Dr. Keith Roach

DEAR DR. ROACH: I’m a senior, and I shower in the evenings, regardless of what time I go to sleep. There are times I shower after midnight as well.
I was told that showering late, and then going to sleep isn’t good for seniors because it overstimulates the body and is not conducive to good sleep. Plus, it can cause a stroke. Is there any truth to this information? Or, is it just an old wives’ tale? Because I’m 82 years old, and I love showering at night, just for the want of feeling clean. — L.A.
ANSWER: Some people do get energized by a bath or shower, but most people get relaxed. There is some evidence that increasing the body’s core temperature a little by a hot bath or shower improves sleep, so I would say that unless you find difficulty sleeping, you can take your shower at nighttime.
I did find people claiming that showering at night increases risk of stroke, although there is no good evidence that this is true. The major risk factors for stroke are the ones most people know: high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, poor diet, smoking and excess alcohol. Showering doesn’t make sense as a risk factor, so you can shower anytime you like.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 68-year-old man who, four years ago, had skin cancer removed just under my left eye. Apparently, everything came back negative for any further treatment. COVID-19 hit, and everything was by phone. But, when I went to see my dermatologist again under a year ago, he was concerned and referred me to a plastic surgeon to get a biopsy done. This took many months. When I got the procedure done, the doctor said it definitely looked like skin cancer and, even before the results came back, said he would book me for the full removal of tissue. I did not hear from the office for two months and thought that no news is good news.
I decided to phone, and the doctor returned my call saying that I definitely had skin cancer and that he would book the procedure. He told me to wait for a call in the next month or two. I decided to phone back a few days after this conversation and explained the situation to the receptionist. She replied that the doctor would look at the results and get back to me. I had to explain that he had already done that, and that an appointment was apparently being set up. No appointment had been booked back when he first took the biopsy, and the receptionist had still not booked anything after his call to me. Right there on the phone, she said that it seems some things were overlooked, and she gave me a scheduled date.
I feel that if I had not remained on top of this, I would still be waiting in the “medical limbo world of buried or neglected paperwork.” I am worried about how much this has spread in the last four years, when it could have been dealt with so much earlier. — E.B.
ANSWER: This should not happen, but it does. Physician’s offices should be 100% diligent in following up on a cancer diagnosis, but since it is not 100%, I am publishing your letter to remind people that they should stay as involved as you did. Fortunately, most skin cancers spread very slowly, and I hope that you will have had no harm from the delay, but that isn’t the case with melanoma, and with many other non-skin cancers.
No news is no news: you need to get the news, good or bad, from any medical test.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to [email protected] or send mail to 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.
(c) 2022 North America Syndicate Inc.
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