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Why is this important?
What is a Pap Smear?
When a woman has a Pap smear, a very small amount of cells are collected from her cervix. This is usually painless and takes less than a minute. The cells are then evaluated for any changes that could indicate a pre-cancerous or cancerous condition. The cells can also be checked to see if they’ve been infected with HPV, Human Papilloma Virus, which can lead to cervical cancer.
How often should a women have a Pap Smear?
These are the Guidelines from the American Cancer Society
Disclosure: I am working with Hologic, the providers of Thin Prep Pap smears and the Aptima HPV assay.
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus, which has over 100 different subtypes. HPV is spread from skin to skin contact. Some types of HPV can cause warts on the skin, others can infect other parts of the body.
While the vast majority of HPV does not cause serious risks, there are a few high-risk subtypes that can infect a woman’s cervix from intimate contact with a partner. Though most of these high-risk HPV infections are cleared by the body within a few years and don’t become cancerous, about 10% of these can lead to pre-cancerous cellular changes in the cervix and if left untreated or unrecognized could progress to cervical cancer.
How common is HPV?
When it comes to managing cancer pain, it is important to take time to consider the various options that might work best for you or your loved one. There are many factors to consider that sometimes might get overlooked until we find our loved one so sedated from pain medication that all they can do is sleep. Pain medications are strong, they act differently with different people and may leave some people feeling better, but so out of it that they can’t concentrate, or they may be confused, drowsy or feel intoxicated.
The key is to find a way to manage pain and also to try to help the person stay alert enough to enjoy their lives and the activities that have meaning for them. We also want to anticipate any pain flares or what’s know as Breakthrough Pains. These are often described as intense bouts of pain that occur when a person is already on a routine of regular prescription pain relief medications. This is often seen with opioid-based painkillers, like those containing codeine, morphine, or oxycodone. (more…)
Can Women find Confidence After Breast Cancer Surgery?
“Life-changing” and “traumatic” are words many patients use to describe their breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, through medical advances, women can often be cured of their cancers, joining a resilient and growing group of breast cancer survivors. They can also explore a variety of procedures to reconstruct their missing breasts, building confidence after a challenging time in their lives.
This is a guest post by Dr. Sean Wright, MD., F.A.C.S., a reconstructive plastic surgeon who trained at Harvard and is now practicing in the Philadelphia area. We’re featuring a variety of guest authors and perspectives on health issues and are delighted to share his piece with you. (more…)
I was talking to 2 friends the other day, who both had double mastectomies for advanced breast cancer. Kim and (not their real names) had complete reconstruction and neither one had been able to save their nipples.
They were both talking about how difficult it is to have one nipple that’s horizontal and points straight ahead like a headlight, and the other that’s off in it’s own direction, like a wandering and wayward child.
By Rachel Pappas, Freelance Writer
Hope can keep you going when you’ve got a life-threatening illness. That’s why the idea of participating in a clinical trial on a potentially promising new cancer drug appealed to me.
But it scared me too. With any study, there are unknowns and risks. “What do you think of the study”? I asked my oncologist when she told me about the project. “I think it’s a good opportunity to possibly advance medicine. I want to see breast cancer cured.”.
If this treatment, lxibepilone, ends up making a huge difference, it could be the first medical breakthrough in over a decade for the disease I had – Triple Negative Breast Cancer – a very aggressive disease with a high risk for re-occurrence.
My oncologist’s sister is in a similar trial for the same illness. That scored big with me – along with her true belief that the study drug is, at the least, as good as the conventional therapy. I signed the trial consent form on the spot, hearing all that I needed (or maybe wanted) to know.
Our Featured Guest Writer Today is Laurie Andreoni, President, Waking Dream Designs
Alopecia, or hair loss, is a chemotherapy side effect that many of us fear more than any other aspect of treatment. With no hair and the high stress of cancer treatment how can you maintain confidence?
After losing my hair from chemotherapy for breast cancer, I panicked when my skin became too sensitive for wigs. A scarf tied behind my head reminded me of dusting cobwebs. I wanted something comfortable and poufy so I wouldn’t look as lousy as I felt.
This became a mission of creating something beautiful out of this chapter of my life. I learned to wrap big scarves, and the style was so unique that it drew compliments even from strangers. Since it was difficult to imitate, I snipped fabrics into a new pattern, produced short runs with a sewing contractor, and Titillating Turbans were born! (more…)
I’ve had the pleasure to read and review the book “Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir” by Karen Ingalls. I am very impressed with Karen’s personal story, attention to detail and inspiration for others battling cancer. Karen expresses “this book is the result of my increased awareness that there is a great need for more information about ovarian cancer. Our mortality rate is 70%, compared to 15 % for breast cancer. A woman needs to know about the whispering symptoms of ovarian cancer and be encouraged to be her own advocate.”
Do you wonder if you’re at higher risk of developing breast cancer than your sister, friend or cousin? If you’re like most women, you have friends and/or family who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and you may be wondering, “Why them? What about me? Am I at high risk?
Breast Cancer is still the most common type of cancer in women. Each year approximately 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Early and better detection and research that’s led to advanced treatments are all improving the outlook for women diagnosed with breast cancer, and yet many of us wonder if we’re at high risk. There are lists of risk factors, but making sense of what to do with the information is daunting.