(207) 474-5121 | 46 Fairview Avenue, Skowhegan, ME 04976

Cancer In the Sun

Cancer in the Sun

Melanoma / Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention

Skin cancer affects one in five Americans.  The three major types of skin cancer are the easily treatable if caught early basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and the more serious malignant melanoma.

Sun exposure adds up day after day whenever you’re doing anything outdoors.  UV rays can be harmful to your eyes and your skin.  You can control your exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays!

Who is at risk for skin cancer?

  • Those with light skin color, hair color, or eye color.
  • Those with a family history or personal history of skin cancer.
  • Those who have spent long periods of time in the sun.
  • Childhood and adolescent sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer later in life.
  • You make be at risk for the more serious malignant melanoma if you have had one or more blistering sunburns during your childhood, you have had a relative with malignant melanoma, you have more than 50 moles, you have at least five moles that are one ¼ inch or more in size, you were born with moles, you have abnormal or unusual moles or if you are pregnant.

 What can I do to prevent skin cancer?

  • Sun-screen is highly effective in preventing skin cancer.  Choose one with a broad spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.  Reapply every two hours. 
  • Choose clothes to protect as much skin as possible.  Wear a hat and sunglasses.  The sunglasses should have UV protection.
  • Limit your exposure to sun.  Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm when the UV rays are the strongest.
  • Avoid sunlamps and tanning salons.  The UVA rays cause skin damage.
  • Do a skin self – exam once a month.  Examine your skin looking for new or changing patch of skin, or any changes in a mole.  Visit www.aad.org, click on public center, click on how to perform a self exam.
  • If you notice a mole on your skin, you should follow the simple ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:

Asymmetry – one half of the mole does not match the other half

Border irregularity – the edges are blurred, notched or ragged in appearance

Color – the pigmentation of the mole is not the same throughout, different shades of brown, tan or black are often present.  Dashes of red, white and blue may add to the mottled appearance

Diameter – melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter

Evolving – the mole is changing or looks different from the rest of your moles

  • Before going out in the sun, check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if the medications you are taking may be likely to make your skin more sensitive.


Resources:       Academay of Dermatology        www.AAD.ORG

                            American Cancer Society

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?  Lyme disease is an infection, or illness, caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacterium (spirochete) Borrelia burgdorferi.  The bacterium is transmitted from black legged ticks to white-footed mice, the white-tailed deer, other mammals, and birds to dogs, horses.  Ticks feed by inserting their mouths into the skin of a host and slowly taking in blood.  The bacterial transmission does not usually occur until the tick has been attached for at least 24 hours.

Is Lyme disease found in Maine?  The greatest concentrations of Lyme disease cases are in the Northeast, the upper Midwest, and Pacific Northwest.  In Maine, the greatest risk of contracting Lyme disease is during spring and summer months.    June and July are the times that the nymphal ticks tend to feed and transmit the bacteria.  Nymphal ticks are tiny (less than 2mm) and are not easily noticed on people.  Adult ticks are often found in the late fall and can also transmit the bacteria.  Because they are larger they are more likely to be found and removed.

Protecting yourself from Lyme disease:  You can decrease the chances of being bitten by a tick by following these simple precautions:

  • Avoid tick-infected areas (especially in May, June and July).
  • Removing leaves, leaf litter, and clearing brush around houses and at the edges of lawns may reduce the number of ticks that transmit Lyme disease.
  • Use flea and tick collars on your pets and brush them carefully after they have been outdoors.  Check your animals for ticks.
  • Wear light colored clothing so you can spot ticks more easily.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and shirt into pants.
  • Tape the area where pants and socks meet so that ticks cannot crawl under clothing
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt for added protection.

·         Spray insect repellent containing a 20-30% concentration of DEET on clothes and on exposed skin other than the face, or treat clothes (especially pants, socks, and shoes) with permethrin, which kills ticks on contact.  Insect repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, picaridin, or permethrin have also been found to be effective.

  • Walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass and brush at trail edges.

·         After being outdoors, remove your clothing and wash and dry it at high temperature; inspect your body carefully and again a few hours later.  Pay attention to your head, hairline, nape of the neck, armpits, waist, between your legs, thighs, and behind your knees and remove attached ticks with tweezers, grasping the tick as close to the skin surface as possible and pulling straight back with a slow steady force; avoid crushing the tick’s body.

·          If you remove a tick from yourself or your pet and would like to have it identified, place the tick in a small vial of rubbing alcohol inside a crushproof container.  Ticks will not be tested to see if they carry Lyme.  Check the CDC website for the most current address for testing.

Deer Ticks Vs. Dog Ticks –

¨      Dog ticks have either a white dot or shield behind the heat or white racing stripe down the back

¨      Generally deer ticks prefer the woods, dog ticks prefer open areas

Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease:  Many of the symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to those of other diseases.  The fever, muscle aches, and fatigue can be mistaken for the flu or infectious mononucleosis.  Joint pain can be mistaken for other types of arthritis.  Your doctor will diagnose Lyme disease based on history of possible exposure, symptoms, and by running blood tests that detect whether the patient has antibodies to the bacterium that causes Lyme.

The early stage of Lyme disease is usually marked by one or more of the following signs and symptoms:  fatigue, chills and fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, and or a characteristic skin rash (called erythema migrans).  It is a red circular patch that appears at the site of the tick bite usually within 3 days to 1 month after the bite of an infected tick.  The patch then grows larger, and sometimes many patches appear.  Common sites are the thighs, trunk, groin, and armpits.  The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in what looks like a “bull’s-eye.”  The rash may be warm, but it is not usually painful.

Some symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear until weeks, months, or years after a tick bite.  These symptoms may include, arthritis, nervous system problems such as numbness, pain, facial nerve paralysis and meningitis (fever, stiff neck, and severe headache), and/or irregularities of the heart rhythm (rare).

Treatment for Lymes disease and prognosis: The treatment is generally oral antibiotics.  Patients treated in the early stages with antibiotics usually recover completely and quickly.  Most patients who are treated in the later stages of the disease also respond well to antibiotics.  Residual or recurrent symptoms are possible.

Vaccination: There is no longer a vaccine available for Lyme disease due to discontinued production of the vaccine.  If you received the vaccine (Lyme disease) before 2002, you are probably no longer protected against the disease.   


Other Tick-Borne Diseases

There are other tick-borne diseases such as Anaplasmosis and Babesia.  Anaplasmosis  is carried by the deer and white-footed mouse.  The incubation period is one to two weeks causing fever chills, and severe headache.  General tiredness, muscle aching and joint aching are also common.  One may experience a cough, intestinal upset and stiff neck although this does not tend to be as common.  Treatment is very similar to the treatment for Lymes disease.  Babesia microti is another tick borne illness that occurs on the northeast coast of the US.  The incubation period is one to three weeks after a tick bite and causes symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and aching.

Resources:  CDC



Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs.  Inflammation makes the airways sensitive and they tend to react strongly to things to which you are allergic or finding irritating.  The airways react by getting narrower.  This causes less air flow through the lung tissues, with symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and/or trouble breathing.  Asthma makes it difficult to breathe because it can cause inflammation in your bronchial tubes which carry the air to the lungs.

Asthma often starts in childhood or in the teen years.  It is more common in children than adults.  Asthma may run in families.  Asthma tends to be more common in people who have allergies, though not all those with allergies get asthma.  The allergens may be dust mites or animal dander. 

Asthma can be controlled so that you have symptoms infrequently and you can live an active life.  Symptoms of asthma may be mild or severe and include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping or tiring quickly during exercise.

What can I do to control my asthma?

  • Stay away from things that bother your airways (often called triggers) such as allergens like dust mites and cigarette smoke, or exposure to irritants.
  • Take your medications as you have been directed by your doctor.  Medications usually include inhaled corticosteroids, which prevent or control the inflammation, and beta2 agonists, which make the airways larger. 
  • See your doctor regularly.
  • Make an asthma action plan to help you control inflammation and prevent episodes, identify and treat early, avoid those things that make your symptoms worse, and know when emergency help is needed.



Arthritis is used to describe joints getting swollen, red, warm, stiff and painful, or inflamed.  Arthritis is a chronic disease and has many different types.  Depending on the type of arthritis it may occur as early as adolescence.  Arthritis causes include when the cartilage in joints break down and bones rub against each other as a result of an injury or part of the aging process.  Rheumatoid arthritis develops when the immune system attacks the lining of the joints, causing painful swelling.

Many people use the word "arthritis" to refer to all rheumatic diseases. However, the word literally means joint inflammation; that is, swelling, redness, heat, and pain caused by tissue injury or disease in the joint.  There are over 100 forms of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.  The many different kinds of arthritis comprise just a portion of the rheumatic diseases. Some rheumatic diseases are described as connective tissue diseases because they affect the body's connective tissue--the supporting framework of the body and its internal organs. Others are known as autoimmune diseases because they are caused by a problem in which the immune system harms the body's own healthy tissues. Examples of some rheumatic diseases are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout

The goal in treatment is to reduce inflammation through joint protection, planned exercise, weight control, heat, relaxation, medication and sometimes surgery.

Three types of exercise are best for people with arthritis:

·   Range-of-motion exercises (e.g., dance) help maintain normal joint movement and relieve stiffness. This type of exercise helps maintain or increase flexibility.

·   Strengthening exercises (e.g., weight training) help keep or increase muscle strength. Strong muscles help support and protect joints affected by arthritis.

·   Aerobic or endurance exercises (e.g., bicycle riding) improve cardiovascular fitness, help control weight, and improve overall function. Weight control can be important to people who have arthritis because extra weight puts extra pressure on many joints. Some studies show that aerobic exercise can reduce inflammation in some joints.

Most health clubs and community centers offer exercise programs for people with physical limitations. People with arthritis should discuss exercise options with their doctors and other health care providers. Most doctors recommend exercise for their patients. Many people with arthritis begin with easy, range-of-motion exercises and low-impact aerobics. People with arthritis can participate in a variety of, but not all, sports and exercise programs. The doctor will know which, if any, sports are off-limits.

The doctor may have suggestions about how to get started or may refer the patient to a physical therapist. It is best to find a physical therapist that has experience working with people who have arthritis. The therapist will design an appropriate home exercise program and teach clients about pain-relief methods, proper body mechanics (placement of the body for a given task, such as lifting a heavy box), joint protection, and conserving energy.  Most experts agree that if exercise causes pain that lasts for more than 1 hour, it is too strenuous. People with arthritis should work with their physical therapist or doctor to adjust their exercise program when they notice any of the following signs of strenuous exercise; unusual or persistent fatigue, increased weakness, decreased range of motion, Increased joint swelling, Continuing pain (pain that lasts more than 1 hour after exercising)

Resources:  National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NIAMS) a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Telephone:  877-22-NIAMS (226-4267) (free of charge) http://www.niams.nih.gov/ Arthritis Foundation  800-283-7800 (free of charge)         www.arthritis.org

Welcome to Redington-Fairview

The Mission of Redington-Fairview General Hospital (RFGH) is to develop, provide, and facilitate quality comprehensive, cost-effective health services for the people we serve.

Redington-Fairview General Hospital is an independent community hospital located in Skowhegan, Maine. RFGH has provided quality, comprehensive health services to the residents of Somerset County since 1952. A member of the Maine Hospital Association, RFGH offers inpatient and outpatient services in many specialities, has a network of community-based primary care and pediatric physicians, and provides 24-hour emergency medical services.

Where To Find Us

Redington-Fairview General Hospital
46 Fairview Avenue
P.O. Box 468
Skowhegan  Maine


TTY 207-858-4769

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