Monthly Archives: September 2015

Men’s Health: Get The Facts on Prostate Cancer

By Stephanie Hinton, CPM, MHS, MA – DHEC Cancer Prevention and Control Division Director & Daniela Friedman, SCCA Prostate Cancer Workgroup

No one likes to think about the potential risk of cancer, but being informed can be a lifesaver. This September, DHEC is calling on all men in South Carolina to take a moment to learn about prostate cancer, the risks and symptoms, and what they can do to be proactive in protecting their health.

The Statistics

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among men and is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Prostate cancer is twice as common among African-American men than it is among men of European (White) descent, and African-American men have the highest prostate cancer death rate. Advancing age, high-fat diets, smoking and family history of prostate cancer are also contributing risk factors.

The good news is that survival rates for all stages of prostate cancer have improved over the years. At least 89% of men diagnosed can expect to live at least five years from the time of their diagnosis.

prostate_infographic_600px (1)

Click to open full size image.

The Symptoms

Most prostate cancers grow slowly, and don’t cause any health problems in men who have them. However, if the cancer expands or begins to spread to other parts of the body, the following may be present.

  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination (especially at night).
  • Trouble urinating.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.

What can you do?

  • Talk with your health care provider about prostate cancer screening options. Screenings are recommended starting at age 45 for African-American men.
  • Find out if you have a family history of prostate cancer, and tell your doctor if you do.
  • Learn more about screening and treatment options, and make informed decisions. Some treatment options may have serious side effects, so it is important to ask questions and make a decision that is right for you.

SCCA Prostate Cancer Work Group

The statewide South Carolina Cancer Alliance (SCCA) Prostate Cancer Work Group is dedicated to improving our understanding of how to diagnose and treat prostate cancer and to help men participate in all aspects of prostate cancer research, education, and treatment.

For more information about the SCCA Prostate Cancer Work Group, please contact Daniela Friedman at

For more information about prostate cancer, click here.  

Show the world what a Q-tip can do

By DHEC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and Be The Match

What impact or difference could a Q-tip have on the world? Answer- FIGHT CANCER!

Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. By the time the blog post is complete, eight people will have been diagnosed by a doctor they never planned to see with a disease they never thought would impact their life. Each day 480 people are diagnosed with various blood cancers/blood disorders including leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia and sickle cell anemia.

1,500 South Carolinians each year are part of these sobering statistics. Half of these 1,500 patients will need a bone marrow transplant. This transplant is their last and (and in many cases) only hope for survival. Be The Match supports these patients in their search for a marrow donor through the national marrow registry.

You have the chance to partner with the Q-tip to fight cancer. Joining the Be The Match registry is as easy as filling out a form and swabbing your cheek with a  . . . wait for it . . . Q-TIP.

You will join a list of over 12 million people who are willing to help if they are called (which is only about a 1 in 70,000 chance). You are probably asking – “does this hurt?” The most common bone marrow donation is very similar to giving blood. The extent of the pain is a needle stick. There is a less common method where we take marrow from the hip, but you are asleep and not aware of what is going on.

No matter the method, you have the chance to save a life – to give a patient and their family a second chance! Interested in showing the world what a Q-tip can do?  You can join the Be The Match by visiting

Dr. Suess said it best (as usual) – “To the World you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

For more information on Be The Match in South Carolina, contact:

Ashley Collier
Be The Match South Carolina

Be The Match Save a Life

You Can Help #EndRabies

By Travis Shealy, DHEC Rabies Prevention Program Manager

World Rabies Day is September 28th and is a global health observance that seeks to raise awareness about rabies and enhance prevention and control efforts. Rabies is a deadly virus that kills pets, wildlife and people across the globe. Rabies education and vaccinations are the key to #EndRabies.

What is Rabies?

The South Carolina Rabies Application provides the summary statistics of rabies cases by county, species and year.

The SC Rabies Application provides statistics of rabies cases by county, species and year. 

Rabies (Lyssavirus) attacks nerves in the spinal cord and brain and can be passed to a healthy person or animal via exposure to saliva or neural tissue from a rabid animal. In South Carolina, rabies is most often found in raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats, but pets contract the virus as well.

As of September 15, there have been 96 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina this year. There were 139 cases in 2014.  You can view rabies statistics across the state here

Rabies Prevention

Join us in the fight to #EndRabies by keeping your pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations – which protects not only your pet, but also you and your family from the virus.  Check out DHEC’s World Rabies Day 2015 album on Facebook or Flickr

DHEC invited South Carolinians to send in photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to help raise awareness about rabies prevention for World Rabies Day. #EndRabies

DHEC invited South Carolinians to send in photos of their vaccinated pets and livestock to help raise awareness about rabies prevention for World Rabies Day. #EndRabies

Avoiding wild animals, particularly ones that appear to be injured, tame or behaving abnormally, and teaching your children to do the same is a great way to protect your family from rabies. If you see a wild animal that seems sick, contact your local animal control office, veterinarian, or wildlife rescue/rehabilitation group for help. Do not handle wildlife or strays and keep them away from your family pets. You can learn more about rabies symptoms here.


Rabid bats have been known to transmit the virus to humans and pets. People – especially children – sometimes don’t realize they’ve been bitten and it is very easy to overlook a bat bite because bat teeth are so tiny. If you find a bat in a room, a tent or a cabin where someone has been sleeping, with elderly or incapacitated persons, or where unattended children have been playing, always assume the bat could have bitten the person. Bats that have the potential to have been in contact with people, their pets or livestock should be safely trapped in a sealed container and not touched. Call your local office to report the incident.

Reporting Possible Rabies Exposure

If you’re bitten or scratched by a wild, stray or unvaccinated animal care for the wound properly and contact your health care provider immediately. The health care provider is required by the Rabies Control Act to report the incident to DHEC.

If you or your child is bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed and you do not seek medical treatment for the wound, you are required by the Rabies Control Act to report the bite to DHEC by the end of the following business day. Please visit our map for contact information for the Environmental Quality Control office in your area.

For more information on rabies, visit

World Rabies Day is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC).

Inspiring Environmental Education

By Amanda Ley, DHEC Champions of the Environment Program Coordinator

Environmental education projects develop students’ awareness of the natural world and their impact in it, as well as encourage lifelong environmental stewardship.  Engaging students through hands-on projects such as cultivating a classroom garden, constructing a recycled bottle greenhouse, and charting the progress of a recycling program creates a sense of ownership and excitement for their work.

Leaphart Elementary students developed a watershed management plan.

Leaphart Elementary students developed a watershed management plan.

If you dream of carrying out an environmental project but don’t know where to start, then read on for some suggestions:

  • Prevent or reduce pollution by promoting a beautification/ litter pick-up program, starting an anti-idling campaign or implementing a storm drain-marking program.
  • Restore or preserve a natural area by enhancing a particular habitat, improving water quality in a pond, providing food and shelter for different species, or managing stormwater runoff to prevent erosion.
  • Make your school more water or energy efficient by installing rain barrels and water-conserving gardens, or using alternative energy to power your school’s lawnmower.
  • Utilize a novel approach to address a common issue by installing compost tumblers, harvesting rainwater or providing waste free lunch kits to reduce garbage.
Students at Southside Middle School launched a recycling program.

Southside Middle School launched a recycling program.

DHEC’s Champions of the Environment Grant program promotes environmental education by providing monetary awards to K-12 teachers and students for their outstanding environmental projects. Up to eight projects are awarded each school year and Merit and Seedling awards are available for helping smaller projects get started.

Grantees are also featured in a 30-second TV commercial and their project is highlighted on the Champions’ website. Champions is supported in part by International Paper and SCE&G.

Visit the Recent Grant Winners page to see what others have done, and visit the Advice & Ideas page for suggestions for successful projects.

To apply for a Champions’ grant visit and electronically submit a completed grant award application. Applications are due October 15 and awards will be made in November.

Ebinport Elementary will enhance their existing Classroom Garden through increased composting effectiveness, organic protection from pests and frost, space utilization with vertical gardening, and indoor seedling growth.

Ebinport Elementary enhanced its classroom garden through increased composting effectiveness, organic protection from pests and frost, space utilization with vertical gardening, and indoor seedling growth.

Be a Champion! Do your part for the environment!

Remembering Hurricane Hugo

By Betsy Crick
Photo courtesy of National Weather Service / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

Communities across South Carolina were devastated after the historic hurricane made its way inland.

Communities across South Carolina were devastated after the historic hurricane made its way inland.

Around midnight on September 22, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall just north of Charleston, at Sullivan’s Island.  This Category 4 storm had estimated maximum winds of 135-140 mph.

At the time, Hugo was the strongest storm to strike the U.S. in the previous 20-year period and was the nation’s costliest hurricane on record in terms of monetary losses, with approximately $10 billion in damage. It is estimated by NOAA that there were 49 deaths directly related to the storm, 26 of which occurred in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hugo produced tremendous wind and storm surge damage along the coast, and even produced hurricane force wind gusts several hundred miles

inland into western North Carolina. In fact, Hugo produced the highest storm tide heights ever recorded along the U.S. East Coast, around 20 feet in Bulls Bay, S.C., near Cape Romain.

Because of Hugo’s extreme devastation, the name Hugo was retired and will never again be used for an Atlantic Hurricane.

The anniversary of Hugo is a time to reflect on the power of mother nature and to make sure you are prepared for potential natural disasters in the future.

Here are some tips to prepare for a hurricane event:

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please visit DHEC’s website.