American Lung Association spotlights screening with potential to save 25,000 lives during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, supports adoption of screening programs
ANCHORAGE (November 8, 2018) – Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths for both women and men, with more than 450 new diagnoses in Alaska estimated for 2018 alone. However, newly available lung cancer screening helps diagnose the disease in the earliest stages when it’s most curable. During November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the American Lung Association highlights the fact that lung cancer screening has the potential to save thousands of lives.
“If lung cancer is detected before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving five years or more improves to 56 percent,” said Marge Stoneking, Executive Director for the American Lung Association in Alaska. “People need to know their risk factors and speak with their doctor if they’re concerned.”
In Alaska, only 15.8 percent of lung cancer cases are caught early when survival is much higher. According to the Lung Association, if the 8 million Americans eligible were screened, an estimated 25,000 lives would be saved. While screening is available at no cost through Medicare and most insurance plans, less than five percent of those eligible are getting screened. Screening is recommended for those who:
Are between the ages of 55-80 and currently smoke, or quit within the last 15 years, and smoked the equivalent of 30 “pack years” (1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs for 15 years, etc.)
Through the LUNG FORCE Initiative and a partnership with the Ad Council, the American Lung Association is raising awareness of screening with the first-of-its-kind public awareness campaign “Saved By The Scan.” The campaign encourages current and former smokers to talk to their doctor about their risk and take an online eligibility quiz at SavedByTheScan.org/quiz. The “Saved By The Scan” quiz has helped more than 137,000 Americans learn about their risk for lung cancer.
Even with the promise of screening, the Lung Association also continues to push for better treatment options and new methods of early detection for the disease, noting that screening is currently recommended only for select current and former smokers, yet there are a variety of risk factors associated with lung cancer, including exposure to radon gas, secondhand smoke and air pollution as well as genetic factors and sometimes the causes of lung cancer are unknown.
American Lung Association in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska. Nov. 8, 2018. AAA projects more than 54 million Americans will travel nationwide this Thanksgiving, a 4.8 percent increase over last year. The 2018 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume in more than a dozen years (since 2005).
“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” said Michelle Donati, spokesperson for AAA Alaska. “This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”
By the Numbers: AAA’s 2018 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast
•Road trip ready: The vast majority of travelers – 48.5 million – will hit the road for Thanksgiving, nearly 5 percent over last year. Motorists can expect to pay the highest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years, with a statewide average of $3.35 as of November 5, 26-cents more than a year ago.
•Fuller skies: Nearly 4.3 million travelers will take flight, representing the largest growth in holiday travel. Most travelers booked their flights for Thanksgiving between September 23 and October 25, paying an average ticket price of $478 roundtrip.
•Car rental costs fall: Travelers can expect to save on car rentals this Thanksgiving holiday season. At $63, the average daily rate is 10 percent less than last year.
•Hotel prices mixed: Travelers can also save on AAA Three Diamond hotels, with an average nightly rate of $166, a decline of six percent compared to last year. Conversely, the average rate for AAA Two Diamond hotels has increased six percent with an average nightly cost of $124.
“In most cases, the best days to travel will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday,” Donati said. “Drivers should expect increased travel times on Sunday as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.”
AAA to Rescue Over 150 Alaska Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 150 Alaska travelers at the roadside over the Thanksgiving travel period. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
The Thanksgiving holiday period is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit. The London-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast is available here.
Michelle Donati, AAA
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — In keeping with the Administration’s goal of promoting America’s energy independence and bolstering Alaska’s economy, the Bureau of Land Management will offer 254 tracts (approximately 2.85 million acres) in an oil and gas lease sale on Dec. 12, 2018. The sealed bid opening will be conducted via video livestream.
“The tracts offered support the Secretary’s goal to strengthen our energy development,” said BLM Alaska Acting State Director Ted Murphy. “This year’s lease sale demonstrates our commitment to continue Alaska energy production in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and create jobs and revenue for the State.”
The Dec. 12, 2018, sale will be the 14th in the NPR-A since 1999. There are currently 199 leases covering 1,384,352 acres in the NPR-A. Bids received for the 13 previous sales generated more than $282 million, half of which was paid to the State of Alaska.
The 254 tracts being offered were designated as available for development in the 2013 NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan/Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision. From July 19 through Aug. 20 of this year, the BLM sought public input and nominations on all available tracts within the NPR-A. The BLM received comments and nominations on tracts available and unavailable for leasing.
The NPR-A oil and gas lease sales are competitive. A detailed statement of sale, including a description of the tracts offered for lease, the lease terms, conditions and special stipulations, and how and where to submit the sealed bids, will be available at .
Sealed bids must be received by 4 p.m. (AKST) on Dec. 10, at the BLM Alaska State Office. The BLM will open sealed bids submitted on the tracts offered at 10 a.m. (AKST) on Dec. 12, and will livestream the opening of the bids at .
The first oil production from federal lands was recently announced with the Greater Mooses Tooth project at the eastern edge of the NPR-A. The Conoco Phillips Alaska, Inc. project was authorized in February 2015 and is expected to produce 25 to 30 thousand barrels of oil per day during peak production.
A list of past NPR-A lease sales can be found on the , and the notice is published in the .
Bureau of Land Management
By Leslie Shallcross
Most of us know someone whose life is affected by diabetes. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.2 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older have diabetes and 23.8 percent of them don’t know it. Among adults over 65 years of age, slightly more than 25 percent have diabetes (this would be around 9,000 Alaska seniors).
An additional one in three American adults (86 million) have a condition called prediabetes and are likely to develop diabetes unless they take steps to prevent it.
Diabetes may lead to well-known complications — cardiovascular disease and strokes, nerve damage, blindness, amputations and kidney damage. Individuals with diabetes can face double the annual medical costs and a 50 percent higher risk of death than someone without diabetes.
Prediabetes carries a similar risk for medical complications. If all of this sounds pretty grim, it is important to know one can live well with diabetes and most can avoid serious complications. If one has prediabetes, lifestyle changes and a small amount of weight loss has been effective in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes.
In trying to encourage friends and clients, I may have suggested that a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis shouldn’t be a reason for panic or fear. My words were never intended to minimize the everyday reality of living with these medical conditions. There are emotional effects, such as fear of complications and depression. There are challenges of scheduling, transportation and paying for multiple medical appointments and medications. And, there are the many, now urgent, lifestyle changes to make. Whatever else it may take, successfully dealing with diabetes or prediabetes requires courage, focus, time, willpower and support.
Regular medical appointments will be important for monitoring health. But, the things one does every day will make the most difference in diabetes or prediabetes. For the everyday healthy lifestyle checklist, consider the following: increasing daily physical activity to accumulate 150 minutes per week; adding more healthy food choices like vegetables and fruits and limiting the less healthy ones like chips and ice cream; developing and using skills for dealing with stress; prioritizing sufficient, regular sleep; checking blood sugar levels; if overweight, making a plan for weight loss; and stopping smoking.
One can develop diabetes at any time, although the older we are, the more likely we are to have blood sugar problems. The solution for dealing with diabetes or prediabetes isn’t to stop aging — that would be a sad alternative! Gaining awareness, getting support and education, developing a healthy lifestyle and developing a partnership with medical providers can help prevent or delay complications of diabetes or prediabetes.
A healthy lifestyle “makeover” will take time. It can’t happen overnight. But, setting goals, keeping focused on the changes that need to be made and measuring daily progress will make all the difference in whether one lives life well with diabetes or whether one is able to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
In Alaska and Fairbanks, support for making diabetes-healthy lifestyle changes can be found with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) or a certified diabetes educator (CDE). For individuals with diabetes, a medical provider can provide a referral to either of these types of providers for education. Many communities, including Fairbanks, also have diabetes support groups for diabetes education. The Cooperative Extension Service in Fairbanks offers two helpful programs — the six-week Diabetes Self-Management Program and the four-session Dining with Diabetes program.
For individuals with prediabetes, the Tanana District Cooperative Extension provides a 12-month program of group education and support for lifestyle change and weight loss, the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Participation in this program has been shown to be effective in delaying or preventing the onset of diabetes.
This program is available in several other communities in Alaska, including Anchorage, Seward and Juneau. On the Kenai Peninsula, the National Diabetes Prevention Program is available as a telephone-delivered program for free through a grant from the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the Alaska Diabetes Prevention and Control Program. The State of Alaska also has a free online prediabetes program called TurnAround Health. It can be found at the following website: http://bit.ly/2Do2Afq.
For more information about programs for individuals with diabetes or prediabetes, please call Leslie Shallcross at 907-242-6138.
Leslie Shallcross is the Tanana District health, home and family development agent for Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She can be reached at (907)474-2426 or email@example.com.
The topic of Disaster Preparedness seems to resonate more with Seniors than with the younger set, partly because of vulnerability due to special age-related issues. Many Seniors live alone and some are dealing with health or mobility issues. Yet most have developed a level of wisdom often accompanied by gray hair. A wisdom that says something bad can really happen because they have lived through at least one disastrous event in their lives.
The mantra of “Get A Kit, Make A Plan, and Be Informed” still applies to the mature crowd and there are many low cost-things Seniors can buy and no-cost plans they can make to avoid that feeling of helplessness and despair.
In my humble opinion, the single most important thing anyone can do to prepare for a disaster is to organize their neighborhood. And it doesn’t cost a cent! Contacting your neighbors, especially fellow Seniors can build a sense of community and camaraderie along with an assurance no one need to face adversity alone. Introduce the topic at the Senior Center, your church group or the quilting club. Collaborating on projects can not only bring some peace of mind, but just may bring some new friends into your life.
According to the American Red Cross it is still your responsibility to know what to do when disaster strikes. Remember, the first responders are going to be overwhelmed and Y.O.Y.O. (You’re On Your Own).
First thing to do is gather enough supplies to get by for several days without going to the store. In the event of an earthquake, or any impending disaster, the stores will sell out within hours and there will be nothing to buy anyway. If you live in a location that requires evacuation, you will want to store your supplies in totes that have wheels. Easier to move that way.
If you require a cane, walker or wheelchair, be sure to label it with your name, address and phone number just in case you and your equipment get separated. Either that or store your supplies with a friend out of the danger zone.
Remember to rotate your supplies. Keep an eye on the “best if used by” dates. Then simply rotate your stored supplies into everyday use. Also shift your batteries, medications and other perishable items before they expire. Keep in mind you may want to stock up on certain medications. Most doctors are sympathetic to your needs regarding planning for disaster and are willing to cooperate by prescribing most maintenance medications in advance. The difficult thing here is to get your insurance to get on board with that concept. So any advance preparations you make in that regard may have to come out of your own pocket. Then be sure to take special care to mind the expiration dates on your meds. I’m told that most medication doesn’t actually “go bad” but it does tend to lose its potency and effectiveness over time. Also try to see your way clear to pick up an extra pair of eyeglasses. Some of us have enough trouble keeping track of our glasses even without a disaster, so adding a pair of drugstore “cheaters” to your kit just might not be a bad idea either.
As always send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous columns can be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us,” available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers.
April Sunrise on Mt. Hayes and the Delta River.
Photo Courtesy Steven Miley Photography
A common sight one can see after moose season ends.
Photo Courtesy Scott Skaleski