PSA Blood Test for Prostate Cancer

For years, doctors have used a PSA blood test to screen men for prostate cancer. The test measures a protein made by the prostate gland, called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA). But the PSA test can do more harm than good. Here’s why: The test is often not needed. Most men with high PSAs don’t have… Read more »

Low-Risk Prostate Cancer

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you should discuss treatments and quality-of-life issues with your cancer care team. Your team should include a urologist and a radiation oncologist. You can also get helpful advice from a medical oncologist. Common treatments are surgery and radiation. However, there is another approach to learn about. It’s called… Read more »

Sentinel Node Biopsy for Breast Cancer

Lymph nodes are small glands in the underarms and many other places in the body. If you have breast cancer, your doctor will usually check the underarm lymph nodes. Most breast cancer is invasive. This means that it can spread. The doctor checks the lymph nodes in the underarm to find out if the cancer… Read more »

Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is a test of breast tissue to see if you have cancer. Usually, you get a biopsy if there is a suspicious change in your breast. Your doctor may find the change in a physical exam, mammogram, or ultrasound test. A breast biopsy is a common procedure for women in the U.S…. Read more »

Health Checkups

Like many people, you may schedule a yearly checkup or “annual physical” with your doctor. It usually includes a health history, physical exam and tests. It is important to have a regular doctor who helps make sure you receive the medical care that is best for your individual needs. But healthy people often don’t need… Read more »

Dental Fillings that Contain Mercury

Many of us have silver fillings or reconstruction in some of our teeth. The material used is called “amalgam.” It contains mercury and other metals, such as zinc, tin, copper, or silver. Dentists have used these amalgams for nearly 200 years. Some people think they are dangerous because of the mercury. In recent years, many… Read more »

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Many people with osteoarthritis have knee pain. They often try over-the-counter treatments to help the pain, and to avoid knee surgery. The supplements, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, are very popular. In 2012, Americans spent $813 million on these supplements, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. The knee pain is caused by the breakdown of the… Read more »

Vitamin D Tests

Many people don’t have enough vitamin D in their bodies. Low vitamin D increases the risk of broken bones. It may also contribute to other health problems. That’s why doctors often order a blood test to measure vitamin D. But many people do not need the test. Here’s why: A test usually does not improve… Read more »

Preventing Infections in the Hospital

If you or someone you care for is in the hospital, there are two common medical practices that you should watch out for. Here’s why: Both urinary catheters and ulcer drugs are over-used in hospitals. And both increase the risk of infection. The risks of urinary catheters. Catheters are tubes to drain urine. They are… Read more »

Antibiotics For Your Skin

Skin problems can sometimes look like infections, especially if they’re red, swollen, or tender. So it might seem like treating them with antibiotics is a good idea. But some skin problems don’t stem from infections at all. So treating them with antibiotics can do more harm than good. Learn about situations when you don’t need… Read more »

Implanted Heart Devices at the End of Life

An ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) is a small device that is placed in the chest. It helps to keep the heart beating normally. If the heart beats too fast, the device sends a powerful shock to the heart to help it beat normally again. For many people with heart disease, this device can be a… Read more »

Oral Antibiotics for Ear Infections

Antibiotics are strong medicines that can kill bacteria. For ear infections, doctors often prescribe oral antibiotics that you swallow in pill or liquid form. However, eardrops can sometimes be safer and more effective than oral medicines. Here’s why: Oral antibiotics have risks. Oral antibiotics are more likely to cause resistant bacteria outside the ear. Then,… Read more »

Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections in Older People

Antibiotics are medicines that can kill bacteria. Doctors often use antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). The main symptoms of UTIs are: A burning feeling when you urinate. A strong urge to urinate often. However, many older people get UTI treatment even though they do not have these symptoms.  This can do more harm… Read more »

Antibiotics for Pink Eye

Pink eye is a common condition, especially in children. It is also called conjunctivitis. The eyes are pink because they are infected or irritated. They may be itchy and teary, with a watery discharge, and swollen, crusty eyelids. Doctors often prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments for pink eye. But antibiotics don’t usually help, according… Read more »

Insomnia and Anxiety in Older People

Almost one-third of older people in the U.S. take sleeping pills. These drugs are called “sedative- hypnotics” or “tranquilizers.” They affect the brain and spinal cord. Doctors prescribe the drugs for sleep problems. The drugs are also used to treat other conditions, such as anxiety or alcohol withdrawal. Usually older adults should try nondrug treatments… Read more »