Go Pink Wednesdays

pink ribbonOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Duke Regional Hospital is taking to Social Media to encourage women to get their mammograms. Each Wednesday, Your Health Connection will go pink with tips and answers to commonly asked questions about mammograms from our Mammography Team. This team of six skilled and compassionate registered technologists has 146 years of combined experience in giving mammograms

Get a Mammogram TODAY!

That’s right; same-day mammogram scheduling is now available at Duke Regional. No more waiting weeks for an appointment, and no doctor’s order is needed. All we need is the name of your physician for follow up.

“Many women understand the important of an annual screening mammogram, but put it off for a variety of reasons,” says Judy Coman, RT (R)(M), mammography manager at Duke Regional Hospital.  “That is why we make the mammography experience as easy, convenient and pleasant as possible. “

Appointments are available from 7:30 am to 6 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 7:30 am to 7:30 pm Wednesday. The last appointment is scheduled one hour before closing each day.  To schedule your mammogram, call 919-470-5272.

Check in next Wednesday afternoon for our first Pink Tip.

“Sparkle”

lights-sparkleThe following poem, entitled “Sparkle,” was written by a former Duke Regional patient and sent to staff in Radiation Oncology, which provides radiation therapy for a wide range of cancers.

Living with cancer can be difficult and emotional for patients. Some, including the author of this poem, may be angry when they arrive for their appointment. However, this patient appreciated the exceptional care provided by the Radiation Oncology team and shared the poem below to express her gratitude.

Sparkle is not learned behavior. It can’t be taught.
A valuable commodity, it can’t be bought.
Sparkle is an element that you are born with.
It’s a very special gift.

A passion for caring about others and always with a smile,
As some of us travel that very scary long mile,
We have questions, doubts and so many fears,
Sometimes so overwhelming it brings us to tears.
With comfort, compassion and support from a team that cares,
So many compassionate people is something very rare.

The team that gives us smiles but most of all hope
When things become unbearable they help us to cope.
This is not an easy job day after day,
To watch their patients come and go.
Sometimes they pass away,
But every day they come to work to be there for us.
Some people are pleasant, sometimes they make a fuss,
And if they’re bad like me they may even cuss.

But through it all they do it with a smile.
Caring, supportive, the most dedicated team,
The team of Sparkle, you know what I mean.

Thank you for being who you are.
I couldn’t ask for better care, excellence by far.

I just wanted you to know how you helped me make it through.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
And may God bless you.

If you would like to thank a caregiver at Duke Regional, visit dukeregional.org.

Becoming the best community hospital in North Carolina

Kerry Watson, President

1306_snclr-dk_8434For more than three decades, Duke Regional Hospital has been committed to caring for you and your loved ones. Today I am delighted and honored to share Duke Regional is the leading community hospital in North Carolina.

According to the 2013-14 Best Hospitals rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Duke Regional ranked fourth out of 147 hospitals in North Carolina, and third out of 19 hospitals in the Raleigh-Durham metro area, which includes Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. In addition, Duke Regional was ranked nationally in diabetes and endocrinology as well as high performing in nine areas, including cancer; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery; geriatrics; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopaedics; pulmonology and urology.

For 24 years, U.S. News & World Report has graded hospitals nationally and in 16 adult specialties based on quality data provided by the federal government. Criteria include patient safety, patient survival rate, quality of care and reputation among physicians. To make the Best Hospitals list, a hospital must stand out in the way its specialists care for tough cases. Only 15 percent of hospitals are recognized for their high performance as one of their region’s best, and just 3 percent of all hospitals earn a national ranking in any specialty. These rankings are important because they offer much-needed assistance in making the difficult decision about where to go to get care for complex medical conditions.

Becoming the best community hospital in North Carolina is a significant milestone, not only for our institution and team but also for our community. Our mission and commitment is to care for each and every person who walks through our doors, with the promise of providing the top-quality care you expect from our experienced clinical and support teams.

Now, as the best community hospital in the state, our promise to you is stronger than ever.

Do you know how to protect yourself from skin cancer?

Paul Mosca, MD, PhD
Surgical oncologist, Duke Cancer Center/Durham Regional Hospital

While you’re soaking up the sun this summer, remember to take precautions to protect your skin.

A study published in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings revealed over the past 40 years rates of melanoma—an aggressive type of skin cancer—have increased eight-fold among women and four-fold among men ages 18 to 39.

The study authors believe tanning beds may be the reason for this dramatic increase, in part because young women frequent tanning salons more than young men. Fortunately, the survival rate typically exceeds 90 percent when melanoma is detected early.

Other risk factors for melanoma include

  • fair skin
  • family history
  • genetic predisposition
  • heavy freckling
  • high mole count
  • immunosuppression
  • prior history of melanoma

Mother applying sunscreen to her daughterTo reduce your risk of developing melanoma, avoid tanning beds and protect your skin from sunlight. Wear protective clothing when outside, and use sunscreen on any exposed areas.

In addition, the American Cancer Society suggests performing regular self-exams of your skin. If you notice any of the following, see a health professional.

  • Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
  • Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or there may be patches of pink, red, white or blue.
  • Diameter: The spot is larger than about ¼ inch (the size of a pencil eraser), but melanomas can be smaller than this.

If your physician agrees the spot looks suspicious, you will likely undergo a simple biopsy to test for melanoma and other skin cancers. Early melanoma is treated with surgery. More advanced cases may require chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and/or other treatments. Every patient should receive individualized, compassionate care by an expert multi-disciplinary team.

For a free sun protection brochure, visit durhamregional.org/sunprotection.