Unfortunately I didn’t at this time, and my pale skin got sun poisoned on this trip, which taught me a valuable lesson: sun protection is important! Furthermore, I have a family history of melanoma, so this is particularly important for me. Melanoma is the most dangerous and deadliest type of skin cancer and is most commonly caused by exposure to UV radiation, though genetics can also factor in. Blistering sunburns can double a persons chance of developing melanoma. Tanning beds are no safer that natural sun either, so stay away.
The good news is, if detected early, melanoma can be cured, which is why I see a dermatologist twice a year for skin exams. I also check for the ABCDEs of my freckles and moles: asymmetry, irregular borders, change in color, diameter greater than 5-6mm, and evolution, meaning changes in your moles. If you see these features, get checked! Tans may look good, but skin cancer doesn’t, so use sun protection! It can save your life!
#cooperuniversityhealthcare #movember #melanoma
After Monday’s post I got a lot of questions regarding vaping as a safe alternative to smoking. While electronic cigarettes and vaping have been around for almost a decade now, we do not yet have enough research long term to know the true dangers of these substances. More concerning, vaping is becoming rapidly popular amongst young adults, meaning when we finally do identify the true dangers of inhaling perfumed liquid into your lungs, an entire new generation will be affected. It’s so alarming that in 2016 the surgeon general concluded that electronic cigarette use in young adults was a major public health concern.
While they may seem harmless, e cigarettes still contain multiple harmful chemicals, including nicotine, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and diacetyl, a chemical known to cause a permanent lung disease called “popcorn lung.” Chemicals in inhalants found in e cigarettes have also been linked to cancer development.
So, while we don’t know the true long term risks, most leading cancer and lung authorities do no consider e cigarettes a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. So put it down. It isn’t cute, and it just may kill you.
I may be healthy, but I still need a primary care doctor. You do too! That’s why today’s post is all about primary care, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Primary care doctors do so many things to not only get us healthy, but to also KEEP us healthy. They diagnose and treat a wide array of conditions. They can also serve to identify any specialists you may need. All too often I see patients who say “but doc, I was healthy until now. I never had to see a doctor.” That’s where they went wrong. You may FEEL healthy, but it doesn’t mean you are. Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are often referred to as silent killers because you don’t feel any symptoms until well after the damage has been done. Same goes for cancer! Primary care doctors can help head off all of these problems early.
So, if you have a primary care doc, Great! Get your annual check up! If not, check with your insurance provider to find your network and get one ASAP. They quite literally can save your life!
#cooperuniversityhealthcare #movember #primarycare
Today I exercised both my body and my right to vote!
Your friendly movember reminder for the day is to EXERCISE! Americans live way too sedentary of a lifestyle! Heart disease remains a top killer of men in the US. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.). #cooperuniversityhealthcare #movember #americanheartassociation #getmoving #ivoted
At MD Anderson, smoking is not allowed on the grounds. Why? Smoking remains a huge killer in the US… and there really is no upside. According the the American Lung Association, smoking will kill over 480,000 people this year, making the the leading cause of PREVENTABLE death in this country. In fact, smoking causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths, and lung cancer remains the number one cause of cancer related death in men! And this is a preventable cancer for most!
Want to reduce your risk of getting and dying from lung cancer? Put down that cigarette. Save the money and go do something else with it. You’re literally paying tobacco companies to kill you. Already smoking? That’s fine. Quit. Quitting reduces your future risk of developing lung cancer.
Been smoking for a while? You should consider lung cancer screening, which aims to find lung cancers at an earlier and more treatable and curable stage. This is appropriate for people over the age of 55 who have been smoking currently or quit within the past 15 years. You also need to have a 30 pack year history of smoking, which means smoking one pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years. The test is simple! A low dose CT scan of your chest is performed. Nothing invasive, not even an IV!
#cooperuniversityhealthcare #movember #mdandersoncancercenter #lungcancer #americanlungassociation
The beautiful view of the fountain in Central Park in fall has me thinking: men, how’s your stream doing?
As you get older, men can develop a non cancerous growth of the prostate called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Symptoms may include frequent urination, trouble starting to urinate, a weak stream, feeling like you haven’t completely emptied your bladder, or an inability to urinate. Got these symptoms? Get to a urologist, who can diagnose the problem and prescribe medications to help with symptoms. It’s also important to rule out prostate cancer as it too can present as enlargement of the prostate gland with similar symptoms.
Blood in the urine? If your urine looks like tea or fruit punch, this is not ok. This warning sign can also be a sign of prostate, bladder, or kidney problems. Seek medical attention immediately!
#cooperuniversityhealthcare #movember #centralpark #nyc #streamteam
Waking up this morning to a nice glass of milk. Helps me get my Vitamin D for the day. Why is vitamin D so important? Well, it’s been known to be a key part of bone health for a while, but now, low vitamin D levels may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute linked low Vitamin D levels to a 31% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
While the sun naturally helps us get Vitamin D, no one wants skin cancer, so drink that cold glass of milk today. Your colon will thank you.
#cooperuniversityhealthcare #movember #vitamind #coloncancer #americancancersociety
Men’s health isn’t all about cancer! It’s that time of year to get your flu shot! We doctors do it too! Flu activity in the US is low now but will likely pick up by the end of the month, which is why getting your flu shot now is super important! The CDC RECOMMENDS the yearly flu vaccine for people aged six months or older. You are at particularly high risk if you are a young child (and in that case, shouldn’t be reading this on social media), over age 65, or have another serious medical condition like lung, heart, kidney disease or have a weakened immune system.
Also, getting the flu shot isn’t just about protecting yourself. It’s about protecting others around you who may be exposed if you get the flu, like young children or infants, the elderly, or pregnant women. This is why doctors get the shot! We don’t want to make our patients sick!
#cooperuniversityhealthcare #flushot #movember
This month kicks off Movember. What is this you ask? Well, it’s much more than just growing a mustache! It’s about bringing attention to men’s health issues, which guys in general are pretty poor at doing! So this month, yours truly will be posting daily to bring attention to these important topics!
To kick us off: let’s talk prostate cancer, a topic near and dear to my oncologist heart. Prostate cancer remains the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men and the second most common cause of cancer death in men (after lung cancers). While not much can be done to PREVENT it, screening for prostate cancer is possible to detect it in an earlier, more treatable form. The American Cancer Society recommends men over the age of 50 talk to their doctors about the pros and cons of screening. If you are African American or have family members who have had prostate cancer, you may want to get checked earlier. Testing is easy and not as bad as it sounds, but you should know your choice! Don’t have anyone to talk to? Find a good primary care doctor or look for free community screening projects in your area. Cooper University Healthcare in partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper offers this to our community!
Christian Squillante, MD, is a Hematologist/Medical Oncologist with MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. He is affiliated with the Head and Neck Cancer Center, Lung Cancer Center, Prostate Cancer Center, and the Rare Cancers Program.