• Why are UV rays harmful?

    Cancer is an infinitely complex disease, and there’s a great deal that still needs to be learned about it. One thing doctors do know with certainty is that ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause skin cancer. As doctors who live and work in the same communities as our patients, the Cancer Care team at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is committed to raising awareness about the deadly effects of unprotected sun exposure. It is possible to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including skin cancer.

    UV radiation can lead to skin cancer
    Melanocytes are the cells in the epidermis that produce melanin, which is a pigment. In some people, melanocytes produce more melanin than in other people.

    Melanin production increases with sun exposure, which is a natural defense against damage from the sun. An increase in melanin production is also what causes people to tan. However, sometimes melanin production can’t keep up with the exposure to sunlight, and sunburn results instead.

    Sunburn is an indicator that the skin cells have sustained damage to their DNA. Once this happens, it’s possible for the cells to pass on the damaged DNA to the next generation of skin cells. The cells with mutated DNA can replicate in an uncontrolled manner, which causes a cancerous growth to form.

    UV radiation can kill skin cells
    Of course, not all skin cells damaged by UV rays will form a cancerous tumor. Researchers have found that if the damage to the DNA of a cell is too widespread to be repaired, the cell will kill itself. This sounds alarming, but it’s actually beneficial because it stops the cell from passing along the mutations that can cause cancer to thrive.

    Excessive UV exposure is preventable
    UV exposure can inflict harm regardless of whether it’s hot or cold, sunny or cloudy. It can even pass through window glass and harm people who are indoors. The most effective protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation is to minimize exposure to it.

    Staying indoors when the sun is strongest, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and applying sunscreen every two hours can help families stay protected from skin cancer.

    Patients who have concerns about their risk of cancer can find the compassionate guidance they need at Regional Medical Center of San Jose . Our providers are committed to healthcare excellence because our San Jose community matters to us. Call a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881.

  • Is it safe to get vaccinated during pregnancy?

    During your first prenatal care appointment, your doctor will discuss plenty of health issues you should know about, including vaccinations to receive during pregnancy. If you’ve ever switched doctors, you should bring your immunization record with you. The maternity specialists at Regional Medical Center of San Jose understand it can be overwhelming to keep track of so many health issues during pregnancy. We’re here for you. Let us know about the challenges you’re facing, and we’ll find workable solutions together.

    Getting vaccinated before pregnancy
    Vaccinations are an important consideration while planning a healthy pregnancy. If you’re unsure of whether you’ve had the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, consider scheduling a preconception check-up. Rubella is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, as it can cause miscarriage and birth defects.

    Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check whether you’re immune to rubella. If not, you should have the MMR shot at least one month before getting pregnant. Unlike most vaccines, it isn’t safe to get the MMR shot while you’re with child.

    Getting vaccinated during pregnancy
    Certain vaccines are essential for a healthy pregnancy, including the Tdap shot. This protects you and your baby from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends that women get the Tdap shot during each of their pregnancies. It’s best given during early part of the third trimester, as this passes on some immunity to the baby. In newborns, whooping cough can be life-threatening.

    Another crucial vaccine is the annual flu shot. You could get this vaccine before becoming pregnant if you’re trying to conceive during flu season. Since expecting mothers are at a higher risk of flu complications, getting the flu shot can help lower the risk of preterm birth, stillbirth and infant mortality.

    Pre-register to deliver at Regional Medical Center of San Jose and gain access to our free prenatal classes. We offer childbirth classes in English and Vietnamese, child care classes in English and breastfeeding classes in English and Spanish. Call (888) 762-8881 for a physician referral and find out for yourself why our patients in San Jose love our family-centered care.

  • Medical misconceptions: “Dry drowning”

    Patients in the digital era have greater access than ever to health information online, but unfortunately, it isn’t always accurate, and misinformation can be harmful. One example is so-called dry drowning, sometimes called secondary drowning. These terms are inaccurate, and they aren’t used by trained, licensed healthcare providers. Drowning , on the other hand, is quite real, and the emergency care physicians at Regional Medical Center of San Jose are available around the clock to aid drowning victims.

    The definition of drowning
    The definition of drowning is often misunderstood. The statement, “Carlos drowned yesterday,” does not necessarily mean that Carlos actually died. Rather, he suffered acute respiratory impairment caused by submersion in liquid.

    But because the word “drowning” is so strongly associated with death, the term “near drowning” is often used to indicate that the victim lived.

    The myth about “dry drowning”
    It’s thought that “dry drowning” is a medical emergency that occurs after a child has been swimming. Some people claim that a child can drown up to a week or so after swimming. Thankfully, this isn’t true.

    The well-respected, credible World Health Organization and many others, such as the Red Cross, have agreed that the terms dry, wet, passive, active, silent and secondary drowning should no longer be used. A drowning is simply referred to as a drowning.

    The actual risks of swimming
    Although dry drowning is a myth, swimming does carry inherent risks. It is possible for a person to inhale water into the lungs. Later, an infection like pneumonia can develop.

    It’s also possible to develop pulmonary edema, which can be caused by inhaling water. Pulmonary edema causes difficulty breathing, and it requires emergency care.

    When a person is still in the water, there is always a possibility of a drowning. Contrary to common belief, drownings aren’t always easy to identify. Victims usually don’t splash around and make a lot of noise, and it’s entirely possible to be standing right next to the pool and not notice a drowning occurring.

    This is why it’s crucial for children to be actively supervised at all times near pools, hot tubs and natural bodies of water.

    A 911 operator can provide immediate assistance in the event you experience a medical emergency in the San Jose area. The emergency care team at Regional Medical Center of San Jose coordinates closely with EMS responders to provide rapid interventions to patients with life-threatening conditions. A registered nurse, available at (888) 762-8881, is available to take your non-emergent questions about our hospital services.

  • Balance breastfeeding and going back to work

    Breastfeeding moms face many challenges—from leaky nipples to difficulty latching. One of the most difficult aspects of breastfeeding is getting back to work after maternity leave is over. At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, we have a longstanding tradition of empowering new mothers to successfully nurse their babies. We work closely with our patients to help them find the right solutions that fit their lifestyles.

    Talk to your employer about your needs
    California law protects the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace . Every employer in the state is required to provide adequate facilities for breastfeeding. The law does not consider a toilet stall to be an adequate facility.

    Additionally, nursing mothers are allowed appropriate break times to express breast milk. It is not lawful to engage in discriminatory acts in the workplace on the basis of lactation.

    Once you’re familiar with your legal rights, approach your employer before your maternity leave expires—or, preferably, before it’s time to go on maternity leave. Discuss your needs and brainstorm solutions together, such as the possibility of flex time or split shifts.

    Get familiar with your breast pump
    Nursing your baby will become second nature during your maternity leave, but you should also become familiar with the use of a breast pump and the safe storage of milk. Once you’re accustomed to pumping, it should only take about 10 to 15 minutes each time.

    Maintain strong breast milk production
    Plan to pump at work as often as you would normally nurse your baby. You’ll need stored breast milk that your baby’s caregivers will feed to him or her while you’re at work. Plus, pumping frequently helps maintain a good supply, as does nursing your baby as much as possible when you aren’t working.

    Remember to drink lots of fluids and eat nourishing meals. Breast milk production requires a lot of calories.

    Family Birthing Center at Regional Medical Center of San Jose encourages couplet care for successful breastfeeding. Our maternity hospital is pleased to offer superior breastfeeding support, including breastfeeding classes in both English and Spanish, and a breast pump loan program for parents of neonatal intensive care patients. Call a registered nurse in San Jose at (888) 762-8881.

  • Do you need surgery for osteoarthritis?

    Pain, swelling and limited range of motion of the joints are all hallmark signs of osteoarthritis . If you’ve been diagnosed with it, your doctor will likely discuss nonsurgical treatment options first. Surgery may become an appropriate option when conservative treatments aren’t working well enough. At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, our orthopedic surgeons take the time to get to know each of our patients, since providing personalized, superior care is important to us.

    Deciding whether to have surgery for osteoarthritis
    Surgery is a major event, and the decision to have it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your orthopedic surgeon will thoroughly review your medical information, examine you and analyze medical images to make sure you’re a good candidate for surgery. If you’re a good candidate for surgery, this means that the procedure is likely to be effective for you, and that it isn’t likely to cause serious health problems.

    Learning more about osteoarthritis surgery
    Before making your decision, learn as much as you can about the surgery. Watch this featured video to hear from an orthopedic surgeon at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. He explains the basics of joint replacement, and how it can relieve joint pain.

    Joint replacement is a commonly performed surgery for patients with osteoarthritis. Typically, surgeons replace a knee or hip joint. These joints are more likely to be affected by osteoarthritis, as they are weight-bearing joints.

    Preparing for surgery for osteoarthritis
    If you do decide to have the surgery, your doctor will give you all the information you need to prepare for it. Since joint replacement can require a lengthy recovery period, you may need to make some simple modifications to your home.

    You’ll also need someone to be available to assist you during your recovery. If no one is available, you can make arrangements to stay in a long-term care facility until you’ve healed enough to get around by yourself.

    Regional Medical Center of San Jose operates a state-of-the-art orthopedics program that is designed to improve quality of life for our neighbors in San Jose. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists treats osteoarthritis patients frequently, which gives us a keen understanding of their unique needs. Call (888) 762-8881 to request a referral.

  • When is a cut bad enough to need stitches?

    Lacerations , or cuts, happen every day, and they’re usually not severe enough to require emergency care. But since it’s possible for anyone to unexpectedly sustain a significant injury, it’s important to know what to do and where to go. The emergency care physicians and nurses at Regional Medical Center of San Jose have made it their life’s work to provide compassionate medical care to our neighbors.

    When the wound won’t stop bleeding
    All bleeding wounds should be covered with a clean bandage or cloth. Apply direct pressure to the cloth, and elevate the injured body part above the level of the heart to help the bleeding stop. If you would describe the bleeding as “profuse” or “gushing,” then get medical help right away.

    Otherwise, continue to apply direct pressure. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after about 10 minutes , it’s time to seek emergency care.

    If the laceration is very deep
    Some cuts are so deep that they damage the underlying tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. It’s possible for severe lacerations to involve a bone. Go to the ER if you suspect that any underlying tissues might be injured.

    If you have injuries in addition to the laceration
    Lacerations don’t always happen by themselves. When you watch the accompanying video, you’ll hear an emergency medicine physician at Regional Medical Center of San Jose explain why you should go to the ER after a major incident like a car accident. It’s possible to have internal trauma in addition to the laceration.

    When there’s a risk of infection
    Any wound has the potential to get infected, but some are more high risk than others. A doctor should examine your injury if it’s a dog bite, or if it was caused by a dirty or rusty object.

    Responsive, patient-centered emergency care is available 24/7 at Regional Medical Center of San Jose . We understand how distressing a severely bleeding wound can be, and we’ll make every effort to relieve your pain as quickly as possible. Call 911 if you have a true medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or call (888) 762-8881 for general questions about our medical services in San Jose.

  • Dispelling myths about cancer

    Part of the reason why there are so many misconceptions about cancer is perhaps that the disease is so intensely feared. It’s understandable for a person to resort to non-evidence-based options when his or her life is on the line. But unfortunately, believing in cancer-related myths can cause far more harm than good.

    A cancer patient’s best source of reliable, evidence-based medical information is the oncology team. Regional Medical Center of San Jose brings together highly skilled cancer care professionals who work together for the best possible outcome for our patients.

    Myth: Starving cancer can kill it
    When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear a doctor at Regional Medical Center of San Jose discuss a couple of the cancer-related myths she encounters. One of the most harmful is the myth that starving oneself can weaken and kill cancer cells.

    This simply doesn’t work. It only weakens the patient, and makes him or her less capable of tolerating cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

    Myth: Staying positive will improve the odds of surviving cancer
    Cancer patients often hear well-intentioned individuals instructing them to stay positive because it improves the chances of beating the disease. There is no clinical evidence that suggests this could be true.

    That being said, other benefits can be derived from embracing a positive attitude. Cancer patients who actively cultivate positivity may be more resilient to the emotional consequences of their diagnosis. A positive attitude can also encourage cancer patients to make healthy decisions regarding their diet, activity level and treatment compliance.

    Myth: Undergoing a biopsy can cause cancer to spread
    A biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a very small sample of cells is extracted for examination in a lab. Some people think that undergoing a biopsy or an interventional surgery for cancer might cause the abnormal cells to spread. This is extremely unlikely.

    Doctors who must perform biopsies or surgeries on more than one area of the body use different medical instruments for each site. This eliminates the possibility that cancerous cells could hitch a ride on a surgical tool and be deposited in another part of the body.

    Cancer Care at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is a carefully designed program that provides positive, encouraging support to patients and their families. We believe that our neighbors in San Jose deserve superior, personalized care when it’s necessary to fight cancer. You can request a referral to our Cancer Care team by calling (888) 762-8881.

  • Adjusting to your Holter monitor

    Patients who see heart care specialists often undergo EKGs, which is a noninvasive test that records the heart’s electrical activity. The primary limitation of this test is that it only measures the heart’s activity during that specific time, according to the cardiologist featured in the accompanying video. This is why you may be asked to wear a Holter monitor. The cardiologists at Regional Medical Center of San Jose will provide the personalized guidance you need to adjust seamlessly to your monitoring device.

    Wearing the Holter monitor
    Holter monitors aren’t heavy. Once the technician attaches the electrodes to your chest, he or she will help you find the most comfortable way for you to carry it. You may decide to:

    • Attach it to your waist
    • Carry it in a pocket or pouch
    • Wear it like a cross-body purse

    When you go to bed, you can set the device on a nearby nightstand.

    Recording your symptoms and activities
    Since the device monitors your heart’s electrical activity, your heart doctor will need to know what you were doing when your symptoms developed. You’ll be asked to keep a detailed record of your symptoms , which might include the following:

    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness
    • Heart palpitations
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea

    For each symptom, record the date and time it occurs. Write down what you were doing when your symptoms developed. Even if you were doing nothing at all, write down whether you were lying down, sitting or standing.

    Your doctor may also ask you to keep a log of all of your daily activities, regardless of whether you experienced symptoms during them. These activities may include:

    • Exercising
    • Taking medications
    • Eating
    • Engaging in sexual activity

    Avoiding activities that can affect the Holter monitor
    The technician will give you detailed instructions on taking proper care of the Holter monitor. You’ll need to avoid the following:

    • Bathing, showering and swimming
    • Getting x-rays
    • Going near high-voltage areas
    • Using electric blankets
    • Going near metal detectors or magnets

    Should you have any difficulties while receiving heart care from Regional Medical Center of San Jose , our cardiology team will work one-on-one with you. We continually strive for healthcare excellence because we firmly believe our patients deserve superior care for the best possible outcome. Call (888) 762-8881 to request a referral to a physician in San Jose.