Public Health Awareness Campaigns
Cervical Health Awareness
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes can even be prevented, by having regular screening tests. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes (also known as pre-cancers), only some of the women with pre-cancers of the cervix will develop cancer.
The goal of cervical cancer screening is to find pre-cancer or cancer early when it is more treatable and curable. Regular screening can prevent cervical cancers and save lives. The tests for cervical cancer screening are the HPV test and the Pap test. Pre-cancerous changes can be detected by the Pap test and treated to prevent cancer from developing. The HPV test looks for infection by high-risk types of HPV that are more likely to cause pre-cancers and cancers of the cervix. The American Cancer Society recommends the primary HPV test as the preferred test for cervical cancer screening for people 25-65 years of age. For more information, please click here.
HPV infection has no treatment. However, a vaccine is available to help prevent HPV. According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine is recommended for children at age 11 or 12 years, but vaccination can be started as early as age 9. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommends vaccination for everyone through age 26 years if they were not adequately vaccinated previously.
American Diabetes Association® Alert Day®
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when blood glucose (sugar) levels rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes typically starts when muscle, liver, and fat cells do not use insulin well. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, the body requires additional insulin to help glucose enter cells. If you have type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes extra insulin. However, with time the pancreas cannot make enough insulin, and blood glucose levels rise.
Why should I take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test?
An estimated 84 million American adults are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, blindness, and amputations. However, type 2 diabetes does not have to be permanent. It can be prevented or delayed by making healthy lifestyle choices.
On March 23rd, we encourage you to take the one minute Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test. After you take the test, please share it with friends and family.
In the anonymous test, you will answer questions such as, “Do you have a family history of diabetes?” and “Are you physically active?” to learn your diabetes risk. The good news is you can manage your risk for type 2 diabetes by making healthy lifestyle choices.
What if I score higher than 5 on the test?
If you score a 5 or higher on the risk test, you are at an increased risk for having type 2 diabetes. However, only your doctor can make a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes. Talk to your doctor to determine if you need additional testing.
- NJPCA Additional Resources American Diabetes Association Alert Day
- NJPCA Publicity Toolkit American Diabetes Association Alert Day
- NJPCA Resources List American Diabetes Alert Day
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
What is Colorectal Cancer? Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.
Screening Can Save Your Life
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States among cancers that affect both men and women. Although this is an alarming statistic, screening for colorectal cancer can save lives. Colorectal cancer screening helps find polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum before they turn into cancer. When colorectal cancer is found early, treatment can be very effective. In fact, 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented with screening.
Be informed. Here are a few helpful tips regarding colorectal cancer from the CDC:
- If you are over the age of 50, see your doctor and get screened for colorectal cancer.
- There are several screening test options. Make an appointment and talk to your doctor about which option is right for you.
- Do not wait for symptoms to be checked—precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer do not always cause symptoms, especially early on.
- Even if you have no family history, you need to get screened for colorectal cancer. Most colorectal cancers occur in people with no family history of the disease.
Several tests are recommended to screen for colorectal cancer. If you are between the age of 50 and 75, get screened using one or a combination of these tests:
- The fecal immunochemical test (FIT), the guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), and the FIT–DNA test. These tests can be done at home. They look for blood or altered DNA in the stool and are recommended every year or every three years, depending on the test.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy allows the doctor to view the lower third of your colon. It is done in a doctor’s office every five years, along with the FIT done every year.
- Colonoscopy tests allow the doctor to view the entire colon and remove most polyps and some cancers. It is done in the doctor’s office every 10 years. The test is used as a follow-up if anything unusual is found using one of the other tests.
- Virtual colonoscopy uses X-rays and allows a doctor to see images of the colon on a computer screen. It is recommended every five years.
Talk to your doctor to discover which test or tests are right for you.
If you are between the age of 76 to 85, the decision to be screened should be made with a doctor, after looking at your health and screening history. If you are over the age of 85, screening is not recommended. NJPCA Publicity Toolkit 8
- NJPCA Webinars and Workflows National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
- NJPCA Resources List National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
- NJPCA Publicity Toolkit National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Minority Health Month
National Minority Health Month raises awareness about the health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities. The month is recognized by federal, state, and local entities every April. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health sets the month’s theme each year.
- NJPCA Health Disparities and How It Impacts Health Center Patients
- NJPCA Resources List National Minority Health Month
- HHS National Minority Health Month Social Media and Outreach Toolkit
National Women’s Health Week
Source cited: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women’s Health.
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. NJPCA has compiled a variety of resources that can be shared with patients and the public to raise awareness.
What is Childhood Obesity?
Childhood obesity is a complex and major public health concern in the United States. This condition occurs when a child’s weight exceeds the normal or healthy weight as it relates to the child’s age. Children that are obese are impacted by poor eating behaviors, physical inactivity, and insufficient health education about healthy food options and nutritious meals. Due to these circumstances, children are at increased risk of obesity, premature death and/or disability as they reach adulthood. In addition, childhood obesity can lead to chronic obesity-related health concerns such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and even cancer.
What factors influence childhood obesity and what are the consequences?
Childhood obesity is influenced by behavior and many other factors including poor parental eating habits within the household; encouraging fast food over nutritious meals; the prevalence of fast-food restaurants within the community; genetics; and low socio-economic status. Obesity can also be influenced by social factors that include sleepless nights, lack of green space to promote physical activity, high-calorie food and sugary drinks and the lack of affordable healthy food. An obese child can even experience several consequences due to the child’s weight that may lead to bullying; social exclusion; low self-esteem; psychological problems leading to anxiety or depression as well as long-term health effects.
How can parents help prevent childhood obesity and promote healthy diets?
Parents can prevent childhood obesity by addressing healthy behaviors at home, but the support of providers and the community is also key to promote children’s health. Parents can prevent childhood obesity by providing a nutritious breakfast daily; encouraging kids to drink more water instead of sugary drinks; introducing more fruits and vegetables; promoting physical activity daily and providing low-calorie healthy snacks and food options. Additionally, the community can also get involved by creating more recreational areas and public spaces to increase physical activity in children and adults. Community Health Center providers are also an integral part of children’s health by providing annual physical assessments, monitoring a child’s weight and promoting nutritional services to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight. Schools and educators can also promote behavioral change and reinforce healthy eating practices.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- American Obesity Foundation
- Let’s Move! Campaign
- NJPCA Publicity Toolkit Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
- NJPCA Obesity Facts
- NJPCA Resources List Childhood Obesity Awareness Month