A letter from Nancy Church, R.N. - BCCS President/CEO
I think that most of us were ready to see 2020 pass and are hopeful that the pandemic that we have been living through will be brought under control in 2021. This past year there have been moments of distress on many different levels as well as moments of people rising above the distress and giving in heroic ways. I am very proud of the BCCS staff as they have continued to care for our patients in the home and from the office despite fears of COVID and changing guidelines. Thank you to each of you who have supported us and our patients. We also thank patients who have been flexible as we have made changes based on recommended guidelines.
One of the changes that has occurred in the new year, is that Suzanne Arent is moving on to a new horizon and Lorna Pullen will be the new administrative assistant. We will certainly miss Suzanne and wish her the best while welcoming Lorna and are excited to have her with us.
As we observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and the National Day of Racial Healing, we reflect on the need to serve and empower all individuals equally. Unfortunately, cancer sees no racial boundaries. Disparities in healthcare make this a greater risk for those of color. We are here to help anyone who is in need of services. Please call our office at 269-429-3281 for assistance.
With January being cervical cancer awareness month, let’s spend a few minutes discussing it. According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer can often be found early, and may even be prevented by having regular screening tests. If detected early, it is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. This cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix which is found at the lower part of the uterus as it connects to the vagina. Generally, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop abnormal changes that are called pre-cancerous. If these cells are caught at this stage, treatment of these cells often by removal will prevent further abnormal growth. Having certain human papilloviruses (HPV) which cause some types of genital warts are strongly linked to cervical and other cancers while other HPVs have a low cancer risk. Ways to prevent cervical cancer:
- Regular screen tests called the Pap test and HPV test evaluate the cervical cells for abnormalities. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated to keep it from turning into a cervical cancer.
- Vaccines are available that can protect children and young adults against certain HPV infections. Talk with your physician to find out if this is recommended for your child or young adult.
- Limit exposure to HPV. HPV is passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin contact with an infected area of the body. Most people associate it with sexual activity, but sex doesn’t have to occur for the infection to spread. Limiting the number of sexual partners and avoiding sex with people who have had many other sexual partners may lower your risk. Condoms may provide some protections but don’t completely prevent infection.
- Avoid smoking – women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer. Adapted from: www.cancer.org