# Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canadian Men And Prostate Cancer

It is estimated that close to 21,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and over 4,000 men will die as a result of the disease. With early detection however, prostate cancer is treatable, and sometimes, even preventable. Prostate cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among Canadian men. With these new statistics coming out, it is vitally important that men become knowledgeable about prostate cancer and what resources are available to them.

While there is no evidence of one single cause of prostate cancer, there are certain factors that seem to increase the risk of developing this disease. These factors include:

Men 65 and over seem to be more at risk of developing this disease
Family history of prostate cancer:
If other men in your family have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you are at higher risk.
Men who consume a diet high in fat increase their risk level
Obesity and inactivity contribute to risk level of prostate cancer.
Ethnic Background:
Men of African ancestry tend to be more high risk of developing prostate cancer than those of Caucasian descent.

Men who fit one or more of these categories need to be aware that they are more likely than others to have or be at risk of having prostate cancer, and consult with their family physician about testing. It is generally recommended that men start getting tested at the age of 45.

If prostate cancer is detected early enough, there will be no symptoms. However, men suffering one or more of the following symptoms are strongly urged to talk to their family physician about testing:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at nighttime.
  • Difficulty starting to urinate.
  • Difficulty holding back urine.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Painful or burning sensations when urinating.
  • Difficulty in having an erection.
  • Experiencing pain when ejaculating.
  • Detecting the presence of blood in urine or semen.
  • Frequent pain and/or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs.

These symptoms can also be indicators of other health issues, so it is important to have a thorough work-up from your doctor to determine the origin of your symptoms.

For men who are unsure of what questions to ask their doctor, or how to interpret their test results, the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation offers this information. Some other websites offering valuable information on prostate cancer and testing are:

These websites offer information on testing procedures, prevention, alternative treatments and support groups for those who are currently battling this disease. Ask your physician as well for information and informational sources regarding your health.

posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006 6:04:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
# Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Flu Shots For Canadians

Once again, it is that time of year that Canadians are vulnerable to influenza. "Flu" season typically starts in November and ends in April. The flu is caused by the influenza virus, which causes a respiratory infection. Although the majority of Canadians recover from the flu, for some it can be potentially fatal. Pneumonia and other serious complications can set in, caused by influenza, causing serious medical problems.

Many Canadians are confused about what influenza actually is, and when they have it. Many times people misconstrue their symptoms of mild food poisoning as the stomach flu, which actually does not exist. The common cold can also be construed as the flu. Influenza typically has symptoms beginning with a headache, cough and chills, followed by a fever, runny nose and sneezing, and watery eyes. Loss of appetite is also common. Children may experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

There are certain populations that have been designated "high risk" and as such, are encouraged to receive yearly flu shots. This includes people who fall into one or  more of the following categories:

  • Infants 6-23 months.
  • Anyone with chronic heart and/or lung disease.
  • Anyone residing in nursing homes or chronic care facilities.
  • Anyone working in a health care related field with chronic exposure to the flu virus.
  • Anyone traveling to areas with a flu outbreak.
  • Anyone with diabetes, anemia, cancer, immune suppression, kidney disease or HIV
    Children on ASA therapy.

Those who should not get the flu shot:

  • Under 6 months of age.
  • Anyone who has a severe allergic reaction to eggs.
  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous flu shot.

The flu shot can have some minimal side effects, the most common being soreness at the injection site. Fever, fatigue, and muscle aches are also common. These side effects are temporary, usually only lasting 1-2 days.

Consult your family physician about whether the flu shot is an option for you. For those who do not have a family physician, and wish to receive the flu shot, consult http://www.gov.on.ca for resources in your area.

It is important to remember that those showing symptoms of the flu need to avoid infecting others, especially those who are very young or very old who may become seriously ill if infected. If you suspect that you may be becoming ill, avoid anyone who falls into the high risk category. During flu season wash your hands frequently as a means of reducing your chances of catching the virus.

posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 4:39:46 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #   
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