IF YOU SEE A CHILD SITTING IN THIS POSITION, STOP HIM BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!

If Your Child Is Sitting Like This, Here’s Why You Need to Stop Them Now

My daughter’s just over a year old, so there’s really not much she’s doing “wrong” yet. (Trust me, like all of us, she’ll get there.) If she smacks our family pet, it’s less hostility and more that she doesn’t have full control of her arms. If she throws her food, it’s not an act of insubordination but just her method of communicating that she’s done eating. So, when a family member alerted me to something my child was doing that she needed to stop at once, I was taken aback. Especially because, at that particular moment, she wasn’t stealing her playmate’s toys or eating an expensive coaster as she’s sometimes known to do. She was just sitting there.

Turns out, the way she was sitting — with each leg splayed at her side, knees in front and feet behind, to form a “W” shape — was all kinds of bad.

According to a vast majority of physical therapists, there are several key reasons why:

W-sitting limits core strength because it gives kids a wider base of support. Because they don’t have to engage their abdominal or back muscles in this position, kids often prefer it to more challenging, tiring positions, like with legs in front, at their sides, or crisscrossed.
W-sitting causes muscle tightness, particularly in the legs and hips but also knees and ankles.
W-sitting aggravates neurological issues such as low muscle tone, which means when kids aren’t actively using their muscles, those muscles are floppier and softer and have a harder time holding their bodies upright.
What this all means, most therapists agree, is that prolonged W-sitting throughout childhood can lead to a delayed development in gross motor skills like coordination and balance. For those parents hoping to raise a star athlete, this position’s effect on postural muscles can also be cause for concern.

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Why do some kids sit like this? It’s by far the steadiest way for children of all ages to sit, and aside from that innate tendency to achieve the most stability, it’s also been attributed to time spent in infant carrier devices, like swings, bouncy seats, and car seats.

Seeing as my daughter had graduated from infancy, I was immediately concerned that the damage was already done. I had tried my best to limit her time in her baby swing and the oversize, overpriced ExerSaucer that I had bought under the assumption it was actually good for a baby’s development, but here she was, W-sitting at every turn. I had never noticed it until now.

What can be done? Well, the somewhat alarmist recommendation is to get them to stop doing it immediately — that, whenever you see your child W-sitting, you either physically move their legs into a suitable position (if they’re too young to understand) or tell them to do so.

So, with a watchful eye, I adjusted her legs every time she sat incorrectly, and my husband and I instructed our child’s caretakers to do the same. Occasionally I’d correct her, and it’d be fine, but plenty of times, adjusting one of her legs would make her cry and most times, doing so annoyed her to the point that she was no longer interested in sitting and scooted off to go do something else.

She wasn’t the only one getting fed up, and it had only been a week. I dug a little deeper and found that a few pediatric occupational therapists out there don’t view this seated position as a problem necessarily. There’s not much evidence that shows causation. That is, yes, children who W-sit often have orthopedic issues and muscle tightness. But W-sitting hasn’t been proven to be the cause of those issues, which makes one wonder: could tight hamstrings and hip dysplasia lead to W-sitting, not the other way around?

One such unconvinced therapist, Rachel Coley, happens to be the mother to a W-sitter and maintains it’s perfectly normal for kids to sit this way.

She notes that it’s a simple sign of flexibility and aids in fine motor control because you need to assume the most stable seated position possible when engaging in tasks that require “coordinated, controlled movements of the hands and fingers.” Coley also noted that, for babies in particular, W-sitting provides a convenient, “natural transition” from crawling or kneeling to sitting.

However, based on how strongly most certified therapists feel about W-sitting, I’m not taking any chances. I’m going to keep my eye on it, and I’ll encourage other parents who were unaware of this issue to do the same, especially if they have older kids showing some of the negative side effects. But, if my child is having the time of her life smacking two wooden blocks together, I’m not going to spoil the fun if she happens to be W-sitting.

6 Tips on Applying to Pharmacy School

Applying to professional school can be a stressful time for anybody. Getting together applications, taking the required tests, and traveling to schools for interviews load on a series of important tasks. However, at the end of the four-year program, students will have earned their Doctorate of Pharmacy and can be fully licensed. This set of tips will help students looking to apply to pharmacy school by easing any sense of stress and helping students appear their best.

1. Complete the necessary applications and prerequisites as early as possible


Many pharmacy schools participate in rolling admissions. This process means that programs start accepting students within the application period and continue as more applications are received. The earlier a student applies ensures that the application gets reviewed multiple times in the context of other students’ applications. Furthermore, students that have completed all of their prerequisites, or already have their bachelor’s degree, are often viewed more favorably in the admissions process because they are more likely to be viable candidates for matriculation.

2. Sign up for the PCAT early in order to avoid late fees
PCAT is the required pharmacy admissions test of many U.S. pharmacy schools. The test is usually administered in September, January, and July. Thus, it is imperative that students plan accordingly in order to allow for test results to be sent to their respective schools. Additionally, administering dates are limited and popular days of the week fill up fast at testing sites. Be proactive in looking up dates and attempt to sign up as early as possible. The late fees associated with not signing up on time are significantly large.

3. Don’t stress over interviews
The interview portion of the application is simply required to make sure the student is just as interested in the particular program as the school is interested in the student. Most pharmacy schools manipulate their interviews into full days that include information sessions and campus tours. The school wants you to feel warm and invited at the school while learning more about their program. Often, the interviews consist of a staff/faculty panel with the occasional student interviewer. The interviews generally aim to see how the student communicates and if they do so clearly. Furthermore, the interviewers want to get to know who you are and see how you represent yourself when not using a paper application.

4. Dress and act appropriately
If you are invited for an interview day, dress and act appropriately. Students are being interviewed for a professional school and should thus dress professionally. Suits or dress suits are the necessary uniform for these types of settings. Additionally, students are expected to act professionally. Addressing the faculty using their appropriate titles goes a long way. General courtesies such as saying thank you and holding the door open for others may give just the right impression to the admissions committee that will be evaluating your application later that week.

5. Get to know the program before arriving on campus
While learning about the program and the services they offer helps answer questions asked by the staff about why you want to attend, it also sets up the student to come prepared with questions. Getting to know the program is a large part of the day. Coming prepared with questions allows the student to get the most of the information sessions and campus tour by not having to continuously think on their feet.

6. Set yourself up for success
Finally, setting yourself up for success will be the best way to prepare for the application process. This process means participating in extracurricular activities that yield leadership service and community involvement. These activities could be as simple as creating your own student organization or organizing a community 5K one weekend. Furthermore, previous pharmacy experience goes a long way in convincing the admissions committee that you want to become a pharmacist. The experience shows the school that the student has seriously considered the profession and will be more likely to matriculate into their particular program. Using these tips should significantly ease the admissions process. Ultimately, help yourself by getting ahead of the ball. Complete the PCAT, your applications, and your prerequisites early in order to be the most viable candidate.

7 Small Things That Can Ruin Your Whole Day

Our day consists of various moments, events, meetings, emotions and all these things have direct influence on our both emotional and physical well-being. Some people try to prevent such failures while others treat it as a “Murphy’s Law.” There are a few things that can ruin the whole day, but remember that almost everything depends on your positive vision of the world. Don’t let anything and anyone take control of your day and your life because you’re the only person who is in charge of your own life and you’re the one who decides whether to be happy today or let others put you down.

1. Annoying remarks
As we know, negative remarks often have harsh impact on a personal frame of mind. One negative remark has the power of ten compliments. But everything depends on the way you perceive critics. Human subconscience is a strong thing, so the only way out is to ignore negative remarks and take delight in positive moments around us.

2. Forgetting info
When you are as busy as a bee, it’s easy to forget some info, tasks and to break all deadlines. Such things can destabilize even well-organized and responsible personalities. In a discouraging situation like this it is important to stay persistent and follow your day schedule.

3. Being late
Being late is a very worrying and unpleasant start of your day. There’s a great variety of reasons to be late, but in most cases nothing depends on you. Millions of people suffer from traffic jams, bad weather, so make sure you don’t stress over things you can’t control. Just smile and think about the people you love or other wonderful things in your life.

4. Rude strangers
Sometimes strangers or people we are cooperating with treat us badly and it can certainly ruin the whole day. Sure, it all depends on your type of character and on the way you treat extraordinary situations. For instance, how many times did you get into a quarrel with strangers or leave a store in a terrible mood because someone didn’t have good manners?

5. Bad hairdo
Your hairdo plays an important role in defining your look. Some people even believe that the fortune during the whole day depends on your hair condition. A good hair day guarantees you wonderful mood and absolute self-confidence. A bad hair day provides you a bit depressing vision of everything. Smart hat or hair done in a knot can help you succeed at hiding the mess. By following this advice, you can relief your uncertainty and feel more self-confident.

6. Long lines
People usually spend a lot of time standing on long lines, especially in big cities. As for public transportation, it’s quite overloaded and we often find it challenging to get to the place of destination we need. You can stand hours on long lines, waiting for a bus. While waiting for a bus, time flies very slowly and you might even end up being late to work.

7. Small problems and failures
Difficulties in various spheres of our life can have a negative impact on our emotional state. Getting a bad grade at school or messing up at work can be a depressing experience. But mistakes are not actually so bad, we need them to improve ourselves. So, whether your experience is positive or negative, be grateful for it. Don’t let those small failures ruin your day!

We should be aware that we are given trials to get better, to form ourselves as full-fledged individualities and to receive priceless experience. Don’t give way to negative thoughts and your day will never be nasty. How do you keep emotional well-being on a positive level?

10 Surefire Ways to Get a Flat Stomach

Looking for some effective ways to get a flat tummy? While sit ups, crunches, steam engines and many other abdominal workouts are great, it’s not enough to get a flat stomach. In fact, these workouts are perfect for strengthening your stomach muscles and they don’t help you lose stomach fat. To see those trained, sculpted belly muscles, you need to eat healthy and do the right set of workouts. Start following these tips for getting a flat stomach and wear your swimsuit with confidence.

1. Boost your protein intake
Increase your protein intake to speed up your metabolism by having 4 hardboiled egg whites for breakfast. This way you will speed up your metabolism in the morning and become closer to your fitness goal. The point is that protein-rich foods take much more work to digest, absorb, metabolize, and use. This means you burn much more calories and you feel full much longer. Protein is certainly important for ensuring you lose fat without losing muscle. And it’s a surefire way to get a flat tummy.

2. Have your apple every day
One of the most effective ways to get a flat stomach is to eat your fruits and veggies every day. Aim for 2-4 fruits and 4-6 vegetables per day to improve your immunity and increase your fiber intake. I recommend you to start eating an apple every day. Apples contain pectin that helps reduce cholesterol. Plus, apples are a natural hunger suppressant.

3. Add weight training to your workout routine
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you don’t exercise. That’s because weight training boosts your metabolism. When you only do cardio workouts without weight training, you lose the muscle mass as well as the muscle in your belly. To get a flat stomach, make sure you add weight training to your workout routine.

4. Drink up
Drinking enough water each day aids in weight loss that can help you get a flat stomach. Try drinking a glass of water before eating and you’ll be less hungry and you’ll eat less. Sometimes we can mistake thirst for hunger, so you need to learn to recognize hunger and the best way to do it is to drink water before every meal.

5. Improve your cardio workout
To achieve a flat stomach, you should get 3 60-minute high intensity workouts. Try running for 10 minutes, then go for a 1 minute sprint, do 5-10 burpees and 15-20 push-ups. To get the best results you need to repeat this workout at least 5 times. However, begin with 1 set and then try to build your stamina to repeat it 5 times.

6. Don’t eat late at night
What time you eat could be the key to getting a flat stomach. Don’t eat anything 2 or 3 hours before going to bed. I know it’s difficult, but it’s important. Your metabolism slows when you sleep and it means you don’t burn any calories you ate before going to bed. Although there are many healthy bedtime snacks, it’s better to eat in the morning. Again, try drinking a glass of water, you might be thirsty, not hungry.

7. Plyometrics
Plyometrics are great anaerobic exercises that you can do to get a flat stomach faster. When you do plyometrics, you work out at 90% intensity and you boost your metabolic rate, meaning you burn a lot of calories. Don’t think these exercises are difficult and boring, they are actually fun. Give it a try and you’ll like them.

8. Reduce your salt intake
Not only will reducing salt intake help you get a flat tummy, it will improve your overall health. When you consume too much salt, you may suffer from bloating, which is not your fitness goal. If you can’t reduce your salt intake, you can begin using kosher salt or sea salt to see better results and feel better. These kinds of salt contain less sodium and they can help reduce bloating.

9. Ditch beer and soda
Beer and soda are the biggest enemies of a flat stomach. If you want a flatter tummy, cut those drinks. Even seltzer water is bad for you. This will certainly help reduce bloating and calories that are in beer and soda.

10. Strengthen your body core
When it comes to strengthening your core, it doesn’t mean you should do crunches or some other hard exercises, there are some easiest ways to do that. You just need to sit up straight and be aware of your breathing. The thing is that when you tighten your stomach when breathing, it gets used to being tight. Yoga can also help you strengthen your body core.

In fact, it’s not hard to achieve a flat stomach, you just need to want it. Eat healthy, get moving and you will certainly make your dreams of a flat and toned tummy into your reality. What’s your favorite way to get a flat stomach?

7 Money-Saving Tax Tips That Really Work

Whether you are keenly aware of your financial responsibilities, or more of a head-in-the-sand kind of person, taxes are one area that we just can’t get away from.

But there is more to tax that just working out how much money to hand over to the government each year. There are a lot of schemes to help you save more, if you know where to look. Here are seven ways to save on your tax spend.


1. Tax-free college savings
If you are a parent, then saving for your kids’ college fees is smart on two levels. Not only are you investing in your child’s future, you are making a tax saving on this money. Talk to your bank about your options.

2. If you are employed then save more for retirement
Choosing to lower your wages by increasing your retirement contributions may not feel fab in the short-term, but it is a good option for two reasons. Firstly, you bulk up your retirement fund, and secondly, this lowers your tax cost.

3. Thinking of starting a business?
Business owners have some say over how they pay tax on their earnings. Funds can be kept within the company’s cash flow, rather than paid out to you as your wage allowance. As long as you leave yourself enough to live comfortably on, of course.

This is a great example of something to discuss with a qualified accountant. When this is done right, it is both sensible and very beneficial. Just do not get it wrong and wind up in trouble with the government.

More: 5 Stupidest Things People Told Me When I Was Starting My Business

4. Health care comes with financial benefits
If you are employed and are offered a flex plan or other medical scheme of some kind, do consider it. These plans allow you to divert part of your paycheck to a medical costs account that you can use to pay your medical bills. You will be spared both income and Social Security tax on this money, saving you between 20% and 35% on medical expenses.

5. Do not rush to pay off your mortgage
Although this might be the opposite of the message instilled by your parents, keeping your mortgage going longer might be worth a closer look. In the US, interest on mortage payments is tax deductible.

So from a tax perspective, keeping your mortgage going longer may be beneficial to you. Of course, do not forget to compare this potential saving to the cost of the interest. But it is worth getting your calculator out and seeing what works for you here.

6. Get on board with energy efficiency
The US government has a scheme to reward energy-efficient homeowners with tax credits. Getting new wall or loft insulation, windows, or in some cases solar panels can result in a government reward.

 

7. Do not pay your tax bill late
Seriously… I know so many people who have done this more than once. And the fines are not small.

Getting your taxes done is not the time to procrastinate. I know it is boring, and sometimes a little complicated. But as with anything, knowledge is power.

If you stay informed of the best tips and tricks out there, keeping on top of your taxes can make you substantial savings. Why pay more than you have to?

Best things to do in the Dead Sea in Jordan before it’s too late

Dead Sea is disappearing, so you’d better get there quick. Picture: iStock

THE water is barely past my knees when I realise no matter how hard I try, I can’t force my feet to the bottom.

I plonk my foot down more forcefully and feel an immediate return serve from the viscosity of the water. I stop and marvel at this new-found buoyancy, feeling everything move in slow motion.

BE TREATED LIKE A KING IN JORDAN

PLACES THAT WILL BRING OUT THE INDY IN YOU

I try to use my weight to push my body deeper, sitting down and pumping my hands toward the surface, but despite my best efforts, I stay afloat. My skin tingles and little cuts on my fingers smart from the salinity.

The water feels slimy on my skin, like warm baby oil. “It’s like swimming in saliva!” my friend verbalises my thoughts, though a little more frank in her delivery.

Here, in southern Jordan, at the lowest point on earth — 430m below sea level — we’re bobbing like rubber duckies in the mystery of the Dead Sea, a landlocked body of water 10 times saltier than the ocean.

The Dead Sea is ten times saltier than the ocean.Source:Supplied

No life lies beneath, if you didn’t already guess by the name. And, as it turns out, not even the “sea” itself is immune to an eventual death — the cursed combination of rivers being dammed and evaporation threaten to make the lake disappear for good.

Shrinking at a rate of one metre every year — already to the point where resorts that were once lapped by its waters now face a 2km trek down to the shore — experts predict by 2050, the Dead Sea could be reduced to a puddle. Forget the list of places you need to visit before you die, this aquatic anomaly could well be dead before you.

Here are six reasons why you should immerse yourself in the Dead Sea before it’s too late. Just remember to stick to floating face up and keep your head out of the water — burning eyeballs are one thing, but you don’t want to take a gulp.

The Dead Sea is disappearing at a rate of one metre every year. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied

1. IT’S NATURE’S HEALTH SPA

The Dead Sea’s rich, black mud has long been touted as the kale of the beauty world, packing a healthy mineral infusion for the body. Even the air is healthier here; rich in oxygen due the barometric pressure — the world’s highest (800 mg Hg) — which can be beneficial for asthmatics.

The Captain Planet-like combination of sun, water, mud and air and the high concentration of magnesium, bromide, and potassium combine into a natural treatment for ailments ranging from psoriasis through to arthritis and allergies.

2. YOU CAN STAY AT A FIVE-STAR HOTEL

With 330 days of sunshine, dry air and no crowds, it’s little wonder eight international four and five-star resorts line the salty banks of the Dead Sea on the Jordan side. Each resort has its own private section of water for guests to bob about in, with some offering day access. The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea occupies prime position on the strip; its Gardens of Babylon-inspired design tumbling down the hill into the lake. That famous mud is found in buckets down by the water’s edge to slather all over yourself, leave for 20 minutes, and then rinse off with a float in the mineral-rich waters.

There are plenty of great resorts along the Dead Sea coast in Jordan. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied

3. THE RESORT’S SPA IS FABULOUS

If you want to up the luxe level on your Dead Spa dip, the Ishtar Spa by Resense has dead sea pools among its adults-only relaxation haven and offers Dead Sea salt scrubs, mud massages and wraps. The resort also has nine pools to laze around for the rest of the day.

4. YOU’LL GET THE BEST INSTA PIX

Just grab a copy of the Jordan Times from your room for the obligatory reading-while-floating photo.

The obligatory reading-the-paper-while-floating shot.Source:Supplied

5. THE CELEB FACTOR

You’ll be in high-profile company — Brangelina, Nicole Kidman, Tony Blair and Bono are just a few of the celebs to stay at the resort. And that Kardashian of ancient Egypt, the milk-bath-loving Queen Cleopatra was lured to Dead Sea shores, too.

6. IT WAS THE REAL GARDEN OF EDEN

If you opt for the Book of Genesis over Lonely Planet, you’ll know the religious significance of this region, too. Christ was baptised in the River Jordan, and in the Old Testament, God refers to the Jordan River Valley surrounding the Dead Sea as the “Garden of the Lord” aka the Garden of Eden.

Dead Sea seashore. Picture: iStockSource:Supplied

AND ONE LAST TIP

After infusing your body with the healing properties of the ultra-buoyant brine, stock up on packets and tubs of mud and salt crystals on your way back to the Queen Alia International Airport at the Dead Sea Fortune factory, 5km east of the resort strip.

The writer was a guest of Qantas, Emirates and the Jordan Tourism Board.

ESCAPE ROUTE

GETTING THERE

Together, Qantas and Emirates operate 91 fights a week to Dubai from Australia, with onward connections to Jordan’s capital, Amman. The Dead Sea is roughly a one-hour drive from Amman, via Madaba. qantas.com; emirates.com/au

STAYING THERE

Superior Rooms at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea have private balconies facing the salt lake but for the best sunset views, wander over to Kish Bar in the Ishtar building. kempinski.com/en/dead-sea/hotel-ishtar

MORE

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View of Dead Sea coastline.Source:

Cooking Off The Cuff: Accompanying Summer Ravioli With Late Peas And Early Leeks

Last week, I made a batch of agnolotti/ravioli containing a very simple summer filling of nice, dry ricotta: blanched and mashed peas; and fresh mint. Salt, no pepper. It is a filling worth trying as pea season comes to an end. (It would be very good with fava/broad beans too, but that would be quite a bit more work because of the indispensable extra step of peeling the blanched beans.)

The question arose of how to dress these ravioli (which I won’t describe in detail, because their ingredients tell the whole story: for the filling combine ricotta, peas, mint and salt). The first thought was a standard one: Butter and mint, maybe with some parmesan at the table. But there was a lot of mint in the filling, and more would have been too much. It is no secret that one of the first pea dishes Jackie and I eat each summer is peas à la française, one of whose defining ingredients is little springtime onions. So, for us, peas find a good friend in any member of the onion family. Leeks, for instance: new-season leeks had just begun to appear at the market, and I had some in the house.

And echoing the peas in the ravioli with peas in their dressing seemed to be a fine idea: there would be a textural contrast with the crushed peas in the pasta filling; they would taste good; and they would look gorgeous with the pale green-white of the leeks and the yellow of the pasta.

Early in the day I shelled enough peas (the smaller and younger the better) to yield a generous half cup (around 120 ml by volume). If these had been older and bigger, I’d have blanched them for a minute or two in boiling water, then chilled them in cold water and set them aside.

A half hour before guests arrived, I cut the white part (just extending into the light green) of five thin, well-washed leeks into 1/4 to 3/8-inch (6 to 10-mm) rounds; these were short, and the white part measured only 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) in length, so adjust quantities accordingly. Cut thicker ones on the smaller side for the sake of even cooking. In a pan large enough to eventually hold the 28 ravioli (they were small, and seven to a portion was a nice first course), I melted about a tablespoon and a half (20 g) butter and added the leeks still damp from rinsing, along with salt. Over low heat and with the pan partially covered, I cooked them until they were just tender, adding dribbles of water as needed, then set them aside.

When the ravioli went into their boiling water, I reheated the leeks and added the peas, which were tender in about 90 seconds, then turned off the heat and waited for the ravioli. When they were done, I relit the fire under the leek-pea mixture and drained and added the ravioli. I splashed in a little of the pasta-cooking water to generate a glossy butter finish, adjusted the salt, and that was that. No cheese was needed.

It was a perfect companion to the pea-based ravioli, but you could serve it with any small-format egg pasta, such as farfalle – or indeed with spaetzle. Very delicate, very elegant, very summery. And delicious.

EDWARD SCHNEIDER
Peas and the summer’s first leeks with ricotta-pea-mint agnolotti/ravioli

EDWARD SCHNEIDER
Use only the white and palest green parts of (preferably) small leeks

EDWARD SCHNEIDER
In butter and a little water, the sliced leeks take next to no time to cook

EDWARD SCHNEIDER
And, once added, the peas cook in even less time

EDWARD SCHNEIDER
Ravioli going into the pan

EDWARD SCHNEIDER
The finished dish

Essential Phone begins shipping today, only 57 days late

© Provided by CNET Josh Miller

On May 30, Essential founder Andy Rubin said he’d ship his stunning Essential Phone within 30 days.

On July 22, he said it was coming “within a few weeks.”

On August 16, the company said the first preorders would ship within 7 days.

None of those things happened. But Essential tells CNET the phone is indeed (finally) shipping today, August 25.

The first preorder customers should get email confirmations “shortly,” according to the company’s head of communications. The company will ship them out in waves, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see a confirmation right away.

I’m currently reviewing the Essential Phone for CNET, and after spending a few days with a pre-release phone, I have to admit the delays might not be all bad.

There’s no question that Rubin’s startup has created a beautiful, high-quality device that feels great in the hand, but I’ve run into a number of bugs — including full-on crashes — with Essential’s pre-release software, and the camera definitely still needs work.

I’m hoping those will get ironed out within the next couple of weeks, and I think it’s possible they will. Reviewers have received multiple software updates already to add fix a variety of issues.

But I can’t blame some customers for getting angry when Essential charged their cards (including mine) without providing a shipping confirmation.

5 man-killing cancers you might not spot until it’s too late

For all types of cancers combined, cancer rates are 20 percent higher in men than women—and they are 40 percent more likely to die from it, too.  (iStock)

Cancer kills: Nearly 1.7 million people will receive a cancer diagnosis in 2017, and more than 600,000 people will die from it, according to a report from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

And the picture seems especially dire for men. For all types of cancers combined, cancer rates are 20 percent higher in men than women—and they are 40 percent more likely to die from it, too. So it’s no surprise that cancer ranks as the second most-common killer of men.

The even scarier part? Many of the leading cancer killers have no clearcut symptoms in their earliest stages. And that’s one instance where ignorance definitely isn’t bliss: Hard-to-spot cancers—whether preventive screenings aren’t available yet or you don’t recognize the symptoms as something serious enough to get checked out—can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment, which can reduce your chances of successfully beating it.

So for this National Men’s Health Week—a nationwide initiative which aims to increase awareness of preventable health issues, early detection, and treatment for diseases facing men—we’re making it our mission to shine a light on these hard-to-spot cancers.

Read on to find how they might take hold in your body before you even realize it, and what you can do about them before it’s too late.

WHY LUNG CANCER CAN BE HARD TO DETECT

Even though prostate cancer may be more common, lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death in men. Only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at an early stage, according to the American Lung Association. Once the disease spreads and becomes more aggressive, only 4 percent of people survive at least five years.

Why it’s hard to detect: Most people associate lung cancer with smoking, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture, says David Ross Camidge, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medical oncology and lung cancer researcher at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

While smoking is linked to the majority of lung cancer cases, the disease still strikes people who have never even touched a cigarette, he explains.

In most other cases, blame radon, a natural gas that you can’t see or smell. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.—and about 1 in 15 homes have high radon levels, according to the CDC.

Plus, you might not even realize you have lung cancer until it’s already advanced to a more deadly stage: “Your lungs are mostly air, so you can actually grow a fairly decent sized mass without even noticing it,” says Dr. Camidge. “By the time you get symptoms, the cancer may have already spread.” These symptoms include a constant cough, shortness of breath, and unexplained weight loss.

But the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force has pretty narrow guidelines for who it recommends receive CT scans for lung cancer screening: those who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for at least 30 years, are either still smoking or have quit within the last 15 years, and are aged in their 50s through 70s.

“So if you’re a guy in your 30s and you’ve never smoked, you’re never going to qualify for a screening test,” says Dr. Camidge.

What you can do: Skip the stereotypes. Regardless of whether you’re a smoker or not, don’t ignore the telltale signs of lung cancer listed above when they do appear.

Many doctors will hear that you have a cough, have never been a smoker, and automatically assume that it can’t be lung cancer, says Dr. Camidge. So they’ll usually treat you for less serious conditions that share common symptoms, like asthma or bronchitis. But if your cough persists for a couple of months, you should talk to your doctor about your options for a test, especially if you cough up blood.

WHY COLORECTAL CANCER CAN BE HARD TO DETECT

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the United States, according to the ACS.

While the majority of colorectal cases affect men over 50, the disease is quickly on the rise in young people, too. People born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer than people born in 1950, when colorectal cancer risk was at its lowest, according to a study from the ACS.

Why it’s hard to detect: While colorectal cancer comes with its fair share of symptoms, they don’t typically appear in its earliest stages, when the cancer is most likely to be cured, says William Grady, M.D., a clinical researcher who specializes in colon cancer prevention at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

“You won’t know if you have an early colorectal cancer. The only time you’ll know is when it’s much more advanced. Even then, the symptoms are so nonspecific that it’s hard to know what they mean,” he adds. This means you might mistake common symptoms—which include abdominal cramping, blood in your stool, and a persistent, unexplained change in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea—for some other type of stomach or digestion issue instead.

That’s why it’s vital to get yourself checked through regular screening, since pre-cancerous growths can be removed before they develop into cancer—and before they start causing those symptoms.

Almost all colorectal cancers start out as a benign colon polyp, a clump of cells that forms on the lining of your colon or rectum, says Dr. Grady. Only 1 in 10 polyps will ever become a cancer if they do, and it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for the cancer to form. Colonoscopies are the most powerful way to find and remove a polyp early.

But if you don’t get yourself checked, there’s usually no outward sign of colorectal cancer until it advances, and you start experiencing its red-flag symptoms, like the ones mentioned above.

What you can do: Ask your doctor about screenings. Only a little more than half of people who should get tested for colorectal cancer do so, according to the ACS.

Most guys should start getting regular colonoscopies at the age of 50. But if you have a first-degree family member that suffered from the disease, you should start screenings at 40, or 10 years younger than they were when they were first diagnosed, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends.

These colonoscopies can be a lifesaver: 9 out 10 people who are diagnosed with colon cancer early are cured, says Dr. Grady. For those who are diagnosed late, after the cancer has already outside of the bowels to other organs like the liver or lungs, only 1 in 20 are cured. (Here are six ways you can prevent colon cancer.)

WHY PANCREATIC CANCER CAN BE HARD TO DETECT

The ACS predicts that 27,970 men will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017—compare that to the 116,990 men that will be diagnosed with lung cancer. Still, while pancreatic cancer accounts for just three percent of all cancers, it makes up about 7 percent of all cancer deaths.

One reason it’s overrepresented in the death column? The disease is one of the most insidious ones out there: “We don’t have any way to screen for pancreatic cancer, and symptoms don’t develop until it’s usually not curable, so almost everyone who gets pancreatic cancer dies from it,” says Dr. Grady.

Why it’s hard to detect: Abdominal or back pain, weight loss, lack of appetite, nausea, and even blood clots are pretty nonspecific symptoms of pancreatic cancer that could be attributed to lots of other things. The cancer usually has to spread to your liver before you develop a telltale sign that something’s really not right: jaundice, which causes your skin and eyes to yellow.

The structure and setup of your organs is part of the reason. Your GI tract is basically a series of tubes and organs with different layers, including your pancreas, says Dr. Grady. The layers around some areas, like your colon, are quite thick. Thicker layers allow cancers more time to grow before they spread to other organs, potentially boosting your doctor’s chances of finding it in time to treat it before it becomes aggressive.

But your pancreas is different—its outer layers are pretty thin. That means the cancer can quickly spread outside the pancreas. “We think the problem is that by the time you develop symptoms, the cancer has almost always spread outside the organ into different regions,” says Dr. Grady.

Plus, your pancreas is located deep within your body, so your doctor can’t see or feel early tumors during routine checkups, according to the ACS.

What you can do: While researchers are putting in a lot of effort to come up with better early-detection tests, nothing like that is currently available for most people, says Dr. Grady. Like colon cancer polyps, there are precancerous lesions on your pancreas that may go on to become cancer, but more research needs to be done to know for sure, he says.

So prevention is key. The best thing you can do is to minimize your risk, says Dr. Grady. Smokers are twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer than people who have never smoked, according to the ACS. (Here’s the best way to quit smoking forever.) And since obese people are 20 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, maintaining a healthy weight is crucial, too.

WHY MELANOMA CAN BE HARD TO DETECT

While melanoma accounts for only about 1 percent of skin cancers, it causes a majority of skin cancer deaths, according to the ACS.

And it’s on the rise. Melanoma rates have doubled in the last three decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—and guys are particularly at risk. Men who have developed stage-four melanoma are more likely to die from it than women, possibly due to immune system differences, says Tara Gangadhar, M.D., assistant professor of hematology oncology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Why it’s hard to detect: It’s not exactly easy to eyeball the difference between a harmless spot on your skin and a cancerous mole. One big reason? You might not be aware that a dark brown mole isn’t the only sign to look out for, says Dr. Gangadhar.

Some melanomas are colorless, flesh-colored, or even red and pink—meaning you might brush it off as a pimple, wart, or not even notice it at all, she says. Plus, even if you do find a suspicious mark, hectic schedules can get in the way, so you might put off getting it looked at while the cancer is in its earliest stages.

But ignoring the warning signs can be fatal: Even after melanoma has been surgically removed from your skin, it can come back and spread to other organs like your lungs, liver, or brain, making it much harder to cure, explains Dr. Gagadhar. Other skin cancers like squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas rarely recur or spread at the same rate that melanoma does.

What you can do: Scan your skin—even if you slather on the sunscreen. You’re still at higher risk for developing melanoma if you experienced sunburns as a kid, says Dr. Gangadhar.

So if you notice any changing lesion on your skin, get it looked at by your doctor or dermatologist, says Dr. Gangadhar. Changes in the shape, color, or border of your moles should all raise a red flag—but cancerous moles can bleed, grow rapidly, and become itchy, too. (These pictures show you exactly what skin cancer looks like.)

WHY LIVER CANCER CAN BE HARD TO DETECT

Liver cancer is the fast growing cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., according to a new ACS report published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. In fact, liver cancer deaths have doubled since 1980.

Only 1 in 5 people will survive five years after they’re diagnosed, the report found. What’s more, the disease is more common in men—the ACS predicts 29,200 guys will be diagnosed with the disease in 2017.

Why it’s hard to detect: There hasn’t been a ton of progress in figuring out how to effectively detect liver cancer at an earlier stage before it spreads, says Kim Miller, M.P.H., an epidemiologist at the ACS. Serious symptoms—like loss of appetite, feeling very full after a small meal, abdominal pain, and jaundice—don’t really appear until the cancer has already become difficult to treat.

Plus, your ribcage covers most of your liver, so it’s not easy for you or your doctor to feel a tumor there if you develop one, she says.

What you can do: Know your risk. A big reason liver cancer deaths are on the rise is because of the hepatitis C epidemic among Baby Boomers, or people who were born between 1945 and 1965, says Miller. Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer and liver transplants, since it can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis, scarring and inflammation of the liver, according to the CDC.

That’s why the CDC recommends getting blood tests done to detect if you’ve ever been infected with the hepatitis C virus. Successful treatments can completely eliminate the virus from the body, minimizing your risk of developing liver cancer.

Even if you’re not among the Baby Boomer generation, getting yourself vaccinated against the hepatitis B infection can help keep you protected too, since it can also cause liver damage.

And if you are at high risk—meaning you have chronic viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, or metabolic disorders like excess bodyweight and type-2 diabetes—there are some physicians out there who offer screening tests, like ultrasounds and CT scans. But there isn’t yet data out there to confirm the effectiveness of them, says Miller.