California Educator

October 2015

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YOUR WHOLE LIFE Tips and trends for a smarter, healthier you M A N Y U N D E R G O M A S T E C T O M I E S , sometimes double mastectomies. But a new study of more than 100,000 women with DCIS over 20 years shows that treatment may make no difference in outcomes. In other words, surgery — whether a mastectomy or a less invasive lumpec- tomy — did not increase patients' surviv- al rates. While African American women and women 35 and under were found to be at higher risk, DCIS mortality rates are relatively low at 3.3 percent. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncol- ogy in August, has medical professionals questioning whether women with DCIS are being subjected to overly aggressive or unnecessary treatment. "Given the low breast cancer mortal- ity risk, we should stop telling women that DCIS is an emergency and that they should schedule definitive surgery within two weeks of diagnosis," wrote Laura Es- serman of UC San Francisco in an editorial accompanying the report. Still, researchers have not been able to distinguish between DCIS cells that remain static (as they do in most cases) and those that will become invasive cancers. So while treatment options range from surgery to radiation, hormone therapy and watchful waiting, many doctors are expected to continue to recommend lumpectomies. Moving forward, says Tina Dur Clarke, research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and the Stanford Can- cer Institute, "Our top priority is research to find the molecular markers that deter- mine which cells become invasive." W E A L L L O V E research by Consumer Reports and oth- ers that note when the best deals can be had on major purchases. For example, October is good for winter coats, November is time for baby products, and Decem- ber is when you should buy small and large appliances. In this day of flash sales and online bargains, though, some items are good buys in more than one month. A sampling: • TVs: January, March, November, December. • Toys: January, November, December. • Small consumer electronics (such as MP3 players, DVD and Blu-ray players): March, May, June, September, December. • GPS navigators: November, December. • Bikes: September, October, November. When it comes to school books, the two best times to shop are at the end of the school's fiscal year, usually June or July, and at the end of the calendar year. Most publishers and distributors will make deals, as they know your funds are limited and must be spent before the end of the year, and they're trying to unload taxable inventory. For more good buys and when to buy them, see What to Buy When T H I N K VA C C I N AT I O N S A R E for kids? Grown-ups need them too, in a big way: Vaccine-preventable illnesses cause more deaths in American adults each year than either breast cancer or traffic accidents. Educators and school health care professionals, in particular, should make sure they're up to date on their vaccinations: influenza; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis; measles, mumps and rubella; and varicella. Even if you were vaccinated as a child, you may need a booster shot, because immunity wanes over time. New vaccines developed against old diseases can also benefit you. Vac- cinations against pneumonia and flu are especially important for people at high risk, such as those with heart and pulmonary disease, diabetes, and alcoholism. And depending on lifestyle, occupation and age, you may also need hepatitis A and B, meningococcal, HPV and zoster (shingles) vaccines. (Pregnant women and adults with suppressed immune systems should not receive certain vaccines.) Go ahead, schedule that flu shot now. For more information, see #flushotnow Breast Cancer Update About 60,000 American women are diagnosed annually with Stage 0 breast cancer, known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and the earliest form of the disease. Big Shots 16 Know & Tell

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