Health Notes

Health Notes

<lst>The Alzheimer’s Association will hold its 2002 Memory Walks including one on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the campus of George Mason University The Alzheimer’s Association will host its signature fund-raising event, which takes place in more than 500 communities nationwide. Money raised stays in the community, helping to provide programs and services to individuals, families and caregivers. Registration is $30 and offers each walker an event T-shirt, food, refreshments, entertainment, and chances for prize giveaways. To register or for more information, call toll-free at 1-866-259-0042 or visit

Inova Blood Donor Services is sponsoring numerous community blood drives during July. There are free cholesterol screenings with each blood donation. Wednesday, July 17, at the Hyatt Fair Lakes, 12777 Fair Lakes Circle, Fairfax, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; call 703-631-7529 for information.

Thursday, July 18, at Potomac Hospital, 2300 Opitz Blvd, Woodbridge, from 2-8 p.m.; call 703-221-2500 for more information.

Friday, July 19, at Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; call 1-866-256-6372 for information.

Saturday, July 20, at Fairfax United Methodist Church, 10300 Stratford Ave., Fairfax, from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; call 703-591-3120 for more information.

Saturday, July 27, at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 12351 All Saints Place, Woodbridge, from 7:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.; call 703-494-3090 for more information.

Tuesday, July 30, at Sterling Park Safety Center, 46700 Middlefield Drive, Sterling, from 3-8 p.m.; call 1-866-256-6372 for more information.

Inova Blood Donor Services “Fun Days” will take place at the four blood donor centers during July. Every Thursday at the CentreMed location, free ice cream will be given to all those who donate blood. Every Saturday, free sunscreen will be given to all those who donate blood at all centers. On Tuesday, July 23, free tennis balls will be given to all those who donate blood at all centers. On Wednesday, July 31, free T-shirts will be given to all those who donate blood at all centers. Blood donor centers are located at Inova Alexandria Hospital, 4320 Seminary Road, Alexandria, open Monday and Wednesday, noon-8 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; CentreMed Donor Center, 6201 Centreville Road, Centreville, open on Tuesday-Friday, noon-8 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, 2501 Parker’s Lane, Alexandria, open Monday-Thursday, 4-7 p.m.; and Woodburn Medical Park, 3289 Woodburn Road, Suite 010, Annandale, open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Inova Alexandria Hospital Cancer Center is sponsoring the following events: "Gentle Yoga," a three-week introductory course to gentle yoga movements and meditation, will take place Wednesday, July 17, 24 and 31, from 7-8:30 p.m. Dress comfortably and bring a mat or blanket. Space is limited, so register early, 703-504-7900.

The Breast Cancer Group, for women newly diagnosed, currently receiving treatment or in recovery, will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday, July 23, 5:30-7 p.m. Call 703-504-7921 for more information.

Life with Cancer Family Center will sponsor the following events. Registration is necessary for all events. For information and registration, call Jenny Eckert, M.S.W., 703-208-5623.

Good Grief for Children is a group forming for 5- to 12-year-olds. Through age-appropriate group activities and art therapy, children can share thoughts and feelings to help with the grief process. Call Jenny Eckert, M.S.W., at 703-208-5623 for further information.

Good Grief for Children is a group forming for 13- to 18-year-olds. Through group activities and art therapy, teens can share thoughts and feelings to help with the grief process. Call Jenny Eckert, M.S.W., at 703-208-5623 for further information.

Teens Living with Cancer sponsors monthly social activities for 13- to 18-year-olds who have cancer. Call Jenny Eckert, M.S.W., at 703-208-5623 for details.

Complementary Approaches, through Life with Cancer Family Center, features the following events. Register online at on the "Monthly Calendar" page or call 703-698-2841.

Making Your Own Journal will be held Thursday, July 18 and 25, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Suite 203, Room B. Participants will make and decorate their own small blank book using bookbinding and calligraphy. Registration is necessary by July 10 due to limited space and supplies.

Yoga for the Beginner, an introductory session of gentle yoga movements and meditation, will be held Monday, July 22, 7:15-8:30 p.m., Room 1E. Dress comfortably and bring a mat or blanket. Registration requested.

Stress Management for Health teaches the basics of stress management and relaxation to better cope with the challenges of cancer and its treatments. Registration is requested. Class will be held Monday, July 29, 7-9 p.m., Room 1E.

Life with Cancer Family Center sponsors the following seminars and groups of general interest. Register online at on the "Monthly Calendar" page or call 703-698-2841.

Seminars for Survivors: Nutrition During the Cancer Journey will host Deb Rowland, R.D., on Thursday, July 18, 7:15-9 p.m., Room 1E, for a discussion of nutrition issues for reducing cancer risk and recurrence, maintaining optimum nutrition during and after treatment and complementary approaches. Caregivers welcome. Registration requested.

Lymphedema Group Meeting, an educational support group for patients with hereditary or secondary lymphedema resulting from surgery, radiation or trauma to the lymphatic system, will hold a meeting Wednesday, July 24, 7-8:30 p.m., Suite 203, Room B.

Good Grief "Reunion" will be held for past participants to get together and share experience and catch up, Thursday, July 25, 7-8:30 p.m., Suite 203, Room B. Registration is requested.

Understanding Biological Threat Agents and the Impact on Cancer Survivors will feature speaker Kathryn Khalife, R.N., M.S.N., ANP-C, Inova Fairfax Hospital Department of Epidemiology, Tuesday, July 30, 7:15-9 p.m., Room 1E.

Life with Cancer Family Center offers the following diagnosis-specific seminars and groups. Register online at on the "Monthly Calendar" page or call 703-698-2841.

Carcinoid Cancer Group is a monthly opportunity for carcinoid cancer patients and their adult family members or friends to meet others with the same diagnosis and share experiences or information. A meeting will be held Saturday, July 20, 10 a.m.-noon, Room 1E.

Colorectal Cancer Group provides a chance to meet others affected by colorectal cancer and address the issues and concerns of patients/survivors, caregivers and friends. A nutrition session will follow the meeting to be held Thursday, July 18, 4:30-6 p.m., Room 1E.

Lung Cancer Group will hold a meeting Wednesday, July 17, 5:30-7 p.m., Room 1E, to discuss the challenges of living with lung cancer and its treatments. Meetings are held every third Wednesday; family members are welcome.

Cancer Recovery Book Discussion Group will meet Friday, July 26, 10-11 a.m., Border's Books, Baileys Crossroads, second floor. The book in discussion is psychotherapist and author Sue Bender's “The Daring That Starts from Within.” Having read the book is not a prerequisite to participating in the discussion.

The Federal Hill-Burton program started over 50 years ago is in effect in the Washington, D.C., area. This program assists in the construction and modernization of hospitals and medical-care facilities, thus providing a reasonable amount of services to persons residing in the community who are unable to pay their bills. More information on this program can be found in the Patient Assistance Network's new booklet, "Free & Low Cost Medical Care". To obtain a copy, send $5 to cover the cost of printing, postage and handling, to Patient Assistance Network - Free & Low Cost Medical Care Booklet - Dept. MCB-0605 - P.O. Box 60382, Washington, D.C. 20039-0382.


The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is preparing for its annual training for new volunteer ombudsmen. Training is scheduled for Sept. 19, 20 and 26, from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day. Applicants must successfully complete the training session and must be available to volunteer four hours per week, primarily during regular business hours. Applicants will be interviewed in August and early September. Volunteers play a key role in the program's provision of advocacy services to residents of long-term-care facilities in the region.

Free and Low Cost Prescription Drugs are available to Washington, D.C.-area residents. The Prescription Assistance Coalition has just published a booklet, "How to Get Free Prescription Drugs When You Can't Afford to Pay," and a new special report, "How to Get a Free Prescription Discount Card to Save Money on Prescription Drugs." The booklet gives information on how and where to get free and low-cost prescription drugs directly from drug manufacturers. Both publications can be received by sending $5 to cover the cost of printing, postage and handling, to Central Fulfillment Center, Free Prescription Drug Booklet Offer #FPD0516, P.O. Box 408342, Chicago, IL 60640-8342.

Inova VNA Home Health is recruiting volunteers to act as friendly visitors providing companionship to lonely, homebound patients. Volunteers are asked to spend one or two hours per week talking with a patient, running errands and doing odd jobs. Visiting can be done during the day, in the evening or on the weekends as the volunteer's schedule allows. Training will be provided, and placements are made based on geographic location. For further information, contact Marion Hart or Adele Jenney at 703-916-2885.

Virginia Department of Health offers a Guide to Protect Children from Dog Bites. For this information on how to be safe around dogs, contact the Virginia Department of Health's Center for Injury and Violence Prevention toll-free at 1-800-732-8333.

<lst>The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is offering “The Facts about Grilling,” a free brochure with advice and tips on minimizing the health risks associated with grilling. Research has shown that grilling meats, poultry or fish may raise the risk of stomach, breast and colorectal cancers. The brochure describes research about these risks and how they can be greatly reduced by following a few simple guidelines:

* Marinate meats before grilling;

* Use lean meat, and trim the fat to reduce the chance of fat dripping onto the coals and creating flame-ups;

* Precook meats in the oven or microwave, then briefly grill for flavor;

* Keep meat portions small so they need only a brief time on the grill;

* Use tongs or a spatula to turn food, and flip frequently;

* Cover the grill with punctured aluminum foil;

* Remove all charred or burnt portions before serving;

* Grill less meat and more veggies and fruits instead.

To receive the brochure, send a self-addressed envelope with a first-class stamp to Facts About Grilling Brochure, AICR, PO Box 97167, 1759 R St. N.W., Washington, DC 20009-7167. The brochure can also be viewed online at

<lst>“Choosing an Assisted Living Facility: Considerations for Making the Right Decision,” a booklet produced by the Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living (CCAL) in cooperation with the MetLife Mature Market Institute, can be ordered by calling 703-533-8121. Single copies are $10 each.

CCAL offers the following tips to begin the search for a facility:

* Make an accurate and honest assessment of your physical, financial, mental and lifestyle needs;

* Visit as many facilities as you can to get a sense of the choices in your area;

* Narrow down your selection to the top two or three choices, and return to those facilities and ask lots of questions. Talk to the residents;

* Ask to review a copy of the Resident Agreement (facility contract);

* Ask to review the licensing or certification inspection report;

* Make an unannounced visit to the facility.

Haven of Northern Virginia, 4606 Ravensworth Road, Annandale, will present a free program, “Sibling Death: The Silent Ones Speak,” which will address the grieving process after the death of a brother or sister. For information and reservations, call 703-941-7000.

“Free & Low-Cost Prescription Drugs,” a 32-page booklet published by the Cost Containment Research Institute in Washington, D.C., gives consumers an alphabetical listing of medications available through patient-assistance programs, either for free or at very low cost, directly from the manufacturer. “Free & Low-Cost Medical Care” contains a comprehensive list of facilities, arranged by state, that are required to give free and low-cost medical care under the Hill-Burton Medical Act. Both booklets can be ordered by sending $5 (each) to cover the cost of printing, postage and handling to Institute Fulfillment Center, PO Box 210, Dallas, PA 18612-0210. For more information, visit

<lst>CrisisLink, 5275 Lee Highway, Suite 301, Arlington, sponsors a healing and educational Suicide Survivors’ Support Group, meeting the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, 7:30-9 p.m. Call 703-516-6771 for more information.

<lst>A Depression and Bipolar Support Group, sponsored by DRADA (Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association), is held in Reston, 7-9 p.m., on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Call Paul at 703-981-2259 or Traci at 703-433-1448 for more information.

<lst>The Reach to Recovery Program of the American Cancer Society offers free services to women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo recent surgery. A trained volunteer who has survived breast cancer is available to talk with patients confidentially, provide helpful information and offer emotional support. A Reach “kit” is given to each patient, which includes a leisure bra, a soft prosthesis for mastectomy patients, exercise items and literature. Call 703-938-5550.

The Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization provides free services including educational programs and lectures, brown-bag seminars, quarterly newsletters, and a 24-hour HOPEline. The HOPEline (703-461-9616 or 1-800-970-4411) is staffed by trained breast-cancer survivors who provide information and emotional support to callers. Call 703-461-9595 or visit for more information.

To help Virginians make better-informed health-care purchasing decisions, Virginia Health Information (VHI), a nonprofit independent organization, has published information on its Web site,, that reports on the inpatient cardiac care provided at all licensed hospitals in Virginia. The information compares their performance and mortality outcomes. VHI’s study is based on over 100,000 cardiac patient discharges submitted by Virginia hospitals for the year 2000.

Shoplifters Anonymous offers a new 12-step meeting program for those who wish to stop compulsive shoplifting. The group meets every Thursday, 7-8 p.m., at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 7426 Idylwood Road. Call Sue at 703-759-0396 or Carol at 703-764-0347 to confirm the meeting date.

The Northern Virginia Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome/Dysautonomia (MVPS/D) and Delayed Orthostatic Intolerance Support Group has moved its meeting site to Centreville. It meets the second Tuesday of every month from noon-2 p.m. at a residence at 14404 Brookmere Drive, Centreville (Sully Station). The group, which formerly met at the Reston Hospital Medical Plaza, is facilitated by Eleanor Brosius. Call 703-968-9818 or e-mail

Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome does not deal with the heart-valve condition known as mitral valve prolapse but with an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system that can cause a myriad of symptoms, from very mild to severely disabling. Some common symptoms are feeling too hot or too cold or both, phantom chest pain, rapid heart beat or pounding heart beats, lightheadedness, heat intolerance, alcohol intolerance, anxiety or depression or both, and difficulty standing in lines.

Currently the local group has more than 200 members, but meeting size is usually fewer than 10 unless a speaker is invited. The group is predominantly women, but MVPS/D occurs in men and children as well. Treatments include medications, diet changes, lifestyle adjustments, nutritional supplements and fluid management. For more information:

* (National Dysautonomia Research Foundation, 1-651-267-0525);

* (The Society for MVP Syndrome, 1-630-250-9327);

* (Florida Institute for Cardiovascular Care, 1-877-964-3278).

Children’s Services of Virginia Inc. is seeking foster parents in the area. Call 703-331-0075 or visit for more information.

The Alzheimer’s Family Day Center has a support group for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their spouses. The couples participate in a potluck dinner along with discussion/support group. The dinner has educational as well as social benefits through speaking to and learning from others who are “going through the same thing.” The dinners are held at the Family Day Center, 2036 Westmoreland St., Falls Church, 6-8 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month. Call Joan at 703-532-8899 to register or for information.

Mothers & More is a support group for mothers who have altered their career paths to care for their children at home. General meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. Admission is free, and visitors are welcome. Call 703-234-3417.

Life with Cancer is sponsoring a Bowling Social for teens with cancer. Join other teens in treatment or in recovery for an afternoon of fun. Call Jenny Eckert at 703-208-5623 for more information.

The AARP Widowed Persons Service sponsors free weekly support groups to anyone widowed less than two years. Monthly educational meetings, travel and other activities are also offered. Call 301-949-7398 for more information.

A Smoke-Free Dining Guide for Fairfax, Oakton and Vienna is available from the Northern Virginia Alliance on Smoking or Health. The guide, which lists restaurants that are 100-percent smoke-free, is available free of charge by calling or visiting the American Cancer Society, 124 Park St. S.E., Vienna, 703-938-5550.

The American Heart Association offers many tools to improve nutrition and fitness. At the grocery store, shoppers can look for the heart-check mark on products, signifying foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Quick and tasty heart-healthy recipes as well as tips for grocery shopping and ingredient substitutions can be found at Many cookbooks, such as the “American Heart Association Quick & Easy Cookbook,” can be found in area bookstores.

Online information and support can be found at, with such features as Ask an Expert, Personal Stories, and Health Planners, which include weight and nutrition calculators, exercise diaries and more.

Two lifestyle brochures, “Managing Your Weight” and “An Eating Plan for Healthy Americans,” are available free by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

A free, 12-week physical-activity program, sponsored by Bayer, “Choose to Move,” helps women make simple changes that result in increasing their activity level. Call 1-888-MY-HEART to receive a registration packet.

The Lifestyle Medical Program provides oxygen, medications and nebulizers at no cost to patients with severe breathing problems, such as asthma, emphysema and COPD. Patients must meet additional guidelines to qualify for the program. Call 800-519-4480 for more information.

The Cost Containment Research Institute in Washington, D.C., has published a 32-page booklet, “Free and Low Cost Prescription Drugs,” which contains a listing of all drugs available through patient-assistance programs free or at very low cost directly from the manufacturer. To receive the booklet, send $5 to cover printing, postage and handling, to Institute Fulfillment Center, Booklet #PD-55, PO Box 210, Dallas, PA 18612-0210. For more information, visit

The American Institute for Cancer Research is offering a free brochure, “Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer,” which provides guidelines and tips on how to control dietary and other lifestyle factors that affect a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Also available is “Questions and Answers about Breast Health and Breast Cancer,” which provides detailed information on breast cancer risk, treatment and early detection, including how to do a self-examination. Call 800-843-8114, Ext. 25.

A growing number of senior citizens are using e-mail to import their prescription drugs by mail order. FDA statistics confirm that more than two million packages of prescription drugs were imported last year.

www.Medicines.MD is a consumer-focused Web site with updated price listings for more than 2,000 prescription drugs. Seniors can use the free price-quote feature on www.Medicines.MD to compare costs when their prescription medicine is imported by mail-order.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recently launched a major new heart-attack education campaign called “Act in Time to Heart Attack Signs.” The campaign is an effort to raise awareness among both the general public and physicians about the need for a fast response. Key messages encourage recognition of heart-attack symptoms, working with a physician to create a heart-attack survival plan, and calling 911 as soon as symptoms begin. Campaign partners, the American Red Cross and the National Council on Aging, will be offering “Act in Time” classes. Various educational materials, including a booklet and video, are available for health-care workers, heart-attack patients and the public through the NHLBI Web site at For more information, also visit,,, and

Foster parents are desperately needed in our area. Call Children’s Services of Virginia at 703-331-0075 or visit for more information.

If you or someone you love has a diagnosis of lymphoma, you can receive information, help and hope from a support group led by a social worker. Sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the group meets the fourth Wednesday of each month from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Cancer Center at Arlington Hospital, 1701 N. George Mason Drive. There is no charge, and reimbursement toward transportation expenses is available. Contact Kathy Dorner, L.C.S.W., at 703-558-5555 for more information.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society created its “First Connection” program to help those facing a diagnosis of cancer know that they’re not alone. The program matches patients newly diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s Disease or myeloma — and their families — with cancer survivors who have lived through a similar illness. Call 703-960-1100, Ext. 231, or 888-576-6878 for more information about the First Connection program.

The American Lung Association of Virginia is offering an e-mail service to residents in areas affected by smog-unhealthy levels of ozone pollution, which includes the Northern Virginia-Metropolitan D.C. area. Subscribers will receive smog alerts the day before ozone pollution levels are predicted to be unhealthy. Individuals with chronic lung or heart disease and sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly, can then take action to protect themselves by reducing or limiting outdoor activities. High concentrations of ozone can cause symptoms such as coughing, throat irritation and difficulty breathing, and also may increase susceptibility of the lungs to infections, allergens and other air pollutants. The daily forecast is provided to the American Lung Association from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. For more information on ozone pollution and to sign up for the Smog Alert, visit

The Health Sciences Institute, an organization of doctors and researchers dedicated to exploring cutting-edge medical therapies, has just published a booklet, "Stronger than Steroids: New Solutions for Beating Arthritis." The booklet contains information on several causes of arthritis that the medical community is just discovering and outlines the effectiveness of several new medical solutions and treatments. To receive a copy, send $3 to cover the cost of printing, postage and handling, to Health Sciences Institute, Arthritis Booklet, 819 N. Charles St., Department 0601F, Baltimore, MD 21201.

A new package of publications on taking medications correctly and ordering them safely online is available from The Federal Consumer Information Center and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The package contains "FDA’s Tips for Taking Medicines," "Drug Interactions: What You Should Know" and "Buying Prescription Medicines Online: A Consumer Safety Guide." The materials are free. Call 888-878-3256 and request the "Your Medications" package, or send your name and address to Your Medications, Pueblo, CO 81009.

Fairfax County Juvenile Court is seeking volunteers to serve as court companions to help victims of domestic violence navigate the court system. Primary duties include contacting victims before the hearing date and accompanying these clients on their hearing day. A commitment to a weekly four-hour shift during business hours for at least six months is needed. Initial interviews must be held before training. For more information, contact Gwen Robinson at 703-246-2697.

The Asthma Auto program of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland-Greater Washington, D.C., Chapter, is accepting donations of unwanted vehicles to raise money to fund educational programs, asthma care training, scholarships, research, and patient assistance for area residents. Call 800-727-9333.

Visit to subscribe to Allergy Alert, a free e-mail notification service, to be notified automatically when conditions in the area are expected to be near uncomfortable levels. The Allergy Alert forecast considers more than 1,470 biological and meteorological factors and is based on 20 years of historical pollen data gathered by a national network of professionally trained pollen counters.

CrisisLink is seeking new volunteers to train as telephone hot-line workers to respond immediately to people in crisis. Help is especially needed for daytime, late-night and weekend shifts. Call 703-527-6016 for more information.

The Lupus Foundation of Greater Washington Area sponsors several support groups designed to provide a safe setting where people with lupus and their families and friends can share their feelings, hopes and concerns. Call 703-684-2925 to confirm meeting dates and locations.

* Inova Fairfax Hospital, 3300 Gallows Road, Falls Church, Educational Conference Center, Room 4. Second Saturdays at 10 a.m.

* Reston Hospital Medical Plaza, 1830 Town Center Parkway, Reston. Second and fourth Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

The Birth Mothers Support Group is open to women who have ever placed a child for adoption and who would like to meet with others who have done the same. The group meets weekly and is led by a licensed clinical social worker. There is a modest fee based on income. For more information, call Pat Cunningham at Catholic Charities at 703-425-0100.

The National Institute on Aging has designed an at-home exercise program for older people. The program is based on medical research and emphasizes exercises for endurance, strength, flexibility and balance. To order the exercise book and 48-minute video, send a check or money order for $7 payable to the National Institute on Aging to NIAIC, Dept. BR, PO Box 8057, Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057. Call 1-800-222-2225 or visit for more information.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, formerly the Food Allergy Network, has launched an electronic newsletter for teens with food allergy. “Food Allergy News for Teens” is a bimonthly newsletter distributed free to teen-agers by e-mail. The newsletter covers topics such as dating, dining out, managing food allergy on the job, and tips on carrying medications. To sign up to receive the newsletter, log on to

National Cancer Institute (NCI) announces the launch of its improved Web site, Billed as “a one-stop resource for cancer information” the site reorganizes NCI’s acclaimed information sites and cancer.trials within Information in the site is arranged by topic. Where its logical design leaves off, an improved search engine aids site navigation.