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Breast Cancer Awareness: Lower Your Risk

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women, after skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 231,000 Americans will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 60,000 with non-invasive, and 40,000 are expected to die

October is designated to bring awareness to breast cancer so women can be informed of early detection and getting the proper treatments. It’s also a good time to inform women of healthy habits they need to implement into their daily lives to lower their risk of breast cancer. The more common risk factors associated with breast cancer are: age, genetics, and being a women. These factors can’t be changed, but risk factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, unhealthy diet, can be changed. Here’s what you can do to lower your risk of breast cancer:

Lower Intake of Unhealthy Foods

Doing this will not only lower your risk for breast cancer, but it will make a difference in your overall health! According to BreastCancer.org, diet is partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. But some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.

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A study published in the journal BMJ Open found women who went up a skirt size every decade between their 20s and 60s, increased their risk by 33 percent compared to the 77 percent risk for those who increased two sizes per decade. You can seek counsel from your healthcare provider to help you get your health on the right track.

Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine

Research has shown that exercising 4 to 7 hours a week can lower your risk of breast cancer. People who exercise regularly tend to be healthier and have a lower body fat percentage. According to BreastCancer.org, fat cells make estrogen and extra fat makes extra estrogen. When breast cells are exposed to estrogen over time, the risk of developing breast cancer is high.

Stop Smoking

This bad habit is linked to a number of cancers and diseases. Smoking is linked to a higher risk of  breast cancer in young premenopausal women. There is also a link between very heavy secondhand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women. Smoking can be hard to to quit cold turkey, but there are programs that can help you. Talk with your doctor about what program will work best for you, or visit the American Lung Association for information on a free online smoking cessation program.

“By choosing the healthiest lifestyle options possible, you can empower yourself and make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible.” – BreastCancer.org

Improvements in detection, treatment, and awareness have increased over the past few years. Because of this, women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are living more. Nevertheless, it’s still important to stay as healthy as possible to lower your chance of breast cancer. Before making any significant changes to your lifestyle, consult with your physician. Don’t have a doctor? Contact us today and we can get you set up with an in-network provider to meet your needs.


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The Simple Guide to Prostate Cancer

In honor of Men’s Health Month, we put together a Prostate Health Guide to help you understand the potential threats it can have on the male body. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and the second leading killer of men, behind lung cancer. Each year over 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 30,000 will die from it.

Doctor Visit

About the Prostate

The prostate is part of the male sex organs and is a small gland that surrounds the urethra. Until the age of about 40, the prostate does not change, but over time the prostate continues to enlarge with no intent on stopping causing urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and other complications. About half of the male population does not experience issues with the prostate. However, the other half will develop enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, or prostatitis.

What is Enlarged Prostate or BPH?

BPH, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia in medical terms, is a non-cancerous disorder in which an enlarged prostate causes certain symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • The need to push to get urine flowing
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder
  • Leaking after urination
  • Weak urine stream

 Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

There are four factors that increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. These factors include, age, family history, race, and diet.

  • Age: Prostate cancer is most common in men ages 55-65.
  • Family History: Chances of being diagnosed with prostate cancer doubles if someone in your family has had it.
  • Race: African Americans have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world, double that of White males.
  • Diet: Diets low in fiber and high in fat and red meat increases the risk of developing prostate cancer.

What is Prostatitis?

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that may be caused by an infection. There are three types: bacterial prostatitis, nonbacterial prostatitis, and prostatodynia.

  • Bacterial prostatitis is simply a bacterial infection of the prostate and can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Nonbacterial prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate, which may be caused by a reaction to substances in the urine. It is more common among men who have asthma or allergies. However, it is difficult for medical professionals to state with certainty what causes this inflammation.
  • Prostatodynia is also an enlargement of the prostate, but like the nonbacterial version it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of this discomfort. It could possibly be caused by a muscle spasm, or other rather miscellaneous causes.

What Women Can Do

If your partner is 40 or older, encourage him to get a prostate-specific alignment (PSA) blood test, or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Prostate cancer can be detected through these tests and can be treatable if caught early on.

In the early stages, prostate cancer does not cause symptoms. However, as the disease develops the symptoms increase. Contact your doctor immediately if your partner experiences the following:

  • Hip or back pain
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Blood in the urine.

Others symptoms will become apparent as the disease develops. Women, educate yourselves on prostate cancer. It may just save your partner’s life!

Treatment options

BPHhealthy older guy

  1. Watchful waiting.
  2. Medications- Cardura, Flomax, Hytrin, Uroxatral.
  3. Surgery-
  4. Heat therapy

Prostate Cancer:

  1. Complete surgical removal of the prostate.
  2. Radiation therapy.
  3. Hormone therapy.
  4. Cryosurgery- involves freezing the prostate gland to destroy cancer cells.
  5. Active surveillance- monitoring the cancer (recommended for those who believe their cancer is developing slowly and will likely not spread.

Now that you have more information and a better understanding of the prostate, support the men in your life by spreading the word and sharing our knowledge. Increasing awareness can enable those with BPH to limit health risks and take notice before the disease develops further. For more information, visit the Men’s Health Month website. From all of us at Anderson Thornton, stay healthy!


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Long Delay in Exchange Enrollment for Small Businesses

A recent article posted by the New York Times reveals some unsettling news for small businesses.  Robert Pear states that the program was created for small business to provide affordable health insurance to their employees and was set to begin in January 2014.  This program was a part of the overall health care legislation that was pushed through Congress three years ago by the Obama administration.  Due to tight deadlines and “operational challenges” the program is being pushed back to start in 2015.  Until that time, many small businesses are wondering where that leaves them during this time of uncertainty.

The intent of this new plan was to create a new insurance marketplace that allows employers to provide workers with a choice of health plans.  Small businesses are currently limited to offer a single plan. There are 33 states in which the federal government will be running these exchanges, also known as the insurance markets.

For small business, the most important aspect to understand is that small employers buying insurance through an exchange will offer a single health plan to their workers next year. Essentially, the exchange exists to allow an employer to pay an upfront cost to the exchange who will then disburse the money to the various insurance companies providing insurance for their employees.  The exchange simplifies the collection and payment of monthly premiums. Originally enrollment for exchanges was set to begin in October of this year and was to be implemented in January. Recently, one of the major health insurance providers Aetna was quoted from a letter to the administration saying, “Experience with Massachusetts has demonstrated that employee choice models are extremely cumbersome to establish and operate.” This is a small reflection of the time spent and costs incurred that will continue to create setbacks and frustration for small businesses and insurance providers.

Pear states that, “Businesses with up to 100 employees will be able to buy insurance in the exchanges. In 2014 and 2015, states can limit participation to businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Companies with fewer than 25 workers may be able to obtain tax credits for up to two years of coverage bought through an exchange.  States can open the exchanges to large employers in 2017.”  A few states are already running their own exchanges despite it not being required by the government yet.


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Will Florida Not Participate in The New Healthcare Laws?

By: Michael Ojeda

On Friday the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, stated that Florida will not begin implementing the federal health care law because he believes it is bad policy and too costly for Floridians. Rick Scott told Fox News that he is hoping that a new president in November repeals the laws. If the law isn’t repealed Scott will make sure that Florida does not adopt the healthcare exchange or the expansion of Medicaid.

Under the new “Obamacare” program, states have to set up a health insurance exchange or a web based marketplace for citizens to shop for insurance, and expand their Medicaid program by 2014. This is supposed to make it easier for people to sign up for healthcare. Florida currently has 3.8 million people without insurance.

Scott believes that the Medicaid expansion and the exchange make no sense and will tighten the already strict state budget for Florida. States do not need to participate in the these two programs and will not be penalized for doing so, although other mandates in the Affordable Care Act automatically take effect, such as the inability for insurers to deny children with preexisting conditions or discounts for drug prescriptions.

“Hopefully we won’t have to worry about it because by November we’re going to have a new president-elect who is going to repeal it,” said Rick Scott’s press secretary Lane Wright.


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June 28, 2012 Supreme Court Mandate Review (Obamacare)

By: Michael Ojeda

This morning the Supreme Court concluded on whether the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) violates the constitution. The biggest issue was whether the individual mandate (All Americans are forced to buy healthcare or be fined as a consequence) would be found unconstitutional.

Congress had three different backup arguments for the act to pass the Supreme Court’s scrutiny. The first defense was under the commerce clause in the constitution. The second was the necessary and proper clause. The first two arguments were rejected, although congress got it to pass using the argument to turn the penalty into a tax. Americans would have a choice; either enroll in health insurance or pay a extra tax as a result. Since the mandate was deemed constitutional, the rest of the act will remain intact and not be scrutinized by the Supreme Court.

The only other provision that was looked into by the Supreme Court was the mandate stating that a state’s Medicaid funds could be terminated if they do not comply with specified healthcare updates.  The argument for this mandate was that it is constitutional for congress to ask states to comply with conditions in order to receive extra funding, although it has been deemed unconstitutional for congress to penalize states for not participating in the new conditions and take away their current funding.

There you have it folks Americans must buy healthcare or pay a tax instead, and Congress can give states extra funding or deny it, but they can’t take away a states existing funding.


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“Obamacare” and What It Means to You

By: Michael Ojeda

We have all heard the term “Obamacare”; but what does this mean to the average Joe? In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into legislature. This act specified that every citizen must enroll in healthcare or face a fine by the government. This is expected to take effect in 2014. Americans do have the choice of which healthcare they use, whether it’s Medicare or Medicaid, through their employer, or a personal healthcare provider. There will also be a state-based health insurance exchange for those who normally cannot afford insurance.
Several changes have taken place on the act during the years. In 2010, small businesses received tax credits to cover up to 35% of their total employee premium payments; this will lead to an increase of 50% in 2014. This change also gave those who fell under the Medicare “donut hole” a rebate of $250. In 2011 they received 50% off brand name drugs and the “donut hole” will be completely eliminated in 2020. Children were also allowed to stay on their parent’s healthcare plans until they turn 26. New private plans were forced to cover preventive services, like checkups and vaccines, with no co-payments, and they are excluded from deductibles. Americans who were denied coverage for new plans have access to an external appeals process. If consumers became very ill, insurance companies were stopped from dropping their clients. They also were stopped from creating lifetime coverage limits. They could no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, and the same will be true for adults by 2014.
More changes came about in 2011 regarding healthcare. Medicare-covered preventative services were excluded from deductibles and the co-pay was thrown out the window completely. Insurance companies must prove they spent at least 80% of the premium payments on medical services; this does not include expenses such as advertising and executive salaries. Insurance companies that can’t do this must give rebates to policy holders. Grants were also given to states so that they may force health insurance companies to provide justification for all rate increases. Additional funding was given to double the amount of nurses and doctors and also increase the number of community healthcare facilities.
A specific mandate in the act states that everyone must get health insurance or be penalized with a fine. This was ruled unconstitutional by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta. It referenced that this individual mandate falls outside the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The Treasury Department petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case. In June 28, 2012 (tomorrow) the court will decide to uphold the entire Obamacare act, strike the whole act down, or just get rid of the individual mandate.

This is a critical time regardless if you are for Obamacare, against it, or just the mandate itself.

Water Wells For Africa

At Anderson Thornton Consultants we know that its necessary to not only think of and help our clients but also our fellow man. This is why we decided to help raise money to build water wells in Africa. Your contribution can go toward giving the people there a clean source of life giving water. Click on the link to help us toward our goal of $5000. Every cent is appreciated.