Archive for June, 2009

DOCTOR IS IN: HPV vaccines, cervical cancer and you


  • Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Emory University School of Medicine and a physician at Emory Healthcare.

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a group of more than 100 viruses. Some HPV types cause non-cancerous warts on the hands and feet, while other types can be sexually transmitted and cause noncancerous warts on the genitals and the cervix. A few “high-risk” HPV types are the main cause of cervical cancer.

About 6 million new genital HPV infections occur each year in the United States. Most of these don’t have any symptoms and go away without treatment over a few years. Sometimes HPV infection can linger for many years as either a benign or a cancer-causing infection.

According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 11,000 women in the United States (2007) are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and nearly 4,000 die from it. Rates for cervical cancer in Fulton County are twice the US average. Worldwide, …

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How did you kick the smoking habit?

President Barack Obama said in February 2007 that he had quit smoking and that he was, instead, chewing Nicorette gum. During the campaign he didn’t hide his gum use. One reporter recalls that the candidate chewed it more or less every day for over a year. Washington Post reporter Richard Leiby swears by the stuff in an article earlier this year and says while he quit smoking, he’s now hooked on the gum. And he expects the president to be challenged in his efforts not to relapse and in his efforts not to become hooked on the gum.

Tell us about your experience. Did you quit smoking? How did you do it? What advice would you give the president to help him avoid relapsing or chewing too much nicotine gum?

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    ASK DR. H: Test not effective for ovarian cancer

    By Dr. Mitchell Hecht

    Q: Why is the CA-125 blood test not a good screening test for ovarian cancer? I asked my doctor to order the test at my last physical, but he refused. — L.Z., Wilkes Barre, Pa.
    A: Unfortunately, there are no commercially available screening tests for detecting early ovarian cancer. The only approved use of the CA-125 blood test is in women with known ovarian cancer to monitor treatment response or recurrence. CA-125 is a protein produced in response to irritation of the surfaces of the body cavities. The CA-125 blood test is neither sensitive enough to pick up an early cancer nor specific enough to be clinically useful as a screening test.
    Even in advanced ovarian cancer, the CA-125 level has been normal in 20 percent of cases. Some ovarian cancers do not produce any CA-125. More importantly, only half of all ovarian cancers will cause a rise in the CA-125 while the cancer is still contained within the ovary.
    For women of high risk, gynecologists may …

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    HEALTHY EATING: Be smart about summer food


    As summertime approaches, seasonal changes call for casual dress and laid-back dinners on the patio or porch. Foods lighten up, too, with restaurant menus featuring more salads, grilled entrees, cold soups, frozen drinks and fruit for dessert. The heat drives more diners to cool down with cold foods, and summer’s skin-baring fashions increase demand for diet-friendly dishes. The problem is that “light and easy” doesn’t always mean light in fat and calories.

    Beware of salads
    Registered dietitian Joanne Lichten (, author of “Dining Lean: How to Eat Healthy When You’re Not at Home” (Nutrifit Publishing, $19.95 paperback), warns that many entree salads aren’t a slam-dunk choice for summer dieters. “If you’re eating salads just to cut calories, stop and do the math. When you pile on the cheese, fried chicken, croutons and salad dressing, you’ve probably eaten more calories than a large burger and fries.”

    Slimming menus

    • Look for menus that take …

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    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY l-lysine for dealing with cold sores?

    By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon

    Q: You recently wrote about rubbing a cut onion on a bee sting to ease the pain. In 1949, when I was stung by a bee, my farmer grandmother gave me a freshly cut onion and told me to rub it on the sting site for five minutes. After that, I could not even feel the sting or any pain anymore. I have used this remedy many times since.
    A: Onions contain compounds that can break down the proteins in bee venom. We also heard from someone who experienced a different kind of sting: “Several years ago, I was stung on the leg by a scorpion. … At my mom’s suggestion, I tried fresh-cut onion on the sting, and it worked great. In about 20 minutes, the redness had completely disappeared, the swelling stopped and the pain was almost completely gone.”
    Some scorpion stings can be dangerous. If they cause numbness or tingling, blurry vision or twitches, emergency treatment is advisable.

    Q: You recently mentioned the value of l-lysine for dealing with cold …

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    THINNER YOU: Moderation in all things – how to avoid the diet blues


    What comes to mind for you when you hear the word diet? If you’re like most people, you probably imagine eating carrot sticks, going to bed hungry, and giving up your favorite foods—and that’s why so many diets fail. Most people just can’t tolerate those kinds of restrictions for very long.

    The more you try to eliminate your favorite foods, the more feelings of discomfort, deprivation and resentment build up. This can result in bingeing on all the foods you’ve been denying yourself, undoing all your hard work in a single day. But even if you can avoid that problem, are you willing to eat like a rabbit for the rest of your life?

    Studies show that 95 percent of people who follow a highly restrictive diet to lose weight will put the weight back on when they return to “normal” eating again. So what’s the alternative? How do you manage to lose weight without eliminating the problem foods and problem behaviors that made you overweight to …

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    HEALTHY EATING Think of add-ons as accessories

    How many calories are packed into a table spoon of tartar sauce? Find out.

    How many calories are packed into a table spoon of tartar sauce? Find out.


    The same concept can be applied to balancing your calorie budget smartly at meal time when you’re trying to cut back on consumption but still crave foods with flair.

    If weight control is your goal, why not get to know and love the style of eating that delivers on flavor and nutrition without the waist-widening price tags?

    Know the limits

    Think of blue cheese and bacon crumbles as accessories for your plate. They add flavor and flair to a dish, but too much just piles on unnecessary fat and calories.

    When you’re dining out, it’s not necessary to totally avoid the butter, gravy, cheese sauce and full-fat salad dressings; just learn to accessorize sensibly. Note that even olive oil, which is a heart-healthy fat, still carries a sizable caloric tag. So go easy on dipping bread into those little bowls of olive oil. Because the bread acts like a sponge, you can easily soak up several …

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    HEALTHY EATING Work with genes in making choices


    It’s all about you. Research on genetics and nutrition is proving that statement to be true as scientists learn more about the powerful connection between our genes and our diets.

    Just as many have suspected all along, some people are wired to be naturally thinner, and others may have been born with a genetic makeup that predisposes them to being overweight.

    But geneticist and registered dietitian Ruth DeBusk says you don’t have to accept defeat because of your DNA.

    “Genes matter, but they’re not necessarily destiny. Our challenge is to learn what our genetic makeup is and then to make the appropriate diet and lifestyle choices throughout our lives,” she said.

    In a commentary written for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, DeBusk says that there’s a dynamic interaction between our genes and environmental factors, including what we eat. “Food is a major environmental factor that ‘talks’ to the genes,” she said. “There are …

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    CANCER TALES Life, including cancer, was a trip

    Carol Meyer and her husband, Herb.

    Carol Meyer of Roswell and her husband, Herb.

    By Carol Meyer
    “Life is a trip”. Literally. Unfortunately, it can be a trip with smooth sailing or one that has lots of bumps in the road.

    This past year has been a literal “sinkhole” for us. No bumps, just swallowed up by huge problems. My husband Herb was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in October of 2007. It was just another workday for him. A real estate prospecting day for me and school for my son. It turned out to be a
    life-changing day, week, and months going ahead.

    By the time Herb was actually beginning his treatment in November, we were prepared for the worst. It wasn’t just his illness. Along with that, his employer chose to terminate him (probably because of health insurance).
    Anyway, we had to forge on and we did. Chemo, radiation, lack of energy, lack of money, and lack of a normal life. But not a lack of fortitude, hope and optimism. He chose life and I was at his side for the big fight. So far, Herb is a …

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    THINNER YOU: 7 Secrets to outsmart your supermarket

    By Sarah Haan of SparkPeople

    Conniving. Manipulative. Scheming. I’m not talking about your ex; I’m talking about your grocery store. On your next trip, be prepared to fight back against the tactics most supermarket chains use to get you to spend more money on “extras” that you don’t really need—tactics that affect your wallet and your health.

    You’re on your weekly grocery trip. You’ve got your list in hand, and you’re ready to purchase the items you need for your healthy, preplanned meals. You walk through the supermarket doors and…oh! Look at the Fourth of July decorations! Visions of cookouts, party favors and kids with sparklers are now dancing through your head. You hang around the display, pick up a “two-for” deal on red, white and blue wrapped chocolates, and grab streamers and balloons because your sister-in-law might have forgotten supplies to jazz up the kids table for the party next week. 2,549 calories and at least $10 unplanned dollars later, you’ve …

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