PAP SMEAR: TEST LOOKS FOR PRESENCE OF PRECANCEROUS CELLS

A Pap smear is a procedure that screens for cervical cancer. Most women should start getting Pap smears at age 21 years and every three years after. It should be a part of your annual physical exam. The test looks for the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening of the uterus or womb. During the procedure, cells from the cervix are scraped away. It is not painful and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. You may bleed a little after the test is completed.

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WHAT IS A MEDICARE WELLNESS EXAM?

A Medicare Wellness Exam is a preventative screening visit your provider wants you to have once a year. This visit is free and is separate from your annual physical exam (if your plan covers annual physicals). Traditional Medicare does not pay for a physical – it only covers a Wellness Exam.  What is a Wellness Exam? The visit is covered once every 12 months (11 full months must have passed since your last visit). It is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health....

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ORAL HERPES

Oral herpes is an infection caused by a specific type of the herpes simplex virus. This condition, also called HSV-1 or sometimes cold sores or fever blisters, creates painful sores on your lips, gums and tongue, as well as the roof of your mouth and sometimes the inside of your cheeks. It may even affect your nose and chin. Symptoms of oral herpes include swelling in the lymph nodes, fever, tiredness and aching muscles. While the initial infection with oral herpes occurs most often in children ages 1-2 years, ….

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COPING WITH THE CHALLENGES OF CHEMOTHERAPY

Some cancer patients have diarrhea. If this happens to you, try the BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce, tea and toast. It is very important to drink plenty of water when you are experiencing diarrhea. You can also have drinks that provide electrolytes, such as Gatorade or Pedialyte. Conversely, constipation is another side effect of chemo. Try adding fiber to your diet by eating more beans and fresh fruits and vegetables. Your doctor can prescribe special laxatives to help you avoid constipation.


Another side effect of chemo is called chemo brain or chemo fog. This happens more often in treatments that use large doses of chemo drugs. You may find it difficult to concentrate or have problems with your memory. If you notice this, talk to your doctor. He or she will have resources to help you overcome these effects. In rare cases, chemo brain can last for a long time after treatment.


Exercise is a good coping mechanism for chemo, but be sure to assess your strength and stamina. The American Cancer Society recommends getting as much rest as you can during treatment, so try not to overdo it.

If you have any questions or concerns about coping with chemo, be sure to talk to your primary care physician to find out what he or she recommends. Educate yourself about your treatment beforehand so you can know what to expect and be prepared to handle it. For most people, chemo side effects go away soon after treatments end.

DR RAJEANA CONWAY

Dr. Rajeana Conway is an Internal Medicine specialist at Family Practice Associates of Lexington who sees patients 18 years of age and older.  She is originally from Maysville, Kentucky and is married with two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family, going to church, watching TV, crafting, and going to the lake.  Dr. Conway earned her medical degree from The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2015 and completed her residency in internal medicine at The Christ Hospital in 2018.  For an appointment with Dr. Conway, please call our office at (859) 278-5007.

more articles by Dr Rajeana Conway

Chemotherapy drugs are very strong. They kill fast-growing cells, even if they are healthy, non-cancer cells. Many patients undergoing chemo encounter side effects such as nausea, fatigue, lack of appetite and constipation or diarrhea. Each person with cancer reacts differently to chemotherapy. Some people don’t have nausea and vomiting while receiving chemo. This is often due to the types of drugs used and the dosage received. Your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea/vomiting medicines even before treatment begins, based on the type of chemo you are getting and how much nausea and vomiting may be expected.


There are a number of things you can do to cope with the challenges of chemo. To help your body get enough protein to make new healthy cells to replace the ones that are lost during chemo, be sure to eat healthy foods. Of course, for some cancer patients, eating is difficult because the chemo drugs may affect the taste buds, making food taste metallic, and cause a lack of appetite. You may want to forego certain foods, especially those that are hot or spicy, high in fiber and greasy or fried. Low-fat, bland and salty foods are better choices. Eat frequent small meals and snacks to ensure you are getting enough calories. Try having soup, oatmeal, cottage cheese, sandwiches, rice, mashed potatoes, toast, dry saltine crackers, applesauce and Jell-O. It’s best to avoid alcohol because it may cause problems with certain chemo drugs, but keep drinking water or other clear liquids, especially if you experience dry mouth.