May the FORCE Be With You!

Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer of women in the United States.

Contrary to popular belief, smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer. In fact, more than half of lung cancer patients do not smoke. Exposure to environmental agents like radon and other chemicals can also result in a lung cancer diagnosis.

Although lung cancer cases appear to be decreasing in men, there has been a noticeable increase of lung cancer cases in women. Research shows the survival rates for lung cancer in either gender is very low. This is because many lung cancer cases are not detected until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.

Simply put, early detection is the best detection.

Finding lung cancer and many other cancers early on increases the likelihood of survival. Therefore, it is important to adhere to the recommended clinical guidelines. Just like many other parts of the body, there are ways to screen for lung cancer. A CT scan is a great, non-invasive way to detect lung cancer. However, the best advice we can provide is to consult your physician regarding which screening tool is best for you.

In honor of the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE campaign, we ask that you take the pledge for women’s lung health! Through this movement, the ALA aims to eradicate lung cancer by uniting women in this great fight.



  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Compressed Mortality File 1999-2010 Series 20 No. 2P, 2013.
  • 2Ibid.
  • 3American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures, 2012.
  • 4U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1973-2010.
  • 5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey Raw Data, 2011. Analysis performed by the American Lung Association Epidemiology and Statistics Unit using SPSS software.
  • 6Alberg, AJ and Samet, J. Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Chest, January 2003; 123:21S–49S.
  • 7Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Neyman N, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Cho H, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2010, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, based on November 2012 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2013.
  • 8U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute: SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1973-2010.
  • 9Ibid
  • 10U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Lung Cancer: Recommendation. AHRQ Publication No. 13-05196-EF-3.




You’re going to put that WHERE???!


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.



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!


Put A Little Love In Your Heart

Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US?

Each year, 25% of all deaths are because of heart disease. While that might be scary, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure your heart is healthy! All your heart needs is a little TLC.

T – Take the time to watch what you’re eating. You should avoid foods that are high in trans fat and saturated fat. Instead, eat foods that are rich in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

L – Limit your salt intake by using spices to season your food. Seasoning adds a lot of flavor without the harmful effects of high sodium (salt) content.

C – Cardio. The best defense against heart disease is regular physical activity. Thirty (30) minutes of moderately intense physical activity (ex. brisk walking or jogging) at least three (3) days a week is highly recommended. This is a great way to keep your heart, mind, and soul feeling great.

“Put a little love in your heart…And the world will be a better place” – Jackie DeShannon



The Truth Behind the Chew

“Take a pinch instead of a puff”. Does that saying sound familiar???

Smokeless tobacco products like chew, dip, snuff, and snus, are not safer than traditional cigarettes. In fact, these products have up to 7x the amount of nicotine compared to cigarettes. This means smokeless tobacco can be as addicting, if not more addicting than cigarettes. Some well-known effects of chewing or dipping are oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and tooth/gum loss.

Did you know heart attack, stroke, pancreatic cancer, and bladder cancer are side effects too?

Most people don’t! That is why Tobacco Free Florida is observing Through With Chew Week from February 16 to 22. In Hillsborough County, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Hillsborough County will be educating Plant City residents about the benefits of avoiding smokeless tobacco on February 21. Many rural areas like Plant City can benefit from this type of activity due to a higher rate of smokeless tobacco use, in comparison to urban settings.*

Are you a current user and interested in beginning your journey to a tobacco-free life? There is free help out there!

  • Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help assess a user’s addiction and help create a personalized quit plan.
  • Enroll in the Web Coach®, which will help to create a web-based quit plan unique to each individual user, visit
  • Sign up for tobacco cessation group classes at your local Area Health Education Center (AHEC) by calling (813) 929-1009 or by visiting
  • Interested in setting up a personalized tobacco cessation class at your work site, community-based organization, or faith-based organization? Please contact us at for more information.