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Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Be Informed About the Deadliest Form of Cancer in America

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Of all the cancers discussed in the public forum, breast cancer is likely the most commonly talked about. And although breast cancer is a prevalent disease that affects thousands of people in our country, no other cancer claims more lives than lung cancer.

That’s why it’s so important to partake in Lung Cancer Awareness Month this November by learning about its causes and risk factors.

For men, the chances of developing lung cancer at some point in his lifetime is about 1 in 14. For women, it’s 1 in 17. And while 87% of all cases can be linked to tobacco use, you don’t have to be a smoker to develop lung cancer. Exposure to radon, asbestos and other air pollutants have been linked to lung cancer, as have certain lung diseases such as tuberculosis.

Take some time this month to learn about the different types of lung cancer, the sobering statistics, detection and treatment options available.

And if you’re still a smoker, take this month as an opportunity to quit for good. If you need some help, here are some great resources from the American Cancer Society:

Planning on quitting but know you’ll need some help? The Charles County Department of Health’s quit-smoking program is 100% free and will show you how to make a quit plan, manage stress and offers weekly support throughout your quitting journey. For more information about this fantastic program or to register for upcoming classes, call (301) 609-6932 today.

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Give the Gift of Good Health in Your Community by Supporting the Tree of Life

Tree of Life

Of all the gifts you give during the holidays this year, the gift of good health may be the most important.

You can support our mission of making our community a healthier place to live by helping our Tree of Life shine brightly all season long.

On Wednesday, December 6, from 5:30-7pm, on the grounds of the hospital, we’ll host our illumination ceremony and celebrate all the people who mean so much to us.

How You Can Participate

Through December 6, you’re invited to purchase the lights that will illuminate our Tree of Life in honor of someone, living or deceased, who’s touched your life in a positive way.

For just $15, you can have a light placed on our Tree of Life, or make a one-time gift of $100 for an angel perpetual light to ensure a light shines for whomever you’re honoring every year. You can also help light the Healing Garden with a $50 luminary.

Donations for our Tree of Life can be made easily and securely through the UM CRMC Foundation’s website or by calling (301) 609-4132 today.

All gifts must be received no later than November 22nd to be included in the commemorative program.

What You’ll Be Supporting

Proceeds from the generous donations received will directly support UM Charles Regional Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health. This center, planned for 2018,  will help meet the goal of providing hope, support and care for our family, friends and community members as they cope with breast health issues.

We hope you’ll consider honoring your loved ones this holiday season and supporting this important cause. For additional details or to give your gift today, visit the official Tree of Life event page. Please stay tuned for announcements of the 2017 special guest illuminators in upcoming Facebook posts.

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5 Things You Need to Know About Diabetes

American Diabetes Month Photo

It’s something you’ve probably heard about from your doctor, in the news or even from someone you know. Diabetes is an all-too-prevalent disease that affects a large percentage of the American population.

Join us this month, which is American Diabetes Month, in learning more about diabetes and working to inform your family, friends and community about the causes, risk factors and treatment options available.

To get you started, here are the five things you need to know about diabetes right now.

How Many People Are Affected by Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and that one out of every three people in the U.S. will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Unfortunately, it’s also estimated that 1 out of 4 people don’t know that they have it.

The Differences Between Types of Diabetes

There are three distinct types of diabetes. Each comes with its own causes, symptoms and management practices.

Type 1 – This type of diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease because it occurs when your body can’t produce the insulin needed to control blood-sugar levels in the bloodstream.

Type 2 – It’s estimated that 90-95% of all Americans who have diabetes are affected by type 2 diabetes. This type occurs when your body is able to produce insulin but is unable to produce enough to properly control sugar levels.

Gestational – Though less common than types 1 and 2, gestational diabetes is brought on by pregnancy. While it usually disappears once the baby is born, this condition requires careful monitoring and can put a woman at higher risk of developing diabetes within 10 years.

Risk Factors for Developing Diabetes

Whereas type 1 diabetes generally appears before the age of 18 and isn’t currently preventable, there are a handful of risk factors that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, including:

  • Being overweight
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Age (over 45 years old)
  • Lack of physical activity (exercising fewer than 3 times a week)
  • Previously had gestational diabetes

If you’re concerned about developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, consider taking our diabetes risk assessment and discussing the results with your doctor.

How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Because type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity, prevention of the disease largely revolves around embracing healthy eating habits and a more active lifestyle. In addition to being physically active for 30-60 minutes every day, choosing nutrient-rich foods instead of sugary or high-calorie foods and snacks goes a long way in the fight against diabetes.

Be sure to check out the CDC’s website as well. It has some great tips and guides about what you can do to help prevent type 2 diabetes in yourself and your family.

How to Live Well with Diabetes

Just because someone has type 1 or type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean they can’t live fulfilling lives. Thanks to groundbreaking treatments, new management strategies and improved community awareness, people with diabetes are living longer and better than ever before.

Southern Maryland is no exception. Residents of this region have access to proven diabetes experts and always have somewhere to turn when they need support or have questions about diabetes.

If you or someone you know is struggling with diabetes or a recent diabetes diagnosis, be sure to check out our Center for Diabetes Education. In addition, the new UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology practice in Waldorf, MD, provides long-term care to those dealing with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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5 Things That Can Keep Your Kids Safe on Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

Having a safe Halloween and having a fun Halloween aren’t mutually exclusive. Here are five things that can help ensure your kids stay safe as they trick-or-treat this year.

Choosing Face Paint Instead of Masks

Complete your child’s elaborate costume with face paint instead of a mask whenever possible. They’ll likely be more comfortable throughout their night of trick-or-treating, but more importantly, you won’t have to worry about anything obstructing their view as they walk from house to house.

Carrying Glow Sticks and/or Flashlights

Whether you’re accompanying your child or not, be sure they have a flashlight, glow stick or both to keep on while they’re trick-or-treating. It’ll help drivers see them crossing the street or along the side of the road as it starts getting darker outside.

Trick-or-Treating in Groups

You’ll have to make the judgment as to whether or not your child is old enough to go trick-or-treating with or without you. But if they’re ready to go out with their friends instead of a parent, be sure to insist that they stay in a group throughout the night.

Examining Treats for Choking Hazards or Tampering

Some candies may not be suitable for your children depending on their age. And the unfortunate reality is that you should always go through your child’s candy to check for evidence of tampering. You should always throw out any homemade candy and just stick to factory-made treats.

Knowing the Risks of Decorative Contact Lenses

Few things complete a costume quite like a pair of striking decorative contact lenses. But these lenses come with risks. If the lenses aren’t used properly or are obtained without a prescription, the wearer risks cutting/scratching the top layer of their eyeball, allergic reactions, decreased vision, infections and, in the most serious circumstances, blindness.

If you’re still willing to allow your children to wear these lenses, be sure to reference the vital “Dos and Don’ts” from the Food and Drug Administration.

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Recognizing the Importance of Physical Therapy Services This October

National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and every year, we like to take some time to recognize those who work so hard to help others overcome pain or regain mobility through physical therapy services.

Joint replacements, osteoarthritis, post-surgical recovery and even sports injuries often require the expertise of a physical therapist, but we’ve found that care and compassion are two of the most important qualities of these practitioners. And we’re saluting those physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who continue to serve their patients in this way, no matter what ailments they aim to overcome.

Recognizing Outstanding Physical Therapy in Southern Maryland

Residents of Southern Maryland have access to superior physical therapy services, including those offered by the skilled team at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation, located right here in La Plata.

With a proven, one-on-one approach to tackling physical therapy issues, the physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and rehabilitation technicians continue to help patients get on the fastest path to their best health.

To learn more about UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation or to request an appointment, visit their website today. Or call (301) 609-5494 now for more information.

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Introducing Charles County’s New Diabetes Team

UM Community Medical Group - Diabetes and Endocrinology

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by a diabetes diagnosis or just wish that you had a support system of experienced individuals to help you manage your diabetes?

We have good news: Your diabetes team is right here in Southern Maryland.

Together with the Center for Diabetes Education, the new UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology practice can help you treat, manage and better understand your diabetes or endocrine condition.

Specialties include treating conditions such as those affecting:

  • Thyroid
  • Bone
  • Pituitary
  • Adrenal
  • Parathyroid
  • Islet Cells
  • Testes
  • Adipocyte
  • Ovaries

Why choose UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology? It’s because the physicians there schedule fewer patients than other practices, so they give you the time and attention you deserve. That means more one-on-one time and less wait time.

Plus, because they work in tandem with UM Charles Regional’s Center for Diabetes Education, you can expect a compassionate, comprehensive approach to taking control of your diabetes.

UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology is located in Waldorf, MD, and accepts most major insurance plans. To learn more about this new practice and how it can help you, call 301-870-4100 or visit umcmg.org/charlesdiabetes today.

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3 Reasons to Get the Flu Shot Now

Get the Seasonal Flu Vaccine

With all that you have going on in your everyday life, it’s easy to see why so many people put off getting the seasonal flu vaccine. But what if we told you getting it now, rather than later, is one of the most important things you can do for your health and the health of others?

Here are 3 reasons why there’s no reason to put off getting vaccinated this flu season.

It Takes About Two Weeks for Vaccine Antibodies to Develop

Unfortunately, the seasonal flu vaccine doesn’t offer instant protection. Because it takes up to two weeks for the vaccine antibodies to fully develop in your body, you’ll want to get your flu shot before the flu starts spreading around you. December is generally when peak flu season begins, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting vaccinated in October.

Getting the Vaccine Protects Others Around You

Even if you’re the type of person that “never gets sick,” receiving the seasonal flu vaccine is an important part of preserving overall community wellness. When more people get vaccinated, those who are especially vulnerable to the effects of the seasonal flu — infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems — benefit.

It Doesn’t Take Long and Can Save You Money in the Long Run

In most cases, getting the vaccine takes a matter of minutes. In addition, many insurance plans will cover the cost of getting the seasonal flu vaccine, and others will offer it with a minimal co-pay option.

Don’t forget, the Charles County Department of Health sponsors numerous free flu vaccine clinics throughout the fall. Here’s where you can find the upcoming clinics:

Tuesday, October 17 | 4:30-7pm  – Mattawoman Middle School (Waldorf)
Thursday, October 19 | 3-7pm – La Plata High School
Friday, October 27 | 2-6pm – Charles County Dept. of Health (White Plains)
Tuesday, November 2 | 10am-2pm – Piccowaxen Middle School (White Plains)
Thursday, November 4 | 10am-2pm – Charles County Dept. of Health (White Plains)
Tuesday, November 7 | 4pm-7pm – Smallwood Middle School (Indian Head)
Tuesday, November 14 | 3pm-7pm – Thomas Stone High School (Waldorf)
Thursday, November 16 | 3pm-7pm – La Plata High School
Thursday, December 14 | 3pm-7pm – Charles County Dept. of Health (White Plains)

Alternatively, UM Charles Regional Urgent Care is a convenient location to receive the vaccine as well. Avoid costly medical expenses by getting your flu shot early — remember, it’s far better to prevent the flu than having to recover from it.

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What You Need to Know About Breast Cancer Right Now

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

236,968. That’s how many women in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer in a single year. What’s more, 41,211 women in the US died from breast cancer, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), making it one of the deadliest diseases among women in our country.

It doesn’t just affect women, either. In that same timeframe, over 2,100 men were diagnosed, and 465 succumbed to the disease.

Those numbers act as a sobering reminder of the immense and painful impact this disease has on families across the country. But more than anything, those statistics should motivate you to join with us in spreading breast cancer awareness.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the most important information surrounding breast cancer. We also encourage you to share what you learn with friends and family so they can understand their individual risk levels as well as what they can do right now to prevent or detect any signs of this cancer.

Risk Factors

Although breast cancer affects women 100x more frequently than it does men, gender is not an excluding factor in who will ultimately develop breast cancer. Here are a few key factors that influence individual risk levels:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Late or no pregnancy
  • Physical inactivity
  • Breast density

You can learn more about specific risk factors for breast cancer on the CDC’s official website. More than anything, an honest conversation with your doctor can help shed light on what your individual risk level might be based on these and other factors.

Reducing Risk Levels

Although there is no way to completely eliminate the risk of developing breast cancer, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. Here are just a few ways to aid in prevention:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages
  • Breastfeed newborn children, if possible

You can learn more about ways to reduce your level of risk by visiting our Online Health Library, and you can also get a snapshot of your risk level by taking our Breast Cancer Risk Assessment.

Early Detection

This is your best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. By performing a self-exam every month or by receiving a regular clinical exam, you can detect any abnormalities before they develop further.

Beyond that, it’s recommended that women ages 45 to 54 should get a mammogram every year. At the age of 55 and beyond, women are encouraged to get mammograms every other year at the very least. If you’re younger than that, your doctor may recommend you get a mammogram if he or she believes you’re at higher risk for developing breast cancer. Mammograms are completed by qualified specialists, like those at UM Charles Regional Imaging, to examine breast tissue for any issues that may not be visible or palpable.

Want to Learn More?

Your understanding of breast cancer and its effects on our community don’t have to end with this blog post!

Join us for our 11th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center on Wednesday, October 18. From 11am to 1:30pm, our expert team will share their experiences and expertise regarding breast and ovarian cancer.

The luncheon is free, but your registration is required by October 13. For more information or to reserve your spot now, visit our website or call (888) 332-4847 now. We hope to see you there!

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Tickets Now on Sale for the 23rd Annual Crab Feast

23rd Annual Crab Feast

All-you-can-eat crabs, all for one worthy cause. Join us for our 23rd Annual Crab Feast, set for October 19, 2017.

Roll out the brown paper and grab a mallet for this local-favorite event at Captain Billy’s Crab House in Newburg, MD, from 2:00pm to 8:30pm.

In addition to the popular crab feast, there are several platters to choose from, including shrimp, stuffed chicken breast, crab cakes, tilapia and more.

Tickets are now on sale and start at $35 and $45 per person for platters and $55 per person for all-you-can-eat crabs. And children’s tickets are just $8 each! Details for each ticket level are available on our website.

Ticket prices increase after September 30, so purchase yours today and save!

Purchase Tickets

Proceeds from this year’s event will directly support our plans for establishing our new Center for Breast Health here in Charles County, which will help meet the goal of providing hope, support and care for our family, friends and neighbors as they cope with breast health issues.

Want to make a bigger impact? Crab Feast sponsors are valued partners for this event that help promote good health in their community as well as their businesses. Learn more about available sponsorship opportunities by visiting our website or by contacting Holly Gonzalez at (301) 609-4319 or Holly.Gonzalez@umm.edu.

Become a Sponsor

We appreciate your support and hope to see you there!

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5 Child Passenger Safety Facts You Need to Know

Child Car Safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council have teamed up this week to generate awareness about child car safety. The weeklong initiative, Child Passenger Safety Week, culminates in this weekend’s “National Seat Check Saturday,” which encourages everyone with child passengers to ensure their children are as safe as possible in the car.

Want to learn more about child passenger safety or spread the word about this important week? Here are the five facts you need to know.

Car Crashes Are a Leading Cause of Death Among Children

Statistics gathered by the NHTSA show that, on average, more than 100,000 children under the age of 13 are injured in passenger vehicle crashes every year. As a result, car crashes are currently a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13.

Car Seat Usage Reduces Risk for Death by as Much as 71%

According to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, properly sized and secured car seats reduced the risk of fatality for infants by 71% and by 54% for toddlers (1 to 4 years old).

Infants Should Only Ride in One Kind of Car Seat

A rear-facing car seat is the only type of car seat infants should be buckled into. It’s recommended that any children under the age of 2 stay in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the height or weight limit for their particular car seat.

Your Child May Need a Car Seat Until Age 12

The NHTSA recommends that you keep your child in a booster seat from age 8 to 12, or until they’re big enough to wear a seat belt properly with the lap belt fitting snugly across their thighs, not their stomach. Regardless of size, however, children should ride in the back seat through age 12.

You Can Get Your Car Seat Inspected for Free

Need some reassurance that your child’s car seat is right for them? We’re partnering with the La Plata Town Police, Maryland State Police – La Plata Barrack, Charles County Rescue Squad 51 and KISS for free car seat inspections at the La Plata Walmart on Saturday, September 23 from the hours of 9am-12pm. The check is free, and the peace of mind is priceless!

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