Washington ranks high in skin cancer

Washington ranks high in skin cancer

Cloudy and grey doesn’t keep melanoma away

Courtesy of The WA State Department of Health

OLYMPIA — Puget Sound, if it were a state by itself, would rank fourth in the nation for skin cancer rates. That’s because of a misconception that cloudy weather means people don’t have to protect themselves from the sun.

The state Department of Health advises that protecting you and your family from skin cancer is something that must be done all year, regardless of whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Ultra Violet (UV) light exposure, the most preventable cause of skin cancer, occurs even on cloudy days.

Although children are rarely diagnosed with skin cancer, sunburns in childhood are associated with melanoma later in life. So, it’s important to protect children from UV light and establish healthy behaviors early. Reducing exposure to UV at early ages is among the reasons for a new law that went into effect this month banning kids under 18 from using tanning beds without a written prescription from a doctor.

UV-B rays penetrate the top layers of skin and are most responsible for sunburns; UV-A rays go through the deeper layers of the skin. Both types of UV rays/light are emitted by lamps in tanning beds.

You can help prevent skin cancer by using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher; staying in the shade, especially during midday hours; covering skin with clothing that covers your arms and legs or a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears and neck.

You can learn more important facts about skin cancer and how to prevent it on the Washington Cares about Cancer partnership page and on the Department of Health website about comprehensive cancer control.

The Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Memorial’s Patient Family Advisory Council seeks new members

Participants ensure community’s voice is heard in Yakima health care

 YAKIMA – Memorial Family of Services is seeking community members to volunteer for the Patient Family Advisory Council to provide a voice in how health care is administered in the Yakima Valley.

The Patient Family Advisory Council, which is composed of community members and Memorial employees, meets once a month to evaluate policies, programs and practices to help identify opportunities to improve patient and family satisfaction. Council members discuss issues that matter to the entire community, from visitor policies to care programs, and serve as a vital link between Memorial and the community.

Council members are expected to attend an orientation session and to participate in monthly meetings of up to 1½ hours each. They may be asked to dedicate additional time for initiatives and projects. Members must adhere to confidentiality requirements and be willing to communicate and cooperate in productive ways, respecting diversity and differing opinions, in order to collaborate on innovative, new ideas.

For more information or to apply to be a member of the Patient Family Advisory Council, please visit yakimamemorial.org/PFAC or call Lori Murray at (509) 249-5175 or Laura Kinney at (509) 574-5802. All members must be at least 18 years of age. Bilingual individuals are encouraged to apply.


Beer and BBQing

Kim McCorquodale RD, CSO

As our weather gets warmer, many of you are probably barbequing more often. And, what goes together better than a BBQ and an icy cold beer?

Unfortunately, there has been research of late that points to an association between colorectal cancer and eating grilled meats. Substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can form when meats are cooked at very high temperatures, such as on a backyard grill. High levels of PAHs have been associated with cancer in laboratory animals, specifically lab rats. Now remember, this is an association — not a proven cause and effect. But, it is a good idea to make choices to avoid eating too much of these anyway.

This is where the beer comes in. Beer, wine and tea marinades can lower the levels of PAH in cooked meats. A specific research project looked at pork marinated for 4 hours in Pilsner beer, non-alcoholic Pilsner beer or black beer ale. All meat was cooked to well-done.  All of them helped, but black beer worked the best by reducing the PAHs by more than half. The researchers concluded that “the intake of beer marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy,” and I bet it tastes pretty good too!

So, the next time you plan on barbequing keep this in mind. Marinate your meat for at least 4 hours in whatever beer you have around. It won’t hurt you, and it just might help reduce your cancer risk.


Do you have diabetes and not know it?

June 20, 2014—The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes is on the rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers suggest that many people who are at risk for the disease are unaware of the changes happening inside their bodies—but if these people learn more about the risks and the steps they can take to get better, perhaps the number of people with diabetes will go down in the future.

About the study

Diabetes now affects more than 29 million people in the United States, up from an estimated 26 million people in 2010, according to CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. Shockingly, 1 in 4 people living with the disease isn’t aware that he or she has it.

Further, more than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes. People who have prediabetes have high blood sugar levels, but they’re not quite high enough to qualify for a full diabetes diagnosis. These people are at risk of developing diabetes within five years, but with weight loss and exercise, they could keep full-blown diabetes from developing. But it seems that many of these people just aren’t aware that high blood sugar is a problem for them.

Other important findings from the report include:

  • 1.7 million adults age 20 or older were given a diagnosis of diabetes in 2012.
  • 208,000 people under age 20 have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes than non-Hispanic white adults.
  • Prediabetes occurs in 35 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 38 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of non-Hispanic blacks.

Read an overview of the report here.

The take-home message
Diabetes affects a growing number of Americans, but not all adults who have the disease are aware of their condition. Adults 45 and older, especially those who are overweight, should discuss diabetes testing with their doctors. Overweight adults under 45 should also consider getting tested if they have additional risk factors for the disease, including:

  • High blood pressure (140 mm Hg / 90 mm Hg or higher).
  • An HDL (good) blood cholesterol level of 35 mg/dL or lower and triglyceride levels at or over 250 mg/dL.
  • An immediate family member with diabetes.
  • A history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
  • Being African American, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander or having Hispanic American/Latino heritage.
  • Exercising fewer than three times per week.

To learn more about your diabetes risk, take this quiz.

While diabetes can be managed through lifestyle changes and/or medications, the best way to prevent or delay the disease is by losing weight. In fact, losing as little as 5 percent to 7 percent of one’s body weight can help stave off type 2 diabetes in high-risk adults, according to CDC. Talk to your doctor about how you can lose weight safely and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.


Yakima Valley high school students suture cow hearts, drill bones

Students from five Yakima Valley high schools donned surgical scrubs on Saturday, June 14, as the Perry Initiative – an outreach program aimed at encouraging girls to pursue careers in mechanical engineering and orthopaedic surgery – made a stop at Memorial.


The Perry Initiative offers hands-on outreach programs across the United States for students in high school, college and medical school. ESD 105 arranged to have the program brought to Yakima, and each of the school districts represented will pay for part of the program. Students from Yakima, East Valley, Sunnyside, Grandview and Selah school districts participated.

The students took part in structured laboratory exercises that included suturing cow hearts, drilling bones, placing implants into mock bones and repairing torn ligaments.


For more information on the Perry Initiative, visit www.perryinitiative.org.

Exercise is vital in the fight against gestational diabetes

June 14, 2014—Diabetes during pregnancy (known as gestational diabetes) tends to resolve once the baby is born. Unfortunately, women with this condition often develop another form of diabetes (type 2) later in life. Thankfully, this progression isn’t inevitable, researchers say, and exercise could be the key.

About the study

Researchers followed 4,554 women with a history of gestational diabetes from the Nurses Health Study II. Women filled out questionnaires about the amount of time they spent in physical activities. They also told researchers how much time they spent watching television, sitting while doing other things at home, and sitting while driving or at work.

By the study’s end, 635 of the women developed type 2 diabetes. But increasing physical activity reduced that risk: Women who increased their current activity levels by adding the equivalent of 150 minutes per week of moderately intense exercise had a 47 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not increase their exercise levels.

On the other hand, women who watched six or more hours of television per week were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, although performing other sedentary behaviors did not pose a risk. Sitting in front of the television may be worse than other types of sitting, researchers say, because an episode of television watching is associated with mindless eating and other unhealthy behaviors.

Read an overview of the study, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, here.

The take-home message
Women with gestational diabetes are up to 60 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within the next 20 years, when compared to women who don’t experience unusual blood sugar readings during pregnancy. However, women can slash their risk significantly with exercise.

Current government guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. But you don’t need long stretches of time to make your workout worthwhile. Squeezing in 10-minute miniworkouts throughout your day—like taking a short walk after work and gardening after dinner—can be just as effective as long, sweaty workouts. Most importantly? Find activities that you enjoy, since you’ll be more likely to stick with them.

Regular exercise during pregnancy can help reduce your risk for developing gestational diabetes too. In general, moms-to-be with uncomplicated pregnancies can participate in most types of moderate exercise, with the exception of contact sports (like hockey or basketball) and sports with an increased risk for falling (like gymnastics or horseback riding). Talk with your doctor to determine the best pregnancy exercise routine for you.

And find out more about staying healthy during pregnancy in the Pregnancy health topic center.