50 or over? It’s time to schedule your colorectal cancer screening

9715_Comp-Cancer_Facebook-Graphics-January-1As we head into the last couple of days of February, there’s another reason besides rising temperatures to welcome March – it’s National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to figure out when you should be screened. Getting screened for colorectal, or colon, cancer is something Idahoans age 50 and older should consider because it is 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, around a third of those diagnosed will die. Continue reading


Has your home been tested for radon? Now is a great time to do it!

9715_Comp-Cancer_Facebook-Graphics-April-boostedRadon is an odorless, tasteless gas that has been found at dangerous levels in many homes in Idaho. The dangerous gas is the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers, and it causes more than 21,000 deaths a year in the United States. It’s a serious health issue in Idaho. The good news is that it is a preventable health risk – testing your home can help prevent or reduce exposure. Continue reading

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What’s your plan for early detection?


One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes, so there is a good chance this disease will affect you or someone you love. Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. More than 230,000 women and 2,100 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year nationally, and more than 41,000 women and 465 men will die from it. In Idaho, more than 1,000 new cases will be diagnosed, and almost 200 people will die from it. So it’s a good time to talk with your doctor about your options. Continue reading

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

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