At Your Cervix

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Did you know?

  • Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes almost all cases of cervical cancer.
  • HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States.
  • While 79 million Americans currently have HPV, many of them don’t know they are infected with it. (Wow).
  • Early arrival, 90 percent survival—Fran Drescher, Cancer Schmancer

    According to the experts there’s a lot YOU CAN do to prevent cervical cancer.

    That’s encouraging!

    So how can I protect myself from HPV? The only sure way to prevent HPV is to not have sex.

    Since that’s probably not going to be the case for most, the following are a few ways to lower your chances of catching HPV (provided by the CDC).

    • Limit the number of partners you have. The fewer you have, the less likely you will be to get HPV.
    • Condoms may lower your risk when used every time, and worn properly. Having said this, HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom, so don’t expect it to be a guarantee.
    • HPV-Vaccine. The experts say teens and young adults need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as pre-teens. Also, women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can get it.

    You should know: HPV spreads through sexual contact — oral, vaginal or anal. So if you’re doing “it” on any level, you’re at risk!

    According the American Cancer Society: The most common form of cervical cancer starts with pre-cancerous changes, and there are ways to stop this disease from developing.

    The first way is to find and treat pre-cancers before they become true cancers, and the second is to prevent the pre-cancers.

    A well-proven way to prevent cervix cancer is to have testing (screening) to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer. The Pap test (or Pap smear) and the HPV (human papillomavirus) test are used for this. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated, stopping cervical cancer before it really starts. Most invasive cervical cancers are found in women who have not had regular Pap tests.

    For more information on HPV, cervical health and prevention visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  Cancer.Org Mayo Clinic

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    Menopause Minute: 3 ways menopause can happen to you

    Welcome to Issue No 1| MenopauseMinute

    Menopause. Change of life. Whatever you want to call it…it’s a natural part of a woman’s life cycle.

    Not unlike puberty.

    In fact, so much like puberty that I’ve coined it “midlife (or second) puberty.”

    I knew I would some day be in the menopause season, but I thought I would be further along in age before I got here.

    What I didn’t anticipate is that I would get to menopause via breast cancer.

    Now that I’m here, I’ve discovered the information and help available to women in menopause is limited.

    Even female medical professionals seem lost when I approach the topic.

    In my conversations with other women I’ve learned they feel discouraged. Some said, hopeless.

    The reason for this is because the symptoms can be hard on the body and include body dis-morphia, low self-esteem and hair loss.

    Most women in menopause opt for some sort of hormone replacement therapy to help them through the process. That’s easy to get.

    But cancer survivors need to avoid those drugs, because they can lead to more cancer.

    While there are some recognizable “experts” on the market, you have to be rich, famous or both to tap into them.

    They don’t take insurance.

    Sadly, this is becoming more and more of a trend in medicine.

    So, I decided to use my journalistic background and personal experience with menopause to start the conversation, right here!

    Every Monday you’ll find a new topic or interview related to menopause. Please feel free to chime in.

    Now, let’s get started with the basics.

    3 ways menopause can arrive

     

    1. Medical menopause | Caused by chemotherapy or radiation 🙋🏻‍♀️ (that’s how I got my initiation).
    2. Surgical menopause | Hysterectomy that includes taking your ovaries.
    3. Natural menopause |As you approach your late 30s, your ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone — the hormones that regulate menstruation — and your fertility declines. With each year it continues to decline to post menopause.

    Come back next Monday where I’ll talk about how menopause affects our ability to sleep, and propose some ways we can help our body find rest.

    End of article

    For your health information: #BeautyMadeBetter

    Right now, cosmetics companies can put just about anything in their products – even chemicals associated with cancer and endocrine disruption.

    Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have introduced a bill that would require cosmetics companies to prove that their products are safe before marketing them and would give the federal Food and Drug Administration the power to review risky ingredients.

    S.1014 – Personal Care Products Safety Act

    This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require cosmetics companies to register their facilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to submit to the FDA cosmetic ingredient statements that include the amounts of cosmetic’s ingredients.

    Companies must pay a facility registration fee based on their annual gross sales of cosmetics.

    The collected fees can only be used for the cosmetic safety activities.

    If you’d like to learn more about the bill click HERE

    If you’d like to support the bill, click HERE for the Environmental Working Group website.

    Information provided by the EWG website and congress.gov

    End of article

    How To overcome obstacles

    Life is filled with obstacles. And to be honest, it’s not getting any easier.

    But we can push on with confidence. Keep reading.

    A Tweet Chat—also called a Twitter Chat, Tweet Party or Twitter Party—occurs when a group of Twitter users meets at a pre-arranged chat to discuss a specific topic that uses a designated hashtag (#). —-Livewire

    How do you approach problem-solving?

    Q1. We all have setbacks. When faced with the formidable, what is your process to problem solving?

    I recently came up with an acronym for my process. I call it P.A.G.E.

    It stands for Pause. Assess. Gather. Execute.

    Pause. Let it all sink in. Digest it. Doing this keeps me from acting on impulse or emotion.

    Assess. What will I need to resolve, cope or survive?

    Gather. Research it! Ask questions. Due diligence. Gather all necessary information to help you make an informed decision on whatever the big “it” is in your life.

    Execute. Once I’ve done all of these things, then I act on my plans with some level of confidence.

    Q2. Have you ever felt like giving up? How did you overcome come it? Or, if you’re feeling this way now, why?

    Breast cancer made me feel defeated. I was in shock. Followed by intense fear. Grief. And a feeling of being lost.

    I cried, prayed, ate two boxes of my favorite lemon cookies (without guilt), then I went to a support group where I said the words out loud

    “Hi, my name is April. I have breast cancer.”

    Admitting it. Knowing I wasn’t alone. Taking time to let it sink in. All of these things helped me to cope with my feelings.

    Q3. How do you stay positive in the face of adversity?

    Faith/prayer, bible study. Dance. I listen to music. Talk with a friend. Take a walk. Watch something that makes me laugh. I resist isolating myself.

    Q4. What advice would you give someone else struggling with an obstacle?

    Take breaks. Seek support. Lean on your faith. Exercise; movement helps your mind and body. Avoid isolation. If you keep it to yourself, no one can help you. Also, ask me!

    Q5. Can workplace leadership skills translate into your personal life? If so, how?

    Absolutely! My skills helped me to organize, develop and ask the right questions. I interviewed teams of doctors before I settled on one. I was able to effectively communicate my concerns to doctors and others involved.

    Q6. How do you take care of yourself when coping with major challenges (physically, emotionally, spiritually)?

    I take regular breaks from the problem at hand. I enjoy taking walks. There’s something about being outdoors or in nature. I reach out to friends. Rest. Laughter. Also what I feed myself helps me. I love a good bowl of soup.

    Q7. What motivates you to do better and thrive in life?

    Family. Health. Faith. Legacy. Desire to support others at difficult times.