10 Health Tips for Women Age 65 and Older

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

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This video provides 10 health tips for women age 65 and older. These recommendations are based on expert clinical opinion presented in UpToDate online version 18.3. This video was produced by Dr. Nicholas Cohen, MD. The content of this video is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

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Happiest Woman in America – Health Tips [11-02-2011]

November 12, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=pX7E4o0ocdg%3Fversion%3D3%26f%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

A woman (/ˈwʊmən/), pl: women (/ˈwɪmɨn/) is a female human. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. However, the term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as ‘Women’s rights’. The Old English wifman meant ‘female human’ (werman meant ‘male human’. Man or mann had a gender neutral meaning of ‘human’, corresponding to Modern English ‘one’ or ‘someone’. However in around 1000AD ‘man’ started to be used more to refer to ‘male human’, and in the late 1200s began to inevitably displace and eradicate the original word ‘werman’). The medial labial consonants coalesced to create the modern form ‘woman’; the initial element, which meant ‘female,’ underwent semantic narrowing to the sense of a married woman (‘wife’). Visit MeTee.com The place for publishing and printing t-shirts & always free shipping. Become a channel sponsor for 30 days for /day meseed.com Have any ad you want play in each video (any one video can go viral with tens-of-thousands of hits) Or donate to keep this channel going: meseed.com Thank you for your generosity – Subscribe for Breaking News. Like/Dislike, Comment, Favorite and share on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to get the word out on this video. Put this video on your channel with a more interesting title (never know if this channel will get taken down): www.keepvid.com Archive video with keepvid. Signup for

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Women’s Health Tips

July 10, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it!

youtube.com/watch?v=NH92F_YRYqo%3Ff%3Dvideos%26app%3Dyoutube_gdata

Dr. Bob talks about the importance of getting a pap smear, breast exam, and mammogram. For more health tips and information visit www.DrBobShow.com.

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Another side to mammograms: the German perspective

March 9, 2010 by  
Filed under . ANNOUNCEMENTS

Whereas the Americans are debating about increasing the starting age of mammography screening from 40 to 50, some countries in Europe are debating about getting rid of routine mammogram screening. Let us take the example of Germany, a rather late comer into the mammogram scene. This country only started its mammography program to screen for breast cancer in 2005, for women between 50 and 69 years of age. But now health experts and politicians are asking: is it working?

The respected German newspaper Die Zeit presented a graphical statistics of how mammography works. I did my best to translate this into English.

For every 1000 women screened by mammography in the time period of 20 years, 300 cases will be considered as possibly positive. Of these 300, 100 cases will test positive after additional tests. Further testing by biopsy will confirm that 50 cases are positive for breast carcinoma.

Of those 700 cases which tested negative in the original screening, 15 will actually turn out to be positive for breast carcinoma.

Thus, from the original 1000 women screened, 65 will be eventually diagnosed with breast cancer. Of these 65, 50 will survive and 15 will not, most probably the 15 cases that were not diagnosed in the first place. Of the 50 survivors, only 5 can fully attribute their survivorship to early screening. 40 cases would have survived with or without screening and the remaining 5 would be cases of overdiagnosis.

Thus, the statistical analysis concluded that

  • for every 1000 women screened, mammography will eventually save 5 lives.
  • 15 cases of false negatives that lead to death are 3 times as high as surviving cases.
  • for every life saved by the screening, there is one case of overdiagnosis due to the screening

What is also interesting is the fact that women in Germany seem to be not that keen about mammograms. This, despite the fact that the procedure is paid by the health insurance and despite the fact that the women actually receive an “invitation” for the screening by mail. European Union guidelines recommend that 70% of the women in the age group 50 to 69 should be screened for breast cancer by mammogram. German figure towards the end of 2007 was 52.6%.

Thus, the ongoing debate questions the effectiveness of mammography in early detection of breast cancer and lowering mortality rates. Is it worth the 400 million Euros spent each year? It is a very difficult question to answer. Many would say that saving human lives has no price. Others would argue that the money is better spent on other more serious life-threatening diseases or in developing more reliable and efficient screening methods. What do you think?

The mammogram debate: the two sides

November 25, 2009 by  
Filed under CANCER, Featured

Mammogram guidelines questioned

breastMammogram, the gold standard for breast cancer, is currently questioned just like what happened to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) s for prostate cancer. This was brought about by inconclusive research evidence that screening starting at 40 and beyond increases survival rates.

Last week, a heated debate started when the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new federal guidelines on mammography which recommends that the starting age for mammograms to be raised to 50.

The previous US guidelines, with full backing from the American Cancer Society recommend that women should have the mammograms every 2 years starting at age 40. The recommendations applied to women with no family history of breast cancer and are therefore not considered to be high-risk. Those who have high risk profiles still need to continue regular screening tests.

The pros

The reasons for these new recommendations are quite similar in some ways to the reasons why many medical professionals (including the American Cancer Society) do not support routine prostate cancer screening with the PSA tests. Some of these reasons are:

  • Too many false positives that result in unnecessary but invasive biopsy
  • Overdiagnosis and overtreatment of a disease that is not necessarily fatal and may go away by itself.
  • Too many false alarms that lead into mental pressure, unnecessary fears and worries. Why worry 10 years earlier?
  • Mammograms present health risks, such as exposure to radiation
  • Upgrade to international standards.
  • Unnecessary healthcare costs

Indeed some of these points sound familiar in connection with the PSA test in 2008 and it was the same task force USPSTF that recommended the PSA 2008 guidelines. However, those guidelines were widely accepted, even embraced by the health community.

Regarding international standards, guidelines vary from country to country. Many developed countries, including the UK, Canada, set the age limit at age 50. I had my first mammogram 4 years ago in Germany. During my last gynecological check up here in Switzerland, I asked my doctor whether it’s time for the next one. But you are not yet 50, she told me.

Health care cost is another sore issue. Countries with universal health care system tend to cut down on screening methods that do not show conclusive benefits in order to allocate limited resources for what is necessary without compromising health care quality. Americans may dismiss this as “rationing” but it does have the upside of giving access to affordable health care to everybody.

The fact remains that there is no significant differences in breast cancer mortality between countries who start screening at 40 and those who start 10 years later.

The contras

Many health experts however, do not agree with the new guidelines

  • For one thing, women without family history of breast cancer can have the disease before the age 40. For these women, forewarned is forearmed. They’d rather take unnecessary anxiety than miss the chance of an early diagnosis and therefore early treatment.
  • Although the recommendations are not binding, there is danger that insurance companies might not cover mammogram expenses before the age of 50.

Some high profile health experts explicitly expressed their disagreement with the new guidelines.

American Cancer Society (ACS)

According to Dr. Otis W. Brawley Chief Medical Officer of ACS

The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40. Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually all the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider. When recommendations are based on judgments about the balance of risks and benefits, reasonable experts can look at the same data and reach different conclusions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in an interview advises women to “keep doing what they have been doing” with regards to breast cancer screening.

“The task force has presented some new evidence for consideration but our policies remain unchanged.Indeed, I would be very surprised if any private insurance company changed its mammography coverage decisions as a result of this action. ..My message to women is simple. Mammograms have always been an important lifesaving tool in the fight against breast cancer and they still are today. Keep doing what you have been doing for years — talk to your doctor about your individual history, ask questions and make the decision that is right for you.”

Former head of the National Institute for Health Dr. Bernadine Healy

Ex-NIH director Dr. Bernadine Healy’s take is to ignore the new guidelines, which he believes, could save money but not lives.

Other resources:

Mammogram advice accurate but not ‘right’

Five Reasons to Welcome the New Mammogram Guidelines

What Happens During A Mammogram?

February 25, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

About 1 in 12 women will contract breast cancer some time during their life, with the odds increasing as they age. But with modern medicine, treatment can be relatively simple and effective. Key to that success, though, is early detection. A regular mammogram is one traditional and still highly useful tool to do so.

A mammogram is a simple x-ray photograph of the breast area. The plates are then examined by a radiologist, who is trained to look at the subtle differences in the picture for indications of tumors. It is an important part of the regime to distinguish between benign cysts and cancerous growths.

When getting a mammogram you will partly disrobe and lie against a flat surface that is, unfortunately often cold. Be prepared for some mild discomfort. That discomfort will continue as the procedure progresses.

As the technician prepares you for the x-ray photograph, they’ll typically place a device called a compressor over your breast. That’s needed in order to flatten the tissue, in order to get the clearest possible x-ray photograph. The discomfort isn’t pleasant, but the procedure often takes only a few minutes so it’s well worth it for the information gleaned.

X-rays will be taken from several angles in order to provide the radiologist with several views. Since tumors begin small, and can reside deep under tissue, the more visual information the doctors get, the better chance they have of spotting anything that exists. Likewise, the better look they get, the more confidently they can rule out the possibility of any tumor being present.

Some contemporary hygiene products can lessen the clarity of that view. Deodorant with aluminum oxide (a common ingredient), sunscreen, skin ointments and other substances may obscure the view by absorbing some of the x-ray energy. Take a good shower the day of the test, but otherwise leave off any powders, creams, lotions, sprays or other product.

As part of the test, physicians will sometimes perform a manual exam similar to a breast self-exam. They’ll be looking for much the same thing as you would. Though they can’t know your body history as intimately as you, they are skilled at detecting subtle thickening, lumps and other indicators.

In the mammogram and the exam they’ll be looking for hardened cell clumps, which are often immobile and irregular in shape. Soft, mobile lumps may be nothing more than a benign, fluid-filled cyst.

When the patient desires it, usually when the insurance company is willing to cover the expense or there is good reason for extra tests, other procedures can supplement the mammogram. Ultrasound, for example, is becoming more common. They are limited in their ability to detect very early cancer development, but so is a mammogram.

More sophisticated tests have been developed, such as the QM-MSP (quantitative multiplex methylation-specific PCR), that can detect cancer growths as small as a clump of 50 cells with high reliability. As time progresses, such accurate tests will move into the mainstream. In the interim, a mammogram continues to be a good tool for providing peace of mind to the overwhelming majority of women.

How Is Breast Cancer Diagnosed?

October 2, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

Medical professionals now have an extensive array of tools at their disposal to make diagnosis of breast cancer more reliable, especially in the early stages. That’s great news, since it considerably increases the odds of keeping breast cancer down to the level of ‘serious but not permanently scarring or life-threatening’.

Diagnosis will usually start with a clinical exam. The physician will perform a hands-on breast examination similar to the self-exam that is recommended for all women over age 19. Cancerous lumps generally feel harder and less mobile than benign cysts. Cancer tumors are frequently irregular while non-cancerous lumps tend to be round. A trained professional can often tell the difference.

A mammogram will help confirm the diagnosis. Modern digital mammograms are often computer assisted. Detection of tumors is aided by complex algorithms that do a good job of differentiating suspect image sections. This new tool greatly enhances the ability to eliminate false positives and to detect smaller, less obvious problems in the early stage of development.

Ultrasound is another modern tool that has been improved since its introduction. They’re excellent at helping to distinguish between a benign cyst and a cancer tumor. Since cysts are harmless, fluid-filled sacs they react to sound waves differently than do the harder, denser cancer cells.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is another diagnostic tool coming to be used more and more often. Years ago, insurance companies would never pay for this highly expensive test. But as costs have come down and coverage has expanded, it’s more common. As a powerful magnetic field is swept over the breast, it excites molecules in a way that is harmless but produces distinctive effects. That allows professionals to use images generated by MRI to detect very small anomalies.

When other tests suggest that a closer look is warranted, a biopsy is often performed. Some may be as simple as a fine-needle aspiration. A small amount of fluid is removed via a needle from the detected breast lump. That fluid can be examined for cells that are associated with or constitute cancer.

A deeper or core biopsy may be called for in certain cases. That too uses a needle, but one that’s thicker and removes tissue. Still more tissue is removed in a surgical biopsy. The sample is then examined by an oncologist for the presence of cancer cells.

A new test developed at John Hopkins offers promise for even more accurate early diagnosis. Called a QM-MSP (quantitative multiplex methylation-specific PCR), it relies on fluid drawn from the breast. That fluid is then chemically analyzed. When abnormally high levels of certain molecules are detected it indicates the presence of cancer cells. Some studies suggest that clusters with as few as 50 cancer cells can be detected in this way. It was able to detect cancer in 84% of breast tumor samples used.

With modern tests and techniques, diagnosis can be done early and with far greater reliability than in the past. That’s key to treating breast cancer at the earliest possible stage. That greatly improves the odds of keeping it from becoming a more serious matter than it has to be.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.