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Reducing Breast Cancer Risk Factors With 5 Easy Steps

Breast Cancer Risk Factors And 5 Easy Ways To Reduce Them

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marking a good time to check in on your own breast health. 

Breast cancer is a disease characterized by cell overgrowth in the breasts. There are several types of breast cancer; the type depends on which kind of cells are turning into cancer. While several studies have shown that your risk of breast cancer is a combination of a variety of factors, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing this type of cancer. 

Symptoms Of Breast Cancer

Depending on the person, breast cancer symptoms can appear differently. Some people do not show any symptoms, which is why it’s important to be sure you always complete your physical each year with your gynecologist. 

Some of the more common symptoms of breast cancer include: 

  • New lump in the breast or underarm
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
  • Pain in any area of the breast

Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Any person’s risk level of breast cancer is based on a combination of factors. Being over age 50 is the biggest risk of breast cancer, though some others include: 

  • Genetic mutation: Women who have inherited changes (mutations) to certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, are at higher risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Dense breast tissue: patients with more connective than fatty tissue are more likely to develop breast cancer. Additionally, the connective tissue can make it harder to find tumors in regular mammograms.
  • Reproductive health history: patients who had their period before age 12 and/or didn’t experience menopause until after 55 are more likely to get breast cancer due to being exposed to hormones over a longer period of time. 
  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer: A patient's risk of developing breast cancer is higher if she has a mother, sister, or daughter (first-degree relative) who has had breast or ovarian cancer. Having a first-degree male relative with breast cancer also raises a patient’s risk. 

Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk

While there are several breast cancer risk factors you can’t do anything about, such as your family history or getting older, the following are risk factors you do have control over:

  • Lack of physical activity: patients who don’t regularly exercise are more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol: Studies show that a woman’s risk for breast cancer increases with the more alcohol she drinks.
  • Being obese or overweight post-menopause: older patients who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of breast cancer. 
  • Hormone therapy: hormones taken during menopause can raise risk for breast cancer when taken for more than five years. Additionally, certain contraceptives have been linked to higher risks of breast cancer. 
  • Reproductive history: Having the first pregnancy after age 30, not breastfeeding, and never having a full-term pregnancy can raise breast cancer risk.

Breast Cancer Treatment At Townsen Memorial

At Townsen Memorial, our family of hospitals are equipped with the latest in medical technology and cancer specialists. We strive to provide the best patient experience across all Townsen Memorial affiliated sites. Our standard of high-quality care starts at our Emergency Room and carries on through our Imaging Centers, Surgery Centers, and through our Hospital. Our medical sites are located in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas, to provide the best care to patients in and around Harris County. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, Breast cancer

Hiring In Healthcare 6 Tips For Success

Career or job fairs are a great opportunity for you to network and get yourself noticed by potential employers. On the other hand, employers attend job fairs to get themselves in front of a high-volume of candidates and to win facetime with top talent.

Job fairs are different from traditional interviews in that you have less time to set yourself apart from the crowd and score that additional opportunity to advance in the interview process. During the event, employers look at how you interact with other candidates and employers, and will especially judge your preparedness. Fortunately, we have some top tips to help you show up ready to give you the best chance of being a candidate that employers want to pursue. 

Register And Research

The first and arguably most important step is to register for the career fair before their deadline. During the registration process, you’ll usually have the opportunity to sign up for any alerts about the event, which you should do to stay in the know. 

Once you’re registered, take a look at the employers that will be attending and get to know a little bit more about them. You’ll want to understand their culture, their place in the industry, as well as what potential openings they have so you can speak to those when you meet with them. Doing this ahead of time will save the employers the hassle of teaching you things you should already know. 

Consider Your Goals

Before attending, consider what three to five employers or positions you’re hoping to hit, and make a plan of attack to get to those three to five at the beginning of the job fair. Most career fairs offer a vendor map leading up to the event, so you can use that to scope out the best path to get to your highest priorities. 

Additionally, getting to the event early will help ensure you get to meet with as many of your goal companies as possible. Once you’ve stopped at those booths, you can use your extra time to network with other employers and visit your lower-priority opportunities. 

Update Your Resume/Online Presence

Before you go to the job fair, tailor copies of your resume to each of your goal positions/employers. This will help you stand out while they’re filtering through the dozens of resumes they receive. Be sure to also bring copies of your regular resume in case you network with an employer outside of your list. Lastly, be sure your profiles on LinkedIn and other social networks are up-to-date and are scrubbed of anything nefarious. 

Appearance And Etiquette

You can increase your likelihood of scoring an interview by looking the part: prioritize your hygiene and opt to dress in business casual attire rather than jeans and a t-shirt. Shake the hands of people you meet, use direct eye contact and do your best to remember names. 

Success comes from both hard and soft skills, so the way you look and communicate with others is just as important as your previous experience and other work-related skills. 

Prepare A Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short sales pitch designed to highlight your best attributes as quickly and directly as possible. You’ll use this to introduce yourself to the employers, all while preparing to answer questions such as “tell us about yourself,” “what are your goals,” “what are your strengths and weaknesses.” When answering, keep your responses to 60 seconds or less. Using your research about the company, illustrate why you and your skills would be a good cultural and technical fit for their open position(s). 

Follow Up

If you’re moving forward in the interview process, be sure to firm up these details before leaving the job fair. Following up the next day or week with a phone call and/or a handwritten thank you note will go a long way in keeping you top-of-mind with a healthcare employer/recruiter. Use this as an opportunity to show off your courteousness while thanking them for their time and consideration. 

About Townsen Memorial

At Townsen Memorial, our family of hospitals are equipped with the latest in medical technology and specialists.We strive to provide the best patient experience across all Townsen Memorial affiliated sites. Our standard of high-quality care starts at our Emergency Room and carries on through our Imaging Centers, Surgery Centers, and through our Hospital. Our medical sites are located in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas, to provide the best care to patients in and around Harris County. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487

Hiring In Healthcare.

We hope that the “Hiring in healthcare 6 tips to success” was helpful. Check out our careers page! We’re always looking for great individuals. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

healthcare careers, healthcare employment

Common Hand Surgeries And How To Prevent Them

If you’re like most people, you use your hands all of the time. In fact, your hands and wrists are probably one of the most used parts of your body. From cleaning and cooking, to writing and typing, to making music and art, to driving a car, we use our hands when we do almost anything.

With all of the extra use your hands and wrists see, they are susceptible to all kinds of joint and muscle problems. When that happens, it can be quite debilitating, and can hinder your ability to do a myriad of things important to your daily life. Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent some of the most common causes of hand surgery, and if you do end up needing surgical intervention, our certified surgeons can help you find the relief you’ve been looking for. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What it is: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the transverse carpal ligament, or TCL, narrows, or the surrounding tissues pressure the median nerve, which goes down your arm into your hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by the compression of the TCL on the section of the median nerve that connects the base of your wrist and your hand. 

Common Symptoms: First presenting itself as tingling and/or numbness on the thumb side of the hand, Carpal Tunnel can progress to loss of feeling and weakness within your thumb muscle. 

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: 

  • Improve your posture at work. You can try to use a wrist pad for your mouse and keyboard, or adjust your seat to help you sit up straight. 
  • Ice your wrists when they feel sore.
  • Avoid sleeping in positions that bend or curl your wrists. 
  • Take frequent breaks from typing or lifting heavy objects. 
  • Stretch your hand, fingers and wrist hourly. Flex your palm and rotate your wrists in a circular motion. 

Treatment: Though the previous steps can help prevent surgical intervention, a solution isn’t always that simple. In the early progressions of the disease, your doctor may provide a brace or oral steroid to help alleviate your symptoms. If your symptoms continue or worsen, surgery is usually the next step. During carpal tunnel surgery, your surgeon will make an incision at the base of your palm, cutting the TCL, relieving the median nerve compression. During recovery, scar tissue builds over the gap in the TCL. For some patients, symptoms go away immediately, while for others total symptom relief may take up to six months. 

Ganglion Cysts

What they are: Ganglion Cysts are small lumps filled with fluid or a viscous substance on the hand and wrist that appear randomly. 

Common Symptoms: For some patients, these cysts cause pain and discomfort. For others, they can actually inhibit their ability to move their hand or wrist. 

Treatment: Because these cysts occur randomly, there is no way to prevent them. However, they can be treated in a variety of ways–including aspiration or drainage from your hand surgeon. If a cyst persists and becomes too symptomatic, your doctor may perform surgery to remove it. 

Basal Joint Arthritis

What it is: Arthritis is a common condition that occurs due to the normal wear and tear of your body due to life. Characterized by the deterioration of the cartilage that lines your joints, arthritis creates bone-on-bone friction. When arthritis occurs in the hand at the base of the thumb, it is known as Basal Joint Arthritis. 

Common Symptoms: Basal Joint Arthritis can cause inflammation, irritation, loss of motion, weakness, pain, stiffness and swelling. 

How to Prevent Basal Joint Arthritis: The following hand exercises can be used to help prevent the onset of arthritis in the hand. 

  • Bend each of your fingers down towards your palm. Straighten them out again. 
  • Curve your fingers to create an “o” shape. Hold them there for a few seconds before releasing. 
  • Lay your hand on a flat surface. With each finger, lift up and hold for a few moments before returning them to the flat surface.
  • Regularly stretch your wrist up and down. If needed, apply slight pressure. 
  • Several times per day, create a fist with your thumb on the outside. Stretch your fingers and return them to the fist position. 

Treatment: In the early stages of Basal Joint Arthritis, your doctor may provide you with topical or over-the-counter medications, injections or splints. However, if your symptoms progress, your hand surgeon may recommend a ligament reconstruction tendon interposition, a surgery that removes the bone from the base of the thumb to eliminate grinding and pain. Recovery usually takes up to six weeks and requires hand therapy. 

Trigger Finger

What it is: Trigger Finger occurs when nodules form on a flexor tendon. These nodules, caused by tendon friction, then prevent the tendon from gliding and moving your finger. This results tin your finger remaining locked in a bent position. 

How to Prevent Trigger Finger: Daily hand stretching can give your hands a much needed break and can even prevent the onset of Trigger Finger. These exercises include the following:

  • Pinch your fingertips and thumb together. Put an elastic band around your fingers and then spread your fingers open. 
  • Twice per day, scatter small objects, such as coins, buttons, or tweezers, across the table. Pick up one object at a time using only one finger and your thumb.

Treatment: Non-surgical treatments for Trigger Finger include corticosteroid injections. Your doctor may try injections up to three times. If your symptoms don’t improve, your doctor will likely recommend surgery to remove the nodule(s) to allow your tendon to flex properly again. 

Contact the Hand Specialists at Townsen Memorial Today

At Townsen Memorial, we have a team of highly-skilled surgeons to help you with your hand condition. Dr. Mark Khorsandi is one of the top double board-certified hand surgeons in the Houston area. A leader in the surgical field, Dr. Khorsandi has developed the discipline of hand surgery, and has earned a reputation as a skilled physician who puts his patients first. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, hand surgery

8 Signs You Should See An ENT

August is wellness month, and a resource to help you in your overall wellness is an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, or ENT. An ENT specializes in all ailments of the ear, nose and throat, and can help you with the following eight conditions. 

#1 Hearing Loss

If you feel like your hearing has gotten worse, or if you often find yourself turning up the volume on your devices, it may be time to seek hearing help from an ENT. Your ENT can work with an audiologist to uncover the cause of your hearing loss. Causes range from a buildup of earwax or an ear infection, to a ruptured eardrum or inner ear damage. 

#2 Chronic Ear Infections

Ear infections are infections of the air-filled space behind the eardrum. Most commonly affecting children from ages six months to two years, ear infections can cause congestion, swelling, fever, headache, impaired hearing and loss of balance. 

If your child is consistently developing ear infections, it’s a good idea to talk with an ENT specialist. Ear infections can impact their ability to hear clearly, and recurrent infections can cause speech, social and developmental delays. 

The most common treatment for chronic ear infections are inner ear tubes that help ventilate the ear and prevent any future fluid buildups. 

#3 Tinnitus or Ringing in the Ear

Tinnitus or ringing in the ear, refers to head or ear noise from no external source that persists for longer than five minutes and occurs more than once per week. For many patients, tinnitus is incredibly bothersome and can affect their ability to go about their daily lives. Though there is no cure for tinnitus, an ENT can help you with strategies to decrease your perception of the ringing. 

#4 Vertigo

Vertigo, or chronic dizziness, is most commonly caused by dislodged calcium crystals in your inner ear. It can sometimes be a short-term issue, like when you stand up too quickly, have a migraine or are taking certain medication. Over 30% of Americans have reported experiencing vertigo at some point in their lives. If you have chronic vertigo, especially when moving your head by rolling over, looking up or bending down, an ENT can help you with strategies to manage this problem. 

#5 Sinusitis

Chronic stuffy nose, or sinusitis, occurs when your sinuses are inflamed and swollen. The swelling interferes with your nasal drainage, causing a stuffy nose. Patients with sinusitis may find it difficult to breathe through their nose, have tenderness around their eyes, and/or have a discolored discharge from their nose. Chronic sinusitis is marked by a history of sinus infections that don’t respond to typical treatment. An ENT can help determine the cause of your sinusitis and develop a treatment plan that works best for you. 

#6 Swollen Lymph Nodes

Your lymph nodes play a key role in helping your body ward off infections. You have many lymph nodes in your head and neck that can become swollen or tender due to infection. 

Most swollen lymph nodes get better on their own; however, if they are persistent for more than two weeks, get bigger, feel hard or rubbery, or are associated with fever, night sweats and weight loss, you should seek the help of an ENT immediately. 

#7 Chronic Tonsillitis

If you have a chronic sore throat, or your tonsils are constantly inflamed, your ENT can help diagnose your symptoms and help determine a treatment plan. Common symptoms of tonsillitis include sore throat, tender lymph nodes and difficulty swallowing. 

#8 Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is a dangerous condition characterized by patients who stop breathing or experience shallow breath patterns during sleep. When this occurs, you may snore loudly or make choking sounds as your brain tries to regulate your breathing. More than 18 million Americans are living with sleep apnea, but many go undiagnosed. 

An ENT can perform a sleep study to measure your oxygen levels. Treatment is important as sleep apnea can cause your brain to be oxygen deprived during sleep, causing restlessness and chronic fatigue.

Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in East Texas – Townsen Memorial

At Townsen Memorial, our family of hospitals are equipped with the latest in ENT technology and specialists. If you’re suffering from any of the conditions above, we can help. 

We strive to provide the best patient experience across all Townsen Memorial affiliated sites. Our standard of high-quality care starts at our Emergency Room and carries on through our Imaging Centers, Surgery Centers, and through our Hospital. Our medical sites are located in Houston, TX and the surrounding areas, to provide the best care to patients in and around Harris County. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, ENT doctors in houston

Heat-Related Illnesses And How To Avoid Them

Summer temperatures are heating up, and while most enjoy the days at the beach and spending time in the great outdoors, the sun can actually be dangerous if you aren’t prepared. According to the CDC, heat stroke is responsible for the death of over 600 Americans each year. Fortunately, there are warning signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke that you can look out for. 

Who’s Most At Risk? 

While spending time outdoors in hotter weather, those most at risk for a heat-related illness are the following: 

  • Infants and children under age 10
  • People 65 and older
  • People who are overweight
  • People who are ill, have chronic health conditions or are on certain medications

It’s also important to note that people and animals left in a hot car can become sick in a matter of minutes. Never leave a loved one or pet in a hot car, even if you’re just going inside for one thing. 

Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion occurs when your body loses too much water and salt through sweating. This can cause a variety of symptoms that you should know to look out for, including:

  • Sweating
  • Pale, ashen or moist skin
  • Muscle cramps (especially for those working or exercising outdoors in high temperatures)
  • Fatigue, weakness or exhaustion
  • Headache, dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate

If you’re with someone who is experiencing some of these symptoms, it’s important to act quickly. Heat Exhaustion can cause a stroke or even death. Move them to a shaded or cool area, give them water or other cool (non-alcoholic) drinks, and provide them wet towels to apply to their face, or even better, have them take a cool shower. 

Heat Stroke

The symptoms of this deadly illness include:

  • Body temperature above 103 degrees
  • Skin that is flushed, dry and hot to the touch; sweating has usually stopped
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache, dizziness, confusion or other signs of altered mental status
  • Irrational or belligerent behavior
  • Convulsions or unresponsiveness

If a loved one is experiencing Heat Stroke, it can be scary. However, it is important to remain calm and get them medical help as soon as possible. Immediately call 911, move them to a cool place and remove any of their unnecessary clothing. Try to cool the victim by placing them in cool water, such as a shower, or covering them in cool towels. Monitor their health and breathing until their temperature is at or below 101 degrees. Be prepared to give them CPR if needed. 

It is important to NOT do the following things when treating someone who is having a Heat Stroke: 

  • DO NOT force the victim to drink liquids
  • DO NOT apply rubbing alcohol to the skin
  • DO NOT allow victims to take pain relievers or salt tablets

How To Avoid Heat-Related Illnesses

The best ways to avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke include staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, and using the air conditioning in your home to cool off. 

Wearing loose clothing and a hat can also protect you from the sun’s harsh summer rays. You should also avoid spending a lot of time outside during the hottest part of the day, which is from 11 am to 3 pm. If you’re sweating a lot, replace your salt loss with a sports drink or fruit juice. Finally, wear sunscreen because a sunburn can affect the way your body cools itself. 

Townsen Memorial Hospital Is Here For You

At Townsen Memorial Hospital in Humble, TX, our medical staff is experienced in treating heat-borne illnesses. We’re conveniently located off of 59N and FM 1960 at the corner of 1960 & Townsen Rd. to ensure you can arrive safely and quickly should you need medical attention. With a 24/7 emergency room and a hospital staff trained in all specialties, we’re here for you when you need us. To learn more, visit our website or call 1-877-494-9487.

Health Tips, ENT doctors in houston, summer safety