Tag Archives: cancer

10 Tips to Help Lower Your Risk Of Oral Cancer (Part 2)

Oral cancer represents approximately 4% of all cancers in the United States, and claims approximately 9,750 lives annually because most cases are detected too late. Luckily, oral cancer is one of the more preventable types of cancer, as many of the risk factors are dependent on lifestyle choices such as drinking too much, smoking or eating unhealthily (as we looked at in Part 1). Let’s take a look at some more preventative measures you can take:

  1. Watch out for HPV – Infections of the high risk HPV strain #16 in the throat (spread via oral sex or deep kissing) have been linked to oropharyngeal cancer. Not all people who contract high risk strains of HPV will develop cancer, but it does increase the risk of oral and other cancers, so be sure to practice safe sexual behavior.
  2. Stay active – Leading a healthy, active lifestyle helps lessen your risk for developing any kind of cancer, or other diseases for that matter. Keeping your body in a ship-shape will help it to fight off disease better.
  3. Check yourself – We all know we should do self examinations for breast, prostate or skin cancer, and your mouth should be no exception. By using a compact mirror or an angled dental mirror (you can buy them at most dollar stores), take note of what your mouth looks like so you can see if your gums change, or if you develop abnormal spots. Abnormal colored patches on your gums, tongue or cheeks are called leukoplakia and eyrthroplakia, and they could eventually become cancerous so it is best to get your dentist to check on them if they develop.
  4. Chemoprevention is an option – If you are at very high risk for oral cancer because of a combination of factors such as advanced age, heredity or if you are prone to leukoplakia eyrthroplakia growths, talk to your doctor about chemoprevention medications which may help prevent cancer development.
  5. Get regular dental checkups – It is very important to visit your dentist annually and your dental hygienist about every 6 months so the professionals can take a look at your mouth to make sure everything looks healthy, as well as ensure that your oral hygiene techniques are on point.

So, there you have it, the last few of our oral cancer prevention tips! While oral cancer is not completely preventable, practicing these 10 tips will certainly put you at much lower risk of developing it. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


10 Tips to Lower Your Risk Of Oral Cancer (Part 1)

There are nearly 50,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, and approximately 9,750 deaths caused by it. Some types of cancer are more preventable than others. Luckily, many of the risk factors for oral cancer are modifiable, so by changing certain lifestyle habits you can drastically lower your risk for this particular cancer. Let’s take a look at some of the preventative measures you can take:

  1. Practice good oral hygiene – It may seem like an obvious tip, but keeping your teeth clean by practicing a vigilant dental hygiene routine of brushing and flossing will help your mouth remain free of infections and lessen your chances of developing disease.
  2. Limit drinking – While the light or social drinkers need not worry, heavy alcohol drinking is considered a major risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancer and has been linked with a large number of cases.
  3. Kick tobacco to the curb – Smoking or chewing tobacco is one of the top causes of oral cancer. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), approximately 80% of people diagnosed with oral cancer have used tobacco in some form. Chewing tobacco makes you even more likely to develop cancer than smoking cigarettes.
  4. Curb your diet – Unhealthy diets that don’t contain enough fruit and veggies have been linked to the development of oral cancer. It is important to ensure you’re getting plenty of leafy greens, other veggies and fruit and limiting saturated fats and processed meats.
  5. Keep an eye on your dentures – Sometimes people who wear dentures take their mouths for granted, because they don’t have to go to the dentist to get their teeth checked regularly or floss, so it can be easy to get a little complacent when it comes to mouth care. Unfortunately, ill-fitting dentures can irritate the gums and raise your risk of developing damage that may make your mouth more vulnerable to cancer. If you don’t keep your mouth clean enough or wash your dentures regularly it can lead to infection and other complications as well.

That concludes part 1 of our look at oral cancer prevention tips, stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

7 Surprising Symptoms of Testicular Cancer

Approximately 8,850 American men will develop testicular cancer this year. Males of any age can develop testicular cancer, but it is most common among young men (the average age of diagnosis is 33). If it is caught in the earlier stages, it is highly treatable. Let’s take a look at 7 potential signs of testicular cancer:

  1. Gynecomastia is a condition whereby males develop excess breast tissue and/or swelling of the breasts. It can be harmless, or can be linked with such conditions as Klinefelter’s syndrome, obesity or in some cases a sign of testicular cancer.
  2. Lower back pain – In some cases, later stage testicular cancer may spread to the lymph glands behind the stomach causing a dull lower backache.
  3. Enlargement or swelling of a testicle – If you feel any changes in your testes, it is important to get them checked out by a doctor. If your testicles feel swollen, hard or if one of them feels much bigger than usual, visit your doctor right away.
  4. A lump on either testicle – A lump in the testicles may be a harmless cyst or benign growth, but it can also be an early symptom of testicular cancer.
  5. Pain or discomfort of the lower stomach – Testicular cancer sometimes causes no pain, but can cause aching in the lower stomach because of the tumor. This can also be a result of cancer spreading to the liver or surrounding areas. Don’t panic – many more harmless conditions can cause lower stomach aching as well such as a urinary tract infection.
  6. A ‘heavy feeling’ or pressure in the scrotum – Some men with testicular cancer may feel a heaviness or pressure in their groin area. If you’ve been feeling strange sensations such as scrotal heaviness, visit your doctor to be evaluated.
  7. A blood clot in the leg – Sometimes a deep vein thrombosis of the leg in young adult males can be the first sign of testicular cancer. Blood clots can also be idiopathic or caused by a less serious condition.

Check Yourself

The best way to catch cancer in its infancy before it causes problems is to perform regular self-examinations. Check out the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for a self-exam so you can find any abnormalities if they arise.

Same Symptoms – Different Conditions

Sometimes other health conditions such as an inguinal hernia, testicle torsion or kidney stones could cause symptoms similar to those listed above. Either way, it is always important to get any such changes to your physical health checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible, to catch cancer or another condition before it progresses.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.


Lymphoma Fast Facts

Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer that targets the immune system. There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s. Lymphoma is a relatively common type of cancer; there were more than 81,000 new cases of lymphoma diagnosed in the United States in 2016 alone. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key facts about lymphoma:

  • Luckily, in many cases, lymphoma is a relatively curable type of cancer, with the survival rate nearly doubling for both types since the 1960’s. Having said that, many people sadly still die annually from the disease, but it does not claim nearly as many lives as some other forms of cancer.
  • Blood cancers account for more than 10% of all new cancer cases.
  • Every 3 minutes an American is diagnosed with some type of blood cancer (lymphoma, myeloma or leukemia).
  • B-cell and T-cell malignant growths are associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • One of the most defining symptoms of lymphoma is painless swelling of the lymph nodes (such as those in the neck or armpits) that doesn’t go away.
  • Other symptoms may include: sweating (particularly night sweats), weight loss, fatigue, chills, general itching or swelling in random parts of the body.
  • Lymphoma is often mistaken for a nagging cold until the symptoms linger for weeks or months.
  • Lymphoma is associated specifically with a sub-type of white blood cells called lymphocytes.
  • There are 5 stages of lymphoma, 1 being cancer that is localized to the lymph nodes only, and stage 5 is widespread cancer that has migrated throughout the body.
  • Diagnostic tests for lymphoma may include: a subcutaneous tissue biopsy, platelet and white blood cell lab tests, an MRI, PET scans or x-rays. If your doctor suspects lymphoma he or she will likely perform a combination of these tests to confirm lymphoma or rule it out.

That concludes our look at lymphoma. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.

Do You Know Enough About HPV?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world. So much so, that the vast majority of sexually active men and women will contract it at some point during their lives. Most times the virus does not cause lasting health problems, but certain strains of the virus can cause genital warts or cancer so it is important to know the facts and get regular check-ups and pap smears to detect any abnormal developments.

HPV Fast Facts

  • More than half of all sexually active people will contract some form of HPV at some point, but many won’t even know it.
  • The CDC estimates over 79 million sexually active Americans are infected with HPV, with approximately 14 million new infections annually.
  • There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which are relatively harmless and will pass through the system without causing any noticeable symptoms.
  • The longer certain high-risk strains of HPV stay in a person’s body, the more likely their chances of developing such types of cancer as anal, oropharynx, penis or cervical.
  • If you get regular pap smears, your tests will usually reveal abnormal HPV cells before they turn cancerous, so it is vital to get yearly pep smears if you are a sexually active woman. This is especially important since abnormal cells or cervical cancer likely won’t produce any warning signs.
  • If you spontaneously develop warts in your genital area, HPV (or herpes) is likely responsible.
  • Genital warts associated with HPV can be pink or reddish or skin colored and can be flat, raised or clustered together. They can develop on the thigh, groin, penis, cervix, vagina or anus.
  • HPV-related genital warts don’t necessarily make their presence known right away. They may show up weeks, months or even years after initial exposure, making the time and source from which you contracted HPV difficult to identify.
  • You may even have HPV if you’ve only been sexually active with one person (who has had previous sexual partners).
  • HPV can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person and can be passed from a person who has no visible signs or symptoms of an infection.
  • Approximately 70% of HPV-related cancer cases are caused by strain 16 and strain 18.
  • About 95% of anal cancer are caused by HPV (strain 16)
  • Strains 6 and 11 are responsible for over 90% of cases of HPV-related genital warts.
  • There are approximately 26,900 cases of cancer are caused by HPV annually.

What Can Be Done To Prevent HPV?

Because HPV is so widespread, it is difficult to protect yourself completely against contracting it, however there are measures you can take to minimize your chances of developing high-risk types of HPV. Some of which include:

  • Get vaccinated – The CDC recommends 11-12 year-olds get two HPV vaccines to protect against high-risk HPV in the future. Young men and women who haven’t been vaccinated should do so as well. Check out the CDC recommendations of who should and should not be vaccinated.
  • People who are sexually active should use a condom (properly) each time they have vaginal or anal sex, as well as using condoms or dental dams for oral sex.
  • You can decrease your chances of contracting it significantly by having mutually monogamous sex (neither you or your partner have other sexual partners besides each other).


That concludes our look at the need-to-know facts about HPV. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Honey

Honey is more than a sweet treat courtesy of the bees, it actually has many health merits. Some of which include:

  1. Protection against harmful oxidative stresswhen free radicals over-replicate, they destroy cells which can lead to cancer when the mutated cells replicate. Honey contains antioxidants, which help defend the cells against oxidative stress. Antioxidants are instrumental in disease prevention, particularly cancer.
  2. Helping stomach conditionshoney is antibacterial because the bees add hydrogen peroxide during the process of making it. Largely because of its antibiotic properties, research illustrates that honey can help in the treatment of such stomach conditions as bacterial gastroenteritis. It can also help with wound healing.
  3. Soothing a sore throat – Singers have been using honey to sooth irritated throats for decades, and science says they were on to something. One study of over 100 children showed that a dose of honey was as effective as a dose of cough syrup in quelling cough and throat symptoms so sick children can sleep.
  4. A natural analgesic – Honey has shown to reduce pain perception in lab rats.
  5. Anti-inflammatory properties – honey has long been used to help inflammation, as it has natural anti-inflammatory Some studies suggest it may be offer supplemental help in the treatment of such inflammatory conditions as arthritis.
  6. Helps improve skin – honey is also a natural moisturizer, so it can help hydrate the skin. It can also help with the inflammation and bacteria caused by acne. Honey can relieve inflammation and prevent a breakout after shaving as well.
  7. May help with heart disease Surprisingly, studies have shown that honey may help increase antioxidants in the blood, which can help prevent narrowing of the arteries.

Even though honey has many health benefits, it still has its drawbacks as well, so as the old saying goes, “everything in moderation”. Adding some more honey to your diet may be helpful, especially if you are having stomach issues, a sore throat or have heart disease or cancer risk factors. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll return again soon.

Can Pancreatic Cancer be Prevented?

Pancreatic cancer is a silent and deadly form of cancer, which is predicted to claim 41,780 American lives in 2016 alone. In our last post, we looked at the known risk factors for pancreatic cancer development, so in this post we wanted to examine potential lifestyle choices that may help lower the risk of developing this silently deadly form of cancer.

Can You Prevent Pancreatic Cancer?

Unfortunately, no type of cancer can be 100% prevented. While it more often strikes those who fall into the identified risk categories, pancreatic cancer also develops in people with no known risk factors. However, it is within your power (whether you are at higher risk or not) to make lifestyle adjustments that will certainly lower your chances of developing pancreatic cancer.

What do the Studies Say?

Studies are conflicting on the topic of pancreatic cancer prevention. Some studies suggest that a diet rich in produce lowers the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Multiple experiments on lab rats do show that high-protein, high-fat diets often develop pancreatic cancer in rats, but that data doesn’t necessarily translate to humans. It seems studies on obesity hold the consensus that carrying excess weight does raise the risk of developing pancreatic (and many other kinds of) cancer.

What Lifestyle Changes May Lower Your Risk? 

Some of the ways you can tweak your lifestyle to lower your risk of developing pancreatic cancer include:

  • Quit smoking – smoking more than doubles your risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
  • Loose excess weight – many studies done on obesity prove it raises the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • Exercise regularly – those who lead sedentary lives often suffer more serious health problems.
  • Limit the amount of processed meats in your diet as they have been linked to pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and veggies and try to limit saturated fats, excess animal fats or too much alcohol as it is an important factor in lowering the risk of developing many diseases including most cancers.

That concludes our look at pancreatic cancer prevention. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any medical queries, our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you.


Are You at Risk for Pancreatic Cancer?

While some forms of cancer have early symptoms, pancreatic cancer is a silent killer that will claim an estimated 41,780 American lives in 2016 alone. So, what is known about this under-discussed form of cancer? Who is at risk, and can it be prevented? Let’s try to tackle some of these questions:

Who Should be Screened?

While it is true that pancreatic cancer can strike anyone, with or without risk factors, not everyone falls into the category of those who should undergo the in-depth screening process for pancreatic cancer. At risk individuals should most certainly be screened by a medical professional, as most times pancreatic cancer won’t cause any symptoms until the disease has advanced to the later, and less treatable stages.

Are Diabetics at Increased Risk for Pancreatic Cancer?

Yes. Particularly those over 50 with new-onset diabetes. According to University of Chicago Medicine, approximately 85% of those who develop pancreatic cancer have new-onset diabetes or hyperglycemia. These people have a 5-8 times the risk of developing pancreatic cancer within 3 years of their diabetes or hyperglycemia diagnosis.

Who Else is At Risk for Developing Pancreatic Cancer?

Aside from those with new-onset diabetics, people who fall into the ‘at risk’ category for developing pancreatic cancer include:

  • People who have two or more first-degree relatives with pancreatic cancer or who have one who was diagnosed under the age of 30
  • People who have had pancreatic cysts
  • Smokers are up to 3 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than non-smokers
  • People who have chronic pancreatitis may be at higher risk
  • Those who have had hepatitis B or cirrhosis of the liver fall into the ‘at risk’ category
  • Those with high levels of the H. Pylori bacteria are at higher risk of developing some cancers, most commonly stomach cancer, but may also be at increase risk for pancreatic cancer
  • People who have been chronically exposed to certain chemicals such as benzene, petrochemicals or pesticides may be at increased risk
  • People with certain rare inherited risk-increasing syndromes are at higher risk

People who are over 50 years of age with any of the above-listed risk factors are at higher risk than those under 50 (90% of pancreatic cases occur in people older than 55), and more men go on to develop this form of cancer than women.

What Associated Syndromes Increase the Risk of Pancreatic Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, people with the following genetic syndromes may be at higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer:

  • Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome (mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes)
  • Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma (FAMMM) syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC)
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (caused by mutated VHL gene)
  • Type 1 neurofibromatosis
  • Type 1 Multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN1)

That’s all for our look at the risk factors of pancreatic cancer. Stay tuned next for pancreatic cancer prevention tips. Thanks for visiting DocChat!



6 Tips to Lower Your Risk of Developing Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death among both men and women. It is estimated that 158,080 Americans will die of lung cancer in 2016 alone. Because of its alarming numbers, it is important that people are aware of the dangers and potential causes of lung cancer.

Can Lung Cancer Be Prevented?

The majority of lung cancer cases can be prevented by avoiding smoke or second-hand smoke, but sometimes it happens in people with no risk factors for the disease. As with any type of cancer, there is no sure-fire way of prevention but you can do things to lower your risk of developing it such as:

  1. Don’t smoke, stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke! Being that smoke damage in the lungs is the leading cause of lung cancer, it stands to reason that if you are worried about developing it you should avoid cigarette and cigar smoke at all costs. Among the thousands of chemicals present, there are approximately 70 known carcinogens in cigarette smoke.
  2. Avoid radon exposure – Make sure you have a working radon detector in your home so you can measure the levels in your home and get it treated if the levels are too high. If not it could have deadly consequences.
  3. Try to limit pollution – Diesel fumes and other pollutants can take their toll on your lungs over time as well. If you are concerned about pollution, you can wear special (and fashionable) masks if you have to walk frequently in the city.
  4. Avoid breathing in known carcinogenic substances – The American Cancer Society cites asbestos, uranium and coal products as carcinogenic substances. There are many others as well.
  5. Early screening – if you are a smoker or have a family history of lung (or other) cancer, talk to your doctor today about early screening. Cases that are caught in the early stages have much better prognoses.
  6. Lead a healthy overall lifestyle – as with any type of disease prevention, maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies and low in saturated and animal fats is important, as is being regularly physically active so as to keep your body in tiptop shape and help better fight off disease.

There you have some key tips for lowering your risk of developing lung cancer, keep an eye out for symptoms and comorbid syndromes associated with lung cancer in our next post. Our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you with your health. Keep an eye out for our post on Thanks for visiting DocChat!

6 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also known as colon, rectal or bowel cancer, is cancer that develops from a malignant polyp or tumor somewhere within the bowel tract. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the second most common form, second to lung cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 136,830 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States this year, and over 50,000 will die of it. So, what can you do to reduce your risk of developing this terrible disease? Let’s take a look.

Can Bowel Cancer Be Prevented?

As with most diseases, there is no way to ensure 100% prevention but there are things you can do to drastically reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. Some of which include:

  1. Modify your diet: Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Limit your intake of animal products (especially red meat), and try to avoid processed meats as they have been linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer. Try to decrease saturated fats and increase fiber intake as well.
  2. Increase activity: Be sure to exercise at least 3 times weekly (ideally every day) to help lessen your risk of many diseases, like bowel cancer. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute risk.
  3. Watch your waistline: Try to keep your weight within the healthy range for your height, as being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing many diseases, especially bowel cancer. Particularly men who carry their weight around their bellies are at higher risk.
  4. Avoid deficiencies: Specifically, vitamin D and calcium deficiencies can potentially contribute to bowel cancer if left unchecked for too long. Any deficiency is bad news, so be sure to get your vitamin levels checked and keep them up.
  5. Watch indulgences: try not to let your alcohol intake climb too high, and try to quit or avoid smoking as both can raise your risk of developing colorectal cancer (and many other types).
  6. Get Screened Regularly: It can take over 10 years for a problematic polyp to grow into bowel cancer, and early detection is key for better outcomes, so be sure to get screened! Regular screening is especially important for anyone 50 years of age or older, or anyone who has increased risk factors, such as genetic history of colorectal cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer?

Many cases are asymptomatic until it is discovered, but in other cases people may experience:

  • Changes in your bathroom habits (such as going more frequently, having diarrhea or constipation)
  • Difficulty fully evacuating the bowels
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in the stools or vomit
  • A lump
  • Unwarranted weight loss
  • In some cases, an iron deficiency in men may be cause to investigate

While many of these symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, it is important to talk to a doctor about your symptoms. Thanks for visiting DocChat!