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What Are the Key Statistics about Cervical Cancer?

200252820-001January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for cervical cancer in the United States are for 2016:

  • About 12,990 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed.
  • About 4,120 women will die from cervical cancer.
  • When detected early, the 5-year survival rate is 92%
  • If detected late, the 5-year survival rate drops to 57%
  • If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 17%

Some researchers estimate that non-invasive cervical cancer (carcinoma in situ) occurs about 4 times more often than invasive cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. Then, between 1955 and 1992, the cervical cancer death rate declined by almost 70%. The main reason for this change was the increased use of the Pap test. This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early – in its most curable stage. The death rate from cervical cancer continues to decline by nearly 3% each year.

Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife. Most cases are found in women younger than 50. It rarely develops in women younger than 20. Many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. Almost 20% of women with cervical cancer are diagnosed when they are over 65. That is why it is important for older women to continue having regular Pap tests.

Click here for specific information on current American Cancer Society screening and prevention recommendations.

In the United States, cervical cancer occurs most often in Hispanic women; at a rate that is more than twice that seen in non-Hispanic white women. African-American women develop this cancer about 50% more often than non-Hispanic white women.

Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk

weight_scaleAssessment of weight and health risk involves using three key measures:

  1. Body mass index (BMI)
  2. Waist circumference
  3. Risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a useful measure of overweight and obesity. It is calculated from your height and weight. BMI is an estimate of body fat and a good gauge of your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems, and certain cancers.

Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits:

It may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build.
It may underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle.

The BMI score means the following:

bmi chart




Waist Circumference

Measuring waist circumference helps screen for possible health risks that come with overweight and obesity. If most of your fat is around your waist rather than at your hips, you’re at a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men. To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.

Risk Factors for Health Topics Associated With Obesity

Along with being overweight or obese, the following conditions will put you at greater risk for heart disease and other conditions:

Risk Factors

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol (“bad”
  • Low HDL cholesterol (“good”
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood glucose (sugar)
  • Family history of premature heart
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cigarette smoking

For people who are considered obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30) or those who are overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and have two or more risk factors, it is recommended that you lose weight. Even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing diseases associated with obesity. People who are overweight, do not have a high waist measurement, and have fewer than two risk factors may need to prevent further weight gain rather than lose weight.

Talk to your doctor to see whether you are at an increased risk and whether you should lose weight. Your doctor will evaluate your BMI, waist measurement, and other risk factors for heart disease.

The good news is even a small weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your current weight) will help lower your risk of developing those diseases.

Feeling run down? It could be anemia

Anemia is a silent condition.

Anemia starts out as a subtle feeling of constant tiredness. As it progresses, you can’t concentrate, you feel dizzy and your head aches. Advanced anemia causes heart palpitations, cold feet and hands, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Anemia occurs when blood does not transport enough oxygen to the rest of the body. In a healthy person, oxygen is transported from the lungs to the rest of the body by hemoglobin, a protein manufactured by bone marrow and found in red blood cells. As red blood cells circulate through the lungs, the hemoglobin contained in these cells picks up the oxygen and carries it through the bloodstream, feeding other cells in the body.

When the body does not have enough iron, the bone marrow cannot produce hemoglobin and the body becomes anemic.

The symptoms of anemia may mimic those of a heart attack, since both conditions are caused by lack of oxygen. If you experience heart palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain, you should see your health care provider immediately to rule out a heart problem.

In addition to iron deficiency, anemia can be caused by deficiencies of folate and vitamin B-12. Diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, kidney failure, as well as genetic disorders can also cause a person to become anemic. Sickle cell anemia can be very serious and could lead to death if not treated.

Other conditions such as blood loss due to an injury, heavy periods and pregnancy may also cause the condition.

About 20 percent of women, 50 percent of pregnant women, and 3 percent of men do not have enough iron in their bodies. The solution, in many cases, is to consume more iron-rich foods.

Anemia and Women – The Hidden Dangers

In addition to fatigue and weakness, symptoms include dizziness, headache, numbness in the hands and feet, sallow skin, pale lips and nail beds, a low body temperature, irritability and, in extreme cases, shortness of breath and chest pain. Anemic people tend to lag behind the crowd at school and at work simply because their hearts have to work harder to deliver oxygen to the body.

About 10 times as many women as men develop iron-deficiency anemia, the most common kind. In fact, more than 20 percent of American women are anemic, but the majority don’t know they are and attribute the symptoms to stress and the rigors of daily life.

Generally, anemia develops because of:

  1. blood loss.
  2. an inability to make enough red blood cells.
  3. an abnormal break down or destruction of red blood cells.

here are many types of anemia. By far the most common is iron-deficiency anemia. Iron is needed for the production of hemoglobin, and a deficiency can develop for several reasons:

Menorrhagia is the medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding. Heavy menstrual bleeding may by itself be a reason to see your doctor since it could lead to anemia. In many cases, menorrhagia is caused by uterine fibroids, non-cancerous growths in the uterus that appear during the childbearing years.

Pregnancy causes changes in a woman’s body that create an increased need for iron. Particularly during the last trimester, a woman’s blood volume will increase by as much as 50 percent. During this time, the baby will be storing iron for its first 6 months of life and will take all he or she needs regardless of what the mother has available. If the mother is anemic at this time, the baby may not get enough.

Postpartum anemia is common and exaggerates the stress and fatigue that all new parents experience. Particularly vulnerable are women who were anemic during the last trimester, had multiple births or lost a lot of blood during childbirth. One study of first-time mothers found that 22 percent had postpartum anemia (hemoglobin of less than 10grams/deciliter) and that these mothers had a high frequency of insufficient milk syndrome, resulting in a tendency to quit breast feeding early.

Diet plays a roll. Most people eating a balanced diet will get enough iron. Foods rich in iron include meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products so women eating a vegetarian or vegan diet may have to eat fortified foods such as cereals to get enough iron. Other non-animal sources of iron include tofu; green, leafy vegetables; and dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and raisins.

Substances that can inhibit absorption of iron include tannins in tea, calcium and phosphorus in milk, casein and whey protein, wheat brain, spinach, Swiss chard, chocolate, soft drinks, antacids and calcium supplements.

Vitamin C, however, aids absorption. Nutritionists recommend getting at least 500 milligrams of vitamin C from foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries and tomatoes with each meal.

Even eating a relatively healthy diet, it’s easy for some women to become anemic, and the symptoms are likely to go unnoticed. Getting a diagnosis is important since vital organs can be damaged if they go too long without getting the oxygen they need.

Over time, the heart has to work harder, increasing the risk of hypertension and congestive heart failure. Diagnosis requires a clinical evaluation plus a comprehensive laboratory analysis of the blood. Treatment usually consists of dietary changes and supplemental iron plus efforts to stop the abnormal bleeding.

What are the most common types of anemia?

  • Iron deficiency anemia. Blood tests show that red blood cells are smaller and paler when there is an iron deficiency. When your body has shortage of iron, your bone marrow cannot make hemoglobin for your red blood cells. Usually, iron deficiency anemia can be treated by adding more iron to your diet. However, this type of anemia may be caused by loss of blood from bleeding or heavy menstruation as well. If loss of blood is the cause, treatment may require surgery to stop the bleeding.
  • Pernicious or vitamin deficiency anemia causes red blood cells to enlarge, but there are fewer in number. The body needs folate and vitamin B-12 to produce enough healthy red blood cells. The condition may be treated by eating more foods containing folic acid and vitamin B-12. If the body is unable to absorb these vitamins due to another condition, supplements or injections may be necessary.
  • Anemia of chronic disease. Some chronic diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney failure, Crohn’s disease and other chronic inflammatory diseases may hinder red blood cell production. Since this type of anemia is caused by an underlying medical condition, treatment will be dictated by the needs of the patient and may include a blood transfusion or injections of synthetic hormones to promote red blood cell production.
  • Aplastic anemia is a rare, life-threatening anemia caused when infection, drugs or autoimmune disease decreases the bone marrow’s ability to manufacture red blood cells. Treatment may include blood transfusions or bone marrow transplants.
  • Anemia associated with bone marrow disease. Recently, myelodysplasia, also known as pre-leukemia has been in the public eye as many in our country have watched Robin Roberts, anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America® journey through the disease. Anemia caused by this and similar diseases such as leukemia, multiple myeloma, myeloproliferative disorders and lymphoma, compromise blood cell production in the bone marrow. This type of anemia can cause a life-threatening cessation of the blood making process. Treatment may include simple medication, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation.
  • Hemolytic anemias occurs when red blood cells are destroyed faster than they are replaced by bone marrow. This type of anemia may be inherited or may happen later in life. Treatment may include eliminating certain medications, treating infections, suppressing the immune system, blood transfusions or blood filtering.
  • Sickle cell anemia is an inherited condition caused when abnormal hemoglobin causes red blood cells to form a crescent (sickle) shape. Sickle-shaped red blood cells do not live as long as normal red blood cells, resulting in a shortage. Treatment may include oxygen, pain relieving medication, supplements, blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants.
  • Inherited anemias. Thalassemia or Cooley’s anemia is a genetic disease usually found in people of Mediterranean or Asian descent. It can be mild or severe. Some carriers of the gene have no symptoms. Severe thalassemia is treated with blood transfusions and treatments that remove iron from the blood.
  • Fanconi’s anemia is another inherited condition which affects the bone marrow resulting in low production of red blood cells. The condition can be treated with growth medications, hormones, steroids, blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants.

Diet may alleviate anemia

Iron deficiency anemia can be treated by adding an iron supplement or eating more iron-rich foods. These foods include: beans, spinach, beef and other meats, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables and dried fruit. A well-balanced diet should include many of these and help prevent anemia. It is important to remember that you will also need to eat foods that contain vitamin C such as citrus fruits melons and berries to help the body absorb the iron. Vitamin deficiency anemia can also be prevented by eating food rich in folate and vitamin B-12. Folic acid is found naturally in citrus fruits and juices, bananas, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes and fortified breads, cereals and pasta. Vitamin B-12 can commonly be found in liver, fish, beef, lobster, cheese and eggs.

While changing your diet to include more vitamin- and iron-rich foods may help, these may not treat the underlying cause of anemia. If you are feeling run down and tired, make an appointment with your health care provider and get a simple complete blood count (CBC) test.

Your thyroid is your metabolic control center

woman_thyroidLocated just under your Adam’s apple, your thyroid secretes hormones into the blood stream to control the rate that every cell and organ turns nutrients into energy.

Thyroid hormones control metabolism, growth, body temperature, muscle strength, appetite, and the health of your heart, brain, kidneys, and reproductive system.

Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body that absorb iodine. The thyroid uses iodine to create the T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) hormones. The thyroid responds to the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) secreted by the brain’s pituitary gland. As the TSH levels in the blood rise, the thyroid responds by making more hormone; as the levels drop, the thyroid is signaled to make less hormone.

If your thyroid doesn’t work properly – neither do you.

When things go wrong

Thyroid disease occurs when your thyroid under- or over-produces the correct amount of thyroid hormone. It can cause elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, coma, and even death. Thyroid disease can be hereditary.

Thyroid diseases

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormone. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Autoimmune diseases cause a person’s body to attack its own tissue as if it were a foreign substance. An estimated one in 50 women suffer hypothyroidism. This number increases to 17 percent of women and 9 percent of men over age 60.

Symptoms may include constant fatigue, forgetfulness, intolerance of cold, loss of appetite, slowed thinking, weight gain, slow pulse, depression, dry skin or hair, brittle fingernails, hair loss, mood swings, hoarse voice, constipation, joint pain, longer and heavier menstrual periods, high cholesterol, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Hypothyroidism may develop over several years, so people may consider the symptoms are normal.

Hypothyroidism also affects children. One in 5,000 babies born in the USA experiences slowed growth, sluggishness, pallor, dry and itchy scalp, sensitivity to cold and constipation due to hypothyroidism.

Goiter is a general term for thyroid swelling. It may develop in a person with hypothyroidism as the gland works harder to produce more hormone.

Thyrotoxicosis is caused by too much thyroid hormone in the blood. Often, this condition is referred to as hyperthyroidism.

Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: excess thirst, increased appetite, heat intolerance, exhaustion, shaking, nervousness, jitters, irritability, increased perspiration, weight loss, racing or irregular heartbeat, changes in vision, hand tremors, muscle weaknesses, sleep disturbances, diarrhea or frequent bowel movements, eye problems, lighter menstrual periods, infertility, and generalized itching.

Hyperthyroidism also may cause depression and heart failure. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication, radioactive iodine (radioiodine ablation), or by surgical removal of the thyroid (thyroidectomy).

Treatment of hyperthyroidism often causes hypothyroidism at some point in a person’s life.

Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism. In addition to typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease may cause inflammation of the eyes, swelling of the eye tissue, and bulging eyes. Grave’s disease can be treated with medication.

Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid, which may be painful or cause no pain at all. It may cause the thyroid to overproduce hormone.

Thyroid nodules are abnormal masses or lumps in the thyroid gland that may cause hyperthyroidism. Thyroid nodules are often noticed visually or through touch; they are common and are rarely cancerous. Nodules may occur due to iodine deficiency. Nodules can either be surgically removed or destroyed with radioiodine ablation.

While thyroid disease can affect anyone …

  • 8 out of 10 people with thyroid disease are women
  • 20 percent of people with diabetes are likely to develop thyroid disease

Who’s at risk?

Thyroid cancer often does not cause symptoms. Thyroid cancer is most common in people with a family history of the disease, those who have been exposed to thyroid gland radiation, or people who are over 40 years old.

Thyroid disease manifests itself in subtle ways in older patients. In addition to mild evidence of common symptoms of hypothyroidism, older people may suffer from heart failure, constipation or diarrhea, joint pain, muscle pain, psychosis, dementia, or unsteadiness while walking.

Hyperthyroidism often presents symptoms similar to diseases of the bowel, heart or nervous system. If older people have close family members with thyroid disease, they should be tested.

Thyroid, metabolism and weight

Since the thyroid gland regulates metabolism, there is a strong correlation between thyroid disease and weight. Weight gain is more severe in people with hypothyroidism due to an excess accumulation of salt and water; weight loss is common in people who have hyperthyroidism.

Though it seems that thyroid hormones could be an easy cure-all for weight control, the use of the hormone would also cause loss of muscle protein, which would be detrimental to a person’s overall health.

Are you getting too much iodine?

Too much iodine can worsen both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. The recommended daily allowance of iodine for adults is 150 – 299 micrograms per day.

Iodine-rich foods include:
Iodized table salt
Meat / Eggs
Milk / Yogurt


Tests for thyroid conditions include blood tests for TSH, T3 and T4 hormones; ultrasounds to check for abnormal tissue; and scans of the thyroid infused with radioactive iodine. CT, MRI, and PET scans, along with tissue biopsies, are used to diagnose cancer.

A radioiodine uptake test measures how well your thyroid absorbs iodine. A small amount of radioactive iodine is ingested. Since the thyroid is the only organ to absorb iodine, the radioactivity locates itself in the thyroid. The thyroid can then be scanned via X-ray.


Hyper- or hypothyroidism can be treated with medication. Too much thyroid hormone can cause osteoporosis and atrial fibrillation. It is important to prescribe the correct amount.

Is it menopause or thyroid disease?

Thyroid disease strikes one in eight women between the ages of 35 and 65 and one in five women over 65 years of age. Often it goes undetected because it mimics menopausal symptoms. According to the American Association of Clinic Endocrinologists (AACE), women with unresolved menopausal-like symptoms may be suffering from hypothyroidism.

Non-specific symptoms like exhaustion, brain fog, poor memory, lethargy, mood changes, changes in energy, skin changes, changes in hair texture, hair loss, changes in libido, sleep disturbances, increased nervousness, heart palpitations, irregular or missed periods, depression, and anxiety are common to menopause.

Without a blood test, it is difficult to determine the true cause of symptoms. Neck pain, swelling of arms and legs, loss of hair from eyelashes or eyebrows, and weight fluctuations are more likely related to thyroid problems.

Hot flashes and night sweats are more likely related to menopause.

Thyroid disease is treatable. If you suffer from any of the symptoms described here, contact your health care provider or visit ministryhealth.org to find an endocrinologist who can diagnose and treat your symptoms.

Twist, Rattle & Roll: All About Ankle Sprains

ankle sprainsAnkle sprains are common sports injuries. In fact, foot and ankle injuries account for more than 60% of all athletic mishaps. Sports that are played on uneven surfaces or require quick, side-to-side movements create risk factors for ankle injuries.

A sprain injures one or more of the ligaments in the ankle, typically on the outside of the joint. Ligaments on the inside and outside of the ankle act as strong, stabilizing bands by limiting abnormal side-to-side movement.

An ankle sprain is often caused by a sudden twisting movement. Some sprains can be mild while others are severe, depending on if a ligament is stretched or partially or completely torn.


Have pain and swelling on the outside of your ankle? Bruising? Difficulty walking with pain and stiffness? You may have a sprain.

After a significant ankle injury, seek prompt medical attention to rule out a fracture and possible cartilage damage. A podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon or family care physician can grade the ankle sprain and recommend appropriate treatment, based on evaluation of x-rays or other radiography.


Think RICE! Rest. Ice. Compression (ace wrap) will help limit swelling. Elevation will also help decrease pain and swelling. Limit walking until pain subsides and RICE should be employed during the first 72 hours since this is the inflammatory period of the body.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. An ankle may need to be immobilized for proper healing. It takes six to eight weeks for soft tissue and four to six weeks for bone to heal. If this is not treated properly, chronic ankle instability can occur and cause continued weakness, injuries and/or recurrent sprains.

Wearing an ankle brace beyond this time frame may also be recommended to prevent re-injury and long-term complications.

Early range of motion exercises and physical therapy will promote healing and increase range of motion. Treatments may include ultrasound, electrostimulation, massage and strengthening to help an athlete return to previous performance capabilities quickly and without possible continued complications.


If pain is not resolved from non-surgical treatment, surgery may be needed. Sometimes advanced imaging studies (like an MRI) may be required. Many surgical options are available, including arthroscopic (minimally invasive) procedures.

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