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Archive for the ‘Healthy Choices’ Category

BY ALISON FELLER October 13, 2017

 

Three years ago, Sheeva Talebian felt an itch on her right chest. When she went to scratch it, she noticed something under her skin. “It was like a round, circular pea,” she says of the lump in her breast. “I thought maybe it was a pimple because it was right at the top of my skin. So I ignored it and went to bed.”

 

Talebian, an M.D. who is director of third party reproduction at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York City and is a co-founder of Truly-MD, had received a mammogram just six months prior. But she called her ob-gyn anyway. Her doctor said the small lump in her breast was probably nothing, and an ultrasound and second mammogram didn’t show anything concerning. But when she sought a second opinion, Talebian’s phone rang within 24 hours: “I dropped the phone and gasped,” she says. “They told me I had invasive breast cancer.” The 6-millimeter lump was tiny—small enough that Talebian herself had forgotten about it for a few months after she first noticed it—but her entire right breast had pre-cancer cells, and it had spread to surrounding tissue.

 

Fortunately, Talebian and her doctors caught her case early. She underwent a double mastectomy to remove the breast lump and surrounding tissue and was able to avoid chemotherapy treatment. “I’m a doctor, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t doing a self-breast exam every month,” she admits. “I barely had any breast tissue, so in my head, I was like, ‘What am I even feeling?’ There was nothing really there.” Now, of course, Talebian is adamant that women take control of their breast health. And turns out, that doesn’t necessarily mean monthly self-exams.

 

“We’ve always told women to do self exams in the shower or lying down with one arm up, and to slowly and deliberately feel their way around the breast and nipple and into the armpit,” Talebian says. “But now there’s this new concept of breast awareness.” That phrase about knowing something like the back of your hand? Today, ob-gyns are advocating that you know your breasts that well. “Once you reach late adolescence or your early twenties, you should know what your breasts look and feel like,” Talebian says. “Know their size, shape, how they look in the mirror, how they feel, run your fingers across them occasionally—that way you know if anything suddenly feels different.” Like Talebian, many women aren’t diligent about performing regular and frequent self-exams. So embracing breast awareness—particularly after ovulation but before your period—could be the key to noticing changes in your breast tissue.

 

So let’s say you feel something. Now what? “Do something relatively quickly,” says Talebian. “You don’t need to page your doctor at midnight, but if you’re 100 percent certain what you’re feeling is new, call your gynecologist, primary care physician, or internist. Explain that you feel something that wasn’t there before, and stay calm.” The reason to act quickly isn’t necessarily that the case can worsen within 24 hours—it probably won’t—but so you don’t forget about it. “If you put it out of your mind, eight months down the road it may be bigger and you’ll remember you never made that call,” Talebian says. “It’s never too early or too silly to bring your concern to a healthcare provider’s attention.”

And remember, the earlier you can catch potential signs of breast cancer, the better. “Breast cancer is one of the very few cancers we do have screening tools for, and if it’s caught early, that can have a huge impact on your overall prognosis,” Talebian says. “Breast cancer can start as a small bump, and it may take several years before it metastasizes and you start to experience pain or symptoms from it. So there are no excuses. Most often it’s nothing or it’s benign, but in the off chance it iscancerous, the earlier you deal with it, the sooner you can put it behind you forever. If you feel something, don’t ignore it.”

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John Boehner

At this point, I assume you know that a new health care system is being implemented in this country.  If you don’t know this then…..well, there is no sense in reading this cause, honey, you are on another planet.

We’ve heard all the arguing and seen some of the commercials and watched the elections and all.  We’ve heard how the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has vowed to repeal the new law.  Well, that’s a total crock because while the House of Representatives will vote to repeal it, it’s unlikely that the Senate will do the same and, if by some chance they do repeal it, well, Obama-Man is sitting there with his ole veto pen.  End of story.

We’re gonna be living with this new law for some time.  That being the case, I thought I would regularly send you a short explanation of what all of this means to you to cut through all of the stuff that you see and don’t have time to sort out.

A number of the provisions of the law will not take effect for quite a while, but some things are already in effect.  So, right now, here’s the deal:

Any health plan that you get through your job or any new individual plan has to let any kids you have under 19 to have coverage.  In other words, they cannot be denied coverage if they are already sick or have some medical condition.

If your health insurance allows you to have coverage for your dependents, then they can be covered until they are 26 years old.  After that, you kick them out of the house and they’re on their own.

Insurance companies cannot drop you from their plans when you get sick just because you made a mistake on your coverage application.

Many insurance companies say that during your lifetime you can only be covered up to a certain point.  Today, there are no limits.

If your employer offers a health plan, you generally can’t be turned away or charged a higher premium because of your health status or disability.  This protection is called “nondiscrimination.”

If family members are eligible but are not currently enrolled under your health plan at work, you may be able to add them during a “special enrollment” opportunity outside of the usual “open enrollment” period.

Not too shabby, huh?

There’s so much more to come!  Stay tuned.

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Downward Graph on Women's Health

The National Women’s Law Center has just issued a “report card” on the state of women’s health in this country – and it looks like we’re failing girls.

The Center reviewed the goals of the recent “Healthy People” initiative and found that 23 of the 26 goals outlined in the government’s plan so far remained unmet.  Now, this is a decade long effort but still, it doesn’t look good.  When referring specifically to women, the report found that more women are engaging in binge drinking and less women are being screened for cervical cancer than in 2007. Indeed, the percentage of women who reported consuming five or more drinks at a time in the past month jumped more than 3% since 2007, to 10.6%, while the percentage of women who received annual pap smears dropped nearly 10% to 78% over the same time period.

And there’s more!  According to the Center, more women reported obesity, hypertension and diabetes than they did in 2007.  More tested positive for chlamydia.  And here’s no surprise, out of all the states in the union guess which ones came in dead last?  Yep, Louisiana and Mississippi came in 50th and 51st, respectively.  Big shock, huh?

Still, in every report, there has to be some good news, right?  Well, I found it.  One indicator – cholesterol

Women

screening — received a higher grade than in the previous report.  Also, three goals of the Healthy People 2010 initiative were met, including the percentage of women receiving regular mammograms, visiting the dentist and screening for colorectal cancer. Also worth noting is that the rate of smoking among women declined in 42 states, making that one of the most improved health status indicators.

Still, it’s clear to me that you girls have got to get your act together, especially you young ones.  Sure, you may not feel bad right now and you probably cannot even imagine what it will be like to be 60 years old but unless you take care of yourself now, you’re gonna pay for it later.  I’m 61 and as I said in a previous post, I probably drank too much in my younger days.  And, now I am struggling with gout.

It ain’t fun getting old, my dears….Don’t make things worse by not taking care of yourself now.

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