Protect yourself from colon cancer this March

Excluding skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States. That means it is important to know the signs and symptoms, which include:

•  A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, that lasts longer than four weeks

•  Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool

•  Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain

•  A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely

•  Weakness or fatigue

•  Unexplained weight loss

Protecting yourself from colon cancer will require you to do more than just search for symptoms, though. Many people with colon cancer actually have no symptoms at all during early stages, which is why it is important to be screened. Typically, it is recommended that screening begin at age 50, but your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent screenings based on other risk factors.

Risk factors for colon cancer include:

Age – the majority of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50.

Race – African-Americans have a greater risk of colon cancer than people of other races.

Personal history – If you’ve already had colon cancer or adenomatous polyps, you have a greater risk of colon cancer.

Family history – You’re more likely to develop colon cancer if you have a parent, sibling or child with the disease.

Inflammatory intestinal conditions – Chronic inflammatory disease can increase your risk of colon cancer.

Sedentary lifestyles – Physical activity can reduce your risk of colon cancer.

During the month of March, we encourage you to evaluate your own risk for colon cancer and – if you have any of the symptoms or risk factors outlined here – to talk to your doctor about receiving a colon cancer screening.

CrossFit gives man the strength to beat addiction

66985_546145182073096_1229292716_nEric Dilley’s life was not going as he had hoped. A self-described addict and thief, he alternated his time between being in jail and being homeless.

“I would quit and relapse and quit and relapse,” Dilley said. “I lived healthier in jail than I did on the streets. I worked out daily and ate three meals a day, but every time I got released I eventually fell into the same destructive pattern.”

Then, he found a group gave him the support he needed to turn his life around – but it wasn’t a typical support group. It was the CrossFit Alpha Pack.

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that is best known for its affects on one’s physical health. For Eric Dilley, however, it was more than that. CrossFit helped him channel his addiction into something more productive, replacing pharmaceutical highs with personal bests. It’s had a greater impact on his life than he anticipated when he was first encouraged to give a try by SOMC Personal Trainer Andrew Cline.

For nearly two years, Cline has visited the STAR Community Justice Center to show others how CrossFit can help them overcome addiction. It was there that he and Dilley met.

“Most of the people there have realized how much drugs have wrecked their bodies,” Cline said. “I think this leads to them not wanting to touch the stuff anymore. CrossFit helps them do that by giving them a positive way to make themselves feel good.”

Although he was initially skeptical, Dilley gave CrossFit a shot – and found it to be everything Cline had promised and more.

“Once I got there, my first impression was that I’d found my home,” Dilley said. “As a former high school athlete, the CrossFit ‘box’ – which is what they call their gym – was just like the place I used to work out. I was surprised by how non-judgmental and encouraging everyone was. Some people there get more excited for other people’s personal records than their own.”

Dilley still struggles with the highs and lows of sobriety, and admits that during the lows he thinks it might be easier if he fell back into old habits. When that happens, he thinks of his family – both at home and in the ‘box.’ It’s worked for him, and it’s something he’d recommend to others who are living a life that doesn’t feel like their own.

“When I do something that I know is wrong, the longer I do it the more pain it causes,” Dilley said. “It’s like holding a cup of water out in front of you. It never gets any heavier… but the longer you hold it, the heavier it feels. It will continue to get heavier until you put it down.”

Eric Dilley knows firsthand how difficult it can be to put that cup of water down – and he knows how rewarding it is to pick up the weights instead.

For more information about the CrossFit Alpha Pack, visit or call 740-356-7650.

Shuffleboard Champions Donate to SOMC Hospice

Web Hospice DonationBrandon Bradshaw and Jim Bauer recently donated their winnings of $696 to SOMC Hospice after coming in first place during the Portsmouth Stag Bar’s Memorial Shuffleboard Tournament, which took place last December.

Celebrating its 31st year, the tournament is held annually in honor of community member Butch Neal. One-hundred percent of the proceeds have been given to SOMC Hospice since 2000.

Pictured are Bradshaw (left) and Bauer (right) with Hospice Relations Coordinator Scott Hilbert f­­ollowing the donation. For more information about SOMC Hospice, please visit

SOMC Maternity and Pediatric Guild promote “Safe Sleep”

pediatric donation WebMembers of the Pediatric Guild of Southern Ohio Medical Center recently made a donation of HALO-brand sleep sacks to benefit patients of SOMC Maternity Services.

The sleep sacks will be given to mothers who are unable to purchase the product on their own, and will be used as part of SOMC’s “safe sleep” initiative to help improve the state of Ohio’s infant mortality rate.

“Ohio ranks 46th out of all 50 states for infant mortality,” Jone Stone, nurse manager of SOMC Maternity Services, said. “That’s why we encourage the use of ‘sleep sacks,’ or wearable blankets that replace loose covers during sleep.”

Sleep sacks ensure that a baby is safe throughout the night, eliminating the possibility of blanket entanglement, restricted breathing, and suffocation. Sleep sacks are also useful in keeping babies warm and comfortable because they can’t be kicked off during sleep.

“Sleep sacks can be used until a baby starts to pull itself up; at that time, blanket sleepers are recommended until 18 months,” Stone said. “After that, small blankets can be utilized.”

Parents who are unable to purchase sleep sacks have to utilize small blankets. To use blankets properly, parents should swaddle the baby slightly below the shoulders in a secure manner as to not cover the head or face.

Creating a safe sleep environment means more than just using a sleep sack, however. Babies should always be placed alone, on their back, in a crib. Parents also should not put bumper pads, extra blankets, pillows, toys or stuffed animals in the baby’s crib, and should not fall asleep with a baby in their arms or in their bed.

“Safe sleep environments for newborns save lives, and providing free sleep sacks to needy mothers sends a message about this initiative’s importance,” Stone added. “Anything we can do to educate and help a mom provide her baby with a safe-sleep environment is a priority, and we greatly appreciate the Pediatric Guild for their support in meeting the needs of our patients.”

For more information about SOMC Maternity Services, please visit

Glockner Enterprises donates $5,000 to Compassion Fund

Glockner DonationGlockner Enterprises recently donated $5,000 to the Breast Cancer Compassion Fund. The effort was spearheaded by Peggy Ruggles, a breast cancer survivor. Proceeds were raised through shirt and cookbook sales, as well as by having cook-outs, and then matched by Tim Glockner.

LIFE Center offering “KRAV MAGA” class on February 28

KRAV MAGA is coming to the SOMC LIFE Center.

Considered one of the most effective and battle-tested systems in the world, KRAV MAGA is a self-defense system developed and used by the Israeli Defense Forces. It will be taught at the SOMC LIFE Center on February 28 from 2 until 4 p.m.

The class will be taught by Scott King, who is a 1st dgree Black Belt in KRAV MAGA, as well as a level 1 & 2 KRAV MAGA instructor.

Classes are available to anyone ages 14 and up. Participants between the ages of 14 and 18 will need to have a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. For more information, call 740-356-7650.

Nagrani and El Bash pass endovascular boards

Two cardiologists at Southern Ohio Medical Center, Dr. Tarun Nagrani and Dr. Salah El-Bash, recently passed their endovascular boards. They are now certified under the American Board of Vascular Medicine (ABVM), an independent organization dedicated to developing and maintaining high standards in vascular medicine.

“It’s important to me that I am able to provide my patients with the best care possible,” Dr. El-Bash said. “That’s why this certification means so much to me.”

“Completing my endovascular boards required a significant investment of time, but I don’t look at it as an investment in myself,” Dr. Nagrani said. “It’s an investment in my patients and an investment in my community. That’s an investment that is always worth making.”

The ABVM’s mission statement is to “provide a high quality certification process to recognize expertise in the field of vascular medicine.”

For more information about heart and vascular services at SOMC, visit

Be heart-healthy this Heart Month

In the spirit of Heart Month, SOMC is encouraging you to try out these heart-healthy tips in the month of February.

Quit smoking! Smoking is one of the top, controllable risk factors for heart disease – so don’t do it. If you smoke, call 740-356-2720 and ask about SOMC’s free smoking cessation classes.

Knit a scarf or solve a jigsaw puzzle – anything that puts your hands to work and your mind to rest. It relieves stress and makes a huge difference for your heart.

Just dance. It doesn’t matter what music moves you, dancing raises your heart rate, burns calories and makes for a heart-healthy exercise.

Go fish! Studies have shown that including fish high in omega-3 fatty acids into your diet reduces the risk of heart disease by a third or more. If you worry about the risk of mercury content or other contaminants in fish, consider that the Mayo Clinic has stated that the healthy benefits of fish outweigh the possible risks of exposure to toxic elements.

Laugh out loud. Not on your keyboard or cell phone, but in real life! Laughing is good for your heart, so take some time for something that tickles your funny bone.

Get up and move. New studies show that sitting for long periods of time could shorten your life expectancy regardless of your weight. Being a couch potato has an unhealthy influence on blood fats and blood sugar. At the office, try to work in “get up” breaks and go for a stroll.

Eat some chocolate – you read that right. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that rich, dark chocolate can help stave off heart disease.

Consider pet therapy. Pets do more than give us unconditional love, they also offer numerous health benefits. Studies reported by the National Institutes of Health show that owning a pet can lower the rate of dying from heart disease and possibly improve heart and lung function.

Brush up! Good dental hygiene does more than keep your smile bright and white, it also affects your overall health. Harvard researchers believe that several types of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, may be connected to oral health.

These tips, and others, can be found at For more information about how you can live a heart healthy lifestyle, visit

SOMC PCU recognized for making largest donation to toy drive

PCU Toy Drive Photo WEBLife Medical Response donated approximately 1,000 toys to needy children during the holiday season – 300 of which came from a single department at Southern Ohio Medical Center. The SOMC Progressive Care Unit provided more toys than any other single source and was honored for their contribution with a plaque and cake. While SOMC’s PCU led the way in donations, several other departments within SOMC also made meaningful contributions to the cause.