Every year there are 400,000 Canadian women who receive news that their Pap test results are not normal. The voice of women physicians, The Federation of Medical Women of Canada (www.fmwc.ca) wants to change that. This month they are launching an awareness campaign aimed at physicians to urge their female patients to have a PAP test. #endcancer
Cervical cancer is the 4th most common reproductive cancer in Canadian women today.
This year, 1500 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and sadly 380 women will die. Cervical cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the cervix. Malignant means that it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Cells in the cervix sometimes change and no longer grow or behave normally. Changes to cells of the cervix can also cause precancerous conditions. This means that these cells are not yet cancer, but there is a chance that these abnormal cells might become cancerous if not treated. Most women with precancerous changes of the cervix are successfully treated and don’t develop cancer. *
Cervical Cancer is Preventable!
Most cervical cancers are diagnosed in women who have never been screened or have not been screened regularly. Screening is the only way to detect the early changes that might lead to cervical cancer. I can’t emphasize enough how important is to have a PAP test. In Ontario PAP tests are recommended at the age of 21, if the individual has ever been sexually active. If the test is normal, then screening should be done every three years.
HPV and Cervical Cancer can be prevented with vaccines.
Another way to protect against cancer is to get vaccinated against HPV, the Human Papillomavirus. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection with more than 40 types of HPV contracted through sexual intercourse, genital skin-to-skin contact and oral sex. They can infect the genital areas of men and women, including the penis, vulva, vagina, cervix, rectum and anus.
There are millions of women in Canada who still do not get regular PAP tests and/or a HPV vaccination.We are fortunate in Canada to have access to government-funded healthcare. Prevention is the best way to reduce your chances of facing a serious illness.
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We know that healthy aging is a lifelong process for preserving and improving your physical and mental well-being. The choices we make today may impact on our future health. So how healthy are Canadians? We have good overall longevity
- A man who is currently 65 can expect to live another 17.4 years.
- A woman who is currently 65 can expect to live another 20.8 years.
- BUT, men are more likely (59%) than women (52%) to have overall good health
- We have an epidemic of high blood pressure, which puts us at risk for stroke and heart disease. And we need to be more aggressive about medication.
- Over 19% of Canadians aged 20 to 79 are hypertensive or 4.6 million and another 20% are pre-hypertensive or 4.8 million.
- 42% of Canadians living with high blood pressure are unaware of their condition and only 16% have it treated and under control
- About 1.8 million Canadians aged 12 and over have been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers project an increase of diagnosed diabetes in Canada to 2.4 million by the year 2016. Combined with obesity and high blood pressure this is a serious increasing risk both to the individual and to our health care system!
So Is 60 the new 40?
Well, we need to be aggressive about modifying our risks, whether taking medications as prescribed, exercising, losing weight and overall living a much more healthy lifestyle. For 60 can be the new 40…BUT…40 can be the new 60 if we are not careful!!!
Healthy aging is a lifelong process of optimizing opportunities for improving and preserving all aspects of your health whether it’s your physical well being, enhancing your social and mental wellness or transitioning successfully through various stages in your life.
Healthy aging can delay or minimize the severity of chronic diseases and disabilities in later life, saving health care costs and reducing long term care needs and enabling you to get more out of life.
Over the next several blogs I will be talking about and giving you information on healthy aging. What it means; What you need to keep on track; As well as providing some eye opening statistics on the state of our health in Canada.
The first step on the road towards healthy aging is to determine how healthy are you. Here is a checklist of key indicators you can use to determine whether you are on track.
How Healthy are You?
•What is your overall health status today?
•How would you rate your quality of life?
•Is your BMI normal?
•Are you able to walk and run?
•Are you able to squat down to the floor?
•Do you have a strong grip?
•Do you suffer any chronic health conditions?
•Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, back
pain, lung problems, mental health?
This is your baseline for starting to take stock of your health. In my next blog, I will provide you with a further incentive to get in shape and start thinking about healthy aging, with some eye opening statistics on the state of our health in Canada.