Health
Thursday, March 10, 2011
 
Genes increase lung cancer risk

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Last week I wrote about genes and cancer and I used the examples of breast cancer and leukemia. It is only logical to expect other types of cancer to have a genetic basis. One of those is lung cancer. For years we have known that smoking is associated with lung cancer. We know that some smokers get cancer. We know that others can smoke for many years without developing lung cancer. More recently we have found two genetic variations in genes that are associated with a high risk of lung cancer. About one-third (34%) of the population has these variations on their genes on one of their chromosomes. That is chromosome 15. We have a pair of each chromosome which means everyone has two number 15 chromosomes. For that reason, we would expect about one-third of the 34% to have the variation on both chromosome 15's. That would be about 11% of the entire population. The result is that the individuals with one abnormal gene have a 28% increased risk of lung cancer. Those with two abnormal genes have an 81% risk of lung cancer. What these variations cause is an increased binding to nicotine. Individuals who smoke will have a lot of nicotine bound to the genes. Those with second hand smoke will have an in between level of nicotine. Those who don't smoke won't have any. Once the nicotine binds to the gene it causes increases in cell growth. It also causes increased blood vessels to grow in the newly formed cells. In short, it makes the environment favorable for producing new tumors. Over time, the chances of a tumor developing are higher in these individuals than they are in people who do not have the abnormal genes. Studies have also suggested that individuals with the gene variations tend to smoke more. This suggests that something also exists that makes the addiction to nicotine worse in these individuals. Thus there are some genetic reasons for increased risks of lung cancer from smoking. There may be genetic reasons for all the other bad things that can happen from smoking cigarettes but those are yet to be discovered.

New program helps area seniors You may not have much in common with your siblings now that you're grown. But there's still one thing you share: your mom and dad. A new local program - the 50-50 Rule - offers strategies for overcoming sibling differences to help families provide the best care for elderly parents. "Anyfamily that has cared for a senior loved one knows that problems working with siblings can lead to family strife," said Erin Lee,general manager of the local Home Instead Senior Care office serving Kent and Sussex Counties. "Making decisions together, dividing the workload and teamwork are the keys to overcoming family conflict." The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age (50) when siblings are caring for their parents as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share in the plans for care 50-50. Research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network reveals that an inability to work together often leads to one sibling becoming responsible for the bulk of caregiving in 43 percent of families. And that can result in the deterioration of relationships with brothers and sisters. "If you're 50, have siblings and are assisting with the care of seniors, it's time to develop a plan," Lee said. "This program can help." At the core of the 50-50 Rule public education program is a family relationship and communication guide of real-life situations that features practical advice from sibling relationships expert Dr. Ingrid Connidis from the University of Western Ontario. "Like all relationships, siblings have a history," Connidis noted. "Whatever happened in the past influences what happens in the present. Regardless of their circumstances, most siblings do feel a responsibility to care for parents that is built from love. And that's a good place to start - optimistically and assuming the best." For more information about this free guide and other resources call 302-697-6435 or visit www.solvingfamilyconflict.com.

NHS welcomes Dr. Piccioni Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Lawrence Piccioni, MD to its active medical staff. Dr. Piccioni is seeing patients at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and his private practice, which is located at 260 Beiser Blvd., Suite 101, in Dover. Dr. Piccioni is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine, completed his residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children and his internship at Albert Einstein Medical Center. He is board certified in orthopaedic surgery and is performing knee and hip replacements for patients through Nanticoke's Joint Program.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month according to this schedule:

  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Basket/Bag Bingo The Mothers Against Cancer Relay for Life Team is holding their annual Basket/Bag Bingo to benefit the American Cancer Society on Thursday, March 17, at the Salisbury Moose Lodge. Doors open at 5 p.m., games begin at 6:30.There will be raffles, silent auctions, door prizes and food. Tickets are $15 if purchased by March 15, and $20 at the door. Call Terry at 410-430-0337 for tickets or information.

First Aid classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, March 8 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive.

Classes are open to participants ages 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required no later than five business days before the class begins. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register or for more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Lecture about headaches Dr. James Hummel and staff at Nanticoke Chiropractic Center are hosting a health lecture, "Why your Normal Headache is Not Normal," on Tuesday, March 15 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Learn the types, symptoms, causes and potential treatments for annoying headaches. This event is open to the public at no cost but reservations are requested. Call 628-8706 to reserve your seat.

Diabetes Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a free diabetes support group on Monday, March 14, from 5 to 6 p.m, at the hospital. As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would just like to share with others coping with diabetes? Each scheduled support group will offer an educational offering related to diabetes care, as well as a question and answer period. Registration for this support group is required. On March 14, Barbara Gijanto, BA, RN, WCC, CWOCN, Wound Care specialist, will speak on the topic, "Taking Care of Your Feet". To register and obtain more information regarding the support group, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Third flu deathin state Delaware's Division of Public Health reports the third flu death statewide of the 2010-2011 flu season occurred Feb. 28, of a 61-year-old man from Sussex County. The individual had underlying health conditions and had been hospitalized. Certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from influenza, including people with chronic underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and those who are immune suppressed. Stay informed about the latest developments on the flu by visiting www.flu.delaware.gov.

Nanticoke offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child or infant who is choking. This classroom-based, video and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Wellness Center shows art The Wellness Community will be featuring Renew Your PaletteƉ Art for the Mind, Food for the Soul, scheduled for March 12. To submit art or obtain more information, contact Marcia Esposito, special events coordinator, at 645-9150 or mesposito@wellnessdelaware.org. For more info see www.wellnessdelaware.org.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pick Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Stroke Support Group meeting is Tuesday, March 15, at 1:30 p.m., at the Seaford Library.The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers. The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Nanticoke offers cholesterol class Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next cholesterol class is Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The class will focus on foods and eating habits that may help to manage your cholesterol levels and will incorporate practical suggestions for overcoming the barriers to eating in a heart healthy way. Topics will include risk factors, saturated, unsaturated fats, trans fats, portion sizes and other American Heart Association guidelines. There is a class fee of $20, and pre-registration is required.For more information and to register, call 629-6611, ext. 2455.

Free headache lecture Dr. James Hummel and staff at Nanticoke Chiropractic Center are hosting a health lecture, "Why your Normal Headache is Not Normal," on Tuesday, March 15 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Learn the types, symptoms, causes and potential treatments for annoying headaches. This free event is open to the public but reservations are requested. Call 628-8706 to reserve your seat.