Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not every health issue is related to Kennedy’s Disease

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you have heard me mention, “Just because you have Kennedy’s Disease does not mean you are immune to other health issues.”

Colon and prostate cancer probably have the same stigma associated with them.  They are both topics that you do not want to even think about, let alone discuss.  Yet, they are two topics that you need to discuss with your family doctor regularly as you age.



Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in men.  It is estimated that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostrate cancer sometime in their life.  Anyone substantially overweight also increase the potential of having serious prostrate cancer issues.

Fortunately, most prostate cancers are slow-growth, but it is still something that needs to be checked for especially if a father or brother has been diagnosed with this health issue in the past.  Early detection and treatment is important.  Treatment options vary depending upon the age and health of the patient.

blood test - PSA

Unfortunately, detecting prostrate cancer early can be difficult.  The PSA (prostate specific androgen) test is a simple blood test that can be administered by your doctor.  It is helpful in determining potential issues with the prostrate if checked at least annually in men in their 50s and 60s.  If there is a history of prostate cancer in the family, your doctor might recommend starting PSA testing earlier.  The PSA test is not exact, however.  There are often false-positives due to non-cancer related elevations in PSA levels.  Yet, it can be a ‘red flag’ that tells your doctor that further testing might be necessary.

As men age, the prostate naturally enlarges.  This also means that the PSA levels increase.  That is why it is important to have annual PSA tests so that your doctor can track any trends in PSA elevation.  Sudden spikes in PSA levels could mean trouble.  If warranted, your doctor might recommend a digital rectal examination that would include a biopsy.

prostrate cancer screening


Doctors and dieticians for years have recommended the following foods to help reduce your risk.
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, and watercress.
  • Soy base products (a protein substitute)
  • Anything with a good supply of vitamins A, D, and E
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts
  • Red wine (small quantity)
  • Dark chocolate (small quantity)
Doctors also recommend that you reduce your red meat intake and begin a regular physical exercise program.  Not only do these two help keep your weight manageable, but they can also be good for your heart, lungs, muscles, motor neurons, etc.


If you are middle-aged, do not wait to discuss this potential health issue with your doctor.  He can help determine when to begin testing.

For more information, go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s website (  Other good resources for information include the American Prostate Society ( and the American Cancer Society (


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