Mars and Venus

With January being Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, FOCUS Editorial Director Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, says that the opening month of the year provides an opportunity for learning about tools for prevention and early detection of cervical cancer. She also presents information about a possible link between tooth loss and blindness in older men, and discusses the possible effects of early surgical menopause for women.

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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and is an opportunity for educating ourselves, our daughters and our friends about women’s tools for prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.

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Cervical cancer previously killed more American women than any other cancer. Today, cervical cancer mortality has fallen over 70 percent in the past five years, mainly due to extensive use of the Pap test for early detection. While Pap tests have quickly become accepted as a standard practice for cancer screening, the medical community has seen slow progress in public-acceptance of HPV vaccinations for cervical cancer prevention.(1)

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists first recommended annual cervical cancer screenings and pelvic exams in 1995. From 1998 to 2007, new cases of cervical cancer fell 2.7 percent each year while cervical cancer mortality dropped by 2.2 percent annually. If administered widely, vaccination against HPV has the potential to further decrease cervical cancer’s rate of incidence and mortality.

In spite of recommendation from the FDA and medical community, vaccination against HPV continues to grow at a disturbingly slow rate, according to experts. In 2011, only 35 percent of 11-12 year old girls received HPV vaccinations.(2) In 2013, approximately 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in the United States with a majority of cases being HPV-associated.(1) The HPV vaccine is a first step in cervical cancer prevention. We also know that HPV is implicated in some oral cancers.

For women 21 or older, regular Pap tests and cancer screenings are the next step. Early detection of cervical cancer gives women a 92 percent survival rate. Women should take this month to learn about the best options for them and their daughters for protecting themselves against cervical cancer.

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And men, listen up!

New research has discovered a possible link between tooth loss and blindness in older men. Results of a recent study disclose that men are more than four times as likely to suffer from age-related blindness if they have lost the bone supporting the teeth compared to the general population.(4) Also, a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men in their 30s who had severe periodontal disease were three times more likely to suffer from erection problems.(5) While this study suggests an association between erectile dysfunction and periodontal disease, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) believes more research is needed before conclusively linking the two.(6)

And women, more news for you.

Early surgical menopause has been linked to declines in memory and thinking skills, according to a study released this past Tuesday that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego, March 16 to 23, 2013.(7) The results were the same after controlling for causes such as age, education and smoking. This same association was not seen in women who underwent natural menopause.

Join us at RDH Under One Roof for the exclusive Esther Wilkins Legacy LeagueMembers Only luncheon.(8)

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Last, but not least, I attended Dental Hygiene in a Changing World Workshop. The workshop focused on how to develop and capitalize on leadership skills in order to take advantage of new career opportunities. It was a great meeting, and I will be writing more about this in upcoming newsletters.

Thanks to all the contributors in this issue of RDH eVillage FOCUS. Enjoy!

3. New Cervical Cancer Screening Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society/American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology/American Society for Clinical Pathology.
4. Karesvuo P, Gursoy UK, Pussinen PJ, Suominen A L, Huumonen S, Vesti E, and Könönen E. Alveolar Bone Loss Associated With Age-Related Macular Degeneration in Males. Journal of Periodontology Jan 2013, Vol. 84, No. 1, Pages 58-67.
5. Oğuz, F, Eltas A, Beytur, A, Akdemir E, Uslu M Ö, and Güneş A. Is There a Relationship Between Chronic Periodontitis and Erectile Dysfunction? The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2012. DO - 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02974.x,
6. AAP Press Release. Men's Sexual Health May be Linked to Periodontal Health.
7. Press release. American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Newswire. American Academy of Neurology’s 65th Annual Meeting.


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Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

To read previous RDH eVillage FOCUS introductions by Maria Perno Goldie, go to introductions.

To read more about cancer awareness, click here.

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