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'prevention' posts

Are You Up to Date on Your Pap Smear?

Recent changes to Pap guidelines may have you wondering when exactly you need to have a pap smear and in turn, how often you really need an annual exam with your gynecologist. Here I’m going to review the new pap guidelines so you can determine if you are up to date! Of course, every patient should check with their physician about what they recommend regarding the timing of cervical cancer screening because some specific populations may have different recommendations. These are just the general guidelines.

Pap smears are a screening test for cervical cancer. They have helped decrease the incidence of cervical cancer by more than 50% in the last 30 years. Over the last decade we’ve also begun testing for HPV (or Human Papillomavirus) which is by far the most common cause of abnormal pap smears and cervical cancer. It is an incredibly common sexually transmitted virus that can be spread by genital to genital contact but also oral to genital and manual to genital contact. It has been estimated that 75 to 80 percent of sexually active adults will acquire a genital tract HPV infection before the age of 50. Luckily, most HPV-infected women, especially younger women, will mount an effective immune response to the virus and will never develop dysplasia or cancer.

HPV is not like herpes —YOU CAN GET RID OF IT! The amount of time it takes to get rid of the virus varies but most experts think it takes an average of 8-24 months. Women with persistent HPV infections are more likely to get dysplasia and if it goes undetected or untreated, over time it can develop into cancer. HPV infections of the cervix do not cause symptoms and can only be detected by pap screening. Unfortunately we don’t have a cure for HPV, but vaccinations are available and FDA approved for girls and now boys ages 9-26. More on HPV is sure to show up in future blog posts, so stay tuned!

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends starting pap screening ....

How to prepare for a colonoscopy & what it's like

In many cases, people who have had colonoscopy will say that the procedure itself was fine, since it is performed while the patient is under sedation. However, people tend to feel less favorable about the prep involved prior to the procedure. I recently had my first colonoscopy and decided to document my personal experience of the prep process on video to share with others.

Other frequently asked questions about colonoscopy:

PCA3 - New help in diagnosing prostate cancer

This month the FDA approved the use of the PCA3 assay to aid in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This is good news for patients with an elevated PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test who are concerned about their risk of having prostate cancer. The PCA3 test is used on urine samples from men after a prostate exam has been performed. It measures the number of copies of a prostate cancer related gene, and compares it to the number of copies of the gene for PSA. Studies have shown that the use of this assay can help sort out who is at higher risk for prostate cancer. This can help patients and urologists decide who would likely benefit from a prostate biopsy.

The FDA specifically approved the PCA3 assay for men who ...

Gentlemen, How's Your Engine Running?

We assess all sorts of things everyday. How’s the stock market? How’s the car running? What’s the weather planning for us today?  

But when was the last time you looked at how your own engine is running? It’s time to do a personal health assessment to get a look at your health profile.

There are screenings that are recommended at certain ages that will tell you what your health profile is looking like, so you can take an active role in reducing your risk for disease.

Screening tests for men

What you need to be checked for and when:

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