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It’s not just girl talk: Including men in breast cancer genetic counseling

men and breast cancer genetic counselingThere is no question that breast cancer disproportionately affects women – but we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the risk to men. As we continue to learn more about the ways our genes influence our cancer risk, involvement of male relatives in genetic counseling and genetic testing can provide important information for your family’s breast cancer risk evaluation. So why are men often forgotten?

Myth One: Men don’t carry mutations in breast cancer genes.

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Are you ready? Back to school tips for parents

Back to school tips for parentsAs the lazy, hazy days of summer wind down, many parents (and some children) are ready to get back to the routine of the school year. That routine is one of the key ingredients of a successful back-to-school experience.  Try out these back to school tips to make your adjustment back into the school year routine a smoother one.

Bedtime

After a summer of what was most likely a fluctuating bed time, reintroducing the school-night bedtime can be a challenge. It’s easiest if you gradually work back into it instead of waiting until the night before the first day. About a week before school starts, gradually start moving bedtime closer to what it will be during the school year. Move it up 20 or 30 minutes every evening until you’re back on track. Also start re-establishing a bedtime routine — bath/shower, brushing teeth, reading, etc. Whatever your school year routine is, get started with that now.

Wake Up

What’s your typical morning routine? If your child uses an alarm clock, start setting that now and gradually work into the time he or she will have to wake for school. If you are your child’s alarm clock, do the same thing and start waking him or her up earlier about a week before school starts so day one isn’t made more difficult by a sleepy student.
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Do women have access to breast reconstruction?

Doctor holding X-ray film and woman in pink braFewer than half of women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer have breast reconstruction. A new study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center finds 42% of women who were surveyed had breast reconstruction.

The study, published in JAMA Surgery, looked at 485 women treated with mastectomy for breast cancer, following up with them an average of four years after their diagnosis.

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Six heart-healthy seeds

Boost your heart health with these nutrition-packed seeds

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Seeds provide a variety of nutrients that are good for your heart.

Seeds are packed with nutrients. In their most natural form, seeds are tiny embryonic plants inside of a shell. Besides a little sun, water and TLC, seeds contain all of the nutrients they need to grow. The outer layer is packed with minerals, vitamins, and plant-based chemical compounds known as phytochemicals, while the endosperm is filled with high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates and heart-healthy fats. This makes them a wonderful addition to our well-balanced diet! So the question is, which heart-healthy seeds should you choose?

Variety is key. All seeds provide protein and fiber, but each type of seed has something special it brings to the table. Consider incorporating some of these seeds into your diet: Continue reading

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Advantages of warfarin and Coumadin alternatives

All drugs have both advantages & drawbacks based on individual medical needs

Anticoagulants like Coumadin or Jantoven are prescribed to prevent the formation of blood clots.

Three new drugs were recently approved as warfarin and Coumadin alternatives.

Up until recently, when physicians treated patients for thromboembolism (blood clots) or patients who might be at risk for the development of a blood clot, the only oral drug available was warfarin. Warfarin (brand names Coumadin or Jantoven) has been around for years, and when used appropriately is a safe treatment plan for reducing the risk of stroke and blood clots. Like any medication, there are always potential side effects or risks. Also, like any medication, those risks are weighed against its potential benefits, thereby allowing a treating physician to make the most appropriate treatment plan for an individual patient.

Warfarin drawbacks

There are four main drawbacks to taking Coumadin or Jantoven:

  1. Regular blood draws are required to be sure the right dose is being administered (every patient’s dose is specific to their body’s response to the drug).
  2. There are many potential drug interactions with warfarin that may lead to either an increase or decrease in its blood levels.
  3. All the cruciferous vegetables (those foods high in Vitamin K, such as cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli) counteract warfarin, making dietary guidelines for anticoagulants very important.
  4. There is a narrow therapeutic index for warfarin, which, in some patients, may lead to very difficult warfarin dosing. If the blood level is too low it will not be effective and if it is too high, there is an increased chance of bleeding.

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Do you want to know about financial ties your doctor may have with drug and medical device companies?

Sunshine Act surveyA new federal law requires that financial relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical (drug) or medical device companies be shared with the public on a government website.

Anyone will be able to use this website to see if their doctor has received such payments or other transfers of value.

This law is officially called the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program” or “Open Payments.” It is part of the Affordable Care Act. It is most often referred to as the “Sunshine Act.”

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