How to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, and a great time to learn about strategies to detect and prevent skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with 1 in 5 Americans developing it in their lifetime. Fortunately, when diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer can almost always be cured.

Skin Cancer Basics

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells. It can affect people of all colors and races, but is more likely to occur in those with fair skin. The two most common types of skin cancer are basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Both cancers are highly curable, though if left untreated, can cause serious damage and disfigurement. Melanoma is the third most common—and deadliest—skin cancer. Melanoma generally develops in a mole or appears as a new dark spot on the skin.

The majority of skin cancers develop due to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is a type of radiation produced by the sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. It is invisible to the human eye, but can penetrate and damage skin cells. Minimizing exposure to harmful UV rays is key in skin cancer prevention.

Reduce Your Risk

Stay out of the sun as much as possible.

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm, so seek shade during these hours or protect your skin with clothing. Consider wearing long sleeves, pants, sunglasses and a wide brim hat. Be especially aware if you’re near water, sand, or snow. These surfaces can reflect and intensify the damaging effects of the sun.

Always wear sunscreen.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like. If you’re spending time outdoors, it’s important to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply it every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat.

Check your skin regularly for changes.

Check out this infographic from the American Academy of Dermatology for how to spot signs of skin cancer. Early detection is crucial for successful treatment.

detect and prevent skin cancer

Help End Distracted Driving

distracted driving awareness - man holding cell phone while driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.” This April, let’s educate ourselves on the hazards of distracted driving and learn how to make the roads safer for everyone.

Driving safely requires your full attention and awareness of the road. Sending a quick text might seem harmless, but accidents happen in a split second. Texting, talking on the phone, talking to passengers, or changing the music are all distractions that take your attention away from the task at hand. Engaging in these behaviors while driving leads to delayed braking times, missed traffic signals and an increased risk of crashing. When you’re in the driver’s seat, it’s critical not to get sidetracked by these extraneous activities.

Commit to being an attentive driver.

In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the National Safety Council is urging us all to take the Just Drive pledge:

I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
  • Text or send Snapchats
  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
  • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media
  • Check or send emails
  • Take selfies or film videos
  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving

Visit the NSC site to officially take the pledge »

Taking the pledge is a great first step in tackling the issue of distracted driving, but how else can we initiate change? Choose to be a voice in your community. Support local laws and educate those around you on the dangers of driving distracted. If you’re a parent, make sure your teen driver understands the importance of being an attentive driver and encourage them to spread the word amongst their peers. We all have a role to play in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.

March is National Nutrition Month! Put your best fork forward.

nutrition month dinner plate
Many of us start the year with resolutions to eat better and exercise more. But during the long winter months of January and February, it’s easy to let those goals slip. Maybe it’s a hibernation instinct or simply a lack of Vitamin D, but the short days and cold weather lead us straight to Netflix and comfort foods. Luckily, March is here! Let’s welcome the first signs of spring with a commitment to healthier food and exercise choices.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month in March each year. For 2017, their theme is “put your best fork forward”, reminding us that every bite counts. Eating better doesn’t have to mean a complete dietary overhaul; it’s ok to start small. Consider trading that soda for a sparkling water. Switch from refined flours to whole grains. Little shifts in your diet can pay off big for your health.

March into health with these simple nutrition tips:

  1. Emphasize Fruits & Veggies.

    Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Fresh produce is full of nutrients, vitamins and fiber and it’s easy to incorporate into your diet.

  2. Keep portions under control.

    How much food you eat is just as important as what you eat. Consider your age and weight to determine a healthy amount of daily calories to aim for. Be mindful of your portion sizes and keep track of just how many calories you’re consuming. Many foods provide more than you think!

  3. Limit salt and added sugars.

    According to the CDC, about 90% of Americans eat more sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet! To cut back on salt, choose fresh foods, cook at home more often and minimize processed foods like cheese, cured meats and canned soups.

    Added sugars are another huge contributor to our country’s obesity epidemic. Added sugars increase calories without providing any nutritional value! By reducing the amount of added sugars in your diet, you can improve your heart health and control your weight. The American Heart Association lists major sources of added sugars in American diets as: regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks; dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles). Be aware of this and try to cut back on the sweets, eat fruit instead or make your own homemade version with less sugar.

We hope these tips help you lead a more nutritious lifestyle! Continue educating yourself on what makes a healthy diet and encourage those around you to do so as well.

Healthy Eating Resources

Make Heart Health a Priority

heart health

February is American Heart Month, and the perfect time to make your heart health a priority.

Did you know that heart disease accounts for a whopping 1 in 4 deaths in the United States? It’s currently the leading cause of death for both men and women. As a country, we must start taking heart health seriously.

No matter what your age, you can reduce your risk of heart disease through simple lifestyle changes and by managing existing medical conditions with appropriate treatment. For a healthy heart, follow the advice below:

Quit Smoking! (Or, if you don’t smoke, don’t start!)

Smoking causes real damage to your heart and blood vessels. To reduce your risk of developing and dying from heart disease, avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. No matter how much or how long you’ve smoked, quitting will benefit you and can even help reverse heart damage. Need help quitting? Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline (1-800-784-8669) for free resources and assistance.

Keep your blood pressure under control.

Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to coronary artery disease, an enlarged left heart and heart failure. It is a leading cause of both heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure can occur with no signs or symptoms so it’s a good idea to have your blood pressure checked annually. Follow these healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your blood pressure under control:

  • Limit the amount of salt and alcohol in your diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress.

Depending on your overall health, your doctor may also recommend medication to lower blood pressure.

Know the symptoms of a heart attack.

According to the CDC, the five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  2. Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint
  3. Chest pain or discomfort
  4. Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder
  5. Shortness of breath

If you are experiencing these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. The sooner emergency treatment begins, the higher your chances of survival.

Donate Blood this January

donate blood


Our new year’s resolutions often look inward and focus on personal improvement. Lose weight. Exercise more. Get organized. But what if this year, we looked outward instead? How can we, as individuals, positively impact our communities in 2017?

One simple way is to donate blood.

Every January, the American Red Cross celebrates National Blood Donor Month and this year, their mission is even more critical. Several cities across the country are facing emergency blood shortages. Complex therapies such as chemotherapy, heart surgeries and organ transplants require a large amount of blood and blood products. A shortage in our nation’s blood supply can delay urgent medical care for our community’s most vulnerable patients. Donating blood is a simple, life-saving act. It takes less than 1 hour and a single donation can help up to 3 people

If you’re able to donate blood, now is the time to do so. Below, we’ve outlined the blood donor eligibility requirements, tips to prepare for your appointment and how to find a blood drive near you.

Blood and Platelet Donors Must:

  • Be in good general health and feeling well*
  • Be at least 17-years-old in most states, or 16-years-old with parental consent if allowed by state law – see more information for 16-year-old donors »
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs

Other aspects of your health history will be discussed prior to blood collection. Your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin are also measured beforehand. If you have specific questions about eligibility, the Red Cross offers in-depth information on donor Eligibility Criteria by Topic.

Tips to prepare for your appointment:

  • Eat a healthy, low-fat meal
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Bring your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification
  • Bring the names of any medications you are taking
  • Wear clothing with sleeves that can be lifted above the elbow

Click here to find a blood drive near you »

Drive Safely this Holiday Season

impaired-driving-prevention

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

During the holiday season, incidents of drunk and drugged driving occur more frequently and pose a threat to everyone on the road. To keep our streets safe this December, let’s educate ourselves on impaired driving prevention and hold ourselves — and those around us — accountable. Below, we’ve outlined basic tips and knowledge to help you avoid preventable tragedies.

  1. Understand the many ways in which alcohol affects driving ability.

    Consuming alcohol reduces a driver’s capacity to make sound and responsible decisions. It makes concentration difficult and impairs basic comprehension and coordination. On the road, a driver needs to quickly interpret signs, signals and situations in order to react safely. Under the influence of alcohol, this is simply not possible. In addition, alcohol reduces visual acuity and impairs the ability to judge distance and depth perception. Learn more about the effects of alcohol intoxication on driving from the CDC.

  2. Plan ahead.

    If you plan on drinking, also plan for a sober ride home. Designate a non-drinking driver when with a group, or consider calling a cab or ride-sharing app at the end of the night. It’s dangerous and irresponsible to get behind the wheel.

  3. Help others get home safely.

    Don’t let friends drive drunk. If you’re faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired tries to drive, MAAD offers these helpful tips to stop them:

    • Be as non-confrontational as possible
    • Suggest alternative ways they can get home, or that they sleep over
    • Enlist a friend for moral support; it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or three or four) people
    • Talk slowly and explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care
    • If possible, take the person’s keys

Brighton Festival of Lights Parade

Join Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine at the Brighton Festival of Lights Parade!

The 21st Annual Brighton Festival of Lights Parade will take place on Saturday, December 10th and its theme is “A Hometown Holiday Tradition”. Beginning at 5pm, 75 full-lighted entries from local groups, organizations, businesses and families will travel through Downtown Brighton. The parade travels south on North Main Street, turns east on Bridge St. to 10th Avenue, south to Skeel Street. Come out to this magical all-ages event to get into the holiday spirit! For more info, visit http://brightonco.gov/459/Festival-of-Lights.

Brighton Festival of Lights Parade
The Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine team at last year’s parade

Brighton Turkey Trot 5K

Brighton Turkey Trot

Join us on Saturday, November 19th for the Brighton Turkey Trot 5K!

The event will take place at the Brighton Recreation Center and begins at 8:30am Sharp! Howie will be cheering on the walkers/runners and our staff will provide First Aid. The race typically generates several hundred participants. Have fun and exercise at this great, family-friend event. And remember to stick around after the race to visit with vendors and a chance to win prizes.

Register Now »

Fall Fun with our Community

The Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine team was out and about in our community this month! See what we’ve been up to…

Fort Lupton Trapper Days Parade and Festival

On Saturday, September 10th, we participated in the Fort Lupton Trapper Days Parade and Festival. The annual event, which was celebrating its 40th year, is always a town favorite! Howie made an appearance in the parade, while our staff enjoyed visiting with residents at the festival afterward.

Broomfield Days

On Saturday, September 17th, we participated for the first time in the Broomfield Days event at Midway Park in Broomfield. The weather was perfect and estimated attendance was around 25,000. Our staff enjoyed talking with area residents about our services, while Howie entertained the children.

Broomfield Days event

Northglenn Safe Street Halloween

Students, local groups and businesses passed out more than 5,000 pounds of candy at Northglenn High School for their Safe Street Halloween. The event included a Haunted Gym, the Arachnophobia Corner and cookie decorating. Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine staff had a blast!

How to Prevent Diabetes


Today, 1 in 11 Americans has diabetes, and an estimated 86 million more are at risk of developing it. The disease can cause serious health complications and is currently the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In an effort to raise awareness and understanding of this all-too-common disease, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recognizes November as American Diabetes Month. We’re joining in on the cause and focusing on how to prevent diabetes.

While there is no known way to prevent Type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease usually diagnosed in children and young adults), there are lifestyle choices you can make to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. Before we get into these prevention tips, let’s learn a bit more about Type 2 diabetes.

Understanding Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of cases in the United States, and is caused when the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a family history of diabetes and having diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes). Some people with type 2 diabetes can control their blood glucose (sugar) with healthy eating and being active; others may require oral medications or insulin, especially as the disease progresses. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as older adults (American Diabetes Association).

You can prevent diabetes by…

  1. Getting enough exercise.

    Exercise is key in preventing many diseases, and diabetes is no exception. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week. An easy way to remember this is 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In addition to aerobic exercise, incorporate resistance training for strong bones and muscles. The combination of aerobics and strength training will help you lose weight, lower blood sugar and increase your sensitivity to insulin.
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight.

    If you are overweight or obese, you are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Being overweight can affect your body’s ability to produce and use insulin, as well as cause high blood pressure. Take the necessary steps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In addition to the exercise tips discussed above, try the following diet tips:

    • Choose whole grains
    • Limit red meat
    • Avoid trans fats
    • Skip sugary drinks
  3. Not smoking.

    Need another reason to quit smoking? According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.”

  4. We hope these tips help. Let’s all stay active and eat right to prevent diabetes.