Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Revolutionary Bandage Stops Bleeding On The Spot

(NAPSI)-An impressive new invention in first aid is a bandage that stops bleeding on the spot--from minor cuts to deeper lacerations.

Previously available only to doctors, this new consumer product stops bleeding in hundreds of situations-sports injuries, nosebleeds, wilderness and camping, patients on blood thinners like Coumadin, extreme sports, etc.

Called ABC Gauze, which stands for Advanced Bleeding Control, the product is used by simply applying it to the wound area. When ABC Gauze makes contact with blood, the natural cellulose gauze turns into a safe, clear gel that expands and adheres to the wound, promoting clotting and quickly stopping the bleeding.

Not only does ABC Gauze stop bleeding fast, it painlessly washes off with water and doesn't hurt like sticky adhesives.

To purchase the product and learn more about how it works, visit www.ABCgauze.com.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Vitamin D Deficiency Has Emerged as a Silent Epidemic

/PRNewswire/ -- Spring is here, so the Hispanic "got milk?" campaign is declaring it Vitamin D Season to raise awareness of the important role of the "sunshine vitamin."

Even though we have the ability to make our own vitamin D when the ultraviolet rays of the sun hit our skin, many Hispanics fail to get enough vitamin D. In fact, vitamin D deficiency in this country is being called a silent epidemic. The prudent use of sunscreen, sun-blocking pollution and long, cold winters indoors are partially to blame.

By springing forward in March you'll gain an extra hour of sunlight and more opportunities to catch some rays, but you can't always count on the sun to supply all of the vitamin D you need. That's why it's even more important to look to your diet for your D, according to registered dietitian Su-Nui Escobar, who officially launched Vitamin D Season today in an effort to extol the virtues of this vital vitamin and talk about milk as "liquid sunshine."

"It's alarming to see so many people fail to get enough vitamin D, especially when milk is such an easy and convenient source of this essential nutrient," Escobar said. "Now more than ever we're learning about the health risks linked to vitamin D deficiency."

Milk is one of the few food sources of vitamin D. In fact, it's the leading source of vitamin D in the American diet. The recommended three 8-ounce glasses of lowfat or fat free milk provide 75 percent of the daily value for vitamin D. Milk also provides eight other essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium and vitamin A, which many Hispanics also lack.

Vitamin D Has Been Dubbed a "Super Nutrient"

Vitamin D was once known as simply a bone builder. It's true that vitamin D works with calcium to keep bones strong, but new and emerging research suggests vitamin D may be far more versatile, offering an array of health benefits. Some preliminary research suggests vitamin D may support a healthy immune system, heart health, normal blood pressure and healthy aging. And, ongoing research continues to explore the potential connection between vitamin D and certain diseases, including some cancers.

Despite the newfound fame for vitamin D, Americans of all ages still appear to be coming up short. For example, some researchers estimate that up to 55 percent of adolescents may be deficient, putting them at increased risk for osteoporosis and debilitating bone diseases, according to one recent analysis of children living in the northeastern United States. The researchers believe the trend of soft drinks replacing milk may be one important reason for this trend. The problem could be even worse as Americans get older. According to recent government data, only 4 percent of men and 1 percent of women over the age of 51 meet vitamin D recommendations from food. The researchers found that even some infants and small children seem to be failing to get enough vitamin D. Experts suggest the chronic low intakes of vitamin D have been behind the resurgence of rickets -- a severe vitamin D deficiency that results in bone deformities.

Shedding New Light On Vitamin D

The launch of Vitamin D Season is part of a new initiative to shine the spotlight on the problem of vitamin D deficiency. Eighty-eight percent of Americans believe they get the vitamin D they need from the sun, according to a recent survey(1) commissioned by the "got milk?" campaign. For most people, vitamin D is not even on their radar screen. Seventy-five percent are not sure how much vitamin D they need and there is significant confusion about where to find it -- 23 percent believe exercising regularly will increase their vitamin D and one in five Americans believe a good night's sleep will replenish their vitamin D.

Visit us at http://www.eligeleche.com/ to obtain more information about the scientific studies that document vitamin D's wide range of health benefits, which include helping protect against heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancers. Visitors will also find recipes provided by Su-Nui Escobar.

(1) Survey of 1,000 adult Americans (18+) was conducted online by Impulse Research between Feb. 23 and Mar. 1, 2009.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Breast Cancer Survivor's Network Open House March 26

The Breast Cancer Survivor's Network will host an open house on Thursday, March 26 at 21 Eastbrook End, Ste 223, in Peachtree City.

Drop in from 2 pm to 6 pm. A library dedication will take place at 2:30 pm.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Plan B Ruling Endangers Health and Parental Rights

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today US District Judge Edward R. Korman ordered the FDA to make the morning after pill available to 17-year-old minor girls without a physician's visit or prescription and without parental consent. Judge Korman also asked the FDA to consider making the drug available to girls and women regardless of age.

Chris Gacek, Family Research Council's Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs, released the following statement:

"This ruling jeopardizes girls' health and the ability of parents to care for their daughters' physical and emotional well-being. Judge Korman has accepted lock, stock, and barrel all of the claims of a political ideology promoting sexual license for teens.

"Now some minor girls will be able to obtain this drug without any guidance from a doctor and without any parental supervision. We lack scientific studies on the long-term effects of Plan B with respect to high dosage and repeated use in both women and adolescents. Also, research from Scotland in the 1990s indicated that the increased use of the morning after pill did not decrease abortion rates.

"There is a real danger that Plan B may be given to women, especially sexually abused women and minors, under coercion or without their consent. Interaction with medical professionals is a major screening and defense mechanism for victims of sexual abuse. The availability of Plan B over-the-counter also bypasses the routine medical care of sexually active girls and women, which is important to allow screening for other health conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases."

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Treatment Option In Metastatic Breast Cancer

(NAPSI)-Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States. Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer.

For more than 60 years, chemotherapy has been, and continues to be, one of the foundations in the treatment of cancer. Most breast cancer patients will receive chemotherapy at some time during the course of their disease. However, resistance to chemotherapy is a major cause of treatment failure in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Drug resistance is associated with >90 percent of treatment failures in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

In October 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval of the first epothilone chemotherapy, IXEMPRA™ (ixabepilone), as a monotherapy for the treatment of patients with metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer resistant or refractory to anthracyclines, taxanes, and capecitabine. Anthracycline resistance is defined as progression while on therapy or within six months in the adjuvant setting or three months in the metastatic setting. Taxane resistance is defined as progression while on therapy or within 12 months in the adjuvant setting or four months in the metastatic setting. IXEMPRA was also granted approval in combination with capecitabine for the treatment of patients with metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer resistant to treatment with an anthracycline and a taxane, or whose cancer is taxane resistant and for whom further anthracycline therapy is contraindicated.

Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your liver function before receiving IXEMPRA and as needed while receiving IXEMPRA. If blood tests show that you have liver problems, do not receive injections of IXEMPRA along with the medicine capecitabine. With liver problems, taking these medicines together could increase your chance of serious infection and death due to a very low white blood cell count (neutropenia).

The most common side effects with IXEMPRA used alone or with capecitabine may include: tiredness; loss of appetite; disorders of toenails and fingernails; hair loss; fever; decreased red blood cells (anemia); joint and muscle pain; headache; decreased platelets (thrombocytopenia); nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain; sores on the lip, in the mouth and esophagus; tender, red palms and soles of feet (hand-foot syndrome) that look like a sunburn, the skin may become dry and peel or feel numb and tingle.

"Previously, patients with aggressive metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer no longer responding to currently available chemotherapies had limited treatment options," said Linda Vahdat, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Director Breast Cancer Research Program, Weill Cornell Medical Center. "The approval of IXEMPRA means that we have an important option for patients with metastatic breast cancer who have rapidly progressed through currently approved chemotherapies."

"

Important Safety Information

Indications and Usage:

IXEMPRA™ (ixabepilone) is a prescription medicine used to treat breast cancer, when certain other medicines have not worked or no longer work. IXEMPRA is used alone or with another cancer medicine called capecitabine.

Important Safety Information about IXEMPRA

Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your liver function before receiving IXEMPRA and as needed while receiving IXEMPRA. If blood tests show that you have liver problems, do not receive injections of IXEMPRA along with the medicine capecitabine. With liver problems, taking these medicines together could increase your chance of serious infection and death due to a very low white blood cell count (neutropenia).

You should not receive IXEMPRA (ixabepilone), if you are:

• Allergic to a medicine that contains Cremophor® EL1 or polyoxyethylated castor oil.

• Have low white blood cell or platelet counts.

Before you receive treatment with IXEMPRA, a medicine given by injection directly into your vein (intravenous infusion), you should tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

• Have liver problems.

• Have heart problems or a history of heart problems.

• Have had an allergic reaction to IXEMPRA. To lower the chance of an allergic reaction, you will receive other medicines about 1 hour before each dose of IXEMPRA.

• Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. IXEMPRA may harm your unborn baby.

• Are breast-feeding. It is not known if IXEMPRA passes into breast milk.

• Take any medicines, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements, including St. John's Wort. IXEMPRA and certain other medicines may affect each other causing side effects.

• Have diabetes.

• Have had numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands or feet (neuropathy)

Things to avoid while taking IXEMPRA:

• IXEMPRA contains alcohol and may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Avoid activities that may be dangerous, such as driving or operating machinery.

• Do not drink grapefruit juice because it may cause you to have too much IXEMPRA in your blood which can lead to side effects.

IXEMPRA may cause serious side effects. Tell your healthcare provider if you have the following:

• Numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands or feet (neuropathy). These symptoms may be new or get worse and often occur early during treatment. Your dose of IXEMPRA may need to be

decreased, stopped until your symptoms get better, or totally stopped.

• White blood cells help protect the body from infections caused by bacteria. If you get a fever or infection when your white blood cells are very low, you can become seriously ill and die. Symptoms

may include, fever (temperature over 100.5), chills, cough, burning, or pain when you urinate. You may need treatment in the hospital with antibiotic medicines.

• Severe allergic reactions can occur and in rare cases cause death. Allergic reactions are most likely to occur when IXEMPRA is being injected. You may experience itching, hives, rash, flushed

face, sudden swelling of face, throat or tongue, chest tightness, trouble breathing, feel dizzy or faint, feel your heart beating (palpitations).

• Chest pain, difficulty breathing, palpitations, or unusual weight gain can be caused by decreased blood flow to the heart, problems with heart function and abnormal heart beat.

The most common side effects with IXEMPRA used alone or with capecitabine may include: tiredness; loss of appetite; disorders of toenails and fingernails; hair loss; fever; decreased red blood cells

(anemia); joint and muscle pain; headache; decreased platelets (thrombocytopenia); nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain; sores on the lip, in the mouth and esophagus; ten

der, red palms and soles of feet (hand-foot syndrome) that look like a sunburn, the skin may become dry and peel or feel numb and tingle.

If you have any questions about your health or medicines, talk to your healthcare provider.

Please see accompanying full prescribing information including boxed WARNING regarding liver disease.

1Cremophor is a registered trademark of BASF AG.

Brought to you by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Safety Alert: From the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It happens in an instant, standing one minute, on the ground the next. Just ask Vice President Joe Biden's mother. For 92 year old Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Biden and so many other senior citizens, guarding against taking a tumble is fast becoming a full time job. America's senior citizens are living longer and must now take added precautions to help prevent a fall and a subsequent fracture.

Mrs. Biden is recovering from a broken hip after falling at her home in Delaware. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has some important information and tips for preventing falls and hip fractures in America's elderly population.

-- Each year in the United States more than 11 million senior citizens
fall--that's one out of every three people older than 65 years of age
which makes it the leading cause of injuries to our senior population.
-- In 2006, 368,000 people were diagnosed for hip fractures.
-- Falls can occur anytime, anyplace and to anyone while doing simple
everyday activities like climbing stairs or getting out of a bathtub.
-- The number of falls and the severity of injury increase with age.

Some Medical Risk Factors associated with falls are:
-- Impaired musculoskeletal function, gait abnormality and osteoporosis.
-- Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), blood pressure fluctuation.
-- Depression, Alzheimer's disease and senility.
-- Arthritis, hip weakness or imbalance.
-- Neurologic conditions, stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple
sclerosis.
-- Urinary and bladder dysfunction.
-- Vision or hearing loss.
-- Cancer that affects bones.

Some Safety Tips for preventing a fall are:
-- Get an annual physical and eye examination, particularly an evaluation
of cardiac and blood pressure problems.
-- Maintain a diet with adequate dietary calcium and vitamin D.
-- Do not smoke and avoid excessive use of alcohol.
-- Participate in an exercise program for agility, strength, balance and
coordination.
-- Eliminate all tripping hazards in your home and install grab bars,
handrails and other safety devices
-- Wear properly- fitting shoes with nonskid soles.
-- Never walk in your stocking feet.

Some tips to Keep Your Home Safe:
-- Place a lamp, telephone and flashlight near your bed.
-- Sleep on a bed that is easy to get into and out of.
-- Arrange clothes in your closet so that they are easy-to-reach.
-- Install a night-light along the route between your bedroom and the
bathroom.
-- Keep all areas of the house clutter free.
-- Arrange furniture so you have a clear pathway between rooms.
-- Install easy-access light switches at entrances to rooms so you won't
have to walk into a darkened room in order to turn on the light.
Glow-in-the-dark switches may be helpful.
-- Don't sit in a chair or on a sofa that is so low it is difficult to
stand up.
-- Clean up immediately any liquids, grease, or food spilled on the
floor.
-- Install grab bars on the bathroom walls.
-- Stabilize yourself on the toilet by using either a raised seat or a
special toilet seat with armrests.
-- Use a sturdy, plastic seat in the bathtub if you cannot lower yourself
to the floor of the tub or if you are unsteady.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Migraine Poetry Contest Kicks Off at HealthCentral's MyMigraineConnection.com

/PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by The HealthCentral Network:

MyMigraineConnection.com and Teri Robert, patient advocate and Migraine expert on MyMigraineConnection.com, have kicked off their popular annual "Putting Our Heads Together" Poetry Contest. The contest, in its ninth year, seeks the most creative and influential pieces of poetry on how Migraine disease and/or headache disorders affect each entrant's life. Everyone who copes with Migraine disease and headache disorders or lives with someone who does is encouraged to submit up to three poems for the contest - the more creative, the better! To enter the "Putting Our Heads Together" poetry contest, visit: http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/poetry-contest.html

Migraine disease alone affects more than 36 million people in the U.S. Another 12 million have chronic daily headaches, which means that they have headaches more days than not. With the "Putting Our Heads Together" Poetry Contest, people can artistically express their daily struggles to help themselves and others cope with these potentially debilitating disorders. MyMigraineConnection.com also offers important educational content about Migraine and other headache disorders and an online community where people can connect with others who are dealing with Migraine disease and headaches. Last year's poignant entries can be found here: http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/c/123/26269/headache-announcing

The contest deadline is April 17, 2009 with winners to be presented on April 27, 2009.

http://www.healthcentral.com/migraine/poetry-contest.html

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Drug-Free Solution Offers Hope For Allergy Sufferers

(NAPSI)-The solution to this year's allergy problems may lie in a preventative drug-free gel. This hope is good news, because experts predict that pollen counts will reach all-time highs this year due to changing weather patterns.

Two new topical allergy gels can be used in conjunction with other over-the-counter or prescription medications and can be reapplied as often as needed. The gels filter negatively charged, airborne allergens such as pollen, ragweed, pet dander and dust mites, stopping them from entering nasal passages where they can cause allergic symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing.

Unlike existing products that treat allergy symptoms once they have started, over-the-counter, drug-free Chloraseptic Allergen Block and Little Allergies Allergen Block, when used as directed, help prevent the start of mild nasal allergy symptoms.

For more information, visit prestigebrandsinc.com.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Food Product Dates And Storage

(NAPSI)-You might be used to seeing the words "Sell By" stamped on a package of meat or poultry product. But does that stamp mean the product you buy will be unsafe after that date?

Experts say maybe not. A "Sell By" or "Best If Used By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale. You should buy the product before the date expires to help ensure best quality, but it is not a safety date.

After the date passes, the USDA says the product should still be safe if handled properly and kept at 40 °F or below for recommended storage times listed at www.fsis.usda.gov.

Similarly, a "Use By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.

If an item is perishable, take it home immediately after purchase and refrigerate promptly. Freeze it if you can't use it within times recommended on the USDA storage chart, which is available on the Web site. Foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely.

Safe Food Storage

The following guidelines can help protect perishables:

• Raw Meat And Poultry--Place in a container or sealed plastic bag to prevent juices from spilling onto other food or the refrigerator, which could cause cross-contamination. If you're not planning to use meat or poultry within two days, freeze it.

• Eggs--Store eggs in the original carton and place them in the main compartment of the refrigerator-not the door. It is not necessary to wash eggs.

• Produce--Store perishable produce in the refrigerator. Throw away fresh fruits and vegetables that have not been used within two hours of cutting, peeling or cooking. If any fruit or vegetable has touched raw meat, poultry or seafood and will not be cooked immediately, throw it away.

• Leftovers--Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours. Use clean, shallow, covered containers for rapid cooling.

Additionally, be certain to follow any handling and preparation instructions on the food's packaging.

For more food safety information, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-(888) MP Hotline, or 1-(888) 674-6854. You can also type a question into "Ask Karen" at www.AskKaren.gov or visit www.fsis.usda.gov.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Keep Your Colon Healthy With Exercise, Healthy Foods

/PRNewswire/ -- Most adults would rather keep talk about colons behind the bathroom door.

It's time to talk, says Kim Turgeon, MD, FACP, gastroenterologist in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.

Regular wear and tear on the colon can cause little out-pockets called diverticula in one in three adults over the age of 65.

They are sometimes more common when there is persistent constipation, which causes people to strain to pass stool that is too hard. The high pressure from straining causes the weak spots in the colon to bulge out and become diverticula.

While not dangerous in and of themselves, if diverticula get plugged with waste they can become infected and cause diverticulitis, which can result in serious complications, including cancer, and very rarely, death.

"Colon problems are actually quite common throughout a person's life, from childhood, through teen years, and adulthood," says Turgeon. "Regular cancer screening of the colon should start at the age of 50."

The colon's job is to remove water from the stool to make waste a compact, formed product when it leaves the large intestine (colon).

Diverticula form in areas of the colon where blood vessels go through the muscle wall, which make those areas weaker.

The colon is also an area with high levels of bacteria, which are performing important functions, says Turgeon.

Bacteria can begin to grow in plugged diverticula and start irritating the surface and cause infection.

As one ages, diverticula tend to increase in numbers in the colon and are more likely to plug, become infected and bleed.

Diverticuli can appear in the colon in a wide range of numbers -- from one to hundreds. They are considered benign.

After the age of 65, about 30 percent of adults have diverticuli in their colon. That number increases to 65 percent of adults over the age of 85.

The symptoms of diverticulitis are similar appendicitis - fever, abdominal pain, maybe in the beginning a little diarrhea or a sudden lack of bowel movements.

Diverticulitis can be treated with antibiotics and surgery. Very rarely, someone will die from diverticulitis.

Bowel perforations, bowel abscesses or fistulas, all require antibiotic therapy and surgery. People can die of colonic perforations if the infection isn't kept under control.

In the past people have been advised to avoid eating seeds and nuts because they could get stuck in diverticuli and cause diverticulitis. But studies have shown this not to be true. Eating seeds and nuts is considered safe in people with diverticulosis.

People who have diverticulosis could reduce complications by keeping bowels moving well and avoid constipation.

Physicians recommend screening for colon cancer after the age of 50, even in healthy individuals with no history of colon cancer, colon polyps, other bowel problems or bleeding.

Colonoscopies or alternative types of screening such as a barium enema or CT colonography will show the presence of diverticuli.

Even if diverticuli are not bleeding or infected, it is important to keep the colon healthy and the bowels moving with a high fiber diet, regular exercise, and drinking lots of fluids throughout the day, Turgeon says.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Do You Know What Your Screening Options Are?

/PRNewswire/ -- Colorectal cancer, also referred to as colon cancer, is one of the most preventable cancers. Recent statistics show that the incidence (the rate at which new cancers are diagnosed) and death rates from colorectal cancer are declining, in part due to prevention through screening and removal of precancerous polyps (growths in the colon that can turn into cancer). Colorectal cancer screening has been in the news a lot in the past few months, from studies about new technologies to updated screening recommendations; patients may be left wondering which screening method is best for them. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and this year the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), which represents the specialists in colorectal cancer screening, is educating patients about the recommended screening methods.

"The good news is that death rates are declining from colorectal cancer. The bad news is that only about half of those who should be screened are doing so," said John L. Petrini, MD, FASGE, president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. "Age is the most important risk factor for colorectal cancer. ASGE guidelines recommend screening begin at age 50 for men and women at average risk who have no symptoms. Some people may need to be screened earlier if there is a family history of the disease. It's important to talk to your doctor about an appropriate screening schedule. Ask questions and work with your doctor to determine the screening method that is best for you, as each screening option has appropriate applications and limitations."

To learn more about colorectal cancer prevention, log on to the ASGE's colorectal cancer awareness Web site www.screen4coloncancer.org. Screen4coloncancer.org offers visitors a wealth of vital information including disease facts about colorectal cancer, screening options, what to expect during a colonoscopy, frequently asked questions, the latest news about colorectal cancer such as studies and statistics, links to patient support and advocacy groups, educational videos, and how to find a qualified doctor in your area. The content is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. In addition to these features, is the Peter and Polly Polyp(TM) birthday e-Card encouraging the recipient to get screened for colorectal cancer.

New this year to www.screen4coloncancer.org is a patient education video on colonoscopy. This informative video walks patients through what they need to know before, during and after a colonoscopy.

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is cancer that develops in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum, and usually develops slowly over a period of many years. Before a true cancer develops, it usually begins as a non-cancerous polyp, which may eventually change into cancer. A polyp is a growth of tissue that develops on the lining of the colon or rectum. Certain kinds of polyps, called adenomas, are most likely to become cancerous. The only screening method that allows for the removal of polyps BEFORE cancer develops is colonoscopy.

All men and women over the age of 50 should be routinely screened for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a preventable and highly treatable cancer when caught at an early stage. Routine screening can save lives. ASGE screening guidelines recommend that, beginning at age 50, men and women with no symptoms who are at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States, with nearly 150,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Approximately 50,000 people die from it annually.

Although colorectal cancer often has no symptoms, warning signs that may indicate colorectal cancer include blood in your stools, narrower than normal stools, unexplained abdominal pain, unexplained change in bowel habits, unexplained anemia, and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms may be caused by other benign diseases such as hemorrhoids, inflammation in the colon or irritable bowel syndrome. However, if you have any of these symptoms, you should be evaluated by your doctor.

To assist the public in understanding the different screening options available, the ASGE has developed a list summarizing recommended screening methods.

Screening is done on individuals who do not necessarily have any signs or symptoms that may indicate cancer. If symptoms exist, then diagnostic workups are done rather than screening.

Stool blood test (fecal occult blood test or FOBT):

This test is used to find small amounts of hidden (occult) blood in the stool. A sample of stool is tested for traces of blood. People having this test will receive a kit with instructions that explain how to take stool samples at home. The kit is then sent to a lab for testing. If the test is positive, further tests will be done to pinpoint the exact cause of the bleeding. A rectal exam in the doctor's office may examine for occult blood, but this is NOT considered adequate for colorectal cancer screening. The test should only be done with a take-home kit.

A newer kind of stool blood test is known as FIT (fecal immunochemical test). It is like the FOBT, perhaps even easier to do, and it gives fewer false positive results.

PROS:
-- Simple
-- Cost-effective
-- Done at home

CONS:
-- Must be done yearly
-- Least effective means of detecting cancer
-- Viewed as unsanitary by some
-- Patient must retrieve samples of stool in the toilet bowl
-- All positive results must be evaluated with a colonoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy (flex-sig):

A sigmoidoscope is a slender, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. It is placed into the lower part of the colon through the rectum. This allows the physician to look at the inside of the rectum and lower part of the colon for cancer or polyps. This exam only evaluates about one third of the colon. The test is often done without any sedation, so it can be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. Before the test, you will need to take an enema or other prep to clean out the lower colon.

PROS:
-- Quick -- usually a one-to-five minute exam
-- Does not require as vigorous a bowel prep as some other methods
-- Does not require sedation

CONS:
-- Can only examine the lower third of the colon, the other two-thirds of
the colon are not examined
-- If polyps are found, the patient must return for a full colonoscopy

Colonoscopy:

Colonoscopy allows for a complete evaluation of the colon and removal of potentially precancerous polyps. It is the only colorectal cancer screening tool that is both diagnostic and therapeutic. A complete bowel cleansing is required before the exam. The procedure uses a colonoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a light and video camera on the end that transmits images to a TV screen that allows the doctor to see inside the entire colon. If a polyp is found, the doctor can remove it immediately. The polyp is usually removed with small biopsy forceps or loop of wire (snare) that is advanced within a channel in the colonoscope. The polyp is then sent to a lab where a doctor called a pathologist looks at it under a microscope for analysis. If anything else looks abnormal, a biopsy (tissue sample) might be done. To do this, biopsy forceps are placed in the colonoscope and a small piece of tissue is removed. The tissue is sent to the lab for evaluation. Colonoscopy is typically done with sedation and is well-tolerated. You will be given medicine that is injected through a vein to make you feel relaxed and sleepy.

PROS:
-- Examines the entire colon, making this the most thorough method for
evaluating the colon and rectum
-- High detection rate for polyps, including small polyps, and ability to
remove them immediately during the procedure
-- Typically done with intravenous sedation to assure comfort during the
exam
-- Given the "Gold Standard" rating above all other screening options by:
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), American
Gastroenterological Association (AGA), American College of
Gastroenterology (ACG), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

CONS:
-- Requires a complete bowel prep the night before to cleanse the colon
-- Unexpected events or complications are rare, but do occur and may
include:
-- Missing a lesion
-- Making a tear in the lining of the colon, which is called
perforation
-- Bleeding
-- A bad reaction to the medication used for sedation

Barium enema with air contrast:

A chalky substance, which shows up on X-ray, is given as an enema. Air is then pumped into the colon causing it to expand. This allows X-ray films to take pictures of the colon. Laxatives must be used the night before the exam to clean the colon.

PROS:
-- Done without sedation
-- Very low risk

CONS:
-- Uses X-ray radiation
-- Can miss larger polyps and growths (over 50 percent polyps 1 cm, and
15 percent of cancers)
-- If polyps are found, the patient must be followed up with a
colonoscopy


CT COLONOGRAPHY (also referred to as virtual colonoscopy) A small tube is placed in the rectum and air is pumped into the colon to inflate the bowel. Then a special CT scan is used to image the colon. Recent studies show that it is effective in identifying medium to large polyps, but is ineffective in identifying small polyps. CT colonography may be best for low-risk patients who cannot undergo colonoscopy or who have had an incomplete colonoscopy due to various factors. The same bowel prep as conventional colonoscopy is required and it does not use sedation.

PROS:
-- Examines the entire colon
-- High detection rate for medium to large polyps
-- Low risk

CONS:
-- Air distention of the bowel can be uncomfortable
-- Ineffective in detection of small polyps
-- Uses X-ray radiation
-- If polyps or other abnormalities are found, a colonoscopy must be
performed
-- Is not covered by Medicare as an initial screening test
-- Is not recommended by ASGE screening guidelines or the U.S. Preventive
Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations


Check with your insurance provider or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding which screening methods are a covered benefit.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Five Questions About Incontinence To Ask Your Doctor

(NAPSI)-As the U.S. baby boomer population ages, many older Americans will find themselves experiencing incontinence as a symptom of another condition-from prostate cancer and diabetes to Alzheimer's and even childbirth. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 27 million people in North America will suffer from some form of incontinence by 2010.

Unfortunately, half of those will choose not to consult with their doctor out of embarrassment or because they think nothing can be done.

Talking with a doctor is a key step in learning more about the condition and how to maintain a full and active lifestyle. Below are five questions to help get the dialogue started:

Is incontinence a normal part of aging? Incontinence is not a normal part of aging and should be brought to the attention of your doctor. However, there are many kinds of treatments available-everything from special exercises and absorbent products to medications and surgery.

What type of incontinence do I have? Two common types are urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence is also known as an overactive bladder with patients feeling an urge before urine leakage. Stress incontinence is loss of urine caused by an activity such as coughing, laughing or exercise.

How serious is incontinence? Incontinence is not life threatening, but it can cause the disruption of daily activities and complications of other conditions. A physician will be able to determine the cause of incontinence and help you decide what treatment is best suited for you.

What is the most common way to treat incontinence? Many people have found that absorbent products such as Depend Underwear for Men and Depend Underwear for Women work well with their busy lifestyles.

The new gender-specific underwear is designed for superior protection and to fit the unique body shapes of men and women, and looks and fits more like regular underwear-enhancing comfort, discretion and protection.

Where can I go for support about incontinence? You can consult with your doctor or take advantage of many online resources that can answer your questions.

For more information, visit the National Association for Continence (www.nafc.org) or the Depend brand Web site (www.depend.com).

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Monday, March 02, 2009

March Is National Kidney Month

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kidney TRUST, a non-profit organization dedicated to chronic kidney disease (CKD) education and prevention, will observe National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day on March 12 by conducting a series of free rapid-screening programs in Colorado, California, Texas, and Washington, D.C. throughout the month of March. Since the TRUST launched its CKD rapid-screening program in October of 2007, over 6,000 people have been screened for the disease.

"26 million adult Americans suffer from kidney disease," said TRUST President Barbara Lawson, "but CKD is a silent epidemic and often has no symptoms until the kidneys begin to fail. Thousands of people crash into dialysis in the United States every year because they haven't known that their kidneys were at risk. The good news is that CKD is usually treatable if detected early."

The goal of the TRUST's innovative rapid-testing program is to identify individuals who have signs of kidney impairment. Along with learning their screening results onsite, participants receive materials that offer education about CKD and its prevention and are encouraged to seek medical follow-up as appropriate. The TRUST's screening program is carried out in non-medical settings such as large employer workplaces and community health fairs.

Ms. Lawson added "Like high blood pressure and cholesterol, kidney disease is a condition that can be identified with a simple, speedy, and inexpensive test. The Kidney TRUST's ultimate goal is to make screening for CKD as routine as tests for these other conditions. We want to get the message out to the public that taking a simple test for CKD now could help head off serious health problems in the future."

The Kidney TRUST was founded in 2006 by DaVita Inc., a leading provider of kidney care in the United States. The Kidney TRUST is an independent, nonprofit organization that believes everyone should be empowered to take a proactive role in their health. Toward that end, the TRUST is seeking to reduce the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) through free, rapid screening in non-medical settings and to provide financial assistance to people affected by CKD. For more information visit www.kidneytrust.org.

About Chronic Kidney Disease

When it comes to kidney disease, not knowing is the riskiest thing of all. People with kidney disease are at higher risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. CKD causes anemia, bone disease and malnutrition, and can eventually lead to kidney failure.

Healthy kidneys remove waste products and excess fluid, help regulate the body's water, salts and other chemicals in the blood, and remove drugs and toxins. Kidneys also release hormones to help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and promote strong bones.

People at increased risk for CKD include those with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and a family history of kidney disease, as well as people over the age of 60. Certain ethnic groups such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are also at increased risk.

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