DEAR DR. ROACH: I am having a "push endoscope," or forced endoscope, tomorrow. They said they found a lesion in a CT scan and want to look into it further. Is "lesion" a fancy name for cancer? -- B.E.
ANSWER: The word "lesion" is a Latin word for "injury." In medical parlance, it means pretty much anything that is abnormal. While it is true ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently discussed Pap smears. What is the root meaning of the term? Is it a medical test invented by a Dr. Pap, or an acronym for some long and complex medical term, or a smear taken from a woman's "pap"? -- D.W.B.
ANSWER: "Pap" is for Dr. George Papanicolaou, a Greek-born physician/scientist who worked at Cornell ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 75-year-old male with a prostate the size of a Buick. I have to get up four to five times a night to urinate. After about the third time, I cannot get back to sleep. I can get about five hours before the problem occurs. My doctor prescribed 10 mg Ambien, and if I take half of the pill, I can get another two hours. My ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have an adult son with serious medical issues. Because of a persistent cough, he saw his internist four times, as well as a pulmonologist. Blood tests and X-rays were negative. His diagnoses over time included: a bad cold, allergies and sleep apnea. During those months, he was prescribed several antibiotics and steroids, as ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a rather healthy 35-year-old female. I drink a lot of water daily -- approximately 5-6 liters, just because I feel the need to. My doctor does not seem concerned, as she says it may be normal for my body. I've been drinking these amounts for five to six years (I think it started during pregnancy). My family is concerned, as ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 94-year-old male. Three and a half years ago, I was able to walk with a cane, until I had a pacemaker implanted. After the procedure, I was able to walk only with a walker, and not very well. Prior to the procedure, I had a CT scan that did not show stenosis, but I had a scan two years later that showed mild to severe ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: What cures heartburn and indigestion? -- R.G.
ANSWER: It's easier to answer what causes heartburn and indigestion, because treatment depends on the underlying problem. The most common cause of heartburn is gastroesophageal reflux disease. The contents of the stomach, which normally are strongly acidic, go backward into the ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Could you please address the subject of the need for Pap tests after a hysterectomy? I had a total hysterectomy (uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries) several years ago, in my late 50s, due to cancer, and I go for internal examinations regularly to both my general physician and the oncologist, but no further Pap tests have...Read more
Medical Billing Horror StoriesSharon Hollander
Anecdotes and real case studies ripped from the headlines about what doctors did which got them into trouble. The case studies are true stories of medical professionals that got into trouble with the FBI, Medicare or the Office of Inspector General. A must read for healthcare professionals ...
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 40 years old and have been diagnosed with angioectasia of the gastrointestinal tract. From my readings, it seems this is a problem in the elderly. What can I expect with this disease, and what is my prognosis? -- E.C.
ANSWER: The word "angioectasia" is from Greek roots, meaning "dilated blood vessel." This condition is more...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 75 years old and in good health. At age 20, I had an exploratory operation resulting in an appendectomy. Eight years ago, I underwent a gallbladder removal. In the past two years, I've had four small-bowel obstructions. The pain is excruciating (about a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10), and I have terrible bloating. Usually I vomit ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a very active 79-year-old woman who had a colonoscopy three months ago and is still suffering with pain on my right side. I have had a CT scan and an ultrasound, and they say there is nothing wrong. Do you have an answer? -- N.F.
ANSWER: There are a few complications of colonoscopy that should be considered in a person with...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old man in excellent health and physical condition. I ride a bicycle 60 miles a week, and I generally feel good. I have an irregular heartbeat in the form of a premature atrial contraction, which showed up years ago for the first time on a routine EKG. I have had this for many years, and I do not have any effects ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I would like to know about the interpretation of the cardiac calcium test. My husband and I (both 74 years old) had this test and got scores of 74th and 77th percentiles, respectively. Our cardiologist did not seem very impressed with the test or our scores, and said the results may mean a 5 percent chance of a heart event each ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm writing to you regarding my husband's cancer. He has thymic carcinoma, diagnosed January 2014. It was stage 4. The disease was kept stable with a targeted-therapy drug called Sutent for 15 months, based on cancer genomic sequencing. When that stopped working, we moved on to Stivarga. Last month, PET results revealed greatly ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have read in your previous columns that you have been cautionary about taking medications like Fosamax. I hope you can help me with my situation. I am 76 years old. I took Fosamax for 13 years, stopping in 2010. My last scan showed a T-score of -2.4 in the spine and -2.1 in the hip, which was a little worse than last time.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I had a CT scan in July as part of my follow-up care for grade 1 chondrosarcoma. My scans were good, showing no cancer issues; however, one item that was noted said, "scattered areas of benign mucus plugging." This was the first time that particular issue had been noted. My orthopedic oncologist did not mention this at all, and ...Read more
DR. ROACH WRITES: As I write this, another gun tragedy has taken place in the United States. By the time it gets published, about 1,500 more people are likely to have been killed by guns, many accidentally. Physicians have a responsibility to protect the health of their patients and the public, and I can't be silent on this any longer.
Gun ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I live in extreme northeast Texas, so allergies are a given. Every morning, 24/7/365, my nose runs. Sometimes hot liquid runs out of my nose before I can even grab a tissue. I have taken Allegra, Claritin, Xyzal, etc. Nothing seems to help. Benadryl DOES help, but my eyes hurt when I take it. Neo-Synephrine and Afrin are for a...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I feel the need to comment on your recent column on chiropractic therapy for back pain. Having 27 years of back pain, I want to give S.B. some additional thoughts. Seventeen years ago, before my neurosurgeon implanted a titanium device in my lower spine, he asked about other corrective efforts that I'd made before deciding on ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 58-year-old male who takes losartan for high blood pressure and Prilosec for GERD. A couple of times a day, I get a tingling on the left side of my neck from roughly my left ear to my chin. Sometimes it occurs when I'm chewing, but sometimes not. It never lasts more than a few minutes. It can be rather intense, but doesn't...Read more