Breast Cancer Awareness

Hearts Beat Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

With the color pink symbolizing hope and awareness throughout the country, it’s important that women are proactive rather than reactive when it comes to their health. AltaMed wants to help women understand that the best protection is early detection when it comes to breast cancer. At age 50, it is recommended that women receive their mammogram (an x-ray of the breast) every two years.

Many women don’t understand the significance of mammograms and how they can potentially save lives. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, mammograms correctly identify about 87 percent of breast cancer cases, which means there is an opportunity to catch breast cancer in its early stages when it can be easier to treat.

Though there is no way to prevent breast cancer, there are things that can be done that may lower your risk, according the American Cancer Society:

  • Stay Healthy: Increased weight gain as an adult is linked with a higher risk of breast cancer after menopause. It’s recommended to stay at a healthy weight throughout your life and avoid excess weight gain by balancing your food intake and participating in physical activity.
  • Be physically active: Many studies have shown that physical activity lowers the risk of breast cancer, so it’s important to get up and exercise. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity activity (or a combination of both) each week.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol: Alcohol also increases risk of breast cancer. Women who drink should have no more than one alcoholic beverage a day. One drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
  • Other factors that might lower risk: Women who are new mothers and choose to breastfeed for at least several months may also get an added benefit of reducing their breast cancer risk.

Think Pink is honored in the month of October, but can be honored all year long! At AltaMed, we want to ensure that our patients have the proper care and education to fully understand the potential risks of not being proactive with their health. For the month of October, you’ll be seeing quite a bit of pink at our medical offices and we will be offering free AltaMed gift bags to women who complete their mammograms at one of our locations. To learn more or schedule a mammogram today, please call (888) 499-9303!

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Breastfeeding Awareness

Breastfeeding: Keeping Your Newborn Happy and Healthy

Preparing for the birth of your child is an exciting time. From picking out a wardrobe for your new bundle of joy to decorating the nursery, expecting mothers have a lot of new experiences and decisions coming their way! One of the most important decisions you will make as a mother is what to feed your baby – starting with whether or not to breastfeed.

Many mothers may find it difficult to breastfeed, but breastfeeding is very important for your child’s health and well-being. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk provides newborns with a combination of antibodies, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients for the baby’s health and cognitive and physical development.

Additionally, studies have shown that breast milk:

  • Helps protect infants from allergies, diseases and infections
  • Is easily digestible for infants
  • Protects your child from obesity

Not only is breastfeeding beneficial for infants, but it also provides health benefits for mothers, too! Studies show that mothers who breastfeed, recover from childbirth quicker than most mothers who choose not to breastfeed.

Additional health benefits for mothers can include:

  • Losing pregnancy weight faster
  • Reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Here at AltaMed, we provide support groups for new and expecting mothers. The best part of this service is that you don’t need to be a patient to join our classes or groups – so, your friends and family are more than welcome to join you! This course will help answer questions such as, “How will I know my baby is getting enough milk?” and “Why is correct positioning so important?” It will also dispel some of the myths that may keep some moms from breastfeeding.

We have seven locations between Los Angeles and Orange Counties that offer lactation support groups to help mothers learn the correct way to breastfeed and help them overcome any problems they may encounter. Mothers who attend will receive a breastfeeding starter kit to help with any needs at home.

For more details on how to join one of our lactation support groups or to schedule a lactation consultation, call (888) 499-9303 or click here for more details. We want to ensure our new and expecting mothers have all the tools and information they need for a happy and healthy baby.

Dont Let Fear Get In The Way of Your Health Colorectal

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

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

Hearts Beat Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month