Monthly Archives: March 2011

New Study Discusses Radiation Exposure from Full Body Scanners

Radiation is a subject that’s been in the news a lot. Even before the radioactive leaks in Japan and the fear of radiation spreading to California increasing sales of Iodide pills there was often talk in the news about the risks and dangers of being exposed to it. When the TSA introduced new full-body scanners, that use radiation to screen people for potential bombs and weapons before boarding airplanes, many were concerned about the risks that these scanners posed. How much radiation were people receiving by going through these? Would they increase a person’s risk of cancer? Did frequent fliers have to be extra concerned? I did a Fox News Medical “A-Team” segment on this very subject back in November of 2010. A new study was just published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine that confirms what was said in that segment: there is no reason to be concerned. The study states that less than 1% of the radiation that will be received during a flight will come from the scanning process; the rest is from the time actually spent in the air on the plane. Additionally, each [...]

Robotic Oncology Around the World – The Dominican Republic

Late last year I made a trip to Israel as the first step in an initiative to spread information about prostate cancer and robotic treatment options to other areas of the world. While there I performed live, televised robotic prostatectomies to demonstrate my SMART surgery technique and shared my knowledge with the doctors at Rambam Hospital in Haifa; where they had recently acquired their own da Vinci robot. Last week I took the next step by speaking at a conference at the Hospital Metropolitano Santiago (HOMS) in the Dominican Republic. I have also appeared in many Spanish language publications over the past few months. All of this is in an effort to reach out to Spanish speaking communities to further educate the world about the robotic treatment options available for prostate cancer. During the conference I discussed the benefits of my SMART surgery technique, but also discussed the future of remotely performed robotic surgery. This is a subject that fascinates me, and is one that I have touched on before in my blog. In the future it will be possible for surgeons trained in robotic procedures to perform on patients [...]

Treating Pre-Cancerous Lesions in Women with HPV

Last week I spoke a bit about HPV (human papillomavirus), it’s prevalence among men, and the risks of developing cervical cancer that women face if they contract the disease. I also spoke about the vaccination that is available for the virus, but pointed out that it really needs to be administered before infection occurs. So that may have left readers wondering what courses of action can be taken if a woman already has the HPV virus and what steps can be taken to minimize cancer risks. For most women (90%), HPV will simply go away within a 2 year time-span. It’s the 10% of women who develop a persistent infection that we’re really concerned about. Pre-cancerous lesions can develop on the cervix, which are what eventually lead to cancer. What is important is that we identify and remove those lesions while they’re still in that pre-cancerous state. This is typically done through laser treatment or cryotherapy (freezing) treatment to remove the cells. These treatments do carry risks such as damaging healthy tissue around the affected area, potentially making it more difficulty to become pregnant. There are new treatment options in [...]

Obesity and Heart Disease - What are the Risks?

Earlier this year I filmed a TV segment discussing the heart-health risks of being overweight, with an emphasis placed on the risks of excess visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat that is located inside the abdomen and gives people an “apple-shaped” body. It’s been accepted that people with increased abdominal fat are at a higher risk of developing heart problems, but a new international study is showing this may not be the case. The study suggests that all body fat, regardless of location, has the potential to increase the risk of heart disease. This study further reports that while body fat and fat location are important risk factors, it is much more imperative to consider a patient’s cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and history of diabetes when assessing their potential for heart disease. Simply put, it is important to examine the entirety of the patient’s medical history, not just body fat location. This principle also applies to prostate cancer - using a single measurement as an overall indicator of a person’s health is not an adequate way of making a diagnosis. This all ties into something else that I stress: [...]

50% of Men May Have HPV

The other day on one of my Fox News segments I discussed a report that states that a staggering 50% of men may be carriers of human papillomavirus, better known as HPV. There has been a lot of effort over the past couple of years to educate women about this disease. This is mostly due to the fact that having the disease is a major contributing factor to the development of cervical cancer. It’s not a topic that is discussed much with men however, but doctors are trying to change that. The disease itself is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD), in part because most people are not aware that they even have it. It typically has no visual symptoms and doesn’t cause the infected person any pain or discomfort. The problem with HPV in men is that, unlike women who receive pap smears every other year, there really aren’t any good screening methods. When you combine the lack of symptoms, lack of screening methods, and lack of education about the disease it ends up spreading very easily. There are vaccines to prevent the types of the virus that [...]

Skin Cancer Foundation’s Annual “Road to Healthy Skin” Tour

Most people only think about skin cancer in the summer months when we spend much more time outside, in the sun and at the beach. When summer rolls around we’re constantly told about how we should not go out into the sun without sunblock and given reminders about how to protect ourselves from the sun’s rays. Most of the time we wear coats and long sleeve shirts and pants during the winter to keep warm, but we are still exposed to the sun’s rays and skin cancer is still a very real threat. I would bet many of you haven’t even looked at your sunblock in the last few months. With that said, the Skin Cancer Foundation’s fourth annual “Road to Healthy Skin” tour is about to start. The tour is dedicated to educating people about skin cancer and providing free skin cancer examinations by local dermatologists in their specially equipped RV. Starting on March 11th, the tour will be coming to 25 states, and will be making about 80 stops. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that over the past three years they’ve found over 200 suspected cases of melanoma, [...]