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HealthPerks Newsletter for November 2013

Important Facts You Should Know About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both women and men, and by far the leading cause of cancer deaths. It accounts for about 14% of all new cancers, and 27% of all cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 228,190 new diagnoses and 159,480 deaths from lung cancer in 2013.

Despite the serious prognosis, some people with earlier stage cancers are cured. This is why it’s very important to know your risks as well as the signs and symptoms. Early detection is key in the treatment of lung cancer.

Risk factors include:

  • History of cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking
  • Exposure to excessive amounts of second hand smoke
  • Exposure to asbestos, radon, Agent Orange, or other known cancer causing agents
  • A family history of lung cancer

Although the majority of people who develop lung cancer have smoked, there are many who haven’t – and don’t have any other risk factors. That’s why knowing these signs and symptoms are crucial:

  • Persistent coughing (the most common symptom)
  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pains in the chest, shoulders, back, ribs or arms
  • Hoarseness
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Pneumonia

There have been significant advancements in lung cancer treatments and outcomes. Many new treatments and technologies, such as Lung Brachytherapy and CyberKnife, are now creating options for many patients, as well as providing them with treatment alternatives that produce better outcomes with fewer side effects.

Learn more about treatment options with this short video:

Don’t Let Your Holidays Go to Waste

The holiday season is about family, friends, and generally a lot of food. Unfortunately, this also means a lot of wasted food. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Americans waste more than 5 million tons of food – three times more than any other time of the year. Keep your holiday eating healthy, and reduce waste by following these tips:

  • Be realistic. The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. Instead, plan out how much food you and your guests will realistically need, and stock up accordingly.
  • Plan ahead. Create a shopping list before heading to the farmers’ market or grocery store. Sticking to this list will reduce the risk of impulse buys or unnecessary quantities.
  • Avoid pre-plating. Allow guests to serve themselves, choosing what, and how much, they would like to eat.
  • Store leftovers safely. Properly storing leftovers will preserve them safely for future meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that hot foods be left out for no more than two hours.
  • Create new meals. Vegetable scraps and turkey carcasses can be easily boiled down for stock and soups, and bread crusts and ends can be used to make tasty homemade croutons.

For a healthy way to cook leftover turkey, try this deliciously low-fat turkey soup recipe.

Get more tips for reducing food waste.

Avoid Holiday Health Hazards

The happiest time of the year can also be one of the most dangerous, and there are many injuries related to the holidays that could ruin your cheer. Holiday decorations alone bring over 7,500 people a year to the emergency room. Keep your holidays merry and bright, and most importantly safe by taking some simple precautions. The most common holiday hazards and tips to prevent them include:

  • Food poisoning. Undercooked or contaminated food, improperly stored food, or even poisonous berries on holiday decorations can cause food poisoning. Be diligent about food preparation safety, err on the side of caution and keep decorations out of reach of small children and pets.
  • Colds and flu. Planes, trains and holiday gatherings mean more germs, and stress and fatigue could lower your resistance to those germs. Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, focus on healthy eating, and wash your hands frequently to help ward off illness. If you do get sick, stay home and avoid spreading it to others.
  • Electric shock. Holiday lights and extension cords can be highly dangerous. Use appropriate light bulbs, do not insert more than three plugs of lights into one extension cord, and do not run cords under any rug.
  • Snow sports-related injuries. Skiing, snowboarding and sledding accidents are especially common during the holidays. Reduce the risk of injuries by wearing appropriate protective gear and dressing for the weather. Do not attempt activities out of your skill range, obey all mountain rules, and be mindful and courteous to those around you.
  • Burns from fires. Holiday lights and Christmas trees cause neary 1,000 fires every year. Open fireplaces are great for ambiance, but can also cause many injuries. Avoid leaving lights on for too long and overexerting electrical sockets. Make sure to place grates or screens in front of open fireplaces. Never leave a fire, flame, or oven unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Driving accidents. Travelling families, icy conditions and drunk driving can all combine to make the holiday season one of the worst times of year for traffic accidents. Make sure your car is well-maintained before beginning a trip. Never drive after having more than one drink in an hour. If you are fatigued, pull over and take a break. Drive slower and pay attention to roads that require snow tires or chains.
  • Falls. Last year more than 5,000 Americans required medical attention for falling while decorating their homes. Never put up decorations alone, or when the weather is bad. Test the stability of your ladder. Never use furniture, porch railings, or anything not meant to be stood on to hang decorations.

No matter how careful you are, injuries or illness can still occur. Always seek immediate medical attention if in doubt about the severity. El Camino Hospital will have increased staff in our Emergency Department during the holidays. Visit our website to see the current wait time at Mountain View and Los Gatos.

Try this healthy leftover turkey soup!

Download Recipe

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