I probably shouldn’t start this week’s article on tidbits with the subject of circumcision…but oh well, here goes… There was a small piece (I can’t help it!) about the advantage of circumcision that appeared this week in news@JAMA. A report was published about a study that compared 1754 men with prostate cancer to 1645 controls (men who did not have diagnosed prostate cancer). The men who were circumsized before they first had intercourse (I assume the circumcision occurred when they were newborns or infants and not just before they became sexually active!) had a 15% reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. I know this isn’t a strictly a women’s health issue but it does add one more argument to consider in a nonreligious debate for parents (and grandparents) when considering circumcision for a newborn.
The next tidbit was in last week’s news@JAMA. It contained updated warnings about the adverse affects of cholesterol lowering statins. Although there are now warnings of increased risks of developing diabetes, liver damage, memory problems and muscle pain and injury with statins, the FDA has stated that statins’ cardiovascular benefits still outweigh the risks. There have been some expert “naysayers” however, who state that most users take them to prevent strokes and heart attacks but only about 2 per 100 such individuals will actually benefit from this category of drugs. This is where you have to evaluate your lipid levels, family history and your cardiac status and risk with your physician. Statins can help save lives, but will it be yours?
Finally, a word about health costs… The same JAMA news site published a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency estimates that about 1 in 3 individuals lives in a family with financial problems caused by health care costs, 1 in 5 have problems paying medical bills and 1 in 10 have families unable to pay any of their medical bills! (Since I am just reporting these numbers, which are most concerning, I won’t go into my personal opinions on the issues of health care affordability and insurance.)