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2013 Monthly Health Topics. Eta Sigma Gamma- Delta Xi chapter The University of Alabama. January: Birth Defects & Folic Acid Awareness.
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2013 Monthly Health Topics Eta Sigma Gamma- Delta Xi chapter The University of Alabama
January: Birth Defects & Folic Acid Awareness • One out of every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. Some birth defects result in infant mortality, while other birth defects result in a manageable condition. Birth defects are a leading cause of death in newborns (accounting for one fifth of all infant deaths). Lifelong increased medical costs are a major issue for people with non-life threatening birth defects, with an estimated 139,000 additional annual hospital visits due to birth defect complications (Russo, 2004).The causes of birth defects are complicated and not well understood. Most birth defects are a combination of genes, our behaviors, and the environment (CDC, 2011). However, health professionals have convincing evidence that folic acid taken during pregnancy can help prevent certain common birth defects. Why is Folic Acid important? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2011), Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent some major birth defects of the brain and spine (i.e. anencephaly and spina bifida) if taken before and during early pregnancy.In 1996, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folic acid should be added to grain products, such as breads and cereals (folic acid fortification), to help reduce the risk of certain birth defects (CDC, 2011). For More Information on January's Health Topics: CDC Birth Defects Website March of Dimes Folic Acid Fact Sheet References Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Birth Defects: Leading Cause of Infant Death. http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsinfantdeaths/index.html#ref.Russo, C. A. (Thomson Medstat) and Elixhauser, A. (AHRQ). (2007). Hospitalizations for Birth Defects, 2004. HCUP Statistical Brief #24. U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
February: Heart Health & Congenital Heart Defect Awareness • Heart Disease is the Leading Cause of Death in the United States The heart is vital to many important functions of the body. It pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen-rich blood to individual cells, while it collects wastes from cells that are removed from the body. The better trained (with proper diet and exercise), the more efficiently the heart pumps blood. Having a healthy heart also decreases the risk of cardiac events such as heart attacks. How to Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Heart The Mayo Clinic suggests that there are five major activities you can do to increase your heart health: 1) Don't use tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco etc) Chemicals in tobacco damage your heart, and nicotine puts stress your entire cardiovascular system. 2) Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week Regular moderate or vigorous physical activity greatly reduces your chances of a fatal heart attack. 3) Eat a heart healthy diet Avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, while consuming good fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9) and eating a balanced diet. 4) Maintain a healthy weight Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can produce measurable health benefits. 5) Get regular health screenings Knowing your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar numbers can help you make informed decisions about your health. In the United States, 36,000 babies are born with heart defects yearly According to the American Heart Association, heart defect result when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don't develop normally before birth. There are many types of heart defects, most of which either obstruct blood flow in the heart or proximal blood vessels, or cause an abnormal pattern of blood flow in the heart. References: Mayo Clinic. (2011, January 12). 5 medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease. In Heart Disease.American Heart Association. (2011, January 24). Congenital Heart Defects.
March: National Nutrition & DiabetesAwareness Month • Diabetes Mellitus, more commonly referred to as diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels resulting from defects in the body's abitlity to produce and/or use insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas to take up glucose and convert it into glycogen to be stored as an energy source in the liver and muscles. Diabetes can be categorized as Type 1, Type 2, or Gestational. A total of 25.8 million chidlren and adults in the United States have diabetes (8.3% of the population) and another 7.0 million people go undiagnosed. About 1 in every 400 children/adolescents is diagnosed with diabetes. In 2007, a total of 231,404 deaths were caused by diabetes (American Diabetes Association, ADA, 2013). • Symptoms • Type 1 diabetes symptoms include: frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, extreme fatigue and irritability. Type 2 diabetes symptoms include: any of the type 1 symptoms, frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts/bruises that are slow healing, tingling/numbness in hands or feet, and recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include: a family history of diabetes, being overweight prior to pregnancy, and having had gestational diabetes in a prior pregnancy. However, people with type 2 or gestational diabetes often show no symptoms (ADA, 2013). • According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes can be prevented or delayed through a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle can be accomplished through changes in diet, increasing physical activity, and exercise. • Nutrition - "Eat Right, Your Way, Everyday!" • It is national nutrition month and according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this year's theme is "eat right, your way, everyday!" This theme was designed to encourage healthy eating styles personalized to one's own food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, AND, 2013). Choosing meals that are made "your way" make it that much easier to uphold a healthy lifestyle; but remember, one must also "eat right" which requires smart choices in the foods consumed. • To maintain good health, a healthy lifestyle is essential. A well-balanced meal is a key component in achieving/maintaining a healthy lifestyle (ADA, 2013). Here are some tips for choosing food for a well-balanced diet: • - Eat non-starchy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, or green beans) • - Eat lots of fruits and vegetables • - Choose whole grain foods (brown rice or whole grain pasta) over processed products • - Include lentils and dried beans (pinto or kidney) • - Include fish 2-3 times a week • - Choose lean meats (cuts of beef or pork that end in "loin" - i.e., pork loin) and remove the skin • - Cut back on high calorie snack foods and desserts • - Choose liquid oils for cooking • - Choose non-fat dairy (skim-milk, non-fat yogurt/cheese) • - choose water, unsweetened tea, and calorie free "diet" drinks • Remember! Even eating large amounts of healthful foods can lead to weight gain, so be sure to watch your portion sizes. • For more information please visit the American Diabetes Association website located at: www.diabetes.org • References: • American Diabetes Association. (2013). Diabetes basics and food. • Retrieved from: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/ • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2013). It’s national • nutrition month. Retrieved from: http://www.eatright.org/nnm/
April: Alcohol, Sexual Assault & STI Awareness • Alcohol abuse is a continued pattern of drinking that results in harm to one’s health, interpersonal relationships, or ability to work. Indicators of alcohol abuse include the following:-Failure to fulfill major responsibilities at work, school, or home. -Drinking in dangerous situations, such as drinking while driving or operating machinery. -Legal problems related to alcohol, such as being arrested for drinking while driving or for physically hurting someone while drunk. -Continued drinking despite ongoing relationship problems that are caused or worsened by drinking. -Long-term alcohol abuse can turn into alcohol dependence.Dependency on alcohol, also known as alcoholism, is a chronic disease. The signs and symptoms of alcoholism are the following:-A strong craving for alcohol. -Continued use despite repeated physical, psychological, or interpersonal problems. -The inability to limit drinking.If you find yourself, a friend or family member suffering from alcohol dependency/abuse there is help. Local: The University of Alabama Student Health Center offers help http://shc.ua.edu/health-promotion/alcoholdrug-abuse/ or (205) 348-3878. National: 855-993-2832 What is sexual assault? Sexual assault is any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any sexual touching of a person who has not consented.Facts: -Two-thirds of assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. -Sexual assault is the most under-reported violent crime in the U.S. Only 46 percent of sexual assaults have been reported over the past 5 years. -1 out of every 6 women in America has been the victim of an attempted or rape in her lifetime. Where to find help:Local: http://wrc.ua.edu/contact.cfmNational: http://www.sassnh.org/ What are Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)? An STI is an infection passed from person to person through intimate sexual contact. STIs are also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. You can get a STI by having intimate sexual contact with someone who already has the infection. You can’t tell if a person is infected because many STIs have no symptoms, yet STIs can still be passed from person to person even if there are no symptoms. STIs are spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex or during genital touching, so it’s possible to get some STIs without having intercourse. Each STI causes different health problems. But overall, untreated STIs can cause cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, pregnancy problems, wide spread infection to other parts of the body, organ damage, and even death. So it is important if you are sexually active to get a STI screening.References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Alcohol and Public Health: Frequently Asked Questions. http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#alcoholismAbuseDo Something. (2013). 11 Facts About Sexual Assault. http://www.dosomething.org/about/partnersU.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Sexually Transmitted Infections. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexually-transmitted-infections.cfm#a
May: Mental Health Awareness • Mental illness is a major health issue that can affect any person regardless of race, culture, age, ethnicity, economic status or education. Today mental health challenges are a leading obstacle associated with academic success among college students (Blanco et al, 2008). Unfortunately, mental illness is the leading cause of disability in North America and Europe and costs the United States more than half a trillion dollars per year in treatment and other expenses (Eaton, 2011). The exact cause of mental illness or disorders is unknown. Research indicates that genetics and an individual’s environment are strongly associated with mental illness. Poverty and stress are well-known factors that are associated with mental illness (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). According to Blanco et al (2008), mental illness affects relationships, academic success and overall well-being among college students. Issues such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders in the college population are associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of college. Yet, because of the lack of education and shame associated with mental illness, this topic is often not discussed and many individuals suffer in silence (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013). In the past, mental illness was surrounded with mystery and fear (Eaton, 2011). Today, we have made tremendous strides in better understanding and providing treatment and services for individuals suffering from the burden of mental illness. Mental illness is common and the vast majority of individuals with mental disorders continue to function in their daily lives. Recognizing the Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness · Recent social withdrawal · Loss of interest in others · Unusual drop in functioning at work, school, sports · Difficulty performing tasks · Problems with memory, concentration · Heightened sensitivity to sounds, smells, sight, touch · Strong feelings of fear, suspiciousness of others · Dramatic sleep and appetite changes STAND UP TO STIGMA · Empower others to speak openly about mental health · Educate others about mental illness · Support friends and family members that decide to make healthy lifestyle choices to promote sound mental health · Encourage others to seek help when they need it Are you in crisis? Please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Suicide is one of the most frightening possible outcomes of mental illness. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) immediately. This is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24-hour service available to anyone in need of help. Never ignore or underestimate remarks about suicide. Take them seriously, and make certain that the person in crisis is cared for. And if you think your friend is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone—stay there and call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). References Blanco, C., O., Mayumi, C. Wright, et al. (2011). Mental health of college students and their non-peers. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65 (12), 1429-1437. Eaton, W., S. Martins, G. Nestadt, O., Bienvenu, D. Clarke,& Alexandre, P. (2011). The Burden of Mental Disorders. Epidemiologic Reviews, 30, 1-14. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
June: General Safety Awareness • Since general safety awareness is a broad topic the main points considered are for the college-aged population. The college population is a unique population because of the newfound independence gained and added load of responsibilities. Unfortunately, that causes young adults to forget to take care of themselves and take the necessary precautions to prevent injuries/unsafe situations from occurring. • Each university campus can provide students with safety information that the school has implemented to keep its students safe- don’t walk the campus alone at night, extra lights put into place to keep the campus safer at night or a greater addition of bike lanes to prevent injuries. All of these steps are put into place to keep us, students, safe and are easily accessible so contact your school about acquiring this information. Yet, it is also important for us to be aware of general safety awareness cues. • The American Public Health Association (APHA) puts on a National Public Health Week each year during the first week of April and this year’s theme was safety. 5 very important points addressed were ensuring a safe and healthy home for your family, providing a safe environment while at school, creating a healthy workplace, protecting you while you’re on the move and empowering a healthy community. Below are key ways to stay safe according to the 5 points addressed by APHA. • Ensuring a safe and healthy home for your family: • -Smoke alarms can double your chance of surviving a fire, so install alarms on every floor of your home and test that they're working monthly. While you're at it, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of your home as well. • -Help prevent fires — as well as serious health problems and chronic diseases — by making your home tobacco- and smoke-free. • -Keep potentially dangerous household products, such as cleaning products, cosmetics and prescription medications, locked up and out of children's reach. Also, never store household chemicals in old food containers or in the same place you keep food items. Learn more at www.upandaway.org. • Providing a safe environment while at school: • -Support evidence-based sexual health education that's aimed at preventing disease and unplanned pregnancy and is inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. • -Advocate for smoke- and tobacco-free policies at schools as well as on college campuses • -Organize for school-wide policies and action against bullying and create a safe space for kids experiencing bullying to get help. • Creating a healthy workplace: • -Understand and follow all workplace safety regulations and best practices. Don't stop at doing the minimum — go beyond Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. • -Educate employees about workplace safety regulations and train employees to recognize unsafe or unhealthy settings. Depending on your workforce, make sure safety training is available in multiple languages. • -Create a work environment in which workers feel comfortable reporting unsafe work conditions or workplace abuse. • Protecting you while you’re on the move: • -Always buckle your seat belt no matter how short the trip and don't be shy about reminding others to do the same. • -That text message can wait! Don't text while driving. Learn more at www.distraction.gov. • -Never drive impaired or let friends or family drive impaired. If you know you'll be drinking alcohol, make plans in advance that don't require you to drive, such as having a designated driver. • Empowering a healthy community: • -Inquire about volunteer opportunities at community health centers. • -Take part in national health observances, such as National HIV Testing Day, National Youth Violence Prevention Week and National Minority Health Month. • -Stay up to date on recommended vaccinations for yourself • References: • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Healthy Living. http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyLiving/ • National Public Health Week. (2013). Daily Themes. http://www.nphw.org/tools-and-tips/themes
July - UV Safety Awareness • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. There are more new cases of skin cancer each year than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate (American Cancer Society, ACS, 2012). In fact, over the past three decades, more people have developed skin cancer than all other cancers combined (Stern, 2010). An estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime (Robinson, 2005). • Melanoma develops from melanocyte cells that create the brown pigment that gives skin its color (National Cancer Institute, NCI, 2010). Melanoma is a less common type of skin cancer but far more severe than other forms of skin cancer. Melanoma is ten times more common in whites than African Americans (ACS, 2012). Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in young adults ages 15-29 (Howlader et al., 2012). Among young, non-Hispanic white women, the incidence rate of melanoma is increasing at an alarming 2.7% per year (Purdue, Freeman, Anderson, & Tucker, 2008). From 1970 to 2009, melanoma incidence increased by 800% among young women (Reed et al., 2012). Although most skin cancers are not fatal, they are prevalent, expensive, and often result in damaging effects on physical appearance and health (Heckman et al., 2011). One person dies of melanoma every 57 minutes (ACS, 2012). • Tanning • Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is the primary environmental risk factor in the development of most skin cancers (ACS, 2012) and is a known human carcinogen (USDHHS, Public Health Services, National Toxicology Program, 2011). Limiting UV exposure is the most significant modifiable risk factor in the prevention of melanoma (Ibrahim & Brown, 2008). Sunlight is the primary source of UV radiation but tanning booths and lamps are also significant sources of UVR. Thus, sunbathing and indoor tanning increase a person’s risk for developing skin cancer. In addition to skin cancer, negative outcomes of excessive UVR exposure include eye damage, sunburn, suppression of the immune system, and premature aging of the skin, or photoaging (Sinclair, 2003). Specifically, photoaging includes wrinkles, age spots, and skin discoloration. More than 90% of visible skin changes are a result of UVR exposure (Gilchrest, 1984). • How to Prevent Photoaging and Skin Cancer • The CDC (2013) recommends the following strategies to reduce exposure to UV radiation: • · Avoid indoor tanning. • · Seek shade, particularly between 10 AM – 3 PM (Standard Time) • · Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect the face, ears, head, and neck. • · Wear clothing to protect exposed skin. • · Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block nearly 100% of UVA and UVB rays. • · Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher that provides UVA and UVB protection • How to Appear Bronzed Without the Risk of UVR • · Utilize self-tanner products (e.g., wipes, lotions, gels) • · Incorporate tinted moisturizer into your normal skin care routine • · Utilize face or body bronzer (e.g., powder, lotion, gel, mist spray) • · Get a spray tan • · Always wear sunscreen in combination with these products! • References • American Cancer Society. (2011). Cancer prevention and early detection facts & figures 2011. Atlanta, GA: ACI, Inc. • American Cancer Society. (2012). Cancer facts and figures 2012. Atlanta, GA: ACI, Inc. • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Skin cancer prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm • Gilchrest, B.A. (Ed.) (1984). Skin and aging processes. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. • Heckman, C., Manne, S., Kloss, J., Bass, S., Collins, B., Lessin, S. (2011). Beliefs and Intentions for Skin Protection and UV Exposure in Young Adults. American Journal of Health Behavior,35(6), 699-711. • Howlader, N., Noone, A.M., Krapcho, M., Neyman, N., Aminou, R., Altekruse, S.F., …Cronin, K.A. (Eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2009 (Vintage 2009 Populations), National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2009_pops09/, based on November 2011 data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2012. • Ibrahim, S.F., & Brown, M.D. (2008). Tanning and cutaneous malignancy. Dermatological Surgery, 34(4), 460-474. • Mariotto, A.B., Yabroff, K.R., Shao, Y., Feuer, E.J., & Brown, M.L. (2011). Projections of the cost of cancer care in the U.S. 2010-2020. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 103(2), 117-128. • National Cancer Institute. (2010). What you need to know about melanoma and other skin cancers. (NIH Publication No. 10-7625): Bethesda, MD. • National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. (2011). The cost of cancer. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/servingpeople/cancer-statistics/costofcancer. • Purdue, M.P., Freeman, L.B., Anderson, W.F., & Tucker, M.A. (2008). Recent trends in incidence of cutaneous melanoma among US Caucasian young adults. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 128(12), 2905-2908. • Reed, K.N., Brewer, J.D., Lohse, C.M., Bringe, K.E., Pruitt, C.N., & Gibson, L.E. (2012). Increasing incidence of melanoma among young adults: An epidemiological study in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 87(4), 328-334. • Robinson, J.K. (2005). Sun Exposure, Sun Protection, and Vitamin D. Journal of the American Medical Association, 24, 1541-1543. • Seidler, A.M., Pennie, M.L., Veledar, E., Culler, S.D., & Chen, S.C. (2010). Economic burden of melanoma in the elderly populations: Population-based analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)—Medicare data. Archives of Dermatology, 146 (3), 249-256. • Sinclair, C. (2003). WHO guidance brochure - Artificial tanning sunbeds: Risks and guidance. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. • Stern, R.S. (2010). Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Archives of Dermatology, 146(3), 279-282. • United States Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Cancer. Retrieved from: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/objectiveslist.aspx?topicId=5
August-Breastfeeding Awareness • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that all infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life (AAP, 2012). Research supports many health benefits associated with breastfeeding including optimal growth and development, proper nutrition, and an increased ability for babies to fight off viral and bacterial infections. Although, the many benefits to breastfeeding is well-documented, many women in the United States continue to have challenges when deciding to breastfeed. Unfortunately, while breastfeeding rates in the United States have increased in the last few years breastfeeding rates among minority women continue to decline (CDC, 2006). • Breastfeeding has been linked to a lowered risks of diabetes, obesity, and cancer among children (Baker, 2012). From 2000 to 2008, breastfeeding rates among black infants presented the lowest prevalence rates of breastfeeding initation and duration (CDC, 2013). There are a number of factors that influence a women's breastfeeding intentions that include age, income, education, spouse or partner, cultural norms, and perceptions of formula feeding (Grummer & Shealy, 2009). In 2011, the Surgeon General's Call to Action to support breastfeeding suggested that all communities, employers, health-care providers, governments and nonprofit organizations implement strategies to support breastfeeding. • Many evidence-based strategies designed to increase breastfeeding rates in the United States require collaboration among maternity care providers, employers, social networks and the media to increase resources and support for women to initiate and continue breastfeeding. There are 10 steps outlined for Successful Breastfeeding among hospitals listed below: • The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding are: • Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff. • Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy. • Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding. • Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. • Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants. • Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated. • Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day. • Encourage breastfeeding on demand. • Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants. • Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center. • For information on breastfeeding women and other family members may talk with a pediatrician. In addition, individuals may contact their local or State Health Department. Organizations such as La Leche League International, the International Lactation Consultant Association, and the Academy of Pediatrics. • References • La Leche League International. The womanly art of breastfeeding. USA: Penguin • Books; 1995.
September - Prostate and Ovarian Cancer Awareness • Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men (second only to skin cancer). It occurs in the man's prostate gland, which is responsible for the production of the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. There is no clear cause of prostate cancer, but doctors know that prostate cancer begins when the normal cells in the prostate gland mutate into abnormal cells and accumulate to form a malignant tumor (American Cancer Society, 2013). Men have a better chance of successful treatment when prostate cancer is detected early and when it is still confined to the prostate gland. • Risk factors for prostate cancer include: • Older age • Being African American • Family history of prostate cancer or breast cancer • Consuming a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy foods • Genetics (accounts for a small proportion of cases) • Obesity • In its early stages, prostate cancer may not cause symptoms, but in the advanced stages, symptoms may include: • Trouble urinating and/or blood in the urine or semen • General pain in lower back, hip or thighs • Bone pain • Erectile dysfunction • Discomfort/pain in pelvic area • Diagnosis and Treatment • Prostate screening tests may include a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Prostate cancer may be diagnosed by an ultrasound or by collecting a sample of prostate tissue. Treatments include radiation therapy, hormone therapy, removal of prostate through surgery, heating or freezing the prostate tissue, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy (American Cancer Society, 2013). • Prevention • Risk of prostate cancer can be reduced by: • Choosing a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables • Choosing healthy foods instead of supplements • Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising most days of the week • Talking to your doctor about increased risk of prostate cancer • A cancer that begins in the ovaries is called ovarian cancer. Women have two ovaries (one on each side of the uterus) that produce ova (eggs) and hormones (estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone). This particular cancer causes more deaths than any other reproductive cancer in females and it often goes undetected until it has metastasized (spread) to the pelvis and abdomen. Similar to prostate cancer, there is no clear cause of ovarian cancer. Generally, it begins when normal cells mutate into abnormal cells that can accumulate to form a tumor that can metastasize. Treatments are available for ovarian cancer, but at the later stage of detection it is difficult to treat and is often fatal (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). • Risk factors for ovarian cancer include: • Family history of ovarian cancer or previous cancer diagnosis • Inherited gene mutations • Increasing age • Never having been pregnant • Signs and symptoms often imitate many other common conditions, but they may include: • Pelvic discomfort/pain • Abdominal pressure, swelling, or bloating • Persistent indigestion, gas, or nausea • Changes in bowel habits (i.e. constipation) • Changes in bladder habits (i.e. frequent urination) • Loss of appetite or feeling full quickly • Persistent lack of energy • Low back pain • Increased abdominal growth or clothes fitting tighter • Diagnosis and Treatment • Ovarian Cancer can be diagnosed by pelvic examination, ultrasound, tissue removal (for testing), and CA 125 blood test. Ovarian cancer can usually be treated by a combination of surgery and chemotherapy or radiation (CDC, 2013). • Prevention • There is no full proof way to prevent ovarian cancer, but the risk can be reduced by taking birth control for more than five years, having had a tubal ligation (getting your tubes tied), both ovaries removed, or a hysterectomy, having given birth, and discussing your risk factors with your doctor. • It is important to pay attention to your body and to know what is normal and what is not. If anything seems out of the ordinary, visit your doctor right away. For more information on prostate or ovarian cancer, go to www.cdc.org or www.cancer.org or make an appointment with your doctor. • References • American Cancer Society. (2013). What are the risks for prostate cancer? Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/overviewguide/prostate-cancer-overview-what-causes • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Basic information about ovarian cancer. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian/basic_info
October: Bullying Prevention • Bullying is repeated acts of undesired aggression when the relationship between the bully and the victim has an inherent power differential. This is crucial to its definition, as bullying is not bullying if the two parties consider each other equals. • Teasing and physical play between kids is not truly bullying unless the victim is seen as, or feels, to be less powerful in the relationship. Adolescent and adult friends may often mock or ‘poke fun’ at each other, and this type of behavior is not considered bullying. However, as soon as one of the involved becomes elevated to a position of power—real or felt—then it becomes a bullying situation. • Bullying has become so much more than the stereotypical ‘give me all your lunch money,’ shoving-in-a-locker, or Slushee attack (a la Glee). Workplace bullying and hazing are two forms of power play and aggression that often go overlooked. Relational aggression, also known as ‘girl bullying,’ is an emotional form of bullying involving the making and breaking of friendships as a way of making someone feel left out, ostracized, or lesser than the rest of the clique or group. It can be the most difficult to address because it is hard to define and/or witness. • Additionally, in this modern world of social media and constant access to the internet, cyber bullying has become an increasingly threatening and pervasive form of bullying. Parents should address cyber bullying head on by talking to their children about it, establishing clear rules of technology use, and being as aware as possible about what their children are doing online. • Incidences of harassment may be viewed through the lens of bullying, but is slightly more specific in definition as persistent, severe, unwanted conduct towards a ‘protected’ population--based on age, gender, race, etc.--that creates a hostile environment . • The PACER Center has an entire website devoted to bullying prevention, as well as many resources for parents whose children are being bullied—or are the bullies. • Resources: • PACER National Bullying Prevention Center (2012). Bullying Info and Facts. Retrieved from: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/info-facts.asp • PACER National Bullying Prevention Center (2012). Cyberbullying: What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Children. Retrieved from: http://www.pacer.org/publications/bullypdf/BP-23.pdf • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013). Bullying Definition. Retrieved from: http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2013). Related Topics. Retrieved from: http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/related-topics/index.html
October: Health Literacy Promotion • Health literacy is one’s ability to understand basic health-related information services and utilize these resources in making health decisions. Low health literacy is associated with poor health conditions and higher health care costs. It affects one’s ability to navigate the health care system, understand medical advice from their doctors, and engage in effective communication with health professionals. Those most at risk include non-English speaking populations, less educated or wealthy individuals, minorities, and older adults. Education, language, and access all affect a person’s level of health literacy. • Nearly 9 out of 10 adults in the United States have difficulty interpreting and evaluation basic health information. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion released a National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy (2010), with seven major goals for improving our nation’s health literacy, and the strategies required to attain them: • To develop and disseminate accurate and accessible health and safety information. • Promote improved health information, communication, access to services, and decision-making in the health care system. • Incorporate accurate and developmentally appropriate health and science information into child care and education curricula through the university level. • Support and expand local efforts to provide English language instruction, adult education, and culturally appropriate health information services. • Build partnerships, develop guidance, and change policies. • Increase the development, implementation, and evaluation of practices, research, and information to improve national health literacy. • Increase the use of evidence-based health literacy practices. • References: • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2013) Health Literacy. Retrieved from: http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/
November: Lung Cancer Awareness • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States. In 2010, 14% of all cancer diagnoses and 28% of all cancer deaths were due to lung cancer. After increasing for decades, lung cancer rates are decreasing nationally, paralleling decreases in cigarette smoking. • Lung cancer begins in the lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as the brain. Cancer from other organs also may spread to the lungs. When cancer cells spread from one organ to another, they are called metastases. • Lung cancers usually are grouped into two main types called small cell and non-small cell. These types of lung cancer grow differently and are treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer. • Risk Factors • Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Lung cancer also can be caused by using other types of tobacco (such as pipes or cigars), breathing secondhand smoke, being exposed to substances such as asbestos or radon at home or work, and having a family history of lung cancer. • Symptoms • Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people have symptoms related to the lungs. Some people whose lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) have symptoms specific to that part of the body. Some people just have general symptoms of not feeling well. Most people with lung cancer don't have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Lung cancer symptoms may include-- • Coughing that gets worse or doesn't go away. • Chest pain. • Shortness of breath. • Wheezing. • Coughing up blood. • Feeling very tired all the time. • Weight loss with no known cause. • Other changes that can sometimes occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) inside the chest in the area between the lungs. • These symptoms can happen with other illnesses, too. If you have some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor, who can help find the cause. • Diagnosis and Treatment • There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. These categories refer to what the cancer cells look like under a microscope. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer. • Lung cancer stage depends on the extent of disease, which includes information about how big a cancer is or how far it has spread through the lungs, lymph nodes, and the rest of the body. • There are several ways to treat lung cancer. The treatment depends on the type of lung cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. People with lung cancer often get more than one kind of treatment. • Surgery: Doctors cut out and remove the cancer in an operation. • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs could be pills or medicines given through an IV (intravenous) tube. • Radiation therapy: Radiation uses high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells. The rays are aimed at the part of the body where the cancer is. • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy uses drugs to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. The drugs could be pills or medicines given through an IV tube. Bevacizumab (Avastin) and erlotinib (Tarceva) can be used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. • People with non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatments. People with small cell lung cancer are usually treated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. • Prevention • Tobacco use is the major cause of lung cancer in the United States. About 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and almost 80% of lung cancer deaths in women in this country are due to smoking. The most important thing a person can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if he or she currently smokes. You should also avoid second hand smoke and carcinogens - things that can cause cancer. • ReferencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Basic information about lung cancer. Retrieved from: • http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/lung/index.htm
December: Safe Toys & Gift Awareness • Everyone wants their child to have fun with cute toys that are colorful, make noise, and are versatile in function but at what point does a parent need to realize that a toy may be unsafe for their child? Sometimes it may be hard to determine what makes a toy safe, or how old a child should be to play with certain toys. • One of the biggest concerns in toy safety is choking hazards. Some small toys should be reconsidered before gifting them to children that are 3 years old or younger. Other guidelines of how to determine if the toy you are considering giving your child come from the website kidshealth.org. Suggestions are as follows: • ·Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant. • ·Stuffed toys should be washable. • ·Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint. • ·Art materials should say nontoxic. • The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an American government branch that tests goods that are imported into the country. They are the organization that clears toys of possible safety hazards. There are specific safety qualifications that toys need to meet in order to be cleared for distribution in the United States. According to the CPSC, toys with strings or straps can pose a strangulation hazard and should be kept away from young children. • There are many different ways you can protect your children from hazards posed by toys. Common sense is usually the best way to decide if a toy is right for a small child. If you are unsure and would like more information on safe toy guidelines please visit the following two websites. They are great resources to learn even more about safe toys. • http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Toys/ • http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/safe_toys.html#