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QUOTE FOR WEDNESDAY:

“Newborns are at increased risk for GBS disease if their mother tests positive for the bacteria during pregnancy.In the United States, GBS bacteria are a leading cause of meningitis and bloodstream infections in a newborn’s first three months of life.  For other age groups GBS bacteria may come and go in people’s bodies without symptoms.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

International Group B Strep Throat Awareness

 

Group B Streptococcus (GBS), or Streptococcus agalactiae, is a type of bacteria that is naturally found in the digestive and lower reproductive tracts of both men and women.  About 1 in 4 pregnant women “carry” or are “colonized” with GBS.

Carrying GBS does not mean that you are unclean.  Anyone can carry GBS. GBS is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease or infection as it can occur on its own even in someone with no prior sexual experience. However, bacteria can be passed between sexual partners, including through oral contact.

The awareness month for group B strep is July. This is a common bacterium that affects adults and it does not present with any symptoms or signs. The pregnant women can pass these bacteria to their unborn children during the first few months after delivery or during child birth and this can be fatal. Most people who suffer from this bacterial infection are not aware of it and pregnant women get to know about it because of the screening that is done during prenatal visits. The screening tests is usually done during the third trimester and this test was started in the mid 1990s. Research indicates that since that time, the number of children who are affected by this infection has dropped from 1.7 to 0.28 in every 1000 births.

This month helps in raising awareness to women who are pregnant and those who are in the child rearing period to prevent Group B Strep infection. This helps women to keep their unborn babies healthy and safe as the infection can be fatal.

The National Charity that is associated with group B strep advices all pregnant women to be aware of this infection caused by streptococcus group B. This is the most common type of infection in new born babies as it causes meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis which can be fatal in the first few weeks of life. The bacterium is carried by women who do not present with any symptoms and therefore it can be easily passed to the baby during child birth.

The main message that is shared on this month awareness is that Group B Strep is fatal and that the infection can be prevented. People are taught on the need to go for testing as the bacterial colonization can be carried by people in the vagina or the lower intestines. Most people are carriers of this infection but they are not aware because they have never been tested for the same. This is because the infection does not present with any signs or symptoms. However, in some cases, the infection can get access into the blood stream and this can trigger fatal infections. When a pregnant woman gets this infection it can be spread to the unborn baby in the following ways:

While the baby is still in the womb, during a normal or a cesarean section birth, through the urinary tract or amniotic fluid, or through direct contact with the bacteria that is present in the birth canal.

The infants who are infected by this bacterium during birth are prone to infections and this includes meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis. The children who survive this infection are at risk of getting long term complications especially in cases where they suffered from meningitis. The common complications that can occur include cerebral palsy, hearing loss, mental and physical disabilities.

Pregnant women should be aware of the need for testing for each pregnancy and it does not matter whether they were tested for the previous pregnancies. This is because all pregnancies are different and it is vital to ensure that the baby is safe in all pregnancies.

 

Part II Sarcoma Awareness Month!

Soft tissue sarcoma symptoms:

Like many forms of cancer, soft tissue sarcoma symptoms may appear at a more advanced stage of the disease, or you might not notice any symptoms at all. Symptoms, if they are present, will also vary depending on the type of sarcoma and its location.

Signs of soft tissue sarcoma include:

A lump or mass is the most common soft tissue sarcoma sign. The lump will form in the area in which the tumor is growing, and it may be accompanied by some pain if it is pressing on a nerve or muscle. Even if the lump isn’t painful, if it continues to grow, or if it is located deep within an extremity or body cavity, consult your doctor.

Uncomfortable swelling is another sign of soft tissue sarcoma, especially when it is located in the arms and legs.

Limited mobility may be a symptom of soft tissue sarcoma. Some tumors can restrict motion, such as those found in the hip, knee, shoulder or hands.

Skin lesions can occur when a sarcoma tumor breaks through the skin.

Other symptoms may be signs of soft tissue sarcoma, because a sarcoma tumor can form almost anywhere in the body and can therefore affect a variety of organs. For example, sarcomas in the abdomen may cause abdominal pain, vomiting or constipation, while sarcomas in the uterus may cause vaginal bleeding and/or abdominal pain. With gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), you may feel full after eating only very small meals, or you may vomit blood or have dark bowel movements.

Diagnosing Sarcoma:

If your doctor thinks you may have a sarcoma, you’ll probably need a full exam and tests, including: A sample of cells from the tumor, called a biopsy. A plain x-ray to imaging tests, such as a CT scan, an ultrasound, an MRI, a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) to help see inside your body. A bone scan, if you might have osteosarcoma.  Also a biopsy-several types of biopsies are used to diagnose sarcomas..

Treatment of Soft Tissue Sarcoma:

Surgery is typically the primary treatment for soft-tissue sarcoma, used to remove tumors. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or targeted therapy may also be recommended, either alone or in combination with surgery, depending on the stage and extent of the disease, along with other factors.

Surgery

The goal of surgery is to locate and completely remove the soft tissue sarcoma tumor. Our pathologists then examine the tumor to determine whether or not additional treatment is necessary, and to reduce the risk of recurrence.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery and radiation therapy to treat advanced-stage soft tissue sarcoma. Chemotherapy drugs work to either destroy cancer cells or impede their ability to grow and reproduce.

At our hospitals, we are developing innovative therapies personalized to the care of each soft tissue sarcoma patient. Our medical oncologists work closely with soft tissue sarcoma patients to determine if chemotherapy is an appropriate treatment option. Throughout your soft tissue sarcoma treatment, your care team continually monitors the effect of chemotherapy on the disease, with physical exams, blood tests, CT scans, MRI scans and chest X-rays and imaging.

Radiation therapy

Depending on the type of soft tissue sarcoma you have and the extent of the disease, your soft tissue sarcoma treatment plan may include radiation therapy. Though surgery is usually the main treatment approach for soft tissue sarcoma, radiation treatments may also be used before (neoadjuvant therapy) or following surgery (adjuvant therapy).

Targeted therapy

Unlike standard chemotherapy drugs, which may affect all cells in the body, targeted therapy drugs are designed to seek out and kill specific cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy cells. Targeted cancer therapies may be used alone, in combination with other targeted therapy treatments or with other soft tissue sarcoma treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Among the drugs used in targeted therapy are so-called kinase inhibitors, which target specific protein receptors that help regulate cell growth.

 

QUOTE FOR MONDAY:

“When the word sarcoma is part of the name of a disease, it means the tumor is malignant (cancer). A sarcoma is a type of cancer that starts in tissues like bone or muscle. Bone and soft tissue sarcomas are the main types of sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They can be found in any part of the body. Most of them start in the arms or legs. They can also be found in the trunk, head and neck area, internal organs, and the area in back of the abdominal (belly) cavity (known as the retroperitoneum). Sarcomas are not common tumors.”.

American Cancer Society

Part I Sarcoma Awareness Month!

What is Sarcoma?

Sarcoma is a rare but deadly form of cancer affecting connective tissues such as fat, muscle, blood vessels, nerve, bone, deep skin and cartilage. There are roughly 15,000 new cases in the United States each year, with a very low median age of 36 (for bone sarcomas). Survival rates are low, even in comparison to other rare cancers. Rhabdomyosarcoma, a relatively common sarcoma, has a five-year survival rate of 65%, even if caught before metastasis. If caught after metastasis, the five-year survival rate lowers to approximately 30%. This is all to say that while sarcomas are rare, they are extremely devastating.

Sarcomas are a diverse and sporadic group of tumors that have minimal hereditary influence. They are generally classified into two major groups; the group of tumor-specific reoccurring genetic mutations via specific and aberrant chromosome translocation, and the group of non-reoccurring mutations which are based on severe genetic and chromosomal instability. Both groups have altered cell growth-factor signaling pathways. As a result, the introduction of drugs which can normalize growth-factor receptors and proteins are of great interest and the primary treatment given. With improvements in these drugs, it is believed that sarcoma can move from a deadly disease to a chronic but non-life-threatening disease.

Unfortunately, the specificity of the first group of sarcomas, where specific chromosomes are improperly translocated, can often permit the sarcoma to prevail after standard treatment. This is obviously problematic but, if overcome, could spark the development of a whole new field of cancer treatment. In other words, if scientists can discover how to isolate and guide specific chromosomal arrangement, they will able to address many of the hard to treat cancers of today.

With genetic engineering it is theoretically possible to prevent cancer before it begins. However, even without moving this far into the future, the improper chromosomal translocation can provide a sort of name-tagging of the cancer cell. With the cancer cells identified, it can guide modalities aimed at destroying diseased tissue while sparing healthy tissue.

Sarcoma is an under-researched cancer whose research can help to elevate cancer treatment, as a whole. Not only would breakthroughs save the lives of countless children, it could also advance medicine, as a whole. By bringing awareness to sarcoma and the potential development its research can spark, this potential can become a reality.

Soft tissue sarcomas may develop in any tissue that connects, supports or surrounds other structures and organs in the body. Some examples of where soft tissues sarcomas can develop are muscles, fascia (the tough membrane that surrounds muscles), tendons, fat, blood vessels, nerves and synovial tissues (connective tissue that makes up the membranes surrounding joints).

Soft tissue sarcomas are rare in adults, accounting for less than 1 percent of all new cases of cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that about 12,750 new cases of soft tissue sarcoma will be diagnosed in 2019 (7,240 cases in males and 5,510 cases in females). Sarcomas can be found almost anywhere in the body.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 50 percent of soft tissue sarcoma cases occur in the extremities (arms and legs), 40 percent occur in the trunk (back and chest), and 10 percent occur in the head and neck.

QUOTE FOR FRIDAY:

“July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, and believe it or not, nearly 300,000 children have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. Arthritis doesn’t affect just older people, but also affects children as little as six months old! Juvenile arthritis comes in a variety of forms with varying life spans and symptoms.”

Bone and Joint Center

July Awareness to Juvenile Arthritis

JIA

JIA

JIA3

Juvenile arthritis (JA) is not a disease in itself. Also known as pediatric rheumatic disease, JA is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or pediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children under the age of 16. Juvenile arthritis affects nearly 300,000 children in the United States.

Although the various types of juvenile arthritis share many common symptoms, like pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth, each type of JA is distinct and has its own special concerns and symptoms

Types of Juvenile Arthritis

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Considered the most common form of arthritis, JIA includes six subtypes: oligoarthritis, polyarthritis, systemic, enthesitis-related, juvenile psoriatic arthritis or undifferentiated.
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis. An inflammatory disease, juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles. 
  • Juvenile lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood and other areas of the body. 
  • Juvenile scleroderma. Scleroderma, which literally means “hard skin,” describes a group of conditions that causes the skin to tighten and harden.
  • Kawasaki disease. This disease causes blood-vessel inflammation that can lead to heart complications. 
  • Mixed connective tissue disease. This disease may include features of arthritis, lupus dermatomyositis and scleroderma, and is associated with very high levels of a particular antinuclear antibody called anti-RNP. 
  • Fibromyalgia. This chronic pain syndrome is an arthritis-related condition, which can cause stiffness and aching, along with fatigue, disrupted sleep and other symptoms. More common in girls, fibromyalgia is seldom diagnosed before puberty. No known cause has been pinpointed for most forms of juvenile arthritis, nor is there evidence to suggest that toxins, foods or allergies cause children to develop JA. Some research points toward a genetic predisposition to juvenile arthritis, which means the combination of genes a child receives from his or her parents may cause the onset of JA when triggered by other factors.pain or stiffness when moving joints Swelling in the jointsUnfortunately it is not a simple one or two tests to diagnose. The diagnostic process can be long and detailed. There is no single blood test that confirms any type of JA. In children, the key to diagnosis is a careful physical exam, along with a thorough medical history.

How Juvenile Arthritis is diagnosed:

  • In the morning or after resting Warm or tender joints Limited range of motion (your child’s ability to move his or her joints)
  • Juvenile Arthritis symptoms:
  • Causes of these arthritis illnesses:

What is Juvenile Arthritis Treatment?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis, although with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, remission is possible. The goal of treatment is to relieve inflammation, control pain and improve the child’s quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, eye care and healthy eating.

Juvenile Arthritis Self Care

An important part of JA treatment is teaching the child the importance of how to follow the treatment prescribed by the healthcare team. Self care also involves helping the child address the emotional and social effects of the disease. Self management encompasses the choices made each day to live well and stay healthy and happy.

QUOTE FOR THURSDAY:

“A cleft palate is an opening or split in the roof of the mouth that occurs when the tissue doesn’t fuse together during development in the womb. A cleft palate often includes a split (cleft) in the upper lip (cleft lip) but can occur without affecting the lip.”
 
MAYO CLINIC