Is That Mole Benign Or Cancerous? Skin Cancer Investigated

Doctor checking for skin cancerThis July is National UV Safety Month, so with that in mind it’s a good time to educate ourselves on how to properly identify signs of skin cancer on the body. There are many free health resources online where you can gather information on this topic. Of course it’s always best to see a doctor if you’re concerned about a lesion, but knowing how to perform a proper self-check can help you make that initial decision to see a doctor for further investigation. One of the most important factors impacting your ability to catch skin cancer early is whether one can identify the signs and symptoms. These three pieces of advice can help:

Survey Your Skin Every Day

Before going into the shower or bath, look over all of your skin in the mirror. It only takes about two minutes, but many people don’t bother to do so. By checking for abnormal growths, you’re helping yourself catch cancer early. And since all cancers are significantly more treatable when diagnosed early-stage, this could end up saving your life.  Often skin cancers in odd areas (armpit, groin, etc) aren’t caught until too late, because people aren’t used to checking their skin in these areas. You should also make sure to schedule an annual dermatologist check-up, to make sure there isn’t anything you miss. This is covered by insurance, and only takes 5-10 minutes.

Follow the ABCDE Rule

The “ABCDE rule” is an acronym describing five common traits of a cancerous lesion:

A) Asymmetry
B) Border
C) Color
D) Diameter
E) Evolving

A benign skin lesion is unlikely to have these traits, so if you’re tracking a mole on your body and any of these surface, it’s important to see a dermatologist. The ABCDE traits are more commonly found in melanomas than in less harmful types of skin cancer like basal cell carcinoma.

Get a Second Opinion When Diagnosed

If you do get diagnosed with any form of skin cancer by a licensed medical professional, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion from another doctor in the same field. Skin cancer is especially likely to be misdiagnosed, given that different lesions often resemble one another. Even biopsies can yield a flawed result if the wrong part of the lesion is removed.

Since misdiagnosis are often incredibly costly and inconvenient , it’s worth the extra co-pay to have someone else check your skin out. There’s an upwards of 40% chance that the initial diagnosis was wrong for skin cancer.

Clearly the foundation for good skin health is regular self-checkups. But after that point you’ll have to trust professionals to do their job and give you an accurate diagnosis. Do your best to avoid skin cancer entirely by liberally using sunscreen and protective clothing, but if you do end up going to the doctor make sure to be ready to see another one to confirm the findings.

Post contributed by Cal Cook at ConsumerSafety.org

How to Transition From Part-Time Caregiver to Full-Time Caregiver

Article Courtesy of Kristen HellerThe Transitioning Caregiver

Taking care of a loved one is a job that is not to be taken lightly. For some, caring for their aging parents is an honor; while others may see the responsibility as a burden on their adult lives. This responsibility can come on quickly due to an accident or injury; but in many cases, caregiving can come on gradually as parents become less mobile and dependent on other people. If you find yourself spending more and more time caring for your aging parents and believe that full-time care is just around the corner, here are some ways to help you transition from part-time to full-time caregiver so that you can make the most of your time with your parents.

Review Your Routine

While your current caregiving situation might mean that you “pop in” to see mom or dad on the weekends, clean the house, and prepare some meals for the week, you might want to start adding additional time here and there. Rather than thrust yourself into a full-time caregiver, allow yourself some time to acclimatize to the changes that are coming and start slow. Start dropping in to see your parents a few times a week, spread out throughout the week. Change it up a bit with drop-ins at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, weekdays and weekends. This way, you’ll start creating space in your schedule for a new routine down the road.

Put Some Money Away

Taking care of a loved one is time consuming – it is time away from your job and perhaps even your own family. Because caring for a parent can quickly become a full-time job even before you intended it to be that way, it’s a good idea to start putting some money away now to help you cover your cost of living when you transition from part-time caregiver to a full-time caregiver. This is especially important if you parents don’t have savings or if they have no real means of paying for care to see them into their late years. However, if you do your homework before taking on the role of caregiver, you’ll find many programs, such as CDPAP, which are designed to help cover the cost of caregiving for seniors. You can get paid as a full-time caregiver with programs like this, so it’s best to research them early on in preparation for full-time care.

Keep Something for Yourself

If you find yourself having to give up your part-time or full-time job to start caring for your aging parents or family members, it is important to ensure that you continue to maintain some form of self-care so that you can stay healthy. After all, you cannot care for someone if you are sick. It’s important to remember to take time for your life. Make time to have coffee with friends, even if it’s just once a week. This way you’ll have a routine of your own and will be able to step outside the house to get breaks when you need them. Create a morning and bedtime routine for yourself that allows you some time to focus on your needs so that you can provide full-time care for your family when the time comes.
Plan for Backup

Despite your best intentions to provide full-time care for your aging parents, you will need some backup from time to time. For instance, you need to buy groceries, run errands, get a haircut, visit friends, go to your own doctor’s appointments, and so on. So it will be a good idea to speak to other family members, or maybe even neighbors to ensure that when you can’t be there, or you need a much-needed break. Speak with them about routines, schedules, and times when you might need a day off. You may need to offer payment to some people when they fill in for you so be sure to plan for that as well.

Start Slowly

When it comes time to make the move from part-time to full-time caregiver, gradually increase the number of days you spend a week looking after your loved one. Give yourself plenty of lead time to be able to take on the full-time responsibility. As for your existing job, you may be able to take leave in order to care for your parents, so be sure to discuss it with your employer and give plenty of notice to cover for your position while you are away.

Kristen Heller is a passionate writer, teacher, and mother to a wonderful son. When free time presents itself, you can find her tackling her lifelong goal of learning the piano.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is Battling Parkinson’s Disease

Credits: Associated Press (AP)/Matt Rourke
 

Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell revealed that he is battling Parksinson’s disease. He encouraged people who suspect they have symptoms to get diagnosed and treatment early. On Monday (June 18, 2018), Rendell made the announcement regarding his condition at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, He was accompanied by doctors and officials from the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is Battling Parkinson’s Disease

Are Your Elderly Parents Keeping Any Secrets?

10 Common Secrets Kept by Aging Parents

Secrets That Elderly Parents Keep From Their Family

Most seniors pride themselves on being independent.  They spent most of their lives not only taking care of themselves, but also raising their own children.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that they may want to keep things private if they feel it will show their vulnerabilities.  Maybe they are not as organized, becoming forgetful, or even more serious things.

It can be difficult to ask for help, not to mention the lingering fear of being declared incapable of caring for yourself by your family.  No one wants to have their driving privileges  taken away, or even worse… be taken away from their home and forced into assisted living or a nursing facility.  As a result, seniors might think it harmless or in their best interest to downplay the severity of a situation or simply omit the situation all together.

Read the full article (10 Secrets that Aging Parents Keep) by AgingCare.com, which provides some of the most common “intentional omissions” that seniors might not disclose to their family members.

Source: 10 Secrets that Aging Parents Keep 

How a Primary Care Physician can Benefit Seniors

There are plenty of senior health articles to be found on the internet; however, rarely is the importance of coordinating senior healthcare ever brought up.

As seniors age, they will have many more doctors appointments with specialists, testing, and various other office visits related to vision, hearing, screenings, and more.  If there are underlying medical issues, the time spent at doctors offices will be even greater.

In order to help aging patients and their caregivers save time by not duplicating efforts, it is highly beneficial to have a “Primary Care Physician” as a central point of contact for all medical care.  This could be your local general physician or a geriatric doctor, many of which can make home visits.   The Primary Care Physician will coordinate all healthcare efforts for the aging patient.  By having this central point of contact, this primary care physician will know and understand all of the aging patient’s medical issues, testing that has been done, medications prescribed, and general well being, allowing them to better evaluate the appropriate medical care for the patient as a whole.  In addition, they can often help with prescribing appropriate medical equipment to assist the aging patient at home. Knowing the full details of the patient’s medical history will allow proper care and avoid unnecessary tests, treatments, medications, and office visits.

For example, if you went to a specialist for each condition separately, their staff will only know the medical details you provide to them.  By coordinating care through your primary care physician, you may still need to see specialists for various medical issues, but if tests are needed that may have already been done by a previous specialist, this will be known by your primary care physician and test results can be shared.

KYRSTEN MASSA PHOTO Shelter Island’s Dr. Nathanael Desire

KYRSTEN MASSA PHOTO Shelter Island’s Dr. Nathanael Desire

In general, it is a good idea to keep your Primary Care Physician not only in the loop, but as the main point of contact for all medical issues, so he/she can provide the most appropriate care based on the individual as a whole.

Read the source of inspiration for this article at “Doctors offer advice for the aging patient and their caregivers”

Source:  Julie Lane @ Shelter Island Reporter

Famous Women Touched by Alzheimer’s

A Tribute to International Women’s Day (March 8, 2018)

For many of us, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can sometimes feel very isolating.  You may be reluctant to share your feelings and experiences with co-workers or others in your social circles as they may have difficulty understanding and relating to what you are going through.  Well, you are not alone.

Since an estimated 66% of all caregivers are women [as of February 2015]¹, on International Women’s Day, I’d like the take the opportunity to share with you a list of famous women who have had their lives impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease.  This disease does not discriminate and affects families of all races, religions, cultures, and socio-economic status.

“More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, most over the age of 65. But with the increase in life expectancy, that number is expected to triple to nearly 16 million by 2050” [Alzheimer’s Association²]. It takes courage, patience, time, and a lot of resources to care for a loved one battling Alzheimer’s Disease and it can be very emotional and stressful to watch your loved one succumb to the symptoms of this disease.  I am very grateful that these brave women have shared their experiences publicly, bringing about awareness and advocating for a cure.

FAMOUS WOMEN CAREGIVERS AND ADVOCATES FOR ALZHEIMER’S

Maria Shriver  helped care for her father, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and has become a champion of Alzheimer’s Caregivers. Her journalism career began with KYW-TV in Philadelphia, PA, but she soon moved up to the National News. The former First Lady of California has been a lifelong advocate for people with intellectual disabilities and co-authored an Alzheimer’s study in 2010 with the Alzheimer’s Association.  She has also recently founded the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement to help raise awareness and funds to figure out why women are disproportionately impacted by this devastating disease.


Leeza Gibbons cared for her mother, Gloria Jean Gibbons, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and passed away in May 2008, at the age of 72. She is an Emmy-winning television personality, who put her career on hold to care for her mother.  As a promise to her mother to “tell her story and make it count”, in 2002 she founded the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foudationdedicated to improving Alzheimer’s care and finding a cure.


Kim Cambell with Husband, Glen Cambell

Photo: CARELIVING

 

Kim Cambell cared for her husband, famous country/pop star Glen Cambell, whose diagnosis with Alzheimer’s was made in 2011. In honor of her husband, she made it her mission to improve the quality of life for people with Dementia and their caregivers by co-founding the I’ll Be Me Alzheimer’s Fund. In 2016, she launched CareLivinga lifestyle guide and social movement to support and advocate for caregivers, and to encourage them to care for themselves while caring for others. Glen lost his battle with Alzheimer’s in August 2017.

 


 

Marcia Gay Harden  helps take care of her mother, Beverly Bushfield Harden, who has diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 9 year ago.  The Oscar-winning actress is best known for her roles in Law & Order SVU, Mystic River, Angels in America, The NewsroomShe mentioned that before her mother’s diagnosis, she noticed small signs indicating something may be wrong. In an effort to bring about awareness to this issue, she joined forces with the Notes to Remember campaign, a resource to help caregiver better recognize the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. You can also follow her on Facebook.

 


 

Nancy Reagan cared for her husband, former President Ronald Reagan, for 10 years while he struggled with Alzheimer’s and eventually passed away in 2004 at the age of 93.  Nancy Reagan was a Hollywood actress, prior to becoming the first lady of the United States. She was a passionate advocate for Alzheimer’s disease awareness and education with a special emphasis on advancing research. Nancy Reagan was born in New York City and passed away at her home in Los Angeles, CA on March 6, 2016. She was 94.

 


Kimberly Williams Paisley  “Known for her role as Annie Banks in the 1991 Steve Martin film “Father of the Bride”, the television series “Nashville” and wife of country music superstar Brad Paisley, Kimberly Williams-Paisley is the author of “Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again,” which chronicles her mother Linda’s battle with Alzheimer’s.”  Her mother passed away in November 2016 at the age of 73. [Source: Alz.org]


Princess Yasmin Aga Khan cared for her mother, Rita Hayworth, during the end stages of her battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. “Yasmin is a member of the Board of Directors serving as Honorary Vice Chair of the Alzheimer’s Association since 1981, which is headquartered in Chicago. She is the General Chair of the Rita Hayworth Gala’s which are held annually in New York and Chicago and the newly added Dallas Gala. Since their inception in 1984 she has helped to raise over $53 million for Alzheimer care, research and support. The Alzheimer’s Association has awarded more than $265 million in research grants since 1982. Yasmin is internationally recognized for her advocacy work promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease. She was also a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association.” [Source: Huffpost]


 

Amy Grant  “The country singer’s father, Burton Grant, has debilitating dementia. She’s said that she and her three sisters are a caregiving team. “My advice to every family going through this is to talk honestly with each other.”  [Source: AARP]

 

 


 

 

Liz Hernandez  “The Access Hollywood host’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and now needs 24-hour care. Hernandez, an advocate for Alzheimer’s patients, has said that she or another family member checks in with her mom every day.” [Source: AARP]

 


 

Hillary Clinton was a caregiver for her mother, Dorothy Rodham, during an illness until she passes away in 2011 at the age of 92. Her mother’s illness was kept private and it’s not known if she was affected by Alzheimer’s. However, the former Senator of New York, Secretary of State, and First Lady of the United States has been a long-time advocate of family caregivers and supported several pieces of proposed legislation to improve benefits for home care and significantly increase research funding for Alzheimer’s Disease.


FAMOUS WOMEN WHO BATTLED ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women².  I would also like to recognize some famous women who battled Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease during the course of their lives.  These are well known public figures and celebrities who have touched the hearts and minds of millions and will always be remembered.  May they rest in peace.


Rita Hayworth

RITA HAYWORTH,  (Photo: Sony Pictures Musuem)

Rita Hayworth (October 17, 1918 – May 14, 1987) achieved fame during the 1940s as one of the era’s top stars, appearing in a total of 61 films over 37 years Before her diagnosis, the media accused her of being a drunk due to the confusion, outbursts, paranoia and all that goes along with the disease. Alzheimer’s was virtually unheard of and very little was known about the disease in these times.  It is believed that she had been living with the disease for decades before a proper diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was made in 1980.  Her daughter (Princess Yasmin Aga Khan – mentioned above) was her caregiver and is a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association. Rita Hayworth passed away in her Central Park West apartment in Manhattan at the age of 68.


Rosa Parks

ROSA PARKS, (Photo: Academy of Achievement)

Rosa Parks  (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was a civil rights pioneer known as the “Mother of the Freedom Movement”. She was a major spark of the American civil rights movement when she was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat on  December 1, 1955. She co-founded the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation, assisted in many other organizations, and published an autobiography. Rosa was diagnosed with Dementia in 2004 and died the following year at the age of 92.


Margaret Thatcher

MARGARET THATCHER, (Photo: CBS News World)

Margaret Thatcher (October 13, 1925 – April 8, 2013), the former prime minister of Great Britain, was one of the most commanding figures of the 20th Century.  The publicizing of her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s in her daughter’s memoir was shunned by the media across Britain.  Which is important to mention, because it’s this negative attitude that “underscores the shame many feel about the consequences of dementia, especially when it strikes the most intellectually powerful“.  The devastating illness ultimately contributed to her death in 2013 at age 87.


Arlene Francis

ARLENE FRANCIS, (Photo: Valerie J Nelson / Los Angeles Times)

Arlene Francis (October 20, 1907 – May 31, 2001)  was an American actress, radio and television talk show host, and game show panelist. She is known for her long-standing role as a panelist on the television game show What’s My Line?, on which she regularly appeared for 25 years, from 1950 through the mid-1970s.” Arlene died in San Francisco, California, from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer at the age of 93.


Geraldine Fitzgerald

GERALDINE FITZGERALD, (Photo: Valerie J Nelson / Los Angeles Times)

Geraldine Fitzgerald (November 24, 1913 – July 17, 2005) began as a stage actress in 1932 and is best known for her vivid portrayals of strong-willed and sometimes troubled women in such Hollywood classics as “Dark Victory” and “Wuthering HeightsGeraldine passed away in New York City on July 17, 2005 after a long 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 91.  [Source: NYDailyNews]


Marian Mercer

MARIAN MERCER, (Photo: Elaine Woo / Los Angeles Times)

Marian Mercer (November 26, 1935 – April 27, 2011) was an American actress and singer whose five-decade career on film, TV and the stage included a 1969 Tony Award-winning performance in the original production of the musical “Promises, Promises”.  She died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease in Newbury Park, CA at the age of 75.  [Source:The Hollywood Reporter]


Evelyn Keyes

EVELYN KEYES, (Photo: MUBI)

Evelyn Keyes (November 20, 1916 – July 4, 2008) was an American film actress who was best known for her role as Scarlett O’Hara’s sister in the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind”. She was also a writer and published a Hollywood-themed novel in her later years. Her memoirs in 1977 and 1991 kept her in the lime light right up until the end. After onset of Alzheimer’s disease in her later years, she eventually died in Montecito, California on July 4th at the age of 91 from uterine cancer.


Pauline Esther Phillips

PAULINE ESTHER “POPO” PHILLIPS, (Photo: Lloyd Vries / CBS News)

Pauline Esther “Popo” Phillips, (July 4, 1918 – January 16, 2013) battled Alzheimer’s Disease for 11 years before she passed away at the age of 94.  Pauline’s writing career took off when she became the columnist famously known as Dear Abby back in January 1956.  During her decades writing the column , it became the most widely syndicated newspaper column in the world, syndicated in 1,400 newspapers with 110 million readers. She had an identical twin, who was also a famous columnist known as Ann Landers.


I’m sure there are many more famous women who have been touched by Alzheimer’s and deserve recognition, so if there’s anyone you would like to share in either of these lists, please feel free to leave your comments.

REFERENCES

1 Family Caregiver Alliance. Women and Caregiving: Facts and Figures

² Alzheimer’s Association. 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

How to Challenge a Nursing Home Eviction Notice

Nursing Home Residents - Eviction Rights          Do you know your rights when it comes to eviction from a nursing home?  “With better-paying Medicare coverage ending and being replaced by Medicaid“, evictions from nursing homes seem to be on the rise.  However, there are procedures that must be followed and rights that you have as a current resident.  This informative article posted by the New York Times includes an easy to read list of guidelines that must be followed by all registered nursing homes according to federal law.  Since most residents may be unaware of their rights, I am sharing this article in the hopes that it can help those who are or may be threatened with transfer or eviction.

Read the Article Here...How to Challenge a Nursing Home Eviction Notice, other Tips

Source: Tara Siegel Bernard and Robert PearThe New York Times

Could an existing drug halt Parkinson’s disease?

Researchers are consistently searching for ways to reverse or eliminate the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.  While no cure has been discovered yet, a new Parkinson’s study published in the journal Neuron, found that a current drug on the market and approved by the FDA for treating a rare genetic disorder “may reduce toxic protein clusters –  which are a hallmark of Parkinson’s Disease”.   Read the Full Article…

Source:  / Medical News Today

6 Insider Tips to Help You Plan for a Hospital Stay

Hospital stays for seniors and the elderly can bring upon feelings of anxiety and fear for the patient and the caregiver.  This does not have to be the case!  If you are informed and prepared, it will make the process much more bearable.  The best way to help alleviate your concerns is to have a good plan in place.

Home Care Assistance outlines six tips to help out with planning for your hospital stay.  The article covers important areas of what to expect before you go in for a procedure or surgery, how to make your stay a little more comfortable while you are there, and how to prepare for after care once discharged.

Read all 6 tips for Planning Your Hospital Stay…

Source:  Crsytal Jo / Home Care Assistance

Could scientists be one step closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s?  

Before and after images of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice

Before and after images of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice.
Courtesy: Medicalxpress / Rockefeller University Press

Researchers successfully reverse Alzheimer’s disease in mouse model

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have made a recent breakthrough in which they were able to completely reverse the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice, thereby reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on brain function.

With so many suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and its devastating effects on cognitive abilities, this new study brings great hope for those that are affected by this disease and their families.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Source: Medicalxpress  (Author: Rockefeller University Press posted on 02/14/2018)