BREAST CANCER: EARLY DISCOVERY ENHANCES SURVIVAL RATE

All women need to know about breast cancer because it can be very serious and potentially fatal. Breast cancer kills more women in the United States than any other cancer except lung cancer. Experts estimate one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. But the good news is that death rates are going down. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer today often do much better than in previous years.

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NEW SCREENING DEVICE AVAILABLE FOR PATIENTS WITH DIABETES

People who have diabetes must be vigilant about their eyes. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults between the ages of 20 and 74 years, and 45 percent of patients with diabetes develop diabetic eye disease, which can lead to severe vision loss or even blindness, according to www.DiabetesSightRisk.com. One complication of diabetes that affects the eyes is diabetic retinopathy. In this condition, blood vessels become blocked and prevents areas of.....

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FEELING S.A.D. DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON? YOU’LL BE O.K.

The holidays are wonderful, but there is also a great deal of stress at this time of year. Not only are people expected to eat more than they should, drink more than they should and spend more than they can really afford, but they are also expected to be joyous and merry and full of good cheer. For some people, however, the holidays are not something they look forward to.

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OVARIAN CYSTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

An ovarian cyst is a sac filled with fluid or semisolid material that forms on or within an ovary. These cysts are highly common, especially during the childbearing years. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, ovarian cysts are less common after menopause; however, postmenopausal women who have an ovarian cyst are at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer. In most cases, cysts are harmless and typically go away on their own.


There are several different types of cysts. The Cleveland Clinic says functional ovarian cysts occur as a result of ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). When the follicle fails to release the egg and the fluid stays within the follicle, a cyst forms. These cysts generally shrink without specific treatment within one to two months or one or two menstrual cycles. They can cause significant discomfort but cause no true harm on the body.


Dermoid cysts, which develop from an egg, can contain tissue, hair or teeth. Cystadenomas cysts, which develop from ovarian tissue, can contain water or mucous. Both of these types of cysts can grow significantly and cause twisting (torsion) of the ovaries, resulting in severe pain. Endometriomas occur when women suffering from endometriosis have abnormal endometrial tissue growth on an ovary.

The Office of Women’s Health in the Department of Health and Human Services (www.womenshealth.gov) says some women have ovaries that naturally make recurring small cysts. This disease process is called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This hormone-related condition can cause problems with the ovaries themselves, as well as difficulty in conceiving.


Ovarian cysts are sometimes found during a routine pelvic exam; however, most are identified after a woman comes into the physician’s office complaining of lower unilateral or bilateral pelvic discomfort. Ultrasound is used to help providers identify the type of cyst and its shape, size and location. Most cysts are small and do not cause problems or display any symptoms. These are called simple cysts. Some larger cysts can cause pelvic pain, dull back ache, a bloated sensation, pain during intercourse or abnormally painful menstrual cycles. Larger cysts that can cause torsion of the ovary typically are identified as complex cysts. Complex cysts need frequent monitoring via ultrasound and may require surgical removal if they show no improvement over time.


Perhaps your provider has told you that you have a cyst. While he or she may

reassure you there is nothing to worry about, be mindful of your symptoms and seek medical attention if you experience increasing pain with fever and vomiting; sudden, severe abdominal pain; faintness, dizziness or weakness. These symptoms could mean your cyst has ruptured. Cysts that bleed or rupture may lead to serious problems. If any problems with urination occur or the abdominal pain doesn’t go away, contact your provider for further evaluation.


To treat cysts, hormone therapy is frequently used to help prevent ovulation. In preventing ovulation, you decrease your changes tremen- dously of developing functional cysts. If your cyst is large enough, causes severe pain, and/or has not resolved after several menstrual cycles, you may need surgery. About 8 percent of premenopausal women develop cysts large enough to require surgery. Laparoscopy is the procedure of choice, where the surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a small device that lets him or her view the reproductive organs and pelvic cavity. The cysts can be removed via this tiny incision; it can be made slightly larger if needed without being too invasive. The cyst will be sent for testing to determine if it is cancerous. If it is, then removing one or both of the ovaries may be recommended.

AMBER BALLARD

Amber Ballard is a native of Beattyville, KY, and currently lives in Lexington, KY, with her husband and two children. She was a NICU nurse for five and a half years before receiving her MSN in Nursing in 2011. Amber has experience in primary care and urgent care, but has a specific interest in women’s health and pediatrics. She joined FPA in September 2014.

more articles by Amber Ballard