January 2019 - Cervical Cancer Awareness
A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
Happy start of 2019! I hope each of you have had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed spending time with your loved ones.

The beginning of the year is a great time to evaluate those health goals that you have set. As always, our WebMD Health coaches are available to help you create a wellness plan that will work for you. They are there to help lay out steps to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. If you have not taken advantage of this service, I highly recommend that you give it a try!

Here are some of the areas they can assist with tips and support:

  • Stress Management
  • Nutrition
  • Breastfeeding Education
  • Exercise/training programs
  • Tobacco Cessation

If you find a health coach that you enjoy working with, you may request to have all sessions with that same coach! To get started, just call 855.667.2546. You may also schedule a call by visiting your Hometown Health Portal .

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cervix, the narrow opening into the uterus from the vagina.

The normal “ectocervix” (the portion of the uterus extending into the vagina) is a healthy pink color and is covered with flat, thin cells called squamous cells. The “endocervix” or cervical canal is made up of another kind of cell called columnar cells. The area where these cells meet is called the “transformation zone” (T-zone) and is the most likely location for abnormal or precancerous cells to develop.

Most cervical cancers (80 to 90 percent) are squamous cell cancers. Adenocarcinoma is the second most common type of cervical cancer, accounting for the remaining 10 to 20 percent of cases. Adenocarcinoma develops from the glands that produce mucus in the endocervix. While less common than squamous cell carcinoma, the incidence of adenocarcinoma is on the rise, particularly in younger women.

Get Screened for Cervical Cancer 
The Basics: Overview
Getting screened for cervical cancer means getting tested before you have any symptoms. Screening tests for cervical cancer include:

  • Pap tests, also called Pap smears
  • HPV (human papillomavirus) tests

These tests can help find cervical cells that are infected with HPV or other abnormal cells  before  they turn into cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers can be prevented by regular screenings – and the right follow-up treatment when needed.

How often should I get screened (tested)?
How often you need to get screened depends on how old you are and which screening tests you get.

If you are age 21 to 29, get screened with a Pap test every 3 years.

If you are age 30 to 65, you have 3 options:

  • Get screened every 3 years with a Pap test
  • Get screened every 5 years with an HPV test
  • Get screened every 5 years with both a Pap test and an HPV test.

Talk with your doctor about which option is right for you. Some women may also need to get screened more often. For example, your doctor may recommend that you get screened more often if you’ve had abnormal test results in the past.

Why Do Pap Tests Matter So Much?
For many women, Pap tests are just a routine part of their health care. Been there, done that. Other women, however, are skipping this screening — and may not realize what they’re missing.
 
Whether you’ve never had one, have just fallen behind or never miss a test, here are some important and helpful facts to know about Pap tests.

Q. What is it for?
A. A Pap test — sometimes called a Pap smear — is a screening test for cervical cancer. Your cervix is the lower, narrow part of your uterus that opens into your vagina.

Early detection of cancer is important, but this test doesn’t stop there. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the main benefit of this screening is prevention. A Pap test can help find abnormal changes in the cells of your cervix before they turn into cancer.

Q. How is a Pap test done?
A. Your health care provider uses a device called a speculum to widen the vagina to see the cervix. Then he or she swabs or brushes the cervix to collect a cell sample. These cells will be sent to a lab for testing.

Q. Is a Pap test the same as a pelvic exam?
A. It’s easy to confuse them because they often happen at the same appointment — but they are different.

During a pelvic exam, your health care provider looks at and feels your reproductive organs — including your uterus and ovaries. This may help detect certain conditions. Pap tests are often done during a pelvic exam.

The Link Between Diet and Cancer
The food we eat impacts cancer both directly and indirectly. We consume foods with nutrients, and they directly impact the mechanisms by which cancer cells grow and spread. Indirectly, food can help control cancer by managing the surrounding biochemical conditions that encourage or discourage the progression of disease.

The major areas of our lifestyle and diet that influence cancer promotion include:

• Oxidation
• Inflammation
• Immune-suppression
• Blood sugar control
• Stress

Meat & Cancer
There is an enormous international disparity in cancer prevalence, and when we consider this, along with findings from migrant studies, it appears that environmental factors (like diet and exercise) are associated with cancer risk.
Meat intake is an important area of research. The consumption of meat varies 3-fold across our planet, with very high intakes in developed countries and lower intakes (to almost none at all) in less developed countries. The meat-cancer connection has been reported in over 100 epidemiological studies from numerous countries with assorted food habits.

A survey of more than 494,000 people by the National Institutes of Health found that men who ate more than 5 ounces of red meat each day and women who ate more than 3 ounces had a 51% greater risk of esophageal cancer, 61% of liver cancer and 24% of colorectal cancer than those who ate less than an ounce of red meat daily.

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