Tag Archives: MD

Lit Up in Blue For Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in South Carolina. Each year, more than 2,400 South Carolinians are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and approximately 800 die from the disease. But colorectal cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer – and treatable when detected early. Unfortunately, not everyone receives proper screening.

That’s why Lexington Medical Center is lighting up in blue this month. Our hospital wants to raise awareness about the prevalence of colorectal cancer and ways to prevent it. Blue lights will illuminate Lexington Medical Park 3 along Interstate 26 in West Columbia on the hospital campus throughout the month of March, which is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colorectal Cancer Facts
The best tool to screen for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy, which is considered one of the most powerful tools in clinical medicine because of its ability to identify and remove polyps before they become cancerous. Early detection and intervention can reduce mortality from colorectal cancer by up to 90 percent. Unfortunately, only 64 percent of the people in our state age 50 or older report ever being screened.

“Don’t delay having a colonoscopy,” said Samir R. Shah, MD, a surgeon with Lexington Surgical Associates, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. “It’s a painless procedure, and it’s better to be checked than to ignore an issue that could have been preventable and, most importantly, curable.”

In general, people should have a colonoscopy at age 50. Patients with a family history of colorectal cancer should talk to their doctor and begin screening earlier. Sometimes, colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may be bleeding, abdominal pain or a change in bowel habits. People with those symptoms should talk to their doctor, regardless of age.

While genetics may play a role in some colorectal cancer cases, most occur in someone with no family history of the disease. Factors that increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer include tobacco and heavy alcohol use, consumption of red or processed meat, diabetes, obesity and a low-fiber diet.

Lexington Medical Center diagnoses and treats more than 100 cases of colorectal cancer each year. From medical and radiation oncologists to surgeons, our clinicians provide comprehensive care for colorectal cancer. Visit LexMed.com/Cancer

It’s A Bad Flu Season

We’re in the middle of a tough flu season. In fact, Lexington Medical Center doctors say it may be the worst flu season in South Carolina since 2010.

In October, the Lexington Medical Center Emergency department saw 15 flu cases; in November, 80; in December, 550. And, in just the first week of January – 300 flu cases.

“The flu is a very serious illness,” said Daniel L. Avosso, MD, MBA, FACEP, FACHE, medical director of the Emergency department at Lexington Medical Center. “It causes hospitalization and death. And its symptoms last longer than other illnesses.”

Unoftunately, Dr. Avosso says this year’s flu vaccine may not be as effective as we had hoped.

“Each year, we have to predict what vaccine to make. Some years, we get it right. Others, we don’t,” he said. The accuracy of the vaccine determines the severity of the flu season.”

However, Dr. Avosso advises that patients should still get a flu shot. That’s because if you’re exposed to the flu after having the vaccine, your symptoms may not be as severe.

It’s especially important for people with underlying conditions to have a flu vaccine. That includes people with asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, congestive heart failure, neurological issues and who are bed bound. It also includes the very young, pregnant women and the elderly population. That’s because these groups are most likely to be hospitalized with flu complications.

The flu is spread through small microscopic droplets. You can contract the flu from someone who is as many as six feet away from you. You can also catch it from touching the same door knob as someone with the flu. It’s important to be especially careful in crowds.

Daniel Avosso, MD

The flu tends to peak this time of year because people are stuck inside in cold weather spreading germs from one person to another as opposed to the warmer weather months where people enjoy the outdoors.

If you’re exposed to the flu, you’re likely to develop flu symptoms between one and four days later. If you have the flu, you were contagious the day before your symptoms appeared and up to a week later.

Tamiflu is a medicine that can help shorten the duration of the flu and help with symptoms. But you need to begin taking it between one and two days after symptoms appear. And because it can cause side effects, some doctors recommend it only for a select group of patients.

The flu is a virus – so antibiotics won’t help. In addition to Tamiflu, it’s important to stay hydrated, rest and treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medication. With proper care, the flu will eventually run its course.

Weight Loss After Pregnancy: New Mom Loses 175 Pounds

Ryan Livingston has a message for moms.

“You can lose weight after you have kids. And you can keep the pounds off.”

Ryan lives on a family farm in Newberry County with her husband Scott and their young children Payton and Furman.

Ryan at her heaviest weight after delivering her daughter.

“Get in shape for the sake of your kids and your health,” she said.

Growing up, Ryan was always one of the tallest kids in class. At 6 feet tall, she used her height to her advantage on the high school basketball team. She met Scott soon after high school, and carefree college years moved her away from a regular fitness routine.

“I didn’t feel a need to stay in shape,” Ryan said. “My husband looked at me through ‘love goggles’ and never saw me as big.”

In her early 20s, Ryan began her first pregnancy at 245 pounds. She developed preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure that can be dangerous for mother and baby. The condition required bed rest and careful monitoring. By the time Payton was born, Ryan weighed 346 pounds.

Ryan at her leanest weight after losing 175 pounds.

“I was trying to heal from a caesarean section, do laundry and keep up with Payton. I was to the point where I couldn’t care for myself,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s doctor is Janis E. Keeton, MD, an OB/GYN in the Lexington Medical Center network of care.

“Weight loss after pregnancy is challenging for most women. The stress of becoming a new parent combined with sleep deprivation creates a vicious cycle, raising hormone levels that promote fat storage,” Dr. Keeton said. “That can help women keep the weight on and make it more difficult to get the weight off.”

Janis E. Keeton, MD

Dr. Keeton encourages women who are struggling with their weight to ask their doctor to check for a thyroid condition, which affects one in 10 women and can make it hard to lose weight.

And it’s important to have good habits in place before having a baby. That will help limit weight gain during pregnancy and decrease the risk of complications such as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and even a caesarean section.

“If a mom didn’t have good eating and exercise habits before, it’s going to be harder to incorporate a healthy routine into her schedule with a new baby,” Dr. Keeton said.

In addition to a lower carbohydrate and higher protein meal plan coupled with regular exercise, Dr. Keeton recommended that Ryan keep a food journal and download a free fitness and nutrition app on her phone.

“It made me accountable throughout the day,” Ryan said. “I would log everything I ate. That’s when I realized I ate an entire box of Lucky Charms in two days. I learned I could satisfy my sweet tooth with something smaller.”

Ryan and her family today

As a real estate agent, Ryan worked irregular hours, grabbing food when and where she could. It was a challenge to find healthy snacks on the go and resist the ease of fast food, but she made smarter choices and the pounds started coming off. When she reached 265 pounds, she started going to the gym three days a week for light cardio and weight training.

A year and a half after having Payton, Ryan reached her high school weight of 175 pounds.

During the process, Dr. Keeton also encouraged Ryan to get some rest.

“Most new moms are working, too,” Dr. Keeton said. They’re the last to go to bed and the first to get up. I encourage them to ask for and accept help so they can find time for themselves. They shouldn’t feel like a bad person for not giving every minute they have to the baby.”

According to Dr. Keeton, the way to win the weight battle is consistency and a plan.

“They’re going to get off track,” she said. “I ask patients to anticipate the road blocks that have previously caused them to fail. I tell them to get back on track so that 85 to 90 percent of the time they’re doing the right thing. No one is perfect all the time.”

Ryan’s healthier weight and lifestyle put her in better shape for her second pregnancy. Today, she weighs just over 200 pounds and is back on track to reaching her 175-pound goal.

“Scott and my mom have been great supporters and have always encouraged me to keep shooting for my goals,” Ryan said. “It always helps when you have loved ones who want to see you accomplish your dreams in life.”

She has more energy, too.

“I still eat cake, ice cream and pizza. But I limit my portions,” Ryan said. “I’m so thankful that I stuck with it. It’s been a saving grace.”