Monday, November 29, 2010

Toxic Substances in the Home and Out

Have you ever wondered what those chemicals in your household cleaning products are?  Or wondered what effects you might suffer living near an oil refinery, a power plant or on a former industrial site?  Use the following websites to learn about toxins, household products, and environmental health risks.

UCSF Toxic Matters Website 
Toxic Matters is a nontechnical website filled with scientifically verified tips and suggestions for avoiding toxic chemical exposure.  The website and downloadable brochure include specific tips on reducing exposure to metals and synthetic chemicals in everyday life—at home, at work, and in the community—and provide links to other sources with more detailed information.

Household Products Database
What's under your kitchen sink, in your garage, in your bathroom, and on the shelves in your laundry room? The NLM Household Products Database helps scientists and consumers learn about ingredients in brand-name products.  Learn about what's in these products, about potential health effects, and about safety and handling.

Tox Town
Tox Town, the National Library of Medicine interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances, gives an introduction to toxic chemicals and environmental health risks you might encounter in everyday life and in everyday places.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Food Safety

  • How long do I need to cook a 20-pound turkey?
  • What should I know to safely cook for a large group?
  • How long will my leftovers still be good?
  • Are there any tips for making a "turducken"?
  • How can I keep my stress level down while trying to prepare a perfect holiday meal?  
If you are asking questions like these, take a look at the following sites to help keep everyone safe and happy this holiday season:

Seaonsal food Safety Tips for Healthy Holidays
[Source: US Department of Agriculture]

Are You Storing Food Safely?
[Source: US Food and Drug Administration]

Food Safety During Cancer Therapy
[Source: UCSF Ida & Joseph Friend Cancer Resource Center]

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society is marking the 35th Great American Smokeout on November 18 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help.

Local Resources:

The UCSF Medical Center's Tobacco Education Center offers classes, as well as individual consultations with doctors trained in treating tobacco addiction. They help smokers maximize the likelihood of success in their efforts to quit. Services include:
  • Smoking Cessation Classes
  • Relapse Prevention Program
  • Doctor Consultation
For more information, to schedule an appointment or to enroll in a class, please contact the Tobacco Education Center at:

UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
2330 Post St., Suite 420
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 885-7895

San Francisco Stop Smoking Site: A UCSF research program for smokers who are ready to quit.

Friday, November 12, 2010

UpToDate for Patients: A Unique Resource

UpToDate for Patients provides free access to current information on hundreds of health topics to inform patients and help them share in the decision making process with their healthcare providers.

Similar to the UpToDate information for health professionals, the patient information topics are reviewed every four months based on the recent medical literature. All patient information topics are written and edited by UpToDate's in-house nurse practitioner and physician editors and reviewed by an external physician author and section editor. Thus, their information is current, accurate and evidence-based.

The health topics include an in-depth discussion of the risk factors, causes, diagnostic processes, preventive measures, complications, and recommended treatments for many of the most common conditions. There are extensive references and links to article abstracts.

You can find UpToDate's website on the UCSF Patient Health Library's Health Information Websites page along with many other health information resources.

Need more help? Contact the Patient Health Librarian, by email, telephone, or in person.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is an alliance of the world's leading cancer centers, including the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. NCCN aims to provide people with cancer—and the general public—state-of-the-art cancer treatment information in easy-to-understand language. includes information on all facets of cancer, from prevention and screening through life after cancer.

NCCN has recently begun publishing NCCN Guidelines for Patients, a set of guidelines to help patients when they talk to their doctor about treatment options.

Available today are NCCN Guidelines for Patients on Breast Cancer and NCCN Guidelines for Patients on Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, with addition guidelines coming soon.

For more information:

About the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Medical care at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Health Information Websites from the UCSF Patient Health Library