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Incontinence Support Blog

“Prostate- what omy”?

Posted by Mens Liberty

Jan 19, 2017 4:04:25 PM

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We thought we would introduce a new voice to the Men's Liberty blog.  Meet Men's Liberty's very own Nurse Nicole.  Some of you may have already spoken to her on the phone at our offices. On the "Nurse Hotline" as she calls it.  We think she's great!

We have asked her to break down some of the basic questions we get asked, as well as some of the more common medical issues that men face. We know she is the right person to give simple, clear explainations to some, often confusing, health subject matters. So, look for more blogs and some new videos from her too!

This week she'll cover “Prostate- what omy”? 

Everyone has different reasons for incontinence, and learning to cope with the changes our bodies go through isn’t an easy task. Educating yourself, being prepared, and having the ability to laugh at life situations can work wonders with coping. A large portion of patients who need to use urinary devices have had a prostatectomy. Even though some of you are a pro on the topic now, I am willing to bet there was at least ONE point in time when you were unsure on what the procedure was, what to expect, or maybe what the next steps would be.

For those who are just learning about the procedure and would like to learn more information- you’ve come to the right place! In this article we will be learning about a prostatectomy and what it means for you and your health.

Prostatectomy is the removal of the prostate, which is located below the bladder. Many times, this procedure is done to make sure cancer cells will not remain in the body. There are different ways to perform a prostatectomy, and most are robotically assisted due to our advanced technology. The different approaches include, but are not limited to:

  1. Suprapubic: an incision is made in the abdomen below the belly button to remove the prostate.
  2. Perineal: an incision is made in the perineum to remove the prostate.
  3. Laparoscopic (Robotically assisted) : a few small holes are made across the abdomen for the removal of the prostate.  

Your physician will choose which approach is best suited for you, your body, and your health. Make sure to ask as many questions as you need to be informed- I usually recommend making a list….and checkin’ it twice!  (Makes me think of Christmastime!)

Instructions after your procedure may vary depending on the type of procedure you had, your physician, and the facility’s protocols. The hospital will give you discharge instructions on how your activity must be limited. Usually they want you to take it easy for about 6 weeks- that means no whiskey or late night clubbing! You will be sent home with an internal catheter (Foley catheter). Do not pull on the catheter, as there is an inflated balloon inside.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the most irritating part of the entire process. The good news is- it is TEMPORARY (for 1 week). It may be a nuisance, but it is necessary for your healing and will be removed when you visit your urologist.  

If you have already had a prostatectomy, you’re probably now aware of the typical side effects of the procedure. For those who don’t know, the side effects of the procedure may include erectile dysfunction or incontinence.

The good news is Men’s Liberty is here to help you successfully address the incontinence. Combine that with additional medications, vacuums, or therapies and you’ll have conquered the procedure and be on the road to a healthier you!

                                                                                                                                                        ~Nurse Nicole


 

Topics: prostate cancer, Health Literacy

Taking Control

Posted by Caleb Bartlett

Dec 8, 2016 11:07:30 AM

As with any traumatic injury or debilitating illness it can feel like one has lost control of one’s life. A seemingly endless stream of doctors, therapists, aides, social workers, insurance workers, and more march through your life almost daily. It’s easy to feel vulnerable, at their mercy, and without options, especially if you have lost a job or given up a career.

 

Some of you reading this may have children and find yourself in a situation where you are limited in your ability to physically interact with them. Maybe you depend on government for Medicaid or other programs for assistance and the current uncertainties are causing fear and anxiety. These situations can wear heavy and often result in feelings of hopelessness and depression.

I have been in a wheelchair for 22 years. If you’re reading this and I just described your life, you’re not alone, I know exactly how you feel. I have lived it myself. However, I have also had the privilege of navigating my way through these intense changes and finding a balance in the chaos. You are not powerless. There are ways you can take charge of your life. This month I’ve made a list five things you can put into practice right away that can bring long-term stability.

  1. Take Property Inventory- Get out a piece of paper, use the computer, whatever works. Make a list of the things in your life mentally, emotionally, and physically that have been affected. Now study that list objectively. What can you change with little effort? What can you change, but will take hard work? Write both of those on a second list. Discard the first list. Now take the second list and ask yourself… What can I change by being positive? What can I talk to counselor about? How can I share this with my family or spouse? Work from the inside out. You don’t need a doctor or to go to a gym to work on the mind and heart. When you get to the physical stuff go to the second step.
  2. Explore the Alternatives- What physical issues can you become proactive about? What medications can be changed or substituted with vitamins and supplements. What does changes in your diet do? Fresh air? Activity and exercise? Even just getting out to the park, beach, or a movie can have a huge effect. In pain? Some doctors will prescribe medical massage. Consult a Homeopath or Naturopath. Research new technologies and trends. Even a better cushion or adjusting your chair can do huge things.
  3. Assess Your Skills- What can you do? Can you use a computer? Drive? What do you know? Who do you know? How can you harness these assets into income or starting a business? Consider going back to school or learning something you can do. Everyone can do something!
  4. Build A Network- We live in the information age. Get online, use the forums and discussion groups. Tell your story and get others support and input. Share ideas. Don’t be ashamed to ask for advice or help. Everybody had to start somewhere. Do unto others! If it’s in your power to call in a favor on behalf of someone else, do it. Start putting out a reputation as a helpful, generous person, and see what comes back your way.
  5. Quiet Your Mind- Take a few minutes every day and turn off the TV, the radio, the internet, and the phone. Sit quietly and just relax. Face your fears and dismiss them. The answers will come.

Life is a complex thing, and I sure don’t have all the answers. I do believe with determination, a little effort, and dedication we can turn these tragedies into good.

 

Thanks for reading.

Topics: Caregiving, prostate cancer, Health Literacy

Caregivers Guide – Helping Our Loved Ones with Cancer

Posted by Phoebe Ezell

Nov 18, 2016 12:09:00 PM

It’s no secret that many of our Men’s Liberty clients have suffered from cancer – typically prostate cancer.  And as a result of their treatment, they’ve encountered issues with incontinence.

As we speak with men every day about the solutions and the results that the Men’s Liberty device provides, it’s quite common that we hear the deep appreciation that these men have for their caregivers. 

In fact, probably the most common statement is “I believe it’s been harder on my wife and my family – my caregivers.”

Taking care of our beloved friends and family members can be challenging.  In the process, it will test our patience, our flexibility, our strength, and yes – even our loving heart.  Providing care can also be very rewarding and fulfilling.

We also receive calls from caregivers, and one call stands out in our memory.  She said that taking care of her husband reminded her of her 4-year-old dog.  It seems that for the first 2½ years of having their dog, he just couldn’t master potty training.

Every time she turned around, the puppy had piddled (or worse) on the floor.  But the love and the joy and the happiness that his little smiling face and wagging tail brought to the family overcame all the hundreds of times she considered taking him to the pet adoption center!

In other words, maintaining balance takes finesse.

The social psychologists have broken down the process of caregiving into the 3 stages of the cancer process.

Stage 1 – Diagnosis.

Many times caregivers notice that something is “different” even before their loved ones do.  Typically that begins with encouraging him to get it checked out.

Probably the most difficult day in the process is when the doctor says he has cancer.  That’s when most caregivers jump into action, providing support, asking questions and helping process the news.

And that’s the day that caregivers adjust their days and nights for the responsibilities that lie ahead.

Prepare to:

  • Be present – physically and emotionally
  • Allow him to talk and share that he’s afraid
  • Listen and acknowledge his fears
  • DO NOT say that “everything will be fine”
  • Let him know he is not alone
  • Take notes during medical appointments
  • Listen to the recommendations
  • Don’t hesitate to rely on social workers, spiritual advisors and other professionals

Other considerations:

  • Discuss how you’ll report the news to family, friends, and work
  • Ask family members to pitch in and help
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF TOO!! You’re not going to be much help if you wear yourself into a frazzle
  • Make it a point to ask yourself – who can YOU turn to when you feel overwhelmed or alone

Phase 2 – Treatment

  • Accompany him to chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments
  • Help him feel comfortable while receiving treatments
  • Bring something to keep yourself occupied – a book or your laptop
  • Continue to take notes of anything pertinent to the treatments
  • If you notice any changes in him, report them to your medical team
  • Don’t forget to seek help from friends and family when you need a break
  • Manage all paperwork for medical leave, insurance issues, finances, etc. (know there are community agencies to help – talk to a social worker)
  • Not easy to do, but begin to discuss advance care planning – Discuss his values, goals and wishes and talk through the options
  • Encourage to completion of an advance directive, which ensures that his wishes are clearly documented
  • Again – maintain balance for yourself!

Stage 3 – If Recurrence

If recurrence occurs, it’s normal for most men to feel anger, resentment, sadness and fear.  This is the time to provide as much emotional support as possible

  • Allow time to adjust back into the caregiving role
  • If requested, help him explore potential treatment options, including accompanying him on appointments

Caring for a loved one can really be emotionally and physically exhausting, but as we began this discussion – it can also be tremendously rewarding and fulfilling.  Many people find new meaning and purpose in their lives, as well as great renewal, reconnecting and deepening in their relationships.

You may be surprised to hear, but we actually have a lot of caregivers who call us looking for solutions!  Their hearts are broken seeing their loved ones wearing diapers and pads, getting skin rashes and lesions, and worse yet, wearing catheters, fighting urinary tract infections and hospital visits as a result of infections…

And worse yet, the effects of diapers and pads – men not leaving the home due to odors and leakage.  As a result of all the horrible side effects from other incontinence products, caregivers are searching for the best solutions and attempting to help their loved ones regain their freedom!

That’s exactly what Men’s Liberty does, and it’s easily the number 1 thing we hear from our dedicated and loyal fans – they’ve regained their independence and freedom and they’re back being active with friends and family, and enjoying life to the fullest!

Approaching caregiving with patience, humor, love and humility will most likely give you great pride and honor in the role you played.

We honor your commitment and acknowledge how both challenging and rewarding caregiving can truly be.  We are here for you and with you, and thank you for your tremendous love and commitments!

Topics: Caregiving, prostate cancer, Health Literacy

September – National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Posted by Phoebe Ezell

Sep 27, 2016 7:28:22 PM

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we aren’t shy about men’s health, and we openly discuss many aspects of it.  In fact, we’re so used to using words relating to men’s anatomy, that we don’t even think twice about it.  It’s only when we hire a “newbie” (new team member) that we suddenly realize that our vocabulary can be somewhat shocking.  Give them a week or two, and they’re right “in it” with us.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  For us, that means it’s all about BEING AWARE and BEING INFORMED.

Each year, more than 29,000 men will die of this disease.  Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of U.S. men.  These statistics really frustrate us here, and it’s because of one simple thing that we just don’t understand:

Why is it that so many men refuse to have their doctors give them a quick 15-second digital exam?!

You see – here’s the thing:  Diagnosed early enough, prostate cancer survival rates are super high!!  At 10-years post diagnosis, 98% of men diagnosed early remain alive!!  98%!!

What’s more, undergoing a 45-minute (relatively painless) colonoscopy procedure can very possibly PREVENT prostate and colon cancer!

There are some things that all of us can do to slow down or PREVENT prostate cancer.  Let’s go through a quick list of Prostate Cancer Prevention Tips, as follows:

7 Prostate Cancer Prevention Tips

  1. Maintaining a healthy diet. Healthy meaning meals high in fruits and vegetables, lien proteins (fish), whole grains (oatmeal, brown or wild rice, popcorn, wheat breads) unsaturated oils (olive or canola oil), and of course staying away from sugars and sodas.

2. Regular exercise – at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

3. Maintaining a healthy body weight – having a Body Mass Index (“BMI”) between 18.5 to 24.9. If you Google “BMI Calculator”, and type in your height and weight, the calculator will report your BMI. It’s that easy!

4. If you’re a smoker – QUIT! Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health.

5. Take a half aspirin (81 mg) every day. Easy, huh?!

6. Big surprise with this one – having a colonoscopy every 10 years beginning at age 50. If you’ve never had one, please, please, please – schedule it today!

7. Having an annual checkup with your doctor, and that includes getting a digital prostate exam AND a PSA blood test (Prostate Screening Awareness).

Like we said – BE AWARE and BE INFORMED!  Please – take this blog to heart.  We truly care about your health, and just think…  What if you were able to avoid surgery, all because your doctor was able to remove a few polyps during a colonoscopy?

Or, think of the peace of mind you’d have if your doctor gave you a quick digital exam and told you that your prostate feels normal?  You wouldn’t have to worry, or worse yet – wonder.

So there’s just one more step after becoming aware and becoming informed…  And that’s to take action now!  Call your doctor and make that appointment!  Take action to prevent!!  Do it now!

Topics: prostate cancer, Health Literacy

What is this OAB I keep hearing about?

Posted by Andy Orrell

Aug 5, 2016 9:16:08 AM


Over Active Bladder or OAB, as it is commonly referred to, is a term that you will usually hear or read about when the topic of discussion is urinary incontinence. Whenever you see a commercial on TV for a drug that is used to treat urinary incontinence, you will usually hear about an “over active bladder”.

But, what exactly is an "Over Active Bladder," and what does it mean to you?

OAB usually describe a group of urinary symptoms, the most common of which is a sudden urge to urinate. The urge usually comes on unexpectedly with little warning and is more or less uncontrollable. The reaction to such an urge is finding a restroom quickly. Another common symptom of an OAB is having to go to the bathroom several times during the day and at night. 

Most of the time, an OAB is the result of bladder muscles contracting more frequently than normal. Bladder muscle contraction can be caused by many factors amongst which are urinary tract infections (UTI), side effects from drugs, pregnancy, illnesses such as Parkinson’s, MS, MD, MS and other neurological diseases.

With men, an OAB is a common sign of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which in non medical terms is an enlarged prostate gland. When the prostate gland becomes enlarged, it exerts pressure on the tube (urethra) that carries urine from the bladder to exit…this pressure results in an urge to urinate  In addition to having an urge to go, an OAB can be accompanied by unavoidable urine leakage. When unavoidable leaking of urine occurs, an individual is considered to have “incontinence”. If your personal condition reaches the point of incontinence, it becomes necessary to take action. 

I strongly suggest that you quiz yourself to determine if there’s a possibility you have OAB. The five most relative questions to answer are given below. Be honest with yourself, when answering these five questions.

(To better clarify each question, I have offered further details below each question.)

Do you have to visit the bathroom more than 7-9 times during the day?
If you’re visiting the bathroom more frequently, and you’re noticing that some of those visits result in only several drops of urine, you may have OAB.

Are you having to rush to get to the bathroom for fear of an accident?
If rushing to the bathroom to urinate and finding that the result is a small amount of leakage, there’s a good possibility that you have an OAB accompanied by urge incontinence.

Do you have to go to the bathroom more than 3 to 4 times during the night?
This is a symptom of nocturia and is another sign of an OAB especially for men. When men have to get up several times during the night, it usually relates to an enlarged prostate gland or BPH as discussed above. Men can expect to see signs of BPH at age 50 and beyond.

When you’re away from home or at a social affair…for example, at a wedding or at the theater…do you find yourself scouting out the nearest restroom?
If you find yourself doing just that, you can be pretty certain that it’s another sign of an OAB or urge incontinence.

Are you avoiding to do things that you really enjoy doing for fear of having an accident?
If so…what’s happening is that you are actually changing your normal life style around the fear of a potential accident. Although this is likely another sign of an OAB, you should never succumb to a regression in lifestyle…that would be defeatism. which is absolutely unnecessary.

For those who find that they are, indeed, confronted with an OAB syndrome and/or urge incontinence, don’t fret, because there are several first-steps you can take that might work well for you. First and most important is that you learn how to recognize the symptoms of your personal incontinence condition. Once you understand your personal symptoms, you will be in a position to know whether or not what you are trying is working…remember…helping yourself is a trial-and-error process.

Most everyone who encounters OAB symptoms initially opt to trying absorption products such as liners or pads.  These products can cost hundreds of dollars a month and often cause sores. There is a better option. Men's Liberty is discreet, safer than adult diapers and condom catheters and can be purchased at little to no cost through Medicare and a secondary insurance.

Topics: external catheter for men, prostate cancer, insurance, incontinence, compassion, adult diapers

Strategies to Prevent Incontinence

Posted by Mens Liberty

May 3, 2016 11:11:07 AM


Our active readers and viewers are quite familiar with our regular science updates, keeping you well-informed.  That’s something that we’re proud and honored to do.

The subject of Physical Therapy assisting some men to overcome incontinence AFTER they’ve had prostate surgery is quite familiar.  But what’s not so familiar is this:

The subject of Physical Therapy PRIOR TO prostate surgery.  And what we keep hearing is some really great news - that researchers are reporting “positive influence” with preoperative physical therapy procedures!

Let’s back up for just a moment…  Prostate surgery is much like many surgical procedures – there are possible side effects and complications.  Due to the prostate’s location and anatomical components, the 2 worst side effects are incontinence and erectile dysfunction.  While it’s common for men to experience some leaking for a few weeks post-surgery while tissues heal, some men can experience incontinence-related symptoms for many months – or for a lifetime post-surgery.

Our pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles located at the base of the pelvis, and those muscles help control sexual, urinary and bowel function.  If the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they can’t squeeze tightly, or contract fast enough around the urethra (such as a sudden sneeze), resulting in leaking.

Some men may experience leaking only with coughing, laughing or lifting weight.  Others may experience constant dribbling throughout the day and/or night, with increased leakage during physical activity.

Most prostate surgery patients are undergoing a different protocol at The Elliott Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire.  That’s where patients are undergoing preoperative evaluations and instructions by physical therapists.  Clinical Specialist / Physical Therapist Lynne Assad states “The urologists at our facility are aware that we provide this service…  It’s part of the protocol that is followed in the urology center.”

It begins with a preoperative assessment where they analyze and measure each patient’s pelvic floor muscle strength.  Then they begin a program of Kegel strengthening exercises to improve muscle function prior to surgery.

Assad goes on – “I think that Physical Therapists and nurses dealing with incontinence after surgery also have an opportunity to positively influence the patients preoperatively.  In terms of the psychological aspect, particularly, I have found that the value of the surgical evaluation and treatment is significantly helpful.  It reduces the unknown and ultimately minimizes the depression and fear that comes from a patient suddenly having total loss of urinary control without understanding why.”

This makes complete sense!  And on 2 levels – physically and emotionally.  We know from study after study that many men have great success overcoming incontinence by regaining strength in their pelvic floor muscles.  I said many – not all.

Here’s the critical point on the physical level:  Why not get started on those pelvic floor muscles BEFORE surgery?!  Something to seriously consider…

And this makes sense on the emotional level as well.  Think about it…  Did anyone talk to you about incontinence prior to your prostate surgery?  Most men tell us that no one said a thing.  They had NO IDEA that their surgery could cause incontinence!

By having preoperative meetings with a team of Physical Therapists and nurses, the communication begins BEFORE surgery, opening the door for patients to do further research and discovery, and doing a much better job of preparing.

As we’ve said, over and over again – it’s not just the PHYSICAL aspects of incontinence.  It’s the societal and emotional issues as well…  The urological team at The Elliott Hospital is doing it right, and we applaud their attitudes, efforts and protocol!

Topics: prostate cancer, physical therapy, Health Literacy

The Side Effects? Well, There Is One...

Posted by Mens Liberty

May 8, 2014 1:00:00 PM

The article I am going to share with you today is a little different from our normal blog topics. Many times when we talk about prostate surgery side effects, we discuss incontinence. However, there are many other side effects that can result from prostate surgery, one of which is erectile dysfunction. The article below was originally written by Tara Parker-Pope who is the editor of The New York Times Well blog.

Orange Line

When Paul Nelson of New Canaan, Conn., learned he had prostate cancer at the age of 46, he opted for robotic prostatectomy with a famous New York surgeon who played down worried of erectile dysfunction.

"I had surgery by a doctor who said 98 percent of my patients are perfectly fine," said Mr. Nelson, now 51. "Of course, I wasn't perfectly fine."

The reality for many of the 240,000 men in the United States in whom prostate cancer is diagnosed each year is not all that rosy, at least when it comes to their intimate lives. After surgery and radiation treatments, many men quickly discover that sex will never be normal again. Sensations change. Many men can no longer achieve erections without pumps or pills. For some, the ability to have sex goes away entirely.

Yet, for years, men facing prostate cancer surgery have been reassured by their doctors, who could cite studies in prominent medical journals, that their sex lives would be just fine after treatment. Doctors would often boast of sexual recovery rates in excess of 90 percent, but failed to disclose that those numbers applied to a select group of patients rather than to most men who walked in the door.

Now, research published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association finally offers men some straight talk about what to expect from treatment for prostate cancer. The findings, based on a study of 1,000 men in different treatment centers, suggests that surgery and radiation treatments take a far greater toll on male potency than most men are led to believe. Among men in the study who reported good sex lives before cancer, fewer than half were able to achieve normal erections two years after treatment.

The new data should allow men and their doctors to determine a more realistic view of a man's changes for sexual recovery after treatment. Depending on age, erectile function, the extent of cancer and the type of treatment, a man's chances of returning to a somewhat normal sex life can range from less than 10 percent to 70 percent or more.

Such sobering statistics are a rarity in any discussion of prostate cancer; partly because surgeons and cancer experts worry that a man might forgo treatment rather than risk his sex life.

That thought has occurred to Richard Tuttle, who was 58 and working in New York City when he learned he had prostate cancer. His surgeon was "charming and wonderful," he said, but didn't prepare him for a decline in sexual function.

"The big C word is horrible, and you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible," said Mr. Tuttle, now 60 and living in Cincinnati. "But I sometimes wonder if it would be better not to have the surgery and enjoy your sex life."

Dr. Martin G. Sanda, senior author on the JAMA study and director of the prostate care center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said he believed that men should have the chance to make their own decisions with the most information available.

"I probably lose some patients because someone else is promising them the moon, but more often than not, I find that couples appreciate the transparency and honesty," Dr. Sanda said. "You don't want the man to forgo effective treatment for cancer because of a fear of sexual side effects. The discussion needs to be linked with talking about what's available to help keep them sexually active."

Kent Madin, 61, of Bozeman, Mont., said he wished his doctor had given him more information about how radiation therapy in 2008 would affect his sex life.

"There isn't someone really working on the synergy of the physical and the emotional," Mr. Madin said. "We have a reasonable sex life, but it takes extra work."

There are support groups offering candid talk. After his own not-fine experience with prostate cancer, Mr. Nelson started FrankTalk.org, an online discussion board about the cancer.

"You will have great sex again, but will it be like it has been? No," said Mr. Nelson. "As long as guys know that going in, they can deal with it, but they're not told."

Dr. Jason Engel, director of urologic robotic surgery at George Washington University Hospital, said part of the problem was that many doctors only performed operations and didn't stick around to treat the erectile dysfunction that resulted.

"The surgery is the easiest part for the patient, and it's the easiest part for the surgeon," said Dr. Engel, who has performed 1,200 robotic procedures. "The work is when you're seeing him later and giving him pep talks about leaking and impotence."

Jonathon Alsop, 53, a Boston wine writer, said his surgeon, Dr. Sanda, prepared him for sexual side effects, but nine months after surgery, he sometimes felt like a teenager.

"I never know what my body is going to do from moment to moment, and when I do have sex, I'm pretty sure I'm doing it wrong," he said. "I try to have a sense of humor about it."

Original article: The New York Times

Topics: Interesting Articles, prostate cancer

What is No-Shave November?

Posted by Mens Liberty

Nov 8, 2013 2:30:00 PM

By now I’m sure some (or most) of you have heard of this seemingly ridiculous annual event called No Shave November, or for those who can only grow a mustache, Movember. For those of you who are new to this annual event, I will summarize: It is a month-long event involving the growing of facial hair during the month of November. However, many people are unaware of the underlying cause or history behind this month of dedicated hair growth. So take a seat, put down those razors, and get ready for some No Shave November education!

The History

It’s important to first establish that No Shave November and Movember are two separate events, fighting for a similar cause. Movember specifically aims to raise awareness and money for testicular and prostate cancer research, while No Shave November aims to raise awareness for cancer as a whole. Both of these events also represent non-profit charity organizations whose ultimate goal is to raise awareness about men’s health issues.

It is highly debated when No Shave November actually started, some argue it dates back as far as the ancient Greeks and others say it was a month created by unemployed, college hipsters who simply didn’t want to shave. In fact, we do know that the famous philosopher Plato actually came up with the idea that there should be a period of time where men cultivate their beards and are not allowed to shave. He didn’t actually come up with No Shave November because November didn’t exist in ancient Greece. However, the basic idea was that young men should imitate their leaders, who were all bearded, so they set aside a period of 30 days for the young Athenians to accomplish this. Today the No Shave November organization is backed by the American Cancer Society and is still growing with supporters internationally.  

Fast forward to 2003 in Melbourne, Australia and an organization called Movember is born out of a bar conversation and composed of 30 initial members. Their goal was to raise awareness for men’s health by turning November into an awareness month similar to what is done in October for breast cancer. Movember’s slogan is “changing the face of men’s health” because the goal is to have men sign up online and grow their mustaches throughout the month of November. By 2012 Movember had grown to 1,127,152 members with $147 million in funds raised. According to the Movember website, 83.1% of the funds they receive go directly to Men’s Health programs with only 2.2% going to administrative costs. The 83.1% of funds is split between three foundations which include the LIVESTRONG Foundation, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and the Movember Foundation. The foundations focus on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, and research.

Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure: Movember and No Shave November have been popularized thanks in part to social media and bloggers. It has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon with no international boundaries, being celebrated everywhere from Australia to El Salvador.

Some Statistics

In the US, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime making it the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men after skin cancer. To put this into perspective, 238,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 and 30,000 of those will die from the disease, and that’s just in the U.S.!

Additionally, Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men between the ages of 15 and 35. It is a highly treatable form of cancer with a good cure rate (95%) if found early and treated. However, 7,920 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013 leading to 370 deaths.

Men’s mental health is another issue often overlooked due to the associated stigma of embarrassment and shame often preventing them from seeking help and taking action. Over 6 million men (7% of the population) are diagnosed with depression each year. When left untreated, depression is one of the most common manifestations of mental illness.

Despite these figures, the level of awareness, understanding and support significantly lag behind that of women’s health issues. No Shave November is wroking to change this.

The Conclusion

Whether or not you choose to participate in No Shave November or Movember is entirely up to you. Really there aren’t any formal rules for participants to follow, except that you shouldn’t shave. What is important is that it is helping to raise awareness and money for men’s health issues. Personally, I am participating in No Shave November, even though my facial hair is less than lush.

If you would like more information on Movember or No Shave November, check out the links below. If you plan on joining in let us know on one of our social media outlets or leave use a comment!

Orange Line

Movember Official Website

No-Shave November Official Website

**BioDerm Inc. and its associates do not endorse the organizations linked websites, and we do not endorse the views they express. The information appearing in this blog is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or ethics-related advice to any individual or entity. We urge you to use your own discretion before taking any action based on information appearing in this blog post or any site to which it may be linked.**

Topics: Interesting Articles, prostate cancer

Learning the Signs and Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Posted by Mens Liberty

Sep 28, 2013 1:00:00 PM

Today I wanted to share a blog from Nancy Pham of nationalincontinence.com, she is a product specialist who often writes about new incontinence products. This post may be short but it contains some valuable information regarding prostate cancer screening, risk factors, and symptoms. This is a widespread disease and although 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed in his lifetime with prostate cancer, the survival rate is quite high if detected and treated early.

So take a look, do you know someone who has been diagnosed or is recovering from prostate cancer? Do you have a story to share? Let us know.

Orange Line

Prostate cancer affected an estimated 2.8 million men in the  United States last year, according to cancer.org.  It is the most common cancer – after skin cancer – among American men, and  approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime.  Fortunately, the survival rate is quite high if the cancer is detected and  treated early.

 

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time to  learn about the signs and risk factors of the disease. Early detection and  screening can help prevent the spread of the cancer. However, screening  recommendations have been controversial, as results from the prostate-specific  antigen (PSA) test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) can be inaccurate.  The disease also usually grows and spreads at a slow pace, or not at all, and  overtreatment can cause more problems than solutions.

The American Urological Association (AUA) recently released  new guidelines recommending men ages 55 to 69 start asking their doctors about the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening. The association  recommends against screening for men younger than 55 who are at average risk,  as well as for men ages 70 and older. The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests  that men should start discussing screening pros and cons at age 50. African  American men or those with a family history should consider getting screened  starting at age 45. The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF)  recommends against routine PSA screening for men of all ages without symptoms.

Despite the differences of if and when to get screened, the  general consensus is to speak to a doctor about the consequences of prostate cancer screening before going through with the process. Each case is unique,  and an informed decision should be made only after accessing all risks and  benefits.

So who is most at risk for prostate cancer? Researchers are  still trying to pinpoint the exact causes of the disease, but they have identified  several risks factors that may play a role:

  • Being over the age of 40
  • Being African American
  • Having a family history
  • Eating a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy  products, and few fruits and vegetables

Unfortunately, symptoms during the early stages are scarce –  a reason why many people encourage annual screenings after a certain age.  During advanced stages, men may experience:

  • urination problems, such as frequent urges to  urinate and having a slow or weak urinary stream
  • blood in the urine, or hematuria
  • pelvis, hips, lower back pains
  • trouble getting an erection
  • loss of bladder or bowel control, or  incontinence

If you believe that you may have prostate cancer, speak to  your doctor. Men who are in the early stages may not need treatment, but should  be monitored in case of progression (also called active surveillance). For more  information on prostate cancer, please visit the ACS website.

 

Topics: prostate cancer

New Study Refutes Link Between Fish Oil Supplements & Prostate Cancer

Posted by Sarah Woodward

Jul 31, 2013 10:41:00 AM

Exciting news for those of you out there who are regular consumers of fish oil supplements!

A recently released analysis on a small subgroup of study subjects that assessed omega-3 fatty acid levels in plasma is misleading and irresponsible according to Life Extension scientists at in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Conducted by researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Wash., and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the analysis of a small subgroup (about 6% of the overall study population) was widely identified as suggesting that too much fish oil might boost prostate cancer risk. Researchers from Life Extension, an organization dedicated to finding new scientific methods to enhance and expand the healthy human life span, say the study's misleading findings and irresponsible reporting by most national media outlets may scare people away from continuing to take omega-3 supplementation that is very beneficial, if not life-saving, to their health. They go on to note the numerous studies that show potentially positive results.

The Ohio State study used data from a clinical trial on vitamin E and selenium supplementation for cancer prevention, and added on a single blood test for omega-3 at baseline to determine whether there was an association between plasma levels of omega-3 fatty acids and incidence of prostate cancer. Not mentioned or discussed by the media was that only one blood test for omega-3 fatty acids was conducted at baseline while study subjects were followed for six years' time (and in another very small group up to nine years' time). Given that the study authors did not capture whether or not the study subjects actually ingested any fish oil supplements, and despite the fact that plasma omega-3 fatty acid testing reflects short-term dietary response, not long-term intake in cells and tissues, the mainstream news media circulated the message that  a very small difference in the average total long-chain omega-3 blood level between men who did develop prostate cancer and those who did not. Unfortunately, the media did not report that the difference was so small that consuming a fish dinner the night before the only test for either six or nine years' time would impact the results. The study itself is a correlation-based study that did not test for causality but merely for associations between variables, and therefore is hypothesis-generating, not in any way meant to be interpreted as identifying cause and effect.

"From these findings it is clear that unlikely fish oil supplements were not consumed to any degree remotely applicable to health-conscious individuals ingesting fish oil supplements," said Steven V. Joyal, M.D. and chief medical officer for Life Extension.

"The danger of this deeply flawed, compromised analysis is that aging men obtaining health information through the mainstream media will cease omega-3 fatty acid ingestion," says Dr. Joyal.

"We hope this study will stimulate more research into the role of omega-3 fatty acids in prostate health," notes Michael A. Smith, M.D. and senior health scientist for Life Extension. "Conversely, the consequences may be profound if aging men shun omega-3 fatty acid supplementation as a result of this flawed study and follows its implied recommendations to consume more omega-6 fats, which are already ingested in elevated amounts in the typical Western diet, resulting in an imbalance in omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and a pro-inflammatory internal environment," adds Dr. Smith.

According to Life Extension, over the past two decades, hundreds of research trials have demonstrated strong, consistent, positive evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA+DHA from fish oil may contribute to a healthy heart, brain, and mood and even help support healthy joint function in arthritis. Additional research suggests fish oil may be beneficial for health in patients suffering from certain types of cancer. For example, a recent analysis of omega-3 consumption and prostate cancer by Szymanski in 2010 reported a large reduction in late stage or fatal prostate cancer among cohort studies. Furthermore, a new meta-analysis by Zheng this year of 16 independent cohort studies involving over 16,000 breast cancer events and more than 527,000 participants, showed a significant inverse relationship between EPA+DHA levels and risk of breast cancer.

Other studies have shown that DHA and EPA decrease proliferation and increase cell death in prostate cancer cells, and that omega-3-enriched diets slow prostate tumor growth in animals.A clinical trial published in 2011 gave patients about to undergo prostatectomy either a low-fat diet plus fish oil supplementation or a Western diet with no supplements for four-to-five weeks prior to surgery. The fish oil supplemented group showed a 32.2% decrease in malignant cell proliferation when prostate tissue was analyzed after surgery.

Orange Line

It seems clear to me that this debate will continue - will you join in? Do you take any supplements for your health? Do you see any impact? Let us know!

 

Topics: medical research, prostate cancer