Angelina Jolie is known the world over as a talented actress, humanitarian, devoted mother and beauty icon. Now she can add cancer activist to that list. Recently, Jolie revealed that she had undergone a double mastectomy with breast reconstruction as a result of being positive for the BRCA gene mutation. Overnight, hereditary breast cancer risk assessment, gene testing and treatment options were being discussed on a worldwide stage. Time magazine dubbed this tremendous public service as the “Angelina Effect.”
About one in eight women (just under 12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. An estimated 230,000 new cases of invasive cancer and 60,000 new cases of pre-invasive (in-situ) cancer are diagnosed each year. While the vast majority of these cancers are sporadic (non-hereditary, non-familial), there is growing understanding about a subset of women who develop hereditary cancers. Two breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, have been identified. Women who have inherited mutations in these genes face a much higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer compared with the general population: up to 87 percent risk for breast cancer and up to 44 percent risk for ovarian cancer.
What’s All the Buzz about Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC)?
Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC) is a delivery option for women who have had a Cesarean section delivery in the past. VBAC means giving birth vaginally instead of having a repeat Cesarean section. Years ago, Cesarean sections were routinely followed by more Cesarean sections; vaginal delivery was rarely an option.
In the past several years, Cesarean section rates have gone up dramatically, and currently about one in every three deliveries in the
Is VBAC an option for me?
VBAC is an option for many women who have had Cesarean sections. The
You may be surprised to find that not only older women, but women of all ages need to be aware of the condition of their bones and work toward maintaining habits that will reduce the risk of osteoporosis and frail bones in the future.
What is bone density and why is it important?
Bone density is the measurement of how strong one’s bones are. In general, bones that are denser are healthier, meaning the bones have more calcium stored. Bones are a living tissue and go through phases of formation. At a younger age, our bodies carry out this process quickly, but as we age our bodies slow and bones may not be reformed at the same pace they once were. This deficit leads to a lower bone density and we become more at risk for fractures and signs of osteoporosis.
What is Pertussis?
Pertussis (sometimes called “Whooping cough”) is a very serious and highly contagious respiratory infection (in the lungs and breathing tubes) caused by the Pertussis bacteria. It causes violent coughing you may not be able to stop. Pertussis is most harmful for young babies and can be deadly.
How common is Pertussis?
In 2012, more than 41,000 cases of Pertussis were reported, with 18 Pertussis-related deaths. The majority of deaths occur among infants younger than three months of age.
Why should I get Tdap?
Given in the third trimester of pregnancy, Tdap not only protects you, but also provides your baby with passive immunity to Pertussis at birth. Without this protection, infants are not protected at all until they receive their first vaccine at two months old and are not fully protected until six months old, when they have received three doses of the vaccine.
Have you ever had a physician tell you to be sure you are performing regular self-breast exams? Women often hear this and are afraid to ask detailed questions as to what their physician is referring to. Being aware of what you are feeling for and when to bring a specific area into question is important and often unknown. The following questions are frequently asked and can hopefully bring some clarification to this topic.
What is a self-breast exam?
When performing a self-breast examination you are checking your breasts for problems or noticeable changes. Often times, women area able to located breast problems themselves rather than waiting for their annual exams. However, please note that choosing to carry out self-breast exams does not replace the need for clinical breast exams by a doctor or undergoing an annual mammogram! These steps are still necessary; self-exams can simply be beneficial for the time lapsing between appointments.