Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. This month is about being aware and informed. This particular issue hits close to home as the majority of our patients at our Department of Radiation Oncology are being treated for prostate cancer. Risk Factors A risk factor is anything that affects your chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. While others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed. But having a risk factor, or even several does not mean that you will get the disease. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors. Age The older a man is, the greater his risk of getting prostate cancer. In fact, more than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65 and is extremely rare in men younger than 40. Race & Ethnicity Studies show that African American men are approximately 60 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than Caucasian or Hispanic men. African-American men are also more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men. Additionally, the disease starts younger and grows faster in black men. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear. Geography Men in the United States have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer regardless of their race or ethnicity. Additionally, men who live in northern regions of the country have a higher risk of developing prostate...

Skin Cancer – Know the Facts

What is skin cancer? Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. There are three major types of skin cancer  basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Warning Signs: The ABCDEs Asymmetry. One half doesn’t match the appearance of the other half. Border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred. Color. The color is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to a mottled appearance. Diameter. The size of the mole is greater than 1/4 inch. Any growth of a mole should be evaluated. Evolution. There is a change in the size, color, shape and symptoms – such as itching or tenderness or bleeding   As a general rule, to spot skin cancers, take note of any new moles or growths, and any existing growths that begin to grow or change significantly in any other way. Risk Factors Fair skin. A history of sunburns Excessive sun exposure. A family or personal history of skin cancer. A personal history of skin cancer. A weakened immune system. Exposure to radiation. Prevention Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. The sun’s rays are strongest between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy. Wear sunscreen year-round. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply sunscreen generously every two hours or more often...

February Community Newsletter

We Aspire for a Better You Welcome to the introductory issue of Aspire’s Community Newsletter! We want to share our objectives, ask for your feedback about the topics featured, and keep you up to date on our company news. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding medical care to the residents and communities we serve and utilizing state-of-the-art technology alongside compassionate and friendly patient care. Our services range from imaging, physical therapy, sleep diagnostics, oncology, and behavioral health. Employee of the Month Avie Johnson- Avie has worked with Aspire Hospital since November 2013 and has been through many changes at Aspire Hospital. She is a dedicated Patient Access Representative and has worked in multiple departments over the last year, including physical therapy and is currently with Huntsville Imaging. Not only has she learned new systems quickly, she’s always willing to help new hires. Coworkers say that Avie’s kindness is natural and patients from other departments still like to drop in to say hello. We appreciate you Avie! Making a Difference In the Month of January Aspire Hospital serviced over 500 Patients! We look forward to helping even more in February! Behavioral Health– 59 Patients Conroe Imaging– 325 Patients Huntsville Imaging– 282 Patients Sleep Center—33 Patients Physical Therapy—37  New Patients Cancer Center and Imaging—97 Patients Dustin Bessire, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Aspire Center for Rehab in Huntsville, recently got the opportunity to work with and treat Lane Johnson, offensive tackle of the Philadelphia Eagles. We wish Lane a speedy recovery! Physician Spotlight Anisa F. Gopalani, MD has been prac- ticing pain medicine for ten years. Dr. Gopalani’s medical education began...

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Since 2000, March has been designated Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States, and the second most deadly, according to Healthfinder.gov. It is most often found in people age 50 and over, and it usually develops and spreads slowly over several years. Colorectal cancer most commonly begins with the development of a non-cancerous polyp (tumor) on the inner lining of the colon or rectum.  Some types of polyps are more likely to become cancer than others.  If the polyp does become cancerous, it spreads into the outer linings of the wall.  If it gets picked up by the blood or lymph vessels, it can spread to other parts of the body, like the liver.  This process is called metastasis. By far, the most common (about 95%) type of cancer found in the colon or rectum is adenocarcinoma, though there are a few other types (carcinoid tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, lymphomas, and sarcomas) that do occasionally occur in these regions. The most common treatments for colorectal cancer are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.  For severe cases, ablation or embolization may be utilized.  Depending on how advanced it is, more than one of these treatments may be used, either at the same time or consecutively. The good news is that it does develop slowly, so with regular screenings, it can be diagnosed early and treated more easily, or even prevented altogether if the polyp is discovered and removed before it has a chance to become cancerous. There are several different ways to screen for colorectal cancer:   Stool samples can be checked...

Cervical Cancer Facts

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, so we here at Aspire Hospital would like to provide some information about what cervical cancer is, what its common causes are, what symptoms to look for, and how to prevent and treat it. What is cervical cancer?  Cervical cancer is when cells with damaged DNA begin to grow and reproduce abnormally in the area of the cervix, which is located between the uterus and the vagina in women.  It most often starts in what is called the transformation zone, which is where the type of cells shift from glandular cells (in the part closest to the uterus) to squamous cells (in the part closest to the vagina), according to the American Cancer Society. What causes cervical cancer?  The main factors associated with cervical cancer are: Infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) Smoking Suppressed immune system Chlamydia infection Poor diet Obesity Long-term use of oral contraceptives (“the pill”) Having 3 or more full-term pregnancies Family history What are the symptoms to look for? Abnormal bleeding Abnormal discharge Pain during intercourse Can it be prevented?  The best way to prevent cervical cancer is to have regular Pap tests (Pap smear) and to avoid and be regularly tested for HPV (which is an extremely common infection), according to the American Cancer Society. HPV vaccines are also available, and can reduce your risks of developing cervical cancers or pre-cancers.  Not smoking will also reduce risk. How is it treated?  It can be treated by surgery alone, surgery in conjunction with radiation, radiation alone, radiation along with chemotherapy, chemotherapy alone, or targeted chemotherapy. If you have any other questions...