November 8th, 2011 by admin
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There are lots of things about turning 50 that make you stop and think. Near the top of the list is the conversation you’ll have with your doctor about getting a colonoscopy screening to looks for polyps and cancer. Not every polyp turns into cancer, but just about every colon cancer starts as a polyp. And since colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death, it’s super important to find and remove polyps before they turn into cancer. It’s not nearly as bad as you might think… so if you’re over 50 and you haven’t done it yet, get it over with. Don’t fret. It’s not that bad and it’s definitely worth it. I blogged about mine a few months ago.
November 19th marks our 4th annual “Undy 5000” which is a fun walk/run to increase awareness and to encourage folks to bite the bullet and get screened. The run raises money for the Colon Cancer Alliance (a national organization) but half the profits stay here in Arizona for treatment services for Arizonans diagnosed with colorectal cancer through the Fit at 50 Healthcheck Program. Having access to treatment funds will make a huge difference to an uninsured Arizonan diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Celia Nabor is our Team Captain this year. She’s done a terrific job recruiting participants. Click here to register on line for the Undy 5000. Select the Phoenix event. When you register the team name and team organization is the Arizona Department of Health Services. The password is health1 (you’ll need to enter that twice). Have fun and see you there!
PS: Celia and Virginia Warren will be hosting a Lunch & Learn from 11:30 to 12:30 today in room 345 of the 150 Bldg of ADHS.
November 4th, 2011 by admin
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This is Valley Fever Awareness Week- an annual event to provide awareness of coccidioidomycosis (also known as Valley Fever)- the second most commonly reported infectious disease in Arizona. Events for the general public include a “Learn about Valley Fever – Ask the Doctor Your Questions” held in Tucson on Sunday, Nov. 6 and the Walk for Valley Fever in Sun City West on Sunday, Nov. 6. Healthcare providers can receive continuing medical education in Tucson on Saturday, Nov. 5: “Coccidioidomycosis for the PCP” and “Advanced Clinical Aspects of Coccidioidomycosis”. To find out more about valley fever awareness week events visit: http://www.vfce.arizona.edu/
Our epidemiology staff work closely with the Valley Fever Center for Excellence to promote education and awareness. The Center is based at the U of A and will be opening a center in Phoenix in January. Check out our home-grown video that’s designed help people understand the disease and how to talk to their doctors about it. To read more about valley fever and what has been done during past valley fever awareness weeks, please visit my blog. I also wrote a piece about the effects that the large dust storms may have on valley fever, which by the way, we’re still investigating…
November 3rd, 2011 by admin
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Two things happen when you turn 50. First, you start getting invitations to join the AARP in the mail every couple of weeks (until they give up). Second, your doctor tells you it’s time for your colonoscopy screening. That’s the one that puts a lump in your throat. At 51, I finally bit the bullet and got my colonoscopy screen- and it may have saved my life.
Here’s what to expect. If you have anxiety, rest assured that it’s not too bad and definitely worth it. You’ve probably heard that the preparation part is the worst, and that’s true. But, it’s not all that bad especially now that they have a formula that you can’t taste. You do need to drink lots of Gatorade or something like that (with the added laxative). The last couple of glasses are the hardest to swallow because you’re saturated but it’s not that bad. The purging part takes a total of 6 hours or so, but you can still get other things done around the house. Since you’re drinking alot, heating it up to body temperature and then expelling it- you do get cold, so dress warm.
It’s best to schedule your appointment first thing in the morning so you don’t go hungry all day on the day of your screening. They’ll take your vital signs and give you an IV for the medication you’ll get during the procedure when you arrive. When they roll you back to the room, they’ll have a short conversation with you and then start the “twilight” medication, which kind of half-way knocks you out. You’re awake for the procedure, but you can’t really tell what’s going on. The actual procedure itself usually takes just a short time; mine lasted 11 minutes. When you come out, they’ll tell you the results and then you can go home (someone has to drive you).
I turned out to have something called a polyp (1 cm), which is a benign growth. If you have one, they’ll remove it during the procedure with this lasso tool. Not every polyp turns into cancer, but every colon cancer starts as a polyp. And since colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death, it’s really important to find and remove polyps before they turn into cancer.
Anyway, this is an important screening and it’s not nearly as bad as you might think… so if you’re over 50 and you haven’t done it yet, get it over with. Don’t fret. It’s not that bad and it’s definitely worth it.
November 2nd, 2011 by admin
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Due to scheduled maintenance, users may experience intermittent access to http://directorsblog.health.azdhs.gov on Tuesday, November 3 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
November 2nd, 2011 by admin
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I know I read like a broken record- but prescription drug misuse and abuse is a huge public health issue not just here- but nationally. The newest edition of CDC Vital Signs presents information about prescription painkiller overdoses in the United States and highlights promising strategies for addressing the issue. Please share this information broadly with your colleagues and partners and encourage them to take advantage of CDC’s social media tools, such as the RSS feed, Everyday Health Widget, and Vital Signs buttons, to help spread the word. Further, visit the Vital Signs webpage to see a podcast and CDC.gov feature article on this topic.
November 1st, 2011 by admin
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Teens and drug experts across the land will connect for the 2nd annual National Drug Facts Week this week. The week-long event is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)- and brings together teens and scientific experts in community events across the country to discuss scientific facts about drug abuse- including prescription drug abuse. Events can be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including schools, community groups, sports clubs, book clubs, and local hospitals. The Institute provides an online school toolkits walk folks through how to create and publicize an event- as well as turn-key curriculum materials.
October 31st, 2011 by admin
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Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle incidents on Halloween compared to other days throughout the year? So this Halloween, take a minute and review some simple safety tips with your children. Children love Halloween time, so be sure to assure safety for everyone participating in Halloween activities.
October 28th, 2011 by admin
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Prescription drugs can be safe and effective at treating illnesses- but leftovers are also tempting for experimental teens- and the misuse of narcotic prescriptions is an increasingly urgent public health problem in Arizona. In fact, more than 1,100 Arizonans died from prescription drug poisoning from misuse and abuse last year- which is more than the number of Arizonans that die in car crashes. Opioids (such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and other synthetic narcotics) were responsible for most drug overdoses. Our drug-related death statistics for 1985-2009 are available online. Parents of teens should really pay attention to what they have around the house, and this weekend is your perfect opportunity to clean up.
Powerful drugs are often easily accessible in many, if not most, homes- and many parents don’t recognize that these (sometimes dangerous) unused meds can be tempting for teens. They’re often easily accessible in home medicine cabinets, and hundreds Arizonans face the devastating effects of prescription drug abuse every day.
The DEA and state & local partners are sponsoring another National Prescription Drug Take Back Day this Saturday from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. This (always successful) nationwide effort provides a way for people to get rid of leftover prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked. Arizonans disposed of more than 3 tons at April’s event. There are more than 100 drop-off sites that’ll be open Saturday- and you can find the location nearest you by visiting the DEA Website.