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A newsletter of the Sussex County Cancer Coalition
Volume 2, Issue 3
Spreading the word about oral cancer
This past spring, the Sussex County Cancer Coalition, together with the Sussex County Office of Public Health Nursing, hosted their first-ever Oral Cancer Screening program, working to raise awareness about an often-overlooked disease. The fact is, oral cancer is one of the very few cancers that are, in many cases, preventable. Read on to learn how to reduce the risks associated with it.
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It should come as no surprise that tobacco with smoking. In fact, according to some studies, heavy products are a significant risk factor for oralpharygeal drinkers and smokers may have as much as a 100Cancer. In fact, about 9 out of 10 people with oral fold increase in the risk of developing these cancers cavity and oropharyngeal cancers use tobacco, with compared with people who don’t smoke or drink. their risk of developing these cancers related to how Recent research has also implicated the much and how long they smoked or chewed. HumanPapilloma Virus (HPV), particularly version Tobacco smoke from 16, with oral cancers occuring in a Common Signs of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes can younger population. Oral Cancer cause cancers anywhere in the may include: mouth, throat, or larynx, and Know the Signs • Numbness of tongue or pipe smoking has a particularly Many of the signs and symptoms other area of mouth significant risk for cancers in the associated with oral cancer can also be • Swelling of jaw area of the lips that touch the pipe caused by less serious, benign problems. • Loosening of teeth or stem. However, it is important to be sure, and see pain around teeth or jaw a doctor or dentist if any of these conditions But it doesn’t have to • Voice changes smoke to burn. Oral tobacco lasts more than two weeks. • Lump or mass in neck products (snuff or chewing Remember, the sooner you receive a • Weight loss tobacco) are associated with correct diagnosis, the sooner you can start • Persistent bad breath cancers of the cheek, gums, and treatment and the more effective your inner surface of the lips. Using treatment will be. snuff for a long time poses an especially high risk. These products also cause gum disease, destruction of Early Detection is Always Key Many pre-cancers and cancers of the oral the bone sockets around teeth, and tooth loss. cavity and oropharynx can be found early, during Drinking alcohol also strongly increases a smoker’s risk of developing oral cavity and routine screening exams by a doctor, dentist, dental hygienist, or by self-exam. oropharyngeal cancers, particularly when combined (Continued, following page) What’s Inside:
Spreading the Word About Oral Cancer, page 1; 2009 H1N1 Influenza: What Does it Means for People with Cancer? page 2; Boy Scouts Learn about Physical Activity, page 2; Fall Health Screenings, page 3; Tie a Ribbon Campaign, page 3; Cancer Support Groups, page 4; Breast Cancer Study Seeks Volunteers, page 4; SCREEN program, page 4
The H1N1 virus spreads by person-to-person contact, much the same way that regular seasonal flu viruses spread, mainly through sneezing and coughing. However, people can also get the flu by touching something with the virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Unlike prior pandemics, especially the one often referenced in 1918, infection from the H1N1 influenza virus appears, for most people, to result in mild illness. However, there have been many people who have had more serious outcomes, and in some cases, it has been fatal. In particular, the virus seems to most seriously affect a younger population, pregnant women, and 2009 H1N1 Influenza: What Does it Mean for People those with underlying chronic illness or weakened immune systems. with Cancer? H1N1 influenza is a concern because people with cancer are experiencing The 2009 H1N1 Influenza a chronic illness, and in some cases virus (commonly referrred to as are taking immuno-suppresants Swine flu) has been wreaking havoc for the management of the illness, since it first appeared this past April. which weakens the immune system. Since that time, the novel virus has Beginning in November, the spread around the globe to nearly H1N1 flu vaccine will be available every country, resulting in a new throughout NJ, and cancer patients influenza pandemic. (‘Open Wide’ continued from page 1)
In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, many doctors and dentists recommend that you look at your mouth in a mirror every month to check for any abnormal areas. Unfortunately, some cancers may not cause symptoms until they’ve reached an advanced stage or may cause symptoms similar to those caused by a disease other than cancer, such as a toothache. That’s why regular dental checkups that include an exam of the entire mouth are so important in finding oral and oropharyngeal cancers (and precancers) at the earliest possible time. Speak to your healthcare provider to discuss.
are encouraged to speak to their health care provider about it. Both the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the American Cancer Society recommend the H1N1 vaccine, noting that the injectable form of the vaccine is likely the preferred method of vaccination for cancer patients, as the nasal spray actually contains ‘live virus.’ In addition to the vaccine, cancer patients are encouraged to practice these healthy habits: • Avoid people who are sick, particularly those with flu-like symptoms • Wash hands frequently with soap and water; if washing is not available, use a 60% alcoholbased hand sanitizer • Eat a well-balanced diet and get plenty of rest • If you develop a fever or other flu-like symptom, contact your healthcare provider right away To learn more about the H1N1 influenza virus or the vaccine, visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.
Eight-Hundred Boy Scouts Learn the Importance of Physical Activity
On Saturday October 3, 2009, the Sussex County Cancer Coalition partnered with the Middlesex County Cancer Coalition to provide an interactive education program for the ‘100th Anniversary Boy Scout Jamboree.’ The Jamboree was held at the Sussex County Fair Grounds for scouts from Sussex, Middlesex, Morris, Union and Somerset counties. The need for good, healthy eating and the necessity of physical activity were stressed, highlighting how these behaviors help to reduce the risk for cancer. Each participant received a pedometer and glow-in-the-dark bracelet stating “Be Bright- Eat Smart.” Eight hundred scouts participated in our program. Each participant was eligible to enter a drawing for a WII console and Sports Package, generously donated by the Stanhope American Legion Post 278. The scouts participated eagerly in both the nutrition and physical activity aspects of the program.
Two Health Screenings Remain for the Fall After a busy start to the season, there are still two more health screeenings coming this fall. The first is a women’s health screening, which includes a Thin-Prep Pap test, and a stool blood test for colorectal cancer. The fees for the screening are nominal or may be free if participant financially qualifies for the NJCEED Grant. This grant funds mammography for females, and is available at all sites. Registration is required! Please call 973-579-0570 Ext. 1211 or register online at www.sussex.nj.us and click on ‘2009 Fall Screening Schedule.’ Screenings are available to residents of Sussex County. This Women’s Health Screening will be held on Thursday, November 5th, 5:00 – 7:00pm, at the Hopatcong Health Clinic, 111 River Styx Rd, Hopatcong, for a nominal fee of $20.00. Also, on November 18th, from 4:00 - 6:00 pm, at Saint Clare’s Hospital Sussex Site Wellness Fair, a FREE oral cancer screening will be available (see cover article). No appointments are necessary! Each of these important screenings are offered by The Sussex County Office of Public Health Nursing.
Tie a Ribbon Campaign Has Continued Success!
Building on the amazing success of October 2008’s ‘Tie a Ribbon’ campaign, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Coalition again implemented this ‘pink extravaganza,’ working to keep the subject of breast cancer out in the forefront. Continuing the successful partnership with Project Self Sufficiency (grant awardees of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, North Jersey Affiliate), the Komen’s annual Tie a Ribbon campaign provides a visual opportunity to highlight breast health during the month of October.
Here’s how the initiative worked: Fifty pink ribbons were supplied and tied onto trees and lampposts along main streets or thoroughfares, with all twenty-four municipalities participating this year. The ribbons remained in place from October 3rd through October 30th. The municipalities assisted by identifying key locations within their communities to display the ribbons; determining the number of ribbons needed for ribbon placement; and, most importantly, forming a team to place the ribbons on October 3rd and remove them October 30th. This was a wonderful initiative that provided a venue for many high school seniors seeking community service projects, and a volunteer opportunity for Girl and Boy Scout troops, 4-H clubs, senior citizen groups and others. This countywide effort could not have been implemented without their assistance. In addition, the support received from Public Works and other Municipal staff was critical to the program’s success. Educational information about breast health was placed in libraries throughout Sussex County. Specifically, poster presentations and handouts were correlated with this highly visual campaign, providing take-home information on self breast exams, mammograms and screenings. Pink ribbons have become an internationally recognized sign of courage, support and hope for a cure for breast cancer. Displaying them during Breast Cancer Awareness Month was a wonderful way to encourage residents of Sussex County to stand together against this disease. The Coalition expects these partnerships to continue, making Tie a Ribbon an annual event in Sussex County.
onathan and Jimmy Socci took part in the Cancer Coalition’s SCREEN (Skin Cancer Reduction – Early Education Network) program at Camp Sacajawea in Sparta this summer. Hundreds of Campers learned about sun safety and developed sunsafe behaviors to last a lifetime! Sparta Cancer Center Seeks Participants for Metastatic Breast Cancer Study Sparta Cancer Center is one of approximately 11 sites within the Accelerated Community Oncology Research Network, Inc. (ACORN) that has been chosen to participate in a research study that will evaluate investigational treatment options for women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The purpose of this study is to find out how well the nvestigational agent works with other medications as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. The study will also look at what effects (good and bad) the combination of drugs has on those who receive it. Women participating in the study must have metastatic breast cancer and be 18 years of age or older. Sparta Cancer Center is one of only two sites in New Jersey chosen to conduct the study, and the only site in the state currently enrolling patients. For further information or to express interest in this research study, please call Megan Frugone, RN or Christine Lyasko, RN at Sparta Cancer Center (973) 729-8801.
WHO WE ARE
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The Sussex County Cancer Coalition is a diverse partnership of community members and resource agencies developed to encourage Sussex County residents to adopt cancerpreventive behaviors while reducing the incidence of morbidity/mortality through early illness detection. The Coalition focuses on public education with a positive tone, increasing awareness that healthier lifestyle choices combined with appropriate and timely medical screening can reduce the burden of cancer illness in Sussex County. Learn more about the Cancer Coalition and our partners at http://www.sussexagainstcancer.org or by calling 973-579-0570 x 1212. The Sussex County Cancer Coalition is made possible by a grant to the Sussex County Department of Environmental and Public Health Services and from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services’ Office of Cancer Control and Prevention. The mission of the Sussex County Cancer Coalition is to implement the New Jersey Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan in Sussex County. For more information on Comprehensive Cancer Control in New Jersey, please visit: www.njcancer.gov. “Working Together to Reduce the Burden of Cancer in New Jersey”