Skin Cancer – Know the Facts

Suntan Lotion and Sunglasses

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Skin cancer is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light (UV). Ultraviolet light comes from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. Exposure to UV light can cause sunburn, changes in skin texture, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.

You are at greater risk for skin cancer if you have:

  • A lighter skin color
  • Skin that burns, freckles or reddens easily
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Blonde or red hair
  • Large number of moles
  • Family or personal history of skin cancer

Symptoms of skin cancer:

Changes in your skin are the most common symptom of skin cancer such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.
Speak with your physician if you notice changes in your skin.

Protection from UV rays:

  • Stay in shaded areas
  • Wear a wide brim hat
  • Wear long sleeves and pants
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Use sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) reapply every two hours when in the sun and after swimming or sweating
  • Avoid tanning beds

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Risk Factors and Symptoms

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly, this is called insulin resistance. To combat this, the pancreas will produce extra insulin to make up for your insulin resistance but over time the pancreas isn’t able to keep your blood glucose levels normal.

Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and exercise. You may also need oral medications or insulin to help keep your blood sugar readings on target. Type 2 diabetes usually gets worse over time.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Age – As you get older your risk for developing type 2 diabetes goes up.
  • Race – African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Family History – If your mother, father, sister, or brother has diabetes, your risk goes up.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Overweight

Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Feeling very tired
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet

**Some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so minor that they go unnoticed.**

Speak with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of diabetes. Early detection and treatment helps decrease the risks of developing complications of diabetes.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Breast Cancer Basic Information

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States. Although deaths from breast cancer have declined, it still remains the second leading cause of cancer death among women.

Possible Symptoms of Breast Cancer

  • New lump in the breast or armpit
  • Swelling of any part of the breast
  • Dimpling of breast skin
  • Inversion of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
  • Change in size or shape of the breast
  • Pain in the breast

See your doctor right away if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.

Risk Factors you cannot change

  • Getting older- most breast cancer is diagnosed after age 50
  • Genetic mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2
  • Having dense breasts
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Previous radiation therapy to the chest area

Risk Factors you can change

  • Become physically active
  • Lose weight
  • Don’t take hormones
  • Reproductive history-having first child after age 30 and not breastfeeding can raise risk
  • Stop drinking alcohol

Breast Cancer Screening


  • X-ray of the breast
  • Best way to find breast cancer early
  • Having regular Mammograms can lower your risk of dying from breast cancer.

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • Uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast
  • May be used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk

Clinical Breast Exam

  • Examination by doctor or nurse to feel for lumps or changes

Self-Breast Exam

  • Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms

High Blood Pressure – What You Need to Know

High Blood Pressure

Did you know nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure will not go away without treatment such as lifestyle changes or physician prescribed medications.

Blood pressure is the force of blood flow inside your blood vessels. Blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The first number is the pressure as your heart beats and pushes blood through the blood vessels. The second number is the pressure when the vessels relax between heartbeats.

When blood moves through your vessels with too much force you have high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye issues, and kidney disease.

High blood pressure is called a silent killer, meaning you will not know you have high blood pressure unless a healthcare provider checks it. At minimum, you should have your blood pressure checked once a year.

Per the American Heart Association, common hereditary and physical risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • Family history
  • Age – The older you are the more likely you are to get high blood pressure.
  • Gender – Until age 64, men are more likely to get high blood pressure but after age 65, women
    are more likely.
  • Race – African Americans tend to develop high blood pressure more often than any other
    racial background in the U.S.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

What can I do to help treat or manage high blood pressure?

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Limit salt intake
  • Lose weight
  • Decrease alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking and tobacco use
  • Manage stress

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking can be a difficult task for most people. Nicotine is very addictive which is why smokers crave cigarettes. However, there is no safe amount of cigarette smoke. When you smoke your blood carries toxins to every organ in your body. After quitting for just 20 minutes your body begins to heal itself.

Here are the benefits your body experiences after stopping smoking per the United States Department of Health:

  • 20 minutes: blood pressure and heart rate drop
  • 12 hours: carbon monoxide in blood stream drops to normal
  • 2 weeks – 3 months: circulation and lung function improve, heart attack risk begins to drop
  • 1 – 9 months: cough less and breathe easier
  • 1 year: the risk of coronary disease is cut in half
  • 2 – 5 years: risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker
  • 10 years: half as likely to die from lung cancer; risk of kidney or pancreatic cancer decreases
  • 15 years: risk of coronary heart disease is the same as non-smoker’s risk

Quitting smoking can help add years to your life and also protect your loved ones from dangerous secondhand smoke. Speak with your healthcare provider to further discuss benefits and ways to be successful in stopping smoking.