What makes someone want to read an article about health? Two of the most common reasons are to find out what we can do to improve our own health and to gain some understanding of what others with health issues are going through.
When actor Ben Stiller publicly discussed his diagnosis of prostate cancer at age 46, it made us stop and think that health problems can happen to anyone at any time. Wealth and fame will not protect us. Neither will avoidance and apathy.
Recently, urologists from the Western United States met at a meeting for the Western section of the American Urologic Association to review accepted urology practices as well as to pass on new and innovative ways to treat patients.
Education regarding intervention pertaining to medical issues remains a high priority for health care providers, but health care is changing. Patients often are forced to focus more on whether they have the right insurance plan rather than on whether or not they are living a day-to-day lifestyle that is the foundation of good health. And with our busy lifestyles, we may need more reminders to keep our health at the forefront.
With this in mind, November has been recognized as a month to raise awareness of men’s health issues — particularly prostate and testis cancer. “Movember” is a campaign with a mission to increase screening for these deadly diseases that are particular to men.
As an outward sign of participation and to encourage others to seek health care, men were encouraged to grow mustaches. The goal is to increase the number of men who will seek medical advice and care as well as to start conversations about men’s health and to fundamentally change the way men are treated and supported.
Screening for prostate cancer consists of a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal exam (DRE). Testis cancer screening consists primarily of self-examination of the scrotum. (Learn more at the Prostate Cancer Foundation at pcf.org and at the Testicular Cancer Society at testicularcancersociety.org.)
Prostate cancer has been much in the news in the last few years with some controversy regarding the PSA test and DRE. Concerns regarding screening for prostate cancer center around the possibility of over-diagnosing patients with low-grade disease who do not necessarily need treatment and under-diagnosing patients with an aggressive form of the disease who are at risk for pain and death from metastatic cancer.
The number of men presenting with advanced or metastatic prostate cancer has decreased since the onset of the use of PSA testing. When this test first became available, it was found to be a very helpful indicator of prostate cancer risk as well as recurrence post treatment.
With time and more accumulation of knowledge, we know now that PSA is still a good test but requires evaluation in combination with other patient factors, including personal medical health as well as family history. Further advances have led to significant changes in how physicians counsel patients regarding prostate cancer risk and possible therapies. The mainstays of therapy — surgery, radiation and hormone treatment — have been expanded to include earlier use of chemotherapy as well as targeted therapies based on the genetic makeup of a patient’s own tumor cells.
Both prostate cancer and testis cancer are treatable, but are more difficult to treat if not identified early in the course of the disease. Knowledge and awareness can decrease the mortality from undiagnosed illness, and early treatment can lead to long, productive lives. Asking the questions and starting the conversations about subjects that are personal and difficult can save lives.
Dr. Cynthia Fairfax is a board-certified urologist and a founding member of Idaho Urologic Institute. She is a graduate of Duke University and attended medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Urology and is a member of the Idaho Medical Association, the Ada County Medical Society, American Urological Association and the Society of Women in Urology. Learn more about the Idaho Urologic Institute at idurology.com.
Boise clinic focuses solely on men’s health
Want to find out more about men’s health?
The Idaho Urologic Institute’s Men’s Health of Idaho Clinic was created specifically for men and is considered the first of its kind in Idaho.
Sometimes men don’t engage in the health-care system until there’s an issue. That’s why the Men’s Health of Idaho program was developed. The clinic provides expedited referrals to other specialists and works in collaboration with primary-care providers.
Conditions treated at the Men’s Health of Idaho Clinic include: Low T (hormone issues), incontinence, sexual health, erectile dysfunction, prostate issues and many other men’s health concerns.
Here’s how it works
Initially, you will be seen by a board-certified urologist for any urology-related issue such as sexual health (erectile dysfunction), low-T (hormone issues), incontinence or prostate problems (benign prostatic hypertrophy). Following your visit with a urologist, you’ll immediately meet with another clinic professional to cover educational topics and for expedited referrals, if needed. If you are in need of a primary-care provider, the clinic works to find you one who can see you in a timely manner. The intent of the expedited referral is to get a patient scheduled and in for visits with any other specialists, usually within two weeks. The goal is to tackle issues with focused and structured service.
To learn more
Men (or their significant other) can make appointments. Only men are seen during the Men’s Health of Idaho clinic hours of operation. To schedule an appointment, call the Idaho Urologic Institute at 639-4899 and ask for a “Men’s Health of Idaho” appointment. The Men’s Health of Idaho clinic office is at 222 N. 2nd Street, Suite 115, in Boise. To learn more online, visit idurology.com/mens-health-of-idaho.