Cancer Survivorship: A Rebirth
My name is Sapna Sharma. I always felt like I was the luckiest person on the planet because I had a beautiful family and loving parents. This, in my opinion, was the definition of a beautiful life. So, life was lovely for me. Though I had financial difficulties in my life, I always felt that it was a natural part of everyone's life. In Nogales, Arizona, I was hired as a Math Teacher. I was very excited to be in the United States and meet new people. But I had no idea what my future held in store for me. I was diagnosed with a third-grade Breast Cancer in November 2017, just four months after arriving in the United States. My family was in India, and I was alone in the United States. I cried a lot and cursed God the day I was diagnosed with cancer. What happened to me? Am I a horrible person? And am I going to die now? These were the questions that began to arise in my mind, and I realized that my life was no longer exciting and beautiful. I couldn't find a doctor who would read my mammogram for me. I was very sad, but as I previously stated, life is beautiful. Ms. Patty Molina was my angel. Cancer had begun to take its toll by this point, and I was becoming increasingly weak. I went to see Dr. Portfield, an oncologist, with Ms. Molina, and he explained the entire situation and his plan of action. Meanwhile, I continued to attend school despite being in poor health. Chemotherapy was administered to me twice a month. My beautiful long hair began to fall out, and my nails began to turn black. But my outlook on life was always positive, and I was always smiling when I had to go to chemotherapy because there was no other option. Ms. Molina and her staff were always willing to assist and support me. My surgery was scheduled after I had completed eight chemotherapies. My body began to respond positively, and I began to feel better than before. The pain was gradually subsiding, and I was now a cancer survivor. Yes, I did fight cancer with the help of wonderful people. My motivation was the fact that my two daughters were in India, far away from me. My husband once said to me, "You are the backbone of our family, and you will have to live for us”. During my hospital visits I read a quote which made me stronger from inside. The quote was: “What Cancer Cannot Do: Cancer is so limited…… It cannot conquer the Spirit”. Without my family, it was difficult for me to overcome the physical and mental pain. But life isn't always what we expect it to be. And the quote above helped me realize that Cancer had conquered my body but not my spirit. Time passed, and I finished my treatment and returned to normalcy: not completely normalcy, but to some extent.
When I look back, it has been five years since I have been alive and on this planet. Thank you, God, for waking me up every morning and giving me a second chance. I consider myself fortunate to have been given a second chance in life. Surviving cancer, in my opinion, is a rebirth. I believe that this is my final chance in life. It was my dream to complete a Masters of Education, so instead of crying every day, I decided to use my free time after work to finish my Masters. And I finished my Master's degree in Education. It was a surprise for my family. I also realized that cancer had only affected my body and had had no effect on my mind. Today, I am living my life to the fullest, doing as many good deeds as I can, trying to be positive, and above all, being very conscious of my lifestyle. I follow a strict Vegan diet and avoid sugar. Finally, even when there is no reason to be happy, I am always happy. Cancer has taught me that nothing is in my control; everything is predetermined, but the only thing I can control is my health. And if I want to live my second life, it's up to me to keep myself healthy and happy.
Reduce Stress for a Healthier Heart
May is stroke awareness month, a time to reflect on the millions of people and their loved ones affected by this dangerous medical emergency. One American has a stroke every 40 seconds, and every four minutes, a stroke takes a victim’s life. Many of the risk factors that can lead to stroke can be avoided with simple lifestyle changes. This month, commit to understanding the risks and symptoms of stroke and making the wellness changes needed to minimize your chances of suffering a dangerous and potentially deadly stroke.
Whether it’s from everyday deadlines, financial struggles, or the COVID-19 pandemic, stress shows up often in life. And your body reacts to it: your heart rate increases, your blood vessels narrow—and over time, these little blows can add up and do damage to your health, particularly your heart. Withchronic stress, you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor sleep. Even other parts of your body – from your lungs to your gut – can take a hit.
But while you can’t always limit the amount of stress in your life, you can work on changing how you respond to it. Just like the automatic “fight or flight” response that kicks in when you’re scared – your muscles tense, heart rate increases, and brain becomes more alert – your body also has a built-in, healthy relaxation response. When that’s triggered, the opposite happens: your breathing and heart rate slow down, and your blood pressure decreases.
Luckily, with practice, you can learn to trigger that response. Try these techniques on your own or find a teacher or class to help you get started. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the hang of it quickly. And if one approach doesn’t work for you, try something new. You can learn to de-stress in lots of other ways.
Meditation. One of the most studied approaches for managing stress, this involves developing your ability to stay focused on the present, instead of worrying about the past or future. Find a quiet location with as few distractions as possible. Get comfortable by either sitting, lying or walking. Focus your attention on a specific word or set of words, an object or your breathing. And let distractions, including thoughts, come and go without judgment.
Progressive muscle relaxation. To feel the effect, first tense your muscles for a few seconds, then relax them. Start by tensing and relaxing your toes, then your calves and on up to your face. Do one muscle group at a time.
Deep breathing. Take in a slow, deep breath, let your stomach or chest expand and then exhale slowly. Repeat a few times. Many people don’t breathe deeply, but it is relaxing and something you can do anytime, anywhere.
Guided imagery. This involves a series of steps that include relaxing and visualizing the details of a calm, peaceful setting, such as a garden.
Getting your mind and body to a place of calm doesn’t always mean being still, however. Other healthy ways to manage stress include taking a yoga or tai chi class, talking to a professional counselor, joining a stress management program or an art class, or meeting up with friends for a brisk walk. Being in nature can be very soothing for some people.
Combining de-stressors like these with other healthy habits can go a long way toward strengthening your heart. Eat more veggies, fruits and whole grains, and less sodium, sugar and saturated fats, for example. Move your body more – like through dancing and walking meetings. Find exercises you actually love and do them regularly. Get enough good, quality sleep. And develop a strong social support system. Then rethink some of the familiar ways you may be coping with stress, such as drinking alcohol frequently, using drugs and other substances, smoking or overeating. They can actually worsen your stress – and your health.
Taking care of your heart health is a lifelong journey, but at a time when the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains higher in people with poor cardiovascular health, learning new ways to make your heart strong has become even more important.
You can learn more about heart health from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute by visiting www.nhlbi.nih.gov. If you need help finding additional resources to help you cope with stress, talk to a healthcare provider. Seek urgent care if you can’t cope at all or have suicidal thoughts. Resources are also available at nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help.
F.A.S.T. Warning Signs
Use the letters in F.A.S.T to spot a Stroke
What is Stress?
Stress is unavoidable for the vast majority of Americans, but there are many ways to prevent and manage it. April is National Stress Awareness Month.
As the Behavioral Health Director and therapist at Mariposa Community Health Center we often work with patients that suffer from anxiety and stress. Most patients do not know the difference between them or if they are treatable. So to define stress - it is a physical or mental response to an external cause. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time.
Life itself can be stressful, we may feel stressed about performance at school, traumatic events like the COVID 19 pandemic, a natural disaster, or war like in the Ukraine, or a life change, caring for someone who is ill or having an illness, getting behind on your bills, etc... Everyone feels stress from time to time.
Good vs. Bad Stress
You may think any type of stress is bad, but that isn’t the case. Good stress, or eustress, is the type of stress you feel when you’re excited. Your pulse quickens and your hormones surge, but there is no threat or fear. You might feel this type of stress when you ride a roller coaster, study for a test, compete in a game, or go on a first date. Good stress is short-term and it inspires and motivates you, focuses your energy and enhances performance. Your body is able to self-regulate easily after the event and return to normal.
Distress on the other hand may cause you to experience symptoms such as excessive worry, feeling uneasiness, tension, headaches or body pain, high blood pressure, loss of sleep. When a person is stressed the adrenal gland release cortisol hormone that can create a lot of problems for a person. The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
anxiety, depression, digestive problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, headaches
muscle tension and pain, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke, sleep problems, weight gain, memory and concentration impairment.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is your body's reaction to stress and can occur even if there is no current threat. If that anxiety doesn’t go away and begins to interfere with your life, it could also affect your health. If you are struggling to cope, or the symptoms of your stress or anxiety won’t go away, it may be time to talk to a professional. Psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”) and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety, and many people benefit from a combination of the two. Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
Feeling restless, wound-up or on-edge, being easily fatigued, having difficulty concentrating, mind going blank; being irritable, having muscle tension, difficulty controlling feelings of worry, having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
The best treatment for STRESS and ANXIETY is prevention.
Having appropriate coping skills are important in preventing, alleviating and controlling these symptoms that can consist of:
1. Having a support network that you can talk with.
2. Exercise – Cardio -bicycling, walking, running are exercises that will help.
3. Meditation; Yoga; Deep rhythmic breathing and thought stopping exercises can all used to stop the racing thoughts and constant worry.
4. Learning sleep hygiene to get a good night of sleep will also help immensely as it will allow your brain to rest and recharge.
5. Avoid alcohol and drugs
At Mariposa Community Health Center our therapist use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to:
1. Identify the root of the problem (cause).
2. Explain the impact the problem can have on a person's mental, physical, and emotional health.
3. Teach the patient appropriate coping skills to control or alleviate the problem identified.
4. Use of non-addictive medication as needed for a short treatment.
5. Provide follow-up therapy as needed.
For additional information regarding stress and anxiety you can visit National Institute of Mental Health @ www.nimh.gov; mayoclinic.org For an appointment with a behavioral health specialist at Mariposa Community Health Center, please call 520 281-1550.
National Institute of Mental Health
According to the CDC:
Regular screening, beginning at age 45, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum). If you’re 45 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re younger than 45 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, or if you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened.
Types of Screening Tests for Colorectal Cancer
Several tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancer, but the most important thing is to get screened, no matter which test you choose.
The tests can be divided into 2 main groups:
Stool-based tests: These tests check the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. These tests are typically done at home, so many people find them easier to have done, but they need to be done more often
- Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- Highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
- Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years
Visual (structural) exams: These tests look at the structure of the colon and rectum for any abnormal areas. This is done either with a scope (a tube-like instrument with a light and tiny video camera on the end) put into the rectum, or with special imaging tests.
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
If you are a patient of Mariposa Community Health Center, you can call (520)281-1550 and ask about getting screened or speak with your provider at your next wellness visit.
February is National Children's Dental Health Month! During the entire month of February, the American Dental Association (ADA) honors and recognizes dental professionals and all who are passionate about children's healthcare. Take this time to increase awareness about pediatric dental hygiene – and find out how you can best support your child's dental care.
What is National Children's Dental Health Month?
The ADA's Children's Dental Health Day was first celebrated on February 8, 1949. It became a month-long commemoration in 1981. 40 years later, children's dental health continues to be promoted throughout February for National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM). Celebrating children's oral health awareness is incredibly important for the community. Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease. Continuing educational programs and prevention awareness will help motivate more parents and other adults to recognize the seriousness of children's dental disease.
Why is Children's Dental Health Month Important?
NCDHM raises awareness of the importance of teaching children good oral habits early to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles. Parents or caregivers are essential and can promote children's dental health this month and throughout the year. Support children's dental health by working with dental professionals on specific topics such as:
Getting your child familiar with their dentist's office
Preventing crowded teeth
Healthy gums in later years
Keeping up with daily oral care and visiting the dentist at least twice a year for an oral examination and professional cleanings are steps you can take towards a happier and healthier mouth! Setting the foundation for your child earlier in life will set your child up for success in the future.
If you are interested in an oral health screening and fluoride varnish application for your child 0 – 5 please contact Mariposa Community Health Services Department Happy Smile Program with Denisse Romero at (520) 375 6050 ext 1322
Schedule an appointment today with a Mariposa Community Health Center dental provider at Mariposa Dental at (520) 375 5032.
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. The key to preventing
it is to get regular and appropriate screenings, beginning at age 21. If a woman has a family history of cancer
or other risk factors, she should speak with her doctor about how frequently she should get screened.
Screening consists of a Pap test and is part of a well women health check exam. A Pap test is a cervical cancer
screening test that looks for cell changes to the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated
appropriately. However, receiving an abnormal Pap test result does not necessarily mean a woman has cancer.
A Pap test can find cell changes to the cervix caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV tests find
the virus and help healthcare providers know who is at higher risk for cervical cancer. Pap and HPV tests
(either alone or in combination) are recommended for women, and they should ask their healthcare provider
how often she should be screened, which tests are right or her, and what age to begin.
Additionally, men and women can get HPV-related cancers that are preventable by getting a vaccine. Getting
a child vaccinated can protect them from common HPV related cancers and should be discussed at your
child’s annual wellness exam with your healthcare provider. The CDC recommends all boys and girls get the
HPV vaccine at ages 11-12 as the vaccine produces a stronger immune response when taken during preteen
years. For this reason, up until the age of 14, only two doses of the vaccine are required. For those 15 years of
age and older, a full three-dose series is needed. Talking to a doctor about the HPV vaccine is the best course
Need to schedule your well woman health check exam and cervical cancer screening with your primary care
provider or OBGYN provider? Need to schedule your child’s annual wellness exam and to learn more about
the HPV vaccine with your child’s pediatrician?
Don’t hesitate to call Mariposa Community Health Center at (520) 281-1550 to schedule an appointment.
No insurance? No problem! Contact our Well Woman Health Check Program at Community Health Services
at (520) 375-6050 to help with the costs of cervical cancer screening if you are uninsured or underinsured, a
woman over the age of 21, and live in Santa Cruz County.
So, remember to get screened for cervical cancer. Early detection is associated with survival and quality of life!
World AIDS Day is commemorated around the globe on December 1st. Through this event observers celebrate progress made in the battle against the epidemic and more importantly remind us of remaining challenges. The theme for World Aids Day 2021 observance is: “Ending the HIV Epidemic, Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice”.
It is also an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died from an HIV-related illness. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day.
Some important facts:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States. From 2015 to 2019, HIV diagnoses decreased 9% overall in the US. In that same year, the number of new HIV diagnosed cases were among the 25–34-year old’s in the US.
The number of people living with HIV globally in 2020 was 37,700,000. Newly infected people in 2020 were 1,500,000 and 680,000 people died from HIV related causes, that same year.
Although the world has made significant progress since the late 1990s, HIV remains a major global public health issue.
Preventing pre-diabetes and diabetes is the focus of November 2021’s National Diabetes Month.
Prediabetes is a serious health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults have prediabetes—that’s 88 million people—but the majority of people don’t know they have it.
Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes occurswhen your blood glucose, ( blood sugar), is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.
Type 2 diabetes can happen at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. Diabetes is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.
Diabetes symptoms, which can develop slowly over many years, include:
· increased thirst and urination
· increased hunger
· feeling tired
· blurred vision
· numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
· sores that do not heal
· unexplained weight loss
The good news is that you can prevent getting type 2 diabetes by:
Losing weight if you are overweight and keeping it off. Just by losing 5 to 7 percent of your current weight you could prevent type 2 diabetes.
Moving more. Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, at least 5 days a week. Start slowly and build up to your goal.
Eating healthy foods. Eating smaller portions to reduce the number of calories you eat each day will help to lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.
Mariposa Community Health Services Department at Mariposa Community Health Center offers free Diabetes Prevention Classes and Diabetes Management classes. For more information, please contact 520 375-6050.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Breast Cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. There are over 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. More than 40,000 succumb to the disease every year. Remember, all women should perform a monthly breast self-exam to check for breast changes (it is simple to do)!
While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. The breast cancer mortality rate in Santa Cruz County is higher than for Arizona. Nationally, breast cancer is diagnosed in later stages among Hispanic women than among all U.S. women. For more information, visit www.nbcam.org
What can you do? Get screened and talk to your doctor about which screening test are right for you if you are at a higher risk. Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk. Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40.
You can schedule your breast screening appointment at Mariposa Community Health Center at (520) 281-1550.
No insurance? No problem! Our Well Women Health Check Program can help if you are uninsured or underinsured, a woman ages 40-64, and live in Santa Cruz County. Call us for more information at (520) 375-6050 or stop by at second floor of the Mariposa Sierra Building.
DON’T TAKE A CHANCE!
Get screened and encourage the women in your life to get screened!!
Did you know that in Santa Cruz County, there are approximately 2,700 people struggling with a substance use disorder or addiction? Or that an estimated 80% of those with a substance use disorder do not receive a diagnosis or treatment?
The Santa Cruz County Overcoming Substance Addiction (SOSA) Consortium is working to address this need for substance use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, and workforce development. The S.O.S.A. Consortium began in 2019 with the support of a Health Resources Services Administration Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning Grant. Our goal is to collaborate across sectors to increase the availability of and access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services to help people prevent, treat, and recover from substance use disorder, specifically opioid use disorder.
Mariposa Community Health Center leads the S.O.S.A. Consortium efforts along with project leads in each of the four target areas: Circles of Peace for prevention, Community Health Associates for treatment, Pinal Hispanic Council and Helping Ourselves Pursue Enrichment, (HOPE) Inc for recovery, and Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) for workforce development. The consortium also includes participation from Nogales, Rio Rico, and Tubac Fire & Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department, Nogales Police Department, Holy Cross Hospital, Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office, Mariposa’s clinical pharmacist team, Community Medical Services (CMS), Sonora Prevention Works, Arizona Complete Health, Arizona Department of Health Services, PEPP, Inc/Amado Youth Coalition, along with primary care providers, other nonprofit organizations, behavioral health providers, local court system, school partners, and partners from the University of Arizona.
In the two years since the S.O.S.A. Consortium has formed, we have made important strides towards our goal. Collectively, the S.O.S.A. Consortium partners have trained more than 500 community members, which include youth, faith-based community, and health professionals in stigma reduction, substance/opioid misuse, and Naloxone overdose reversal treatment. Collectively we have increased the availability, access, and distribution of Naloxone, the life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. We have also implemented an innovative collaboration between EMS, peer support specialists, and medication assisted treatment providers to connect people to treatment services. We have strengthened our collaboration with the criminal justice system, and distributed over 500 bags filled with SUD information, Deterra kits to safely dispose of prescription medicines, and Naloxone overdose reversal treatments. We have improved the coordination of care between primary care and behavioral health providers, with an emphasis that patients with infectious drug-use diagnoses are referred to appropriate treatment.
The SOSA Consortium meets monthly and has continued to work for our community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, the stress and isolation of the pandemic has increased the need for substance use disorder services, and sometimes has prevented people from seeking services. Our work is more important than ever.
There is a lot of work to be done surrounding the issues of substance use disorder/opioid use disorder and behavioral health. We are looking forward to continuing to implement system changes in the areas of prevention, treatment, and recovery with all our partners.
August 31 was International Overdose Awareness Day. We remembered those that have been affected by addiction, particularly those who have suffered an overdose on August 31st at a community and resource fair at Pierson field.
September is National Recovery Month which is a national observance to educate our communities that substance use treatment and mental health services allows those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Let’s take this time to celebrate the success made by those in recovery.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, help is available!
For more help or more information contact:
Mariposa Community Health Center (520) 281-1550
Circles of Peace (520) 281-0579
Community Health Associates (520) 394-7400
Pinal Hispanic Council (520) 287-0015
World Breastfeeding Week was started by The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action in 1992 to generate public awareness and support for breastfeeding. World Breastfeeding week is officially celebrated on 1-7 August every year worldwide. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action is responsible for the Baby Friendly hospital initiative and so much more. As part of the campaign to achieve their goals and get more information about breastfeeding out to the world, WABA began to think about creating a day to dedicate to the celebration of all things breastfeeding. The idea of a day grew and lead to what we now know as World Breastfeeding Week. Each year, WABA designs a new theme and slogan to represent World Breastfeeding Week. The theme is meant to emphasize and bring awareness to a particular aspect of breastfeeding while building upon the topics of the past. This Year will focus on how breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of all, and the imperative to protect breastfeeding worldwide.
Mariposa Community Health Center will host their annual World Breastfeeding Week Celebration on August 4th, 2021, from 10:00am-12:00pm. This will be the first in Person celebration since 2019. Pregnant and Breastfeeding mothers can come and celebrate their accomplishments with breastfeeding and hear testimonial from previously breastfeeding mothers and learn more about its benefits. Some Benefits include Ideal Nutrition; Breast milk contains everything baby needs for the first 6 months of life, in all the right proportions. Antibodies, reduces the risks of infections, SIDS, diabetes, and childhood leukemia.
The WIC Program includes a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, which helps support mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding. WIC formed a Breastfeeding Support Group called “Milky Mamas” this group is currently meeting the 4th Thursday of the Month via Zoom at 4pm. This Group includes pregnant and breastfeeding moms that need support from peers that have similar concerns and talk about “mom life”.
Mariposa WIC is working on restarting the Breastfeeding Circle Committee, which is a committee that collaborates with other community agencies and members to increase breastfeeding rates and duration in the community.
For more information, please contact Andrea Tapia, WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator at (520) 287-4994.
Summer is here and most of us want to spend it outside. We want to barbecue, go on hikes, spend time in a pool and we especially want to go to the beach. These are all fun activities that we can do with our family and friends. Taking some simple safety precautions, however, can reduce our skin cancer risk.
Skin cancer is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays are invisible, and they come from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. They burn the skin and can damage skin cells.
This summer remember to stay safe by:
· Staying in the shade (under an umbrella or tree) as much as possible especially during 9:00am to 3:00pm (standard time).
· Using sunscreen or protective clothing. Both mineral and chemical sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher.
· Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants when possible as these provide protection from the harmful UV Rays. If you are at the beach, try wearing a t-shirt or beach cover up for extra protection.
· Wearing a hat that covers your face, ears, and the back of your neck. Darker hats may offer more protection against UV Rays.
· Protecting your eyes and the skin around them from UV rays with sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses also reduces the risk of cataracts. For maximum protection look for sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Most sunglasses sold in the US do meet this standard.
June is Cataract Awareness Month
If you notice your vision is becoming more clouded, blurred or dim it might be time to get an eye exam to determine if you have cataracts developing over the lens of your eye. Cataracts generally take time to develop but if left untreated they can cover your entire eye lens and affect your vision.
Other signs and symptoms of cataracts are:
Cataracts develop as we age or an injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye's lens. Cataracts can also be caused by other eye conditions, past eye surgery or diabetes. Long-term use of steroid medications can also cause cataracts to develop.
How cataracts form
A cataract forms over the lens which is positioned behind the iris (colored part of the eye). As you age, the lens becomes more inflexible, less transparent and thicker. Aging and medical conditions cause the tissue in the lens to breakdown and clump together. This causes a clouding within certain areas of the lens. Over time, this clouding becomes thicker and denser and eventually can cover the entire lens.
Some risk factors are:
Too much sun exposure
Excessive alcohol consumption
Although there are not proven ways to prevent cataracts, doctors recommend getting regular eye exams, quit smoking, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, reduce excessive alcohol consumption and wear sunglasses regularly.
For more information: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cataracts/symptoms-causes/syc-20353790
May is Mental Health Awareness
You’re Not Alone!
May is Mental Health Awareness Month! During this month, organizations and individuals come together to talk openly about mental health, how it affects the community, and reduce stigma around the topic. We have invited our Teen Health Facilitators, Luis Longorio and Juan Mezquita, to team up with mental health training instructors Arely Zavala and Alexa Lopez and share important information about mental health this month.
Mental Health is just as important as physical health because it is an individual’s state of wellbeing surrounding their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When someone is not mentally well, their physical health, relationships, everyday routines, and environments are negatively affected. It is important to take care of our mental health during all stages of our lives, especially during difficult times like living through a global pandemic.
The truth of the matter is that people suffer from mental health issues more often than we realize. According to the CDC, an estimated 50% of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, with many of these issues arising during the teen years. Factors that can negatively affect someone’s mental health include stress, isolation, and relationship problems. There are also trauma, tragedies, financial struggles, and even the COVID19 pandemic that can take a significant toll on a person’s mental wellbeing.
A person’s experiences can influence their understanding of mental health. When these topics are taboo, it can be especially difficult to reach out and take the first step towards recovery. There could be misconceptions, stigma, embarrassment, or fear preventing them from accessing care or getting support from friends and family. An estimated 26 million people in the United States who have a mental health condition are going untreated.
However, our mental health should not be stigmatized, since we live with it every day and mental health conditions are very common. With the right help and support you can work to improve your mental wellbeing. When we foster openness and understanding, it is easier for an individual to seek help. There are different ways to start taking care of your mental health. You can talk to your healthcare provider or seek help from a mental health professional.
If you want to learn more about mental health issues you can take the free classes, Ending the Silence and Youth Mental Health First Aid, offered by Mariposa Community Health Center’s Community Health Services Department Platicamos Salud. Ending the Silence is a 1-hour presentation for both youth and adults that can help you start the conversation about mental health. This provides you with information on what you can do to help yourself and others who are experiencing a mental health condition. Youth Mental Health First Aid is a more in-depth class for adults that teaches them how to best support youth and connect them with help when needed. Both programs help you identify warning signs and give you ways to offer support to those who need it. For Ending the Silence contact Arely Zavala at firstname.lastname@example.org 520.375.6050 ext.1363. For Youth Mental Health First Aid contact Alexa Lopez at email@example.com 520.375.6050 ext. 1353. We can’t become a mental health professional overnight, but we can learn how to be a bridge to help for the people we care about.
Another way you can maintain your mental wellbeing at home is practicing positive coping skills. Coping skills are positive habits that help you release stress and deal with your emotions in a healthy way. There’s no one-size-fits all method to cope, but here are some examples:
· Practice art
· Listening to music
· Breathing or mindfulness exercises
· Practicing self-care
· Talking to your friends and family
You can try these examples out and see what works best for you! The most important thing is taking that initial step to improve your mental health and have that conversation with your loved ones to reduce the stigma. You can reach out to Mariposa Community Health Center at (520) 281-1550 to see what resources are available to you.
Nation Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255
Confidential 24/7 Local Crisis Line: 1.866.495.6735
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month calls attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and impacts every person in the community. One of the biggest barriers to preventing sexual violence is understanding sexual violence. Often, victims of sexual violence are left feeling isolated and ashamed without the support they need to begin to heal. Understanding the facts and dispelling the myths about sexual violence is crucial to holding offenders accountable and ensuring that victims are treated with respect and receive the support they need.
There are several myths related to sexual violence such as that sexual assault is provoked by the victim’s actions, behaviors, or by the way they dress. When in fact sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks for” or deserves this type of attack.
Another myth is that sexual assaults only occur in dark alleys and isolated areas. In fact, a sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.
Many people believe that Sexual assault results from an uncontrollable impulsive sexual urge. This is not true, in fact sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.
Many people also believe that people who commit sexual assaults are obviously creepy, abnormal perverts, or people who could be easily identified and avoided. This is also, not true, in fact sexual offenders are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who come from all educational, occupational, racial, and cultural backgrounds. You cannot pick a sex offender out of a crowd. This myth demonstrates our cultural tendency to blame victims – it is not the case that victims are assaulted because they failed to spot an obvious perpetrator.
It is also common to believe that men cannot be victims of sexual violence. In fact, men can be and are victims of sexual violence. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be victims of sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. Being a victim of sexual violence does not make a man less “manly” and does not have implications for his sexual orientation. Some people also believe that women cannot be sex offenders. The fact is an overwhelming majority of sex offenders are male, but it is possible for women to be perpetrators of rape and sexual violence, even against men.
It is important to promote awareness in our community about Sexual Assault, and how this is a real issue. We know young people experience heightened rates of sexual violence, and youth ages 12-17 are 2.5 times as likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment harm our community and statistics show 1-5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, we also know that people in the LGTBQ+ community experience sexual assault at a rate that is comparable or higher than the sexual assault rate for heterosexual individuals. Let’s join communities across the country in taking action to prevent sexual violence in Santa Cruz County.
Mariposa Community Health Center offers advocacy, support, education, and resources for individuals in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking situations. Services are free of cost, available throughout Santa Cruz County, and you do not have to be a patient of Mariposa Community Health Center to receive assistance. Together, we can raise the community awareness about Sexual Assault, not just in April, but each day of the year is an opportunity to create a change and impact someone’s life. Feel free to contact Community Health Services (Platicamos Salud) for more information at (520) 375-6050.
Nogales “Little” Mercado Celebrates National Nutrition Month
The Nogales “Little” Mercado is a collaboration of community partners connecting local food producers with Nogales shoppers. We are celebrating National Nutrition Month by improving the health and well-being of the Nogales community, economy, and environment. We are following CDC guidelines to serve you safely during COVID-19, including requiring masks to be worn properly at all times and enforcing social distancing.
Our main goal is to provide a downtown location for residents to purchase locally-grown, healthy foods as well as create a socially- vibrant, healthy environment where all can learn, share and enjoy the community. National Nutrition Month reminds us to celebrate our culture and health through food. By increasing access to local produce in Downtown Nogales, the Nogales “Little” Mercado is helping to bring healthy choices to your table. We are here to share recipes and meal ideas, so you can feel confident trying something new, or preparing your favorite vegetable in a new and healthy way.
Our volunteer-led community garden provides fresh lettuce, cooking greens like bok choy and chard, sweet carrots, and more! Thanks to our longtime volunteer, Juanita Gonzales, we have lovingly-grown, delicious vegetables and fruit all year-round.
We accept SNAP/EBT
We strive to make our product affordable for families on a budget. When customers use their SNAP/EBT Card at our farmer's market, every dollar they spend is matched with an extra dollar to spend on more Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables, with no daily limit. Known as Double Up Food Bucks, this federally- funded effort doubles the value of your SNAP benefits at participating farmers markets.
More ways to eat local
The Nogales "Little" Mercado Farmer's Market is part of the Cosechando Bienestar (Harvesting Wellbeing) initiative. Our mission is to renew food traditions in Nogales so that locally-grown food is enjoyed by all for better health. We have partnered with Nogales Community Development, SEEDS Youth Group, and the Iskashitaa Refugee Network in Tucson to grow and glean more food locally and get it to residents who need it most.
Donate your extra fruit!
Cosechando Bienestar participants identify fruit trees and other food resources in public and private properties. We work with owners to harvest excess fruit that is otherwise going to waste. We redistribute the fruit through the Nogales "Little" Mercado Farmer's Market’s cooperative table, La Mesa Cooperativa. Anyone with extra produce from their backyard can donate or resell with us and keep local food out of the landfill.
Grow your own!
Cosechando Bienestar also aims to be a resource for both new and experienced backyard gardeners. From chiltepins to tomatoes, cilantro, and zucchini, our climate is excellent for growing your own nutritious food. Kids love to get their hands dirty, and are more likely to eat veggies they’ve helped grow. Watch our social media for upcoming virtual gardening workshop information.
Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NogalesMercado, check out our website and sign up for our weekly e newsletter at www.nogalesmercado.com, call Erika M. Burgos 520.375.6050 x1302 or Santos Yescas 520.397.9219, or email firstname.lastname@example.org