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HealthyU M AG AZ I N E

Jul-Sep 2010

> Education helps women battling cancer > Omega-3 Linked to Heart Health > Psoriasis: Skin condition can be treated

woMEN ANd cANcEr According to the American Cancer Society, these were the top cancers for women in 2009. Breast cancer: 192,370 new cases digestive System: 125,700 new cases respiratory System: 107,280 new cases Genital System: 80,720 new cases

Urinary System: 41,370 new cases Lymphoma: 33,860 new cases Skin (excluding basal & squamous): 31,690 new cases

Health News

Education Key to Winning the Fight Against Cancer According to the American Cancer Society, more than 700,000 women were diagnosed with cancer last year. During that same time, nearly 270,000 lost the battle against the disease. The numbers seem overwhelming, but there are some bright spots on the horizon. More cancers in women are being found earlier, often giving physicians more time to diagnose and treat the disease before it has time to spread. “Certainly, if you find a cancer early you generally don’t have to have as drastic a treatment,” said Silvana Bucur, M.D., a medical oncologist who practices at University Hospital. “You also are more likely to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back if you catch it earlier.” It’s been a grassroots effort to get the information out to women about cancer – the organizations, the screenings, the events – they’ve all helped demystify a disease that for so long was considered taboo to even speak about in public. “There’s been a lot of education within the health care community and the public in general,” Dr. Bucur said. “Women that have undergone some of these cancers then teach other women about them. “They teach them not to be afraid.” That education has helped increase one of the most effective ways of finding cancers early – screenings. “There’s been a lot of education within the health care community and the public in general. Women that have undergone some of these cancers then teach other women about them.” Silvana Bucur, M.D., Oncology Whether it’s for breast cancer or cervical cancer, maintaining a regular screening schedule is vital to helping women keep themselves healthy for the long haul. “Screenings can often mean saving a life,” Dr. Bucur said. For those women who are diagnosed with cancer, Dr. Bucur said they should consider par-

More cancers in women are being found earlier, often giving physicians more time to diagnose and treat the disease before it has time to spread.

ticipating in a clinical trial as part of their fight against the disease. University Hospital-affiliated physician offices Medical Oncology Associates and Augusta Oncology Associates both run Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials. It is through these trials that new standards of care are often cultivated. “They really give us the tools to help patients in the future, as well as the patients within the trials themselves,” Dr. Bucur said. Unlike Phase 1 trials, which are generally new drug trials, Phase 2 and 3 are generally considered treatment trials designed to compare a new treatment to a standard treatment. Part of joining a clinical trial is finding the right patients, which is why Dr. Bucur said she is always looking for the best patients who might benefit the most from the 20 to 25 clinical trials her office is currently running. “These trials are a wonderful way to give women the opportunity to look into the future of medicine right now,” she said. v For more information about women and cancer or to find out more about clinical trials, call University’s Cancer Answer Line at 706/828-2522 or toll free at 866/869-2522.

Health News

Omega-3 Linked to Better Heart Health Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish such as salmon, have been touted to help a number of conditions ranging from depression to arthritis. But one of the most promising effects of omega3 seems to be in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. “The American Heart Association recommends, with the exception of pregnant women, that we consume two helpings of a fatty fish per week.” Donald McAlexander, M.D., Internal Medicine Donald McAlexander, M.D., a University Hospital Internal Medicine Physician and certified Lipidologist, said omega-3 fatty acids appear to have a beneficial effect on the heart. “The American Heart Association recommends, with the exception of pregnant women, that we consume two helpings of a fatty fish per week,” he said. “If you have an underlying coronary artery

disease, you should take a total of 1 gram of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids daily either from daily consumption of fatty fish or through a supplement. “Patients with significant hypertriglycemia should take 2-4 grams of EPA and DHA daily.” Multiple studies have shown that taking omega-3 can help lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms and stroke in those people who have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. It also slows the development of arterial plaques and can lower blood pressure. For people who want the health benefits of fish oil without having to eat the necessary amounts of fish, there are a number of caplets available that provide the required amounts. Side effects can include a risk of increased bleeding, so Dr. McAlexander made a point of mentioning that women who are pregnant or those people who are scheduled for surgery should avoid taking the supplement. Dr. McAlexander said to see your physician if you’re confused about omega-3 or if you need help choosing the right dosage. For more information about omega-3, call University’s Heart Line at 706/828-2828 or toll free at 866/601-2828.

Health News

September is Baby Safety Month Many new parents can get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of planning for what a new infant requires months before the due date. There’s the nursery to decorate, the diapers to buy, the clothes to pick out … the list goes on and on. But one area of planning might slip a new parent’s mind – baby safety. You might not realize it, but there are a lot of areas around the home that need to be scrutinized for safety hazards before bringing baby home. “For awhile there was such a big push for decorating cribs with everything from pillows to stuffed animals. But we strongly recommend parents don’t do that now.” Karen Foushee, M.D., Pediatrics That brand new nursery you spent hours decorating includes the crib and changing table – two of the most dangerous places for a baby if they’re not used properly. “For awhile there was such a big push for decorating cribs with everything from pillows to stuffed animals,” said Karen Foushee, M.D., a pediatrician who practices at University Hospital. “But we strongly recommend parents don’t do that now.” Pillows, bumpers and stuffed animals can easily suffocate an infant, especially one that can’t roll over. Safety doesn’t stop at the front door and parents need to be on the lookout for potential problems once they leave the house. Both Georgia and South Carolina have laws requiring car seats for children younger than 5, but Dr. Foushee said not all car seats are equal. “Car seat manufacturers are always making safer seats, so if you find a 10-year-old used car seat and think that’s going to work, you need to know that you can’t use it,” she said. Ultimately, whether you’re at home or in public, Dr. Foushee said vigilance is key to keeping baby safe. “It’s a balancing act,” she said. “You really just need to watch them carefully, because even babies that can’t roll yet will shock you with what they’re able to do just by accident.” If you need a pediatrician, call University’s ASK-ANURSE at 706/737-8423 or toll free at 800/476-7378.

Nursery Safety n To reduce the risk of SIDS and suffoca-

tion, place your baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib that meets current safety standards. n To prevent suffocation never use a pillow as a mattress for a baby to sleep on or to prop baby’s head or neck. n Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components, broken slats or other parts of the crib and their head and neck become entrapped in the space. n Do not use old, broken or modified cribs. n Regularly tighten hardware to keep sides firm. n Infants can suffocate in spaces between the sides of the crib and an ill fitting mattress. Never allow a gap larger than two finger widths at any point between the sides of the crib and the mattress. n Never place a crib near a window with blind or curtain cords; infants can strangle on the cords.

Health News

Psoriasis Affects Areas Other Than Just the Skin Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious skin condition commonly characterized by raised red patches of skin covered with a buildup of silvery dead skin. The condition itself is an autoimmune disease that happens when the immune system sends faulty signals causing skin cells to grow at an accelerated rate. “Psoriasis is very common,” said Daniel Sheehan, M.D., a dermatologist who practices at University Hospital. “Somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of the population has the condition and it stretches

across all racial groups.” Although there are five different types of psoriasis, not everyone deals with the condition the same way. “There’s a wide variety in terms of affected body surface area,” Dr. Sheehan said. “Some people have very small areas and other patients have tremendous amounts of skin involved.” Patients with psoriasis can also have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and depression. “People can have a problem with joint disease as well,” Dr. Sheehan said. “Twenty to 30 percent of patients with psoriasis have psoriatic arthritis.” Psoriatic arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffening in and around the joints, and although it can develop at any time, it commonly is diagnosed in patients 30-50 and affects more men than women.

Health News “There’s a wide variety in terms of affected body surface area. Some people have very small areas and other patients have tremendous amounts of skin involved.” Daniel Sheehan, M.D., Dermatology For people with psoriasis, treating the condition is of utmost importance since there’s not yet a cure for the disease. “An obvious first step of treatment are creams and ointments that can help people with limited disease,” Dr. Sheehan said. “Others might need more advanced treatments such as systemic therapies or biologic injections.” Systemic treatments are prescription drugs that

work throughout the body. Biologics are a relatively new form of injection or IV treatment that can target specific areas of the immune system, blocking either a certain type of immune cell or proteins within the immune system. However the condition develops, Dr. Sheehan said treatment options should be carefully considered by the patient and their physician. “How we treat this is a decision made on a individual basis because psoriasis can so severely impact a person’s quality of life,” he said. “There’s still a strong social stigma toward people with psoriasis, but they should know that the condition is very treatable.” For more information about psoriasis, call University’s ASK-A-NURSE at 706/737-8423 or toll free at 800/476-7378.

Types of Psoriasis Plaque Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris) is the most prevalent form of the disease. About 80 percent of those who have psoriasis have this type. It is characterized by raised, inflamed, red lesions covered by a silvery white scale. It is typically found on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. Guttate Guttate [GUH-tate] psoriasis is a form of psoriasis that often starts in childhood or young adulthood. The word guttate is from the Latin word meaning “drop.” This form of psoriasis appears as small, red, individual spots on the skin. Guttate lesions usually appear on the trunk and limbs. These spots are not usually as thick as plaque lesions. Inverse Inverse psoriasis is found in the armpits, groin, under the breasts, and in other skin folds around the genitals and the buttocks. This type of psoriasis appears as bright-red lesions that are smooth and shiny. Inverse psoriasis is subject to irritation from rubbing and sweating because of its location

in skin folds and tender areas. It can be more troublesome in overweight people and those with deep skin folds. Pustular Primarily seen in adults, pustular psoriasis is characterized by white blisters of noninfectious pus (consisting of white blood cells) surrounded by red skin. Pustular psoriasis may be localized to certain areas of the body, such as the hands and feet, or covering most of the body. It begins with the reddening of the skin followed by formation of pustules and scaling. Erythrodermic Erythrodermic [eh-REETH-ro-der-mik] psoriasis is a particularly inflammatory form of psoriasis that affects most of the body surface. It is characterized by periodic, widespread, fiery redness of the skin and the shedding of scales in sheets, rather than smaller flakes. The reddening and shedding of the skin are often accompanied by severe itching and pain, heart rate increase, and fluctuating body temperature. Source: National Psoriasis Foundation

FYI University wins United Way contest University Hospital took home the trophy in all three categories of the hospital competition of the 2009/2010 United Way Campaign at the Feb. 23 United Way Annual Meeting. The friendly competition was held between the major hospitals in the CSRA: Doctors Hospital, MCG Health, University Hospital and Trinity Hospital. University’s Steering Committee was made up of employees who represented all the departments within the hospital. University employees responded to the challenge and won the “Overall Winner” of the competition based on total per capita giving to the United Way. University also won the other two categories, which were the “Largest Increase in Per Capita Giving” and the “Largest Increase in Leadership Giving.” University employees raised more than $80,000, not including a one-time corporate gift of $10,000.

University’s New CEO Says ‘Thanks’ for Warm Welcome

Josh Kelley to perform at Young Philanthropist event

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank many of you who have welcomed my wife Nancy and me to Augusta with open arms. The residents here could write a “how to” book on Southern hospitality. My first year with University Health Care System was one of unprecedented uncertainty throughout the industry. Our employees and physicians concentrated on alleviating patients’ fears while pondering the many “what ifs” in our future. As I transitioned into the role of University’s president, federal health care reform was signed into law. There will be many challenges ahead for health care providers. But the good news is that hospitals like University who are patient-focused, innovative and financially strong should continue to prosper. Will it be challenging? Yes! Is your community hospital up to the challenge? Absolutely! I am excited about our future and how University will continue to serve the CSRA. We have a lot to be proud of in University. It is a true community asset that I’m proud to be associated with.

University Health Care Foundation’s annual Young Philanthropist event will have a country flair this year. Recording artist Josh Kelley will perform at the fourth annual event Aug. 28, 2010, at Augusta’s Bell Auditorium. The concert benefits the John W. Kelley, M.D., Cardiovascular Endowment, which was established to honor Josh’s father, who retired from the Augusta medical community in March 2006 after practicing cardiology in the CSRA for 28 years. Dr. Kelley has since returned to Young Harris, Ga., to finish his medical career serving the “people who raised him” in the beautiful north Georgia mountains. The endowment will be used to further education and training for cardiac and vascular students as well as nurses and technologists within University Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute. Singer/songwriter Josh Kelley grew up in Augusta and discovered his musical talents at age 11, when he started a band with his younger brother, Charles Kelley (now one third of the Grammy Awardwinning country music trio Lady Antebellum). Josh recently joined the Universal Music Group Nashville family, signing with MCA Nashville in September 2009. His hits include Amazing and To Remember. Tickets are $27, $32 and $37 and are available at the James Brown Arena box office or at

James R. Davis, President/CEO University Health Care System

For ticket information, call University Health Care Foundation at 706/729-5656 or log on to Facebook at Great care. Great careers.

Healthy U July-Sept. 2010  

Education helps women battling cancer. Omega-3 linked to heart health. Psoriasis: Skin condition can be treated.