5 Things You Need to Know About Breast Cancer This Month

Breast Cancer This Month

Every year, breast cancer is diagnosed in hundreds of thousands of people across the country, but its effects are felt by millions of people whose friends and family members are dealing with the disease. It’s why we make a point of recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month every October, and it’s why it’s so important for everyone to learn the risk factors, the warning signs, and the treatment options available.

We’re sure you’ll hear plenty about it this month. So much, in fact, that you might miss some important facts about breast cancer along the way. But if you only take away a few key items this month, here’s what we think you should know.

The Hard Numbers

According to the latest data from the American Cancer Society (ACS), nearly 270,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in both men and women by the end of 2018. It also estimates that over 41,000 people will have passed away due to it. And in Maryland, ACS data indicates that upwards of 10,000 people will succumb to the disease this year alone.

These sobering statistics mean that, even after all this time, breast cancer is still among the most common and dangerous forms of cancer.

The Risk Factors

The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes that one out of every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed at some point in her lifetime, but there are some contributing factors that can increase or decrease a person’s level of risk.

There are a variety of uncontrollable risk factors, such as age, sex, and family history, but the following are just a few of the things you can control that may improve your level of risk:

  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Consistent physical activity

There are numerous other lifestyle factors that may influence your risk as well, so check out the ACS website to learn more. And be sure to talk with your primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns.

The Real Benefits of Early Detection

Like any form of cancer, early detection is crucial for a patient’s diagnosis. When it’s found early, breast cancer can be treated in one of several ways outlined below, but treatment options are more limited the further the cancer progresses.

Although awareness efforts have gone a long way to promoting the benefits of mammography and early detection in our own state, ACS reports show that just over 75% of women over the age of 40 received a mammogram in the past two years. That means that nearly 20% of women in the age group most affected by breast cancer didn’t have the benefit of early medical imaging detection should issues have arisen.

The Treatment Options Available

Breast cancer can be treated through several different methods, and what treatment options available often depends on the type of breast cancer it is and how far it has spread. Below are the most common forms of treatment available:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Radiation therapy

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to learn more about each type of treatment.

The Best Place to Address Breast Health Issues in Southern Maryland

In just a matter of months, the Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health will open its doors at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion in La Plata, MD. Led by respected surgeon Dr. Eleanor Faherty, this vital multidisciplinary center will serve as the hub for breast care and breast cancer treatment in Southern Maryland and beyond.

Physicians specializing in surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology will provide compassionate care from one central location. Thanks to a gracious and generous six-figure donation from Charles County’s own Julie and Bill Dotson, as well as significant contributions from other members of our community, construction is well underway, and its opening is planned for 2019.

Visit our website to learn more about this practice, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for the latest updates and information regarding the upcoming grand opening.

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Why We’re Raising Awareness About Cervical Cancer This January

Cervical Health Awareness Month

You’ve probably heard about cervical cancer from your doctor, the news or just someone you know. But how much do you know about this form of cancer?

Take some time this January to learn more about cervical cancer, its causes, its treatment options and preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances for developing it.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that starts in a woman’s cervix, which is located on the lower end of the uterus.

What are the Contributing Causes of Cervical Cancer?

Your doctor will be able to help you determine your risk level for developing cervical cancer, but there are a few things to know that will help you better understand your individual risk.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the leading causes of cervical cancers. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Having HIV or another autoimmune disorder
  • Having given birth to three or more children
  • Having several sexual partners
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years)

HPV is one of the most common STDs in the U.S. It’s so prevalent, in fact, that the CDC notes that most people will contract it at some point in their lives. Fortunately, HPV often goes away on its own over time, and vaccines do exist for it.

Is it Preventable?

Cervical cancer was, at one time, among the most common causes of cancer deaths for American. Today, cervical cancer is actually one of the most highly preventable cancer types in the U.S. as a result of the screening tests and HPV vaccines, according to the CDC.

Although early symptoms and warning signs for cervical cancer are rare, screenings can help doctors detect presence of pre-cancers before they become invasive cancers. A pap test or “pap smear,” as it’s often called, has been proven effective in detecting the disease before it becomes life threatening.

Additionally, HPV tests and vaccines are available to help detect and/or prevent infection of HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are the two strains that are responsible for the vast majority of all cervical cancers.

The American Cancer Society recommends that routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys should begin at age 11 or 12, but your doctor may recommend it get started as early as age 9. While this may seem like a young age to receive a vaccine of this type, the American Cancer Society notes that HPV vaccines produce the strongest immune responses in preteens.

What are the Treatment Options?

Currently, there are no treatments available for HPV, but many genital HPV infections go away with the help of a person’s immune system within two years.

Should you be diagnosed with cervical cancer, however, a variety of treatment options exist. Which treatment(s) you ultimately utilize will vary depending on the stage of the cancer has reached and based on recommendations from your health care provider. The most common treatments for cervical cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Want to learn more about cervical cancer this month? Be sure to check out our Online Health Library and visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition website for more information and to find out how you can get involved in spreading awareness all month long. And if you’d like to schedule a preventive screening, checkup or appointment with a women’s health expert, contact UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health in Charles County today.

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5 Keys to Reducing Stress During the Holidays

Reduce Stress During the Holidays

Money, time and energy. These things always seem to have a major impact on a person’s stress levels, and there never seems to be enough of any of it during the holiday season.

Although holiday stress seems to have become the norm in modern society, excessive stress can be one of the most harmful things to your overall health and wellness. But these are the five things you can do to manage and reduce stress throughout this busy time of year.

Managing Expectations with Your Family

Only you know what you can truly afford. Before anyone gets carried away with lavish gift suggestions or expensive ideas, have an open, honest conversation about what you really value about the holidays. And because not everyone in your family is going to have the same budget restrictions, don’t be afraid to temper expectations about gifts, meals or outings ahead of time.

Getting Organized

Having a to-do list for the holidays is a great way to keep everything in perspective and manage stress. It’s as simple as filling out the calendar you carry with you on your phone or just writing it down on a sticky note at home.

Keeping Up Your Exercise Routines

Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for skipping workouts in your routine. Make a point of continuing your exercise regimen (or get started with one) as usual. You’ll be surprised with how good it feels knowing you’re doing what you need to do to stay healthy.

Knowing When to Say “No”

One of the hardest things about this time of year is finding the time to fit everything in.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of party invites you’ve received, don’t be afraid to politely turn down the ones you’re okay skipping. And if you’re stressed by the idea of having to spend more money to attend expensive events, try suggesting more affordable alternatives or pass altogether.

Taking “Me” Time

The holidays are all about getting to spend time with friends and family, some of whom you haven’t seen for a long time. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of your own well-being.

Finding some time throughout the next few weeks to focus on doing what you want to do — exercising, relaxing, taking a walk, reading a book, etc. — for just a few minutes can go a long way. Your to-do list will be there when you get back, and you’ll feel even more ready to handle it when you do.

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What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Right Now

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

236,968. That’s how many women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year. What’s more, 41,211 women in the US died from breast cancer, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it one of the deadliest diseases among women in our country.

It doesn’t just affect women, either. In that same timeframe, over 2,100 men were diagnosed, and 465 succumbed to the disease.

Those numbers act as a sobering reminder of the immense and painful impact this disease has on families across the country. But more than anything, those statistics should motivate you to join with us in spreading breast cancer awareness.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the most important information surrounding breast cancer. We also encourage you to share what you learn with friends and family so they can understand their individual risk levels as well as what they can do right now to prevent or detect any signs of this cancer.

Risk Factors

Although breast cancer affects women 100x more frequently than it does men, gender is not an excluding factor in who will ultimately develop breast cancer. Here are a few key factors that influence individual risk levels:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Late or no pregnancy
  • Physical inactivity
  • Breast density

You can learn more about specific risk factors for breast cancer on the CDC’s official website. More than anything, an honest conversation with your doctor can help shed light on what your individual risk level might be based on these and other factors.

Reducing Risk Levels

Although there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of developing breast cancer, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are just a few ways to aid in prevention:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages
  • Breastfeed newborn children, if possible

You can learn more about ways to reduce your level of risk by visiting our Online Health Library, and you can also get a snapshot of your risk level by taking our Breast Cancer Risk Assessment.

Early Detection

This is your best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. By performing a self-exam every month or by receiving a regular clinical exam, you can detect any abnormalities before they develop further.

Beyond that, it’s recommended that women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year. At the age of 55 and beyond, women are encouraged to get mammograms every other year at the very least. If you’re younger than that, your doctor may recommend you get a mammogram if he or she believes you’re at higher risk for developing breast cancer. Mammograms are completed by qualified specialists, like those at UM Charles Regional Imaging, to examine breast tissue for any issues that may not be visible or palpable.

Want to Learn More?

Your understanding of breast cancer and its effects on our community don’t have to end with this blog post!

Join us for our 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center on Wednesday, October 18. From 11am to 1:30pm, our expert team will share their experiences and expertise regarding breast and ovarian cancer.

The luncheon is free, but your registration is required by October 13. For more information or to reserve your spot now, visit our website or call (888) 332-4847 now. We hope to see you there!

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Raising Awareness During Birth Defects Prevention Month

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a baby is born with a major birth defect every 4 ½ minutes in the United States.

It’s the leading cause of infant mortality in the first year of life, and babies with birth defects also have increased chances of long-term health issues and illnesses. That’s why we’re shining a light on this important issue by supporting National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

Whether you’re expecting or thinking of having children one day, here are some of the most important things you can do before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects.

Get Enough Folic Acid
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that pregnant women or those who are thinking of getting pregnant should consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of synthetic folic acid in addition to the folic acid found naturally in foods. Folic acid is found in foods like cooked beans, peas, peanuts, oranges, dark green vegetables, fortified cereals and more. Your doctor may recommend additional supplements as well.

Getting enough folic acid during pregnancy can reduce the chances of one type of serious birth defect by up to 70%, but it’s just one of the many vitamins and minerals you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough of before and during pregnancy.

Avoid Smoking, Drinking, Drugs and Dangerous Activities
This may seem like a no-brainer, but women who smoke, drink or do illegal drugs during pregnancy put their children at high risk for serious birth defects. Avoiding hot tubs, saunas and X-rays during pregnancy are lesser-known points of emphasis for pregnant women, however. Learn more about additional pregnancy dangers in our Online Health Library.

Reach a Healthy Weight
Women with obesity before pregnancy are at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy. In addition, women with poorly managed diabetes also put themselves and their pregnancies at risk. If you’re overweight or obese, you should talk to your doctor about ways you can reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant.

Work with Your Health Care Provider
Your obstetrician will be able to guide you through your pregnancy. They will be able to help you with everything from determining which medicines and vaccines are safe to helping you set a healthy diet or supplement plan.

If you’re an expecting mother or plan on having kids one day, these are just some of the steps you can take to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. To learn more about the many topics surrounding pregnancy, be sure to check out our Pregnancy Resource Center in our Online Health Library.

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January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

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According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, 2016 saw nearly 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed in the United States alone.

It happens fast, because women with early cervical cancers rarely show symptoms before the cancer becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissues. But thanks to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) and the United States Congress, the month of January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month to shine a light on issues related to cervical cancer, human papilloma virus (HPV) and the importance of early detection.

Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer
The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is infection by HPV, which is a group of more than 150 related viruses. The virus can be spread from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact, most often by sexual contact.

Cervical cancer has also been linked to smoking, poor diet, certain sexually transmitted diseases and being overweight. As a result, the best ways to reduce your risks of developing cervical cancer are to live at a healthy weight, not smoke, practice safe sex and eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Prevention
Although symptoms and warning signs for early cervical cancer are rare, screening for pre-cancers before they turn into invasive cancers has proven effective in detecting the disease. Through the Pap test (also known as a Pap smear) and the HPV test, cervical cancer can be found and treated before it becomes life threatening. Additionally, vaccines are available for females ages 9 to 26 years to help prevent infection of HPV-16 and HPV-18, the HPV strains responsible for about 70% of all cervical cancers.

Treatment
While there’s no treatment for HPV, most genital HPV infections go away with the help of a person’s immune system within two years. Treatment for cervical cancer varies depending on which stage the cancer has reached. Common treatments for cervical cancer include:

Should you be diagnosed, take charge of your own health and arm yourself with knowledge about your diagnosis. You’ll be better prepared to work together with your cancer care team to develop the plan of action that is right for you.

Learn more about Cervical Cancer, HPV disease and Cervical Health Awareness Month by visiting our Online Health Library or the NCCC website. To schedule a preventative screening, checkup or appointment with a women’s health expert, contact University of Maryland Community Medical Group – Women’s Health Practices today.

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that one in eight women in the United States will receive a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in her lifetime. Even more staggering is the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that nearly 41,000 women succumbed to the disease in 2013 alone.

Those sobering statistics don’t have to be things we accept as reality forever — that’s why UM Charles Regional Medical Center is an advocate of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and invites you to arm yourself with knowledge to better understand that early detection saves lives.

Here are some quick facts from our Online Health Library to help you determine your level of risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Age Factors: 77% of new breast cancer diagnoses are in women over the age of 50.
  • Personal Medical History: Women with a history of breast cancer in one breast have three to four times higher risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast.
  • Breast Density: Women with more lobular and ductal tissue (dense tissue) are more likely to develop breast cancer — it also makes it harder for doctors to see abnormal areas on a mammogram.
  • Family History: Women in families that have a history of breast cancer are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Lifestyle: Alcohol use and obesity have both been linked to an increased risk factor. Conversely, a healthy diet and exercise is linked to a reduced rate.

There are more risk factors to consider for breast cancer. Visit our Online Health Library to see them all and learn more about the disease as a whole. While you’re there, be sure to read why it’s so important to get screened with regular mammograms and find out what other tests exist for detecting breast cancer.

Your learning doesn’t have to end here! You’re invited to take part in our upcoming Breast Cancer Symposium on October 25. Get an update on breast and ovarian cancer from our team of experts.  Here are the details for this great event:

Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 11:00AM – 2:00PM
Waldorf Jaycees Community Center
3090 Crain Highway, Waldorf

RSVP by 10/20 to 888-332-4847 or visit charlesregional.org.

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2 Local Events Highlight National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and it’s estimated that more than 40,000 women will die from the disease this year in the United States alone. In addition, an estimated 2,150 American men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 15% of those diagnosed die every year. *Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation

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These staggering statistics don’t have to be something that we accept as a reality—that’s why UM Charles Regional Medical Center invites you to arm yourself with awareness during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some vital facts that you need to know to understand the disease.

Breast Cancer Facts

Your learning and involvement doesn’t have to end there. UM Charles Regional Medical Center encourages you to take part in two local events this October. These upcoming events will educate the public about breast cancer as well as raise funds to support the search for a cure. Check out details for these events below.

Mission Pink Walk
October 10 | 8:30am-11:00am
Join the Sisters at Heart Cancer Survivors of Charles County at the St. Charles Towne Center on Saturday, October 10, for the Mission Pink Walk. Register online or at the event for $25 (cash only) and help support the mission to find a cure. In addition to the mall walk, the event will feature zumba, a Chick-fil-A breakfast, guest speakers, raffles, live music and much more. For more information, visit the official event page today.

Breast Cancer Luncheon
October 22 | 11:00am-2:00pm
Mark your calendar to attend this annual event, sponsored by UM Charles Regional Medical Center, on Thursday, October 22 at the Richard R. Clark Senior Center in La Plata. This luncheon is designed to honor breast cancer survivors and to educate the general public about the disease. Pre-registration is required to attend this FREE event, so call 301.934.5423 or 301.870.2015 for more information and to register.

Early detection is crucial. In addition, when breast cancer is detected early and is in the localized stage, the
5-year relative survival rate is 100%. As a result, regular breast cancer screenings and exams are highly recommended by the American Cancer Society. Call (301) 609-4413 to schedule a mammogram today.

Learn more about breast cancer, treatment options, cancer myths and more from the American Cancer Society and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Expecting a Baby? Schedule Your Tour of Our Birthing Center.

Expecting a new baby soon? Don’t forget to schedule a tour of the UM Charles Regional Birthing Center and Nursery.13444_CRMC_June-5_BLOG_BK_i1

We’ve recently renovated and upgraded our facilities to provide the absolute best experience possible for new mothers, their babies and the whole family.

This month, we’ve got tours available on June 7 (1pm and 5pm), June 8 (6pm) and June 21 (1pm and 5pm).

Register for a Birthing Center tour today to reserve your spot.

During the one-hour visit, you and your guest will meet our highly trained staff and tour the birthing rooms and the postpartum rooms. You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have about your upcoming stay here.

Whether this is your first child or you’ve been here before, this tour is your chance to find out what to expect from our new and improved facilities.

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We’re Raising Awareness About Cervical Health in January

The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month.

During this month, The National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) and healthcare providers like UM CRMC work to raise awareness about cervical health and highlight issues related to cervical cancer, HPV and the importance of early detection.12396_CRMC_OBGYN_BlogPost_JAN13_600x245_BF_i1

The NCCC offers information about raising awareness of the importance of screenings for cervical health, immunization for HPV and advances in cervical cancer research at their website. You can also read the fact sheet “10 Things To Know About HPV”.

UM CRMC has the resources that women need to monitor their reproductive health. Our website has more information about cervical health in our Online Health Library. Get educated about cervical health today. To schedule a preventative screening, a checkup or a visit to a women’s health expert, contact UM Charles Regional OB/GYN today.

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