The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

October 4, 2013

Weight loss troubles otherwise healthy prostrate cancer patient

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 65-year-old man. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with medium-grade prostate cancer. I read hundreds of articles as well as numerous studies relating to the effectiveness of treatment. However, it became obvious to me that the odds of any type of treatment curing prostate cancer is virtually zero, so I have chosen to do nothing.

Aside from the knowledge that I have cancer, my health is good, with one exception. I have lost 20 pounds in two years. Blood tests from two doctors have shown nothing, and I am told there is nothing more that can be done. I also was told that prostate cancer is highly unlikely to cause weight loss, so the cause must be something else. I exercise and feel generally good, none of which has changed in the past 10 years. I do eat less sugar, red meat, salt and dairy since my diagnosis. But I no longer believe that the diet is responsible for my weight loss, which is continuing. Can you please suggest other tests to try to diagnose my problem? — J.U.

Answer: John Ultmann, one of my oncology professors, told me that when someone with cancer has a new problem, you should first check if the cancer is causing it, then if the treatment for the cancer is causing it, before thinking about other causes.

The PSA test was intended to be used to follow the course of the disease, and it is pretty good at correlating with the amount of disease. Sometimes more-sophisticated tests, such as bone scans or CT scans, are needed to look for spread. However, since two doctors have said that the prostate cancer is not likely the cause of the weight loss, let’s think about the other options.

Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation all have their complications — but you didn’t take any of these. So what causes significant weight loss in a 65-year-old? Cancer is a possibility, and it is certainly possible to have more than one at the same time, so I would make sure your other cancer screenings, especially colonoscopy, are up-to-date.

Text Only
Food & Health
  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4-15-14 Asparagus photo Make asparagus the center of your plate Asparagus has been a delicious symbol of spring since at least as far back as the Greeks, who called it asparagos -- literally, "to spring up." But however it is spelled, it makes me happy. Most grocers sell asparagus in a range of sizes, from thin a

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Floating stools not alarming DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read that whether stools float or sink could be an indication of one's health, even to the point of being an early sign of pancreatic cancer. Isn't it just about density and gas -- that is, doesn't most food we eat float in wat

    April 15, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4 years after spill, questions on long-term health

    When a BP oil well began gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, fisherman George Barisich used his boat to help clean up the millions of gallons that spewed in what would become the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

    Like so many Gulf Coast residents who pitched in after the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Barisich was motivated by a desire to help and a need to make money — the oil had destroyed his livelihood.

    April 11, 2014

  • Clearing up protein numbers DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a healthy 57-year-old woman, relatively fit and active. Ten years ago, during a routine wellness exam, my bloodwork indicated an elevated CRP of 10. In the next decade, it has gradually increased and seems to dance around 15 or 1

    April 11, 2014

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 10, 2014

  • Dieters move past calories, food makers follow

    Obsessing over calories alone has left dieters with an empty feeling.

    The calorie counting that defined dieting for so long is giving way to other considerations, like the promise of more fiber or natural ingredients. That is chipping away at the popularity of products like Diet Coke, Lean Cuisine and Special K, which became weight-watching staples primarily by stripping calories from people's favorite foods.

    April 10, 2014

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 9, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.