Planning for a Safe and Healthy Summer

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 30, 2016

Summer has finally arrived and many of us are busy planning celebrations, barbecues, and outdoor activities.  Follow these tips from our experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to have a healthy and safe summer.


Summer-3Deceptively Dangerous – Avoiding Burn Injuries from Sparklers

Sparklers can cause serious injury because they can burn at up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fireworks are banned in Massachusetts, but you may be traveling to a state where sparklers and other fireworks are allowed. Learn how to avoid injuries and treat burns from sparklers.

 

Summer-2Grilling Food Safely

Use a  thermometer to determine if food has been cooked to the correct temperature. To kill bacteria, hamburgers should be cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, ground poultry to 165 degrees, and poultry parts to 180 degrees. Follow these tips and more to safely prepare foods at your next barbecue.

 

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Why Does Cancer Risk Increase as We Get Older?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 28, 2016

Cancer risk increases significantly after age 50, and half of all cancers occur at age 66 and above.

Cancer risk increases significantly after age 50, and half of all cancers occur at age 66 and above.

Today’s post originally appeared on Insight, the blog of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Age is the biggest single risk factor for cancer. Risk increases significantly after age 50, and half of all cancers occur at age 66 and above. According to the National Cancer Institute, one quarter of new cancer diagnoses are in people aged 65 to 74.

The median age of diagnosis varies in different cancer types – 61 years for breast, 66 years for prostate, 68 years for colorectal, and 70 years for lung – but the disease can occur at any age. Bone cancer, for example, is most frequently diagnosed in people younger than 20, and neuroblastoma is more common in children than in adults.

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Men’s Health – What You Should Know 

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital June 7, 2016

June is Men’s Health Month, a time to address important health issues that impact men’s lives. Read the stories below to learn the latest about prostate cancer, testosterone therapy, erectile dysfunction, and other factors that affect men’s physical and mental health.

Healthy-Men-1Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer May Increase Risk of Depression

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) study has found a significant association between depression and patients being treated for localized prostate cancer with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). When compared to patients who did not receive ADT, patients who received ADT had higher incidences of depression and inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment.

 

Healthy-Men-2Testosterone’s Effect on the Heart and Quality of Life

Testosterone use among men doesn’t appear to increase their risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), a critical risk factor for heart attack and stroke. However, research also shows that men using testosterone fail to realize the quality of life benefits that are often the primary goals of testosterone therapy.

 

Healthy-Men-3Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction

Age, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease contribute to a higher risk of erectile dysfunction (ED), which affects about one half of American men over age 40 at some point in their lives. Most men experiencing ED respond to nonsurgical treatments, such as oral medications or self-injection therapy. However, if these treatments don’t work, surgery may provide another option.

 

Healthy-Men-4Breakfast Makes a Man’s Heart Healthy

Research shows that men who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or developing heart disease than those who start the day with something in their stomach. These men who forego breakfast also indulge more heavily in other unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking, exercising less, and drinking alcohol regularly.

 

Healthy-Men-5Prostate Cancer Screening – Who Recommends PSA Testing?

BWH-led research finds that a patient’s likelihood of getting prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing for the early detection of prostate cancer depends on the type of physician he sees. According to the study’s lead author, the findings highlight the need for physicians to reach a broader consensus on the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening and the importance of patients discussing their care options with their physicians.

Brain Cancer Patient: Can Access to Medical Data Save Lives?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 24, 2016

The MRI image above shows a tumor in Steven Keating’s frontal left lobe.

The MRI image above shows a tumor in Steven Keating’s frontal left lobe.

After participating in a brain research study, Steven Keating avidly collected and examined his personal medical data. Steven’s curiosity ultimately helped to identify his own brain tumor, a glioma, which was removed in the Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating Suite (AMIGO) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2014.  Based on this experience, Steven is now a vocal advocate of providing patients with open access to their medical information. In this video, Steven shares the incredible story of how his life-long curiosity helped identify his brain tumor – and how curiosity about medical data also can help others.

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Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer May Increase Risk of Depression

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 19, 2016

Paul Nguyen, MD, radiation oncologist

Paul Nguyen, MD, radiation oncologist

A new Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) study has found a significant association between depression and patients being treated for localized prostate cancer (PCa) – cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate – with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Through drugs or surgery, ADT reduces a patient’s level of androgen hormones to prevent prostate cancer cells from growing.

“We know that patients on hormone therapy often experience decreased sexual function, weight gain, and have less energy – many factors that could lead to depression,” says senior author Paul Nguyen, MD, of Radiation Oncology at BWH. “After taking a deeper look, we have discovered a significant association between men being treated with ADT for PCa and depression.”

Nguyen calls this discovery “a completely under-recognized phenomenon.” Around 50,000 men are treated with ADT each year.

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Treatment Options for Meningioma

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 12, 2016

Dr. Ian F. Dunn

Dr. Ian F. Dunn, BWH Department of Neurosurgery

In observation of Brain Tumor Awareness Month, today’s blog post was written by Ian Dunn, MD, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH).

A meningioma is a type of tumor that develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. About 85 percent of meningiomas are categorized as benign tumors. Because most benign meningiomas grow slowly, they may reach a relatively large size before causing symptoms, such as headaches, blurred vision, seizures, numbness, weakness in the arms or legs, or speech difficulty.

There are generally three treatment options for meningiomas: observation, surgery, and radiation. The BWH Department of Neurosurgery is also conducting clinical trials to identify new therapies.

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The Latest Research and Treatment for Adult Brain Tumors

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 5, 2016

Patrick Wen, M.D. and David Reardon, M.D. look at a computer with an image of an MRI. Photographed for BWH onclolgy advances.

Patrick Wen, MD, (left) and David Reardon, MD, are exploring new treatment options for adult brain tumors.

Historically, brain tumors have been some of the most challenging types of cancers to treat. A protective barrier around the brain – called the “blood-brain barrier” – can prevent cancer treatments from reaching the tumor. Recently, increased interest in immunotherapy has given new hope to getting through this barrier.

“We know the immune system can get into the brain to fight infections and inflammatory conditions,” says David Reardon, MD, Clinical Director in the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. “Our current research is moving forward to a level where we’re critically confirming that these immunotherapy drugs are getting into the brain and making a difference.”

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Breast Cancer – New Surgical Advances

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital May 3, 2016

Breast cancer management today often incorporates a “less is more” approach.

Breast cancer management today often incorporates a “less is more” approach.

Current trends in breast cancer management incorporate a “less is more” approach in many cases. This includes surgical treatment for breast cancer.

“We are finding that we can perform less extensive surgery and offer easier approaches for many patients with breast cancer, while still achieving excellent outcomes,” says Dr. Tari A. King, Chief of Breast Surgery and a member of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.

Previous surgical treatment plans, for example, included full lymph node surgery for the presence of any cancer in the lymph nodes located under the arm. This can result in long-term arm swelling, a condition known as lymphedema. Recent studies have shown that, in patients with a limited amount of cancer in the lymph nodes (cancer in one or two nodes), it is not necessary to remove all of the remaining nodes.  The lymph nodes can remain in place and the cancer can be successfully treated with other modalities, such as medical and radiation therapies.

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Melanoma – What You Should Know

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 28, 2016

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the most common of all cancers among 25- to 29-year-olds in the U.S. The American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday®, a day to focus on raising awareness about this dangerous disease and other types of skin cancer.

 

Sun-SafetySun Safety – Reducing Your Melanoma Risk

Reducing your exposure to ultraviolet rays, from sunlight and artificial light, is one of the most significant ways to reduce your risk of developing melanoma. Although it isn’t summer yet, the effects of the sun now are similar to that of a mid-August day. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) dermatologist Dr. Deborah Scott offers some tips to help you stay safe in the sun.

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Preventive Mastectomy Rates Increase despite Lack of Survival Benefit

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 31, 2016

Patients and caregivers should weigh the expected benefits with the potential risks of .

Patients and caregivers should weigh the expected benefits with the potential risks of a contralateral (double) prophylactic mastectomy.

A recent Brigham and Women’s (BWH) study reveals that from 2002 to 2012, the number of women choosing to have both of their breasts removed as a strategy to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer – a procedure known as contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) – tripled in the U.S., but without a corresponding improvement in  survival. Researchers note that while CPM may have a survival benefit for patients that are at high risk of developing breast cancer, such as those with a genetic mutation, the majority of women undergoing CPM are at low risk for developing breast cancer in the unaffected breast.

“Our analysis highlights the sustained, sharp rise in popularity of CPM, while contributing to the mounting evidence that this more extensive surgery offers no significant survival benefit to women with a first diagnosis of breast cancer,” says senior author Dr. Mehra Golshan, Distinguished Chair in Surgical Oncology at BWH. “Patients and caregivers should weigh the expected benefits with the potential risks of CPM, including prolonged recovery time, increased risk of operative complications, cost, the possible need for repeat surgery, and effects on self image.”

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