Happy New Year! How Your Resolution Can do More than Trim Your Waistline

Are you resolving to get into shape this New Year? If so, you are not alone. According to a 2015 Nielsen study, 37% of those surveyed listed staying fit and healthy as their New Year’s resolution while 32% were focused on weight loss. [1] As we move into 2017, it is safe to assume that these goals remain among the most common resolutions of the New Year. If you hope to improve your health in the coming months, we applaud you! After all, a healthier lifestyle not only makes you look and feel better, it can reduce your risk factor for a multitude of health problems.

Body Mass and Cancer Risk [2]

The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that roughly 20% of cancers diagnosed each year in the United States are linked to preventable health issues – including excess body fat, lack of physical exercise, excess consumption of alcohol, and/or poor nutrition.  While all of these variables may contribute to one’s cancer risk, excess body weight seems to have the strongest correlation, contributing to as many as 1 in 5 of all cancer-related deaths.

Carrying excess body weight is linked with an increased risk of many types of cancer including breast cancer, endometrium cancer, esophagus cancer, colon and rectum cancer, pancreas cancer, and kidney cancer. In addition, being overweight or obese may potentially raise one’s risk of developing aggressive forms of prostate cancer, gallbladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, liver cancer, multiple myeloma cancer, cervix cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Health in the New Year

Studies tells us that carrying excess body fat is not only hard on the heart, it can contribute to your cancer risk factor, being all the more reason to set health goals in 2017 and resolve to stick to them. Carve out time each week to exercise to help you stay fit, and make a conscious effort to eat a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.

Another factor that can contribute to cancer risk, including prostate cancer risk, is family health history. Don’t miss our recent post to learn more about genetic predispositions for developing cancer. If you or a loved one have reason to believe that you are at an increased risk of prostate cancer, we encourage you to remain vigilant.  By regularly visiting your doctor and undergoing blood tests, you can assess your risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. The 4Kscore is an advanced blood test that predicts a man’s risk percent of having aggressive prostate cancer in a biopsy on a scale of <1% to >95%.

Setting Your Health Resolutions

As we kick off 2017, we encourage you to resolve to live a healthier lifestyle – not just by trimming your waistline, but also by talking with your family about your health history, visiting your doctor regularly, and reducing your disease risk. And if you’re a man with an elevated PSA, check your risk for aggressive prostate cancer with the 4Kscore test.

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  • This Year’s Top New Year’s Resolution? Fitness!! Available at https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2015/2015s-top-new-years-resolution-fitness.html. (Accessed December 11, 2016).
  • American Cancer Society. Does body weight affect cancer risk? Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/bodyweightandcancerrisk/body-weight-and-cancer-risk-effects. (Accessed December 11, 2016)

Home for the Holidays: Family History and Prostate Cancer Risk

For many of us, the holidays are a time to travel home and spend with family and friends. During these joyous occasions, it’s important to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. As you sit down with relatives and share memories, this is also an opportunity to ask questions and have meaningful conversations about your health. Though family health history is a topic that doesn’t always come up, there is no better time to ask questions and learn about your genealogy than when you are gathered together. Knowing your family history can help you understand your risk of developing a wide range of health problems, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer, including cancer of the prostate.

Family Health History and Prostate Cancer

Many studies have demonstrated a genetic contribution to prostate cancer risk. Members of families with the following characteristics may especially want to consider genetic consultation:

  • Having multiple first-degree relatives with a prostate cancer diagnosis
  • Early-onset prostate cancer (age ≤55 years)
  • Those with a family history of prostate cancer along with other types of cancers (e.g., breast, ovarian, pancreatic). [1]

Know Your Family Health History

Research tells us that one’s genetic predisposition for developing cancer reaches beyond cancer of the prostate. In fact, inherited genetic mutations are believed to contribute to 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. [2] This is why it’s important to take the time to discuss family health history when your loved ones are together. Taking a proactive approach can lead to early detection of disease, which can saves lives. We encourage you to ask questions this holiday season – Learn about your family medical history and do your part to educate your relatives about instances of cancer and other disease in your lineage.

4Kscore Test: Simple Prostate Cancer Blood Test

If you or a loved have a family health history of prostate cancer, or other types of cancer, it is important to monitor your health. The 4Kscore checks four prostate-specific biomarkers and clinical information to predict a man’s risk of aggressive prostate cancer. This simple blood test is performed after an abnormal PSA, and can help you and your loved ones specifically determine the risk of aggressive prostate cancer prior to making a prostate biopsy decision. Do your part this holiday season to have the discussion and encourage those you hold dear to take an active role in monitoring their health.

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  • National Cancer Institute. Genetics of Prostate Cancer (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. Available https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/hp/prostate-genetics-pdq. (Accessed December 8, 2016).
  • National Cancer Institute. Genetic Testing for Hereditary Cancer Syndromes. Available https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/genetic-testing-fact-sheet. (Accessed December 8, 2016).

This Season, Give the Gift of Information

With so much to consider this time of year, from holiday shopping to social engagements, it’s easy to lose focus of our health. What if you could give a thoughtful gift this year, that shifts focus to your health and that of your loved ones? Rather than getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday commercialism, why not give the men you love peace of mind for their prostate health with information about the 4Kscore.

Peace of Mind for Prostate Health

Prostate cancer risk factors impact us all. Research tells us that 1 in every 7 men will develop some form of prostate cancer in their lifetime. Even if you are not at risk of prostate cancer, chances are someone you love is. This is why we encourage you to share information about the 4Kscore test this season. Whether you choose to have a conversation with your physician about prostate cancer yourself, or you encourage a loved one to do so, you will be giving a gift that doesn’t expire – knowledge about prostate cancer risk and test options.

How Does the 4Kscore Test Work?

If you, or a loved one, have been concerned with prostate health, chances are you are familiar with the PSA test. Unlike the 4Kscore, PSA tests do not clearly differentiate between aggressive prostate cancer and less serious health conditions. Because of this, men with high PSA results may be subjected to unnecessary medical procedures.

The 4Kscore is a follow up test after an abnormal PSA result, and is more specific for aggressive prostate cancer. The 4Kscore combines the values of four prostate-specific kallikreins in the blood (Total PSA, Free PSA, Intact PSA, and Human Kallikrein 2 (hK2)), with age, digital rectal exam results and prior biopsy history to arrive at a personal risk score for each patient. The resulting 4Kscore predicts a patient’s risk of high grade prostate cancer on a scale from <1% to >95%, and the long-term risk of developing metastatic prostate cancer. The 4Kscore has the potential to dramatically increase the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis, and provide men with peace of mind for their prostate health.

Give a Gift that Shows You Care About His Health

If a loved one has an abnormal PSA, the 4Kscore can provide them with peace of mind for their prostate health. This season, give your loved ones the gift of information about their prostate cancer risk and the 4Kscore test. Encourage them to contact their physician, ask the right questions, and get tested at a 4Kscore test laboratory.

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The Importance of Staying Fit During the Holidays

For many, the holiday season symbolizes a time to give thanks, spend time with family, and to reflect on the past year. The winter months are also full of indulgence and celebration. While we all try our best to stay on track during the holidays, it is not uncommon to pick-up unhealthy habits while allowing some of our healthier habits to momentarily take a backseat.

Holiday Weight Gain

According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, holiday weight gain is an issue in America and abroad. It found that the American participants experienced a 0.2% increase in weight over the Thanksgiving holiday followed by a 0.4% increase over Christmas.  Our German counterparts experienced an increase in body weight by 0.6% over Christmas and an incremental 0.2% over Easter. Finally, Japanese participants saw a 0.5% increase in body weight over Christmas and 0.3% boost over Golden Week, a period which includes four national holidays.[1]

It’s Not Just About the Scale

The ramifications of over indulging and allowing your fitness routine to slip during the holidays can go far beyond a few pounds on the scale or an extra notch on your belt. There are a myriad of health risks associated with sudden weight gain. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, being overweight can put you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, certain types of cancer and more.[2]

Physical Activity May Reduce Cancer Risk

The list of benefits of physical activity goes on and on; helping to maintain a healthy weight, producing natural endorphins, fighting heart disease and more. To add to those benefits, research findings have reported a link between regular physical activity and a reduced risk of certain types of cancers.[3] A study completed by a team of researchers at the University of Vermont, Burlington, found that physically fit men, in their midlife, have a reduced risk level of dying of cancer-related deaths as they age.[4] Medical research not only tells us that exercise can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer in men, but that it may also help to keep it at bay. Another study found that regular vigorous physical activity may help to slow the progression of prostate cancer in men age 65 and up.[5]

Battle the Bulge this Holiday Season

Rather than simply allowing yourself to gain a few extra pounds this holiday season, get moving! Make the commitment now to stick to your workout and/or activity routine. Hit the gym a little harder the day before and the day after a major holiday splurge and consider skipping the occasional sweet or cocktail – or opt for healthier food options. By taking a few measures now, you will be doing yourself and your body a lot of favors.

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  • New England Journal of Medicine. Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries. Available at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1602012. (Accessed November 15, 2016).
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Health Risks of Being Overweight. Available at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/health_risks_being_overweight/Pages/health-risks-being-overweight.aspx. (Accessed November 16, 2016).
  • National Cancer Institute. Physical Activity and Cancer. Available at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet#q8. (Accessed December 1, 2016)
  • JAMA Oncology. Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Incident Cancer, and Survival After Cancer in Men. Available at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2203829 (Accessed December 1, 2016)
  • National Cancer Institute. Physical Activity and Cancer. Available at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet#r9. (Accessed December 1, 2016)

The Fight Against Prostate Cancer: What Men Need to Know

New York, NY – Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, and it is estimated that nearly three million men are living with the disease in the United States. Thankfully, many prostate cancers can be caught early on and either successfully treated or diagnosed as indolent (non-aggressive).

Early detection of prostate cancer begins with screening the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) to assess the health of the prostate. All men should get a PSA test, and know their PSA number and what it means. If a PSA test result is high, often times a doctor may recommend a biopsy. However, because the PSA test cannot distinguish between aggressive prostate cancer and other less serious conditions, many men with a high PSA may be subjected to unnecessary prostate biopsies.

The 4Kscore is a simple blood test that bridges the gap between PSA and biopsy, and can help reduce the need for unnecessary biopsies. The 4Kscore combines four prostate-specific proteins results, including PSA, with clinical information in an algorithm that calculates the man’s percent risk for developing aggressive prostate cancer. In some cases, the 4Kscore will show that the patient is at low risk of aggressive disease and does not need a biopsy. In other cases, the 4Kscore will indicate if the patient is at high risk of aggressive disease and provide additional information that can be used in the shared decision between a patient and his physician about whether to proceed with a biopsy.

The 4Kscore is available at BioReference Laboratories and GenPath Diagnostics, OPKO Health Companies, and is utilized by primary care physicians and urologists across the country.

For more information, visit 4Kscore.com.

BioReference Laboratories

BioReference Laboratories, an OPKO Health company, is the third largest full service clinical laboratory in the U.S. providing testing and related services to physician offices, clinics, hospitals, long term care facilities, employers, governmental units and correctional institutions. Our expert division, GenPath Diagnostics, specializes in cancer diagnostics offering a comprehensive cancer patient workup in one laboratory. From special coagulation testing to complex genomic testing for tumor sequencing and hereditary cancer syndromes, the full spectrum of a cancer patient work-up is covered.