All women are at risk for cervical cancer. Being the third most common cancer globally, it’s important to be mindful of the health risks, symptoms, and resources available to those in need. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 12,000 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and roughly 4,000 die from it annually. As many as 93% of cervical cancers can be prevented by screening and vaccination.

The main cause of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be passed between people through sex or any skin-to-skin genital contact with someone who has the virus. HPV is so common that most people will have it at some point in their lives without ever developing symptoms. Up to 90% of cases are cleared naturally by the immune system within two years. There is no way of knowing who will go on to develop health problems.

Some strains of HPV can cause warts around one’s genitals or in their throat, while others can cause normal cells in the body to turn abnormal — potentially developing into cancer over time. Smoking, having HIV, using

Read more

Transgender Pride Flag

Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth; ‘gender identity’ is one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both (gender fluid), or neither (non-binary). Gender expression involves expressing one’s gender identity through their social roles, appearance, and behaviors. Many health concerns that transgender people face are due to minority stress, such as discrimination and social/internalized stigma.

Transgender people experience gender dysphoria, a clinically significant distress recognized by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) caused by a person’s assigned birth gender differing from the one with which they identify. This leads to increased depression among the transgender community, which can be exacerbated by being rejected by family and friends, being the victim of abuse/violence, or experiencing discrimination. Gender-affirming operations have shown to yield long-term mental health benefits for transgender people

Transgender

Read more

Wearing a mask to protect against coronavirus has become part of daily life for Americans. COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets that travel into the air when you cough, sneeze, talk, and breathe. These droplets can then land on others’ faces or may be inhaled by people in the area. Masks are a simple barrier to help prevent these respiratory droplets from reaching others by reducing the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.

Everyone over the age of two years old should wear a mask, even if you do not feel sick. People who contract COVID-19 who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can still spread the virus to other people. 

The main function of wearing a mask is to protect those around you, in case you are infected and shedding the SARS-CoV-2 virus but not showing symptoms. A cloth mask does offer some protection to the wearer, how much depending on the fabrics used and how your mask is made (the type of fabric, the number of layers, how well the mask fits, etc). Medical

Read more

October has been observed as Talk About Your Medicines Month (TAYMM) for 35 years. Started by the BeMedWise Program at NeedyMeds (formerly known as the National Council on Patient Information [NCPIE]), the awareness month is an annual opportunity to spotlight safe medicine use with the goal of improved health outcomes. This year’s theme is Medication Adherence – On Track With Your Meds and Your Health. Medication adherence is a vital part of maintaining your health. Our goal is to empower patients to maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks of the medications they are taking, and provide the tools they need to talk about their medicines.

Medication adherence has been called America’s “other drug problem.” Nonadherence can lead to illness progression, severe complications, and preventable deaths. Nonadherence includes anything from delaying or not filling a prescription, skipping doses, splitting pills, to stopping a medication early. Not taking medication as directed can lead to poor health outcomes which then increases healthcare service utilization and overall healthcare costs.

Read more

Vaccines are a vital part of healthcare at all stages of life and offer the best protection available against many potentially devastating illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages parents to follow an immunization schedule for babies and young children, protecting them from 14 life-affecting diseases. Pre-teens and teenagers should begin to innoculate against meningococcal diseases (meningitis or septicemia) and HPV (Human Papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer). Adults should continue to protect themselves with a yearly flu shot, tetanus updates, and later in life the shingles vaccine and the pneumonia vaccine.

An important element of immunization awareness is to protect our populations through “herd immunity” — when a high percentage of a population is vaccinated to protect individuals who have not developed an immunity. Babies are protected by their mother’s immune system at birth and continue to be passed antibodies from their mother’s

Read more