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It’s Time for Bladder Cancer to Come Out of the Water Closet and Into Point of Care

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This article is written by Stephanie Chisolm, Director of Education & Research at Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, one of Outcome Health’s health advocacy partners.

Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer and this year more than 81,000 Americans will be diagnosed. Yes, it does happen more often in older Americans.   Yes, it does happen more often in men than in women. Yes, people with a history of exposure to smoking (and vaping) are at higher risk of developing bladder cancer. But…

Most will learn about bladder cancer the hard way when they are diagnosed. Approximately 17,000 die from bladder cancer every year, and the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) wants everyone to know that this cancer can and does happen at any age. And it is a serious disease. May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month and May is a great time to help ensure that everyone becomes #BladderCancerAware – all year long.

We value our partnership with Outcome Health because their job, like ours, is information dissemination. This collaboration will allow us to reach patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals all converging at the point of care so that everyone can become more #BladderCancerAware. For BCAN, the more people who know about the signs, symptoms and risk factors for bladder cancer, the better. Early diagnosis is key to more successful patient outcomes.

If you see blood in your urine, at any age, go see to your doctor as soon as possible. Urine should be clear and a light-yellow color. Visible blood in your urine is known as gross hematuria. But blood that can only be seen in your urine test (cytology) at the doctor’s office should also be checked out.

When Rick noticed urgency and more frequent urination for over a year, he never questioned when his doctor just commented that he was getting older. However, when he saw a light tinge of blood in his urine at age 48, he went straight to the urologist and was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Bladder cancer also occurs in women. At 57 years old, Anne was too busy fighting for her country to question why multiple rounds of antibiotics didn’t get rid of the blood she saw in her urine.

Some of the risk factors for developing bladder cancer are avoidable, others, like getting older, are not.

Knowing risk factors for bladder cancer also helps with early diagnoses. They include:

  • Smoking: Smoking is the greatest risk factor. Smokers get bladder cancer twice as often as people who don’t smoke.
  • Chemical exposure: Some chemicals used in the making of dye have been linked to bladder cancer. People who work with chemicals called aromatic amines may have higher risk. These chemicals are used in making rubber, leather, printing materials, textiles and paint products.
  • Race: Caucasians are twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as are African Americans or Hispanics. Asians have the lowest rate of bladder cancer.
  • Age: The risk of bladder cancer increases as you get older.
  • Gender: While men get bladder cancer more often than women, recent statistics show an increase in the number of women being diagnosed with the disease. Unfortunately, because the symptoms of bladder cancer are similar to those of other gynecologic and urinary diseases affecting women, women may be diagnosed when their disease is at a more advanced stage.
  • Chronic bladder inflammation: Urinary infections, kidney stones and bladder stones don’t cause bladder cancer, but they have been linked to it.
  • Personal history of bladder cancer: People who have had bladder cancer have a higher chance of getting another tumor in their urinary system. People whose family members have had bladder cancer may also have a higher risk.
  • Birth defects of the bladder: Very rarely, a connection between the belly button and the bladder doesn’t disappear as it should before birth and can become cancerous.
  • Arsenic: Arsenic in drinking water has been linked to a higher risk of bladder cancer.
  • Earlier Treatment: Some drugs (in particular Cytoxan/cyclophosphamide) or radiation used to treat other cancers can increase the risk of bladder cancer.

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Stephanie Chisolm is the Director of Education & Research at Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. For more information about bladder cancer, its signs and symptoms as well as research, treatment and support options, please visit www.BCAN.org or call 888-901-BCAN.

Educating Patients and Caregivers About Naloxone at the Point of Care

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This article is written by Jess Keefe, Senior Editor at Shatterproof, one of Outcome Health’s health advocacy partners.

4 Things to Know about this Lifesaving Medication

 

The opioid epidemic is still on the rise in America. In 2017, nearly 192 people died every day from a drug overdose. Opioids were involved in nearly two-thirds of those deaths. Drug overdoses are now the #1 cause of accidental death in America, surpassing car crashes and gun violence.

Turning the tide of the opioid epidemic begins with better education: About opioids, about addiction, and about how to prevent fatal overdoses. That’s why Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending the devastation of addiction, is excited to partner with Outcome Health to bring research-backed information to patients across the country. We leveraged Outcome Health’s O/Studio team to develop Shatterproof content tailored for audiences at the point of care to bring attention to treatment options for overdoses.

One of the best tools at our disposal in the fight against the opioid epidemic is naloxone, a safe, FDA-approved medication proven to reverse opioid overdoses in minutes. Here are four things every American should understand about this incredible medication. 

Naloxone is safe

Naloxone is FDA-approved and completely safe. When tested on people who were not using opioids, naloxone produced no clinical effects at all—even when administered in high doses. When administered to someone experiencing an overdose, the medication may also induce rapid opioid withdrawal in patients. This may cause temporary discomfort, but it’s a small price to pay for a saved life.

Studies also show that increased naloxone access does not cause an increase in opioid misuse or overdoses. Having naloxone widely available in our communities is not a threat, or a risk—it’s an important tactic to save lives.

Naloxone stops an opioid overdose in its tracks

Opioids bind to specific receptors in the brain. This process minimizes feelings of pain and can cause feelings of euphoria—but it also affects other body systems. Opioids can make a person’s breathing slow, or stop completely. And that’s what makes an opioid overdose so deadly.

But naloxone is an opioid antagonist. That means it bonds to the same receptors in the body that opioids do. Basically, naloxone kicks the opioid off their receptors, temporarily undoing the harmful effects of an overdose. When naloxone is administered to someone experiencing an opioid overdose in a timely manner, they can begin breathing again within a matter of minutes.

The people most at risk of an opioid overdose should have naloxone on hand

Those people include:

  • People who take prescription opioids, especially in high doses
  • People who use alcohol, anti-depressants, or benzodiazepines (like Xanax) in addition to opioids
  • People who are addicted to prescription or illicit opioids
  • People who’ve recently detoxed from opioids, or who are recently in recovery from opioid addiction (their tolerance is now lower, so any relapse can be fatal)

When you identify an opioid overdose, it’s time to administer naloxone

Signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Breathing problems, including slow or shallow breathing
  • Unresponsiveness or severe sleepiness, meaning you can’t wake the person up with a loud voice or a firm rub on the center of their chest
  • Blue or grey lips or fingertips
  • Floppy arms or legs
  • Snoring or gurgling

Through this partnership with Outcome Health, it is our hope that we can reach more Americans with critical information that can ultimately result in more lives saved.

Learn more about naloxone and find more evidence-based addiction resources at shatterproof.org.

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Jess Keefe is a senior editor at Shatterproof. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders. Read Shatterproof’s first article on our Heartbeat blog: It’s Time to Shatter the Stigma of Addiction.

Get the Facts, Not the Flu, at the Point of Care

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The IDSA Foundation recently launched ConFLUsion, a national public awareness campaign aimed at combating flu myths with credible health information. By partnering with Outcome Health, these important messages are now reaching patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers at the point of care.

It’s a cold… it’s a stomach bug… no, it’s influenza (flu), and if you are like many Americans, flu season might have you feeling a little conFLUsed.

While the vast majority of adults have heard of the flu, many still express conFLUsion and mistrust when it comes to what flu is and flu prevention and care. That’s because there is no shortage of bad advice, miseducation and myths about the flu. To combat these issues, the IDSA Foundation developed ConFLUsion, a national public awareness campaign aimed at combating flu myths with credible health information.

Recently, Outcome Health and the IDSA Foundation announced a partnership to promote the ConFLUsion campaign to audiences at the point of care. At the IDSA Foundation, we recognize the tremendous value in reaching patients and their caregivers with flu facts and vaccine information at the point of care because this is when they have immediate access to their healthcare provider. Rather than learning information about the flu and forgetting it the moment they become distracted by something else going on in their lives, the patient and caregiver audience is in a moment when their health is top of mind. At the point of care, they can ask their provider questions (to further dispel any conFLUsion they may have) and learn what to expect after receiving the vaccine. Through this partnership with Outcome Health, we can ensure that our important messages are reaching patients during their most critical moments of care.

We sought the expertise of Dr. Andrew T. Pavia to provide more information about the flu and why prevention is so important.

DON’T LET CONFLUSION KEEP YOU FROM PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM THE FLU. GET THE FACTS.
Each year, the flu causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths. Last year’s flu season alone accounted for the deaths of more than 80,000 people, making it one of the deadliest flu seasons in decades. The flu is a contagious viral respiratory infection that typically, although not always, causes fever (100-102° F for several days) *, severe aches and pains, exhaustion, coughing, sore throat, congestion, and a runny nose. Flu can also lead to more severe complications including pneumonia, blood stream infections, and less commonly, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), heart muscle (myocarditis), and skeletal muscles (myositis).

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever, especially the elderly, infants, and those on high doses of steroids.

The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about two days but can range from about one to four days.

The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

THE FLU IS NOT:
A cold. Cold symptoms are similar, such as congestion, runny nose, and cough, but rarely include fever (and very mild, if so), severe aches and pains, and almost never exhaustion. Flu symptoms typically are much more intense than cold symptoms. Colds typically begin gradually while flu typically starts suddenly. People may say things about flu like: “It felt like I was suddenly hit by a truck.”

A stomach illness . Although people often say they have the “stomach flu,” there is no such thing. While modest vomiting and diarrhea occasionally are symptoms of the flu – more likely in children than adults – severe gastrointestinal symptoms typically suggest a bacterial or different type of viral infection (such as norovirus), rather than the flu, particularly if they are not accompanied by classic flu symptoms.

WHO IS AT THE HIGHEST RISK FROM FLU?
Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get flu. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, severe obesity, or heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years (especially those younger than 2 years).

CAN THE FLU BE TREATED?
Yes. There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat flu illness. These include: oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), baloxavir (Xhofluza), and peramivir (Rapivab).

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE THE FLU?
If you get the flu and are at high risk of serious complications, antiviral drugs are recommended to reduce the risk of complications. If you are not at high risk, antiviral drugs can reduce symptoms by about a day if started within 48 hours of when symptoms start and may be an option. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk and you develop flu symptoms.

WILL THERE BE ANOTHER FLU EPIDEMIC IN THE U.S. AGAIN THIS YEAR?
The United States experiences annual epidemics of seasonal flu. In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. This time of year is called “flu season.” Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May. CDC monitors key flu indicators for example, outpatient visits of influenza-like illness (ILI), the results of laboratory testing, reports of flu hospitalizations, and deaths. When these indicators rise and remain elevated for a number of consecutive weeks, “flu season” is said to have begun.

Cure your conFLUsion by visiting IDSAFoundation.org.

Special thanks to Andrew T. Pavia M.D., FAAP, FIDSA for his contribution to this article. Dr. Pavia is a George & Esther Gross Presidential Professor, Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, the Director of the Hospital Epidemiology program.

Ending Prostate Cancer Starts at the Point of Care

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Jamie Bearse, President & CEO of ZERO -The End of Prostate Cancer, recognizes the value in reaching men at the point of care with information and reminders that can save their lives.

When visiting the doctor, have you ever felt like even though you move from the waiting room to the exam room you’re still waiting at least 20 more minutes before you actually lay eyes on a doctor? I’ll admit: I’ve wandered around an exam room counting the tiles on the floor, reading the posters on the walls, picking up the knee hammer and putting it back down quickly as if someone is going to come in and scold me for touching it.

On my most recent doctor visit I was relieved to see my general practice physician had brought in a TV stocked with videos to fill up all that empty time. I no longer had to covertly examine the medical equipment to pass the time. I was psyched to see that on that TV was ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer featured in one of the videos.

ZERO is a national nonprofit organization with the mission to end prostate cancer. More than that, we’re on a mission to educate men and their families about the disease and the importance of talking to their doctor about testing. This is why we’re thrilled to partner with Outcome Health to bring this vital awareness to men where it will be most impactful: in their doctor’s office. Launching this campaign during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September just brings even more awareness to the table for folks in local communities who may not be aware they’re at risk for the disease: This September, we want more men to know how vital early detection is.

That time in the “smaller waiting room” (aka exam room) is the perfect opportunity to not only wait for your doctor, but to focus on what you as a patient can do to make smarter and healthier decisions. You’re already in the mindset of talking about your medical history and any problems you may be having, so it’s the perfect time to face your health issues straight on.

Including information about prostate cancer risk and early detection in a doctor’s office such as the one I recently visited in Boston is critical. Early detection saves lives 99 percent of the time, but we find that too often men don’t talk to their doctor about prostate cancer risk. Engaging a patient with a video about prostate health *during their already scheduled appointment* can encourage the patient to talk about risks and when to be proactive about screening. They will already be in the right frame of mind, so a reminder about the disease itself could save their life. I don’t mean to scare you, but prostate cancer kills a man every 18 minutes and symptoms don’t appear until the disease has progressed to a late stage.

But that doesn’t have to happen to you. Prostate cancer screening is a simple blood test coupled with a physical exam. If you have questions or you or someone you care about is fighting prostate cancer, we’ve got your back. Visit us at ZeroCancer.org. Don’t forget: early detection saves lives, and having a conversation with your doctor about screening and your risk only takes a few minutes. It’s that few minutes – at the beginning or end of your already scheduled appointment – that could make all the difference.

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As President & CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, Jamie Bearse is committed to championing the cause while stewarding this leading cancer organization. Bearse has been with ZERO for 16 years and has been a critical member of the leadership team since 2005. He is recognized as the key architect of several of ZERO’s strategic objectives and programs including the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, it’s Endurance Team initiative, co-pay relief program, and ZERO360 Patient Navigation. Jamie is a black belt in karate, a blogger, and he lives in Boston, MA with his wife and three children.

The Value of WomenHeart Champions

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WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease is currently looking for dynamic, driven women with heart disease to apply to become WomenHeart Champions at the 2018 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium. WomenHeart Champions are the “boots on the ground” in the fight against heart disease, the leading cause of death in women.

This article was originally posted on the WomenHeart blog on July 10, 2018 and can be found here >

I have a purpose to share my heart story and save lives.

I am a WomenHeart Champion, a heart disease survivor, cardiovascular research advocate for women and retired cardiovascular registered nurse. The WomenHeart Champions are the core of our organization. I want to share the WomenHeart Champion story. We are fighting for every heart as WomenHeart Champion in our community.

WomenHeart Champions are a sisterhood of women who have established an extraordinary bond with women all across the country with a common issue; heart disease. First we go to the Mayo Clinic to be trained to become WomenHeart Champions. And by the time we arrive back home, back into our communities, we’ve already adopted what I call the WomenHeart lifestyle.

The pinnacle of that lifestyle is that a champion will talk to anyone about heart disease, anywhere, anytime. We keep the issue of women and heart disease, in the forefront of every conversation. WomenHeart Champions feel empowered when they plant the seed about how our heart symptoms might be different than men’s. We really hope we are saving women’s lives by teaching them about the potential symptoms of heart disease.

We really can’t believe so many women still don’t know their risk of heart disease in this country. We teach women how to be proactive about their heart health. Sometimes women go even into the workplace to give presentations to businesses and organizations through our Women Heart at Work program. With this program we teach women during the lunch hour about heart disease and hope that by doing that we help women not dismiss their symptoms.

WomenHeart Champions have been invited to various media events too numerous to list. We’ve been to Capitol Hill to talk to our political leaders. We’ve been to talk to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner about more women being in clinical trials. We’ve been invited to the White House, sometimes multiple times. But believe it or not, although it’s quite exciting to do all those things, those are not our most cherished experiences.

Our most memorable experiences are when we connect with another woman struggling with heart disease. Many of us have support networks that we meet with monthly. Or some of us may also visit patients in the hospital. Here’s what a WomenHeart Champion said about her experience leading a support network group. “Seeing the relief of a woman’s eyes, the tears that often come, and then that smile on a fearful face when I say, I’ve been in your shoes. I share your journey and today I am living well with heart disease. I felt so alone when I was diagnosed and I vowed to never let another woman feel that fear.” And this WomenHeart Champion has been with WomenHeart for 15 years.

So one might ask, what keeps a Woman Heart champion energized to continue the important work that we do. One champion summed it up this way. She said, “I should have died that night that I had my heart attack, but I didn’t. I stayed alive because I know I have a purpose to share my heart story and hopefully save lives of others.”

Evan McCabe is a Chair on WomenHeart’s Board of Directors and a WomenHeart Champion

If you are woman living with heart disease, consider sharing your story and helping other women by becoming a WomenHeart Champion. We are currently recruiting women for the 2018 WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium. It’s the nation’s only volunteer program that trains women with heart disease to be community educators and support network coordinators for women heart patients.

To learn more or to sign up, visit http://www.WomenHeart.org/empower

It’s Time to Shatter the Stigma of Addiction…

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…Beginning in the Doctor’s Office

It’s time to shatter the stigma of addiction. Shatterproof is so excited to partner with Outcome Health to educate patients nationwide about this misunderstood disease.

Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastation addiction causes families. The organization was founded in 2013 by businessman Gary Mendell, after he lost his son Brian to the disease.

21 million Americans live with a substance use disorder. Only 1 in 10 of those Americans will ever receive any form of treatment for their illness—and even fewer receive treatment that’s based on proven research. To turn the tide of our country’s addiction epidemic, we’ve got to get more Americans into better, evidence-based treatment.

That’s why Shatterproof is so excited to be partnering with Outcome Health on a new awareness campaign. Together, we’ll deliver facts about addiction directly to patients, in the environment where that information is most useful and appropriate: the doctor’s office. The educational resources deployed across Outcome Health’s nationwide platform will explain the science of addiction, include messages to break stigmas, and encourage patients to talk to their doctors about pain management options.

Shatterproof is working hard to transform the way addiction is treated in America—and we’ve had a lot of success so far. Shatterproof has helped pass lifesaving policy change in 15 states and counting. We’ve been key advocates for important federal legislation, like the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act. And at the end of 2017, our Treatment Task Force introduced the National Principles of Care for addiction—with 16 major health payers, representing over 248 million American lives, agreeing to adopt and implement these research-backed principles.

We’re uniting communities around the country to Rise Up Against Addiction and join the national movement to help end the devastation addiction is causing families in communities all across this country. We’re also supporting communities through the launch of our Shatterproof Family Support Programs, the Shatterproof Addiction Wellness at Work Program, and a comprehensive initiative to transform addiction treatment through a provider rating system, provider and public education, and policy and payment reform.

Treatment works for addiction, and recovery is possible for every American with this disease. We’re excited to be partnering with Outcome Health on this important initiative. Together, we can truly shatter the deadly stigma of addiction.

Learn more about our organization, and find evidence-based resources about addiction, at shatterproof.org. And stay tuned to Outcome Health’s blog for updates on our partnership and progress!

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Shannon Hartley is Shatterproof’s Chief Marketing Officer. Shatterproof advocates for changes in policy at the federal and state level and supports the development and implementation of evidence-based solutions for substance use disorders.

Prevention is Beautiful

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Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30. Shelby Moneer, Director of Education at the Melanoma Research Foundation, shares how her perception of beauty has evolved since becoming a parent.


Shelby and daughter, Ava.

In 2014, I wrote a blog about the changes I’d experienced in my first two years of being a mother. Not so much about motherhood itself, but about protective instincts and how “beauty” seems to take on a different meaning. These experiences have helped to shape and strengthen my work with the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) and the melanoma community we serve. In the eight years since joining the MRF and working within this community, so much has changed…or has it?

Well, let’s take a look. Melanoma continues to be diagnosed at alarming rates and impacts people of every age, race and gender. It is the leading cause of cancer death in women aged 25-30. That’s right – more young women are lost to melanoma than any other cancer. That’s a statistic I take note of every day. Maybe it’s because I’m only a few (okay, a handful) of years removed from that age group, or maybe it’s because of my 5-year-old. I cringe when I see young women with unnaturally tanned skin or bright red sunburns next to the lines of natural skin where a bathing suit once was.

My daughter is now 5 – but sometimes acts like she’s 25 – and I can’t help but wonder, like all parents, if I’m doing this parenting thing right. We talk about bike helmets, seat belts, being a nice friend. We also talk about how everyone is different. She reminds me of this when she tells me that she doesn’t like something. “It’s okay, mom, because everyone is different. You like it, but I don’t.” See that comment above about being 25?

So far, I know that my husband and I have raised a young girl with a great deal of confidence, a strong personality, a good sense of humor and a love of sunscreen (or at least sunscreen application). I don’t know yet if she truly understands how dangerous too much sun can be. I haven’t talked to her about what exactly UV radiation is and how it can hurt us. She doesn’t know what cancer is. Or that the sun can cause it. I imagine we’ll tackle those topics soon, but not yet.

If I’ve learned anything over the past 5 years of parenting, it’s that sometimes I sound like a broken record. I repeat my message so my daughter hears me, listens to me, and understands me. Similarly, in melanoma prevention and early detection, I’ve learned that the message must be repeated and it must be communicated in a way that makes consumers want to engage, connect and take action. That’s why the MRF is excited to partner with Outcome Health to bring much needed attention to melanoma right at the point of care. Informed and empowered patients are the most important member of their health care team and relationships like this are critical to spreading awareness and preventative measures against the deadliest form of skin cancer.

To read Shelby’s original blog post, click here.

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Shelby Moneer is the Director of Education at the Melanoma Research Foundation and  is responsible for all development, implementation and assessment of the education program. Shelby was elected as the Co-Chair to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention for 2017-2020. She and her husband have two young children and live in St. Louis, MO. They enjoy playing and watching sports, spending time outdoors and being surrounded with friends and family.

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. The MRF is a dedicated advocate for the melanoma community, helping to raise awareness of this disease and the need for a cure. More information is available at www.melanoma.org.

New Guidelines for Colon and Rectal Cancer Screenings

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The American Cancer Society has updated its guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screenings and recommends that adults get screened started at age 45 instead of 50. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance commends and endorses this effort.

On May 30, 2018, the American Cancer Society announced newly updated guidelines for colon and rectal screening. Adults at average risk should get screened as early as age 45 instead of 50. We reached out to our friends at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance for their thoughts:

The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in younger adults is an epidemic within the cancer community. By 2030, 10.9 percent of all colon cancers and 22.9 percent of all rectal cancers will be diagnosed in patients younger than age 50.

Together we must defy and redefine the odds. Today, the American Cancer Society proposed new guidelines that colorectal cancer screening should begin at age 45 for people of average risk.

If this new guideline is adopted, fewer people will be lost to this senseless killer. We commend the American Cancer Society and fully endorse their new guideline and commitment to saving lives.

Recently, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance established the Never Too Young Advisory Board so we may all join forces and take action around the issue of young-onset colorectal cancer. We plan to invest $10 million in critical research by 2021, which includes $3 million specifically for young-onset colorectal cancer. We will also double the number of constituents we serve and save 100,000 lives by 2026 through increased screening.

Across America, our Never Too Young Advisory Board will work tirelessly to educate primary care physicians and gastrointestinal medical professionals around symptoms of young-onset colorectal cancer. We will challenge insurance companies to step up to the plate and protect the young-onset population.

While this action by the American Cancer Society does not mean colorectal cancer screening tests will now be covered by insurance plans for people under age 50, it is a wonderful victory, and it’s up to all of us to keep moving the needle forward.

Michael Sapienza, CEO
Colorectal Cancer Alliance

Read the full version of Michael’s statement here

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colorectal cancer. Working with our nation of passionate allies, we diligently support the needs of patients and families, caregivers, and survivors, eagerly raise awareness of preventative screening, and continually strive to fund critical research. As allies in the struggle, we are fiercely determined to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. For more information, visit ccalliance.org.

Take #IBDBeyondBorders on World IBD Day!

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Saturday, May 19 is World IBD Day. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation is working hard to break down borders, make IBD visible, educate others for better understanding, and strengthen the fight to find cures for IBD.

More than 10 million people worldwide live with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Known collectively as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system, causing abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss, and more.

May 19 marks World IBD Day – a day in which people worldwide unite in the fight against Crohn’s and colitis and raise awareness of the debilitating nature of these chronic incurable digestive diseases.

Every patient experiences IBD differently. Location, symptoms, and severity all vary, as do the ways the disease can affect you outside of the gut. And all of this is underscored by the awareness, understanding, and care that is available where you live. Because of this, IBD is truly a disease that goes beyond borders – geographic, physical, and emotional.

Below a few patients share their experiences living with Crohn’s or colitis:

Shawn, Ulcerative Colitis

“[Since my surgery,] I now live a life I never knew was possible – a life with very little colitis symptoms. Through my experiences, my biggest lesson learned is to never give up. There were so many nights when I sat in bed and cried, on someone’s toilet crying, in the hospital crying. Wanting it all to be over, this life to be over. – But because I went through it and learned from it, I am a much stronger person.”

Mitchell, Crohn’s Disease

“During the period of diagnosis, I had gotten very sick. I had lost over 60 pounds, I was throwing up every time I ate, and I had to quit sports because I couldn’t hold my own. I was to the point where I wanted to give up. I basically cut myself off from the world around me; I didn’t attend many school events, and I only told a few people what was wrong with me.

It took me about a year to finally accept my diagnosis and move on with life. One night, I just got sick of living life in the dark and I told myself that this is the life that I was given and that I am going to try and make the biggest difference I can. My family and friends have helped me cope and have given me so much support; I will never be able to thank them enough.”

Rena, Ulcerative Colitis

“Eight years after my initial diagnosis I found myself with a permanent ostomy. Her name is Rita, and together we are learning how to regain our lives back. I am thankful that she allows me to be able to study, travel, swim and indulge in my passion for cooking. I chronicle my journey on my blog, and hope that my story can help to support and inspire other young ostomates like me. My journey with IBD has also led me on a path to pursue a degree in acupuncture, something that has brought an invigorated joy for learning and a passion to help other patients suffering from chronic diseases.”

Shaun, Indeterminate Colitis

“By the age of nine, my mom (who was a total rock star throughout the entire process I love you, mom) and doctors at Children’s Hospital in Boston decided to remove my colon. My body just couldn’t take the pain caused by my damaged, inflamed colon. At age 11 (or was it 12?), I had another surgery to remove a piece of my small intestine due to an intestinal blockage caused my scar tissue. This surgery, unfortunately, reduced my chances of having a j pouch a procedure my doctors said I was a strong candidate for at one point. Since the age of nine, I have been lucky enough to live free of any intestinal symptoms of IBD. My surgery was truly a life-saver.”

 

Help raise awareness on World IBD Day and tag #IBDBeyondBorders with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Visit www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/WorldIBDDay to see all the ways you can get involved.

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Rebecca Kaplan is the public affairs & social media manager for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, the largest non-profit, voluntary, health organization dedicated to finding cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The Foundation’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults who are affected by these diseases. The Foundation works to fulfill its mission by funding research; providing education resources for patients and their families, medical professionals, and the public; and furnishing supportive services for those afflicted with IBD. For more information, visit www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org, call 888-694-8872, or email info@crohnscolitisfoundation.org

Prioritizing Adolescent Immunizations

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Adolescent immunization rates are lagging below national goals. Unity Consortium is dedicated to educating teens about the importance of immunization and the vaccines recommended specifically for their age group.

Most teens have a lot of their plate. There’s school, homework, extra-curricular activities, sports for many, part-time jobs for some and of course, the social scene – both in person and the virtual kind. So it’s understandable that health, and in particular, immunizations are not a priority for many teens and young adults. But with adolescent immunizations rates lagging below national goals, we need to do more to educate teens about the importance of immunization and the vaccines recommended specifically for their age group.

Unity Consortium is partnering with Outcome Health to reach teens while they are visiting doctors via information that explains the critical role teen and young adult vaccination plays in disease prevention. These materials will also reach parents and healthcare providers who play a vital role in keeping teens healthy.

A recent Unity survey conducted by Harris poll sheds light on why adolescent vaccination rates remain far too low. In short, vaccination rates may be stagnant partly because of attitudes about vaccination and missed opportunities to vaccinate.

For example, the survey found that not all parents and teens realize the value of annual check-ups and vaccination. In fact, 4 in 10 parents and nearly 6 in 10 teens believe teens should only see a doctor when he/she feels sick. This belief likely reduce opportunities for physicians to discuss preventive health measures, such as vaccination, with teenagers and their parents. Similarly, the survey showed that 1 in 4 parents and teens believe that vaccines are for babies and not as important for teens and more than one-third of teens don’t know how being vaccinated helps them. By placing vaccine information in physician waiting room and exam rooms, Unity and Outcome Health hope to increase the understanding about vaccines so that these misperceptions can be addressed. The materials may also serve as a reminder to healthcare providers to check their patients’ immunization records, since less than half of the physicians surveyed reported issuing reminders to teens and their parents about needed or missed vaccinations.

The CDC recommends that adolescents receive the following vaccines to protect their health in the short and long-term.

• Meningococcal: Two distinct meningococcal disease vaccines (ACWY and B) protect against the most common types of bacterial meningitis. While most people recover from meningitis, permanent disabilities (such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities) and even death can result from the infection. Receiving both vaccines can help ensure protection from these potentially devastating infections.

• Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis [whooping cough]) and Td Booster (tetanus and diphtheria): Recently, there have been outbreaks of whooping cough in the United States.

• HPV (human papillomavirus): The vaccine is most effective at preventing HPV-associated cancers in both men and women when given during the preteen years.

• Flu: More serious than a cold, flu impacts an infected person for up to two weeks, but can also lead to serious and even deadly complications, such as pneumonia. A flu vaccination is needed annually as the flu strains change and, while there is still a low risk of catching the flu even with the shot, patients will often experience a milder case of the flu if vaccinated.
Annual checkups should be the norm, not the exception. Other ways to help to prioritize preventive health among adolescents include:

• Parents and teens: Learn more about the safety and the benefit of recommended vaccines.

o Unity Consortium has resources available about adolescent preventive health and vaccination.
o The CDC has available information on the vaccine schedule including recommended ages and catch-up opportunities.

• Immunizers: Make sure teens don’t skip annual check-ups, especially at 11-12 and 16 years of age when routine vaccines should be given.

o Set up a reminder system to alert parents and teens to make an appointment.
o When teens are in the office for any reason, discuss the need for immunizations so that there are no lingering concerns.
o To support healthcare providers, Unity Consortium has developed a program accessible on Unity4TeenVax.org that helps improve delivery of a confident, concise, and consistent recommendation for routinely recommended vaccines to adolescents.

A coordinated effort between teens, parents, and healthcare providers can positively impact preventive health decisions and raise the priority for adolescent immunization. For more information about Unity Consortium and the importance of preventive teen health strategies and vaccination visit http://www.unity4teenvax.org/.

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Judy Klein is President and a Founder of Unity Consortium. UNITY brings together a wide range of organizations all with a passion for improving health through a focus on adolescent and young adult preventive healthcare and immunization. Judy has held leadership positions at Merck and Procter and Gamble and is equally engaged with community organizations.  Judy has held a variety of leadership positions with Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) including on the Global and Philadelphia Boards of Directors. 

The Unity survey was supported by Pfizer Inc., a member of Unity Consortium. The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll in 2016 among 506 teens aged 13-18, 515 parents of teens, and 405 primary care physicians. For complete survey methodology, please contact Unity.

UNITY Consortium is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that brings together diverse groups that share a common and passionate interest in health with a focus on adolescent and young adult preventive healthcare and immunization. Our members represent public and private organizations, industry, academia, healthcare providers, retailers, and advocacy groups. As one strong voice, Unity Consortium addresses the unique challenges surrounding adolescent and young adult preventive healthcare and immunization.