March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. But this disease is highly preventable, by getting screened beginning at age 50.
Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. Screening also finds this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective.
What You Can Do
- If you’re aged 50 to 75, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re between 76 and 85, ask your doctor if you should be screened.
- Be physically active.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol.
- Don’t smoke.
- Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 and older.
- Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include—
- Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
- Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
- Losing weight and you don’t know why.
These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor.
- Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. If you think you may be at high risk, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.
- There are several screening test options. Talk with your doctor about which is right for you.
- Colonoscopy (every 10 years).
- High-sensitivity guaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) (every year).
- Sigmoidoscopy (every 10 years, with FOBT or FIT every three years).
- Sigmoidoscopy alone (every 5 years).
- Stool DNA test (FIT-DNA) every one or three years.
- CT colonography (or virtual colonoscopy) every five years.
Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign
CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign offers resources for patients and health professionals, including print materials (fact sheets, brochures, and posters) and television and radio public service announcements.
Spread the Word! Our Screen for Life Resource Toolkit provides quick access to materials you can print and distribute or share on social media, your Web site, or blog.
Take the first step. Start with walking! Why? It’s easy and it works!
We’ve got the tools and resources to get you on the right path to a healthier lifestyle.
- Walking is the simplest way to start and continue a fitness journey.
- Walking costs nothing to get started.
- Walking is easy and safe.
- Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits.
- Walking is one of the most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health.
And walking isn’t your only option. Try these tips for increasing physical activity wherever you are. You may be surprised at all your opportunities to increase your physical activity every day. Consider carrying this list with you for one day. Check off the ways you notice that you could increase your physical activity.
December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), within the U.S. Department of Transportation, with the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration remind you to celebrate safely this holiday season. We stand with all those who have known the tragic consequences of drugged or drunk driving, and we rededicate ourselves to preventing it this December and throughout the year.
President Obama has designated December 2012 as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and invites families, educators, health care providers, and community leaders to promote responsible decision-making and encourage young people to live free of drugs and alcohol.
Why do we recognize National Impaired Driving Prevention Month?
In an average year, 30 million Americans drive drunk, and 10 million Americans drive impaired by illicit drugs.
A 2010 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that 13.2 percent of all people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol and 4.3 percent drove under the influence of illicit drugs during the past year.1
Furthermore, rates of impaired driving differed dramatically by age.1
- While 11.8 percent of people aged 26 and older drove drunk, 19.5 percent of people aged 16 to 25 drove drunk.
- And, 2.8 percent of the older group drove drugged, while 11.4 percent of younger drivers did so.1
December seems particularly suited to this observation because traffic fatalities that involve impaired drivers increase significantly during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods.2
- On average, 25 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes per day during December 2010.
- Young adults are among those at greatest risk for driving impaired. During December 2010, drivers 21 to 34 years old were alcohol impaired and involved in fatal crashes at a higher percentage than any other age group.
All 50 States and the District of Columbia enforce the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years. NHTSA asks minors to avoid alcohol, and encourages parents and other caregivers to make a new or renewed commitment to never cater a party to underage drinking. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact law enforcement. Your actions may save someone’s life, and inaction could cost a life. Families play an essential part in stopping impaired driving. By talking about the risks and setting clear expectations, parents and other caregivers can help their children stay safe, sober, and focused on the road.
Prevention Resources and Toolkits:
- Traffic Safety Marketing – a website with free campaign posters, TV/radio/web ads, and other resources, including more about NHTSA’s Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving(link is external) and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns.
- Too Smart to Start – a website dedicated with evidence-based approaches to help youth, families, educators, and communities prevent underage alcohol use and its related problems.
- Stop Underage Drinking – a comprehensive portal of federal resources for information on underage drinking and ideas for combating this issue.
- Teen Drugged Driving: Parent, Coalition and Community Group Activity Guide (PDF) – This guide provides coalitions, prevention groups and parent organizations with: the facts on the dangers and extent of teen and young adult drugged driving; parent and community activities for effective prevention; resources to further assist in prevention activities.
- The National Criminal Justice Reference Service compilation of resources on impaired driving, including general information, enforcement, and prevention, in observation and recognition of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.
For more information:
- Read the President’s 2012 proclamation here.
- NHSTA’s Stop Impaired Driving website provides information to help you stop impaired driving in your community.
- Visit the ONDCP’s Drugged Driving page.
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (December 9, 2010). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Drunk and Drugged Driving. Rockville, MD. Accessible at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k10/205/DruggedDriving.cfm
2 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2007). 2012 Holiday Crackdown Fact Sheet: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Available at: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/CAMPAIGNS/Drunk+Driving/Drive+Sober+or+Get+Pulled+Over/National+Crackdown/Campaign+Materials
Read why it’s so important to shop small on Small Business Saturday, and everyday: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/
Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Getting mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that if you are 50 to 74 years old, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. If you are 40 to 49 years old, talk to your doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram.
Are you worried about the cost? CDC offers free or low-cost mammograms. Find out if you qualify.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), and a new lump in the breast or underarm. If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.
How Can I Lower My Risk?
The main factors that influence your risk for breast cancer include being a woman, being older (most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older), and having changes in your breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2). Most women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors and no history of the disease in their families. There are things you can do to can help lower your breast cancer risk. The Know:BRCA tool can help you assess your risk of having changes in your BRCA genes.
Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat. Talk to your doctor about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you, and when you should have them.
Fast Facts About Breast Cancer
- Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.
- Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Less than 1% of breast cancers occur in men.
- Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 10% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.
Find out how to safeguard yourself
Lugging every pill you take to your next doctor’s appointment or trip to the pharmacist might seem like overkill, but it could save your life—especially if you take multiple drugs or supplements.
In fact, regularly taking five or more medications—something many Americans do—often does more harm than good, especially if you’re not closely monitored by a healthcare provider.
“The chances of drug interactions and side effects increase dramatically as the number of medications you take goes up,” says Michael A. Steinman, M.D., a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center.
Sometimes those drug interactions magnify a drug’s potency, sometimes they diminish its effectiveness, and sometimes they trigger dangerous side effects.
And they’re becoming much more common, says Dima M. Qato, Pharm.D., a pharmacist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. An April 2016 JAMA Internal Medicine study she coauthored found that two-thirds of older adults take five or more medications and supplements daily, up 14 percent since 2006. And one in six use medications, supplements, or both that shouldn’t be combined.
Here’s how to stay safe when taking multiple medications.
Have you experienced a drug interaction?
Tell us your story in the comments section below.
Have a ‘Brown-Bag’ Checkup
At least once yearly, gather every prescription and over-the-counter drug you take, including drops and ointments, as well as every dietary supplement, vitamin, mineral, or herbal remedy you use, and bring them all to your doctor or pharmacist.
During that review, often called a “brown-bag checkup,” the doctor or pharmacist should check to see whether any interact with each other or whether you’re unnecessarily taking different drugs to treat the same problem. If so, you might be able to eliminate one of the drugs. Also ask whether the dosage of each medication you take can be lowered, or possibly even eliminated.
After your brown-bag review, create a list of all of the prescription and OTC products you take. Include the dosage, the reason you take the drug, and the name of the prescribing doctor. Then give that list to every pharmacist and doctor you see. Review your list every four to six months and any time you add a new medication.
Fill all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy or pharmacy chain if possible. They usually share the same electronic record-keeping system, so a pharmacist will always know which medications you take and can more easily spot potential problems.
6 Key Questions to Ask
You can reduce the chance of taking more medications than you need by asking the following questions each time you get a new prescription or your doctor recommends an OTC product:
1. What Is the Medication For?
It might seem obvious, but asking that basic question reduces the risk of taking an inappropriately prescribed drug—something that happens surprisingly often.
For example, a study of older veterans who took five or more prescription drugs found that 65 percent were told to take at least one drug that was unnecessary—medications that were ineffective, were not indicated for their condition, or duplicated the therapeutic benefits and actions of other drugs. One common example: The OTC drug ibuprofen (Advil and generic) and prescription drug celecoxib (Celebrex and generic) have similar pain-relieving actions, so they shouldn’t be taken together.
2. How Long Should I Take It?
Asking this can help spot medications you regularly take that should be used only short-term. For example, proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (Prilosec and generic), taken for severe heartburn, should not be taken for more than about six months because longer use increases the risk of bone fractures and can cause low blood levels of magnesium, which can trigger muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. And sleep aids should be used for only very brief periods because they can cause side effects such as next-day drowsiness and impaired coordination and balance, and they can lead to dependence.
3. Is This Similar to Another Drug I Already Take?
If you see several healthcare providers, some might be unaware of what others have prescribed—and could prescribe drugs similar to one you already take. For example, your primary-care physician might prescribe a diuretic (a “water pill”) to lower high blood pressure. But your neurologist might prescribe a beta-blocker, which also reduces blood pressure, to prevent migraines. In that case, you might be better off with just the beta-blocker because it treats both conditions.
4. Can Nondrug Alternatives Help Me?
In some cases you might be able to eliminate or reduce your need for drugs by making certain lifestyle changes. For conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, for example, losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and consuming a healthy diet can sometimes be as effective as drugs. And exercise and physical therapy can often help ease arthritis as well as back, shoulder, and neck pain, allowing you to cut back on drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and generic) and naproxen (Aleve and generic).
5. Will This Medication Interact Dangerously With Other Prescription Drugs or OTC Products I Take?
The more medications you use, the greater the likelihood of drug interactions. For example, taking the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin (Zocor and generic) with the blood pressure drug amlodipine or the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin and generic) could trigger potential deadly bleeding. The same could happen by combining aspirin with the blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix and generic) or OTC pain drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
6. What Side Effects Could This Medication Cause?
Being aware of possible side effects can help you spot them before they cause serious harm. For example, muscle aches might be due to a cholesterol-lowering statin you take—and if allowed to continue, could progress to severe kidney damage. Knowing what to expect can also help you recognize new symptoms as drug side effects, not new health problems.
For instance, if you develop confusion after taking the urinary incontinence drug oxybutynin (Ditropan XL and generic), you’ll be less likely to worry about it as an early sign of dementia if you were warned that confusion is a possible side effect of the drug.
Recognizing side effects can also help you avoid “prescribing cascade,” says Jerry H. Gurwitz, M.D., chief of the division of geriatric medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. That happens when, instead of stopping the drug that is causing the problem, your doctor mistakenly prescribes yet another medication to treat the drug side effect—which can lead to additional side effects or drug interactions. “This is a huge issue that is underappreciated,” Gurwitz says.
Editor’s Note: This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).
Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)
National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Communities have continued to use the month each year to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.
NIAM is sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). For more information on the observance, visit NPHIC’s NIAM website.
NPHIC, in collaboration with CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, developed communication toolkits to help you communicate about vaccines for various audiences. Each week of #NIAM16 focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:
People of all ages can protect their health with timely vaccination.
- Adults (Aug. 1-7)
- Pregnant women (Aug. 8-14)
- Babies and young children (Aug. 15-21)
- Preteens and teens (Aug. 22-28)
There is also an abbreviated toolkit for school-aged children to help you remind parents to get their children vaccinated before the school year starts.
The toolkits include sample key messages, media materials, social media messages, FAQs, and web links and resources. You can also get eye-catching NIAM logos and banners to highlight your participation in NIAM on your social media profiles. A media outreach toolkit is one of the new resources available this year to help you reach out to media on immunization-related topics. To download the toolkits, visit NPHIC’s NIAM website.
Find CDC Immunization Resources
CDC develops immunization materials our partners can use in local outreach and education efforts during NIAM and throughout the year. Below are links to materials you can use during NIAM and beyond to
- Remind parents of the important role vaccines play in protecting their child’s health and answer their questions about vaccines
- Encourage college students to talk to their healthcare professional about any vaccines they may need for school entry
- Educate adults, especially older adults and adults with chronic conditions, about vaccines they may need
- Educate pregnant women about getting vaccinated to protect newborns from diseases like whooping cough (pertussis) and flu
- Remind everyone that the next flu season is only a few months away
Check with your state or local health department to see if they have additional immunization resources you can use during NIAM, or plans to celebrate the month.
- Page last reviewed: June 14, 2016
- Page last updated: June 28, 2016
- Content source:
Men: Do less to improve your health!
National Men’s Health Week is celebrated the week leading up to Father’s Day, which is June 15-21, 2015. During this week, individuals, families, communities, and others work to promote healthy living among men and boys.
Here are six ways to do less of some things or quit others to improve your health.
- Decrease alcohol use.
Men are more likely than women to drink heavily. Excessive alcohol useincreases your risk of injury and cancer, can interfere with male hormone production and sexual function, and can result in hospitalizations, and death.
- Quit using tobacco.
Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes most lung cancer. It also causes other cancers and heart and respiratory diseases. In 2014,26% of men used tobacco products every day or some days. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) or visit Quit Smoking for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live. Get tips from former smokers.
- Avoid drowsy driving.
Up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers. Commercial drivers, shift workers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders or those using sedation medications, and drivers that do not get enough sleep are more likely to drive drowsy. Prevent drowsy driving. Get enough sleepto prevent drowsing driving—7 or 8 hours each night; seek treatment for possible sleep disorders, and refrain from drinking alcohol or taking sedation medications before driving.
- Reduce number of sex partners.
Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Be sexually active with only one person who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Get tested because most STDs don’t have symptoms and often go undiagnosed and untreated. Find free, fast, and confidential testing near you.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
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 toultraviolet light. In 2011, more than 38,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin. To protect you and your family from the sun, seek shade, wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
- Reduce stress
Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
What Men Can Do
- Lead by example. Eat healthy, be physically active, get vaccinated, be smoke-free, prevent injuries, sleep well, and manage stress.
- Wear Blue to remind men of the importance of staying healthy.
- Get checkups, and be seen for health problems before they become serious.
Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal
This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, tomake control their goal.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure[469 KB] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.2
High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.
Work with your health care team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.
Make Control Your Goal
If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control[1.16 MB]:
- Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card[920 KB] from Million Hearts®.
- Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
- Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.
- Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.
African American Men: Take Note
While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.3 A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also showed that Americans aged 30 to 74 who live the Southeast—specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia—are at higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years than people who live in other parts of the country.4 Many of these states have a large African American population.
Roosevelt, age 51, from Virginia suffered a heart attack at age 45.
Man to Man: Heart to Heart
Roosevelt, a long-time smoker, had a heart attack at age 45. He endured six surgeries, including heart bypass surgery to fix the damage to his heart caused by smoking. Now smoke-free, Roosevelt encourages others to quit smoking as a way to reduce their risk of heart disease.
“A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart,” he said. “It’s like the worst Charley horse you can imagine—in your heart.”
About 1 in 5 African American adults smokes cigarettes.5 CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign recently shined a spotlight on this statistic and the links between smoking and heart disease among African American men.
“If you have loved ones who care about you, they will support you. Take it one day at a time,” Roosevelt said.
This approach can work not only for people who want to quit smoking, but for those who are trying to eat better, exercise, and control their high blood pressure—all ways to help reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke. A strong support system[649 KB] also helps.
Resources to Help You and Your Loved Ones Make Control the Goal
More information about high blood pressure is available at CDC’s High Blood Pressure website. In addition, the following resources are available to help you and your loved ones make control your goal:
- High Blood Pressure: How to Make Control Your Goal[706 KB]
- Supporting Your Loved One with High Blood Pressure[649 KB]
- African Americans Heart Disease and Stroke Fact Sheet
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults—United States, 2003–2010.MMWR. 2012;61(35):703-9.
- Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:598-615. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults—United States, 2003–2010.MMWR. 2012;61(35):703-9.
2 Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:598-615.
- CDC, Prevalence of hypertension and controlled hypertension — United States, 2007-2010. MMWR. 2013;62(03);144-148,.
- Yang Q, Zhong Y, Ritchey M, et al. Predicted 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease at the state level in the U.S.” Am J Prev Med. 2014;48(1):58-69. PubMed abstract.
- CDC, Current cigarette smoking among adults—United States, 2005-2012. MMWR. 2014;63(2).
- Wall, H., Hannah, J., & Wright, J. (2014). Patients with undiagnosed hypertension: Hiding in plain sight. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(19), 1973–1974.Source: http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/