Men’s health has seen a dramatic number of increases in medical advances in recent years. As greater knowledge is gained about the diseases and illnesses that are more likely to affect men, more effective treatments and procedures are being developed. These medical advances greatly impact the lives of men as they increase our longevity, as well as the enjoyment of our lives should disease or illness strike. A few of the most notable recent medical advances in men’s health include:
Using Pregnancy Hormones to Reduce Heart Failure
Heart disease is one of the leading killers in men, and many heart-related deaths are linked to heart failure. Traditionally, if a man came into the emergency room during cardiac failure, the chances of survival were fairly minimal. Doctors could use oxygen and other medications to increase blood flow, and a defibrillator or chest compressions to try to revive the heart. Even emergency heart surgery or a transplant could be completed to keep someone alive. However, even these treatments aren’t always effective.
Recently, however, a synthetic version of the hormone relaxin has been shown to increase the odds of surviving heart failure by 37 percent. Relaxin is actually a hormone produced by pregnant women to help relieve the stress a woman faces when she carries a child. Relaxin not only opens up blood vessels and increases oxygen flow to your body, but it also contains anti-inflammatory properties. Essentially what multiple medications and treatments must do to re-regulate your heart, relaxin can do by itself. This means less medication, quicker treatment time, and less room for error – all of which result in more effective treatment.
Accurate Molecular Diagnostic Tests
In decades prior, cancer could only be diagnosed once it was discovered in a CT scan, X-Ray, or MRI. A person had to wait until cancer metastasized before they were able to be diagnosed with cancer. This delay in time between cancer development and cancer diagnosis often led to cancer being discovered and treated in later stages. The more advanced a cancer is the more difficult it is to treat and the more likely it is to be fatal.
Presently, however, cancer is more easily diagnosed with molecular diagnostic testing. More common molecular diagnostic tests seek BRAF and KRAS genes. BRAF AND KRAS genes contain a cellular growth signaling protein, and have been shown to mutate in certain cancers. By identifying whether or not a person has BRAF or KRAS genes in advance, regular monitoring can occur to increase the likelihood of catching cancer in the earliest stages. Cancers that are caught in early stages are often more treatable and survivable.
Color Doppler to Diagnose Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer affects nearly 2 million men in the United States. The transrectal ultrasound, or TRUS, has long been the trusted method for doing prostate biopsies. This method uses sounds waves to create black and white images of the prostate so that doctors know where to take samples from. However, this method isn’t the most clear and may not detect certain areas that contain cancer. For men worried that they may have prostate cancer, an inaccurate TRUS may mean having the uncomfortable procedure done multiple times, or even worse, having cancer be misdiagnosed.
The color Doppler ultrasound was developed to produce more accurate readings. Tumors typically have more blood vessels around them than normal tissue does, and the color Doppler ultrasound measures blood flow within the gland to determine where tumors may be located. By having a more accurate visual of the prostate gland, physicians can locate the part of the gland that actually needs to be biopsied. Getting the right tissue sample the first time, means that prostate cancer is more likely to be found in its early stages and may have an easier and more effective treatment available.