February is a busy month! We honor love, Martin Luther King Jr., Black history, and even our American presidents, but did you know that World Cancer Day also falls in February? The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) leads the charge in urging everyone to take steps to ensure that preventable cancer deaths are reduced and that there is increased access to life-saving treatments for all patients, “no matter who you are or where you live”. Each year, the UICC establishes a theme for their initiative to shape the many activities and events that kick off around the world each February. This year, the theme is “I Am and I Will” – a call to action to commit and act on steps to get screened and share knowledge in hopes of reducing the number of cancer-related deaths and noncommunicable diseases by one third by 2030 (that’s only 9 years away, so let’s get to it!)
Bag It is aligned with the UICC by providing resources to educate and support patients through their healthcare plan, increasing access to life-saving information regardless of one’s ethnicity or socio-economic background. Bag It provides the tools you need to help you feel more comfortable and confident in speaking up for yourself to ensure the best quality of life with cancer. The contents in the bag are designed to help you and your caregiver(s) cope with the diagnosis, get yourself organized and better understand the language of cancer.
February is cancer prevention month, and we encourage you to think about ways that you can help yourself and others prevent cancer. It’s the perfect time to schedule appointments for you and your loved ones because adhering to the recommended screenings for breast, cervical, colorectal (colon) and lung cancers can lead to early stage diagnosis, which increases the likelihood of treatment working.
What action will you take as we kick off World Cancer Day? Take the 21-Day challenge to learn more about cancer and how to reduce your cancer risks. Some suggestions:
As part of my campaign I participated in the World Cancer Day 21-Day Challenge which was informative and easy and I wrote this blog: I will schedule my mammogram (and a colonoscopy this year) and encourage people to schedule their appointments, and I will work to ensure that everyone diagnosed with cancer receives a Bag It bag to help them cope with their diagnosis and feel comfortable and confident speaking up to ensure they are living their best life with cancer.
Sending positive vibes your way,
Preventcancer.org recommends these seven steps to help prevent cancer.
Presented by Mindy Grifitth for A Cure In Sight’s Eye Believe Survivorship Seminar.
For this seminar Mindy presented on how to be your own best advocate, as your healthcare starts with you. Watch the video to learn some tips to feel more comfortable sharing your needs with your healthcare team, why you should speak up for yourself and how and why to have a care plan.
We all know that staying physically active has many benefits for our health such as increased flexibility/balance/muscle strength, controlling weight, regulating blood pressure, digestion, improved mood, thinking, and sleep, just to name a few.
But did you know that getting regular exercise may also:
- Help you live longer?
- Ironically, reduce fatigue and increase your energy?
- Reduce your risk for developing some types of cancers?
- Reduce the risk of certain cancers recurring?
- Ease some side effects of cancer treatment?
We have so many gadgets to inform us of what level of activity we are doing down to the minute on a daily basis. We even get “scolded” if we are not moving enough! When these gadgets first came out many thought that was exactly what they were – just gadgets. Today, many feel these are lifesaving instruments. Use the great technology out there to your advantage and commit to getting fit!
Check in with your doctor for guidance on how to begin an exercise routine that’s right for you. If you have no health restrictions, gradually build up to 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity). Take it slow at first and if you miss a day just try again the next day.
Aim for a combo of cardio and strength training. (You can do strength training with or without weights)
Besides the obvious forms of exercise like walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, aerobics, activities like dancing, gardening (digging, raking), household chores (vacuuming, mopping, washing windows, sorry!) or actively playing with children can be just as effective.
If you can’t do full 30-minute sessions some days, break it up into 2 or 3 sessions of 10 or 15 minutes each. It all counts!
Make it easy and fun! Change it up and do a variety of activities you enjoy by yourself or with a safely-distanced buddy.
Crankin’ up the tunes while you work will actually make you move faster and with more intensity.
Join us in our 2020 Get Moving for Bag It Fundraiser, Oct. 16-25, for a variety of activities to get you motivated.
Learn More and Register Here!
Let’s say the unthinkable happens.
You suddenly become hospitalized due to Covid-19 and are unable to communicate, make decisions for yourself or have a loved one by your side.
Preparation of your advance directives for health care is the best way to give voice to your wishes and what matters most to you. A healthcare power of attorney informs your doctors about your preferences for medical care and could give helpful insights to those you select to speak on your behalf. It’s impossible to account for all the possible scenarios and every potential long-term impact on your health from Covid-19. But even expressing what makes life worth living for you or the quality of life you don’t want to suffer later can guide the decisions made about treatments to provide and when.
If you’ve already put the appropriate documents in place and shared them with the right people, good job – but keep reading if you did that pre-Covid! Now is a good time to pull them out and reread them to make sure you are comfortable with your instructions in light of the pandemic. Do they reflect your treatment preferences no matter the reason for your condition or critical illness, or do you have definite ideas about treatments you do and do not want in the case of Covid? Are any changes needed to the named agents appointed to act on your behalf? Do you need to add back-up trusted agents in the event your appointed spouse/partner or other household members also fall ill?
Whether you need to complete these documents for the first time or an update is due, make this a priority today! Below is more information about where to find resources for your state as well as tools and resources to complete the process.
The Conversation Project
Downloadable life care planning packet for Arizona
Downloadable life care planning packet for Arizona: (Spanish)
AZ End of Life Partnership
Downloadable advance directives for 50 states:
POLST (portable medical order for emergency medical care)
Once the paperwork is in order, provide copies to the involved people in your life and also have a frank conversation with them about what’s important to you. While it may not be easy to talk about it, having the documents ready and sharing your personal values with them means everyone will feel more prepared and brings a bit of control and peace of mind – just in case the unexpected happens.
Calling all Bag It Friends across the country – WE NEED YOU!
As the planning began for the 17th Annual Take a Hike for Bag It and with the ramifications and uncertainties of COVID 19 it became apparent that the format of our annual event would need to be changed. A few things that we needed to keep in mind: how to have a financially successful fundraising event and still keep the integrity of the annual hike that the participants would love and continue to support. After much research, input from our hike volunteers, past participants, board and staff it was decided that the 17th Annual Take a Hike for Bag It become Get Moving for Bag It.
This year’s event let’s you hike, bike or whatever you like on your own time and on your own turf.
Bag It is reaching out to all our loyal friends as we NEED your continuing support. We have created a unique fundraising event as the annual Take a Hike for Bag It in Tucson is on hold this year. We are hoping to have ALL our friends from the West Coast to the East Coast join us and support this year’s annual fundraising event as it is essential for Bag It to continue to fulfill its mission.
Get Moving to support Bag It’s mission to educate, support & empower those impacted by cancer.
Your participation helps raise funds to continue to provide the Bag It bag at NO CHARGE to those impacted by cancer. The contents in the bag helps patients and caregivers talk to their healthcare providers, know what questions to ask, and serve as the most important advocate on their healthcare team. Will you help empower the expected 1.8 million new cancer cases to be diagnosed this year in the United States?
It’s simple: Sign up and Get Moving!
Once registered you will have full access to the Get Moving information, daily activities, and be entered into drawings and contests.
Raise your hand if you postponed or converted to telemedicine visits for “nonessential,” routine and/or preventive healthcare early in the Covid 19 pandemic. If yes, many of us did the same thing.
As stay-at-home restrictions lifted, many providers started seeing more patients in person while still offering a virtual option. But there can be confusion around which appointments we should now schedule to see the doctor in person.
Simple blood tests, urine tests and direct exams can detect early cancers, diabetes, hypertension and many other illnesses. Some critical aspects of care, like a physical exam, can only be performed in the office. Another question is whether it is safe to schedule overdue or upcoming screening tests and other procedures – especially as the pandemic continues to rise in many communities.
These are shared decisions between you and your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that your provider wants you to be in touch and wants you to get the medical care that you need. Call your doctor’s office to discuss your particular healthcare situation. Speak candidly about any concerns and questions you have, as well as making clear your needs and preferences. Together you can assess what’s best for you and make a game plan for your care.
If you’ll be scheduling an appointment for an in-person visit you will probably be asked if you are experiencing any Covid-related symptoms and if anyone in your home has tested positive for Covid-19.
Healthcare providers receive guidelines from state, local, county health departments and the CDC about how to safely operate their facility while minimizing risk to patients and their staffs. Many providers have implemented scheduling, staffing and technology tools to complement the physical distancing procedures and environmental changes they have made. If you are not automatically provided with the pertinent detail when you schedule your appointment, click here for some questions to ask the scheduler about the practices in place. You can also check out the provider’s website for information posted there about steps they are taking.
For more tips on how to safely navigate an in-person medical appointment, read below
- If you are experiencing Covid-related symptoms the day of your in-person appointment, call the provider’s office for guidance before you go in.
- When you arrive to the facility, you will likely find new procedures and safety precautions put in place since your last visit. Follow the requested instructions and communicate with the staff if you observe something or are asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Wear a mask or face covering throughout your visit unless you need to remove it for a procedure or are requested to do so by your provider.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol before and after touching any surfaces in waiting areas, exam rooms, and other common areas. Avoid touching surfaces as much as possible.
- Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, and throw away the tissue. When wearing a mask, cough or sneeze into the mask.
- Follow social distancing recommendations as much as possible.