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Cancer no match for true Kansas character: 'If I go home and lay down, I'd be dead'

If you ever hit the Snack Shak Phillips 66 gas station in Johnson County for your morning fill-up of coffee or breakfast edibles, you've likely seen a friendly and familiar face. His name is Ed Kempf, and the Shawnee resident has been a longtime fixture behind the convenience store's counter. “I run the register, do a little stocking,” he said. “I tell you what, it's kept me alive. Because I have to get up and go.” At 75 years old, Kempf isn't just referring to his age, though. He is also battling emphysema and stage four lung cancer, which he was diagnosed with in March of last year. The cancer is incurable, and Kempf says he knows he is dying. But, as he also says simply, and rather good-naturedly, “Everybody's gotta go sometime.”

$1 cup has potential to save millions of babies, researchers say

When babies in poor countries can’t breast-feed, the results can be deadly, but a trio of researchers has found an innovative way to help.

Guidelines encourage more obesity surgery to treat diabetes

International diabetes organizations are calling for weight-loss surgery to become a more routine treatment option for diabetes, even for some patients who are only mildly obese.

Six sections of The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in Lawrence in June. Four sections will be at the Lied Center of Kansas and two sections will be at the Lawrence Public Library. Photo Courtesy of The NAMES Project. Uploaded

Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

Health Department to host kickoff event June 2 for The AIDS Memorial Quilt displays in Lawrence

Six sections of the world-renowned AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display in June in Lawrence. The Quilt, a 54-ton handmade tapestry that stands as ...

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New nutrition labels for U.S. food emphasize calories, sugars over fats

A new look is coming to Nutrition Facts labels on food packages, with more attention to calorie counts and added sugars. And no longer will a small bag of chips count as two or three servings. First lady Michelle Obama said parents will be the beneficiaries.

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Lawrence poverty workshop to explore 'consuming condition that rules every waking moment'

Lawrence resident Elizabeth O’Brien, 71, volunteers at Just Food, Douglas County’s food bank. She describes the pantry as a godsend, especially when she lost her job just 18 months before retirement at age 64. “It was devastating,” she said, of the job loss. “I learned early on to gracefully accept help. That was hard for me.

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Don’t Fry Day tips: A shot glass of sunscreen goes a long way to protect your skin

The Friday before Memorial Day — this year, May 27 — is known as Don’t Fry Day. This day is to emphasize awareness of the importance of sun protection. Here are some facts and information to help you learn more about keeping yourself safe from the sun’s damaging effects. According to the American Cancer Society, each year more than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States. It is estimated that by age 65, 50 percent of people will have had at least one skin cancer. Another 60,000 people are diagnosed yearly with melanoma, a more serious cancer. Both of these cancers have a strong causal link to excess sun exposure.

First time offering of unique 'Boot Camp for new Dads" workshop to be provided at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Uploaded

Dads of Douglas County

'Boot Camp for New Dads' workshops available for expectant dads

Boot Camp for New Dads, a unique program for expectant dads, is being offered for the first time at Lawrence Memorial Hospital through a partnership ...

Double Take: 'Pansexual' teenage sleepovers tricky for parents to negotiate

You’ve written a lot in the last year on sexual and gender identity. Our 15-year-old daughter says she is now identifying as “pansexual,” which I take to mean that she could be involved with either a guy or another girl. She also likes to have sleepovers with her female friends, but in explaining all this to us she says that several of them identify the same way. But when asked, she says that she isn’t interested in any of those girls “that way.” So, our question as parents is how do we handle sexual boundaries if people of any gender could also be our daughter’s dating partners? We can live with pansexuality, but we’re not going to just open our house to sexual activity with same-sex partners any more than we would for opposite sex.

Half of U.S. cancer deaths could be prevented by doing these four things

Roughly half of cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented or forestalled if all Americans quit smoking, cut back on drinking, maintained a healthful weight and got at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.

The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is — Life with a Mental Illness. People are encouraged to speak up about their own experiences, to share their point of view with individuals who may be struggling to explain what they are going through. Sharing is the key to breaking down negative attitudes and misperceptions surrounding mental illnesses, and to show others they are not alone in their feelings and their symptoms.

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

City commissioners recognize National Mental Health Awareness Month

Almost half of heart attacks are 'silent,' researchers find

Almost half of all heart attacks cause no obvious symptoms, yet they can still be life-threatening, according to research on more than 9,000 middle-aged men and women.

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Contrary to conventional wisdom, 'sun is good,' dermatologist says; sunburns, on the other hand...

The belief that all sun is bad is antiquated — in fact, it’s important to get some sun to stay healthy, according to this dermatologist. However, sunburns and indoor tanning ought to be avoided entirely because they’re the two biggest controllable risk factors for skin cancer.

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Older Americans need exercise, too; here's how to get moving in Lawrence

The fact is, the older we get, the more we should participate in increased physical activity and targeted exercises. Even those with health issues can significantly improve their health status by exercising regularly.

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Lawrence Public Library offers resources for Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month, and the Lawrence Public Library is offering some tools to better educate, fight stigma and provide support for those who suffer mental health issues.

Double Take: Transgender bathroom issue requires patience from both sides

Feeling a little perplexed about the sudden mandate from Washington that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom of their gender identity? Me too. I pride myself on being ahead of the curve on these issues and I think we have, in Double Take, had a pretty high hit rate in predicting what’s coming next. But this one stunned me. I’m not unfamiliar with the issue. I often see trans kids now. It’s one of the reasons I pursued a sex therapy certificate at the University of Michigan. I know this topic of bathrooms looms large for trans kids. I’ve had more than one jumped (beaten up) in a bathroom at KU.

Study: Smile to look younger, thinner

Recent research from the University of Missouri-Kansas City suggests smiling may make people appear younger and thinner.

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Measure bars Kansas minors from tanning salons

Kansas minors will be barred from tanning salons under a measure approved by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

New Kansas law will specifically ban abortions by midwives

Kansas will specifically prohibit nurse-midwives from performing abortions or administering abortion-inducing drugs, starting next year.

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Kansas triplets give back to hospital that helped save their lives

A number of years ago, Jill and Ty Swarts of Shawnee went to dinner to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. But they didn't say a whole lot during the meal. “I don't think we said five words to each other. We just blankly stared at each other the entire dinner,” Ty recalled. “We were like, 'Wow, OK, what's next?'”

“I want to be an advocate to let people know that it’s OK to have a mental illness, and you can overcome it.”

Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center

Learning a new way to live, setbacks and all

Walk into Angie Boster’s apartment these days and the window blinds will be open. That never used to happen. “I didn’t want the outside world ...

E-cig poisonings surge in young children, researchers warn

Electronic cigarettes have sickened rising numbers of young children, a study of U.S. poison center calls has found. Most cases involve swallowing liquid nicotine.

How often do you go to the doctor? It depends on where you live

The odds that you’ve seen a doctor in the last year vary quite a bit depending on where you live — but so far, the way your state has implemented the Affordable Care Act doesn’t seem to have much to do with it, government data show.

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Lawrence grocery store's new Mother's Room offers breastfeeding moms relief

Kelly Jacques is relieved: she can now take both her kids to the grocery store with a lot less stress. Now if her 6-month-old son gets hungry in the middle of her shopping trip, she won’t have to worry about trying to nurse him in the car or finagling a makeshift arrangement in the store somewhere — she’ll be able to feed him in a gliding rocker while her 2-and-a-half-year-old plays nearby.

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Kansas hospitals employ more than 1 in 25 state job holders

Lawrence Memorial Hospital celebrating National Hospital Week

This is the week staff at Lawrence Memorial Hospital join hospitals across the country in celebrating National Hospital Week. Dating back to 1921, the concept was suggested by a magazine editor who hoped a community-wide celebration would alleviate public fears about hospitals. Coincidentally, LMH was founded in 1921.

Double Take: Video game addiction is a real problem, like it or not

On first blush idea of video game addiction seems trite. Of the many indulgences in our world, it’s hard to imagine that flashing images on a screen could pose much of a threat. Moreover, the word “addiction” gets thrown around quite freely these days, usually more as a weapon than a diagnosis (e.g., “Get off your phone! You’re completely addicted to it!”).

Child Care Licensing Coordinator Karen Flanders visits with a potential child care provider during an orientation training at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, 200 Maine St.

Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department

Health Department offering orientation class May 10 for prospective child care providers

Douglas County residents, who are interested in learning about operating a child care home or center, are encouraged to attend the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s ...

These three key factors affect how much sleep you get — and they're beyond your control

That all depends, says Danny Forger, a biological mathematician at the University of Michigan and an expert in circadian clocks.

Innovative clinic goes beyond methadone to fight U.S. opioid epidemic

Dr. Kenneth Stoller held court on the sidewalk outside the Broadway Center for Addiction on a recent sunny afternoon, chatting with a troop of lingering patients. He beamed as he patted a young man on the shoulder and said he’d see him tomorrow.

Sleeping pills not the first line of defense for insomniacs, but what should you try instead?

Tossing and turning night after night? Don't automatically reach for the pill bottle. New guidelines say the first choice to treat chronic insomnia should be cognitive behavioral therapy — a way to condition your body to slumber again.