Feelin’ Irish?

St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner…literally!

I’m sure everybody is excited about the abundance of green that will be in the air. Four leaf clovers, beads, clothes, and beer. Yes, they even have green beer!

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Unfortunately, beverages like green cocktails and Irish coffee are a heartburn sufferer’s worst nightmare. Many of these colorful culinary adventures are full of food coloring and citric acid.

Are we saying you can’t enjoy St. Patty’s Day without drinking? Absolutely not! We just want you to consider some alternatives that may be a little easier on your stomach so you can enjoy the festivities.

  • Take it easy on the cocktails. Choose beverages that aren’t full of acidic agents like lemon or lime juice.
  • Limit your caffeine intake. You’re more than welcome to drink coffee, but try to go with decaf instead.
  • Exchange pub food for something with a little more substance. Doesn’t grilled salmon, green beans, or shepherd’s pie sound much better? It tastes better, is better for you, and will keep your stomach happy.

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You’re going to put that WHERE???!

One word…COLONOSCOPY.

Are you turning 50 soon? It is time to start planning for that colonoscopy!

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Therefore, we’re going to give you some valuable information that can potentially save your life. Remember, early detection is the best detection!

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. It ranks #2 on the list of cancer deaths each year in the US. However, there are many tests that can catch early signs of colorectal cancer. Screening options include a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and high-sensitivity FOBT. The first two screenings are typically done in an outpatient facility. This means patients will go home the same day. However, physicians and gastrointestinal specialists can typically perform the high-sensitivity FOBT screenings during an office visit.

Let’s talk about the different screening tools!

Most people have heard about how a colonoscopy works. However, it is helpful to know exactly what the test is looking for. Your gastrointestinal specialist will use a thin, flexible tube to look for any abnormalities like polyps or cancer in the entire colon. The camera and light attached to the tube will help your specialist see during this test. If your specialist sees anything abnormal, he or she typically will remove it and send it to pathology for further screening. This test should be done every ten (10) years.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is very similar to a colonoscopy. However, your gastrointestinal specialist will use a similar but shorter tube. This test looks for the same abnormalities but in a different place.  A flexible sigmoidoscopy focuses only on the rectum and the lower third of the colon. This test should be done every five (5) years.

A high-density FOBT test is a fancy name for a stool test. This screening tells your physician whether your stool contains blood or anti-bodies. The presence of these things may indicate abnormalities in the colon. This test should be done once a year.

Need to get your screenings but don’t have the funds? There are programs in place to assist! The CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program provides assistance to people who cannot afford to get these tests done. The only qualifications are that you’re between the ages of 50 and 64, uninsured or underinsured, and have no other way of paying for the test (s).

Note: People with a family history of cancer may have different recommendations than the average person. Always consult your physician for the best screening recommendations.

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Source: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/ColorectalAwareness/

Negative isn’t ALWAYS a good test result to have…Save the Ta-Ta’s!

Today, March 3, is Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day!

So what is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?

Triple Negative Breast Cancer is a type of breast cancer that lacks certain markers or receptors that “feed’ the cancer. These receptors are for estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) hormone receptors. It is called Triple Negative because all three (3) of these receptors are missing.

Why is Triple Negative Breast Cancer so serious?

Because Triple Negative Breast Cancer has fewer treatment options, it is typically harder to treat. It is also a more aggressive type of cancer and has a high recurrence rate. This is why it is important to get your screenings regularly to make sure you catch any abnormalities early on.

How is Triple Negative Breast Cancer treated?

Other types of breast cancers have the receptors that make treatment a little easier. There are so many more treatment options available to breast cancers that have the hormone receptors. However, Triple Negative Breast Cancer responds to chemotherapy the best. Many cancer specialists will also use radiation therapy before or during chemotherapy to kill the surrounding cancer cells on contact. 

What can YOU do?

  • Learn/Know your family history – Find out information about any cancer diagnoses in your family. This is important information that will help you along the way.
  • Get your screenings done ON TIME – When you turn 40, it is time to get your mammogram! If you have a family history of breast cancer, work with your physician to determine the appropriate age for screenings. Additionally, perform your monthly self-breast exam regularly.
  • Educate your friends and family on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. It is impossible to find a cure without knowledge and awareness. Take five (5) minutes out of your day to ask your friend if she performed her monthly self-breast exam this month. This is not being “nosy”…This can potentially save her life.
  • Donate to a reputable cause that is dedicated toward finding a cure for Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Organizations that focus on all breast cancer are great but Triple Negative Breast Cancer is a completely different type of monster story and deserves specialized attention.The Erica J. Holloman Foundation, Inc. and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation are two (2) great organizations that focus exclusively on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Visit these links today for more information on Triple Negative Breast Cancer!

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