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Finding breast cancer early through screening major tool for beating disease

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis in the United States. Dr. Srinath Sundararajan, an oncologist and hematologist with Texas Oncology-Katy, says early detection saves lives and that screening is important, even during the pandemic.

“Delaying cancer screenings will lead to detecting cancer at a later stage, and definitely that leads to more aggressive disease, more lengthy treatment and an increased healthcare cost,” Sundararajan said. “Cancer when identified early, there is a better chance of it being a curable cancer and better chance of having less intensive treatment. Screening cancer and finding it early is the single most effective way of improving cancer survival rates.”

He explained that since the 1980s, advances in breast cancer treatments have improved mortality rates, but screening has played a major role because it allows patients to seek treatment earlier in the disease.


While Sundararajan said mammograms are the main breast cancer detection tool, women talking with their health care providers about how to do a proper self-breast exam can enhance their breast health awareness and act as another tool. He said they should look for unusual changes in their breasts, including lumps, changes in the contour of the nipple, skin color changes, puckering of the skin or a new nipple discharge that occurs without apparent reason. Women should seek immediate medical attention with their health care provider if any of these symptoms occur.

While the age that a woman should get her first mammogram depends on several factors such as family history, Sundararajan explained that a woman with average risk should have a discussion with her doctor when she is between 40 and 50 years old. He said the frequency for mammograms will vary based on the results of that first one. Women should certainly have mammograms from age 50 to age 75, Sundararajan said.

The pandemic has had a large impact on cancer. A study showed that diagnoses of breast, cervical and colon cancer were down about 90 percent at one point. Sundararajan said the numbers have improved but are still down overall by about 30 percent since before COVID-19.

“It doesn’t mean that cancer was not happening or that new cancer was not occurring during those times,” he said. “Those are all missed diagnoses, which would probably impact them later in the future. Once they’re diagnosed, they might be at a later stage.”

Sundararajan explained that 90 to 95 percent of patients whose breast cancer is detected early respond well to treatment and are still living five years later. Those survival rates decrease when the cancer is found later.

Sundararajan emphasized that it is safe to go out for cancer screenings. He said clinics, diagnostic offices and doctors’ offices are taking precautions so that people do not catch or spread the novel coronavirus. Many medical facilities require masks and temperature checks to enter and are

The Best Fitness Tech To Buy at Walmart’s Major Sale, From Apple Watches to Treadmills

Treadmills and Apple watches aren’t exactly inexpensive, which means any time they go on sale is so incredibly exciting, making the investment all the more worthwhile. Walmart is in the midst of a huge sale where you can get fitness tech and tools at a massive discount.

Walmart’s major sale on fitness items is perfect for anyone who is looking to outfit their home gym or introduce more tech into their routine. Shop the very best deals below.



a person using a cell phone: Walmart fitness


© Photo: Stocksy / Mattia
Walmart fitness

The best fitness tech to buy at Walmart

1. Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, $169



icon: Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, walmart fitness


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Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, walmart fitness

Originally released in September 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 normally sells for $199. This watch allows you to measure your workouts, track and share your daily activity, better manage everyday stress, and monitor your heart rate more effectively. You can also sync it with your favorite playlists and use it to stay in touch with friends and family. This watch is available in white and black.

Shop now: Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, $169

To learn more about wearables, watch What the Wellness Host Ella Dove try them out:

2. Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands, $55



a close up of a pot: Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands


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Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands

A stability ball can make all of your workouts harder and more effective. Add in the resistance bands and this tool is like a mini gym. Use just the ball for crunches à la Kate Hudson or stand on it while doing bicep curls or arm raises to work your arms and core at the same time.

Shop now: Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands, $55

3. Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike, $499



a close up of a motorcycle: Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike


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Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike


  

Originally priced at $599, this Echelon indoor cycling bike is perfect for getting your cardio in at home. The bike comes with six months of free access to the Echelon Fit App, where you’ll have access to over 1,600 cycling classes of all fitness levels and music genres. You can filter by length, music, language, instructor, and more to find the best class for you.

Shop now: Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike, $499

4. Apple Air Pods, $129



Apple Air Pods


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Apple Air Pods

These earbuds took over as soon as they launched, and for good reason. Having the comfort of earbuds without the hassle of a cord is a game-changer. This pair, typically sold for $159, comes with a standard charging case. The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case ($160) and the AirPods Pro ($199) are also on sale.

Shop now: Apple AirPods, $129

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones II, $299



a close up of electronics: Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones II


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Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones II


If you prefer headphones to earbuds, this pair

Coronavirus could worsen in winter, remain major threat through 2021, Fauci says

FILE - In this April 7, 2020, file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in Washington. With New York City at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and its native-born among those offering crucial information to the nation in televised briefings, the New York accent has stepped up to the mic. Fauci's science-based way of explaining the crisis at White House briefings has attracted untold numbers of fans, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's news conferences have become must-see TV. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert, speaks about the coronavirus on April 7. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

The COVID-19 pandemic could worsen in the winter and continue to be a looming threat through much of 2021.

That is the forecast of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious diseases expert, in a wide-ranging discussion about the pandemic that he delivered this week to the Berkeley Forum.

Fauci warned that a sense of normality post-coronavirus may not come to the U.S. until late 2021, adding that the arrival of a vaccine will not suddenly bring the U.S. lurching back. Rather, it’ll be a gradual transition over a long period of time.

Fauci offered analysis at the Thursday forum about where we stand on the pandemic — from the importance of masks to the mistakes made by colleges, the dangers of internet disinformation and the grim toll COVID-19 is taking on nonwhite communities.

Masks may be part of a return to normal for some time

The U.S. faces two problems: The vaccine won’t be 99% effective, and a substantial proportion of Americans have indicated they will not take the inoculation.

“So let’s say you have a 75% effective vaccine, and 65% to 80% of the people want to get vaccinated: You still have a lot of people in society … that are vulnerable to be infected,” Fauci said. That means “we’re going to softly go into a graded degree of normality.”

In this new normal, more types of businesses will be able to reopen. But some pandemic protections may still be needed for a longer period than others.

“Will people have to wear masks? Yes, likely,” Fauci said. “I would imagine that if we get a good vaccine now, that we could have some degree of normality in the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2021.

“I think ultimately, we will get back to normality as we knew it before this. But … it’s going to be a gradual process, in which the restrictions on things — restaurant numbers, theater attendance, spectators at sports [events] — all of that will come back gradually. But it will come back.”

We could be in for a tough winter

At the moment, the U.S. is still diagnosing about 40,000 new infections of the coronavirus daily — “which is unacceptably high,” Fauci said, as the nation moves into the cooler seasons.

“We’ve got to get that down or otherwise, we’re going to have a very tough winter in the next few months,” Fauci said.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ coronavirus tracker, California has averaged about 3,300 new coronavirus cases a day for the last week — a number that’s still higher than during the initial springtime wave of cases that prompted the state’s first stay-at-home order.

Los Angeles County on Wednesday reported its highest daily count of coronavirus infections since Aug. 22, highlighting the continued dangers of the virus even as more businesses are opening up.

A major study in India offers insights into on how the spread of the virus differs by age and gender.

An ambitious new study of nearly 85,000 coronavirus cases in India and nearly 600,000 of their contacts, published Wednesday in the journal Science, offers important insights not just for India, but for other low- and middle-income countries.

India now has more than six million cases, second only to the United States.

Among the findings of the study: The median hospital stay before death from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, was five days in India, compared with two weeks in the United States, possibly because of limited access to quality care. And the trend in increasing deaths with age seemed to drop off after age 65 — perhaps because Indians who live past that age tend to be relatively wealthy and have access to good health care.

The contact tracing study also found that children of all ages can become infected with the coronavirus and spread it to others — offering compelling evidence on one of the most divisive questions about the virus.

“The claims that children have no role in the infection process are certainly not correct,” said Dr. Joseph Lewnard, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study. “There’s, granted, not an enormous number of kids in the contact tracing data, but those who are in it are certainly transmitting.”

And the report confirmed, as other studies have, that a small number of people are responsible for seeding a vast majority of new infections.

Though its overall total of cases is huge, the per capita number of cases reported daily in India — and in many other low-income countries, including in Africa — is lower than in Spain, France or even the United States. And its number of deaths has not yet topped 100,000 — which has surprised some scientists.

The study focused on two southern Indian states, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, which together have a population of about 128 million, and represent two of the five Indian states with the most cases. They also have among the most sophisticated health care systems in the country.

Contact tracers reached more than three million contacts of the 435,539 cases in these two states, although this still did not represent the full set of contacts. The researchers analyzed data for the 575,071 contacts for whom test information was available.

The data revealed that the people infected first — known as index cases — were more likely to be male and older than their contacts. That may be because men are more likely to be out in situations where they might be infected, more likely to become symptomatic and get tested if they do become infected, or perhaps more likely to respond to contact tracers’ calls for information, said Dr. Lewnard. They also found that infected people tend to spread the virus to those of similar ages.

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Major hospital system struggling to recover computer network operations after cyberattack

Universal Health Services, a large hospital system with more than 400 locations across the country, was still working Tuesday to get its network and operations back online after a cyberattack early Sunday morning.



a close up of a sign: A logo sign outside the headquarters of Universal Health Services, Inc., in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 2015. Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***


© Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa/AP
A logo sign outside the headquarters of Universal Health Services, Inc., in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 2015. Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***

“We are making steady progress with recovery efforts,” the Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement late Tuesday. “Certain applications have already started coming online again, with others projected to be restored on a rolling basis across the U.S.”

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The company said it “experienced an information technology security incident in the early morning hours of September 27, 2020,” and as a result it was forced to shut down its entire computer network, impacting patient data, laboratory systems and clinical information.

“Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively,” the company’s statement noted, adding that at the moment there’s “no evidence that patient or employee data was accessed, copied or misused.”

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist at George Washington University Medical Center, a UHS acute care hospital impacted by the attack, told CNN it may take several days to reset the system.

“They proactively took down all, their entire network, to protect the network when they detected the attack and they’re working using these downtime protocols to maintain clinical operations in a safe way while they slowly bring systems back up online,” he said.

In the meantime, he said it’s a “big deal.”

Reiner said the affected facilities are back to using manual systems, which was once the norm, so patient safety isn’t necessarily a problem at all. “But it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal,” he repeated.

He said he had to cancel several surgical procedures Tuesday and added it’s “much more cumbersome to track down patient data.”

The UHS statement said its facilities are using “established back-up processes including offline documentation methods” — meaning pen and paper.

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