March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

GettyImages_460518745Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older.

You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, smoke or have a family history of colorectal cancer.

Take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened starting at age 50
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
  • Get plenty of physical activity
  • Eat healthy

For more information, click here.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

DSC_5703October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing awareness and early detection of the disease.

The American Cancer Society offers the following recommendations:

  • Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health.
  • Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a regular health exam by a health professional preferably every three years. Starting at age 40, women should have a CBE by a health professional every year.
  • Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.
  • Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year. The American Cancer Society recommends against MRI screening for women whose lifetime risk of breast cancer is less than 15 percent.

To learn more about breast cancer, including additional early detection tips, visit

Helping Cancer Patients During Treatment

make upDuke Regional is proud to offer American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better® program for our patients and the community. Look Good…Feel Better provides support for cancer patients who have experienced hair loss or other physical appearance changes due to chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Each session features a cosmetology professional who provides tips on styling wigs or head scarves, make up application and methods for dealing with discolored nails and skin changes. Participants learn these skills while bonding with others who are dealing with similar issues.

Look Good…Feel Better is held on the first Monday of every month from 5:30-7:30 pm in the North Conference Room at Duke Regional Hospital. To register, call (919) 470-7168. For a list of upcoming classes, click here.

Fight Like a Girl: Free Breast Cancer Event

Fight like a girlBy age 30, a woman has a 1 in 227 chance of getting breast cancer. By the time she is 40, her chances increase to 1 in 68.* It’s not too early to learn how to fight like a girl when it comes to your breast health. Join a team of local providers as they discuss risk factors, screening, diagnoses, and treatment options for breast cancer. This free educational event will be held Thursday, September 11 from 7–8 pm in the Main Auditorium at Duke Regional Hospital.

Panel members include:
James Hathorn, MD
Regional Cancer Care

Bridget Koontz, MD
Radiation oncologist
Duke Regional Hospital

Amber Jarvis, MD
Durham Obstetrics and Gynecology

Aimee Mackey, MD
Surgical oncologist
Duke Regional Hospital

Come early. At 6:30 pm, our mammogram experts will share tips for breast self-exams and improving your mammogram experience. To register, click here or call 919-403-4DRH.

*Data provided by the National Cancer Institute.

Physical Therapy for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Bridget Koontz, MD

Bridget Koontz, MD

Bridget Koontz, MD
Medical Director, Radiation Oncology Services

Cancer and its treatment can cause many physical problems, ranging from hand and foot numbness, incontinence, balance issues, decreased movement of the neck, arms or legs, or even swelling and fluid retention. These problems can interfere with work and daily life during and after treatment, and increase the impact cancer has on a person. Physical therapy is thought of commonly for its use in managing musculoskeletal complaints, but in fact can be very effective at reducing the burden of these cancer side effects.

Duke Regional has sought to improve access to physical therapy specifically for men and women who are currently under cancer treatment or have had cancer in the past, with the goal of preventing and treating these side effects and improving the quality of life after cancer. We are very proud to work with Lisa Massa, PT, WCS, CLT, who brings specialized training and extensive experience in cancer-related side effects to improve the lives of our patients. This new service meets our goal of providing exceptional care in a convenient and reassuring community setting. Patients can be new to our clinic or even Duke Regional, but must have a referral from a physician.

For more information, click here.