Heart Events this February

February 2, 2011 by  

The heart month is in full swing and there are lots of heart(y) activities for you to check out and join.

Macy’s Wear Red Sale

Starts on Wednesday, February 2 and ends on February 6
Come wearing red and get an extra 20% off!

Four ways to save during the Wear Red Sale!

  1. Wear red to any store and receive extra savings!
  2. Purchase a Red Dress Pin for $2 at any Macy’s store. Macy’s will donate 100% of all Red Dress Pin sales to the American Heart Associations’s Go Red For Women movement.
  3. Use your Macy’s Card to make a purchase
  4. Shop online using promo code: WEARRED


“Go Red” Twitter Party/Go Red Por Tu Corazon

On February 2 at 8 pm/7CT. In this Twitter party, top Latina bloggers will discuss heart disease among Latinas, and they can protect themselves.

The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection Fashion Show 2011

On Wednesday, February 9, 2011, The Heart Truth will open Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week with its annual Red Dress Collection Fashion Show. As the runway lights shine on the generous participation of celebrities and designers, we will showcase the power of the Red Dress in encouraging women to protect their heart health. The Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection 2011 is presented by Diet Coke with national sponsor Swarovski and partners Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and AOL Inc.

The collection will be auctioned to the public at www.clothesoffourback.org. Proceeds will benefit the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and will be used to further efforts related to women’s heart health awareness and research.

2011 International Stroke Conference

Starts on February 9 in Los Angeles, California

Williston Go Red with Blood Pressure Screenings

On February 4, Williston State College in Williston, North Dakota is offering


Go Red for Women Girlfriends Challenge

From January 2 to April 2, 2011, four teams of women will take the challenge to improve their heart health. Through educational sessions, new exercise options and realistic goal-setting, teams will encourage and support each other to make lifestyle changes and improve their health (University of Wisconsin).

Red Dress Dash.

On February 3, 2011, wear your best or warmest red dress and dash from the Monona Terrace to the State Capitol (Wisconsin) to increase awareness of women and heart disease.

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Events

March 12, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in the US and several events have been scheduled to observe this health observance.

Put on Your Running Shoes for S.C.O.P.E.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is urging your participation in SCOPE – short for Sprint for Colorectal Oncology Prevention and Education. SCOPE started in 2006 and participation continues to grow at an annual rate of 25%. The aim of SCOPE is build awareness, promote education, celebrate survivorship and raise funds for colorectal cancer research. The next SCOPE is scheduled on March 27 at M. D. Anderson and has adult as well as children categories.

According to Cathy Eng, SCOPE co-founder and a race participant:

“S.C.O.P.E. was created because of the prevalence of colorectal cancer, and it’s potential to be preventedThe point of the race is to reach those without symptoms and those who have a family history of the disease to convey the importance of screening. Another goal of S.C.O.P.E. is to recognize and celebrate colorectal cancer patients and survivors. It’s very special to see my patients, often with their families, coming across that finish line.”

The National Super ColonTM Tour

The Super Colon is on tour again. It is basically is a large inflatable model of a human colon, measuring 8 feet high and 20 feet long. The replica is a walk-through exhibition where people can get a closer look at:

The National Super Colon Tour is a travelling exhibition sponsored by Amgen. It has already started last March 3 in San Diego California but more events are scheduled later in the year.

Here are the events planned during the first half of the 2010:

Colon Webchat  at Cleveland Clinic

Monday, March 22, 2010 – 12 Noon Caring for Your Colon: Healthy Lifestyle, Cancer Prevention and Treatment Options with Cleveland Clinic gastroenterologist Dr. Carol Burke, colorectal surgeon Dr. Jon Vogel and oncologist Dr. Robert Pelley.

Free colorectal cancer screening

March 20 is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness and Screening Day in the US and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute is organizing free colonoscopies on March 19 and 20. The free screening is offered by AGA member gastroenterologists in the following states:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

Check out the institute’s brochure on CRC Prevention and Treatment.

The Colon Health Centers of America also offers free colorectal cancer screen this month.

Health care updates, February 12

February 12, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

What do we have in store for you this Valentines’ weekend? The HHS has something to say about increasing health insurance premiums and the chicken pox vaccine. FDA changes its mind about BPA and approves a first-ever drug. Check them out!

Update on Bisphenol A (BPA) for Use in Food: January 2010
The US FDA issued an update on bisphenol A (BPA) for use in food last month. Here’s what the update has to say:

FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply.  These steps include:

FDA is supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.
FDA is seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA.

Sebelius Responds to Letter from WellPoint
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took on health insurance companies when she asked Anthem Blue Cross to publicly justify the plan to raise premiums by up to 39% for its California customers. Mother company WellPoint cited the economic recession and the increasing medical costs as valid reasons for the premium increase. Sebelius is not convinced that this is justified:

“It remains difficult to understand how a company that made $2.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009 alone can justify massive increases that will leave consumers with nothing but bad options: pay more for coverage, cut back on benefits or join the ranks of the uninsured. High health care costs alone cannot account for a premium increase that is 10 times higher than national health spending growth. Without comprehensive reform, fewer people will be able to afford health insurance and Anthem’s decision to raise their rates only demonstrates the urgent need for real reforms that fix our broken health insurance system. Reform will end the worst insurance company practices and put doctors and patients — not insurance companies — in charge of medical decisions. If we fail to implement reform, insurance companies will continue to prosper while families will continue to struggle.”

Refusing the chickenpox vaccine
In an audiocast, HHS reports on a survey of children who had chicken pox between 1998 and 2008. Jason Glanz of Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Research in Denver reports that

“Children of parents who chose not to vaccinate with the chickenpox vaccine were nine times more likely to be infected than vaccinated children.’

In addition, chicken pox in unvaccinated children manifest in more severe symptoms that last for couple of weeks can leave permanent scars, and can lead to life-threatening complications.

FDA Approves Xiaflex for Debilitating Hand Condition
Xiaflex (collagenase clostridium histolyticum) is the first drug to be approved in the US to treat a progressive hand disease known as Dupuytren’s contracture. This condition affects the connective tissue found beneath the skin in the palm of the hand. Too much collagen can build up, forming thick, rope-like cords of tissue that can prevent the fingers from being able to relax and straighten normally. Xiaflex, made from the protein product of a species of the bacterium Clostridium, is the first non-surgical therapy for Dupuytren’s contracture, a disease common in Caucasian men over 50.

Important February 2010 Health Events

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Last year, I regularly brought you a monthly schedule of health observances. Most of those observances repeat each year so I won’t give you the whole list again. However, I’d like to focus more on special events and observances as well as resources scheduled for the month of February.

February is American Heart Month
February is of course THE MONTH of the HEART and the American Heart Association is driving force behind this campaign.

February 5 is US National Wear Red Day
Hey, it’s time to take out your red outfit again although with the current winter conditions, it’s better be a red ski outfit. But yes, it’s Wear Red Day again this coming Friday – red for women’s heart health. Nothing to wear that is red, yet warm? Well, a red beanie, a red scarf or a red pin will do.

February 1 to 7 is World Salt Awareness Week
Salt is becoming a big issue even in the US. In the next few days, I’ll be bringing you some more details about the ongoing salt discussion. This year’s World Salt Awareness Week focus is on “Salt and Your Health”, with the goal of raising “awareness that a high salt diet can not only lead to high blood pressure, but to osteoporosis, obesity, stomach cancer, kidney stones, and stroke.”

February 7 is US National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Get educated. Get tested. Get involved. Get treated. That is what this day si all about. This year’s theme for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is “HIV/AIDS Prevention – A Choice and a Lifestyle.”
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci issued the following statement in observance of the Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:

“African-Americans continue to bear the largest and most disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. While black men and women made up 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2007, they accounted for more than half of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses that year and nearly half of all Americans living with HIV/AIDS. For black women ages 35 to 44, HIV was the third leading cause of death in 2006. In our nation’s capital, whose HIV/AIDS epidemic is among the worst in the United States, 6.5 percent of black men are living with the virus — a percentage higher than that of any other racial, ethnic or gender group in the city,and higher than in many countries in Africa.

Today, on the 10th annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we are inspired to improve our efforts to overcome this public health crisis in the black community. We have a national responsibility to alleviate the HIV/AIDS-related suffering of African-Americans by ensuring that they have full knowledge of — and access to — all proven forms of HIV prevention, treatment and care. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, joins African-Americans in remembering those who have died with AIDS and in fighting this modern plague.”

November is Diabetes Month

November 5, 2009 by  
Filed under DIABETES

medic_alert_braceletNovember is the month focused on diabetes. It is only right that we take a look at what we know about this condition.

Diabetes mellitus is a group of chronic conditions characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. This high glucose levels were due to disruption in insulin production, diminished action of insulin, or both. Diabetes is incurable but manageable.

There are several types of diabetes mellitus, namely:

  • Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes and accounts for 5 to 10% of all diabetes cases.
  • Type 2 diabetes is also known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or adult diabetes and accounts for 90 to 95% of all diabetes cases.
  • Pregnancy or gestational diabetes occurs in about 5% of all pregnant women.
  • There are rare types of diabetes which account for 1 to 5% of all cases of diabetes.

The statistics

Some statistics from the American Diabetes Association (ADA):

  • 24 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes
  • 57 million Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • 1 out of every 3 children born today will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue.

The campaign

In the US, lots of events have been scheduled to observe the National Diabetes Month. Some are as follows:

The video series

The said series is a collection of online educational video clips to give practical tips and advice for living with the disease. The videos were developed in collaboration with Liberty Medical and can be viewed online at www.stopdiabetes.com under the “learn” section. Topics covered include

  • symptoms
  • risks
  • weight management tips
  • exercise tips
  • an overview of
  • insulin delivery methods
  • tips on caring for a parent
  • understanding the ABCs of diabetes – A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol measurements

Community events

Some of the local events include

Other resources on diabetes:

Coming up: World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

November Health Events

November 2, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE



Heart(y) news, October 30

October 30, 2009 by  

News update on heart issues coming up…

Hero dog saves heart attack victim
This cattle dog in Queensland Australia will be awarded the RSPCA’s animal achievement award for saving her master’s life. Jim Touzeau sufferedworldnews from a heart attack two years but survived thanks to his dog Teka, who jumped up and down and barked loudly, causing him to wake up. The dog then ran outside to the sidewalk, barked and jumped up and down to attract people’s attention. Heart experts were not sure how it happened but they think that by jumping up and down, the dog probably kick-started Touzeau’s heart.
Over the years, there have been reports of house pets recognizing danger, sometimes before it happens and coming to the rescue of their human friends. Some dogs are trained to sniff out hypoglycemic attacks in diabetes patients or even cancer.

American Heart Association joins international organizations to urge public to fight stroke
AHA joined international organizations the world over to observe World Stroke Day yesterday, October 29. According to Dr. Vladimir Hachinski, chairman of the World Stroke Day Working Group and first vice president of the World Federation of Neurology:

“World Stroke Day dedicates a day of awareness to the issue of stroke once a year. Each of us must confirm our commitment in the fight against stroke not just today, but every day.”

Guidance for Industry: Letter Regarding Point of Purchase Food Labeling
earlier thtis month, the US FDA issued a guidance letter to the food industry, expressing its current thinking on Point of Purchase Food Labeling, which includes:

A study suggests that consumers are less likely to read the Nutritional Facts written at the back of the packaging . The FDA is therefore urging the food industry to place this information in front of the packaging.

Cleveland Clinic Health Chats

  • Oct 30 Adult Congenital Heart Disease by Richard Krasuski, MD
  • Nov 3 FMD Webchat by Heather Gornik, MD (Note: Fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) is a rare disorder characterized by abnormal cellular growth in the walls of medium and large arteries.)
  • Nov 11 Congenital Heart Disease in Children  by Constantine Mavroudis, MD
  • Nov 20  Arrhythmias – Atrial Fibrillation and More! by Walid Saliba, MD
  • Dec 2     Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease  by Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD
  • Dec 9     Heart Disease in Women by Julie Huang, MD
  • Dec 11   Sports Health: Preventing Hockey & Ski Injuries by Anthony Miniaci, MD, FRCSC
  • Dec 18   Treatment of CAD and Interventional Procedures by Stephen Ellis, MD

Heart(y) news and events, October 2

October 2, 2009 by  

worldnewsNews from the research front

“Rock Stars of Science”
The Geoffrey Beene Foundation has recently  launched the “Rock Stars of Science” (Rock S.O.S. for short), an initiative which the American Heart Association (AHA) commends. The campaign honors researchers dedicated to finding cures for heart disease and stroke and other chronic illnesses that impact millions of Americans and their loved ones. The real life rock stars like Sheryl Crow, SEAL, WILL.I.AM and Joe Perry joined the Rock S.O.S. the campaign to highlight the need for more support in biomedical research and “the unsung heroes in the fight for global health and disease prevention.”

Speeding Progress in Stem Cell Research
Another big step in the advancement of stem cell research. California and Maryland became the first2 states to sign an interstate agreement that encourages scientists to work together by sharing cell lines and collaborating on projects. Through collaboration, it is hoped that researchers will speed progress in the field and possibly attain more federal funding.

News from the legislation front

Heart Disease and Stroke Survivors Urge Congress to Pass Meaningful Health Reform This Year!
Health advocacy groups, including the AHA and survivors of cardiovascular disease are urging the US Congress “to pass meaningful health reform legislation that will help prevent disease and expand access to affordable, quality care for the insured and uninsured.”
During the association’s health care reform Fly-In Lobby Day on Capitol Hill today, heart disease and stroke survivors told their personal stories to Congress to help influence the debate and call attention to the needs of patients and their loved ones.

Air pollutants from abroad a growing concern, says new report
Air pollutants are not localized; they are on the move, according to a new report by the US National Research Council. Pollutants coming out of factories in rapidly developing countries China and India where environmental legislations are not strong may soon reach the West. One study, for example, could trace the origin of a polluted airmass detected at Mt. Bachelor Observatory in central Oregon to East Asia and it took approximately eight days to get there. The health impacts of these pollutants vary but they are there. The most common effects are cardiopulmonary problems due to ozone and particulate matter in the air. So much for CO2 emissions trading!

Coming up: Online Health Chats at Cleveland Clinic

Photo credit: stock.xchng

Health observances in October

October 1, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

worldIt’s a nice autumn day. And with autum comes lots of health observances.


8 Oct
World Sight Day
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and World Health Organization
“Vision 2020: The Right to Sight” 

10 Oct
World Mental Health Day
World Federation for Mental Health

16 Oct
World Food Day

U.S. National Committee for World Food Day

20 Oct
World Osteoporosis Day
International Osteoporosis Foundation

22 Oct
International Stuttering Awareness Day

Stuttering Foundation of America



Eye Injury Prevention Month
American Academy of Ophthalmology

Health Literacy Month

Halloween Safety Month
Prevent Blindness America

Healthy Lung Month
American Lung Association

Let’s Talk Month
Advocates for Youth

calendarNational Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Board of Sponsors

National Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Celiac Sprue Association

National Chiropractic Month
American Chiropractic Association

National Dental Hygiene Month
American Dental Hygienists’ Association

National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Office of Disability Employment Policy
U.S. Department of Labor

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Project
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
National Down Syndrome Society

National Medical Librarians Month
Medical Library Association

National Physical Therapy Month
American Physical Therapy Association

National Spina Bifida Awareness Month
Spina Bifida Association

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month
First Candle/SIDS Alliance

Talk About Prescriptions Month
National Council on Patient Information and Education



4 – 10 Oct
Fire Prevention Week
National Fire Protection Association

4 Oct
Sarcoidosis Awareness Day
National Sarcoidosis Society, Inc. and Affiliates

5 – 11 Oct
Get Smart About Antibiotics Week
Division of Bacterial Diseases
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

5 – 11 Oct
Mental Illness Awareness Week
National Alliance on Mental Illness

5 – 9 Oct
Drive Safely Work Week
Network of Employers for Traffic Safety

5 Oct
National Child Health Day
Maternal and Child Health Bureau
Health Resources and Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

8 Oct
National Depression Screening Day ®

Screening for Mental Health, Inc.

12 – 20 Oct
Bone and Joint Decade National Action Week
U.S. Bone and Joint Decade

12 – 16 Oct
National School Lunch Week
School Nutrition Association

13 Oct
Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Metastatic Breast Cancer Network

14 Oct
Stop America’s Violence Everywhere Today

American Medical Association Alliance

15 Oct
National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

Latino Commission on AIDS

18 – 24 Oct
Hearing Aid Awareness Week

International Hearing Society

19 – 25 Oct
National Drug-Free Work Week

Working Partners for an Alcohol- and Drug-Free Workplace
U.S. Department of Labor

25 – 31 Oct
Respiratory Care Week

American Association for Respiratory Care

28 Oct
Lung Health Day

American Association for Respiratory Care

31 Oct
Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Day

National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health

Heart(y) news and events, September 18

September 18, 2009 by  

Here are some heart-healthy events coming up.

September is Cholesterol Awareness Month

Now is the time to sit down and think about cholesterol – your cholesterol. Furthermore, you should do something about it. More than 65 million Americans have high blood cholesterol levels. Are you one of them? Cholesterol Awareness Month is a good time to

Go healthy Month

Go healthy month is a youth-powered initiative where more 1 million strong children and young share tips and ideas on how to stay fit and healthy.
Here are some tips:

  • Ride my bike to school
  • Be quick to pass up junk food
  • Play duck duck goose
  • Play ultimate Frisbee
  • Play outside
  • Eat breakfast everyday
  • Play active games
  • Get enough sleep
  • Why not add your own?

Go Red Watch Party

The Go Red TV special premiered last week and was featured on NBC’s Today Show. Why not organize a Go Red Watch party this weekend? Include family members and friends. Wear red and be sure to serve only healthy food! You download free discussion guides, talking point ideas and tip from the American Heart Association (AHA) site.

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month

September is also the Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Awareness Month. PAD is the most common type of peripheral artery disease and can affect  the veins and arteries. It is also one of the most undiagnosed vascular disorder. People with PAD have a higher risk for stroke and heart attack. Risk factors for PAD are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking.
According to AHA:

The most common symptoms of PAD are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again.

Alos check out the online health chat on PAD with Cleveland Clinic expert Dr. Heather Gornik:

Peripheral Arterial Disease, Tuesday, September 22 – 12 noon.

September 21 to 27 America on the Move Week

This is an event to inspire Americans to incorporate healthy activities into their daily routines. America On the Move Week with the YMCA is part of Activate America® — the YMCA’s response to the nation’s growing health crisis. Through Activate America, the YMCA is redefining itself and engaging communities across the country to provide better opportunities for people of all ages in their pursuit of health and well-being in spirit, mind and body.worldnews  During this weeklong-long event, YMCA’s all over the US will engage local communities in health-promoting activities for families, groups, or individuals. Check out your local YMCA for schedule of activities now.

Health events in September

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

world_stet2September is a busy month in terms of health events and observances. Check out what’s interesting for you!

Worldwide observances

United States observances and events

What’s on in August

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Here are some health events in August you might want to check out:

United Statescalendar


  • 1 to 7 August
    World Breastfeeding Week
    World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
    La Leche League International
  • MedicAlert Awareness Month
    Medic Alert

Web Health Chats at Cleveland Clinic

  • 4 Aug
    Valve Disease
    James Thomas, MD
  • 11 Aug
    Endovascular Grafting – Latest Advances in Aortic Aneurysm Surgery
    Matthew Eagleton, MD
  • 19 Aug
    Pediatric Heart
    Constantine Mavroudis, MD
  • 24 Aug
    Ask the GYN
    Linda Bradley, MD
  • 26 Aug
    Childhood Cancer
    Margaret Thompson, MD, PhD
  • 31 Aug
    Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Management

For details: www.clevelandclinic.org/health/chatreg/

 Also check out Charity Walks and Runs at Battling Heart Disease and Stroke

What’s up in July: summer health events

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

blank_calendarWould you believe it that it’s now July and school vaction is about to start?

Well, here are some health events for you to check out and join!


Month long observances


Hemochromatosis Awareness Month
Iron Disorders Institute

International Group B Strep Awareness Month
Group B Strep International

Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
Arthritis Foundation

UV Safety Month
American Academy of Ophthalmology

Sickle Cell Disorders Awareness Month UK
Sickle Cell Society

Bioterrorism/Disaster Education and Awareness Month

Social Wellness Month


Week-long observances


6 to 12 July
Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Week (
Alzheimer’s Society

18 to 25 July
Restless Leg Syndrome Education and Awareness Week
Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation (RLS)

20 to 24 July
National Youth Sports Week
National Recreation and Park Association

27 July to August 2
Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Week
Greenwood Genetic Center


One-day observance

July 1 is Special Recreation for the Disabled Day


Photo credit: stock.xchng

News from the cancer side, June 5

June 5, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

breast_cancer_bands_1News from the survivors

This coming Sunday, June 7  is National Cancer Survivors Day. In commemoration of this event, the author-doctor-cancer survivor Laura Liberman will give a talk on Women Conquering Cancer: A Celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day. Place: Akbar Hall, 1174 Bedford Avenue between Putnam Avenue & Madison Street, Brooklyn; Time: 1:30-4:30 pm. Dr. Liberam is the author of the book I Signed as the Doctor: Memoir of a Cancer Doctor Surviving Cancer.

News from the drug regulators

FDA: First Drug to Treat Cancer in Dogs Approved
The US FDA has approved earlier this week the drug Palladia (toceranib phosphate), the first anti-cancer drug for canine patients. Palladia is approved to treat canine cutaneous (skin-based) mast cell tumors, a type of cancer responsible for about 1 out of 5 cases of canine skin tumors. The drug is approved to treat the tumors with or without regional lymph node involvement.

News from the cancer experts

ASCO’s Annual Meeting
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) had their 45th Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL last May 29 to June 2. This year’s theme was “Personalizing Cancer Care.” Research highlights to be presented are

  • Experimental Vaccine for Treating Advanced Melanoma
  • New Class of Drugs for Treating Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
  • Vaccine Appears to Slow Type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Combo Chemo for Colon Cancer Appears to Work Differently Depending on Age
  • Childhood Cancer Survivors Not Getting Checked for Later Cancers

About 4000 research studies are expected to be presented.

News from the statisticians

Cancer Death Rate Steadily Declining
Good news from the American Cancer Society’s annual cancer statistics report: death rates due to cancer is steadily declining. Cancer death rates dropped 19.2% among men during 1990-2005 and 11.4% among women during 1991-2005. Cancer incidence rates are also on the decline – they decreased 1.8% per year among men from 2001-2005 and 0.6% per year from 1998-2005 among women. The decrease is attributed to better preventive measures, early screening and detection techniques, and improved cancer treatment.

News from the economists

One in ten advanced colon cancer patients worry about prescription drug costs
As the financial crisis drags on, we are wondering how cancer patients are feeling the financial burden of cancer treatments. In a study by researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the number of patients with advanced colon cancer enrolled in a clinical trial are worried about financing their treatment. The researchers surveyed 409 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who were enrolled in a Cancer Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Phase III clinical trial…”

  • 10% of the patients were very worried about paying for their supportive medications
  • <15% adopted a money-saving strategy (e.g. not filling a prescription, taking less than the recommended dose)
  • 12% of the patients reported speaking with their physicians about drug costs.

Health observances in May

May 1, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

calendarOnce again, I bring you a list of health observances for the month of May.

May is…

American Stroke Month
American Heart Association

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Better Hearing and Speech Month
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Better Sleep Month
Better Sleep Council

Clean Air Month
American Lung Association

Healthy Vision Month
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health

Theme: Uncorrected Refractive Errors

Hepatitis Awareness Month
Hepatitis Foundation International

Lupus Awareness Month
Lupus Foundation of America, Inc.

Lyme Disease Awareness Month
Lyme Disease Foundation

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month
American Academy of Dermatology

Mental Health Month
Mental Health America

National Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Awareness Month
Les Turner Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Foundation

National Arthritis Awareness Month
Arthritis Foundation

National Bike Month
League of American Bicyclists

National Cancer Research Month
American Association for Cancer Research

National Celiac Disease Awareness Month
American Celiac Disease Alliance

National High Blood Pressure Education Month
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Health Information Center

National Neurofibromatosis Month
Children’s Tumor Foundation

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month
National Osteoporosis Foundation

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
President´s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
Advocates for Youth

National Toxic Encephalopathy and Chemical Injury Awareness Month
National Toxic Encephalopathy Foundation

Older Americans Month
U.S. Administration on Aging

Sturge-Weber Awareness Month
The Sturge-Weber Foundation

Tuberous Sclerosis Awareness Month

Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance

Ultraviolet Awareness Month
Prevent Blindness America


Week-long observances

3 to 9 May
North American Occupational Safety and Health Week
American Society of Safety Engineers

6 to 12 May
National Mental Health Counseling Week
American Mental Health Counselors Association

10 to 16 May
Food Allergy Awareness Week
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

10 to 16 May
National Alcohol- and Other Drug-Related Birth Defects Week
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.

10 to 16 May
National Women’s Health Week
Office on Women’s Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


11 to 17 May
National Stuttering Awareness Week
Stuttering Foundation of America


11 to 15 May
National Neuropathy Week
The Neuropathy Association

18 to 24 May
Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week
Water and Environment Activity
Parasitic Diseases Branch
Division of Parasitic Diseases
National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

24 to 30 May
Older American’s Mental Health Week
Older Women’s League


One-day observances

4 May
Melanoma Monday
American Academy of Dermatology

4 May
Asthma Educator’s Day

5 May
World Asthma Day

9 May
Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Awareness Day
CdLS-USA Foundation

11 May
National Women’s Check-up Day
Office on Women’s Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

12 May
Sex Differences in Health Awareness Day
Society for Women’s Health Research

18 May
HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health
HIV Vaccine Communications Campaign
Vaccine and Prevention Research Program, Division of AIDS

19 May
Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Day
Greenwood Genetic Center

20 May
National Employee Health and Fitness Day
National Association for Health and Fitness

31 May

World No Tobacco Day
Pan American Health Organization
WHO Regional Office for the Americas

Photo credit: stock.xchng

News from the cancer side, April 10

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

easter_eggHere’s your cancer news round up for the Easter weekend. Happy Easter, every one!

News from the academia

University centre, students tackling cancer in high-risk state
The Centre for Health and Human Services (CHHS) at Middle Tennessee State University is planning to set up a Tennessee Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Program that will give colorectal cancer screening access to low-income residents of Tennessee. The state ranks 3rd in the US in cancer mortality rates. Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the state. The CHHS will be working together with the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition to find the reason why Tennessee ranks so high in cancer.

News from the stem cell researchers

Breakthrough makes lab-produced stem cells safer for humans
British and Canadian researchers may have found a way to overcome the barriers that prevent stem cells made from skin cells from being transplanted to humans safely. The development of stem cells from skin cells made headlines in 2006 as a major breakthough in stem cell research. However, its clinical application was hindered by health risks associated with the transplantation.

News from the regulators

FDA Greenlights New Drug for Advanced Kidney Cancer
The US FDA has approved everolimus (Afinitor) for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. (advanced kidney cancer). Afinitor does not cure the cancer but delays the spread and reduces the growth of the tumors by about 5 months. Afinitor is manufactured by Novartis.

News from the statisticians

Lead Story: Hospital Admissions on the Rise for People Without Health Insurance
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that hospital admissions of people without health insurance coverage are up by a third between 1997 and 2006. AHRQ presented the numbers and the story in a podcast last Wednesday, April 9.

News from the genetic experts

New ACOG Guidelines Recommend Routine Genetic Risk Assessment
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) have just released new guidelines which recommend that women should be routine assessed for genetic predisposition foe break can ovarian cancer. Women who eventually undergo genetic testing and are found to carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have options available to manage their increased risk of cancer. These guidelines were published in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

News from the advocacy groups

Cancer activities for April
The season has started for walking or running events at your local Susan Komen chapters. Whether you are a leisurely walker or a marathon runner, there is an event for you to participate in. Register now!

Health-related April events – check them out!

March 31, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

calendarOn this last day of March, I give you a list of health-related events for the coming month. April is going to be a busy month with several health observances ahead of us. Check them out. Support and join!

The U.S. National Health Information Center (NHIC) Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion describes health observances as days, weeks, or months devoted to promoting particular health concerns. Health professionals, teachers, community groups, and others can use these special times to sponsor health promotion events and stimulate awareness of health issues.

Cleveland Clinic’s Health Chats for April

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Healthcare News Round Up

March 6, 2009 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

world_stetIn our new battling for health site, I will be bringing you news round up from the healthcare industry every two weeks. Have a nice weekend!

Healthcare news

Lack of Insurance Harms Health, Requires Urgent National Action

A report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) urges the US government to urgently tackle the issue of health insurance coverage because evidence shows that lack of coverage has serious health consequences on the uninsured which can spill over to the whole community.

Legislation news

Tobacco Regulation: Is This the Year?

Advocates for tobacco regulation hope this is the year when the US FDA gets empowered to regulate sales and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products. The proposal have been opposed by the previous US administration but it seems that such a bill have a bigger chance under the new Democrat leadership.

Pharma industry news

Drug patent plan gets mixed reviews

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies made a generous offer to boost research and development into neglected diseases as well as collaborate with other companies on the issue. Neglected diseases are mainly tropical diseases such as sleeping sickness, visceral leishmaniasis, and dengue fever that are seldom on the priority list of pharma companies. The offer was made by GSK CEO Andrew Witty in a speech at Harvard Medical School last month.

The aim would be to foster a global public-private network to supplant the present fragmented research efforts on the most neglected diseases…” Witty’s announcement triggered mixed reactions from scientists and public-health experts – “from wildly enthusiastic to deeply sceptical.” (Source: Nature News).

Falsified data gets India’s largest generic drug-maker into trouble

The US FDA penalized one of the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs. Ranbaxy Laboratories is India’s biggest drugmaker and was caught falsifying data in one of its manufacturing facilities. The consequences of the penalty “revokes 25 existing approvals of drugs made at its factory at Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh, and stops an unnamed number of pending applications for drugs that rely on data from the same plant.”


Online Health Chats with Cleveland Clinic Experts

  • A Q&A with Dr. Nissen
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 – 12 noon (EST)
    Dr. Steven Nissen is the Chairman of the Department of Cardiology at Cleveland Clinic and will answer your questions on the current state of cardiovascular care.
  • Hypertension & Your Kidneys
    Monday, March 16, 2009 – 12 noon (EST)
    One in four Americans are hypertensive and poorly controlled hypertension is a major cause of cardiovascular and kidney disease. Dr. Mohammed Rafey, a Cleveland Clinic specialist on Nephrology and Hypertension will answer your question on this topic.
  • Epilepsy in Children and Adolescents: Treatment & Care
    Thursday, March 26, 2009 – 12 noon (EST)
    More than 2.7 million Americans have epilepsy, many of them children. Dr. Ingrid Tuxhorn of the Epilepsy Center will answer your questions on this disorder especially about epilepsy surgery.

News from the cancer side, January 30

January 30, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER

Good morning, everyone. Here is our latest news roundup for this weekend. Happy reading.

News from the experts

February Is National Cancer Prevention Awareness Month
Oncologists and researchers at University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center are encouraging people to participate in cancer prevention studies to help researchers learn more about the causes of cancer and how to prevent the disease. Prevention studies offer participants the best options for individual care, improving one’s overall health and well-being,” says Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., M.P.H, vice president of M. D. Anderson’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. “These studies also offer the best chance for reducing the number of future cancer cases.”

News from health care

Medicare Widens Drugs It Accepts for Cancer
Some good news from Medicare. It has expanded its coverage of cancer drugs and treatments, even beyond those approved by the US FDA. It is especially good to know that off-label uses may now be covered. Off-label drugs are those “prescribed for uses other than those for which they have been specifically approved.” While many doctors and patients are happy about this decision, there are others who express concerns about abuse of this ruling resulting in overspending, and worse, using patients as guinea pigs for treatments not approved for their conditions.

News from the pharma industry

In Wyeth, Pfizer Sees a Drug Pipeline
The biggest merger/acquisition news of the month. Pfizer buys Wyeth, and in doing so, it might become a major player in biologics and other biotech products.

News from the innovators

OncoVue offers improved estimation of risk for breast cancer
This new predictive model – OncoVue® – seems to give a more accurate estimation of breast cancer than the one currently used – the Gail Model. OncoVue is a new genetic-based breast cancer risk test that uses a combination of a questionnaire and a saliva test in order to assess risk.

News from the critics

America’s Best Hospitals
This 2008 survey by the US News and World Report gives us the list America’s top medical facilities, in general as well as for specific specialty areas. The top five on overall rankings are:

  1. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
  2. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  3. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
  4. Cleveland Clinic
  5. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

For the specialty field of cancer/oncology, the following institutions were ranked top 5:

  1. University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
  2. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York
  3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
  4. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  5. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

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Preview into heart(y) events in February

January 30, 2009 by  

Instead of our usual Friday heart(y) news roundup, let’s have a peek into our schedule for February.

Upcoming heart(y) awarenesss events for February

February is a special month because it has been designated as THE MONTH of many things, especially on heart(y) and healthy issues. Most important for us here at Battling Heart and Stroke, February is the American Heart Month and the National Women’s Healthy Heart Campaign. As part of the American Heart Month, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009 has been designated as National Wear Red Day. Stay tuned for more details next week.

From February 7 to 14, we will be observing the Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. In the same week from February 8 to 14 is Heart Failure Awareness Week.

Don’t forget to be good to your heart on Valentine’s Day, February 14, which by the way, is also designated as National Organ Donor Day to honor those with hearts so big they even share their blood and organs.

Now, February also honors healthy lifestyle and nutritious food by being the

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that our dental health is closely related to our heart health. That’s why we shouldn’t forget that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Finally, let us all be friends and be nice to each other next month because February is the International Friendship Month.

Heart(y) Online Webchats with Cleveland Clinic Experts for February
Once again, the country’s number one heart clinic is organizing live webchats wherein the public can ask the top heart experts questions close to their hearts. Below is February’s schedule:

  • Carotid Artery Disease Wednesday, February 18, 2009 – 12 noon (EST), to be presented by Dr. Daniel Clair, Chairman, Department of Vascular Surgery.
  • Cardiac Conditions & Concerns in the Student Athlete Thursday, February 19, 2009 – 12 noon (EST), will be presented by pediatric cardiologist Dr.Richard Sterba of Pediatric Institute & Children’s Hospital and Heart and Vascular Institute.
  • Ask the Heart Doctor, Friday, February 20, 2009 – 12 noon (EST), to be presented by Dr. Michael Faulx, staff cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute.
  • Treating and Preventing Adolescent Obesity, Wednesday, February 25, 2009 – 12 noon (EST), to be presented by Dr. Ellen Rome of the Department of Adolescent Medicine Pediatric Institute and Children’s Hospital.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.