Tag Archives: cancer

DHEC in the News: Flu, sewer overflow, US mortality

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Charleston Co. has most flu cases in S.C., DHEC says

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The flu bug is popping up in South Carolina, and while the season appears to be off to a slow start, state health department records show Charleston is leading the state in the number of cases.

Blockage causes sewer overflow into nearby waters, officials say

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Renewable Water Resources said Friday afternoon there was a sanitary sewer overflow in the area near North Pleasantburg Drive and Rutherford Road in Greenville.

The cause of the overflow was determined to be a blockage caused by a combination of grease and rags, which should not be discharged or flushed into the sewers, officials said.

General Interest

What’s Killing Americans? These 2 Things, According to a New CDC Report

Good news: Deaths from cancer and heart disease—by far the two biggest killers of Americans—are on the decline, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as are those related to HIV. But further analysis released by the public health agency Friday highlight two alarming trends for U.S. mortality: significant rises in gun and, especially, drug overdose deaths (with the latter driven by the ongoing opioid crisis in America).

Despite the drop in heart disease and cancer deaths, the overall death rate in the U.S. actually rose in in the year ending mid-2017 compared to a comparable period the previous year.

DHEC in the News: Flu shots, women’s health disparities, ‘Healthy Churches’ conference

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Put flu shot on the list of musts

While unusual health threats of all types make headlines, the public should not fail to be proactive against a common illness that contributes to the deaths of 3,000 to 50,000 individuals every year depending on the severity of the season.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. The flu can cause mild to severe illness and can be deadly — especially to vulnerable people, including the very young, the elderly and those with certain chronic health conditions. Symptoms can include a sudden onset of fever, dry cough, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness.

OnPoint on WACH Fox: Health disparities and SC women

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) – This week on OnPoint on WACH Fox we examine health disparities and women in South Carolina.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control offers something called the Best Chance Network and it is pulling women out of the shadows to help save lives.

‘Healthy Churches’ national conference planned for Hilton Head to address health disparities

Pernessa Seele, who grew up in Lincolnville, found herself a long way from the Lowcountry at the height of the AIDS crisis.

An immunologist by training, Seele worked with HIV/AIDS patients in New York City in the 1980s and couldn’t help but wonder why churches weren’t doing more to educate their congregations about the growing epidemic. …

In November, Seele will bring Balm in Gilead’s national Healthy Churches conference to Hilton Head.

Father’s Day Is Important, Dad. Get Screened.

Dads deserve the attention, accolades and gifts they get each Father’s Day. They also should give themselves and their families a gift in return: a lifelong dedication to healthy living.

That includes adopting healthy habits that help reduce the risk of developing cancer.FathersDayicon Cancer is a complex disease. Your risk of developing cancer isn’t based only on genetics or family history, although they do play a role. Have you ever wondered how much lifestyle affects cancer risk? Research shows that half of all cancer today could be prevented by practicing healthy habits.  Start by adopting one or two healthy behaviors.

Once you’ve gotten those down, move on to others:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all
  • Protect yourself from the sun
  • Get screening tests

Healthy Weight & Good Nutrition. Less Cancer.

There are several research-proven ways to lower your cancer risk! One way is by maintaining a healthy weight. dadimagineNot sure how to begin? First focus on not gaining more weight, then on eating a healthier diet and exercising to achieve a healthy weight. Ask a health care provider for tips on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Check out these sites for healthy recipe options:

Healthy Father’s Day Recipes

Healthy Heart & Soul Recipe Book

Healthier Recipes – USDA Mixing Bowl

More Exercise. Less Cancer.

Regular exercise – just 30 minutes each day – will lower your risk of developing cancer. Whether you’re running on a treadmill or walking around the block, it all counts. Encourage your whole family to get up and move together. Exercise is especially important for cancer survivors. For some cancers, regular physical activity may lower the risk of recurrence and eliminate the risk of other chronic diseases. Visit http://eatsmartmovemoresc.org and click on Let’s Go! for information on parks and trails, and other resources.

 Fight Cancer. Don’t Smoke.

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including key genes that protect us against cancer. For cancer patients, studies also find that smoking hinders cancer treatment. For help with smoking, contact the SC Tobacco Quitline.

Lung Cancer

Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Three screening tests have been studied to see if they decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer: 1) Low-dose spiral CT scan (LDCT scan), 2) Chest X-ray; and 3) Sputum whitebowcytology. Screening with low-dose spiral CT scans has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer in heavy smokers. Screening with chest X-rays and/or sputum cytology does not decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks of lung cancer screening.

More Education. Less Cancer.

Prostate Cancer

There is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. Talk with yourbluebow doctor about the digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) for prostate cancer. The South Carolina Cancer Alliance is a resource for education trainings and opportunities. Visit their website for patient care information and volunteer opportunities.

More Screenings. Less Cancer.dadnote

It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.

Colorectal Cancer

Screenings are essential to catching some cancers early and can help prevent purplebowexisting cancers from spreading. Speak with your doctor about tests to detect colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer and lung cancer).

Prevention. Less Cancer

Cancer prevention starts with education, screening, and a healthy lifestyle. Take control of your health, and encourage your family to do the same.

Happy Father’s Day.

Practice sun safety to help avoid skin cancer

As enjoyable as it is to have fun in the sun, it’s important to protect your skin in the midst of that good time.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes on its website that in order to lower your skin cancer risk, you should protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning.

Here are some safety tips the CDC recommends:

Check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index before you spend time outdoors. Plan your sun protection accordingly, using these tips:

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100 percent of UV rays as possible.
  • Use sunscreen with “broad spectrum protection” and a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off.

A few facts about skin cancer

  • The sun’s UV rays can damage unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes. That said, it can take as long as 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.
  • It’s not about the temperature. Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection from UV rays.
  • Tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays.
  • Indoor tanning exposes users to both UVA and UVB rays, which damage the skin and can lead to cancer.
  • The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole.

Visit the CDC website to find more information on skin cancer awareness.

Cervical Health Awareness Month

By Trenessa K. Jones, DSL
Best Chance Network Director
Division of Cancer Prevention & Control

Cervical Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about how women can protect themselves from cervical cancer, which was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for U.S. women.

While more work remains to prevent and respond to cervical cancer, fortunately the death rate has gone down with the increased use of screening tests.

You may qualify for free screening

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s (DHEC) Best Chance Network (BCN), along with its many partners, work to educate the public on the importance of cervical cancer screenings and help those who cannot afford to get screened.

BCN, which is administered by DHEC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Division, offers breast and cervical cancer screenings at no cost to women who have no health insurance or only have hospitalization insurance, who are between the ages of 30 and 64, and who meet certain program and income guidelines. The BCN program partners with more than 450 health care providers in the state to coordinate cancer screenings for these under-served women. The program also offers diagnosis and treatment, data tracking, public education and more.

The work of BCN

Since its inception in 1991, BCN has provided more than 225,000 breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings for eligible women, assisting nearly 11,000 this past year alone.

According to the National Cancer Institute/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention State Cancer Profile, an average of 190 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer a year, while about 72 women die from the disease every year in South Carolina.  Thanks to an increase in routine Pap smears, cervical cancer rates have dropped drastically in the last 60 years, but South Carolina still ranks 14th in the nation for new cases of cervical cancer and 11th in the nation for cervical cancer deaths.

Cervical cancer symptoms may not be present in early stages.  That’s why routine screenings are so important; when caught and treated early, cervical cancer is highly curable.

“No woman in South Carolina should die from this highly preventable cancer. Regular screenings and follow up care are critical and if found early and treated it can be cured,” said Virginie Daguise, Ph.D., director of DHEC’s Bureau of Community Health and Chronic Disease Prevention.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on BCN.