• How to tell when a mole is cancerous

    Most moles are harmless, but it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on them. If the appearance of a mole changes or if you develop any other suspicious-looking growths on the skin, your doctor can perform a thorough skin exam to check for melanoma. In the event that you are diagnosed with skin cancer, Good Samaritan Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Program offers superior, patient-focused care.

    Know how to spot skin abnormalities

    There’s an easy way to know if a mole is abnormal or not. Compare it to the ABCDEs of skin cancer.

    Asymmetry: If you compare the two halves of a potentially cancerous mole, they might not match.

    Border: The borders of a harmless mole are even and smooth. Melanomas often have uneven borders that might look notched or scalloped.

    Color: Harmless moles are typically a uniform color. Moles that have multiple colors or shades should be examined by a doctor.

    Diameter: Potentially cancerous moles might be small initially, but they may later grow larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.

    Evolving: Harmless moles stay the same over time. If a mole begins to evolve in appearance, it’s time to see a doctor.

    Perform a skin self-exam

    Doctors generally recommend performing a skin self-exam once per month and having a skin cancer screening during your annual exam . After bathing, stand in front of a large wall mirror and have a handheld mirror handy. Keep the ABCDEs of skin cancer in mind while you examine the following areas:

    • Fronts and backs of the legs and arms

    • Tops and undersides of the hands and feet

    • Between your toes and fingers

    • Face, shoulders, neck and scalp

    • Behind the ears

    • Front and sides of your torso

    • Back and buttocks

    You may need to have a partner or family member help you check areas that are hard to see. Make a note of any moles you see and keep track of their appearance over time.

    Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose provides unique cancer care services, including our Survivorship Program. Our highly trained physicians and nurses choose to work at our hospital because of our unparalleled reputation for putting our patients first. Call us today at (888) 724-2362 and let us know how we can help you live life well.

  • Why is cycling such a good workout for bone and joint health?

    Staying physically active is crucial for bone and joint health. Bicycling is a good choice for many people because it’s fun and invigorating. However, if you’ve already been diagnosed with a bone or joint condition, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor about your workout plans. A doctor at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose can help you design an effective and safe exercise program .

    Bicycling is not a weight-bearing exercise

    Weight-bearing exercises are the gold standard for building bone density. These exercises include jogging, stair climbing and dancing.

    However, one major downside of weight-bearing exercises is the stress they place on the joints. For people who have bone and joint health problems, such as arthritis, weight-bearing exercises might not be advisable.

    This is one reason why bicycling is a great workout . Since it isn’t a weight-bearing workout, cycling can allow orthopedic patients to get active.

    Bicycling can help maintain a trim waistline

    Hopping on a bike and putting some miles behind you is a fun and satisfying way to burn calories. Staying within a healthy weight range is particularly important for patients with joint problems like arthritis. This is because every extra pound places additional weight on the joints, which can increase joint pain.

    Bicycling strengthens the muscles that support the joints

    Bicycling is an effective way to strengthen the muscles throughout the body, including those that support the joints. The stronger these muscles are, the better they are able to stabilize the joints.

    Bicycling supports strong bone mass

    Exercise is essential for maintaining dense bone mass and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Although bicycling is not a weight-bearing exercise, it is thought that it can still help support bone density because pushing the pedals is a form of resistance exercise.

    Good Samaritan Hospital is a top provider of orthopedic care in San Jose. Our joint replacement surgeons are leaders in their field, and our hospital offers a full range of nonsurgical treatment options. To request a physician referral, call a registered nurse at (888) 724-2362.

  • What to do if you’re bitten by a snake

    More than two dozen species of snakes make their home in California. Several of the snakes you might see in the San Jose area are venomous, including the Western diamondback rattlesnake and Mojave Desert sidewinder. A bite from a snake that might be venomous is a serious problem that requires emergency care. In San Jose, the emergency care team at Good Samaritan Hospital is fully equipped to handle all medical emergencies, including snake bites .

    Remain calm

    As frightening as a snake bite can be, it’s important to stay calm. After getting away from the snake, remain as still as possible. Excessive movement can encourage the spread of venom through your body .

    Take a picture of the snake

    When you watch this featured video, you’ll hear from an emergency care physician at Good Samaritan Hospital. He explains that it’s a good idea to take a picture of the snake, but warns against putting yourself in further danger. If you can’t safely take a picture, skip this step and instead try to remember what the snake looks like.

    Seek emergency care

    If you aren’t sure whether the snake is venomous, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek emergency care. Call 911 instead of trying to drive to the hospital. Snake venom can compromise your ability to drive safely, such as by causing the following symptoms:

    • Dizziness

    • Vision disturbances

    • Numbness

    • Vomiting

    • Breathing problems

    Initiate first aid for the snake bite

    While you’re waiting for the ambulance, you can sit or lie down. However, it’s important to keep the bitten body part below the level of your heart. If you have a clean, dry cloth or bandage, you can cover the bite.

    Know what not to do after a snake bite

    Knowing what not to do for a snake bite is just as important as knowing what to do. Do not do any of the following:

    • Don’t apply a tourniquet

    • Don’t suck out the venom

    • Don’t apply ice

    • Don’t soak the wound in water

    • Don’t consume alcohol or caffeinated beverages

    If you have any doubts about what you should or shouldn’t do, the 911 dispatcher can help you.

  • Talking to your cardiovascular nurse about your blood pressure

    The year 2017 has been declared the “Year of the Healthy Nurse” by the American Nurses Association. At Good Samaritan Hospital , we’re celebrating National Nurses Week, which is May 6-12 this year. This awareness week is an excellent opportunity to recognize the many ways nurses promote superior cardiac care. As an essential member of your cardiac care team, your nurse can work one-on-one with you to help you manage your blood pressure.

    Ask about blood pressure fluctuations

    Each time you go to the hospital for a check-up, your cardiac care nurse will take your blood pressure. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, such as:

    • Is my blood pressure within a healthy range?

    • Is my blood pressure different from my last visit?

    • Could normal fluctuations be causing my high blood pressure?

    This last question can be important because blood pressure does normally fluctuate slightly throughout the day. It also changes in response to factors like your stress level and physical activity. Let your cardiac care nurse know if you were rushing to get to your appointment, are under a great deal of stress or recently had a cup of coffee.

    Share concerns about your medications

    Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for cardiac patients to stop taking their prescribed medication. The reasons for this include troublesome side effects, high medication costs and confusion about dosages.

    Let your nurse know if you haven’t been taking your blood pressure medicine as prescribed . Nurses are excellent problem-solvers. He or she can help you overcome any challenges you might be facing.

    Talk about your lifestyle

    One of the ways your nurse can help you manage your blood pressure is by connecting you to the resources and information you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. You probably already know that, in general, eating well and exercising are important for blood pressure regulation. But the specifics of a healthy lifestyle can sometimes be confusing.

    Your cardiovascular nurse can help you with the following issues:

    • Calculating daily sodium intake

    • Understanding the guidelines for alcohol intake

    • Staying active while traveling

    • Overcoming nicotine cravings

    • Overcoming a sweet tooth

    • Estimating portion sizes

    Consider bringing a notebook to your appointment to help you keep track of the helpful information your nurse provides.

    When looking for cardiac care , more patients in Santa Clara County choose Good Samaritan Hospital than any other community hospital. We continually invest in the latest medical technology, and our skilled nursing team offers an unparalleled level of personalized care. To request a referral to a cardiac care specialist in San Jose, call our nurse referral line at (888) 724-2362.