6 items tagged "prevention"

  • #BeThere to Help Prevent Suicide

    Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. Suicide is more than a mental health concern.

    A CDC study showed that a range of factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. Everyone can help prevent suicide by knowing the warning signs and where to get help.

    The Facts About Suicide

    Suicide is a public health problem because of its far-reaching effects:

    • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2018.
    • In 2018, 10.7 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.3 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.
    • People who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence are at higher risk for suicide.

    Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. You can #BeThereexternal and #BeThe1Toexternal help a friend, loved one, or coworker. Everyone can learn the warning signs and how to get help.

    What to Watch For

    Individual, relationship, community, and societal factors may influence the risk of suicide. Know the suicide warning signs including:

    • Feeling like a burden
    • Being isolated
    • Increased anxiety
    • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
    • Increased substance use
    • Looking for a way to access lethal means
    • Increased anger or rage
    • Extreme mood swings
    • Expressing hopelessness
    • Sleeping too little or too much
    • Talking or posting about wanting to die
    • Making plans for suicide

    How to Get Help

    Safeguard the people in your life from the risk of suicide and support them:

    • Ask.
    • Keep them safe.
    • Be there.
    • Help them connect. You can start with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
    • Follow up.
    • Find out how these actions can save a life by visiting www.BeThe1To.com.

    Everyone can play a part in preventing suicide!

    More Resources and Information

    CDC’s Suicide Prevention Fact Sheet

    Link to full article on CDC's website




  • Are You at Risk?

    Stomach Cancer - Basic Information and Facts

    Gastric (stomach) cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer is less common in the United States than in many parts of Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. Stomach cancer is a major cause of death in these parts of the world. In the United States, the number of new cases of stomach cancer has greatly decreased since 1930. The reasons for this are not clear, but may have to do with better food storage and changes in the diet, such as lower salt intake.

    • Stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the world.
    • Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with stomach cancer.
    • Black men are more than twice as likely as white men to die from stomach cancer.


    The following are risk factors for stomach cancer:

    Older age and having the following medical conditions may increase the risk of stomach cancer:
    • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection of the stomach.
    • Intestinal metaplasia (a condition in which the cells that line the stomach are replaced by cells that normally line the intestines).
    • Chronic atrophic gastritis (thinning of the stomach lining caused by long-term inflammation of the stomach).
    • Pernicious anemia (a type of anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency).
    • Stomach (gastric) polyps.
    Certain genetic conditions

    Genetic conditions may increase the risk of stomach cancer in people with any of the following:

    • A mother, father, sister, or brother who has had stomach cancer.
    • Type A blood.
    • Li-Fraumeni syndrome.
    • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
    • Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC; Lynch syndrome).

    The risk of stomach cancer may be increased in people who:

    • Eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables.
    • Eat a diet high in salted or smoked foods.
    • Eat foods that have not been prepared or stored the way they should be.
    Environmental causes

    Environmental factors that may increase the risk of stomach cancer include:

    • Being exposed to radiation.
    • Working in the rubber or coal industry.

    The risk of stomach cancer is increased in people who come from countries where stomach cancer is common.

    Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Screening

    Tests are used to screen for different types of cancer when a person does not have symptoms. There is no standard or routine screening test for stomach cancer. Screening tests for stomach cancer are being studied in clinical trials.

    Several types of screening tests have been studied to find stomach cancer at an early stage. These screening tests include the following:
    • Barium-meal gastric photofluorography
    • Upper endoscopy
    • Serum pepsinogen levels
    Scientists believe that people with certain risk factors may benefit from stomach cancer screening. These include:
    • Older people with chronic gastric atrophy or pernicious anemia.
    • Patients who have had any of the following:
      • Partial gastrectomy.
      • Polyps in the stomach.
      • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
      • Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC).
    • People who come from countries where stomach cancer is more common.

    For additional information, please refer to these links





  • Cervical Cancer Prevention


    The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to have regular screening tests starting at age 21.

    Screening Tests

    Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early—

    • The Pap test (or Pap smear) looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
    • The HPV test looks for the virus (human papillomavirus) that can cause these cell changes.

    Both tests can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. If you have a low income or do not have health insurance, you may be able to get free or low-cost screening tests through CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Find out if you qualify.


    Screening Options

    You should get your first Pap test at age 21. If your test result is normal, you can wait three years for your next test.

    If you’re 30 years old or older, you have three options—

    • You can continue getting a Pap test only. If your test result is normal, you can wait three years for your next test.
    • You can get an HPV test only. If your test result is normal, you can wait five years for your next test.
    • You can get both an HPV and Pap test together. If your test results are normal, you can wait five years for your next tests.

    What Are the Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

    This video discusses the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancer.

    Early on, cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor.

    Use our Symptoms Diaries to track possible symptoms over a two-week timespan.

    Additional Information

    Reducing Your Risk of Cervical Cancer (CDC)

    Symptoms of Cervical Cancer (CDC)

    10 Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer


  • Colon Cancer Awareness

    One of the most common types of cancer is colorectal cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It’s preventable, treatable and beatable, so it’s critical to understand the signs and symptoms of this disease and to get your screenings! Mohawk health plan members schedule your no-cost screening today if you haven’t already.

    About Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the large intestine that includes the colon and the rectum. Most cases begin as small clumps of noncancerous cells called polyps. Over time, some polyps may become colon cancers.

    Risk Factors

    Colorectal cancer can affect men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, though the risk rises after age 50. Here are some factors that may increase your risk of colorectal cancer.

    • Personal history of colorectal polyps
    • Family history of colon cancer
    • Lack of regular physical activity
    • Low-fiber, high-fat diet
    • Obesity
    • Alcohol or tobacco use
    • Inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

    Colorectal polyps and cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why getting screened regularly is so important. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

    • Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement)
    • Pains, aches or cramps in your stomach that don’t go away
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
    • Fatigue
    Get Screened

    Screenings can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. It can also help find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment may lead to a cure.

    Types of Tests

    There are several ways to screen for colon cancer. Talk with your doctor about which test is right for you.

    • Stool test - Checks for blood in your stool
    • Sigmoidoscopy - A small flexible scope is used to view only the lower part of your colon. Sigmoidoscopy and a stool test are sometimes used together.
    • Colonoscopy - It’s similar to a sigmoidoscopy, but your doctor can see your entire colon. It is the most thorough test. Your doctor can also take tissue samples (biopsies) for analysis and remove polyps during the procedure. You will need to cleanse your bowel both the day before and the day of your colonoscopy. Medicine will be given during your colonoscopy to make you sleepy and relaxed.
    • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy) - Uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon

    Start talking with your doctor about screening at age 45, or sooner if you have an increased risk for colon cancer. Your doctor can recommend when to start and how often you should be tested.

    Remember, Mohawk health plan members have access to no-cost screenings by staying within the allowable maximum for colonoscopies. Check the cost by calling the Referral Coordinator at 855-566-4295, going to myCigna.com or ask your provider.

    Primary Treatment Options

    The type of treatment your doctor recommends will depend largely on the stage of your cancer.

    • Surgery
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation
    Important Ways to Lower Your Risk

    Screen Shot 2021 03 05 at 1.14.46 PM

    To view or print a downloadable version of this article or to view references, click here.


  • It's June and Men's Health Month!

    Mens Health Month article

    For more information about men's health issues, click here.

    Celebrate men's health any time of year. 

  • Three Rules for Fun in the Sun

    UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology is asking "Do You Use Protection?" and is encouraging you to practice safe sun every time you are outdoors. Seek shade, wear protective clothing, and use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30+ to reduce your risk.

    Do You Use Protection Infographic

    Test Your Sun Protection Knowledge

    Take this quizto test your sun protection knowledge.

    Read more information about UV protection from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC).

    More information from American Academy of Dermatology.

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