Don't Sweat the Prep of a Colorectal Exam

March 06, 2018

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and there’s no better time to get screened. With only one in three adults ages 50 to 75 getting screened for colorectal cancer, we want you to stay on top of your health! Your colon and rectum are important parts of your digestive system, as they help absorb water and nutrients from the foods you put in your body.

Early colorectal cancer may not show any initial symptoms, but finding and removing precancerous cells can stop colorectal cancer in its tracks before it starts. The two most common ways to get screened for colorectal cancer are through a FIT kit (stool test) or a colonoscopy:

  • FIT kit (stool test): An annual test that can easily be done at home to test your stool for blood. You can either drop off the test at AltaMed or mail it to the lab for free. This test is simple and requires no preparation such as drinking fluids or taking medication. Ask your provider for an at-home test today!
     
  • Colonoscopy: An exam that looks at your colon and rectum with a small camera to check for early signs of cancer. This must be done at a hospital or specialist’s office and should be done every 10 years, starting at the age of 50.

Why is it important to get proactive about your health?

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.
     
  • 90 percent of new cases of colorectal cancer occur in adults age 50 or older.
     
  • It’s estimated that 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.
     
  • Screening tests can often help identify colorectal cancer at an early and curable stage. When found early (stage I), 92 percent of people with colorectal cancer survive with the right treatment.
     
  • Screening tests are often covered by insurance. No insurance? You may be able to get screened at a low cost.

Put your health first and call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment with your provider today! If you’ve recently had an exam, schedule some time with us to discuss your results and individual risk factors.

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Don’t Let Fear Get in the Way of Your Health

March 01, 2017

Ask yourself this: Would you rather risk having a life-threatening cancer or undergo a simple procedure? The answer seems rather obvious, doesn’t it? Despite this basic truth, only one in three adults are actually getting screened for colon cancer, which, when discovered early, is highly treatable. 

Cancer of the colon or rectum is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death, taking more than 50,000 lives per year. Here’s the good news—there are currently more than one million survivors living today thanks to tests such as a colonoscopy, a simple and safe procedure that only needs to be done every 10 years. There is also a stool test which can be done at home and mailed to our lab or dropped off at your AltaMed location. It’s that easy. Check with your provider to see which one is best for you.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 140,000 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed a year. Because its physical symptoms are often silent, many of these individuals were completely unaware of the changes taking place in their bodies. That’s why screenings that can detect polyps are essential. You should contact your primary care physician immediately, however, if you experience persistent stomach pains, aches and cramps, unexplained weight loss or blood in your stool. 

Six out of 10 deaths could be prevented with proper testing, so pay attention to the following risk factors and talk to your PCP to see if it’s time for you to get screened: 

  • 50 years of age or older (90 percent of cases)
  • Family history of polyps or colon cancer
  • Diet high in red meat and fat, low in calcium, folate and fiber, and low in fruits and vegetables
  • Inactive lifestyle (daily physical active can reduce risk by 5 percent)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

We're Here to Help Get You Through the Flu Season

January 30, 2018

Flu season is more severe than in years past and unfortunately, it started earlier than expected. More patients are also being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

With flu symptoms spreading throughout California at a faster pace, AltaMed wants to ensure that our patients are protected against the flu virus. It’s important to take these steps to ensure you stay healthy and avoid the spread of disease:

  • If you haven’t received the flu vaccine, go to your nearest AltaMed location and get a flu shot.
     
  • If you are feeling sick or have been diagnosed with the flu, stay home from work or school to avoid the spread of disease.
     
  • Wash your hands consistently throughout the day, especially if you come in close contact with someone who is feeling under the weather.
     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth after touching something that may be contaminated with germs.
     
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces at home or at work, especially if someone is sick.
     
  • Get plenty of sleep, drink a lot of hydrating fluids like water and tea and be sure to eat nutritious food to help protect your immune system.

If you believe you have the flu, come to one of our Urgent Care locations to be seen by a provider who can help manage your symptoms. For more helpful information about the flu, click here.