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Health Pointers That Can Save Lives

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Hello Dear Readers,

The following are a couple of questions I have received by email in the past through my Saveta on the Bedpost column published quarterly in Saveta’ s Psychic News newsletter.

These emails inspired me to include a brief article on breast and testicular self –examination. Please consider reading this blog in the best interest of your own health and those you love… till next time.

Dear Saveta: My father died of cancer of the prostrate. Does this mean that I have a greater chance of developing the disease? I have an enlarged prostrate and am soon to receive treatment to reduce it. I am worried that this may make me impotent. A friend of mine has had treatment and has had some sexual difficulties since the operation.

M. Burlington

Dear M: It is true that some cancers such as breast cancer run in families; however, there is no evidence that this is true for prostate cancer. The occurrence of sexual problems after prostrate surgery has decreased dramatically with the introduction of new methods; however, it would be best to discuss with your doctor the nature of your operation and what aftereffects you may experience. The likelihood of having sexual problems will be reduced if you know precisely what, if any, changes to expect.

Dear Saveta: Before I had a baby, I used the diaphragm for contraception. Now that I have had my baby, can I use the same diaphragm or do I need to see my doctor to get a new one?

A. St. Catharines

Dear A: You should see your doctor to have a new diaphragm fitted as being pregnant and giving birth will have changed the dimensions of your cervix and vagina so that the old diaphragm will no longer fit properly and may not provide adequate protection. In addition, refitting of the diaphragm is also required if a woman who is not pregnant has lost or gained more than 10 pounds in weight. Diaphragms should be replaced routinely every year or so or as soon as they show any signs of damage. Please speak with your doctor on their thoughts about good diaphragm maintenance.

Dear Saveta: Before I became pregnant, I went to step aerobics classes twice a week. Can I keep going?

E. Peterborough

Dear E: It is probably safe to continue with your aerobic classes if you are careful and do not push your body too hard. You may wish to switch to a less strenuous form of exercise for example; a combination of swimming and walking or perhaps gentle yoga may prove more appropriate giving you both cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone. Of course, it is essential to consult your MD or OB for their preferences regarding best choice of exercise for you at this time and with any concerns or questions.

May God bless you and your new baby!

The easy cancer check that could save you!

Testicular cancer is hardly a common topic of conversation but it should be.

It is the leading cause of cancer in men ages 15 to 35 years of age and women often play a lifesaving role in its detection. In fact, 20% of cases first discovered by a man's partner when she notices a lump, an enlargement in the testes or a change in the consistency of the skin.

This is why a woman should never be embarrassed about speaking to her partner about something she felt and is concerned. Still, detecting the disease is primarily the man's responsibility.

Therefore, the most important thing you can do to keep healthy is perform the 3-minute self-exam every month. The technique is simple enough.

Each testicle should be held in one hand and gently rolled between the thumb and index finger, feeling the front and sides for lumps or tender spots.

The back area should then be checked using gentle squeezes with both hands.

Self-exams are best done during a warm bath or shower when the scrotal skin is relaxed according to the Cancer Society. Do not forget your sons; boys need to be taught to do a self-exam when they reach puberty.

Breast Cancer

We all know that simple monthly breast self-exams help save lives.

In fact, most breast lumps are discovered by women who are checking their own breasts themselves.

Now a university of Toronto study reveals three key lifesaving elements that can enormously increase the effectiveness of breast self-examination.

The important message is to let women know that breast self-examination can make a difference, but you have to do it competently.

The life savings components are:

  1. Visually checking the shape of each breast while standing before a mirror, looking for anything that distorts the curve of the breast including any flat areas or indentations.

  2. Using your sensitive finger pads to feel for breast changes rather than palms or fingertips.

  3. Going over the surface of each breast completely pressing with the flat surface of your three middle fingers as opposed to two fingers or the entire hand. It is not really looking for lumps, it is looking for things you can see or feel in one breast that you cannot in the other.

The researchers reached their conclusions after studying data from 5 years’ worth of data from women aged 40 to 59. Their discovery: women who skipped one of the three components during self-exams had almost twice the risk of dying of breast cancer or having the disease spread. Those leaving out two components, more than doubled their risk compared with women performing all three steps. Those who do nothing face triple the danger.

Additionally, Pharmacists, Nurse Practitioners, Naturopaths, and of course Family Doctors are excellent sources of information on correct self-examination. Do not be bashful, step up and get the information you need to take care of yourself. You do not hesitate to get your teeth, eyes and skin checked. Please take the same constructive and sensible approach with your breast and testicular health.

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