In 2012, President Obama declared September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  Social media has taken to many users posting pictures of comic book heroes in an effort to spread awareness of childhood cancer throughout the month. For many, September is a time to honor and remember families affected by these rare diseases and raise support to find treatments and cures.  Every year, 15,780 children under 21 years old are diagnosed with cancer in the US. It is estimated that 25% of them will not survive.  NeedyMeds has information on programs that offer various kinds of assistance for children, their families, and survivors whose lives have been touched by cancer.

NeedyMeds’ Diagnosis-Based Assistance area of the site has information on over 100 national and local programs supporting patients with Childhood Cancer.  These programs offer anything from financial assistance for medical expenses or living expenses for those unable to work

Read more

Service dogs have had a place in American healthcare for almost 100 years. While companion animals were relatively common in European mental institutions during the late 19th century, dogs were not incorporated into American therapy settings until 1919.  Guide dogs for the blind began being trained in the United States in 1929, after World War I left many veterans without their sight. Though the use of service animals expanded after World War II and the Korean War, it wasn’t until the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that people with assistance dogs were guaranteed access to businesses and services available to the general public.  For National Service Dog Month, we will outline the programs available for those in need of assistance that could be filled by a properly trained service animal as well as resources available for the health of our animal companions.

There are many different kinds of service animals that perform numerous tasks.  As mentioned above, therapy or companion animals

Read more

September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, also known as Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.  Leukemia is a type of blood cancer that is fairly common, with an estimated 52,380 new cases in 2014. From the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website: “Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.” There are multiple types of Leukemia, some more common than others.

Lymphoma is similar to Leukemia in that it is a common type of blood cancer. More from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. The two main types are Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In 2014, about 761,659 people are living with lymphoma or are in remission (no sign of the disease). This number includes about 177,526 people with Hodgkin lymphoma and 584,133 people with NHL.” Hodgkin lymphoma is defined by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, named after the scientists who discovered

Read more

The last week of April was World Immunization Week, but August is National Immunization Awareness Month for the US. This is the time of year when children and teenagers are heading back to school, infants are entering preschools or day care programs, and many adults are heading into college or continuing their careers in the work force. Regardless of the situation, the need for getting vaccinated is important to be aware of year round.

According to Marvin M. Lipman, MD, Consumer Reports’ chief medical advisor, “Each year, at least 30,000 people die from complications related to vaccine-preventable diseases.” The onset of immunity and its duration varies from vaccine to vaccine. There are vaccines that are good for ten years, five years, and even vaccines that need to be renewed yearly. Dr. Lipman states, “Getting the right shots doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it will significantly improve your odds.”

Even if a person is vaccinated as a child the ability to fend off vaccine-preventable diseases may begin to lessen. Vaccines boosters are used to build immunity against illnesses and

Read more

We are in the midst of summer, and in these months it is important to protect ourselves from the health risks posed by the sun and its heat.  Regardless of skin color, exposure to the sun carries many dangers to one’s skin—from freckles and wrinkles often associated with aging, to sunburns, benign tumors or cancerous skin lesions. Prolonged heat exposure can also have many negative impacts on one’s health ranging from a rash, exhaustion, fainting, or even death.

Although everyone should take precautions to protect their skin, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages those with pale skin; blond, red, or light brown hair; or who has a personal or family history of skin cancer to be especially careful while in the sun.  The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage one’s skin in as little as 15 minutes, and the best tool in combatting that skin damage is sunscreen.  The

Read more