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July 9, 2016: Women’s Health
Today’s discussion was the first of three walks focusing on women’s health. Today’s topic was cancer prevention. Although women’s health is can be a sensitive topic, it is important to discuss. We began by talking about the two main methods of cervical cancer prevention: (1) HPV vaccine and (2) pap smears. Cervical cancer is unique from most other cancers because it 70% of cases arise from the HPV virus. Therefore, it is recommended that all adolescents receive the vaccine; which is given 3 times over a span of 7 months. The vaccine is also recommended for boys because HPV can cause throat and mouth cancer, among other health problems.
A pap smear is a test where the physician takes a small swab of cervical cells and examines them under a microscope to look for abnormalities. Although health guidelines recommend an annual pelvic exam for women, pap tests are only necessary every 3 years from ages 21-30 and every 5 years after that until age 65. This exam is important, because cervical cancer is more easily treatable when it is caught as early as possible.
Next, we talked a bit about breast cancer prevention. Because the topic of breast cancer is so broad, we learned about the most important prevention technique – regular mammograms. Primary care physicians recommend that all women begin having mammograms every 2 years from ages 50-74. More frequent and more comprehensive testing is needed in the case of any abnormalities.
Following the lesson, the families were given paper to anonymously write down questions to be answered at our destination—the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP) clinic at Mount Sinai. But first, snack time! The kids raced through the Central Park entrance near 97th Street and we convened near the playground by what used to be known as the “dust bowl”, but has since been replanted with grass. We passed our apples and bananas as usual, enjoying the cool breeze.
After we collected the food waste for composting, we convened in the lobby of the clinic, joined by EHHOP volunteers, and addressed the mothers’ written questions.
Date: July 9th, 2016
Time: about 3 hours
Calories: 450 kcal**
Co-leaders: Cappy Collins, Mario Lavelanet, Deysi Martinez, Alicia López, Sharely Fred, Lauren Lee, Akeem Williams, Celeste Matsui
“Walking, 2.0 mph,” 130lbs = 150 kcal/hr