Epoch Men's Health Founder Mike Whitfield served on a panel of healthcare professionals in Anchorage, Alaska to talk about being innovative in the Next Frontier, innovative in the marketplace, innovative in leadership, innovative in business and being innovative personally. The event consisted of more than 100 insurance
brokers that represented nearly every insured business in Alaska along with all of the major national carriers.
Financing Strengthens Current Operations and Accelerates Company’s Growth
DALLAS, TX, October 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Anthem-Epoch, Inc., parent company of Epoch Health (www.epochmenshealth.com), a primary-care clinic focused specifically on comprehensive men’s health, has secured $5 million in new financing from Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II, L.P., a growth fund co-managed by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. and NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC.
Epoch Health currently has seven clinics staffed with physicians and mid-level providers located across Arkansas, Missouri, Arizona and Alaska delivering
a convenient, male-friendly clinical environment with a ‘no-appointment necessary’ / walk-in dynamic. Nearly 70% of Epoch Health patients either do
not have or rarely see a primary care physician. Moreover, studies show that unless a male seeks a physician for a chronic health issue before the
age of 25, most men will not see a doctor again until over the age of 50. Epoch Health, however, has attracted the male patient population, who typically
avoids proper medical and/or preventative care, with a highly accessible culture and ‘patient-first’ focus on men’s health. Thus far, the Epoch Health
model has been a success its’ male patient population as well as the medical professional community, especially urology group practices. Kayne NewRoad
Ventures is partnering with Epoch Health to expand their clinical model and impact more cities nationwide.
“We’re changing lives,” says Mike Whitfield, Founder and President of Epoch Health. “We have hundreds of stories of men walking in our door and our physician
diagnosing an illness or a life-threatening disease that could have lead to serious harm, potentially death. We are passionate about not only saving
men’s lives through proper diagnosis but also giving them the tools they need to engage in an active, healthy lifestyle. The Epoch Health business
model centers on preventive care by educating men and their families about general wellness while matching their symptoms with appropriate medical
treatments, education and lifestyle modifications that lead to a healthier, happier, improved quality of life. “This funding gives us the opportunity
to take our brand of awareness, testing and treatment to more communities nationwide.”
Steve Brooks, Partner at Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II adds, “We are excited to partner with the Epoch Health management team and to have the opportunity
to invest in a company that is making a positive impact on lives. We are confident that this partnership will create a real movement that introduces
more men into the preventative healthcare system.”
About Epoch Health
Beginning in 2012, Epoch Health partnered with urologists to pioneer its’ comprehensive healthcare facilities within a convenient retail environment specifically
designed and marketed toward men. Today, Epoch Health has grown to seven locations in Arkansas, Missouri, Arizona and Alaska while earning a national
reputation as an industry leader in cutting edge, concierge, and comprehensive men’s primary healthcare. The Epoch Health business model centers on
preventive care by educating men and their families about general wellness while matching their symptoms with appropriate medical treatments, regular
screenings and lifestyle modifications that most often leads to a healthier, happier, improved quality of life.
About Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II, L.P.
Kayne NewRoad Ventures Fund II, L.P. is a joint venture between NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC and Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. The Fund was formed to create and target demand-driven businesses with strong management teams in targeted market niches with operational expertise and capital to achieve outsized growth. The fund focuses on markets including retail, consumer packaged goods, supply chain and logistics, consumer healthcare, environmental and U.S. manufacturing. The fund is co-managed by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., and NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC.
Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., founded in 1984, is a leading independent alternative investment management firm focused on niche investing in upstream
oil and gas companies, energy infrastructure, specialized real estate, middle market credit, and growth private equity. Kayne Anderson manages over
$23 billion in assets for institutional investors, family offices, high net worth and retail clients and employs over 300 professionals in eight offices
across the United States.
NewRoad Capital Partners, LLC is a venture and growth equity firm focused on investing in technology-enabled businesses with an emphasis on retail, consumer
packaged goods, supply chain, data, health and wellness, and U.S. manufacturing. NewRoad is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the epicenter of retail,
supply-chain, and logistics and is currently investing out of its second fund.
SOURCE: Epoch Health
Steve House, CEO
June is Men's Health Month. Unfortunately, there are many cancers and diseases that men are at greater risk for than women. Sometimes men assume because of genetics that cancer is inevitable. While family history does play a role, there are definitely steps you can take to be more proactive about preventing cancer. Making some specific healthy lifestyle choices can affect your risk.
Overall, having a healthy and balanced diet will lower your risk for most cancers. Avoid too many fatty foods. One of the easiest steps is to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables you eat. They are full of vitamins and nutrients, which are shown to decrease your cancer risk. Actually, specifically eating tomatoes and other red foods may lower your risk. Tomatoes, watermelon and other red foods get their vibrant red color from lycopene. Research has shown that men who consume these have a lower risk for prostate cancer. Cooking tomatoes can also make it easier for your body to absorb lycopene.
Try eating more fish. Omega-3, which is a type of fatty acid found in salmon, tuna and herring, can lower your risk.
Many changes will not only help lower your risk for prostate cancer but help you live a healthier life. Quitting smoking is an obvious step if you are a smoker. Incorporating exercise into your routine several days a week can also help. This can be as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood.
Obesity also affects your cancer risk. If your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher, you have a greater chance of developing prostate cancer. Many of these tips will also help you shed a few pounds in the process.
If you would like to schedule a cancer screening or talk to a physician, call us today at 1-877-321-8452.
A Better Prostate-Cancer Test?
When Al Piazza learned he had prostate cancer, his first thought was, “Let’s get this out and be done with it,” he says. But his urologist, Jeremy Lieb, said the side effects of treatment could be more harmful than the cancer itself.
Dr. Lieb ran a genetic test on the patient’s biopsy sample, which calculated that Mr. Piazza, then 70 years old, had only a 3% chance of dying from prostate cancer over the next 10 years if he left the tumor untreated.
Four years later, the retired AT&T manager from Discovery Bay, Calif., has been monitoring his cancer with regular blood tests and imaging scans and says he is comfortable leaving it alone. “My feeling is—it’s there, but it’s not going to kill me,” Mr. Piazza says.
Al Piazza learned he doesn’t require treatment for prostate cancer after a genetic test performed on his biopsy sample revealed small odds of harm if the tumor was left untreated.
The procedure done on Mr. Piazza’s tumor sample, called Prolaris by Myriad Genetics, is one of several new prostate-cancer tests that aim to reduce detection and treatment of tumors that are likely to be harmless while still spotting those that are lethal.
That has been a daunting challenge in recent years. Routine screenings for prostate cancer, using blood tests for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, have dramatically increased early detection of the disease. More than 99% of cases are curable today. Most of the cancers that prostate screenings find are so slow-growing they are effectively harmless, experts say. Still, because some cancers are aggressive and deadly, most men have opted for treatment with surgery or radiation despite a significant risk of incontinence or impotence.
The ratio of potential benefit to harm is so small that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended in 2012 that men not be screened for prostate cancer at all.
Many experts recommend against routine PSA blood screening for prostate cancer, leaving many men to wonder whether they should get one.
The new tests, using blood, urine and tissue samples, go well beyond PSA tests and aim to tell men, in advance, not simply if they have prostate cancer, but also if it is aggressive enough to warrant locating and treating or if it can be safely monitored instead. (Gleason scores, which pathologists use to grade prostate cancers found on biopsies, help classify them as low, intermediate or high risk but don’t always reflect the cancer’s true aggressiveness.)
“The solution isn’t to stop screening. The better idea is to use more specific tests,” says Stacy Loeb, an assistant professor of urology and population health at New York University School of Medicine, who led a session on the new tests at the American Urological Association’s annual meeting, May 6 to May 10.
Dr. Stacy Loeb, a New York University urologist, led a session on new prostate-cancer tests at the American Urological annual meeting this month.
The new tests, however, don’t provide useful information for every patient and add significantly to the cost, Dr. Loeb and other urologists caution. Few of them have been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration. And while most have been validated in retrospective studies, there’s little data on how they compare with each other or whether they will improve prostate-cancer care long term.
“It’s very exciting to have these tests available, but it’s sort of the wild west now,” says Scott Eggener, a University of Chicago urologist and a spokesman for the American Urological Association.
Do you need a biopsy?
Several of the new tests aim to reduce the number of needless prostate biopsies. More than 1 million U.S. men undergo the painful, intrusive procedure each year mainly because of an elevated PSA level. Overall, fewer than 20% of biopsies find prostate cancer.
The 4Kscore, developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, analyzes four different types of PSA-related proteins in blood samples and calculates the likelihood, from 1% to 100%, that a biopsy would find an aggressive cancer, defined as a Gleason score of 7 or above.
“It’s frightening for a patient to be diagnosed with cancer that doesn’t need to be treated. If it’s not going to bother him, then why find it?” says Peter Scardino, chairman of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering who advises the test’s maker, OPKO Health Inc., and is eligible for stock options. The 4Kscore became available in 2014 and costs about $1,000.
Another PSA-based test, Prostate Health Index, or PHI, from Beckman Coulter Inc., costs only about $100. It calculates the likelihood that a biopsy will find cancer but not how aggressive the cancer might be.
Other new tests check urine samples for gene fragments of prostate cancer to assess whether it is likely to be high-risk. SelectMDx, available from MDxHealth in the U.S. since April, requires a digital rectal exam first.
A new test from Exosome Diagnostics, expected to be available in June, checks for the presence of exosomes, the chemical messengers that can pave the way for cancer’s spread. A study in JAMA Oncology in March found the Exosome test correctly identified 97% of cancers that were later found to be aggressive in biopsies.
Another urine-based test, the University of Michigan’s Michigan Prostate Score, has been available since 2013 and has been shown to reduce the number of negative biopsies by 50% while delaying the finding of just 1% of high-risk cancers.
What if the biopsy is negative?
The typical 12-core prostate biopsy, which samples only about 1% of the prostate gland, can miss about 25% of cancers. In the past, men with a negative biopsy who still have other signs of prostate cancer, such as a rising PSA, have undergone second, third or fourth biopsies to search for tumors.
A new test called ConfirmMDx, also from MDxHealth, searches biopsied tissue for precancerous changes known as the “field” or “halo,” suggesting a tumor may be lurking nearby. In a 2013 study in the Journal of Urology, ConfirmMDx identified two-thirds of prostate cancers missed on first biopsy, and correctly identified two-thirds of patients who could correctly forgo a repeat biopsy.
What about imaging?
Some urologists are using advanced imaging studies known as multiparametric MRIs, or mpMRIs, to guide initial and repeat biopsies. Several recent studies show a technique called fusion biopsy, combining MRI and ultrasound images, results in much higher accuracy for biopsies.
Dr. Mark Scholz at Prostate Oncology Specialists in Marina del Rey, Calif., says an mpMRI can yield much of the same information as a biopsy and far less invasively.
Some urologists are using mpMRI instead of biopsies for patients who opt for active surveillance of low-risk prostate cancers.
Mark Scholz, a prostate oncology specialist in Marina del Rey, Calif., maintains that an mpMRI can yield much of the same information as a biopsy and far less invasively. Low-risk prostate cancers barely register, he says, adding, “When patients find out they have a choice between 12 harpoon sticks to the prostate through the rectum or an MRI, they are on board big time.”
Joel Copeland, 62 years old, has been monitoring his PSA closely for a decade; his two brothers were diagnosed with prostate cancer. He opted for an MRI instead of a biopsy when his PSA bounced up in 2013. “I don’t like needles, but that’s not the point,” Mr. Copeland says. “The point is, biopsies can cause infection and miss cancers.”
Other urologists cite studies showing mpMRIs can miss an many as 16% of significant cancers and suggest patients also get a traditional biopsy. “Just because you have a negative MRI doesn’t mean you don’t have cancer,” Dr. Eggener says.
The biopsy is positive - now what?
Traditionally, urologists have urged men whose biopsies show prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7 or higher to proceed immediately with surgery or radiation. Increasingly, doctors are counseling those with a Gleason 6 score, the lowest possible, to opt for “active surveillance” of the cancer.
Now, though, even some Gleason 7s are thought to be indolent, while about 20% of Gleason 6s are found to have been aggressive if the prostate was removed.
Dr. Jeremy Lieb, of Pacific Urology, says the new tests are useful in part because they reassure patients with low-risk cancers that it’s OK to watch and wait.
The new tests aim to provide better predictive information by analyzing the genetic makeup of tissue sampled in a biopsy. Even for patients with low-risk cancers, “it helps to have some validation to tell them, ‘you can just wait and watch it’,” says Jeremy Lieb, Mr. Piazza’s urologist in Walnut Creek, Calif., who has participated in some Prolaris test studies.
Prolaris examines the RNA expression of 46 genes involved in tumor-cell growth and predicts a patient’s likelihood of dying from prostate cancer in the next 10 years. OncotypeDx, by Genomic Health, studies a different set of 17 genes and predicts the patient’s chance of having a “favorable pathology,” or a cancer that won’t metastasize.
The two tests each cost from $3,000 to $4,000. They are covered by Medicare and most insurers for patients with low or very low risk cancers.
ProMark, by MetaMark Genetics, measures protein levels of eight biomarkers in tumor tissue to predict aggressiveness. GenomeDx Biosciences announced in March that its Decipher test, which predicts the risk of cancer recurrence after a prostatectomy, can be used to evaluate cancers in newly diagnosed patients as well.
Dr. Loeb of NYU says the tests are most useful when a patient’s cancer pathology is borderline. “If the patient already has aggressive disease, we don’t need a test to tell us,” she says. “And if it’s very low risk, only a tiny amount of Gleason 6, there’s already good data that shows we can use active surveillance.”
Prostate cancer experts say more tests are needed to spot and derail aggressive prostate cancers that kill about 26,000 Americans a year. “The goal should be that we can see a man’s prostate cancer coming from so far away that it never harms him,” says Jonathan Simons, president of the nonprofit Prostate Cancer Foundation, which helps fund research.
Write to Melinda Beck at HealthJournal@wsj.com
When it comes to your risk for cancer, there are certain factors you can control. Eat healthier. Be more active. Quit smoking. However, sometimes, risk factors are beyond your control. If you have a family history of cancer and unfortunately your race can also affect risk. Minority groups in the U.S. continue to have a greater risk for cancer than whites.
The cancer death rate among African American men is 27% higher compared to white men. Researchers have found variants in DNA that are associated with the risk of developing prostate cancer. Nearly all of the variants related to the risk were found most often in black men. However, many times this disparity has to do with poverty, lack of access to detection services and treatment, so these facts don’t have to necessarily remain true.
However, the sad fact is that about one in two black men and one in three black women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, according to the American Cancer Society. The most common for black males is prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 29,530 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in black men in 2016. This demographic also has the highest death rate.
The best prevention measure is screening and regular checkups with your physician. Cancer risks also are a result of lifestyle choices so using tobacco, being physically inactive or overweight or drinking alcohol in excess contribute to your personal risk. Also, remember that prostate cancer can run in families. One of the best choices you can make for your family is to get regular screenings and make lifestyle decisions for better health.
The good news is that despite the disparity, rates are improving. The death rate for cancers among African Americans has been declining since the 1990s. To learn more about your risk for cancer or to talk to a physician about a concern, give us a call today at 1-877-321-8452.
Kidney cancer accounts for about three percent of all cancers in the U.S. While the rate of kidney cancer is increasing, the death rate has been declining since the 1990s. Since March is National Kidney Month, here are five things you might not know about kidney cancer.
1. It’s not unusual for kidney cancer not to have any symptoms especially in the early stages. In fact in many cases, kidney cancer is not diagnosed until it has already spread. Kidney cancer is often detected in its early stage through routine checkups.
2. Kidney cancer occurs about twice more often in men and women, and it’s usually diagnosed between the ages of 50-70. People are rarely diagnosed younger than age 45.
3. If a sibling has kidney cancer, your risk for developing kidney cancer is higher than if your parent has it. Experts think environment just as well as genetics can play a role in your risk.
4. Renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer. This is when malignant cancer cells form a tumor in the tubules of the kidney. If it’s caught early, the chance of the cancer coming back is very low. However, it is hard to detect in the early stages.
5. A person can live with only part of a working kidney. For many cases, the treatment includes surgery to remove part or the entire affected kidney. When surgery to remove the tumor isn’t possible, arterial embolization may be used to shrink the tumor. Radiation or chemotherapy can also be part of treatment in addition to surgery. Regardless of treatment, people live long and healthy lives with only one kidney.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kidney cancer or if you have a family history of the condition, give us a call today. Our experts can help you develop the best treatment plan for your condition. Call 1-877-321-8452.
March is National Kidney Month. The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs about the size of a fist. They are located to the right and left of your backbone and attached to the upper back wall of your abdomen. The kidneys’ purpose is to filter blood and produce urine.
At Arkansas Urology, one of the conditions we see and treat is kidney cancer. According to the American Cancer Society about 62,700 new cases of kidney cancer will occur in 2016. It’s more common in men than women.
For anyone the risk for kidney cancer and cancer in general increases as you age. A family history of kidney cancer definitely affects your risk. A parent having the cancer will increase it, but the risk is highest if your brother or sister has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. It’s not entirely clear if this is due to genetics or having the same environment growing up. In fact, many studies support the environment theory and have suggested that your workplace can contribute to your risk if you are exposed repeatedly to certain substances.
With kidney cancer, certain inherited conditions will cause you to have a much higher risk like von Hippel-Lindau disease, hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma, hereditary leiomyoma-renal cell carcinoma and Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome.
Many risk factors such as smoking and obesity apply to various types of cancers and not just kidney. High blood pressure will also put you at an increased risk.
Pay attention to any warning signs or symptoms you experience, like blood in your urine, back pain, mass on the side or lower back and unexplained weight loss. Write them down and make an appointment with your physician soon. Be sure to mention that you do have a family history of kidney cancer. Unfortunately, many times kidney cancer will not present symptoms in early stages. Be sure that you have regular checkups with your physician.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kidney cancer, give us a call today at 1-877-321-8452.
February is American Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease strikes someone in the United States every 43 seconds. It’s not uncommon for heart issues to be related to urologic conditions. In fact, more than half of all people with heart failure have issues with urinary incontinence.
It’s often that medication for heart failure will reduce the buildup for excess fluid in the body. These medications are fast-acting to stimulate your kidneys and will make your trips to the bathroom more frequent. They can often product a sudden urgency and even result in waking up in the middle of the night to urinate. Some people can often have issues with leaking urine.
It’s important not to stop medication related to your heart condition. However, you should consult with your physician about it especially when you feel like the medication plays a role. Sometimes changing the time of day you take the medication can help. Incontinence can also be managed in other ways possibly without adjusting your heart medication.
Don’t view the incontinence as a secondary issue you’ll have to live with, because when left untreated, incontinence can lead to more health problems. The most important thing is to talk to your doctor about the issue and the symptoms you’ve been having. He/she will know the best course of action to take to help the incontinence.
You can give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to discuss your condition or help you make an appointment. Call 1-877-321-8452.
With Valentine’s Day approaching the last thing you want is for there to be strain on your relationship. Sexual dysfunction can affect both men and women. In men, erectile dysfunction (ED) can occur at any age, but it does happen more frequently as men age. And unfortunately it can put a stress on your relationship, but the truth is that the majority of men experience it at some point in their lives.
The good news is it’s a highly treatable condition, but treatment varies. There’s not a standard treatment for everyone. Treatment for ED depends on the cause of the issue. In nearly 70 percent of cases of erectile dysfunction, prescription medications will successfully treat the problem. If the issue is due to psychological issues, counseling may be recommended as well. Sometimes medication may need to be injected. Only in rare cases is surgery recommended.
As you age, you are more likely to have ED but you’re also more at risk for other chronic conditions, and chances are you are not as active. The best way to prevent erectile dysfunction is to have a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions may cause ED. If so, work with your physician to manage those more effectively. Smoking and excessive alcohol can also be a cause. Make sure you are physically active and have a healthy diet.
Even if you start experiencing ED, you should consult with a physician soon because the issue is highly treatable. Your doctor will perform tests to determine the cause and then the best treatment. If you would like to make an appointment with one of our physicians, call 1-877-321-8452.
Testicular cancer is one of the most rare forms of cancer that men can develop. Because of its rarity, people can often be misinformed about testicular cancer, the outcome, its causes and effects. We’re here to bust some of the more common myths about testicular cancer.
Myth 1 - It’s an older man’s disease.
Actually, you are more likely to develop testicular cancer between the ages of 20-39 than any other age group.
Myth 2 – Testicular cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for men.
The good news is testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. The five-year survival rate is 95%.
Myth 3 – If your father or uncle had testicular cancer, you will also get it.
Although family history does increase your risks, testicular cancer is extremely rare. The chance of developing this type of cancer is typically less than 1 in 250.
Myth 4 – Testicular cancer is only found during a doctor’s exam.
Men themselves or their partners initially discover most cases of testicular cancer rather than their doctors. With testicular cancer, it’s important that you perform self-examinations. You know your body better than anyone else and will be more likely to notice when things change.
Myth 5 – Symptoms of testicular cancer are not easily noticeable.
While the symptoms of testicular cancer may not be overwhelming, be sure to check for simple things. If you see any swelling or fluid build-up or experience pain, aching or discomfort, consult with a physician.
Myth 6 – If I get testicular cancer, I won’t be able to have children after.
This is true only in very rare cases. In the majority of cases, only one testicle is removed and so there is little change to fertility and sex drive.
If you or a loved one suspects testicular cancer, make an appointment today with one of our physicians. Call 1-877-321-8452 or request an appointment online.