March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Also called colorectal cancer, this is a cancer that begins in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Most colorectal cancers start as abnormal growths in the lining of the colon or rectum called polyps. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer.
“Colorectal cancer is a largely a preventable type of cancer,” says Brennan Scott, M.D., Chair of Gastroenterology at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “We have tests that detect many different types of cancer, but colon cancer can be prevented by doing a screening test to find polyps and removing them before they have a chance to become cancerous.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided by regular screening tests. At PAMF, the odds may be even better. New outcomes studies show that Dr. Scott and his team have surpassed national benchmarks for early tumor detection.
In this blog post, Dr. Scott answers common questions about colorectal cancer and explains how you can reduce your risk. Read More about Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer
According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people in the United States have heart failure and that number is expected to rise to nearly 8 million in 2030. So what is heart failure and how can you avoid it?
“If you have heart failure, it means that your heart is unable to provide the support your body needs to function normally,” says Jared J. Herr, M.D., a cardiologist specializing in heart failure at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “It can’t keep up with pumping blood rich in nutrients and oxygen to all the organs in the body.” Read More about What to Know About Heart Failure
A high fever, aches all over, a severe cough and sore throat – these are some of the uncomfortable symptoms of the flu that may last for days. The flu can make you feel miserable, but that’s not all. Highly contagious, the flu can lead to pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, dehydration, hospitalization and even death. It’s particularly dangerous to babies, young children, pregnant women and the elderly, as well as people with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
Nobody wants to get the flu – so how can you protect yourself and your family?
“The single best thing you can do to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated every year,” says Charles Weiss, M.D., MPH, chair of PAMF’s Infectious Diseases Committee. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get an annual flu vaccination.” Read More about Get Vaccinated for Best Flu Protection
Feeling sad on occasion is a normal part of life, but how do you know when a blue mood has crossed into depression?
“Depression is a very common condition, especially in women,” Kimberly Jong, M.D., a Palo Alto Medical Foundation internal medicine physician, says. “One in five women will have depression at some point in their lives.”
Symptoms of depression include low mood, sleep deficit or excessive sleep, lethargy and fatigue, loss of interest in usual activities, inability to concentrate and feelings of worthlessness or guilt. The key to knowing the difference between the normal ups and downs of life and clinical depression is persistence of symptoms. The technical diagnosis for depression is when symptoms last longer than two weeks. Read More about Is It Depression or Just the Blues?
Although there may not be a fountain of youth, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your chances for a long, healthy life.
Despite its prevalence in our society, heart disease myths persist. One of the biggest heart disease myths is that it strikes only men and older adults. In fact, heart disease is also the No. 1 killer of women and it’s more deadly for women than all kinds of cancer combined.
Yet, “it’s been drilled into our culture that heart disease is a male disease,” Tania Nanevicz, M.D., a cardiologist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation says. “So women themselves don’t always recognize what’s happening.”