Tag Archives: prevention

Bladder, prostate developments more precise

REAL-TIME BLADDER MONITOR

It can be quite burdensome for a person with an overactive bladder or bladder-leakage problem to endure the diagnostic process. He has to come to the clinic, get undressed in an unnatural environment, empty the bladder, get a catheter, refill the bladder with room temp water, urinate… The whole experience causes embarrassment, anxiety, and discomfort for the patient. Furthermore, it’s not a natural situation and really doesn’t allow us to accurately assess what happens in the real world— when the person is exercising, or out running errands.

I’m enthused about the new UroMonitor which we are developing. It’s like a Fitbit for the bladder. It requires a simple insertion, and then we get real-time, real-world data that tells us what is happening in the patient’s bladder. And he doesn’t even have to come to Cleveland Clinic. He can have the monitor inserted locally, then do a virtual consult with an expert here. It has the potential to help tens of millions of people who are affected by bladder issues.

400,000 MEN COULD AVOID BIOPSY

Another thing I’m excited about is a new blood test for prostate cancer screening we’re developing. I have to disclose it’s being formulated by Cleveland Diagnostics, which Cleveland Clinic owns part of, within which I have no personal financial stake.

We know that the current screening for prostate cancer, which has been around for decades, is far from perfect. It results in a large number of false positives, which lead to prostate biopsies. It also leads to over-detection of low-grade cancers that we’d rather not know about because most of them don’t need to be treated.

This new blood test is far better at determining who might have a higher-grade cancer that does need treatment. We have studied this and validated our findings in a second study, and we’re just about to publish our findings in medical journals. It’s very exciting.

There are about 1 million biopsies every year—and this blood test could eliminate the need for 40 percent of them. That’s 400,000 men who won’t need to go through this uncomfortable procedure and its associated risks. Instead we’ll have a much better diagnostic test for every man, not just those who come to Cleveland Clinic.

PHILANTHROPY’S DIFFERENCE

The National Institutes of Health budget has been restricted in recent years. For example, they only fund 8 percent of all cancer research grant requests. In such a restrictive environment, it’s impossible without philanthropic support to do the high-level research that could improve patients’ lives. We must supplement what’s received from government grants, or we simply wouldn’t have enough. A much-needed philanthropic gift we recently received from Healthnetwork and its partners, just opened the scope of what we can do and the number of lives we can affect.

ERIC KLEIN, MD, is chair of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic, one of Healthnetwork’s GOLD hospitals. Dr. Klein was given a Healthnetwork Service Excellence Award for his outstanding patient care. Cleveland Clinic’s urology program is ranked No. 1 in the specialty.

Avert major risk factors for heart attack

You can control your risk of heart attack, the number-one killer of Americans, even if you were dealt a bad genetic hand with a family history of heart attacks, bypass surgery, or coronary stent placement.

A large majority of people who sustain heart attacks before age 40 are smokers. Even a few puffs on a cigarette initiate abnormal changes in the lining of arteries. Continued smoking promotes cholesterol-plaque buildup, plaque instability, and eventually plaque rupture that triggers blood clots. When the clot blocks a coronary (heart muscle) artery, a major heart attack results. Fatal abnormal heart rhythms can occur just seconds after a heart attack begins. If you don’t want a heart attack, don’t smoke!

Study after study has definitively proven that high cholesterol, particularly LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, is highly correlated with coronary artery disease and coronary events. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association provide easy-to-use risk calculators online. Guidelines recommend that if your 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is greater than 7.5 percent, then a cholesterol-lowering medicine called a “statin” should strongly be considered. Statins prevent thousands of heart attacks each year and cause no side effects in 95 percent of patients. A survey at a recent national ACC meeting found that well over half of all cardiologists attending were taking a statin. Maybe they know something? A statin may be right for you.

Diabetes is a major risk factor, and nearly 90% of patients with diabetes are overweight. If every person diagnosed with diabetes lost 15 percent of their body weight, most would no longer even have diabetes. Staying near ideal body weight, along with exercise, will dramatically lower your risk of getting diabetes – and a heart attack.

High blood pressure (>130/80) contributes to heart attack risk. Salt restriction, weight loss if needed, and exercise are the first line of treatment, but most people will still need medicine. Dozens of highly effective meds are affordable – there’s no reason to have high blood pressure in 2019, but sometimes it may take 3 or 4 different medications to achieve that goal.

Next, everybody’s favorite subject – diet. Nutritional guidelines keep changing, but there are certain dietary recommendations for preventing heart disease that are unlikely to change. Minimize red meat, and avoid processed meat. Eat more fatty fish like salmon, but skip fried fish! Eat lots of vegetables. Avoid fast food. Reduce your carbohydrate load to prevent hunger and weight gain. It is really that simple.

Lack of physical activity compromises life. Regular exercise prolongs life, lowers blood pressure, keeps weight in check, increases brain endorphins to bolster mood, and lowers risk of cardiovascular disease for a more productive earthly life to better serve the Lord.

DAVID A. KAMINSKAS practices cardiology in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is the treasurer of the Dr. Jerome Lejeune Catholic Medical Guild of Northeast Indiana.

Recipe for skin cancer: 15 sunny steps

1. Believe, “skin cancer can’t happen to me. I won’t be one of the 10,000 Americans diagnosed daily with skin cancer.” If you apply sunscreen, use the lowest number you can find and apply it like a typical American who puts it on so thin that they achieve only a quarter to half the protection listed on the sunscreen bottle.

2. Remove as much clothing, hats, and glasses as possible when in the sun.

3. Marinate in the sun for your vitamin D, even though half of Hawaiian surfers who spent 29 hours/week in the sun year-round were vitamin D deficient

4. Ignore non-healing sores lasting more than a month – especially on the face.

5. If you wear a hat, use a visor or baseball hat, and stay away from hats with a 2” or wider circumferential brim.

6. Win the ‘lobster-man’ or ‘lobster-woman’ award for the best ‘grimace-inducing sunburn’ at your local Yacht Club – as many years running as possible.

7. Choose parents who will give you fair skin, for as a red-headed, fair-skinned Irish priest patient once said, “The Irish are God’s gift to dermatology.”

8. Repeat, “Skin cancer can’t happen to me. I won’t be in the one-third of Americans who will grow one by the age of 70.”

9. Braise in a tanning bed to acquire the mythical ‘base tan’ that requires killing skin cells to alert other skin cells to make a tan – that provides as much protection as SPF 3 (three!) sunscreen – and don’t forget, the tanning bed rays accelerate skin wrinkles compared to the sun. Wrinkles give your face character.

10. Bake exposed skin in the sun as close to the equator – and to mid-day – as possible.

11. Fertilize and cultivate your garden in the middle of the day. Not only does the sun feed your fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but nothing motivates a skin cancer like sunlight!

12. Appreciate those multi-colored, growing “moles” – after all, they’re just ‘beauty marks,’ and they can’t kill anyone (except 7,200 other people annually in America).

13. Avoid websites like www.skincancer. org that could help you prevent skin cancer or get it diagnosed early.

14. Contribute monthly (and don’t forget to fill out your company matching-gift form) to “MakeAmericaTanAgain.Com.”

If you have already had a skin cancer, follow all of these instructions, because doing these things will reduce your number of future cancers.

15. Stew slowly with the thought, “Skin cancer can’t happen to me”, and believe, ”Skin cancer isn’t a big deal, even if I get it, because Hugh Jackman and Melanie Griffith have proven that you can still be attractive with cancer surgery scars on your nose.”

Put your dermatologist on speed-dial; he/she will want to admire the results of your efforts.

TOM MCGOVERN is a Legate who practices Mohs Surgery full-time at Fort Wayne Dermatology Consultants in Fort Wayne, IN. He co-hosts the Doctor, Doctor radio shows/podcasts for the Catholic Medical Association.