Men Get Breast Cancer, Too

Breast cancer mainly afflicts women, but men are susceptible to tumors in their breasts, too. Although rare in men, breast cancer is often detected too late, decreasing chances for survival. The American Cancer Society predicts more than 2,300 cases of breast cancer in men in 2014 will result in more than 400 men dying. While these statistics pale in comparison to the number of women who will be diagnosed and die, it does represent an increase from 2013.

Why men develop breast cancer is not as understood as the disease’s development in women. Researchers acknowledge a predisposition to the disease in men is linked to aging and family history. Men can develop breast cancer at any age, but the disease appears to be mostly detected between the age of 60 and 70.

Men who have had their chest exposed to radiation also have an increased chance of developing breast cancer. Liver disorders and alcohol consumption also have been linked to breast cancer in men.
Perhaps the most common trait in men with breast cancer relates to the body’s production of hormones found in women. Whether it be estrogen-related drugs used to treat other types of cancer or the presence of a congenital condition where men are born with two X chromosomes, there are not enough case studies to help researchers pinpoint who is more likely to develop breast cancer. Even obesity, which affects hormone productivity, has been viewed as a culprit.

Detecting breast cancer in men can be easier than in women because the male breast is smaller and a tumor can be detected more readily. But because there is so little breast tissue, the tumor has the ability to spread faster to lymph nodes or other tissues before being detected. Also, many men are unaware of the risks or embarrassed to have symptoms checked.

Similar to women, early detection of breast cancer in men is crucial to treatment and survival. Some signs that men should not dismiss include redness on the skin and around the nipple, a discharge from the nipple and swelling in the breast area in the absence of pain. Lumps should not be overlooked. By the time breast cancer is diagnosed, aggressive treatment, including having the breast removed, might be the best course of action.

Other treatments include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy or a combination of these treatments. But because of the disease’s rarity, most of the science community’s knowledge is based on how women with breast cancer are treated.

Following treatment, many are concerned about the cancer returning. Doctors might schedule lab tests and scans to closely monitor therapy and growth of cells in the breast. Side effects might linger for months. A swelling of the arm might occur because of the removal of lymph nodes allows fluid to build up.

Researchers remain dedicated to finding a cure. Clinical trials are ongoing and studies reveal a number of lifestyles that might contribute to the chance of breast cancer developing in men. Some studies even point to environmental issues that might be responsible.

Many of these studies remain in the early stages. Despite the rarity of the disease found in men, organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute have compiled information on detecting and treating breast cancer.

Hey, Dads! Your baby isn’t well!

Photo by Liza

Photo by Liza

There are some dads who are “babysitting” (How you can babysit your own child?) and are finding that it is an awesome responsibility. You are the person who now is obliged to shield your child from harm.

Illnesses: Dads can too handle a sick child!

Let’s talk about kids’ illnesses. Most fathers are distressed at the mere thought of taking his child to a physician, translating the problem with its solutions into English, and giving the child the right medicine at the proper time in the right dosage.

Recognize minor illnesses you can handle yourself. Most childhood illnesses are minor and don’t require a doctor (or, an emergency room!). Things like splinters you know you can handle. An accident on the playground that results in a broken arm, take right to the hospital’s ER.

You might not know it, but here are common illnesses you can treat at home. The website KidsHealth.org contains good children’s health information for the whole family. Here is a guide to three of them.

Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs). This disease sounds terrifying, but it is actually a very common viral illness that causes cold-like symptoms. The child may have a cough, a fever and a runny nose. Kids usually get better on their own. Flu vaccines do not help, by the way. If their fever gets worse, they seem to have croup or pneumonia, call your doctor and explain the symptoms.

Croup. Once you have heard a child with croup, the sound will stay with you forever. Croup inflames the voice box (larynx) and the windpipe. Kids are hoarse and have a barking cough. You can listen to here where you can listen to the sound of croup and read how to take care of your child. Croup is usually mild and can be treated at home. If they get worse, a trip to the ER is in order.

Dehydration. Sometimes, when children have fevers, vomit, sweat or have diarrhea,their fluid balance is upset and they can suffer from dehydration. It is important that you recognize the signs immediately and rehydrate the child.

Babies may not have tears when they cry, have a dry or sticky mouths or urinate very infrequently with darker urine. Young babies may show a sunken fontanelle, the soft spot. Dehydrated children are usually lethargic and irritable.

It is critical to rehydrate your child immediately. You can buy an oral rehydration solution (ORS) at the drug or grocery store. They contain recommended amounts of salts and sugars that replace the kind of fluid lost. Use the ORS over a 3 to 4 hour time frame, giving your child 1 or 2 teaspoons every few minutes with a spoon or oral syringe. This will add up to about a cup in an hour.

Get to know the lay of the land.

Know your child’s physician. Ideally, you should accompany your wife to several well-child appointments. You will get to know the doctor and she will get to know you. Also, your child will see you with the doctor and realize that you are working together.

Know which hospital and pharmacy to use. Know which your family uses and where it is. These institutions have your insurance information, know who your doctor is, and has records of all medications your child has taken, illnesses that have brought them to the hospital before. This can save you valuable time. Be certain not to leave home without your insurance cards!

Carrots Boost Sperm Performance By 8%

Photo by Fovea Centralis

Photo by Fovea Centralis

The most popular fertility icons are all reminiscent of the female shape, honoring the power of women in the reproductive cycle. However, women power only one half of that cycle.

Turns out there’s an appropriately shaped fertility icon for men, too: Carrots.

A study released this past fall by Harvard University School of Public Health shows that carrots are good for a lot more than improving your eye sight. For some men, carrots may be able to improve the quantity and quality of sperm by up to eight percent. That’s a great reason to eat your veggies!

Carrots weren’t isolated in the study. Eating other yellow and orange colored vegetables and fruits may have the same affect. Examples include sweet potato, melon, pumpkin, pepper and apricot. However, eating carrots was found to have the greatest impact.

The study, which appears in the journal Fertility and Sterility, involved 200 men of college age. Changes were made to their diet to find out what effect it might have on their sperm count and quality. Those who ate more carrots were found to have the biggest gains.

In particular, the study found that carotenoid could improve the movement of sperm, whil lycopene could improve the shape of sperm. Carrots are packed with carotenoids, which gives them their orange color. The body also converts carotenoids into Vitamin A, which was also found to improve the health of sperm. Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant, which fights free radicals in the body, supporting the overall reproductive system.

Other Healthy Foods for Improving Sperm Quality

Carrots may have emerged as the superstars in the study, but they weren’t the only sperm-friendly foods discovered.

Tomatoes were found to be especially beneficial because of their lycopene content, which helped to ensure a healthy shape, or morphology, for sperm. Normal sperm should have a smooth, oval-shaped head and a long, thin tail. Any abnormalities in that shape may impair the sperm’s ability to reach the egg or to attach to it.

The study found that eating tomatoes could improve the number of healthy shaped sperm by eight percent to 10 percent.

Carrots were highlighted because of their carotenoid content and their influence on Vitamin A production, but these nutrients are also found in other foods. Men who aren’t big fans of carrots may be happy to learn that they can get their carotenoids from spinach and lettuce, which contain lutein. They can also get plenty of Vitamin A from sources like oatmeal, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Comprehensive Approach to Infertility

Infertility is a growing problem, and many doctors and health specialists believe that diet and environmental factors play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that eight percent of men age 45 and under who are sexually experienced have been to see a fertility doctor. Other studies have shown that average sperm counts are steadily decreasing, as well.

The Harvard study reveals important information about how men can treat their fertility issues by using a comprehensive approach that addresses lifestyle issues. By eating a diet that is high in healthy fruits and vegetables and low in high-fat diets (which have been shown to lower sperm counts), men may be able to improve the quality and quantity of their sperm and to conceive naturally.

Vasectomy Reversal: What Men Need to Know

When a man changes his mind about having children following a vasectomy, he may consider having a vasectomy reversal. The reversal of the vasectomy, also referred to a vasovasostomy, is often an option for these men. However, since a vasectomy is designed to be a form of permanent birth control, this does not necessarily guarantee that the reversal will be successful. In addition to this, the vasovasostomy is a medical procedure and it is important to understand that as with any type of medical procedure, there are some risks involved.

Understanding the Procedure

The reversal is typically an outpatient procedure that does not require a hospital stay. It is almost always performed under general anesthesia or with a spinal tap. This is not only to decrease any pain that is associated with the procedure, but to ensure that the patient does not move. In most cases, the entire process is completed in under three hours, unless there is a blockage and an additional procedure may be required to restore fertility. This does not include recovery time from the anesthesia.

What to Expect After the Procedure

The man can expect to experience some pain and mild discomfort following a vasectomy reversal. It is not uncommon to experience bruising and swelling to the scrotal area as well. Stitches will typically be in place and will dissolve on their own. During the first two days, the surgeon may recommend that the patient “take it easy”, elevate the feet and apply ice packs as needed. A support garment is usually prescribed for at least the first two weeks, sometimes less. The man may return to work in as little as three days, but this will depend on the occupation due to the level of strain placed on the body.

Potential Complications

As previously mentioned, there are risks associated with any type of medical procedure. Although the risks associated with a vasectomy reversal are considered quite low, there is still the possibility. Risks can include but is not limited to problems as a result of anesthesia, infection at the site, bleeding and a build up of fluid within the scrotal area. In some cases, damage may also be done to the nerves or even the arteries within this area of the body. Due to these potential complications, not every man will be a good candidate for this procedure, such as those with certain health conditions for example.

Success Rates

The success of the vasectomy reversal can significantly vary from one man to the next, based on several different factors. However, one of the most prominent determining factors is in regards to how long ago the vasectomy was performed. According to research, the most favorable odds of fathering a child is when it has been ten years or less, the less time the better. The best chances are within three years of the vasectomy. The longer the man waits to have the reversal procedure, the slimmer his chances become.

Easy Ways to Lower Prostate Cancer Risk

There are a few different ways that the risk of prostate cancer can be reduced, but before you get into in-depth details, you need to know what prostate cancer is. This form of cancer only affects men. A gland that is located in the male’s reproductive system, known as the prostate is where cancer can start to grow. This is a critical condition because there has not been any proven strategies to prevent prostate cancer, but there are different things that you can do to reduce the risks of falling victim to this condition.

Eating Healthy
Eating healthy is the beginning of reducing the risk of many diseases and conditions. A diet that is low in fat is most beneficial in this situation. Many of the foods that you consume on a daily basis contain a high amount of fat, which puts you at a high risk for getting prostate cancer. Such foods include a couple of dairy products, such as milk and cheese. High trace amounts of fat can be found in other foods, such as nuts, meats, and oils. This does not mean that you have to remove all of these foods from your diet, but healthier choices should be made. Along with reducing the risk of prostate cancer, lowering your daily fat intake can help you control your weight and promote healthy heart function.

Your consumption of fatty foods needs to be kept to a minimum. Amounts of fat can be reduced from a meal by the choice of meat you select and cooking methods. Consuming meat is fine, but choose cuts of meat that are lean. When you are preparing and cooking your food, try to find as many alternative methods to your normal cooking routine as possible.

Consume Fat from Plants
All fats do not have a negative effect on your body, such as fat from plants. Many animal products that contain fats include a few different things, such as lard, meat, and butter. If you cook with butter, a great alternative is olive oil.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables work wonders for the human body. There is not any evidence that links fruits and vegetables to reducing the risk of prostate cancer, but these foods provide the body with nutrients and vitamins that are said to reduce the risk of this cancer. In general, the consumption of fruits and vegetables provide your body with many different elements that it requires to maintain daily function.

More about a Healthy Lifestyle
Aside from maintaining a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle must be in order. If you consume any alcoholic beverages, you should consider keeping this consumption limited or quitting altogether. Having an alcoholic beverage every now and then is much better than consuming five or six drinks on a daily basis. Overall, your consumption of alcoholic beverages should be decreased to the point you are able to quit drinking for good.

Weight Matters
Maintaining a healthy weight is another great way to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. If you have a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher, this will put you in the obese category. Men who are obese are at greater risk for having prostate cancer.

Exercising
You do not have to exercise every day of the week, but a few days a week should help you maintain your weight and reduce the risk of getting this form of cancer. Men who exercise are overall healthy and the risk of heart disease, along with prostate cancer, and other diseases can be greatly reduced.

Prostate cancer is a serious condition that affects more men than many people realize. Here are a few simple ways that a man can reduce their risk of prostate cancer.