Tag Archives: boys

HPV & Cervical Health Awareness Month

Cervical Health Awareness Month 2016

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. How much do you really know about preventing this cancer? Take this quiz to find out.

Cervical Cancer Quiz

 

Get the facts about cervical cancer, like the risks, symptoms, and prevention.

Cervical Health

 

Lower your risk of getting HPV, the most common sexually transmitted disease. Find out how.

HPV is a very common infection that can affect both sexes. Find out how HPV affects men.

Prevent HPV

 

Ask your child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine! Both boys and girls need it at age 11 or 12.

Falling Back Into School

 

You can help prevent cervical cancer by getting regular screenings, called Pap tests, and follow-up care.

Cervical Screenings Infographic

 

Think cervical cancer could never happen to you? This young woman’s podcast talks about what happens when it does.

What Happens When It Does

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Team Up for Greatness

Vantage Point: To Be A Star

There is a patch of I-5 South, just as you turn the bend, where The Tacoma Dome comes into view, and the sight always makes my heart jump into my throat. Opened in 1983, The Dome has hosted major concerts, professional sports competitions, and events. Most importantly for me, it’s also the place where Washington state high school athletes compete at the championship level.

My boys got to experience the honor of standing up among their peers as a part of a team of excellence on December 7, 2008, when Cashmere won the 1A High School Football State Championship. It’s a memory that I, and most of the town, which filled one whole side of the dome, will never forget.

This accomplishment started with the players, who had been honing their skills since grade school. It also took a school backing them with quality equipment and coaching, a town believing in them, and parents dedicated to supporting their goals. The second-string players, who only got a few seconds on the field that day, were just as important as the starters. In practice, they were the ones who helped the starters sharpen their skills. To say the least, they were all stars that day.

I am fortunate in my professional work to also be part of an amazing team. A team, which I say with great pride, whose Washington Medicare plans just earned 4.5 out of 5 stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.*

These Star Ratings measure more than just customer service. They also measure help managing chronic conditions, member complaints, working with providers to help members stay healthy, and members’ overall experience with the plan.

This achievement means a lot. It validates our efforts at Health Alliance and lets us know we are taking good care of our members. But just like a championship football team, we respect this is not an individual endeavor, and we appreciate all of you for sharing access to your resources and welcoming us into your communities. There is no way we could have accomplished this without your support and collaboration. As we share this esteemed recognition with you, please know, we sincerely count you as a member of our team, and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Shannon Sims is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. She has four sons and two grandsons. During her time off, she performs as part of a rodeo drill team on her horse, Skeeter.

 

*Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star Rating System. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.

HPV Vaccine for Back-to-School

Protect Your Kids From Cancer This Back-to-School Season

In 2015, about 12,900 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society. And about 4,100 women will die from their cervical cancer this year.

But you can help save your daughters from this fate by making sure they get the HPV vaccine.

HPV and Cancer

HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and it causes many health problems. In fact, nearly all sexually active adults will get it at some point in their lives, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are many different types of the virus, and while some may cause no problems and go away, others cause warts, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oral cancer in women or men.

In fact, the HPV infection causes 5% of all cancers worldwide, and 10,000 Americans die from cancers caused by HPV each year, according to The New York Times. And 14 million new cases of HPV are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

HPV can cause cancer years or even decades after you first get HPV and can be spread to others that whole time, even when you have no symptoms. There is no way to know which people with HPV will develop cancer and other problems.

Debunking Concerns About the HPV Vaccine

The vaccine targets the kinds of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer. Gardasil also protects against the kind that causes warts. And just this year in March, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC approved a new version of the vaccine that protects against 9 different strains of HPV.

While the vaccine can literally prevent cancer and has been proven highly effective, its use isn’t as widespread as the virus it protects against.

Some worry about the safety of the vaccine. It is fully endorsed by the FDA and CDC, which continue to closely monitor the vaccine’s safety. And it has very mild side effects, such as:

• Arm pain or redness where the shot was given
• Dizziness
• Fainting
• Nausea
• Headache

When the side effects of HPV are cancer, these seem like a minor risk to protect your kids’ futures.

Others have worried that the vaccine will promote sexual behavior, especially unsafe behavior. But as this U.S. News article discusses, a study from early this year shows that the vaccine hasn’t influenced these behaviors in women.

Protecting Your Kids

The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and highly recommended by your doctors. The HPV vaccine is just as important for your kids as vaccines that protect against diseases like mumps and measles.

The vaccine is a series of 3 shots recommended for girls AND boys between the ages of 11 and 12 but can be given anytime between the ages of 9 and 26. However, the earlier they get it, the more likely they are to be protected.

Talk to your doctor about giving your kids the HPV vaccine during back-to-school checkups and sports physicals this year. When cancer is on the line, protecting your kids now is always the best plan.

 

Health Alliance covers HPV vaccinations.

ADHD - Like Changing Channels

Can Adults Have ADHD?

Remember that boy in second grade? The one who couldn’t sit still? Who the teacher was always disciplining for not listening and distracting others? Chances are, he had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

If so, chances are also good that ADHD is still a part of his everyday life.

Most people don’t outgrow ADHD. The good news? Once the disorder’s been recognized and treated, adults can learn to adapt. When managed with the appropriate combo of meds, therapy, education, and support, adults lead productive and successful lives.

Doctors once thought that ADHD only affected children, and boys, twice as much as girls. Now, we know that its symptoms continue into adulthood for about 60% of those kids. That’s about 4% of the U.S. adult population, or 8 million adults. Because ADHD is likely a genetic, inherited disorder, adults are often diagnosed when their son or daughter is.

You may have been un-diagnosed as a kid if:

  • School report cards showed comments about behavior problems, poor focus, lack of effort, or underachievement.
  • Teachers brought up behavioral issues with your parents.
  • You had problems with peers, bed wetting, school failure, or suspensions.

ADHD affects the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain which lets us control thoughts and actions. Its symptoms include being:

    • Easily distracted
    • Forgetful
    • Disorganized
    • Restless
    • Reckless
    • Careless

And these symptoms can cause further struggles, like:

  • Lateness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Anger problems
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Impulsiveness
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Procrastination
  • Frustration
  • Boredom
  • Trouble concentrating with reading and listening

Adults with untreated ADHD have trouble following directions, planning ahead, and finishing work on deadline. When not managed, this can lead to job loss and unhealthy relationships.

Talk to your doctor today if you think you or your child have ADHD.