Get a physician's perspective on modern medicine... Internal and Respiratory Medicine
House Calls Started This Year
House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.
To schedule a house call: Tel (203) 853-1919; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, February 23, 2020
To My Patients - emailed 2/22/2020
Hope all is well. Winter is still with, us but not nearly as cold as some of us (the older guys) can remember. Some of our patients are home-bound and required urgent medical attention, so I made a few house calls (does anyone else still do that?).
Our next mini vacation will be at the end of the month - a repeat Denver trip - the youngest grandchild's 7th. A little while after that, it will be Israel, we haven't been there in over two years. We'll be out of the office from Wednesday PM, February 26, through Tuesday, March 3.
We'll be back in the office on Wednesday morning, March 4th.
Please call (203-853-1919) Monday morning if you need anything before we go!
And now to the business of medicine:
The flu is still here, it's a second wave. If you think that you're coming down with it, don't wait to be treated. The earlier the better, the treatment can be a life saver. It's not time (yet) to worry about the Corona virus, but let's have the flu vaccine under our belt.
The high cost of medication continues to be the subject of so many (justified) complaints. If that's a problem you face, arm yourself with a coupon from goodrx.com. The price you'll pay is frequently less than your copay, and could be much less than the un-insured price. It may be worth doing pharmacy-shopping for expensive medication.
CT Screening For Lung Cancer, a re-visit
Cancer of the lungs and bronchi (the breathing tubes) remains, by far, the number one cause of cancer deaths in the US (projected to be approximately 137,000 in 2020), mostly caused by smoking. A lot has been said about prevention - just don't smoke - but early detection is also of major importance.
Low-radiation CT scan of the chest has been recommended for several years by pulmonary physicians and the USPSTF (US Preventive Services Taskforce). It is recommended for people between the ages of 55-80 who smoked the equivalent of one pack a day for 30 years (2 pack a day for 15 years will qualify...), even if they quit smoking less than 15 years ago.
When it comes to lung cancer, early detection is the key to survival. Many insurance companies will pay for lung cancer screening, and some radiology facilities will do it free of charge when there's no insurance. If you need it, don't think twice, just do it.
Aspirin, Not Only For The Heart
Several large-scale studies have shown that low dose aspirin taken on a regular basis is associated with a significant decrease in gastrointestinal cancer (for example, a 40% decrease in colon cancer, 38% decrease in stomach cancer, and a 34% decrease in pancreatic cancer). But it's not for everyone and there are side effects, so don't do it on your own, get a medical opinion - sounds like a great topic for our next visit!
Do You Like Your Chocolate?
It's OK to have some, even every day, as long as it's dark chocolate with over 70% cocoa. There are several claims for medical benefits, mainly through the flavanols in the cocoa. Some studies even suggest that it improves memory and recall (the proof: once you get used to it you never forget to eat it again. Take it from a chocoholic).
Stay well, until next time!
Igal Staw, Ph.D., M.D.
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