Cancer — a word no one wants to hear in the same sentence as their own
name or the name of a loved one. As a physician, it’s my job to not only treat cancer, but also prevent it.
Earlier this month, Dr. Eva Chalis joined me for a discussion on “Your Radio Doctor,” a medical
talk show that airs every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. on Talk Radio 1210
WPHT. Dr. Chalis is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Long
Island School of Medicine and the immediate past President of the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She had just returned from the
national meeting of the college and shared that the main areas of focus in
women’s health were obesity and the importance of family history.
Aside from increasing the risk of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and
stroke, obesity also increases the risk of multiple cancers, including
breast, uterine, colorectal, esophageal, kidney, ovarian, gall bladder, and pancreas. Fat tissue converts male hormones to
estrogen which is food for breast and uterine cancer.
BMI (body mass index) is the measure of body fat based on height and
weight. According to the
National Institute of Health, BMI categories include:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
If your BMI falls between 25 and 29, your risk for uterine cancer doubles.
Risk is three times greater once your BMI passes 30. “Cycling” weight or
“yo-yo” dieting can increase body fat percentage at the expense of muscle
mass, especially after menopause.
During our radio show program in
April with Dr. Maureen Kelly, we learned excess weight in the female or the
male partner can also decrease fertility and increase the rate of
miscarriage. Aside from an increased risk for diabetes and hypertension
during and after pregnancy, it can also increase the risk of obesity
throughout the life of the child.
Family history also plays a pivotal role in cancer risk. It is very
important to learn whether your relatives have had breast, ovarian,
uterine, or colorectal cancer. This also includes cases of breast and
colorectal cancer in male family members who may have the
(BReast CAncer) gene or
Most of us are familiar with the BRCA gene mutation causing an increased
risk of breast and ovarian cancer. But did you know that it can also
increase the risk of pancreas and prostate cancer?
The Lynch Syndrome is a disorder that results from a mutation in one of
several genes. It carries a lifetime risk for colorectal cancer up to 90%
and significantly increases the risk for other cancers – most often uterine
but can include stomach, small intestine, pancreas. Growing evidence now
includes increased risk of prostate cancer, as well. If a patient has a
positive test for the Lynch Syndrome, first degree relatives have a 50%
chance of also being affected.
It’s also important to note that even if your genetic testing does not show
a specific gene mutation, your family may carry a genetic abnormality that
has not yet been identified.
A positive family history may signal the need to begin screening tests at a
younger age and to have testing more often.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists no longer
recommends a yearly
Pap test. The time interval between Pap tests depends on age, sexual history and
results of previous tests. And for women without symptoms, the annual
pelvic examination is no longer recommended either. This has led to some
confusion for patients regarding their routine care.
Dr. Chalas emphasized that it is still essential for women to have
an annual visit with a gynecologist or primary care doctor to discuss their
gynecologic health and recommend age-related examinations at proper time
intervals. Other topics should include reporting any new symptoms,
reviewing their history of abnormal PAP tests/HPV testing, and discussing
treatment to regulate menstrual periods, birth control, prevention of
miscarriage or menopause issues. It may also provide the opportunity for a
woman to discuss issues that she might not find comfortable discussing with
her primary care doctor, such as abuse.
Listen to the entire show on www.yourradiodoctor.net to
hear more about prevention of cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers.
Several years ago, I began a program called Pink PLUS that
provides women with the opportunity to have three cancer screenings
performed in just one visit. Patients can come to Jefferson and have a
routine gynecology examination, then a mammogram, followed by a brief visit
to review screening options for colorectal cancer.
While the “Pink” campaigns have had a very positive effect on driving women
to having mammograms, there are still too many women who think “mammogram
and done.” It’s important to know that more people die from colorectal
cancer than from breast cancer when we combine men and women, so all of
these screenings are important.
Call 215-503-1631 today to make a Pink Plus appointment
Originally Appeared Here