The Woman's Group
November 9th, 2017   Posted By admin   Posted in Breast Cancer, Tampa Gynecologist | No Comments »
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Cancer Doctors Cite Risks of Drinking Alcohol

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, which represents many of the nation’s top cancer doctors, is calling attention to the ties between alcohol and cancer.

In a recent story featured in the New York Times and other news outlets, in a statement published Tuesday,  Journal of Clinical Oncology, the group cites evidence that even light drinking can slightly raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer and increase a common type of esophageal cancer.

Heavy drinkers face much higher risks of mouth and throat cancer, cancer of the voice box, liver cancer and, to a lesser extent, colorectal cancers, the group cautions.

“The message is not, ‘Don’t drink.’ It’s, ‘If you want to reduce your cancer risk, drink less. And if you don’t drink, don’t start,’” said Dr. Noelle LoConte, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the lead author of the ASCO statement. “It’s different than tobacco where we say, ‘Never smoke. Don’t start.’ This is a little more subtle.”

Other medical groups have cited the risks of alcohol as a possible cause of cancer. But this is the first time that ASCO has taken a stand.

Drinking over all, as well as heavy drinking and problem drinking, are on the rise in the United States and affect all segments of society, including women, older adults, racial and ethnic minorities and the poor, several surveys have shown.

Yet few adults, when asked, identify alcohol consumption as a risk factor for cancer, even though the vast majority were familiar with other cancer risk factors, like smoking and sun exposure, a recent ASCO survey of 4,016 adults found. Fewer than one in three adults identified alcohol as a risk factor for cancer. (Most also failed to mention obesity as a risk factor.)

For the statement, ASCO researchers reviewed earlier published studies and concluded that 5.5 percent of all new cancers and 5.8 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide could be attributed to alcohol. The paper stated clearly that alcohol plays a causal role in cancers of the throat and neck, voice box, liver and colon, as well as esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and, in women, breast cancer.

For women, just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk, according to a report released in May from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund that was cited by ASCO. That report analyzed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and over a quarter of a million breast cancer cases, and concluded there was strong evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of both pre- and postmenopausal cancer, and that drinking a small glass of wine or beer every day — about 10 grams of alcohol — increases premenopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and postmenopausal risk by 9 percent.

“The more you drink, the higher the risk,” said Dr. Clifford A. Hudis, the chief executive of ASCO. “It’s a pretty linear dose-response.”

Read the rest of this story and more at:

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October 12th, 2017   Posted By admin   Posted in Obstetrics, Pregnancy | No Comments »
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Q&A:  Frequently Asked Questions about Pregnancy and Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Drugs

Here are answers to many questions asked about drugs and alcohol that are asked during pregnancy:

Why is smoking dangerous during pregnancy?

When a woman smokes cigarettes during pregnancy, her fetus is exposed to many harmful chemicals. Nicotine is only one of 4,000 toxic chemicals that can pass from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow, so less oxygen and fewer nutrients reach the fetus. Nicotine also damages a fetus’s brain and lungs. This damage is permanent.

How can smoking during pregnancy put my fetus at risk?

Several problems are more likely to occur during pregnancy when a woman smokes. These problems may include preterm birth, which is birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies that are born too early may not be fully developed. They may be smaller than babies born to nonsmokers, and they are more likely to have colic (with uncontrollable crying). These babies are at increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They also are more likely to develop asthma and obesity in childhood.

If you are smoking when you find out you are pregnant, you should stop. The American Lung Association offers information on how to quit on its website: You also can contact 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a national network that can connect you to a counselor in your state.

Why should I avoid secondhand smoke during pregnancy?

Secondhand smoke—other people’s smoke that you inhale—can increase the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby by as much as 20%. Infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of SIDS. These babies are more likely to have asthma attacks and ear infections. If you live or work around smokers, take steps to avoid secondhand smoke.

Are e-cigarettes safe to use during pregnancy?

Electronic cigarettes (known as “e-cigarettes”) are used by some people as a substitute for traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain harmful nicotine, plus flavoring and a propellant that may not be safe for a fetus. E-cigarettes are not safe substitutes for cigarettes and should not be used during pregnancy.

Why is drinking alcohol dangerous for my fetus?

Alcohol can interfere with the normal growth of a fetus and cause birth defects. When a woman drinks during pregnancy, her fetus can develop physical, intellectual, behavioral, and learning disabilities that can last a lifetime. The most severe disorder is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS can cause growth problems, intellectual disability, behavioral problems, and abnormal facial features.

Is there an amount of alcohol that is safe to drink during pregnancy?

FAS is most likely to occur in babies born to women who drink heavily throughout pregnancy. But alcohol-related problems can occur with lesser amounts of alcohol use. It is best not to drink at all while you are pregnant. If it is hard for you to stop drinking, talk with your obstetrician or other health care professional about your drinking habits. Alcoholics Anonymous offers information and local resources on quitting alcohol on its website:

What is illegal drug use?

Use of substances—including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, and prescription drugs taken for a nonmedical reason—is a widespread problem in the United States. About 1 in 20 women use illegal drugs (often called “street drugs”) during pregnancy.

How can my drug use affect my fetus?

Different drugs may affect the fetus in different ways. Using illegal drugs early in pregnancy can cause birth defects and miscarriage. During the later weeks of pregnancy, illegal drug use can interfere with the growth of the fetus and cause preterm birth and fetal death. If you need help quitting, you can find resources on the website of Narcotics Anonymous:

How can my drug use affect my baby after he or she is born?

Babies born to women who used illegal drugs during pregnancy may need specialized care after birth. These babies have an increased risk of long-term medical and behavioral problems.

Recreational marijuana is legal where I live. Can I use it during pregnancy?

Although it is legal in some states, marijuana should not be used in any form during pregnancy. Marijuana used during pregnancy is associated with attention and behavioral problems in children. Marijuana may increase the risk of stillbirth and the risk that babies will be smaller and weigh less than babies who are not exposed to marijuana before birth.

I use medical marijuana. Can I keep using it during pregnancy?

Some women use medical marijuana with a prescription ordered by a health care professional. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant stop using medical marijuana. You and your health care professional can discuss alternative treatments that will be safe for your fetus.

What are opioids?

Opioids—also called narcotics—are a type of medication that relieves pain. Doctors may prescribe opioids for people who have had surgery, dental work, or an injury. Prescribed opioids include oxycodone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and codeine.

Can I take prescription opioids during pregnancy?

If you are prescribed an opioid during pregnancy, you and your obstetrician or other health care professional should discuss the risks and benefits of this treatment. When taken under a doctor’s care, opioids are safe for both you and your fetus. It is important to take the medication only as prescribed.

What is opioid addiction?

Most people who use a prescription opioid have no trouble stopping their use, but some people develop an addiction. Those who become addicted may look for other ways to get the drug when their prescription runs out. They may go from doctor to doctor to have new prescriptions written for them. Some people use the illegal drug market to supply themselves with opioids.

How can opioid addiction affect my fetus?

Misusing opioids during pregnancy can increase the risk of serious complications, including placental abruption, fetal growth problems, preterm birth, and stillbirth.

Why should I seek treatment for opioid addiction?

When you are pregnant and have an opioid addiction, you should not suddenly stop using the drug without medical supervision. Withdrawal, especially when done abruptly, often leads to relapse, which can be harmful for you and your fetus.If you need help with an opioid addiction, you can find resources on the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): SAMHSA also has a 24-hour treatment referral line: 800-662-HELP (4357).

What is the treatment for opioid addiction during pregnancy?

The best treatment for opioid addiction during pregnancy is medication-assisted therapy (MAT). The medications that are given are long-acting opioids. This means that they stay active in the body for a long time. These opioids, called methadone and buprenorphine, reduce cravings but do not cause the pleasant feelings that other opioids cause. In addition to MAT, treatment involves drug counseling.

How will treatment for opioid addiction affect my fetus?

Treatment with either methadone or buprenorphine makes it more likely that the fetus will grow normally and not be born too early. Neither medicine has been found to cause birth defects. Some babies born to women taking opioids, including methadone or buprenorphine taken for treatment of addiction, can have temporary withdrawal symptoms. This is called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Not all babies will go through withdrawal. For those that do, swaddling, breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, and sometimes medications can be used to make babies with NAS feel better. If a baby is treated with medications, the dosage will be decreased over time until withdrawal symptoms have stopped.

Can I take my prescription medication during pregnancy?

Some prescription medications are safe to take during pregnancy. Others are not. Do not stop taking any medication prescribed for you without first talking to your obstetrician or other health care professional. If a medication you are taking is a risk during pregnancy, your obstetrician or other health care professional may adjust the dosage or may recommend switching to a safer drug while you are pregnant.

Can I take over-the-counter medications during pregnancy?

Some medications sold over the counter, including herbal supplements and vitamins, can cause problems during pregnancy. Some pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, may be harmful to a fetus. Check with your obstetrician or other health care professional before taking any over-the-counter drug. He or she can give you advice about medicines that are safe for pregnant women.

Information provided by

Always talk to your doctor or health care provider at The Woman’s Group if you have any concerns.

Copyright August 2017 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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September 18th, 2017   Posted By admin   Posted in Tampa Gynecologist | No Comments »
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September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

With 70% of women diagnosed in advanced stages of ovarian cancer, when prognosis is poor, we know that more needs to be done to spread awareness earlier of this disease that will take the lives of 14,000 women this year. Ovarian cancer is not that common, but because ovarian cancer often goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage, it is the number one cause of deaths from gynecologic cancer in the United States.

Ovarian cancer can develop on the surface of the ovary or from tissues inside the ovary. There are three main types.The type that develops on the surface of the ovary, epithelial ovarian cancer, is the most common type. About 90% of cases of ovarian cancer involve epithelial tumors. Certain risk factors are associated with epithelial ovarian cancer.

The following factors have been shown to increase a woman’s risk of getting this type of cancer:
– Age older than 55 years
– Family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus)
– Personal history of breast cancer
– Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
– Never having had children
– Infertility
– Endometriosis
– Lynch Syndrome

Currently, there is no screening test for ovarian cancer. You should be alert to any changes in your body and discuss them with your ob-gyn or health care professional. The earlier that ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the more likely that treatment will be successful.

If you have any of the following symptoms, especially if you have them for more than 12 days per month, contact your doctor:
– Bloating or an increase in abdominal size
– Pelvic or abdominal pain
– Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
– Urinary symptoms (frequency and urgency)
– Others symptoms can include vaginal bleeding, especially after menopause, and a change in bowel habits

Having these symptoms does not mean that you have ovarian cancer, but it is a good idea to find out what is causing them.

If you have frequent or persistent symptoms of ovarian cancer, you may have a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. An imaging test of the ovaries, such as a transvaginal ultrasound exam, may be done. If a growth is found on an ovary, your ob-gyn may order a blood test to measure your CA 125 level. CA 125 sometimes is increased in women with ovarian cancer. Results of these tests are used to assess the likelihood that the growth is cancer. Test results also will guide the next steps in evaluation.

Women treated for ovarian cancer need to have regular checkups to make certain that the cancer has not come back. A checkup after cancer treatment usually includes a review of symptoms and a physical exam.

Find our more about ovarian cancer at:

If you have any questions, always consult your doctor at The Woman’s Group.

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