This is not a topic nor a blog I have planned to write about, but I am have been rattled to my core… Take this as a public service announcement cause apparently not everyone is paying attention.
PAY ATTENTION NOW!
Y’all need to be aware that we, medical providers, are human and we too can make human errors. We do NOT always know what is best for our patients. So, you need to be your own advocate. I am not telling you to get a second opinion with Dr. Google, but ask questions until you are satisfied with the answer or find someone qualified to answer them for you.
It is time to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR HEALTH, YOUR LIFE AND YOUR ACTIONS. None of us are victims. We all, including healthcare providers, have been on the other side of the white coat as patients.
Even when fail-safes are in place, things can still get missed. Even if you have multiple humans looking at your records, things can still get missed. I am not trying to put the fear of GOD in you, but ASK QUESTIONS and “no news” when it comes to test results is NOT good news it’s just no news. Guidelines for testing and treatments change all the time. It is not your responsibility as patients to know them, but it is your responsibility to follow up if have not received your lab results or if your lab results are abnormal. It is your responsibility to follow our recommendations.
I am writing this because of an experience I am currently having. Ladies, when it comes to our breasts and pelvic health, please do not be ignorant. These are your organs. They live in your body. Get to know them because pathology can kill you.
These are healthy cervices. Healthy crevices can look very different. Most of the time you cannot see abnormal cells, even cancerous cells if you do not look at the cervix under a microscope. This procedure is called a colposcopy. Regular everyday, you can buy it at the grocery store, white vinegar is applied to the cervix and then viewed under a microscope with a green light. The vinegar will turn the abnormal cells white. Sometimes this is obvious and sometimes it is not.
All of the theses cervices are abnormal.
You may have random abnormal vaginal bleeding or bleeding with sex or you may have NO signs or symptoms at all.
If you have an abnormal pap smear and you are told to follow up, YOU NEED TO FOLLOW-UP. If you are told you do not need to follow up, but have an abnormal pap smear, please ask WHY. EVERY abnormal pap smear requires a follow-up, whether it is a repeat pap smear in 6 – 12 months or a colposcopy. Find out when you need to follow-up!
Some cervical cancers can be slow growing. Most women will clear HPV and will never have an abnormal pap smear. Some cervical cancers can be fast growing especially if you have HPV genotype 16 or 18. IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS. And, if you smoke you are 50% more likely to get cervical cancer because HPV LOVES cigarette smoke. You do not have to smoke to be at risk. Inhaling second hand smoke is smoking!
- 99% of women have been exposed to the HPV virus. Yes, that means you, even if you have never ever tested positive for it, you have likely been exposed.
- Cervical Cancer is caused by HPV (aka: human papillomavirus).
- Having sex with multiple partners increases your risk of contracting multiple genotypes of HPV.
- The HPV vaccine GARDASIL protects against either 4 or 9 of the HPV viruses depending on which vaccine you received.
- GARDASIL 9 is indicated in males and females age 9 – 26 for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) Types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; precancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV Types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; and genital warts caused by HPV Types 6 and 11.
- GARDASIL 4 protects against strains 6, 11, 16 and 18 only.
- HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68, 73, and 82 are considered carcinogenic (cancer causing). 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cancers.
- HPV that causes genital warts can grow on the cervix. I have seen it!
- Condoms do NOT protect against HPV unless the area of the penis, anus or vagina/vulva that is shedding the virus is covered by the condom.
- HPV causes 95% of anal cancers.
- HPV can cause mouth and throat cancers.
- Cervical cancer metastases outward into the peritoneum (abdominal and pelvic cavities) before it metastases into the uterus and vagina. This is why it is so deadly.
- You still need yearly paps if you have a new sex partner, if you have a history of abnormal pap smears and/or history of cervical cancer.
- If you have never had an abnormal pap smear you need a pap every 3 – 5 years depending on if you have had an HPV test with your pap smear.
- You STILL need yearly breast and pelvic exams.