Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thank you Memorial Sloan-Kettering for referencing Prostate Pal

I'm happy to share this link from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) Library Blog.

They have referenced "Prostate Pal" as a mobile resource for patients dealing with prostate cancer.  MSKCC is one of the premier cancer hospitals in the world. I think it's great to have such a prominent instution advocate for mobile apps as a way to further empower patients and increase efficiency of care.

Their library also has a reference page for other healthcare apps for patients and their families.  The resources were selected by their staff librarians.  I encourage those who are interested in mHealth to look at the site and check out the apps.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Caricatures of men's health in the media

I just read an interesting article on KevinMD regarding men's health issues on TV.

If you read the comments after the article, I chimed in on the piece, but also wanted to drop it in my blog because I think it's quite topical with Men's Health Week coming up.

My comments:
Great article, Joel.  As a urologist who deals with the conditions you referenced, I can relate to the lack of respect for male health at times in the media.  There needs to be more constructive awareness of men's health concerns from reputable medical professionals, not just caricatures and off colored jokes.
Here is a challenge. When is Men's Health Week?  Answer - The week up to an including Father's Day (June 11 - June 17, 2012). I doubt that most in the blogosphere knew of such a celebration. 
It is up to us in medicine to get out there and increase advocacy for male health concerns!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bladder Pal at the AUA Annual Meeting

Entrance to the AUA Meeting - Georgia World Congress Center
Photo Credit - Ronald Yap, MD

I recently returned from the American Urological Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta.
I did a few things at the meeting, but wanted to focus this post on "Bladder Pal".  If you want to read about what I was doing altogether at the meeting please check out this prior blog post.  For more background info on "Bladder Pal" check this post out.

On Sunday, May 20th, I demonstrated "Bladder Pal" to members of the AUA Foundation (AUAF) and Overactive Bladder (OAB) Expert Panel.  New guidelines for the management of OAB were released at the meeting and the AUAF is doing a patient outreach initiative to increase awareness and treatment of this condition.  To help support this effort, "Bladder Pal" will be highlighted as a tool to empower patients to track their urologic health in conjunction with their healthcare providers.  I'm honored and excited to be working with the AUAF on this and hope that "Prostate Pal" can also be helpful to the Foundation in the future.

Me demonstrating "Bladder Pal" at the AUA Foundation Booth
Photo courtesy of Alaina Willing - AUA Foundation
As you can see from the picture, my tie looks quite short.  Prior to my booth appearance, I taught a "hands on" course on laser prostate surgery and had to tuck it in my tie to keep it out of the way.  The only problem is that I forgot to untuck it and was walking around most of the day with it looking like that.  I was talking to all sorts of people with that thing tucked in and no one said a thing!  

On Tuesday, May 22nd, "Bladder Pal" was discussed during a podium presentation at the meeting.  The reception was very positive and the downloads skyrocketed after the presentation.  The abstract even made it to the highlight reel for the meeting.  Click on the Urodynamics/Female Urology link and "Bladder Pal" is profiled starting at 7:53.  

I'd also like to give some kudos to Dr. Ben Herrick, a Dartmouth Urology resident, who presented the "Bladder Pal" abstract and two other abstracts with me at the meeting.  He has been part of my research group for the past year and has been doing one heck of a job.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

What is BPH?

The term BPH or an "enlarged prostate" is commonplace, but what exactly is it?

BPH is an acronym for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:
  • benign - noncancerous
  • prostatic - in prostate
  • hyperplasia - multiplication of cells
In BPH, the prostate cells increase in number and are packed closer together. This causes enlargement of the prostate gland and closes the urethra through which urine passes between the bladder and penis.
Left - normal prostate             Right - prostate with BPH
Source Wikimedia Commons and NCI

BPH starts early and insidiously, usually in the 40's with an incidence proportional to age.  That means that a 50 year old man has about a 50% chance of having BPH.  Therefore, in general, BPH is an issue of when it will happen rather than if it will happen.
Why is BPH a problem?

As the prostate enlarges it closes the voiding channel.  This can cause urinary symptoms including frequency, urgency, hesitancy, feelings of incomplete emptying, nighttime urination.  BPH can also cause urinary tract infections, urinary retention, hematuria, and even kidney damage.

Please see this prior blog post for more info on urinary symptoms.

Therefore, BPH can affect a man's physical health and quality of life.

What causes BPH?

One significant factor in prostate growth is the male hormone testosterone, or more specifically dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  DHT goes into prostate cells and causes an increase in cell multiplication.  Though male hormones are a big factor, medical science has not identified all the factors that are involved in prostate hyperplasia.  Identifying other mechanisms for this disease process are breakthroughs waiting to happen.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

ACPE "Share Your Story" session up on their website

The American College of Physician Executives have placed all the posters from the "Share Your Story"
session from the recent 2012 Annual Meeting on their website.  The poster session highlighted various ways physicians are changing healthcare at their institutions.

I was honored to present in this forum regarding mobile healthcare technology.  Through "Bladder Pal" and "Prostate Pal", to date several thousand users have been empowered to track their urologic health.

With the American Urological Association Annual Meeting presentations coming up, there will be more awareness of the apps and hopefully increased usage of these helpful tools.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Preventing young male death in America

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has a plethora of statistics regarding the health of America.  I have reviewed the site and found the tables for male all cause mortality by age particularly enlightening.

Predictably, the number one and two causes of death for males 45+ is heart disease and cancer.  These diseases are well known in the public eye with significant resources put towards the prevention and treatment of these conditions, and rightfully so.

The eye-opener for me is this statistic for young males. The number one cause of death for males from age 1 to 44 is "unintentional injury".  This trend is also seen in females with "unintentional injury" the leading cause of death from age 1 to 34.   Unintentional injury is used rather than "accident" because public health officials believe that many can be potentially preventable.

Though a death at any age is difficult, the demise of a young person is especially tragic.  In addition, the loss of productive years of work and reproduction are also quite a loss to society at large.

Some things that come to mind for young men to prevent such tragedies are:
  • Don't drink or use drugs and operate machinery
  • Don't speed
  • Wear your seatbelts
  • Use good firearm and hunting safety practices
  • Wear a helmet for bikes, motorbikes, ATV's
  • Wear a life vest when using watercraft 
  • Be aware of workplace safety
Obviously, this list is far from comprehensive...

On Tuesday, June 12, I will be distributing unintentional injury prevention materials at the Concord Hospital cafeteria to celebrate Men's Health Week - more on that celebration in another blog post.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Nurses Day/Week!

Today is National Nurses Day.

It also kicks off National Nurses Week - a celebration of the many contributions of nursing to society.  It is the week up to May 12th which is Florence Nightingale's birthday - recognized as the founder of modern nursing.

There are so many nurses I interact with in the clinic, ward, OR, and conference room that I can't thank you all by name.  This holiday also extends into my personal life since my mother is a nurse practitioner.

So... I'd like to extend my thanks to all nurses everywhere for their multifaceted work!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gearing up for the 2012 AUA Annual Meeting

The American Urological Association (AUA), has its annual meeting coming up this month from May 19-23.  It's a huge convention with over 11,000 attendees from all over the world.  The topics cover the entire spectrum of urology.  There are so many things going on during the meeting that it is important to be systematic and selective about your learning goals.

For those who have never heard of this meeting, it's probably shocking to know that there will be 11,000 urologists in one city at the same time. Since most urologists are male, I can also tell you that it's one of the few times I've seen the bathroom line being longer for the men's room than for the ladies'.  Leave it to a urologist like me to make such an observation!

It will be a busy meeting for me this year.  Here's what I'll be doing:

- I will help teach a class on laser prostate surgery for BPH  (108HO: Modern Alternatives to TURP: Lasers and Bipolar Sunday, May 20, 2012, 8 – 11 a.m.).  

- From 11a - noon that day, I'll will be at the AUA Foundation (AUAF) booth in the exhibit hall to talk about the Bladder Pal app.   I'm very excited to announce that the AUAF has approached me to collaborate via this app on their new overactive bladder awareness campaign.  By working together we will be able to increase recognition and patient empowerment for this condition.  

- Later in the week, I will be presenting 3 abstracts:
  1. Abstract 1548: "Bladder Pal" - Empowering Patients to Monitor Urologic Health with Mobile Technology
  2. Abstract 2010: "Prostate Pal" - Empowering Patients to Monitor Urologic Health with Mobile Technology
  3. Abstract 2170: It Is Safe to Teach Residents Laser Prostatectomy in the Private Practice Setting

I hope to catch the BPH and men's health related sessions and as many plenary talks as I can since they are particularly informative and contemporary.

If you are reading this and will be at the meeting, please grab me and say hi!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Talking about prostate health at NP conference tomorrow

No rest for the weary.
After just coming back from the ACPE Annual Meeting in San Francisco, I have a talk about prostate health at the 19th Annual Northeast Regional Nurse Practitioner Conference tomorrow afternoon (5/3 at 2:30pm).

Here's a brief on the talk from the conference brochure:

Ronald Yap, MD

The issues and recommendations related to this topic continue to evolve.
During this session, we will discuss two common issues affecting the aging male:
prostate enlargement (BPH) and prostate cancer screening. We will review current national guidelines. Up to date research, management options and controversies will be discussed."

It will be a jam packed talk.  Last year, I talked about BPH alone and took up the entire time.
Given the recent stories regarding screening involving Warren Buffett's prostate cancer, USPSTF guidelines, and evolving clinical studies, adding the prostate cancer screening part will hopefully clear up some confusion about this issue. 

I have the talk as a .ppt file and have thought about putting some videos up with my lecture material on You Tube at some point in the future.  If this is something you'd like to see please comment.