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health & wellness

Son uses CPR to save father after heart attack

Photos by Tom Rivers: Kenny Capurso gave his father Al Capurso CPR on March 23 after he suffered a heart attack at home in Gaines. Al Capurso gave his son “Lifesavers” candy for his life-saving actions.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 April 2017 at 10:55 am

 ‘I’m eternally grateful for what Kenny did – that he knew what to do and did it.’ Al Capurso speaking of his son

GAINES – Al Capurso called out this son at about 10:10 in the morning on March 23. Capurso was upstairs. Kenny, 18, was down the hall in his room.

He rushed to to see his father, who was having a heart attack. Mr. Capurso, 64, gasped for air, and then was unconscious. His eyes were closed and he wasn’t breathing. He appeared paralyzed.

Kenny quickly called 911 and a dispatcher gave him CPR instructions: two quick breaths and 30 compressions.

Kenny also remembered the basics from health class in middle school. He moved his father to the floor, gave him two quick breaths and then 30 compressions.

After two cycles, his father started breathing again with shallow breaths. But that stopped and Kenny resumed CPR.

He did CPR for about 5 minutes until paramedics arrived from the Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance. COVA medics would shock Capurso three times with a defibrillator in the house. The medics and volunteer firefighters transported him from upstairs, down a narrow staircase, and to the ambulance, where he was shocked twice more.

Capurso was stabilized at Medina Memorial Hospital, and then flown by Mercy Flight to Rochester General Hospital, where he had heart surgery. (He now has a pacemaker and defibrillator.)

He spent eight days in the hospital and has been home for about week, already back to planning projects in his role as Gaines town historian.

Capurso is a retired social worker who ran the Bait Barn, a tackle shop by his home on Route 279 for more than 20 years. He is well known locally, active in the Democratic Party. He sings and plays his guitar at many local events.

“I’m eternally grateful for what Kenny did – that he knew what to do and did it,” Capurso said at his home on Friday.

Kenny works at Tractor Supply in Medina, starting his shift at 3 p.m. On March 23, he and his father were planning a late breakfast of French toast, hash browns and sausage.

Kenny remembers his father calling out his name: “Kenny.”

The son went to check on his father. He called 911 and was able to quickly start CPR.

He made sure his father’s mouth was clear. Mr. Capurso had heart surgery two years ago. He suffered a broken sternum and five broken ribs from the CPR. That is still tender.

Capurso has no memory of the heart attack and the life-saving efforts afterward. He didn’t have a heart attack due to blockage. The bottom of his heart was quivering, and not not beating. There was a potassium imbalance.

Al Capurso sings and plays his guitar in the fellowship hall at Christ Church on Oct. 24, 2015. He performs at many local community events.

It took about five days after the heart attack until Capurso was alert in the hospital. He requested his guitar. The first song he played and sang was Kenny’s favorite: “The Cat’s in the Cradle,” a folk rock song.

Al on March 31 posted a message on Facebook: “I’m home in the warm hold of my loving family. So grateful to God for this chance.”

Kenny called the middle school on Friday and spoke with Principal Dan Monacelli. Kenny told the principal his middle school health class, led by teacher Pat Uveino, included CPR. Kenny used that knowledge on March 23, allowing him to save his father’s life.

The family also wants to thank the dispatcher that morning, the COVA medics, and volunteer firefighters. Capurso was at Medina Memorial Hospital for two hours. The doctor and staff there had him stabilized so he could fly by Mercy Flight. The staff also determined he would need the higher-level care at Rochester General.

“We want to say thank you to all of the first responders, and the doctors and nurses that worked on him,” Kenny said.

Capurso and his wife Chris have four children, and seven grandchildren.

“It’s the proudest moment of my life,” Kenny said. “I saved my father’s life. My mother, brother and sisters can talk to him again.”

Kenny said his parents have long instilled the importance of community service in their children. Kenny said he wants to pursue a career as a paramedic.

The family also wants to encourage others to know CPR.

“CPR is everyone’s job,” said Chris Capurso. “Everyone should know it.”

Al Capurso is pictured on Oct. 17, 2015 when a new historical marker that was unveiled by a former one-room schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, just north of the Erie Canal. The schoolhouse was built in 1832 and is one of the oldest cobblestone buildings in the area.

Mr. Capurso is back to working on local historical and heritage projects. He was instrumental in saving a former cobblestone school house on Gaines Basin Road.

Capurso sent an email on Thursday to members of the Orleans County Historical Association, notifying them the schoolhouse has qualified to be listed on the New York State and National Registry of Historic Places. Capurso is president of the OCHA.

He wants a flag pole at the site, a marker on the building noting it’s on the state and national registers, a new front door and new paint on the trim. Boy Scouts are helping with some of those projects. Capurso is working towards a July dedication of the flagpole. He also wants a bench out in front of the school in memory of Woody baker, the past OCHA president who supported the schoolhouse’s preservation efforts.

He also is working to have the bell tower refurbished at the cobblestone schoolhouse on Route 104 that is part of the Cobblestone Museum. Capurso is planning an Aug. 19 event of the bell’s dedication in honor of William Babbitt, who was superintendent of the construction of the school in 1849. Babbitt donated the bell to the school in 1849. Some of his descendants are expected to attend the August dedication of the restored bell tower.

Capurso’s wife, Chris, said her husband is dedicated to his local projects.

“He’s back to going 100 miles an hour,” his wife said.

Mr. Capurso said the projects don’t feel like work.

“It’s fun,” he said.

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Care Net banquet raises nearly $50K for pro-life focused group based in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 April 2017 at 12:15 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – Ryan Bomberger, chief creative officer for The Radiance Foundation, served as keynote speaker during Thursday night’s banquet to benefit the Care Net Center of Greater Orleans.

Bomberger, an author and speaker, shared a pro-adoption message. He said there are 160 abortions in the United States for every adoption.

Bomberger said he was conceived in a rape, and was adopted as a baby. His parents raised 13 chldren. He was one of 10 of those children to be adopted.

Bomberger said he is thankful for his birth mother, for bringing the pregnancy to full term and giving him a chance at life. Bomberger is now married with four children, including two who were adopted.

He shared this photo of his siblings. He praised his parents for welcoming so many children into the family. “This is a picture of how we should be: one.”

Nearly 400 people attended the banquet at Hickory Ridge Golf & Country Club to support Care Net, an organization that started in 1991.

Care Net served 539 clients in 2016. The center has a pro-life mission and provides services for free, including pregnancy testing, parenting classes, limited ultrasounds, STI testing and education, and material aid for enrolled clients.

The center is located at 111 West Avenue, Suite 1, across from McDonalds in Albion.

The Care Net staff is pictured with Bomberger during the banquet. The staff includes, from left: Sally Grout, nurse manager; Sharon Sugar, office manager; Kimberly Scott, executive director; and Jocelyn Wilson, client services manager.

The attendees at the banquet donated $45,000 last night to Care Net, with another $3,800 given by banquet underwriters.

Kimberly Scott, Care Net’s executive director, said the organization wants to upgrade its ultrasound machine, which is from 2003.

Care Net receives backing from many of the churches in Orleans County. Scott thanked the supporters, many of which have been dedicated to Care Net since the beginning.

“You are vital,” Scott told the supporters. “We serve a big God. He wants us to do more and we couldn’t do it without you.”

For more information on Care Net, click here.

For more on the Radiance Foundation, click here.

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3 county legislators take Narcan training

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 April 2017 at 9:48 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: David Callard, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, checks a shot with a dose of Narcan, which can help block the effects of opioids and reverse an overdose. Callard received training on Narcan from GCASA, including Tracy Zakes, a prevention educator in back.

ALBION – Three Orleans County legislators received training in Narcan on Thursday.

Narcan is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose.

The Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse has provided training to about 200 community members in the past two years in administering Narcan. GCASA has trained school nurses, probation officers, GCASA staff and family members of GCASA patients.

Three county legislators – David Callard of Medina, Fred Miller of Albion, and Lynne Johnson of Lyndonville – took the training on Thursday.

“I wanted to set an example with the county staff and public that this is important,” Callard said.

The county, region, state and country are experiencing surges in opioid addictions, overdoses and deaths, said Diana Fulcomer, GCASA prevention educator.

The death rates from accidental overdoses have increased more than 600 percent in the last 10 years in the U.S. from prescription drugs. Accidental overdose deaths increased close to 500 percent in Erie County last year.

A child who ingests an adult opiate painkiller prescription, an elderly person who forgets and takes too much of their opiate painkiller medication and a loved one who struggles with opiate/heroin addiction are a few examples of situations that can lead to an accidental overdose, GCASA said.

Commonly used opioids include heroin, codeine, Demerol, morphine, Darvocet, fentanyl, Dilaudid, methadone, opium, hydrocodone, oxycodone, Levorphanol, Vicodin, OxyContin, Tylenol 3, Tylox, Percocet and Percodan, according to GCASA prevention educators.

The GCASA educators said opioid addiction often starts with prescription pain killer abuse.

Diana Fulcomer (left), a prevention educator with GCASA, advises county legislators on how to administer a shot of Narcan. The legislators include, from left: Fred Miller, David Callard and Lynne Johnson.

GCASA (using information from the state Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services) said there are are four steps in administering Narcan (Naloxone):

Step 1: Recognize an overdose – A person is unconscious, breathing very slowly, turning blue and not responding when his/her name is yelled or when rubbing knuckles on breastbone.

Step 2: Call 911 – Give address/location, and report your friend or loved one is unconscious or isn’t breathing.

Step 3: If person not breathing, give rescue breaths – Tilt head back, lift chin, pinch nose and then give two quick breaths, then a breath every 5 seconds.

Step 4: Give Narcan – Inject into upper arm or thigh muscle; Repeat after 3-5 minutes if person not waking up; Remind person not to use more drugs; Stay with person until EMS arrives; Place in recover position.

For more information about Narcan and the training to administer, call Sherri Bensley at GCASA in Albion at (585) 589-0055.

The legislators, as part of the training, injected the shot into an orange.

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NY announces $4.7 million problem gambling outreach initiative

Posted 30 March 2017 at 4:11 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a Request for Proposals for the availability of up to $4.7 million in annual funding for statewide problem gambling outreach, education and treatment services.

The RFP includes the development and oversight of seven Problem Gambling Resource Centers across the state. The initiative will be funded in part through a $500 annual license fee charged to casinos operating in New York State, for each gambling table and slot machine at their facilities. The RFP is available by clicking here. Responses are due June 8, 2017.

The Governor also issued a proclamation recognizing March 30, 2017 as Problem Gambling Awareness Day in New York State.

“This funding will help educate the public on gambling addiction and help ensure those in need of help receive access to the resources and treatment they need,” Cuomo said. “We are giving New Yorkers in every part of the state the recovery-focused support they need to make their recovery possible, and bringing us another step closer to a stronger and healthier New York for all.”

The new Problem Gambling Resource Centers will serve as the hub for coordinating referrals for problem gambling services in their region. They will also coordinate with local gambling facilities to ensure information and referrals are available if needed.

“This funding will allow us to educate the public, improve access to treatment and continue to provide much needed services for those who are affected by problem gambling,” said New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “As with other addictions, problem gambling has serious consequences for individuals, as well as their friends, loved ones and communities.”

Under the terms of the 2013 law legalizing casino gambling in New York State, new casinos are required to deposit a $500 annual license fee into the Commercial Gaming Revenue Fund, for every slot machine and gambling table they operate. The law requires that the funds are to be used exclusively for problem gambling education and treatment purposes.

In an effort to increase access to problem gambling services throughout the State, the $4.7 million in funding will be available as a direct five-year contract with OASAS. Specifically, $1.4 million will be for outreach, education, awareness and training, and $3.3 million for the seven regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers. No capital funds are available through this RFP.

The organization that is awarded a contract under the initiative will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop statewide public education and awareness information related to problem gambling;
  • Serve as the statewide center for problem gambling resources and information;
  • Provide training, technical assistance and community partnerships; and
  • Develop, implement and oversee seven regional Problem Gambling Resource Centers, to ensure access to culturally relevant problem gambling services in all regions throughout the State, while also building collaborative relationships with local gambling facilities.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Medina center offers many holistic health services

Photos by Tom Rivers: These four women are working together at The Missing Peace, a site at 510 Orient St. in Medina. From left include: Sharon Houseknecht, holistic life coach; Anna Cichocki, owner of The Missing Peace who sells non-toxic personal care products; Katie Crooks massage therapist; and Beth Joy, a personal trainer who leads pilates classes and serves as a fitness coach.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2017 at 1:09 pm

4 businesses working together at ‘The Missing Peace’

Anna Cichocki sells non-toxic personal care products.

MEDINA – Four women who have developed their own businesses in holistic health have joined forces in Medina at The Missing Peace. The site, in a dramatically renovated former Medina sandstone warehouse, has been repainted and decorated to facilitate feelings of calmness.

Anna Cichcocki is the owner of The Missing Peace, and she recruited the other businesses to join her in a one-stop location.

“We have multiple services in one location,” Cichocki said at 510 Orient St., which is about on block from Route 31 on the east side of the village.

Cichocki sells soy-scented candles, Shakeology by Beachbody (nutrition supplements), Richway BioMats, and Pure Haven Essentials – safe, non-toxic personal care products. She also does astrology card readings.

She wanted The Missing Peace to offer more holistic wellness options for the community and reached out to people with other skills and services.

“Anna has pulled us all together,” said Sharon Houseknecht, who does nutritional consultations, Reiki, ear coning, foot spa detoxifications and energy balances. She also offers smoking cessation services to help people with their addiction to nicotine.

Sharon Houseknecht has been working in holistic health for three decades.

Houseknecht was one of the first in the area to promote holistic health about 30 years ago. She used to drive into Rochester and Buffalo for most of her clients. Houseknecht said there is increasingly demand for the services.

“I think Medina is ready,” she said. “When I started 30 years ago, I was criticized. Now we are more accepted. I’m not against medicine, I just think we can use both.”

Houseknecht works with a lot of people seeking relief from muscle pains, allergies, stress and sinus issues. Her client was once predominantly women. Now, she is seeing more and more men for the services. She is certified as a natural health professional, Reiki master and as a herbalist.

Beth Joy is a personal trainer who runs pilates and PiYo classes.

Beth Joy offers nutrition advice and leads fitness classes, including pilates and PiYo. She is a personal trainer and Beachbody coach.

She likes the space at The Missing Peace and the easy connections for her clients with the other businesses on site.

“We all feed off of each other,” she said.

Katie Crooks has worked as a massage therapist since 2008, based out of a site on Main Street above Blissett’s.

Crooks is a licensed massage therapist who offers Swedish massage, medical massage, pregnancy massage, hot stone massage, and Young Living Essential Oils. She also can work off site at events and parties.

“People want more natural health,” Crooks said. “If you take care of your body, it can last.”

Katie Crooks has worked as a massage therapist since 2008.

Cichocki became more interested in natural health after her youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism. Cichcocki said her daughter responded to a modified diet with a focus on healthy foods. Cleansing and detoxing, which removed heavy metals from her body, also have helped her daughter.

Cichocki, Joy and Houseknecht all took a class for small businesses run by the Orleans Microenteprise Program. The MAP class helped them see a growing market for their services, and a strength in working together.

They initially were looking for a site on Main Street, but couldn’t find a spot with enough space and with adequate parking. They are using about 2,000 square feet out of the 24,000-square-foot building, which gives them room to expand.

Cichocki likes how they repurposed the building, which was constructed in 1914.

“We took something that was old and gave it a new purpose,” she said.

For more on The Missing Peace, click here.

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Tuberculosis remains a concern in United States

Posted 26 March 2017 at 3:21 pm

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator/Public Information Officer for Orleans County Public Health

World TB Day was Friday, March 24th. This annual event pays tribute to the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB).

This year’s theme: “Unite to End TB”. To that end the Orleans County Health Department Public Health Nurses will be offering TB tests at two migrant camps.

Although TB is preventable and curable, many people in the United States still suffer from this disease. Anyone can get TB, and our current efforts to find and treat inactive (sleeping) TB infection and TB disease are not enough.

“We know some people are more at risk of becoming infected with TB,” said Brenden Bedard, Director of Community Health Services at the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “People who have conditions that make the body weaker, such as those with HIV infection, those who have been recently infected with TB, those who inject illegal drugs, elderly people and others who have weakened immune systems may find it harder to fight TB germs. Testing is important so we can identify those who have the infection and treat them early on.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) up to 13 million people in the United States are estimated to have latent tuberculosis infection.  Latent TB infection is a condition in which a person is infected with the TB bacteria, but does not currently have active TB disease and cannot spread TB to others.  However, if these bacteria become active and multiply, latent TB infection can turn into TB disease and able to spread to others.

TB is spread through the air from one person to another.  The TB germs are passed through the air when someone who is sick with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, laughs, sings, or sneezes. Anyone near the person who is sick with TB disease can breathe TB germs into their lungs. The germs can live in your body without making you sick and you will not be able to pass the germs to others. If the germs wake up or become active in your body and multiply, you will get sick with TB disease.

If you have been around someone who has TB disease, you should go to your primary care provider or local health department for tests. There are two tests to help detect TB infection: a small TB skin test or TB blood test.  The skin test is used more often. A small needle is used to put some testing material, called tuberculin, under the skin. In 2-3 days you return to the health care worker who will check for a reaction to the test.

In some cases, a TB blood test is used to test for TB infection. This blood test measures how a person’s immune system reacts to the germs that cause TB. Other tests may also be used to see if someone has TB disease and they may include a chest x-ray and/or a sample of sputum (phlegm that is coughed up from deep in the lungs).

If someone has TB infection, he or she may need medicine to prevent getting TB disease later. It is important that any medicines prescribed by your primary care provider are taken exactly as you are told. TB disease can also be treated by taking medicine. It is important that all medicines prescribed for TB disease are finished, even if you are feeling better.  If you stop taking the drugs too soon, you can become sick again and it might be harder to treat the infection.

It is important to follow your primary care provider’s instructions in order to fight the spread of TB.

For more information about TB, talk with your primary care provider or visit www.cdc.gov/tb.

For information about Orleans County Health Department, call 589-3278 or check out our website at: www.orleansny.com/publichealth.  Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.

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Cuomo says big cuts for nursing homes if Trump healthcare plan passes

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 6:47 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Orchard Manor, a 160-bed nursing home in Medina, would face $1.4 million annually in reduced funding if the Affordable Care Act is repealed with a Trump healthcare plan, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s data.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has continued to speak out against the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan backed by President Trump and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. (That vote was scheduled for today but pushed back until Friday to give Ryan and Trump more time to secure Republican votes.)

Cuomo detailed said the repeal and replacement would have devastating cuts to nursing homes. An analysis from the State Department of Health counted $35.7 million in cuts to nursing homes in the 27th Congressional District represented by Chris Collins, a vocal advocate for the new health care plan.

There are two nursing homes in Orleans County and combined would see about $2.5 million in reduced funding with the Trump health care plan, according to Cuomo.

Those cuts include $1,421,129 to the 160-bed Orchard Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Medina, and $1,151,265 to the 120-bed Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion.

Cuomo said the funding reductions would jeopardize nursing homes’ ability to provide critical services for seniors, hurting New York’s most vulnerable citizens and jeopardizing hundreds of jobs across the district.

“This reckless legislation slashes funding from nursing homes and facilities that provide care to seniors, jeopardizing the lives of our most vulnerable New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “These devastating cuts will cripple health care services in communities across New York, with $35.7 million in cuts to nursing homes in the 27th District alone. I urge New Yorkers to call their member of Congress and demand that they vote ‘no’ on this unconscionable legislation.”

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Orleans Community Health will increase colorectal screenings

Posted 13 March 2017 at 1:34 pm

Provided photo: Wendy Jacobson (left), CEO and president of Orleans Community Health, and Joanna Miller, administrator of the OCH healthcare site in Albion, are pictured with a pledge to increase colorectal screenings in Orleans County.

Press Release, Orleans Community Health

Orleans Community Health is joining forces with over 500 local and national organizations to increase colorectal cancer screenings rates across the country.

The “80% by 2018” is a shared goal to have 80 percent of adults aged 50 and older regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

Colorectal cancer screening has been proven to save lives.  Orleans Community Health today announced that it has made the pledge to help increase colorectal cancer screening rates by supporting the 80% by 2018 initiative, led by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (an organization co-founded by ACS and CDC).

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. However, it is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. Through proper colorectal cancer screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths (called “polyps”) in the colon, before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer altogether.

“80% by 2018” is a National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) initiative in which over 500 organizations have committed to substantially reducing colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and are working toward the shared goal of 80% of adults aged 50 and older being regularly screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

“Colorectal cancer is a major public health problem, and adults age 50 and older should be regularly screened for it, but we have found that many people aren’t getting tested because they don’t believe they are at risk, don’t understand that there are testing options or don’t think they can afford it,” said Dr. Mary Rykert-Wolf of the Albion Health Center.  “The truth is that the vast majority of cases of colorectal cancer occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually has no symptoms, so everyone 50 and older should get tested.”

There are several screening options – even take home options – available. Plus, many public and private insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening and there may be local resources available to help those that are uninsured.

“Getting screened is much easier and more affordable than getting treated,” Rykert-Wolf said. “Only 25% of those diagnosed with colon cancer have a family history, the rest just appear. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. over the last 10 years among adults 50 and older, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S, despite being highly preventable, detectable and treatable. In fact, in 2015 in the U.S., 132,700 cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed.

Part of the 80% by 2018 goal is to leverage the energy of multiple and diverse partners to empower communities, patients, providers to increase screening rates. The 80% by 2018 initiative consists of health care providers, health systems, communities, businesses, community health centers, government, non-profit organizations and patient advocacy groups who are committed to getting more people screened for colorectal cancer to prevent more cancers and save lives.

“We are thrilled to join the cause to improve colorectal cancer screening rates,” said Wendy Jacobson, CEO/Orleans Community Health.  “We are asking all members of our community to come together and help us by getting screened and talking to your friends and family who are over 50 years of age about getting screened. Together, we can help to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.”

For more information or to learn about resources in your area, visit: www.orleanscommunityhealth.org or call the Cancer Services Program of Genesee and Orleans Counties at 585-344-5497.

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Health Department urges HPV vaccine for pre-teens

Posted 6 March 2017 at 10:21 am

By Nola Goodrich-Kresse, Public Health Educator/Public Information Officer for Orleans County Public Health

When it comes to their kids, parents are always planning.  Healthy dinners. Safe activities.

One plan that’s easy to make could have a tremendous benefit, even saving a life. That’s planning to have pre-teens vaccinated against human papillomavirus or HPV, the leading cause of cervical and anal cancers.

“There are about 12,000 new cervical cancer cases each year in the United States,” said Brenden Bedard, director of Community Health Services. “Cervical cancer causes about 4,000 deaths in U.S. women each year. But vaccinating boys and girls against HPV greatly reduces the chances that today’s girls will ever have to face this devastating disease.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old girls and boys, as well as for ages 13 through 26 who have not yet been vaccinated. It is important to note that the vaccine can be received as young as age 9.

There are over 100 types of HPV – many times the virus will go away on its own and doesn’t cause any health problems but there are approximately 40 types of HPV that are cause for concern. When HPV does not go away, it causes genital warts and/or cancer which the vaccine protects against most of these pervasive types.

HPV can cause other cancers too including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (called oropharyngeal cancer).

Prior to October 2016, the HPV vaccine was given in three doses (shots) over six months. Now the CDC and the Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices recommends only two doses of the vaccine for 9- to 14-year-olds given 6 to12 months apart.

This recommendation was made after a thorough review of data from clinical trials showing two doses of HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (aged 9-14 years) produced an immune response similar or higher than the response in young adults (aged 15-26 years) who received three doses.

Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, will continue to need three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection. Three doses are also still recommended for people with certain immunocompromising conditions regardless of age.

“Completing the appropriate dosage is very important to ensure protection against HPV-related disease,” Bedard said. “In addition, the vaccine still has benefits if you have been diagnosed with HPV as it will protect you from additional pervasive types you may not have been exposed to.”

Other vaccines recommended specifically for pre-teens include meningococcal conjugate, which protects against bacterial meningitis, and Tdap, which boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough). In addition, everyone age six months and older should also get an annual flu (influenza) vaccine.

To learn more, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens/ or call 800-CDC-INFO

For information about Health Department services contact the Orleans County Health Department at: 589-3278 or check out our website at orleansny.com/publichealth.  Visit Facebook and Twitter: the user name for both is OrleansCoHealth.

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Cuomo says health insurers in NY now required to provide 3-D mammograms

Posted 28 February 2017 at 12:16 pm

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that health insurers are required under New York Insurance Law to provide medically necessary coverage for 3-D mammograms without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.

3-D mammography screening, or tomosynthesis, can be more effective at detecting cancer in dense breast tissue, which is more common in women of color. This action builds on actions the Governor took earlier this year to support the health and reproductive rights of New York women, and legislation he signed last year to enhance access to breast cancer screenings.

“We are undertaking the most aggressive action in the nation to expand access to breast cancer screenings, because early detection is the best possible treatment,” Cuomo said. “By expanding access to cutting-edge, life-saving breast cancer screening options, like 3D mammograms, we are taking our efforts to protect our mothers, sisters and daughters another step further. We will continue working to further remove barriers to breast cancer detection and treatment to create a stronger, healthier New York for all.”

Tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography, uses X-rays to collect multiple images of the breast from several angles that a computer synthesizes to create a 3-D image of the breast. Studies have shown that breast density is one of the strongest predictors of risk for breast cancer and that the risk of cancer for women with dense breast tissue, many of whom are women of color, is much greater.

In particular, Black women tend to have denser breast tissue, which limits the sensitivity of a screening mammography, thus requiring improved screening technologies such as early detection and screening by appropriate methods. Studies have shown that 3-D mammography appears to be more effective at detecting lesions in dense breast tissue than 2-D mammography.

Even though screening mammography rates for Black and White women are about the same, Black women’s cancers are detected later, in part due to access issues such as affordability, and they are more likely to die from breast cancer than White women. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among Black women and the second leading cause of death for Black women.

Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, said, “I thank Governor Cuomo for his work in ensuring that all women, regardless of race or income, have unrestricted access to the care they need to live long, healthy lives. It is a bold step for a state to require insurers to cover 3-D mammography with no cost-sharing.  The fact that Black women now have access to 3-D mammography means there is a much greater chance they will get their difficult-to-detect cancers detected much earlier.”

The actions announced today continue a series of actions led by Cuomo to support women’s health and reproductive rights, including increasing access to breast cancer screenings and health insurance coverage in groundbreaking legislation that went into effect January 1, 2017; ensuring that all medically necessary abortion services are covered by health insurance policies without cost sharing; and ensuring that all women are covered by health insurance policies for contraceptives in amounts up to 12 month’s supply at a time without cost-sharing.

Legislation signed by Governor Cuomo in 2016, and now in effect, increases access to breast cancer screenings and health insurance coverage and built upon $91 million in investments to increase awareness and screening for breast cancer, including a public awareness campaign, community outreach programs, patient navigators, and mobile mammography vans.

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