by Bag It Team | Feb 8, 2023 | Educational Articles
Some good news about cancer…
It is estimated that nearly half of cancer deaths worldwide can be prevented, according to recently published medical research. Some cancers are out of our control, but we can make choices about our habits and the way we live to reduce our risk of cancer. Here are some examples:
- Don’t use tobacco
- Protect your skin from the sun
- Eat a plant-based diet
- Limit alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight and move, move, move
- Get vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis B
- Practice safer sex and avoid risky behaviors
- Reduce your exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution
Finally, know your family medical history and share it with your doctors. Most people do not have a family history of cancer so getting the cancer screenings your doctors recommend for your particular situation is important. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.
The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a free 30-day checklist to help you eat well, move more and make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your cancer risk. Find it here along with other cancer prevention resources.
by Bag It Team | Dec 14, 2022 | Educational Articles
With all the medical advances and education for cancer, it is amazing that myths and misconceptions about cancer still abound and worry us needlessly.
Here we debunk a few common misunderstandings around cancer. Share this information with people as you gather this holiday season. It could ease others’ cancer fears.
Fortunately, this is incorrect. According to the National Cancer Institute Office of Cancer Survivorship, as of January 2022, it is estimated that there are 18.1 million cancer survivors in the United States. This represents approximately 5.4% of the population. The number of cancer survivors is projected to increase by 24.4%, to 22.5 million, by 2032.
Advances in the prevention, screening and treatment of cancer are improving cancer survivorship tremendously.
Generally speaking, no, cancer cannot be “caught” from another person. It is also true that certain cancer-causing viruses and bacteria passed from one person to another can increase the likelihood of developing cancer. In rare circumstances involving transplantation or pregnancy, transmission has been known to occur.
While some of us are born with genes passed down from our parents that may predispose us to developing cancer at some point in our lives, only about 5-10% of cancers are due to mutations inherited from a parent. Most cancers are caused by genetic changes that occur and build up from lifestyle choices and/or exposure to chemicals and environmental factors during our lifetime.
Everything around us causes cancer.
Who hasn’t heard that using deodorant, cosmetics, hair dyes, smart phones, microwaves, sugar, artificial sweeteners, or being in close proximity to power lines all can cause cancer?
The good news: there is no consistent, conclusive scientific evidence to support these claims.
When you hear new or suspicious information about cancer, it’s a good idea to fact check by discussing it with your doctor. If you prefer to do your own online research, visit reliable cancer organization websites like these to find credible information you can trust. And, of course, there is a wealth of information on Bag It Cancer’s Resource Center.
National Cancer Institute
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
by Bag It Team | Oct 10, 2022 | Educational Articles
October is Health Literacy Month. A study by Health & Human Services Office of the Surgeon General showed that only about 12% of Americans have proficient health literacy skills. Unfortunately, many adults lack good knowledge about their medical condition and treatment, and don’t know how to get information that is presented in a way they can understand. People report having difficulty completing medical forms and relaying important details to their doctor about their health. They may not be able to accurately read directions to take their medicines as prescribed. Each of these common situations can be linked to poor health outcomes.
Bag It Cancer is committed to expanding health literacy for all populations. Our Bag It Bag is all about making sure that anyone with cancer can find, understand and use reliable information to make decisions about their health and guide them through a complex cancer care system.
For nearly 20 years we have worked with healthcare providers who make it a practice to give Bag It Bags to their patients at diagnosis. Having a bag of printed, clear, easy to understand materials from trustworthy cancer organizations, with customizable tools to make it their own, helps people get involved in their care and feel a bit more in control.
Let’s Start with The Basics in The Bag
- My Healthcare Team. Knowing who is on your healthcare team and what their role is points you in the right direction for your questions or other assistance.
- Cancer Words. There’s a short list of definitions for common cancer words, including cancer treatments, that you may not be familiar with but need to know.
- Lists of Questions to Ask. Asking the right questions at the right time helps you to get the info you need about your care and other areas of your life affected by a cancer diagnosis.
- Making Treatment Decisions. The bag walks you through what to consider as you make decisions about your treatment and care, including sources for more information about your cancer type and life situations.
- There’s a Lot to Keep Track of…medical records, appointments, business cards, questions and notes for the doctor, and lots and lots of paperwork. My Companion Guidebook has places for everything plus checklists to simplify the steps.
- Easy Tips and Hacks to Use Like these:
- If you’re not sure you understand what is being said to you by your healthcare team, ask for it to be explained again in everyday language (and in your preferred language). Then repeat the information back to the person to make sure you got it right.
- Bring someone to your appointments to listen and write down the information, or ask permission to record the visit. This will help to ensure accuracy and saves you from trying to remember everything that is said to you. Another idea is to ask for the information to be given to you in writing (and in your preferred language) so you can read it again at home.
by Bag It Team | Sep 20, 2022 | Podcasts
In this month’s Podcast, Executive Director Mindy Griffith welcomes guests Carly Boos, CLL Society Executive Director and Uterine Cancer Program Director and Kitty Silverman, SHARE Support Center Uterine Cancer Program Director. They talk about their partnership with Bag It Cancer and the valuable services and programs offered for individuals with CLL or uterine cancer.
by Bag It Team | Aug 31, 2022 | Educational Articles
September 20 is Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day. It’s a day set aside to remind us that some of our loved ones may need a little help when it comes to seeing a healthcare provider. Many people skip regular check-ups or wait until there is an emergency to visit a doctor. This could put them at risk for serious health issues.
There can be many issues holding someone back from a visit to the doctor’s office. Fear of doctors, needles, or tests. Access or not having a general practitioner they know. Concern about insurance coverage or other costs. Not having the time or not being in the habit of regular check-ups. Whatever is holding them back, having some extra support and encouragement could help them to schedule a much-needed visit.
When starting the conversation make sure to ask your loved one about their current health needs and write down any concerns they have regarding a visit. It can be a delicate conversation but here are some resources to help guide you.
“Most people don’t bring up the idea of going to the doctor in regular conversation. Days like Take a Loved One to the Doctor offer the opportunity to have those discussions with someone who might be resistant to get a routine check-up.”
—Dr. Rupesh Parikh, Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ Practice President
Resources To Help Your Loved One
This AARP guide provides advice regarding how to talk to your loved one about going to the doctor, being prepared for your appointment and other useful resources. They recommend that “you might need to turn on your powers of persuasion to get your loved one to agree to see a doctor. Many people have a long list of reasons for avoiding doctors’ visits. Don’t fight every point.”
The Comprehensive Cancer Center recommends teamwork, incentives and setting up the appointment once they agree.
Once the appointment is made, the American Cancer Society has some great tips for before, during and after the visit.
The Bag It Guidebook includes forms for medications, insurance contacts, medical information, list of questions, and an appointment summary log to help you prepare for, interact during and summarize the appointments. If you don’t have a Bag It bag, you can download the forms from our website.
“Most people don’t bring up the idea of going to the doctor in regular conversation,” said Dr. Rupesh Parikh, Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ practice president. “Days like Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day offer the opportunity to have those discussions with someone who might be resistant to get a routine check-up.”