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What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is considered one of the most common types of cancer among men in Singapore. Fortunately, this is also one of the most successfully treated cancers with the right diagnosis and treatment programs. Prostate cancer usually starts at the prostate gland, hence the name, however, it can also spread or grow depending on the type of cancer.

Let’s get to know more about the disease and what can be done if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?
Like most types of cancer, prostate cancer can be asymptomatic, however, there will be obvious symptoms once the disease has progressed. These include difficulty urinating, changes in the force of the urine, pain or discomfort around the pelvic area, erectile dysfunction, and blood in the semen.

Unfortunately, doctors cannot point out the cause of prostate cancer, although there are risk factors that will increase a person’s chances of contracting it. If the male has other family members who have had prostate cancer or any type of cancer (including breast cancer), he will also be at risk of the illness. The severity of the prostate cancer will also vary among individuals.

How is Prostate Cancer Prevented and Diagnosed?
Some doctors do not agree on the methods of prostate cancer screening, so you should ask your family doctor about the options available for you. Although the type of cancer which only stays in the prostate gland cannot do significant damage, there are types of prostate cancer that are aggressive. If not treated, it can cause urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and metastases or the spread of cancer to other organs.

There is no formula to preventing prostate cancer like most types of cancer, but you can practice a healthier lifestyle if you are at risk of developing the condition because of your family history. Maintain a healthy weight by eating nutritious food, avoiding tobacco or cigarettes, regulate your consumption of alcoholic beverages, and exercising regularly. Some men are also advised to take medications that will lower the risk of prostate cancer, such as taking dutasteride or a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. However, there are studies that contradict the effectivity of the drugs, so talk to your doctor about your options.

How is Prostate Cancer Treated?
If you are at risk of prostate cancer, you should book an appointment with a specialist, such as a urologist or an oncologist for a checkup. The type of treatment that will be recommended to the individual will vary depending on the stage of cancer, grade of cancer or severity, age, other health conditions that are still being treated, the chances of recovery, and the side-effects of the treatments.

Depending on the diagnosis, prostate cancer can be treated in different combinations of the following: surgery, cryotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, bone-directed treatment, and vaccine treatment. It’s important to talk to the doctor about these different options as well as other complementary methods not listed here.

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Management of Insomnia

Insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder. It can affect anyone and is caused by either medical or psychiatric conditions. If you are suffering from insomnia or know a friend or loved one who does, here are the things you need to know.

Causes of Insomnia

The most common cause of insomnia is an unhealthy lifestyle like the following: too many distractions and restlessness before bedtime; a shift in sleeping patterns; too much alcohol, caffeine in coffee, tea and energy drinks; smoking; eating too much or not having meals at fixed schedules; and sleeping in an environment that causes stress.

Medical problems that cause insomnia include neurological problems, gastrointestinal or endocrinal problems, nasal allergies and asthma, and body pains like arthritis. Neurological disorders like anxiety and depression as well as psychological disorders can also cause insomnia. Other sleep disorders like sleep apnea might also trigger insomnia.

Taking medications can also cause insomnia as a side effect especially those for heart diseases, controlling blood pressure, asthma, birth control, and for cold and nasal allergies.

Women who enter the perimenopause up to the menopause stages will also likely to develop insomnia because of hormonal changes.

Symptoms of Insomnia

You have insomnia if you experience the following:

• you can’t fall asleep despite fatigue
• you wake up early even if you didn’t get enough sleep
• you have trouble getting back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night
• you feel tired already when you wake up
• your daily activities are affected
• you feel sleepy all day

Effects of Insomnia

Insomnia can affect your health, work or school and even your relationships.

The effects of insomnia are the following:

• frequent mood swings
• depression and anxiety
• poor memory and cognitive processes
• inability to concentrate in your tasks
• feeling tired even after you have rested or slept
• you get sick easily because your immune system can’t fight back illnesses

Managing Insomnia

Although there are medications available for insomnia, sleeping pills might not help in the long run and they also have side effects. However, ask your doctor if you need a short-term solution. Don’t hesitate to consult a doctor if you think you need help.

Meanwhile, you can try these solutions to manage insomnia:

• sleep and wake up at fixed schedules
• don’t force yourself to sleep if you can’t, that will only add stress
• try relaxing before going to bed
• reduce your caffeine intake
• eat properly and at the right time; don’t eat before bedtime
• exercise but don’t do so before bedtime
• stay away from activities and items that can distract you like gadgets
• inspect your sleeping environment; make sure your bedroom doesn’t cause stress
• don’t take naps; sleeping a few minutes won’t help you catch up with your sleep

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Differences Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Typical Age-Related Changes

 

As you grow old, you should know that it is normal that your memory changes. However there are extreme cases wherein your memory loss totally disrupts your everyday life and that is not the typical part of aging. Memory loss and decline of reasoning skills are symptoms of dementia and the most common form is Alzheimer’s disease.

You have to know the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and the typical age-related changes so you can identify it once you or your loved ones suffer from it. Here are the differences:

In terms of judgement: For people with Alzheimer’s, they have poor judgement and decision making that gradually worsen as time goes by. For people with typical age-related changes, it is more of making bad decisions every once in a while.

In terms of budgeting: For people with Alzheimer’s disease, budgeting seems to be difficult as time progresses to the point that they are unable to manage it. For people with typical age-related changes, you might miss a monthly payment maybe once or twice but not successively.

Losing track of time: You lose track of time, season or date at some point in time but that is perfectly normal. What’s not normal is losing track of it to the point that you have no idea what is the season or date at the moment and keeps on forgetting it later on. For people with age-related changes, they just forget which day it is and then remembering it later on.

In terms of conversing: For people with Alzheimer’s disease, they seem withdrawn. This is because they are having difficulty making decision. When this happens, it is important that the family never ignore the person. As for people with age-related changes, they just forget the right or fitting word to use.

Losing things: It is quite normal to lose things once in a while but for people with Alzheimer’s disease, misplacing things and not able to find or retrace it occur all the time. For people with age-related changes, they tend to lose things from time to time but then find it after sometime.

With these, you should be able to identify the difference between Alzheimer’s and age-related changes. Alzheimer’s is often the case of Singaporeans these days between ages of 50 to 65 or older. There are others cases where some patients suffer early onset. If you know someone who is enduring this, you have to extend your patience and spend more time caring for them. Do not ignore them.

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5 Ways to Improve Gut Health

 

At any given time, there are trillions of bacteria existing in your gut. This culture of microorganisms, known as a microbiome, plays an important role in your digestive system. What’s more, experts suggest that the condition of your gut also impacts your mood and the ability to ward off illnesses.

Though the market is flooded with different kinds of probiotics that claim to boost your microbiome, it turns out that you can actually improve your gut health by adjusting your lifestyle and your diet.

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  1. Diversify Your Diet

Most people with gut-related illnesses—or even other diseases like allergies and diabetes—show one thing in common: a lack of variety in their microbial population. Remember that a healthy gut is a diversely-populated gut, and the best way to improve diversity in your microbiome is to eat a wide variety of healthy foods.

  1. Watch Your Dental Health

It might seem strange to mention dental health when talking about gut health, but it’s actually connected. Multiple studies have concluded that harmful bacteria in the mouth often make their way to the gut or even to your bloodstream. Regular brushing and dental check-ups keep those harmful microbes in check—and your gut health in healthy balance.

  1. Eat More Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as barley, oats and quinoa, are rich in dietary fibre that can’t be broken down by the intestines. This means they will reach your colon intact, where they can be taken by the microbes and help boost their population.agefoto_rf_photo_of_assorted_gluten_free_whole_grains-jpg

  1. Add a Bit of Spice

Adding spices in your food does not only make your meal more flavourful, but also curbs the development of harmful types of bacteria in the gut. Spices like turmeric, ginger and garlic contain powerful antibacterial chemicals, which aren’t bad for good bacteria—only to the bad bacteria.

  1. Indulge in Dark Chocolate

Rich in fibre and polyphenols, dark chocolate is a good food to have once in a while to help improve your gut health. Since the said compounds can’t be broken down by the intestines, they can travel deep down to your gut where they serve as food for the microbes. In result, the process releases anti-inflammatory chemicals for your body to use.

For the best gut health, it’s about getting your diet under control. Eat the right food and give yourself enough sleep and rest.

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Surgical Oncology: Physically Removing the Cancer

Surgical oncology—a surgery that aims to manage cancerous tumours—remains the primary solution for treating cancer.

Your Singapore oncologist may use this cancer treatment method to achieve a number of goals—from diagnosing and completely eliminating cancer cells to relieving you from the symptoms that the disease causes. Cancer surgery may be the only treatment you need, or it could be performed in conjunction with other treatment methods, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, and hormone therapy.

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Purpose of Surgical Oncology

Cancer surgery is used to achieve certain goals. Common reasons why your Singapore oncology consultants may suggest for a surgery include:

• Prevention. If you have higher risk of developing cancer, perhaps due to genetics or your kind of lifestyle, your doctor may recommend removing the tissues or organs (e.g. breast, cervix, and colon) that are prone to cancer.

• Diagnosis. For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the only way to be able to make a definite diagnosis. To diagnose cancer, the surgeon from http://www.harleystreet.sg/services/cancer/ in Singapore will perform either an incisional biopsy or an excisional biopsy. An incisional biopsy entails removal of a piece of the suspicious tissue, while an excisional biopsy removes the entire suspicious area, such as an abnormal mole or lump, for examination

• Staging. A cancer surgery is also performed to determine the size of the tumour and how much it has spread. The surgery for staging often includes removal of lymph nodes—which are tiny, bean-shaped organs that helps the body fight infections—near the cancer cells to see if the disease has spread there. Alongside the biopsy and results of imaging tests, this surgical treatment helps oncologists come up with a cancer treatment programme for your case.

• Removal of Tumour. One of the main reasons why your doctor may recommend a surgery is to remove cancer tumours and the surrounding tissues that has been infected, which is called ‘the margin.’ This may be the only treatment you need, or it may be combined with other treatment methods, which may be performed before or after the surgery.

• Debulking. If complete removal of the cancer tumour isn’t possible, perhaps because it can cause excessive damage to a certain part of the body, surgery is performed to remove as much of the cancer cells as possible. For this purpose, the surgery is often combined with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to shrink the remaining cancer cells.

• Relieve Symptoms. To relieve symptoms brought by cancer, a surgery can also be done, which is technically called palliative surgery. This surgery plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life for cancer patients with advanced cases. Palliative surgery can help relieve pain, stop bleeding caused by fragile tumours, insert feeding tube(s) that delivers food and medications into the patient’s body, and prevent brittle bones from breaking.

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• Reconstruction of Body Parts. After a primary cancer surgery, a reconstructive surgery can be an option to restore the body’s appearance and/or function. This surgery can be performed right after the surgery for removing the tumour; or it may be done later after the patient has healed from the previous surgery. One example of reconstructive surgery is breast reconstruction after a mastectomy.

Minimally Invasive Surgical Oncology

For the purposes mentioned above, major surgeries are required to get the procedure’s full efficacy. However, there are some situations that don’t require large incisions and extensive surgical processes. Here are some of examples of minimally invasive surgeries for treating cancer.

• Laser Surgery. If any suspicious tissues are detected early, the doctor can remove them by using only a high-intensity light. There’s no need for an incision since cancerous tissues that haven’t fully developed yet are still small enough to be eliminated with laser.

• Cryosurgery. Like laser surgery, any abnormal cells that haven’t yet developed into cancer cells can be removed with minimally invasive procedure, like Cryosurgery. During the treatment, your doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy suspicious tissue and cells.

• Endoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor inserts an endoscope, a thin flexible tube with light and camera on its tip, into an opening of your body (such as the mouth, vagina, or rectum) to get a view of your internal organs. As the procedure goes on, the doctor will get samples of any abnormal tissues inside your body for further examination.

• Microscopically-Controlled Surgery. Your dermatologist shaves off a very thin layer of your skin with skin cancer, one layer at a time, until the layer with cancer is completely eliminated and all cells in your skin’s topmost layer appear normal when viewed from a microscope.

• Laparoscopic Surgery. This modern surgical technique only requires small incisions (usually 0.5 to 1.5 cm) somewhere in the body, where it is closest to the abnormal tissue, using a very thin, lighted tube with a camera.

Surgical oncology, whether invasive or minimally invasive, aims to physically remove the tumour and its surrounding tissues. However, depending on the case, a surgery is often combined with other treatments. To determine the type of surgery suited for you and know whether or not you need more treatment, talk to a certified oncologist Singapore. It is important to work only with the best oncologist in Singapore for dealing with such serious health cases and to ensure you’re getting the best care and treatment plan for your needs.

Dr Larry Lloyd in surgery

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How to Defeat Hangover

 

You are often reminded by your mother, girl friend or maybe the bottle to drink moderately. Despite the reminder, you still manage to get wasted and regret the day after vowing not to drink again. This cycle never ends. If you want to change this, you should find in yourself the will to stop or at least limit it.

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Hangovers are made so you will realize what drinking can do to your body. There are however ways to defeat hangover but you have to remember that it will only deal with one or two symptoms – it cannot totally get rid of the whole thing. According to a researcher of Utrecht University, Joris Verster, the problem with hangover is that not all people understand how it works.

Hangover is common here in Singapore especially after a night out. The good thing is that there are things that you can do to help the body cope with hangover. Here are some tips on defeating hangover:

Eat a big fried breakfast

Englishmen deal with hangover by eating a big fried breakfast. That is not a bad start. Actually research showed that eating heavy in the morning may help but not totally get rid of all the symptoms. According to Keele University’s Richard Stephens, hangover has something to do with not having enough blood sugar as well as glucose metabolism.

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Fried breakfast composed of eggs, baked beans and sausages actually have lots of carbohydrates which can help defeat hangover because it can restore the already depleted sugar levels.

Drink water

You believe that water can help with the hangover but Dutch research said it can only give relief to your dry mouth and it will help against thirst. It will not magically make things better. The headache and nausea will still be there even if you drink 10 pints of water every day.

Take headache pills

Many just reach headache pills after waking up in the morning. While it can help, it won’t magically get rid of everything. Hangover is actually an immunosuppression response because of the inflammation. The headache pills contain anti-inflammatory elements that can reduce hangover.

Go to bed early

Hangover is intensified in the morning because you didn’t get enough sleep last night. If you want to suffer less in the morning, it is always recommended that you end the session as soon as you can and go to sleep. If you drink at the expense of sleep, it’ll surely get worse.

Avoid dark spirits

Many people think that hangover is caused purely of how much you drink you had the night before. The truth is, the drinks you chose can make a difference. Dark spirits like brandy and whisky contain congeners, a chemical that can make you feel worst.

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Can Problems With Cavity Wall Insulation Cause Health Problems?

 

If you are someone who loves to help in maintaining and beautifying their homes, then you must be familiar with problems with cavity wall insulation. These are the issues that usually occur due to your wall insulation. These are very common nowadays, especially that there are cavity wall insulations that were poorly placed or fitted these days.

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Ensuring the Health of Your Family

There are ways that you can do to address these problems. All you have to do is to understand your situation and the things you can accomplish. It is an undeniable fact that many people choose not to take problems with cavity wall insulation seriously.

A lot of us are taking it for granted because we think that it is not a serious problem and we have more important matters, such as our health problems, financial problems and many more. This is one of our mistakes. We underestimate this problem. We should always take this matter seriously as this can affect our daily living.

Why You Shouldn’t Take Cavity Wall Insulation Problems Lightly

What people do not know about cavity wall problems is that it might cause or even worsen our health problems. One of the many illnesses it might cause is asthma. If you have problems with your wall cavity, then it is possible that your house is already a damp house. What does a damp house cause?

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It is asthma and other health problems. You do not want your family to be suffering just because of problems with cavity wall insulation, right? Then, you must find ways on how to solve this problem as soon as possible or else worse situation might come.

Are Cavity Wall Insulation Problems Common?

If you think that you are the only one who is suffering from cavity wall insulation problems, then you are wrong. This kind of problem can even be considered as epidemic considering the high number of homeowners who are experiencing this problem. Back to the old days, many people are fond of signing up and installing eco-friendly home improvements for the purpose of reducing their energy bills and saving money.

It was back in April 2008 when homeowners started to get their homes installed with cavity wall insulation. It was also the month and year when the government introduced these green schemes. Due to the promising benefits of these schemes, many homeowners got attracted and trusted these only to bring them more problems in the future.

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Protecting Yourself from HIV

 

Since people normally have a lot of outdoor activities every day, we cannot avoid the bacteria we get from just taking a bath. There are bacteria and viruses that can be transmitted through different ways that may harm our immune system and other internal parts of our body. Aside from making a person sick, we are less able to fight of the germs that can cause infections and worst is, cancer. Before your body gets affected from contagious diseases that we get from viruses, bacteria, and other diseases such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, be sure to get vaccinated.

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or known to be as HIV, is a virus that destroys the human body’s immune system due to germs we get from workplace, public transportation, streets, food establishments, hospitals, and everywhere else. How is HIV spread? This virus is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk.

However, there are medications that would help fight HIV in our body and would help us recover our weak immune system. But HIV has no cure, however, it can only be cured temporarily for only a short period of time. What would happen if you work in a hospital specializes in medical care to patients having HIV? Would you survive?

Stated below are safety precautions on associating HIV-positive persons:

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  • Wear gloves especially when you are going to have contact with the patient’s blood and other body fluids.
  • After having contact with the patient’s blood and other body fluids, wash your hands immediately. Disinfect surfaces that are soiled with blood.
  • If you have cuts, sores, or wounded part on your skin, make sure to cover it bandage. This may apply to you and your patient.
  • Avoid practices that may let you be affected by HIV, such as the sharing of razors, toothbrushes, spoons, and etc.
  • Wear face mask in visiting your patient.
  • Get tested by a doctor to see your HIV status.

What to do I need to do if I am infected by HIV?

The very important thing to do if you know that you are infected by the virus is to take medicines that can reduce the amount of virus or viral load present in your body. The Antiretroviral Therapy or (ART) can help you fight off infections in your body. It can keep you healthy for longer years. Visit your health care provider regularly and maintain the medicine given to you as well as the advised therapy for HIV infection. Use condoms in having sex to avoid the risk of transmitting HIV to your partner. If you inject drugs, never share your needles to others. Wear an appropriate face mask when talking to other people.

A lot of countries have high risk of HIV infection, if you are more careful enough, then there will be zero chances of getting infected by persons with HIV. Be mindful of the precautions mentioned above because we don’t know that the person next to you right now is also infected.

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