Men’s Health: Regular Visits to a Primary Care Physician is Best Course of Preventive Care
J. James Bruno, M.D.
Co-Director, Carmen L. and Peter Buck Center for Robotic Surgery
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“Stand by Your Man,” the hit song recorded by Tammy Wynette in 1968, urged women to attempt to overlook their husbands’ shortcomings and faults if they truly love them. While the times and thinking around women’s roles have evolved over the last few decades, women still remain the primary advocates for the men in their lives when it comes to the doctor’s office and other kinds of healthcare.
J. James Bruno II, MD, FACS, Director of Robotic Surgery and an accomplished, board-certified urologist at Danbury Hospital, explains, “Many men whom I have treated have clearly been encouraged to seek care by a concerned spouse or partner. They often admit that without a wife or girlfriend’s insistence, they might otherwise have ignored symptoms and delayed a checkup – despite an obvious problem.”
“The best course of preventive care for any man is a regular schedule with a primary care physician, who can assess and track his health as he ages,” Bruno explained. “A good picture of your overall health – including your cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and the recommended screening exams and blood tests for prostate health – is essential.”
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) levels in the blood typically increase as a man ages. In those with prostate cancer, rising levels of PSA over time are associated with both localized prostate cancer and prostate cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. The PSA level is a number that physicians will watch to ensure that men with prostate cancer are diagnosed early and able to benefit from one of several effective ways to treat the disease and uphold quality of life afterward.
Dr. Bruno specializes in the treatment of prostate cancer, kidney stones and kidney cancer. He performs laparoscopic (minimally invasive) and robotic (daVinci) surgery, including radical robotic prostatectomy, laparoscopic kidney surgery, urethral reconstructive surgery, and robotic pyeloplasty (to remove a blockage in the urinary tract). According to Dr. Bruno, robotic surgery offers patients the benefit of shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times, less blood loss, and typically better urinary and sexual function following surgery – when compared to open or conventional laparoscopic surgery.
“If your wife or girlfriend is standing by you and asking that you take better care of yourself, maybe it’s time to see a doctor and have a talk about prostate screening,” Dr. Bruno said. The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The discussion with your healthcare provider about screening should take place:
- At age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years
- At age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men with a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)
- At age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with several first-degree relatives who had prostate cancer at an early age)
After this discussion, men who want to be screened should have the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) for a complete screening. They should discuss the recommended frequency of testing with their healthcare providers based on their overall health status, preferences, values and results of previous tests.
For more information on urologic care and the daVinci robotic surgery at Danbury Hospital, call 1-800-516-3658 or visit online at DanburyHospital.org.
About Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network is a patient-centered health care organization established in 2010 by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and their affiliated organizations, to provide the highest level of care to patients throughout Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. In addition to the two hospitals, other network affiliates include:
- An integrated physician practice with primary and specialty care expertise
- An agency for home care and community health services
- A full-service retail pharmacy located at Danbury Hospital
- Emergency medical services
- An occupational wellness and medicine program, providing services for business and industry
Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in Women’s, neonatal, cardiovascular and cancer services; weight loss and orthopedic surgery; digestive disorders and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns.
For more information, visit WesternConnecticutHealthNetwork.org
About Danbury Hospital
Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with the University of Vermont College of Medicine, the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. The hospital is nationally recognized as a tertiary health care center with an innovative high-tech, high-touch environment and is also a member of the Planetree organization. In addition to offering the latest robotic and minimally invasive surgical and imaging technology, it was the first hospital in Connecticut to adopt electronic health records systems. It offers a Level II Trauma Center and Level IIIb Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Medical staff members are board-certified in their specialties, and most serve as faculty members of the nation’s finest university medical centers offering a higher level of experience.
For more information, visit DanburyHospital.org and share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital.
About New Milford Hospital
New Milford Hospital is a Planetree organization dedicated to patient-centered care that nurtures every patient's body, mind and spirit. The Hospital has an extraordinary tradition of warm and caring personal attention backed by top-notch physicians, world-class technology and the newest, most advanced diagnostic and treatment options available. Your healthcare team of highly trained physicians, nurses, technicians and administrators is determined and committed to improving the health and quality of life of those we serve.
For more information, visit NewMilfordHospital.org and share your comments with us Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital.