Colorectal Cancer is preventable with screening

Central Office staff wear blue

DHW staff wear blue in early March to highlight the need for colorectal cancer awareness.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so you may hear about some of the famous people we’ve lost to this disease: movie star Audrey Hepburn, Peanuts comic creator Charles Schulz, “Bewitched” star Elizabeth Montgomery, and football great Vince Lombardi. But closer to home, screening for colorectal, or colon, cancer is something Idahoans age 50 and older should consider because it’s the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the state. In fact, 1 in 20 Idaho adults will develop colon cancer and, sadly, chances are one-third of those diagnosed will die.

Who should be screened?
Generally, everyone starting at age 50 should get screened, and screening may begin earlier if you have a family history. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, talk to your doctor about regular screening that may pick up growths before they become cancerous.  Continue reading

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Screenings and HPV vaccine are best ways to prevent cervical cancer

Women who are thinking about their goals for the new year should start the year off right by getting screened for cervical cancer, especially if it’s been awhile since your last screening, or you’ve never had it done. Getting screened regularly for cervical cancer is important for all women because that is the most effective way to find the disease early so it can be treated. It is highly treatable when it is found early enough, but in order to find it, women have to get screened.

Who does cervical cancer affect?

Cervical cancer most often affects women over the age of 30. Almost 13,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year in the United States and more than 4,000 women will die from the disease. In Idaho in 2015, an estimated 45 women were diagnosed and 17 women died from cervical cancer.

Who is most at risk?

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is a common virus that can be passed from one person to another during sex. Those who become sexually active at an early age or who have several sexual partners are at a greater risk, but anyone who has ever had sex is at risk for HPV. Not getting screened or being HIV positive increases a woman’s risk for cervical cancer, and smoking doubles it.  Continue reading

Best way to avoid lung cancer? Quit smoking.

You may not know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Idaho. Other kinds of cancers certainly get a lot more attention, but we should all be aware of the risks. Smoking causes about 85 percent of lung cancer deaths in Idaho, but that leaves 15 percent that are not caused by smoking. And since November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to understand what we can do to reduce our risk for developing this terrible disease.

Are there symptoms of lung cancer?

Symptoms can vary a lot for everyone, so they’re not very reliable. Some people don’t have symptoms at all, but others may have shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing that doesn’t go away and that might include blood, chest pain, fever, and weight loss.

Who is most at risk?

Everyone has the potential to develop lung cancer, but some people have a higher risk than others because of lifestyle choices (like choosing to smoke), environmental exposures (like radon), and family history. Current smokers or those who have smoked in the past are 10 to 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke also causes lung cancer – nationally about 38,000 nonsmokers die each year from secondhand smoke exposure. Continue reading

Colorectal cancer is preventable with screening

No one really wants to think too hard about getting a colonoscopy. It’s embarrassing, kind of gross, and it’s uncomfortable. But it’s something everyone needs to consider because colorectal, or colon, cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Idaho and the third most common cancer overall for men and women.

Who should be tested?

Everyone who is 50 and older should get screened. You don’t have to have a family history of colon cancer to be at risk. Regular screening for everyone in that age range would mean as many as 60 percent of deaths from colon cancer could be avoided. Idaho currently ranks 44th in the nation for colon cancer screening, with 1 in 3 Idahoans older than 50 needing to be screened. We can definitely do better!  Continue reading

Getting screened for cervical cancer is most effective way to find it early

Cervical cancer is not an easy subject to discuss, but getting screened regularly for it is important for all women because that is the most effective way to find the disease early so it can be treated. It is highly treatable when it is found early enough, and it’s associated with long survival and good quality of life.

Who does cervical cancer affect?

Cervical cancer most often affects women over the age of 30. About 12,900 women will be  diagnosed with cervical cancer this year in the United States and about 4,000 women will die from the disease. In Idaho, there are an average of 44 new cases of cervical cancer diagnosed each year, and an average of 14 women die of the disease.  Continue reading

Women’s Health Check offers breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women in Idaho

All Idaho women need access to healthcare, no matter their income. The Idaho Women’s Health Check program can provide that healthcare coverage for cancer screenings and diagnosis for women in the state who are eligible.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for American women — 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during their lifetimes. Cervical cancer is not as common, but it is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent with regular screenings. Even so, around 13,000 new cases of cervical cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States, and nearly 4,000 women will die from it. Continue reading

Do you know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer? If you’re a woman, you should.

Have you noticed a proliferation of things turning teal this month? Things that shouldn’t be teal, like a bridge, fountains and even the entire Chicago skyline? The teal movement is an effort to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, which is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths for women in Idaho, and the fifth nationally.

There is no health screening for ovarian cancer.

That’s what makes it even scarier than most. Because there is no screening for it, many women aren’t diagnosed until the later stages of the disease. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Nearly 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with it each year, and 15,000 die from it. That’s why it’s so important for women to pay attention to their bodies and talk to their doctors when something isn’t right, even if it makes them a little uncomfortable. Continue reading