• CAUTION: ABUJA residents 'on the run' as HIV carriers invade CITY, 14,569 males, females test POSITIVE

    23/Jan/2017 // 1748 Viewers

     

    FCT Acting Secretary of Health, Mrs. Grace Achu-Odey, has said that 14,569 people - males and females - tested HIV positive in 2016.

    She also said a total of 265 HIV sites were established in health facilities within the six area councils to ensure that those who are positive accessed care.

    “And a total of 2,632 pregnant women who were HIV positive received the ARV treatment for prevention of mother to child transmission,” she added.

    Achu-Odey who made these revelations recently while briefing newsmen in Abuja on the activities of the secretariat in 2016, also said from January to December 2016, it procured and distributed drugs worth N300 million to its health facilities across the six area councils.

    She acknowledged that the efforts of the secretariat in drugs procurement was not sufficient for the number of hospitals, but that work was in progress towards procuring drugs in bulk from pharmaceutical companies to meet the needs of primary and secondary health facilities.

    She said achievements recorded in 2016 included securing full accreditation for FCT hospitals (Maitama, Wuse and Asokoro) for residency training, obstetrics and gynaecology, for five years, with effect from July, 2016.

    Mrs Achu-Odey said, “We secured accreditation from the National Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria and West African College of Physicians for post graduate residency training in family medicine, to enhance capacity building and improve quality of care.

    “With the challenges in finances, it is not easy to train medical officers up to their specialist level, so for us  to achieve that, it is a plus for us. Because it means that we would have our doctors carrying out their trainings within our facilities, while providing services to the populace of the FCT,” she said.


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  • Men, eat this fruit and you will get a bigger manhood

    23/Nov/2016 // 374 Viewers

     

    Are you among the few men who are still wondering whether penis size is relevant to women’ sexual satisfaction?

    There is no need prolonging this issue, just be aware of this – BABES ENJOY AND CRAVE FOR BIGGER PENIS SIZES! Every chick would like to have a gentleman that is well endowed in penile size and has adequate sexual skills to be able to give her amazing sessions in bed. A lot of chicks would not honestly say the reality about their craving for bigger penises, this is only common. No female wants to be seen as a Ashawo! That is why they pretend.

    There are loads of sex surveys that have been carried out by several sex counselors and the outcomes have all pointed that ladies prefer bigger penis sizes just the way nearly all guys prefer larger breasts to little ones. Both in its flabby and erect state, women crave to see large penises. If that makes you a bit gloomy, you just have to swallow that! Which chick doesn’t want an amazing session in bed!? None! And a larger penis is capable of giving a lady a wonderful session in bed!

    The main reason why Nigerian women love large penis (especially those who have had lovers that are well endowed) has to do with the structure of the vagina. There are pleasure centers that are located deep into the vagina and around the walls of the vagina. A small or average penis is not capable of stimulating all these pleasure centers and these usually results in a woman not being fully satisfied. But a big penis is able to explore deep into a woman’s vagina give her that lovely feeling of both deep penetration and being completely “full”.

    A large number of women need to have their clitoris stimulated during sexual intercourse in order for them to achieve orgasms. A large penis is more capable of stimulating the clitoris during penetration because of the thick base, which would stretch the vaginal lips and provide friction between the penis shaft and the clitoris.


     
    The One Fruit You Need to Eat to Get Bigger Penis

    Date fruit: Sexual health therapist Dr Kazeem, who works at a Sex Clinic in Lagos said men who had performance problems should incorporate dates in their diet. He said: “A ‘date’ fruit is a one-seeded fruit of the date palm tree, which is botanically known as Phoenix dactylifera and belongs to the family of Palmae (Arecaceae) plant. The common English names are dried dates, dates, date palm, etc; usually oblong, with varying sizes, shapes, colours, consistencies and quality. Eating dates will promote sperm quality and quantity as it is one of the best natural fruits used for male fertility. It also increases the size of testes in men and the size of breast in women.”

    Note: Eating the date fruit is not enough to take care of your sexual worries but using the Vitolize For Men and Gin Chia will help you last longer in bed and also get bigger, thicker, larger and stronger.


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  • Shocker: 9,579 persons tested HIV positive in Lagos

    23/Nov/2016 // 216 Viewers

     

    (VANGUARD)No fewer than 9, 579 people were tested positive to HIV of the 616, 318 that attended the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) awareness programme from January to June, 2016. 

    Dr Oluseyi Temowo, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), made this known on Wednesday in Lagos. 

    Temowo spoke at a news conference in Ikeja to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day with the theme: “Hands Up for #HIV Prevention’’. 

    United Nations had in 1988 declared every Dec.1 as the World AIDS Day. This is to honour AIDS victims and focus on issues surrounding HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). 

    Temowo said that in 2015, a total number of 599, 560 people were counselled, tested and received results out of which 15, 311 people were found to be positive. 

    The LSACA chief said that 52, 803 people living with the scourge were currently on Antiretrovirals (ARVs). “These statistics simply means that there are many more people who are not aware that they have the virus, that is why knowing one’s status is very important. 

    “It is a common knowledge that an HIV positive person can be symptom free for 10 years and will continue to infect others, if not checked and treated. “Being HIV positive does not translate to death with appropriate medications,” he said. 

    Temowo said that the agency had mobilised its HCT trucks to all the nooks and crannies of the state to conduct free HIV counselling and testing. This, he said, would enable every Lagos resident to be aware of his or her health status. 

    Temowo said that access to HCT would allow individuals to know their status and take appropriate steps to prevent the transmission to other people. He said that this would also stop the progression to AIDS through lifestyle modification and health seeking behaviour. 

    According to him, this is geared toward achieving the eradication of the virus by 2030. “Achieving AIDS free generation requires collective efforts, this is why we are calling on government at all levels, individuals and organisations to join us in this quest to make Lagos State an HIV Free Zone. 

    “We implore residents to visit all government hospitals within their areas to access free HCT, while HCT trucks will move around to reach other areas for this purpose. 

    “We also advise people to ensure these various means of prevention- condom use, harm reduction, voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, counselling and testing,” he said.


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  • Low sperm count can be treated and managed

    24/Aug/2016 // 898 Viewers

     

    The words, ‘low sperm count’ and ‘no sperm’, are very frightening terms for many men and couples alike, especially when there is a history of infertility. But what do they mean?

    Oligozoospermia or ‘low sperm count’ refers to semen with low concentration of sperm cells. It is commonly associated with male infertility.

    Based on  a recent World Health Organisation criteria, an ejaculate with a  concentration of less than 15 million sperm/ml of semen is termed oilgozoospermia.

    There are also different classes of oligozoospermia (mild to severe). Mild refers to a concentration of 10 million to 15million sperm/ml while moderate is between five million and 10 million sperm/ml and severe is 15  million sperm/ml.

    Azoospermia (no sperm) refers to complete absence of sperm in an ejaculate. It is a well-known cause of male-factor infertility.

    Cryptozoospermia applies to a situation in which sperm cannot be seen in a fresh semen sample but later found after an extensive centrifugation and microscopic search.

    In our society, the burden is placed more on the female partner when it comes to conception. When a couple can’t conceive after a year, the society automatically blames the woman. This assumption is often false. As a matter of fact, male infertility accounts for about 40 per cent of infertile couples. About seven per cent of men are said to be infertile. But a lot of men with fertility problems are reluctant to come for further testing and treatment.

    The good news is that a diagnosis of oligozoospermia or azoospermia is not the ‘end of the road’. These conditions can be treated and a lot of men have benefitted from various treatment options. Furthermore, it has been observed that the success rate for the treatment of infertility is higher when both spouses face the issue and attend the clinic together like in the developed countries.

    But before listing the treatment options it would be important to discuss preventive measures which would include lifestyle adjustments such as  not smoking, avoidance of recreational drugs and environmental toxins, cutting down alcohol and caffeine  intake.

    It is important men avoid exposing their testicles to high temperatures such as hot tubs, long-distance driving and tight underpants and seeking prompt and regular medical care as a number of medical conditions are associated with infertility such as mumps, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, like gonorrhoea and syphilis.

    Management

    A detailed history and physical examination is done by a clinician  to check for possible causes like varicocoele, testicular atrophy, undescended testis and other abnormalities.  A seminal fluid analysis is done to properly assess the sperm parameters. Usually, patients are advised to abstain from intercourse for between two and seven days before doing this test for optimal results.  Further testing, including hormone profile and scrotal ultrasound may be done, especially to check for other underlying causes.

    In our centre we also recommend bioenergetic testing to determine food allergies, environmental toxins or the presences of pathogens.

    Medical treatment

    Depending on the underlying cause, patients can benefit from various drugs. The following are commonly used:

    Gonadotrophins:  Gonadotrophins, especially human chorionic gonadotrophin,  have been used successfully in treating some patients with azoospermia, especially those with underlying hormonal imbalance.

    Anti-estrogens: Drugs like clomiphene citrate and tamoxifen have also been used in patients with oligospermia/azoospermia. These drugs have been used in patients with idiopathic oligozoospermia, as well as patients with low levels of the male hormone – testosterone.

    Dietary supplements and anti-oxidants: The use of antioxidant therapy in treatment of patients with male infertility has been associated with statistically significant improvements in sperm parameters. This is because many of these anti-oxidants are required at different stages of sperm production. Co-enzyme Q10, for example, has been shown to significantly improve sperm concentration, motility and strict morphology in patients undergoing treatment.

    Other drugs used include aromatase inhibitors like  Anastrazole and cyclic steroids (for immunosuppresion). It is important to note that these drugs can be combined to get better results. It is the duty of the clinician to identify the underlying causes and appropriate medication to use.

    What we find most successful is to use all these medication in a sequence but not together. For instance,  many people use a testosterone medication like proviron on a daily basis for several months. Unfortunately in men, the physiological levels of testosterone is not constant; hence, the need to prescribe them in a pulsatile fashion for good results.

    Lifestyle modification: Patients should be encouraged to stop smoking cigarettes and other psychoactive substances. Stress relief and  weight loss, dietary modification, avoidance of toxins have all been shown to be beneficial in treating male infertility.

    Body detox: A lot of people are exposed to toxins from the environment, preservatives in food, drugs, cosmetics and stress. These toxins may accumulate in vital organs, leading to organ damage and infertility. Total body medical detoxification in a medical spa helps to remove these toxins, thereby improving fertility

    Assisted Reproductive Technology

    These refer to the use of advanced techniques to achieve conception. The following are commonly used:

    Artificial Insemination and Fallopian Tube Sperm Perfusion: Patients with mild and even moderate oligozoospermia can benefit from this non-invasive treatment. It involves direct intrauterine injection of ‘sperm suspension’ usually after adequate sperm processing (washing). The aim is to achieve higher concentrations of sperm in the ‘fallopian tubes’ to facilitate conception.

    Pregnancy rates are about 20 per cent per trial and multiple births are common when combined with superovulation.

    Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection

    This is used for patients with severe oligozoospermia. It involves direct injection of sperm into the oocyte (eggs). For this to be done, the oocytes have to be retrieved from the female partner while semen is collected from the male and processed. This method has been extremely beneficial for patients with very low sperm concentrations. Globally, pregnancy rates are around 35 per cent to 45 per cent and can go up to 60 per cent with multiple trials.

    Advanced sperm retrieval techniques

    A number of procedures can be used to collect sperm in patients with azoospermia using local anaesthesia. Many patients with absence of sperm in their ejaculate (semen), still have some sperm in their testis (organ where sperm is produced) and epididymis, which stores mature sperm. Certain procedures can be used to collect this sperm directly from these organs with the help of special needles.

    We have reported a number of pregnancies and babies have been born through these techniques.

    In summary,  there are various treatments available for oligozoospermia and azoospermia. The type and extent of treatment can only be determined after proper evaluation and testing by a skilled fertility physician using appropriate techniques and procedures. - PUNCH


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  • A glass of wine a day could protect against a stroke

    24/Nov/2016 // 167 Viewers

    BY  Laura Donnelly, health editor

     
    A large glass of wine  a day could protect against the most common type of stroke, new research suggests.
     
    The study of 20,000 adults found that up to three units of alcohol a day appeared to reduce the risk of an ischaemic stroke, where the blood supply is stopped due to a blood clot. These account for 85 per cent of all cases.
     
    The research by the Karolinska Institutet and University of Cambridge found that heavier drinking - of any type of alcohol - increased the risks of all types of strokes.
     
    Light drinking - classed as no more than one and a half units of alcohol per day, or a small glass of wine, was found to reduce the risk of ischaemic stroke by around 10 per cent.
     
    Similar findings were found for moderate consumers, who were drinking up to twice as much.
     
    However drinking more than this significantly increased the risk of all types of strokes, the study found.  
     
    And light to moderate alcohol intake did not protect against less common types of strokes - known as intracerebral haemorrhage and subarachnoid haemorrhage.
     
    A stroke is a brain attack that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. There are two kinds: Ischaemic (caused by a clot, or blockage cutting off the blood supply to the brain), or haemorrahagic (caused by a blood vessel bursting within, or on, the surface of the brain)
     
    Who is at risk?
    People over the age of 55
    South Asian, black African or black Caribbean people are at a higher risk than other people in the UK
    If a close relative has had a stroke, your risk is higher
    Certain genetic conditions, such as sickle cell disease, can cause a stroke
    Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, atrial fibrillation and high cholesterol can increase the risk of a stroke
    Our lifestyle choices can also raise the risk of having a stroke - smoking, drinking too much alcohol and being overweight can also raise the risk
    Symptoms: Use the FAST test to diagnose
    Facial weakness:
    Has the person's face fallen on one side?
    Arm weakness:
    Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
    Speech problems:
    Can the person speak clearly or is their speech slurred?
    Time to call 999:
    If the person fails any one of these three signs, get help immediately by calling 999
    Source: Stroke Association
     
    The study published in the journal BMC involved a systematic review of 25 studies, including  data from the Cohort of Swedish Men and the Swedish Mammography Cohort, involving 21,000 stroke victims.
     
    Lead author Associate Professor Dr Susanna Larsson at the Karolinska Institutet said:
     
    "Whether light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, generally defined as one to two drinks per day, is protective against cardiovascular disease remains a controversial topic.
     
    "Alcohol consumption in moderation has been associated with increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, improved insulin sensitivity, and decreased levels of fibrinogen and inflammatory markers."
     
    Woman with a glass of red wine
     
    Enjoying a glass of wine could have health benefits CREDIT: ALAMY
    However, it also increases blood pressure, which raises stroke risks.
     
    Prof Larsson believed the different associations between alcohol consumption and type of stroke may have to do with the effects alcohol has on the human body.
     
    She explained: "Previous research has found an association between alcohol consumption and lower levels of fibrinogen - a protein in the body which helps the formation of blood clots.
     
    "While this may explain the association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and lower ischaemic stroke risk, the adverse effect of alcohol consumption on blood pressure - a major risk factor for stroke - may increase the risk of haemorrhagic stroke and outweigh any potential benefit."


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  • 40 things a person living with HIV/Aids may want to hear

    25/Apr/2016 // 247 Viewers

     

    1. You will curse yourself and that day. You will miss when ignorance was bliss and curse the reason that made you take the test. 

    2. You will take another test to be sure. Even after this, you will still doubt. 

    3. You will collapse within yourself and make safety there. Your body will become a prison and a home to you all at once. 

    4. You will ask God why and he will not answer. 

    5. You will ask how but you already know the answer. 

    6. You will learn the ease and discomfort of keeping a secret. 

    7. You will want to kill yourself. Don’t! 

    8. When you do want to tell someone, you will not make a good first choice. Their reaction will make you wish you were dead, not dying. 

    9. You will have to become an HIV expert. 

    10. You will remember the stigma behind it from the way you viewed others. 

    11. You will view yourself first with the stigma. 

    12. You will want to contact your lovers and accuse them. But you cannot accuse them without implicating yourself and you will fight with this. You may find who or you may not but you will not find comfort right away. 

    13. You will not understand why there is no cure. 

    14. You will love the drugs for keeping you alive and well. 

    15. You will hate having to take the drugs every day. 

    16. You will learn you can have a sex life and even have children who are HIV free. You may or may not find comfort in it. 

    17. You will find others like you. 

    18. You will hate yourself and reminisce on way back when you were HIV negative. 

    19. You will contemplate suicide, but before then mass murder by spreading the infection. 

    20. You will wish you had gotten your partners tested. You will understand the significance of testing. 

    21. You will want to refuse taking drugs at some point. You must! You must! Your life does not just belong to you alone, but also to those who will miss you when you are gone. Stay alive for them. 

    22. The hospital must become your best friend as you go through the motions. 

    23. You will find judgment from left, right and centre and you have to survive it all. 

    24. You will find you will lose people with the revelation and you have to survive through it. 

    25. You will find you gain more understanding and loving people. 

    26. You will find the world is big but sometimes not big enough for you. Ignore it. 

    27. You may find you will not live as long as you hoped. You will be okay and should live life fully. 

    28. You will break down more times than you expect. 

    29. You will learn it is not a registered disability and you are considered as capable as one who is negative. 

    30. You will swim in self-pity, but do not drown. 

     31. You will be envious of those who are negative. 

    32. You will have this letter anytime you want to end it all and are looking for a reason not to. 

    33. You will have people who love you more than you imagined. 

    34. You will never fully be comfortable enough to let your status roll off your tongue. 

    35. You will realise you are not Charlie Sheen. Your diagnosis may not make headlines. 

    36. You will realise strength in you that you never knew. 

    37. You are not any less human! 

    38. You will become more grateful or sceptical about life and its vices.

    39. You will have to learn to love yourself twice as much as you did before and stay as healthy as possible. 

    40. You will always, always have this letter to remind you of all the people I’ve lost to HIV and to tell you that I don’t want to lose you too. Stay strong!


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  • Zika outbreak will worsen before it gets better, WHO head says

    25/Feb/2016 // 237 Viewers

     

    By Stephen Eisenhammer

     

    RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The head of the World Health Organization warned Wednesday that the Zika outbreak would likely worsen before nations besieged by the mosquito-borne virus linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil see relief.

    Director-General Margaret Chan made the comments at the end of her two-day visit to Brazil, the country at the epicenter of the Zika crisis.

    "Things may get worse before they get better," Chan said at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. "Don't be surprised to see microcephaly reported in other parts of Brazil."

    As yet, Brazil's Zika outbreak has been concentrated in the northeastern part of the nation.

    Much remains unknown about Zika, including whether the virus actually causes microcephaly, a condition marked by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems. Chan underscored that scientists are still working to determine causality between the virus and the birth defect.

    Brazil said this week it has confirmed more than 580 cases of microcephaly, and considers most of them to be related to Zika infections in the mothers. Brazil is investigating more than 4,100 additional suspected cases of microcephaly.

    After Brazil, Colombia has been hardest hit by Zika infections with the country's health officials reporting on Wednesday a probable case of microcephaly possibly linked to Zika in an aborted fetus.

    Colombia has reported more than 37,000 cases of Zika including 6,356 in pregnant women but has yet to have a confirmed microcephaly case linked to the virus. At least 34 countries, mostly in the Americas, have active Zika outbreaks and the virus is expected to spread.

    The World Health Organization declared the outbreak an international health emergency on Feb. 1, citing a "strongly suspected" relationship between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly. Scientists are also studying a potential link between Zika infection and Guillain-Barre, a rare neurological disorder that can weaken the muscles and cause paralysis. - Reuters

     


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  • Warning To Men: 3 foods killing your erection unawares

    25/Mar/2017 // 1888 Viewers

     

    Have you ever found it hard to get into the mood with your partner, or maybe you cannot get yourself up again after just the first round?

    It could be what you just ate

    All these embarrassing displays can ruin ones sex life which have a direct influence on how healthy and happy any relationship can be.

    A lagging sex drive and poor erection could be the result of what you’ve been eating. Of course, it’s not always about food.
    Poor erection can be attributed to a number of factors, including sociological, psychological, and hormonal influences. Often, antidepressant medications are the culprit. Other times, stress or drug and alcohol abuse can play a role.

    Smoking, along with all of its other terrible health effects, can diminish sexual desire and satisfaction, especially in men.
    “Smoking has a direct, negative effect on the sexuality of a man on every level,” says Panayiotis M. Zavos, PhD, Altering bad habits, like smoking and excessive drinking, in order to encourage better overall health, will no doubt be beneficial to your sexual health as well.
    Now lets talk about the kinds of food that may be affecting your performance on bed.

    Generally any food type that makes us gain weight can affect one’s libido as well but below are some foods that could be ruining your pleasures.

    Fried Foods

    Fried foods definitely don’t do your sex life any favors. Trans fats found in fried foods dramatically decrease the male and female libido, according to Medical Daily.

    Consuming trans fatty acids can also cause abnormal sperm production in men and interferes with female gestation. You and your significant other would be wise to skip the french fries at dinner, since they could be at fault for more than one sexual problem.

    Processed Carbohydrate

    Any refined carbohydrates, like those found in bleached white flour and white rice, are bad news for your sex drive. This includes many pastas, cereals [rice and wheat], breads, and snack foods like crackers, cookies, and chips.

    Men’s Fitness explained that large amounts of refined carbs will cause your testosterone levels to decrease. The sugars from these carbohydrates can make men gain weight and raise estrogen levels as testosterone is depleted. Reach for good carbs like vegetables and whole grains instead.

    Sugary foods/Drinks

    You must have heard the popular saying that “Sugar is your enemy?”
    Or you must have ever had that embarrassing experience where your dick just refuses to charge when you need it most, this is what we call “Sugar Crash”

    Sugar from soda drinks, sweet, ice-cream, so called energy drinks etc can crash your libido and erection in a twinkle of an eye causing you embarrassing moments with your partner.


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  • 10 cancer symptoms men shouldn't ignore

    26/Apr/2016 // 470 Viewers

     

     Nagging back pain. Indigestion. Frequent urination. You may assume these are minor health issues that don’t need a doctor visit. But think again.

    Cancer symptoms are often vague. In fact, prostate cancer–the most common cancer in men–has some of the least obvious symptoms.

    “Men shouldn’t ignore their health,” says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. “It’s vital to stay informed, pay attention to changes in your body and report unusual symptoms to your doctor right away.”   

    Knowing what symptoms to look for can help your doctor find cancer early when it’s most treatable.

    Bevers shares some of the most common cancer symptoms in men.  

    1. Abnormal lump. Have you recently felt a mass or lump right below your skin? This may be a sign of cancer. Lumps normally show up in the breast, testicles, lymph nodes and soft tissues, like tendons and ligaments. Here’s what to do: Report it to your doctor immediately, especially if you just found it, or it has grown in size.


    2. Changes in your testicles. Have you noticed changes in the size of your testicles, like one or both have   gotten bigger? Maybe you’ve found a lump, or your testicles feel swollen or extra heavy. Any of these signs should send you straight to your doctor. Testicular cancer is most common in young and middle-aged men.

     
    3. Changes in your restroom habits. Suddenly need to use the restroom all the time? Or have pain when you go? This may be a sign of bladder or prostate cancer. Other signs to look out for are blood in your urine or stool. Changes in your bowel habits, like constipation or diarrhea that won’t go away, matter too.

     
    4. Changes in your skin. If you work long hours outside or have a history of blistering sun burns, check your skin more closely. What you think are signs of hard work might actually be skin cancer. Look for unusual bleeding, scaling or sores that do not heal. Other signs include warts as well as moles and freckles that change in color, size or shape. Bottom line: If you’ve got a strange spot on your skin, call your dermatologist.


    5. Indigestion or trouble swallowing. A prolonged painful burning sensation in your throat or chest shouldn’t be ignored – even if you suspect it’s from eating spicy food. Don’t think that regular indigestion or trouble swallowing is a normal part of aging either. It can be a sign of esophageal, stomach or throat cancer. 


    6. Persistent cough or hoarseness. Do you have a nagging cough? If it lasts more than three weeks, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. And whether you smoke or not, a cough that doesn’t go away can be a sign of lung cancer. Persistent hoarseness, wheezing, shortness of breath or coughing up blood are also signs to call your doctor right away.  


    7. Changes in your mouth. If you smoke, chew, dip or spit tobacco, you need to pay close attention to changes inside your mouth. White patches inside your mouth or white patches on your tongue may be pre-cancers. Left untreated, these areas can turn into oral cancer. Sores, unexplained bleeding, numbness or tenderness in the area around your mouth – like your tongue, lips and cheeks – should tell you that it’s time for a check-up.


    8. Unexplained weight loss. Are you dropping pounds without changing your diet or exercise habits? Call your doctor – even if you think they’re pounds you need to lose. Losing ten or more pounds for no known reason can be a sign of pancreatic, stomach, esophageal or lung cancer.


    9. Constant fatigue. Are you too tired to play with your kids? Or hang out with the guys after work? Are you constantly tired no matter how much rest you get? Don’t brush it off. Constant fatigue can be a sign of leukemia as well as some colon and stomach cancers.


    10. Persistent pain. Nagging back pain, a headache that won’t go away, abdominal or stomach pains – your doctor needs to know.  “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply to cancer. And, persistent pain, no matter the location, can be the first sign that something’s wrong.  
    Remember, having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer. But if they’re persistent, you need to go in for a checkup.

    “See your doctor and get your cancer risk assessed,” Bevers says. This assessment can help you understand whether or not you’re more likely to get cancer. That way you can make better choices to keep your body healthy and cancer-free. - maderson.org


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  • Why Fertility Treatments Aren’t Covered for Veterans

    26/Feb/2016 // 338 Viewers

     

     
    The U.S. government will help active-duty soldiers with the cost of IVF, but those who have left the military don’t have the same benefit—even when combat injuries make it impossible to have kids otherwise.
    Midway through Matt Keil’s second deployment in Iraq, he came home and married his fiancé, Tracy, in 2007.
    He had two weeks R&R; no time for a honeymoon.
    Before he went back to war the couple had the sort of conversation unique to newlyweds in the military. “I told her if you get a phone call that I’m injured, I’m probably fine,” Matt says. “But if they come to the apartment or to your work in person, then I’m dead.”
    Six weeks later the news came—a phone call, thankfully. Matt had been shot in the shoulder. It wasn’t until Tracy got to Walter Reed Army Medical Center that she got the full story. The sniper’s bullet had nicked Matt’s spine.
    “The doctor came in and told me he was paralyzed from the neck down, and he said it was a ‘Christopher Reeve’-type injury,” says Tracy.
    Questions overwhelmed them about the future, including whether they’d ever be able to have children. It seemed like something they could figure out later.
     “They were kinda telling us we’re putting the cart before the horse,” Matt recalls. “‘You guys got to get through a whole hell of a lot of rehab.’”
    Time was running out, though, and the Keils didn’t realize it.
    To have children they’d need help: in vitro fertilization. But IVF is expensive, costing, on average, at least $12,000 per cycle of treatment, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
    The Pentagon’s health-care system for active-duty troops covers IVF for wounded soldiers like Matt Keil. The Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans doesn’t. By the time the Keils learned about the difference, it was too late.
    “We were just swallowing the fact that he was never going to go back to work,” Tracy says. “But finding out that IVF wouldn’t be covered because we agreed to retire out so quickly, that was hard, because nobody told me that.”
    A law passed in 1992 made it illegal for the VA to pay for IVF, which some people oppose because embryos are often destroyed in the process.
    The only option for the Keils would have been to get the procedure done immediately after Matt’s injury. They had missed the window.
    Matt was just starting to accept that with the limits of current science he might never walk again. But the limit on his ability to pay for IVF was put in his way by Congress.
    “This is a direct result of a combat injury,” says Tracy. “Don’t tell me that his service wasn’t good enough for us to have a chance at a family. Because we’ve already lost so much. I just want to have a family with the man that I love and please don’t make this any worse than it already has to be.”
    In the decades since Congress banned IVF for the VA, the procedure has become much more common. And about 1,400 troops came back from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe injuries to their reproductive organs. Thousands more have head injuries, paralysis or other conditions that make IVF their best option.
    Bills to change the law come up periodically, only to be blocked at the last minute, says Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington. “They don’t come out and say that directly, but there continues to be a backroom concern about the practice of IVF,” Murray says. Murray’s bipartisan IVF bill nearly passed last summer.
    Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who is staunchly against abortion rights, effectively blocked it. Tillis declined requests for comment, but said at the time that he opposed the bill because other problems at the VA need to be fixed first.
    The Congressional Budget Office estimates a change in VA policy to pay for fertility treatment could cost more than $500 million over four years.
    Murray says vets should get the same options as active-duty troops. “It’s really ridiculous that Congress would deny a widely used medical procedure to our veterans just because of their own … beliefs,” she says.

    Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said he’s working toward a compromise that “meets the needs of this special group of severely injured veterans while being sensitive to concerns surrounding IVF procedures.”
    In the meantime, many fertility clinics across the country offer discounted rates for veterans who are paying out of their own pockets for IVF.
    For the Keils, who spent the year after Matt’s injury figuring out how their new life could work, offers like that came too late.
    “We weren’t at a good spot in our marriage at the time, and thought that if we’re going to bring kids into this world they need to be brought into a healthy relationship,” says Matt.
     “What if we didn’t even end up staying together?” Tracy adds.
    They took a year to work it out, and then decided it was for sure—their marriage would survive. They also wanted a family.

    “We were ready, and it didn’t matter what it was going to take,” Tracy says.
    The VA told them what they already knew—no coverage for IVF. The decision still seemed crazy to them, considering how much medical care VA would pay for.
    “I served my country. I was injured,” Matt says. “All my medical supplies are paid for, but the one thing they won’t facilitate [by] paying—that I lost the ability to have— as a family.”
    Paying for IVF on their own seemed impossible to Matt and Tracy.
    Matt’s condition meant that IVF would be even more of a financial strain than usual. Among other things, Tracy was her husband’s full-time caregiver, and they would need to hire help while she was getting treatments.

    Their savings weren’t going to cut it.
    But then a veterans charity paid for the Keils’ wheelchair accessible house, so they could target their money toward IVF. The local VFW held a fundraiser to help. Kids all around Denver and then Colorado set up lemonade stands and collected donations, too.
    The couple’s twins, Faith and Matthew, were born in November 2010. They ride on the back of their dad’s motorized wheelchair. When he wants to lift them high in the air they jump on his feet and he reclines the chair until he’s upside down.
    This winter the kids are outside building igloos and snowmen.
    Thousands of vets have injuries that make IVF their only option for having a family. Matt and Tracy Keil say they want them all to get that chance.


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