January: Cervical Health & Thyroid Awareness Month
The United States Congress deigned January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is virtually always preventable with vaccination and appropiate screening (PAP and HPV tests)
What is cervical cancer?
Cervical cancer is cancer that start in the cervix, the narrow opening into the uterus from the vagina. The normal "Ectocervix" (the protion of the uterus extending into the vagina) is a healthy pink color and is covered with flat, thin cells called squamous cells. The "endocervix" or cervical canal is made up of another kind of cell called columnar cells. The area where these cells meet is called the "transformation zone" (T-zone) and is the most likely location for abnormal or precancerous cells to develp.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is found in about 99% of cervical cancer. There are over 100 different types of HPV, most of wich are considered low-risk and do not cause vervical cancer. High-risk HPV types may cause cervical cell abnormalities or cancer. More than 70% of cervical cancer cases can be attributed to two types of the virus, HPV-16 and HPV-18, often referred to as high-risk HPV types.
The Thyroid is a small gland located in the base of your neck that is part of the endocrine system. This tiny gland has a big job, and nobody disputes that! The gland is responsible for various functions including the metabolism, regulating body temperature, cognitive function, digestion, and much more. To make it easy, the thyroid affects the entire body and when it is not working properly you will definitely feel the effects.
The symptoms of course vary depending on the condition, but there are many warnings signs that something is not right. There are over 300 symptoms that indicate thyroid dysfunction, the most common ones being:
- Dry skin (Hypothyroidism)
- Cold hands/feet (Hypothyroidism)
- Unexplained weight gain (Hypothyroidism)
- Unexplained weight loss (Hyperthyroidism)
- Loose bowels/diarrhea (Hyperthyroidism)
- Vision issues (Graves' disease)
- Difficulty swallowing (Goiter/Thyroid nodules)