September Health Awareness by Columbia St Mary’s

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Enjoy this special health post from our Wellness Partners at Columbia St Mary’s.  And remember – the antioxidants found in fruits & vegetables, that can be found at your local farmers market, are powerful allies in the fight against cancer!

Fall is here and the month of September is jammed pack with Health Awareness!

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  Women should pay attention to their bodies, and know what is normal for them.    There is no simple and reliable way to test for ovarian cancer in women who do not have any signs or symptoms.  The Pap test does not screen for ovarian cancer.  The only cancer the Pap test screens for is cervical cancer.  All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women.   Get the facts and be aware of the symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

*Bloating (when the area below your stomach swells or feels full)

*Pelvic or abdominal pain

*Feeling full quickly while eating

* Urinary urgency (having to pass urine very often)

*Vaginal bleeding (if you are past menopause)

For more information contact the Wisconsin Ovarian Cancer Alliance; www.wisconsinovariancancer.org .

It is also National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month!  Men starting at the age of 40 are encouraged to talk to their personal doctors about their risk of prostate cancer and whether they should be getting screened.  The screening consists of both a blood test called a prostate specific antigen ( PSA) and also a digital rectal exam.  African American men have the highest occurrence and death rates of prostate cancer than any other ethnic or racial group of men.    For more information contact the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/basic_info/screening.htm.  Or the American Cancer Society www.cancer.org

And lastly, September is also National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month.   Sickle cell anemia is a disorder of the blood caused by inherited abnormal hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein within the red blood cells).  The abnormal hemoglobin causes distorted (sickled) red blood cells. The damaged sickled red blood cells clump together and stick to the walls of blood vessels, blocking blood flow.  This can cause severe pain.   This disease is one of the most common inherited blood anemia’s, and primarily affects Africans and African Americans.  For more information and support contact the Sickle Cell Disease Association Of America, Inc.  SCDAA@sicklecelldisease.org

Carla Harris RN, BSN                                                                                                                                                        Oncology Community Outreach                                                                                                                                                  Columbia St. Marys Hospital