Did you know that more people under the age of 50 are now being diagnosed with colon cancer more than ever before? In fact, that age group is the only group seeing an increase in cancer cases. That’s why the American Cancer Society now recommends people at average risk start colonoscopy screenings at age 45.
“This is really alarming for everyone. Now a full 11% of colon cancers and 18% of rectal cancers are happening in people under the age of 50. Screenings now begin at age 45, so it’s a cause for concern since it’s a preventable disease,” stated Ronn Grandia, MD, FACS.
Dr. Grandia says research is being done to figure out why they’re seeing an increase in a younger demographic. Data suggests that it’s likely related to:
Dr. Grandia says, “It’s so important for even younger people to be proactive with their primary care doctor. If they notice any changes in their bowel habits, blood in their stools, abdominal pain or weight loss, they need to discuss it with their doctor to see what might be going on. In some cases, a colonoscopy may be ordered.”
A colonoscopy is a procedure Dr. Grandia performs in a dedicated Endoscopy Suite at Pleasant Valley Hospital. He performs the procedure with a fiberoptic scope containing a camera and a light that can insert into the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine.
“Not only is it diagnostic, meaning we can look for cancer or polyps that could turn into cancer, but it’s also therapeutic in that we can remove those precancerous growths or polyps at the same time, thus making screening colonoscopies the Gold Standard,” Dr. Grandia explains.
The most important thing when it comes to colorectal cancer is to catch it early before it spreads. Prevention and early detection are key to increasing survival rates. The five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is significantly better if found prior to spreading. Survival rates are 90% when found at the local stage, meaning while contained to the colon or rectum. If the cancer spreads to the regional stage, or closely outside the colon, survival rates go down to 71%. When the cancer spreads farther into the body, the five-year survival rates drop to 14%.
While no one loves getting a colonoscopy, its importance can’t be overstated.
“Taking a day off to get a colonoscopy is one day that can save the rest of your life and it certainly beats having surgery or chemotherapy,” Dr. Grandia says. “One day of discomfort is worth having the peace of mind for five or ten years of knowing your colon health.”
What should one expect when going in for a colonoscopy?
The day before the procedure, patients are required to stop solid foods and begin a clear liquid diet in order to void the colon of waste and prepare it for the procedure. For patient safety, the night before the colonoscopy, there is to be no food or drink unless otherwise instructed by Dr. Grandia. Once inside the procedure room, sedation occurs while the doctor examines the colon through the scope. After the procedure, patients are watched during recovery and required to have someone else drive home. There is very little downtime after the procedure and if everything is normal without a family history. If a polyp is removed or there is a family history, colonoscopies will be needed every 3 to 5 years.
Talk to your primary care provider about your risks and if a colonoscopy is needed.
Colorectal cancer facts you need to know:
If colorectal cancer is caught before it spreads, five-year survival rates are 90%.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Grandia, please call 304.675.1666.
For centuries, yoga enthusiasts have boasted about the physical and mental health benefits of the discipline. Now, more than ever, people are using yoga as a way to relax and de-stress. However, you don’t have to be an expert to cash in on the healthy extras!
So, “Namaste” calm and read on!
Here are some excellent reasons why you should adopt yoga into your exercise repertoire!
Get a “Leg Up” on Your Immune System!
There are many factors in life that can wreak havoc on your immune system, including stress. A weakened immune system can leave you vulnerable to illnesses and disease. Not only can yoga reduce your risk of cancer, but many cancer patients and survivors have incorporated yoga into their health and wellness routine. Yoga can serve as a support system in reducing fatigue from treatments and relief from anxiety.
Get “OM” Your Way to Better Bone and Joint Health!
Yoga has an abundance of poses that can not only relieve joint pain but can also increase bone health! Since yoga poses are low-impact, it can be a safe exercise for those who may suffer from the following common bone and joint problems:
Power Up Your Noggin!
Yoga offers some brain health perks too! While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or dementia, the latest research suggests that yoga can help with prevention and improve symptoms. Since yoga poses involve practicing posture, breathing, and meditation, these exercises can play a role in increasing cognitive functions. Some other surprising facts – improve memory, increase attention and sharpen focus.
Heart and Soul!
Since stress has a strong link to heart disease, yoga is a great stress-buster that can keep your ticker healthy! According to the American Heart Association, yoga can have a positive impact on your heart health by:
Along with opting for healthy foods, adopting a regular exercise routine can help stave off a host of illnesses and diseases. Pleasant Valley Hospital Wellness Center offers many services including yoga and other fitness opportunities to meet your health and wellness needs.
For more information about how you can improve your fitness and health routine, contact us today at the Wellness and Rehabilitation Center at 304.675.7222.
Staying healthy and safe in the winter requires some extra caution.
“The main concern for most is falls, especially for older adults,” says Dr. Nisar Amin, internal medicine physician at Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Regional Health Center. “That means taking extra precautions to make sure sidewalks and stairs around our home are kept as clear as possible from ice and snow.”
Older people especially are prone to more serious injuries from falls, like broken hips. If possible, they should stay indoors during inclement weather and ask someone to spread salt or sand on icy surfaces used to access their home.
Regardless of your age, whenever you do go out in snowy or icy weather, be sure to wear boots with good traction.
“Shoveling is something that must be done in the winter, but for some people it can be a hazard of the season. If you are older or out of shape, it’s best to get someone else to do your shoveling, if possible,” Dr. Amin says.
“If you are able to shovel your own driveway and walkways, it’s important to use due caution to stay safe,” he says. If you are going to shovel, Dr. Amin advises:
“Shoveling is not good exercise,” Dr. Amin cautions. “It is extremely strenuous. It can boost your blood pressure significantly and quickly, causing strokes and heart attacks. If you want to get exercise in the winter, there are many better options.”
Those who want to spend time outdoors in the winter have many good options for getting exercise.
Walking or hiking with the proper footwear, sledding, or playing outdoors in the snow are all are family-friendly ways to stay active outside.
“Just remember to warm up before any exercise”, Dr. Amin says.
And no matter what you are choosing to do, always dress in layers – as temperatures can change quickly – and exercising will cause you to warm up.
Make sure you also have adequate coverage of your face, hands and feet if the temperatures are low to avoid the potential of frostbite.
“Another winter safety tip is to always let someone know where you’re going to be”, Dr. Amin says.
Seek Medical Help If You Need It
Whether having fun or doing chores, some of us are bound to get injured or have health problems.
“If you are shoveling or exerting yourself and you experience unexpected sweatiness, unexplained nausea, shortness of breath or chest pain, stop what you’re doing,” Dr. Amin says. “Move carefully to a warmer area and if someone is nearby, ask them to call 911 for you.”
For injuries from more minor slips on the ice to minor illnesses, call your primary care provider or visit Express Care.
Winter can, and should, be fun, especially when taking the precautions necessary to keep yourself safer and healthier.
To schedule an appointment with internal medicine physician, Nisar Amin, MD, please call Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Regional Health Center at 304.675.4500. Should you need immediate medical care, Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Emergency Room is always open – 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.
Heart disease is often thought of as a men’s health issue, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Women may not always experience the classic symptoms such as chest pain, in fact, some do not notice any symptoms at all. However, by staying educated about how heart disease affects women, they can learn to recognize the symptoms that point to heart disease that they may otherwise be brushed off as something less serious.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
Listening to your body and not ignoring the following signs and symptoms of heart disease can get you the care and treatment you need to improve your heart health. Symptoms women may experience that are unrelated to chest pain, but could point to serious heart disease are:
What are the Differences in Warning Signs as Compared to Men?
Men may have more direct symptoms such as tightening sensations or crushing in their chest. Often termed a “silent” heart attack, a woman’s symptoms can be more subtle with milder symptoms — nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath or fatigue — as opposed to the often-severe pain that men experience.
While men tend to develop heart disease in their late fifties to early sixties, women are more likely to be in their late sixties before they develop symptoms. This is partly because estrogen helps to protect the heart and keep it supple, and after menopause that protective element is greatly diminished. However, it’s important for women to understand the following risk factors at every age.
Ways to Reduce Your Risk
There are a number of preventive measures women can take to reduce their risk of heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. If you know your risk, you can manage and often prevent further damage to your heart.
Pleasant Valley Hospital offers cardiovascular screenings to evaluate your risk for a heart attack. For more information or to schedule a heart attack risk assessment, please call 304.675.1484.
Performing a Self-Breast Exam
With about 1 in 8 women developing invasive breast cancer at some point during their lifetime, it is important for women to have routine screenings to detect any abnormalities in their breasts. This is because when it comes to the effective treatment of breast cancer, early detection is essential.
Although staying up to date on your gynecological visits and having regular mammograms can help, it is important to perform self-exams at home between appointments.
How to Check Your Breasts for Abnormalities
All women should perform self-exams once each month to help keep track of any changes in their breast tissue that may otherwise go unnoticed.
How to Position Your Fingers
With your three middle fingers together, use the pads/tips of your fingers to massage your breast tissue, feeling for any abnormalities. Using the opposite hand to breast, be sure to apply medium to firm pressure while moving your fingers in a circular motion as you scan your breast tissue. Remember to check the entirety of each breast as well as under your arms.
Changes to Look Out For
As you continue to familiarize yourself with what is normal for your breasts, it’s important for you to know what physical and visual changes may be a cause for alarm. While you perform your self-exam, look out for the following symptoms as they can be an early sign of breast cancer:
In order to make sure that you are thoroughly examining your breasts, check for these changes in the following positions as they affect the way your breast tissue and fat are distributed:
Women’s Services at Pleasant Valley Hospital is dedicated to providing women of all ages with the quality and compassionate care they deserve.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with women’s health nurse practitioner Kylie Scott, WHNP-BC, please call 304.857.6503.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer, but it doesn’t have to be. There is strong scientific evidence that screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45 saves lives! Both men and women can get colorectal cancer, and the risk increases with age. If you are 45 or older, getting a colorectal screening test could save your life. Here’s how.
The gold standard for colorectal cancer screening is a screening colonoscopy. A screening colonoscopy is a simple outpatient test done under sedation that utilizes digital imaging equipment. Most colon cancers start as polyps, which can be removed during this procedure. It’s important to note that removal of these polyps may prevent colon cancer. Keep in mind: most colon polyps and early cancers usually have no symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to have a colonoscopy.
People who are age 45 or older. For people at average risk for colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends starting regular screening at age 45. *For screening, people are considered to be at average risk if they do not have:
Individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancer or of colon polyps. Individuals with a family history of colon or rectal cancer should begin screenings earlier than 45. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
It’s important to note that the United States Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends that people at average risk starting screening at age 50, whereas the American Cancer Society now recommends starting at age 45. There’s nothing to stop insurers from covering the tests starting at age 45, and some are likely to do so, but at this time insurers are not required to (and some might not) cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening before age 50.
The Affordable Care Act requires health plans that started on or after September 23, 2010 to cover colorectal cancer screening tests, which includes a range of test options. In most cases there should be no out-of-pocket costs for these tests, such as co-pays or deductibles.
For more information or to schedule your screening colonoscopy with Dr. Sedeyn, please call 304.675.1666.
*Information provided by the American Cancer Society.