinical characteristics of Acanthamoeba keratitis infections in 28 states, 2008 to 2011External. Cornea. 2014;33(2): 161-8.
9. Gagnon MR, Walter KA. A case of Acanthamoeba keratitis as a result of a cosmetic contact lensExternal. Eye Contact Lens. 2006;32(1):37-8.
10. Page MA, Mathers WD. Acanthamoeba keratitis: a 12-year experience covering a wide spectrum of presentations, diagnoses, and outcomesExternal. J Ophthalmol. 2013;2013:670242.
11. Joslin CE, Tu EY, Shoff ME, Booton GC, Fuerst PA, McMahon TT, Anderson RJ, Dworkin MS, Sugar J, Davis FG, Stayner LT. The association of contact lens solution use and Acanthamoeba keratitisExternal. Am J Ophthalmol. 2007;144(2):169-180.
12. Beattie TK, Tomlinson A, McFadyen AK. Attachment of Acanthamoeba to first- and second-generation silicone hydrogel contact lenses.ExternalOphthalmology. 2006;113(1): 117-25.
13. Radford CF, Minassian D, Dart JK, Stapleton F, Verma S. Risk factors for nonulcerative contact lens complications in an ophthalmic accident and emergency department: a case-control studyExternal. Ophthalmology. 2009;116(3):385-92.
14. Sokol JL, Mier MG, Bloom S, Asbell PA. A study of patient compliance in a contact lens-wearing populationExternal. CLAO J. 1990;16(3):209-13.
15. Collins MJ, Carney LG. Patient compliance and its influence on contact lens wearing problemsExternal. Am J Optom Physiol Opt. 1986;63(12):952-6.
You’re not a kid anymore, so you don’t have to worry about shots, right? Wrong. Find out how to stay on top of your vaccines.
What vaccines do adults need?
Vaccines for adults are recommended based on your age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation and travel destinations.
The schedule is updated every year, and changes range from the addition of a new vaccine to tweaks of current recommendations. To determine exactly which vaccines you need now and which vaccines are coming up, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
What factors might affect my vaccine recommendations?
Several factors can affect whether you need certain vaccines. Be sure to tell your doctor if you:
· Are planning to travel abroad
· Have had your spleen removed
· Work in certain occupations where exposures could occur
· Are or might be pregnant
· Are breast-feeding
· Are moderately or severely ill or have a chronic illness
· Have any severe allergies, including a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine
· Have had a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome
· Have a weakened immune system or are being treated with an immunosuppressant
· Have recently had another vaccine
· Have recently had a transfusion or received other blood products
· Have a personal or family history of seizures
Your doctor might also recommend certain vaccines based on your sexual activity. Vaccinations can protect you from hepatitis A and hepatitis B, serious liver infections that can spread through sexual contact. The HPV vaccine is recommended for men up to age 21 and women up to age 26.
Why are some vaccines particularly important for adults?
Adults of any age can benefit from vaccines. However, certain diseases, such as the flu, can be particularly serious for older adults or those living with certain chronic illnesses.
How can I keep track of my vaccines?
To gather information about your vaccination status, talk to your parents or other caregivers. Check with your doctor’s office, as well as any previous doctors’ offices, schools and employers. Some states also have registries that include adult immunizations. To check, contact your state health department.
If you can’t find your records, talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to do blood tests to see if you are immune to certain diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. You might need to get some vaccines again.
To stay on top of your vaccines, ask your doctor for an immunization record form. Bring the form with you to all of your doctor visits and ask your provider to sign and date the form for each vaccine you receive.
Thanks to vaccines, we can protect young infants against whooping cough by making sure everyone is up to date with their vaccines. Pregnant women can pass on protection to their newborns by getting vaccinated during their third trimester every pregnancy. Family members and caregivers can strengthen that protection by getting up-to-date on the whooping cough vaccine, which helps prevent the spread of this life-threatening disease to infants and their mothers.
Whooping cough is just one of several vaccine-preventable diseases that threaten Americans. Outbreaks continue to occur, and many vaccine-preventable diseases remain common. Consider pneumococcal disease, which affects nearly 4 million Americans each year and can cause pneumonia or infections of the ears, blood and brain. Or that 1 in 3 Americans each year will develop shingles, which can lead to debilitating pain that lasts for weeks, months and, in rare cases, years.
Vaccines are safe, effective and the best protection against these diseases—from infancy to early adulthood and into old age. By getting vaccinated, we not only protect ourselves, we help stop the spread of disease to our children, families and communities. But, for vaccines to be most effective, vaccination rates must remain high.
We must be persistent in raising awareness about immunizations and encouraging timely vaccination. Every August is dedicated to National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). NIAM is an annual observance designed to highlight the importance of immunizations. Each week of the month underscores the benefits of vaccination for people of all ages—including infants, children, teens, pregnant women and adults.
The five hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D and E – are distinct; they can have different modes of transmission, affect different populations, and result in different health outcomes.
- Hepatitis A is primarily spread when someone ingests the virus from contact with food, drinks, or objects contaminated by feces from an infected person or has close personal contact with someone who is infected. Hepatitis A does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause serious symptoms. Hepatitis A can be prevented through improved sanitation, food safety, and vaccination.
- Hepatitis B is often spread during birth from an infected mother to her baby. Infection can also occur through contact with blood and other body fluids through injection drug use, unsterile medical equipment, and sexual contact. Hepatitis B is most common in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, but is also high in the Amazon region of South America, the southern parts of eastern and central Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. The hepatitis B virus can cause both acute and chronic infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, chronic illness. If infected at birth or during early childhood, people are more likely to develop a chronic infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis B. WHO recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth, followed by 2-3 additional doses. In many parts of the world, widespread infant vaccination programs have led to dramatic declines of new hepatitis B cases.
- Hepatitis C is spread through contact with blood of an infected person. Infection can occur through injection drug use and unsafe medical injections and other medical procedures. Mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C is also possible. Hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic infections, but most people who get infected develop a chronic infection. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. With new treatments, over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured within 2-3 months, reducing the risk of death from liver cancer and cirrhosis. The first step for people living with hepatitis C to benefit from treatments is to get tested and linked to care. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C but research in this area is ongoing.
- Hepatitis D is passed through contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D only occurs in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. People who are not already infected with hepatitis B can prevent hepatitis D by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis E is spread mainly through contaminated drinking water. Hepatitis E usually clears in 4-6 weeks so there is no specific treatment. However, pregnant women infected with hepatitis E are at considerable risk of mortality from this infection. Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the number of infections is highest in East and South Asia. Improved sanitation and food safety can help prevent new cases of hepatitis E. A vaccine to prevent hepatitis E has been developed and is licensed in China, but is not yet available elsewhere.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and your family.
You can reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun. Your best bet to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you’re outside—even when you’re in the shade.
When possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.
If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Keep in mind that a typical T-shirt has an SPF rating lower than 15, so use other types of protection as well.
For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.
If you wear a baseball cap, you should also protect your ears and the back of your neck by wearing clothing that covers those areas, using a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15, or by staying in the shade.
Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
Put on broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you go outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.
How sunscreen works. Most sunscreen products work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering sunlight. They contain chemicals that interact with the skin to protect it from UV rays. All products do not have the same ingredients; if your skin reacts badly to one product, try another one or call a doctor.
SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) number that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.
Cosmetics. Some makeup and lip balms contain some of the same sun-protective ingredients used in sunscreens. If they do not have at least SPF 15, be sure to use other forms of protection as well, such as sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States, as well as wrinkles and blotchy skin. UW Dermatologist Dr. Andrea Kalus kindly provided these 9 tips for minimizing sun damage:
- Sunscreen should be the last defense. The first defenses are covering up with clothing or a hat, seeking shade when possible, and avoiding peak hours of sun exposure.
- Brand does not matter when purchasing sunscreen. Brand name and generic or store brands all use the same ingredients in sunscreen.
- Purchase a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. SPF ratings protect against UVB range UV rays and sunscreens with the added label of “broad spectrum” have protection against UVA also. Protecting yourself against both is important in preventing sunburns and skin cancer as well as wrinkles. SPF 15 blocks 94% of UVB rays (the cancer causing rays), SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 45 blocks 98%. After SPF 45, the increases in blockage percentage are minimal.
- Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours for the sunscreen to remain effective.
- No sunscreen is actually waterproof. Sunscreens labeled “sweat-proof” or “water-resistant” only last 40-80 minutes. If you are swimming or sweating, sunscreen should be reapplied more often.
- Sunscreen expires. Sunscreen is just expensive lotion if you are using it beyond its 3 year expiration date.
- 40% of UV rays break through the clouds, so sunscreen should really be worn daily.
- Pay special attention to the little ones. Sunscreens contain chemicals that may be absorbed through the skin and in babies under 6 months, regular use of sunscreen may not be great. However, a baby getting a sunburned is probably worse than applying sunscreen when really needed. It is best to protect babies with clothing, accessories, and shade as often as possible.
- Don’t forget the sneaky spots! The top 5 places people forget to apply sunscreen are behind the knees, on their feet, on top of their hands, behind and on their ears, and on the scalp.
Take it Easy – Your Body will Thank You
Whether it happens at work or on the golf course, overexertion continues to be a leading cause of injury over all age groups. It was the second leading reason that adults age 25-64 ended up in emergency departments in 2013, and the third leading cause for kids ages 10 and older, often from too-heavy , computers and gaming, and poor posture.
Overexertion causes 35% of all work-related injuries and is, by far, the largest contributor to workers’ compensation costs – more than $15 billion, or 25% of the total cost in 2012, according to Injury Facts 2016®. It also is the #1 reason for lost work days. More than 322,00 people missed work that year due to overexertion. Here are some injury statistics by industry for 2014:
· Construction – 19,070
· Manufacturing – 46,040
· Wholesale trade – 21,100
· Retail trade – 42,720
· Transportation and warehousing – 38,960
· Professional and business services – 23,410
· Education and health services – 68,720
· Government – 72,050
Over all age groups, whether work-related or off-the-job, hospitals treated 3,132,271 overexertion-related injuries in 2014, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going downward. What gives?
It’s Really About Ergonomics
Ergonomic injuries are disorders of the soft tissue, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs caused by:
· Repetitive motion
· Working in awkward positions
· Sitting or standing for prolonged period of time
· Using excessive force
· Vibration, resting on sharp corners or edges
· Temperature extremes
Whether you become injured on an assembly line or typing on a computer, playing video games or helping someone move, it’s important to know the signs. Ergonomic injury is cumulative. Symptoms can include everything from posture problems and intermittent discomfort, to tendonitis, chronic pain and disability.
Overexertion can be Prevented
Regular exercise, stretching and strength training to maintain a strong core all are beneficial in preventing injury. Following are some additional tips for work and home:
· Limit the amount of time you spend doing the same motion over and over
· Take frequent breaks from any sustained position every 20-30 minutes
· Report pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, tenderness, clicking or loss of strength to your doctor before it becomes a full-blown injury
Each year, over 700,000 men are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 300,000 die from the disease. During the course of a lifetime half of all men will get cancer at least once, and 1 in 3 women will get the disease. can strike anyone, at any age, but the majority of cases happen to people 55 and over.
The saddest part about all of this is that most of these cancers and deaths are preventable. At least one-third of cancer deaths are caused by , and another one-third may be caused by poor and/or lack of . The 2 keys to beating cancer are early detection and reducing risk.
The following are common types of cancers found in men. Browse through each type to find out information such as symptoms, treatment options and prevention tips for each condition/disease.
is the leading cancer for men in the US. It is followed by lung cancer and then colorectal cancer. The fourth most common cancer is race-dependent: bladder cancer for Caucasian men, cancer of the mouth and throat for African American men, kidney/renal cancer for American Indian/ Alaska Native males and Hispanic males and stomach cancer for Asian/Pacific Island men.
If any of the following are true, you are at risk of developing cancer. It is important that you start having conversations with your healthcare provider about your risk.
- You smoke (cigarettes, pipes, or cigars) or chew tobacco
- You drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day
- You have a family history of cancer
- You have had cancer in the past
- You are 55 or older
- You get little or no exercise
- You eat a high-fat, low-fiber diet
- You are African-American
You can’t detect cancers if you don’t know what to look for. Below are a number of symptoms that could be indicators. Many of them could be caused by other conditions, but you should notify your healthcare provider if you notice anything unusual or abnormal.
- Lumps that you can feel through the skin
- Sores that don’t heal
- Changes in the size, color, or texture of a wart or mole
- Blood in the urine, stool, or saliva
- A cough, sore throat, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing that won’t go away
- Persistent back ache
- Unexpected weight loss
- Unexplained pain
- Pressure or tenderness in the chest
- Unusual bleeding
- Chronic nausea or gas
- Fever that lasts more than a few days
Even with early detection and knowledge of the risk factors, there’s no way to guarantee that you’ll never get cancer. But there are a number of steps you can take that will go a long way toward minimizing your chances:
- . Smoking causes 90% of lung cancers and greatly increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, kidney, bladder, pancreas and esophagus.
- to two drinks a day maximum.
- . A little bit of exposure will stimulate your body to produce vitamin D, which researchers think may reduce the risk of a number of cancers. But too much can cause skin cancer. Between 10 am and 3 pm—the hottest part of the day—try to stay indoors as much as possible. When you do go out, always wear sunscreen with SPF (sunscreen protection factor) 25 or greater. If you don’t have sunscreen, wear a hat or stay in the shade as much as possible. Having fair skin or having had severe sunburn in childhood greatly increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
- with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. High-fat, low-fiber diets are at least partly responsible for most colorectal cancers. They also increase the risk of pancreatic and bladder cancers.
- (such as hot dogs and luncheon meats). These foods are associated with increased risk of stomach cancer.
- (poly vinyl chloride), tar and creosote (a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from wood smoke on chimney walls). These are linked with a number of cancers, including cancer of the liver and skin.
- . See your healthcare provider if you notice any significant changes.
- as . These tests are designed to detect certain types of cancer (such as colon, bladder, kidney, , ) in their earliest stages. Caught early, these cancers can be treated successfully.
- . Some recent research indicates that people who took aspirin 16+ times a month were 40% less likely to get cancer of the esophagus, stomach, rectum, or colon than those who didn’t take aspirin at all.
Sex is an important part of life. Cancer and its various treatments can have an impact on your sexual health, whether you are a man or a woman. These changes can affect people physically and , decreasing interest in sexual activity as well as self-confidence. Yet patients and healthcare providers often don’t talk about how cancer treatment will affect a person’s sex life and . Fears about erections can sometimes lead to problems. Instead of letting go and feeling excited, a man may be worried about how well he does and his fear of failure can make him fail. problems caused by and are more common in young healthy men.
Learn about the treatments you will be receiving and ask questions of your healthcare provider:
- When will it be OK to have sex?
- Are there any types of sex I should avoid?
- What safety measures do I need to take, and for how long?
- What birth control is best for me and how long should I use it?
- How might each treatment affect my sex life?
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to have sex. Sometimes couples feel cheated if both partners cannot reach orgasm through sex as they’ve always done. But during cancer treatment, there may be times when that kind of sex is not possible. Some couples believe that sex should happen on the spur of the moment, with no planning. But sometimes when you are dealing with a cancer-related symptom or treatment side effect, it is impossible for it to happen like it did in the past. It is important to have open and honest conversations with your partner throughout this time to make sure your feelings are expressed. If one person has a sex problem, it affects both of you, so making your partner part of finding the solution will bring you closer together.
. Certain operations can cause more sexual problems than others. An example is when a man has had pelvic organs removed (i.e. bladder, , rectum, etc) he may not regain full . Men who had successful erections prior to cancer surgery are far more likely to regain the success than men who previously had problems. Surgery may result in loss of arterial blood flow, potentially restricting blood flow to the penis or causing nerve damage.
. Radiation treatments that are directed to the lower abdomen cancers can cause erectile issues because of the damage to the vessels carrying blood to the penis. The potential of interior scar formation is likely as treated areas heal, and therefore blood vessel walls won’t be as elastic as before, preventing adequate blood rush creating a firm erection. Radiation may harm the nerves that control erection and some men may produce less post treatment. Testosterone levels may increase within 6 months after radiation, and we recommend speaking with your provider to see if further hormone therapy is beneficial. (Men with prostate cancer should not take testosterone, since it may make prostate cancer cells grow faster.)
. Many men undergoing chemotherapy treatment see no change in erectile function. However, erections and desire may temporarily drop immediately following chemo treatments. In some cases, treatment may be prescribed to regain desire and erections.
. In the case of metastasized prostate cancer, treatment may include balancing a man’s hormone levels. Hormone treatment or hormone therapy starves the cancer cells of and this helps slow the cancer’s growth. Blocking testosterone can be done by:
- Using drugs to keep the man from making testosterone
- Using drugs that block the body from using testosterone
- Removing a man’s testicles (called orchiectomy)
Decrease desire for sexual activity is a common problem man undergoing hormone treatment experience. Hormone treatment may also cause physical changes in appearance, such as losing muscle mass, weight gain, or increase in breast tissue. Discuss your concerns about side effects with your healthcare provider, because there may be ways to prevent or limit some of these effects.
Many problems men have after cancer treatment don’t typically last long, and as a man begins to feel more in control of his body, there will be an increase in self-confidence and sexual desire improves. In other cases, some cancer treatments may cause a life-long change, and it’s difficult to know what will happen. Keeping open communication with your healthcare providers will help to jointly find the cause of issues and seek treatment to fix them!