• What types of tests screen for ovarian cancer?

    Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose in early stages, because it frequently doesn’t cause any symptoms and isn’t screened for during a Pap smear. For this reason, it has the highest death rates of cancers of the reproductive organs in women. If you are having any potential symptoms of ovarian cancer—such as heaviness in the abdomen or unexplained back pain—your physician may recommend one or more screening tests. Here are some of the methods he or she may use.

    Blood tests
    Blood tests can’t typically diagnose ovarian cancer alone, but they can indicate that ovarian cancer may be present, so that your physician can decide if more testing is needed. Depending on your symptoms or the type of tumor that your physician suspects you may have, he or she may order one or more of these types of blood tests:

    • CBC – complete blood count, to check your red and white blood cell and platelet levels
    • Liver function
    • Kidney function
    • CA-125 – high levels can indicate gynecological cancer
    • HCG/AFP/LDH – tumor markers that can be caused by germ cell ovarian tumors
    • Estrogen/testosterone/inhibin – high levels of these hormones can indicate an ovarian stromal tumor

    Medical imaging
    Medical imaging tests allow your physician to see your ovaries and look for signs of abnormal cells or tumor growth. These tests can also help your physician determine the size of any tumor that is present and if the cancer has metastasized. Different imaging tests provide your physician with different information. Some of the tests he or she may order include:

    • Ultrasound
    • CT scan
    • MRI
    • PET scan

    If your physician notes a specific area of concern on your ovaries but isn’t sure if it is cancerous or not, he or she may request a biopsy. During a biopsy, the suspected tumor or a small section of tissue will be removed, usually through a minimally invasive procedure.

    When the issue is removed, it will be sent to a pathology lab, where it will be examined. The lab will tell your physician if the cells indicate cancer.

    Getting a cancer diagnosis is scary, but the Women and Children’s Services team at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is ready to support you through all stages of the process, from diagnosis to treatment. Contact us today at (888) 762-8881 for a referral to an experienced women’s health physician in San Jose.

  • Handle food safely from the store to your stomach

    Your kitchen is on the front lines of the battle for good health, in both the foods you choose to eat and the way you prepare them. Food safety is an essential component of staying healthy and avoiding foodborne illnesses that can be potentially life-threatening. By taking some safety precautions in the kitchen, you can significantly reduce the risk of you or your loved ones needing emergency care for a foodborne illness. Following these protocols will help.

    Store foods at the right temperatures
    Keeping foods at the appropriate temperatures will drastically reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. To prevent temperature issues from compromising the safety of your food, remember these rules:

    • Don’t let perishable foods sit at room temperature for more than two hours.
    • If you’re not eating right away, keep hot foods at 140 degrees F or warmer and cold foods at 40 degrees F or colder.
    • Keep the refrigerator at 40 degrees F or colder.
    • Keep the freezer at 0 degrees F or colder.

    Separate foods for storage
    It’s important to ensure that foods can’t infect each other when they are being stored. This means being especially careful about how and where you store perishable foods, particularly meat. Reduce the risk of contamination with this advice:

    • Wrap meat and poultry before storing them so that their juices can’t spill onto other foods.
    • Store vegetables, fruits, and other foods that won’t be cooked away from raw meat and poultry.
    • When marinating meat, make sure it is in a leak-proof bag or tightly covered dish and is stored away from other perishable goods.

    Pay attention to preparation
    Cross-contamination can easily happen during the food preparation process. Keep dangerous bacteria off your food by taking these precautions:

    • Wash your hands before you start cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry.
    • Don’t use the same chopping boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods.
    • Clean counters thoroughly after working with raw meat or poultry.

    If a foodborne illness does strike, get the emergency care you need at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. We’re here around the clock to provide the care you need for all of your medical emergencies, from foodborne illnesses to heart attack and stroke symptoms. Get more information about the services at our hospital in San Jose by calling (888) 762-8881.

  • Know the signs of a diabetic emergency

    Although both high and low blood sugar levels can lead to medical crises, the diabetic condition that requires the most urgent care is diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. DKA occurs as the result of very high blood sugar levels that cause the blood to become acidic, which in turn can lead to a range of dangerous symptoms, including coma and even loss of life. DKA requires emergency care , so be aware of these symptoms and go to the ER if you experience them.

    Increased thirst
    As explained in the video, one of the earliest signs of DKA is often increased thirst. Typically, this is coupled with increased urination. The body tries to flush the excessive glucose out through the urine. As a result, people with DKA will experience increased thirst that can seem impossible to quench.

    Dehydration can exacerbate your symptoms. If you’re unable to drink enough fluids, you may need to go to the ER for fluid replacement as well as insulin therapy for DKA.

    As DKA advances, nausea and vomiting are common. These symptoms can become worse the more dehydrated you become, and you may find it difficult to keep any fluids down. Vomiting will make it even more difficult to control your blood sugar, so seek treatment as soon as possible.

    During DKA, many people also experience abdominal pain in addition to nausea and vomiting.

    DKA can cause intense fatigue and lethargy. You may also feel weak and short of breath, and you may experience dizziness or confusion. Loss of consciousness and coma are also possible.

    DKA can advance very quickly, so prevent loss of consciousness by seeking emergency care.

    Although DKA is serious, emergency care providers can help you regain blood glucose control and balance your blood acidity. If you’re experiencing any signs of DKA, visit the ER at Regional Medical Center of San Jose for immediate care. You can learn more about our services or get a referral to a specialist in San Jose who can help you with diabetes management by calling (888) 762-8881.

  • Protect yourself from summer stings on your Labor Day beach trip

    If you’re among the many people who plan to celebrate Labor Day with a trip to the beach, the last thing you want to do is end up at the hospital in need of emergency care for a wound from an insect sting. Make you sure you get to enjoy your Labor Day on the sand with this advice.

    Stinging insects
    A bee or wasp sting can derail your day quickly and could even lead to a medical emergency if you are allergic to the venom. Although these insects are not as common on the beach as some places, they can be around, and it makes sense to take some precautions, such as these steps:

    • Avoid perfumed suntan lotions.
    • Keep foods and drinks covered.
    • Be careful where you walk, to avoid stepping on a stinging insect.
    • Don’t swing your arms if you see an insect. Move away slowly instead.

    After a sting, carefully remove the stinger and wash the site. If you experience signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency care.

    Jellyfish can cause painful stings, but fortunately, they are easy to prevent. Avoid jellyfish on the beach with this advice:

    • Stay out of the water if you see jellyfish.
    • Don’t touch any jellyfish you see on the shore.
    • Follow the recommendations of local officials if jellyfish are active in your area.
    • Wear a wet suit if you’re getting into water where jellyfish have been seen.

    If you are stung, remove any tentacles and stingers left behind. Never rinse with water, which can activate the stingers again.

    Stingrays are hard to spot in the water since they love to hide under the sand on the ocean floor. These stings are painful, but you can often avoid them by:

    • Shuffling your feet as you walk in the ocean so they get out of your way.
    • Being more aware of stingrays between 11 AM and 3 PM, when they come closer to shore.

    If a stingray’s barb is left at the site of the sting, don’t remove it and go to the ER instead.

    The emergency room at Regional Medical Center of San Jose is here 24 hours a day so that injuries and illnesses don’t leave you sidelined. Visit our ER in San Jose when you need emergency care, or dial (888) 762-8881 for more information.