Pap Testing and Cervical Cancer: What's A Woman To Do?

Cancer of the cervix is the third most common cancer in women worldwide. Human papilloma virus (HPV) is linked to more than 99% of cervical cancers. Routine cervical cancer screening with Papanicolaou (Pap) tests can help detect early changes that could lead to cervical cancer if left untreated. 

image of woman with doctor

What is a Pap Test?

A Pap test is a microscopic exam of cells taken from the cervix. It is done during a routine physical exam with your doctor. Pap tests are recommended in women who are 21 years old or older. Based on new recommendations, routine Pap tests are no longer recommended in women under 21 whether or not they are sexually active. Between the ages of 21 and 29, routine Pap tests every 3 years are recommended. After the age of 30, Pap tests are usually done every 3-5 years. 

If you are 65 years or older and have had previously normal Pap tests, usually cervical cancer screening with Pap tests can be stopped. Women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of uterus) only need to continue Pap tests if the cervix was not removed during surgery (called a partial hysterectomy).  

What Are The Risk Factors Of Cervical Cancer?

Risk factors include:

  • Sexual intercourse at a young age
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Partner with known HPV infection
  • History of sexually transmitted infections (HIV, herpes, chlamydia)
  • Weakened immune system
  • Smoking

Three Common Sports Injuries & How to Treat Them

Tell the truth: Do you always warm-up before working out? 

If not, you could be setting yourself up for an injury. Not all injuries can be prevented, but a warm-up helps get blood flowing to your muscles, increases flexibility, and reduces your risk of muscle strain and injury. 

Injuries can occur when your body isn’t ready (or conditioned) for an activity, like when you start an activity with “cold” muscles or compete in a game of flag football for the first time in months. 

Athletes and weekend warriors alike are equally susceptible to sports injuries. That’s why we are sharing a list of three of the most common sports injuries and helpful treatment tips. 

3 Common Sports Injuries and Treatment Tips 

Ankle sprains and plantar fasciitis are some of the most common sports injuries. Make an appointment with your podiatrist to get treatment. Image of man with ankle brace and crutches.

1. Plantar Fasciitis 

What It Is

One of the most common causes of heel pain. The tendon along the arch of your foot (plantar fascia) is stretched irregularly which causes small tears and inflammation. 


An Exercise Prescription

Does the thought of exercise conjure up images of sweat, tears, and torture machinery?

Have you wondered why there is so much fuss about the health benefits of exercise? 

Here are some facts and tips to show you how easy and rewarding a new exercise program can be.

image of women in spinning class exercising. Learn more about how easy it can be to stay healthy with regular exercise

Exercise Doesn't Need To Be Time Consuming

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that you exercise for just 30 minutes 5 times a week. This does not have to be done on a routine, but most people will find it easier to stick with a program if it is written on their calendar.


Skin Cancer and Sun Protection for Women

Everyone is at risk for skin cancer. One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. Many skin cancers are increasing in incidence for our population. In particular, the incidence of Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has doubled in women aged 15-39 from 1973 to 2004. 

Dr. Henry of Westshore Primary care shares skin cancer prevention tips. Learn more. Image of woman wearing a wide brimmed hat, licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

Indoor Tanning & Melanoma

Indoor ultraviolet tanners are 69 percent more likely to develop Melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. Exposure to ultraviolet light, from the sun and indoor tanning beds, is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Both UVA (Ultraviolet A) and UVB (Ultraviolet B) radiation from the sun contribute to increased risk of skin cancer. 

How do UVB & UVA radiation affect my skin? 

  • UVB is the primary cause of sunburn. 
  • UVA prematurely ages the skin, causes wrinkles and dark pigmentation or age spots.

Eat Healthy & Get Active: September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Did you know that over the past three decades childhood obesity rates in America have tripled?

1 in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. So in honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we encourage you and your family to make healthy changes together. 

September is national childhood obesity awareness month. Westshore Primary Care encourages you to make healthy changes for you and your family. Learn more. Image of family shopping for fruit. Licensed CC BY 2.0

How is childhood obesity measured?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), body mass index (BMI) is a measure used to screen for childhood weight and obesity. 

A child’s weight status is determined using an age-and sex-specific percentile for BMI.


Sports Medicine Tools of the Trade

Can you imagine the physician for a professional sports team telling an injured athlete to walk down the street to the hospital for an xray?

Well, that’s exactly what happened to Gordie Howe.

I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon which featured one of the greatest hockey players of all time, “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe. He was speaking to us (mostly a group of physicians) about his experiences and the various injuries he encountered during his career in professional hockey.

One story was about when he severely injured his wrist. While being examined in the locker room the physician said, “Gordie, it looks like you may have a fracture in your wrist. You’re going to need x-rays. You’ll have to take a walk to the hospital down the street.

I could hardly believe what I heard. One of the greatest professional athletes of all time had to walk on his own to a hospital in order to receive medical treatment.

x-ray of hand and wrist More...

The Buzz About Insect Stings

This time of year, many people are busy outside with gardening, picnics and just enjoying the beautiful weather.  It’s not uncommon to see bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets while we are out enjoying these activities.  We need to be aware of this, how to avoid them and what to do in case you or a loved one is stung.

August is immunization awareness month. Dr. Wasserbauer from Westshore Primary care shares tips about what to do when you get stung by an insect. Image of a honey bee on a flower “Honey Bee” by R.H. Sumon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Preventing Stings 

Stay away from stinging insects. These insects are most likely to sting if they are provoked or they feel that their home is threatened.  So be aware of your environment.  

  • Avoid brightly colored clothing or perfumes that may attract these insects. 
  • Keep food, drinks and garbage covered when eating outdoors. 
  • Beware that insects may enter a straw or a can of soda pop. 
  • Wear shoes because some insects will be in the grass and sting if they are stepped on.

If you have a close encounter with a stinging insect, remain calm and move away slowly. 

What Happens After a Sting?

When most people are stung by an insect, the site develops redness, swelling and itching. 

However, some people are actually allergic to insect stings. This means that their immune systems overreact to the venom.

If you are insect-allergic, after the first sting, your body produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). If stung again by the same kind of insect, the venom interacts with this specific IgE antibody, triggering the release of substances that cause an allergic reaction.


What Immunization Shots Should An Adult Get?

Many adults are unaware of what immunization shots, if any, are needed. This should be discussed with the person's physician during their annual physical. 

For purposes of today's blog post, we will assume the adult has had immunizations up to the age of 19.

 What immunization shots should an adult get? Dr. Lawrence Lief describes how many adults are unsure, and should discuss it at their annual physical. image of an adult getting an immunization shot

Tetanus Shots

A tetanus diphtheria booster 10 years after the last tetanus shot and a tetanus diphtheria shot every 10 years thereafter is recommended.

Adults under the age of 65 who have close contact with an infant younger than 12 months should get the whooping cough (pertussis) booster added to this booster once if it's been at least five years since their last tetanus/diphtheria shot.

Flu Shots

Most folks are aware of the annual flu shot. It is usually given in October and November but getting the vaccines even later will still be beneficial in most years for as long as the illness is occurring in your community. It can occur anytime from November through May but most often peaks in January and February.


Got a Food Allergy? You're Not Alone

Image of peanuts. Learn more about food allergies from Westshore Primary Care physician Dr. Nancy Wasserbauer, Allergist/Immunologist.

These days we can identify two forms of disease: 

  1. Communicable, i.e. infections
  2. Non-communicable, i.e. allergy, heart disease, obesity.  

Non-communicable diseases are on the rise. Today I would like to focus on food allergies.

Food Allergy

A food allergy occurs when the immune system overreacts to a particular protein found in a food.  

Within minutes, the affected person may experience itching and swelling of the skin, breathing difficulty, light-headness and disorientation, vomiting and diarrhea.  

Food allergies, especially to peanuts and tree nuts, are the most common cause of the most serious allergic reaction described above, also known as anaphylaxis. (an-a-fi-LAK-sis).   

Emergency room visits for food-induced anaphylaxis occur about once every six minutes in the United States.  

The most common foods known to trigger allergic reactions are:

  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Tree nuts

The rise in the prevalence of food allergy is unprecedented.  The burdens personally, socially and economically are vast.  And while food allergy affects both children and adults, the greatest burden from the rise of food allergy falls to our very young children.

Food allergy research and education (FARE) walk to raise funds and awareness for food allergies in the United States.

Join Our Team and Help Us Say FAREwell to Food Allergies

If you are asking yourself why this is happening and what you can do to learn more and to help, here is your answer!  

Join the Westshore Primary Care Center for Allergy and Immunology on August 12th for the FOOD ALLERGY RESEARCH and EDUCATION (F.A.R.E.) walk to raise funds and awareness for this very important cause.  2017 FARE Walk for Food Allergy Event Info.

Join Our Team 

Photo Credit: "Peanuts" by Daniella Segura is licensed under CC BY 2.0