It has been said that if a man lives long enough, he will get prostate cancer. Yet nowhere in medicine is there more controversy and differing opinions, than in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. For example, a year or two ago, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), a federal committee that makes recommendations on screening for diseases, recommended that physicians stop doing Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening because, they reasoned, PSA screening was causing too many false positives and unnecessary surgeries. Many physicians, urologists, and professional societies disagree with this recommendation. As an aside, in someone with prostate cancer the PSA level is an integral part of assessing whether

Between 1975 and 2012 the incidence of solid tumors in the US declined, however the incidence of melanoma rose at a rate of three percent a year. Melanoma represents a small fraction of skin cancers (less than five percent,) but it accounts for 75 percent of deaths from skin cancer. All skin cancers are caused by exposure to sunlight, specifically to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Many studies suggest that sunburns during childhood are a causative factor of melanoma, but recent studies have

Over the past few months there has been quite a bit of controversy regarding the EpiPen pricing issue. A decade ago, when EpiPen was manufactured by Merck, it retailed for $83, while now it is sold for $600. The fury directed at the company that now markets this drug delivery device – Mylan – came from patients, families, and legislators. People’s lives are on the line, as a person with a life-threatening allergic reaction who cannot afford to buy the device may die. Mylan’s initial reaction

Lower back pain, the most common pain in adults, is responsible for a large number of missed workdays, and is the most common musculoskeletal complaint seen in emergency departments. It may be classified as acute (less than six week’s duration), sub-chronic (six to 12 weeks), or chronic (more than 12 weeks). Mechanical back pain (also known as lumbago), meaning no pain or numbness below the buttocks, is usually self-limited with up to 90 percent of people completely better by six weeks. There

Dietary supplements include a wide range of products including vitamins, minerals, botanicals and probiotics, protein powders, and fish oils. Over the past two decades, a steady stream of high-quality studies evaluating supplements have been published. Mostly they have showed little to no benefit from supplements, whereas evidence of harm from supplements has been mounting. One might reasonably conclude that based on studies showing no benefit and potential harm from supplements that their use

It is generally agreed by health experts that smoking cigarettes is by far the most dangerous thing someone can do to themselves. Smoking is directly linked to cancers, heart disease, and a host of potentially lethal consequences. Perhaps it is for this reason that vaping, or smoking e-cigarettes, is gaining in popularity, especially among young people. Many think that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, which is only partially true. E-cigarettes do not contain the 4600 known carcinogens

Since their introduction perhaps 80 to 90 years ago, antibiotics have revolutionized the practice of medicine worldwide. However antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens to impede or even reverse some of this progress. In the U.S. resistant organisms cause 2 million infections and are associated with 23,000 deaths each year. In Europe they cause 25,000 deaths per year. The costs of AMR are quite substantial and are estimated to be responsible for $20 billion in excess medical spending in the US

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