Throat cancer: one of many head and neck cancers

Throat cancers are included under the larger canopy of head and neck cancer. Here are the facts about throat cancer risk:

Susan Daron, RN, BSN, OCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Susan Daron, RN, BSN, OCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

  • Throat cancer is more common in men than women
  • It occurs most often in people over the age of 50
  • Use of tobacco and alcohol

The National Cancer Institute estimates at least 75% of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use. In fact, people who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone.

Another risk factor for throat cancer is human papilloma virus, or HPV infection. Although there are more than 100 types of this virus, one type in particular, HPV 16, is linked to throat cancer. It can be spread via open mouth kissing and oral sex.  According to the American Cancer Society, most people with HPV infections of the mouth and throat have no symptoms, and only a very small percentage develop throat cancer. Oral HPV infection is more common in men than in women. The risk also increases with the number of sexual partners a person has.

Now for the good news: here are some actions you can take to reduce your risk of getting throat cancer: Continue reading

Cancer and minorities – closing the gap

Cancer affects men and women of every age, race, ethnic background and economic class.  Unfortunately, the disease has a disproportionately severe impact on minorities and the economically disadvantaged.  National Minority Cancer Awareness Week (April 16-22) promotes increased awareness of prevention and treatment about cancer and minorities among those sections of the populations that are at greater risk of developing cancer.

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Annette Schork, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Minorities are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage, meaning treatment can be less successful.  Minorities continue to have lower screening rates and are less physical activity.

Did you know?

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health:

  • Colon cancer death rates for both black and white Americans have begun to drop in recent years, but the disease continues to kill more African Americans than whites for reasons that are not completely understood.
  • African Americans are more likely to die of cancer than people of any other racial or ethnic group.

According to CDC’ Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE):

  • Among U.S. men, for all cancers combined— The rate of new cancer cases is highest among black men, followed by white, Hispanic*, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native men.
  • Among U.S. women, for all cancers combined—The rate of new cancer cases is highest among white women, followed by black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women. Continue reading

Healing colors for physical and emotional well-being

She always wears some blue clothing or jewelry. When she makes art, it usually includes blue in the images. If you ask her what her favorite color is, she will say BLUE. This color comforts her, and she likes to have it close by.healingcolors250x250

The same woman is being treated for cancer and finds that art therapy is beneficial – it calms her and helps her to discuss difficult subjects like cancer and childhood memories. The use of color is infused in most of her drawings, except for ones that are too emotional and for those she simply uses a pencil.

Do colors have healing properties? 

There are a number of studies that suggest that they do. Ayurvedic medicine (originating on the Indian subcontinent and now practiced as a form of complementary medicine) uses the energies infused in the colors of the rainbow to restore balance and wellness within an individual. Color therapy, also known as Chromatherapy, is based on the same premise. Architects choose colors for hospital settings based on research that says colors impact how people respond to time spent in a particular space like a clinic wait room or hospital room. Continue reading

Confessions of a Gun Safe Mom

A mom’s perspective on unlocking the gun accessibility conversation

I am a mother.
I am a former elementary school teacher.
I married into a family of sportsmen.
I am the parent of a child with special needs.
I am the sister of a boy shot in a school-related shooting by an emotionally disturbed classmate 27 years ago.
I am a parent who found out her child was in an unfamiliar home with an unlocked firearm.
I should know better, and I am devastated.

Continue reading