Tag Archives: glen burnie

Cervical Cancer: Very Preventable


Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death for American women. Thanks to routine testing and vaccination, it is now largely preventable, but women of color still get and die from the disease at higher rates than other women.

Cause of cervical cancer
Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Most people’s immune systems fight off HPV with no problem. In 10%-20% of women, however, the virus survives and can cause cervical cancer.

Routine Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix, as well as early stages of cancer, and the HPV vaccine is effective in preventing the disease. With this combination, cervical cancer rates and deaths have declined by 75% in recent years.

Racial disparities in cervical cancer
Despite this good news, women of color are twice as likely to get and die from cervical cancer than white women. Reasons for this include disparities experienced by some minority women:
• Economic barriers to gynecologic care. Low-income women are less likely to be able to access health care, including cervical cancer screening.
• Even when they get a Pap test, minority women have less access to follow-up care. This makes them more likely to get a late-stage diagnosis of cervical cancer when successful treatment is more difficult.
• Black women are the least likely of any racial group to get the HPV vaccine. Barriers include limitations in insurance coverage, lack of information about the value of the HPV vaccine, and mistrust of the health care system.

Symptoms of cervical cancer
Early-stage cervical cancer generally has no symptoms. Signs of more advanced cancer include:
• Vaginal bleeding after intercourse, between periods, or after menopause
• Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor
• Pelvic pain or pain during intercourse

Reducing your risk of cervical cancer
• Receiving a vaccination to prevent HPV infection can reduce your risk of cervical cancer. Ask your doctor whether an HPV vaccine is right for you.
• Routine Pap tests can detect precancerous conditions of the cervix, as well as catch cancer early when it’s treatable. Begin Pap tests at age 21 and repeat them every few years.
• Prevent HPV and other sexually transmitted infections by practicing safe sex, such as using a condom every time.
• Smoking has been linked to cervical cancer, so if you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

Delilah Milligan, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Notre Dame of Maryland University and her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Chamberlain College of Nursing. She cares for patients in MPCP’s Glen Burnie office.

Do ‘Natural’ Sunscreens Really Work?

By: Destiny Ingram, CRNP

Sun exposure increases our risk of Melanoma cancer, a serious skin cancer linked to death in the United States. This makes questions arise on the best ways to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays. Many people like to use “natural” products, so stores now sell sunscreens containing “natural” ingredients that claim to be just as effective as chemical-based sunscreens. Is that true, or are you risking your money – and your skin – by using natural sunscreens?

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s rays. Their active ingredients (the ones that protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays) are synthetic, such as avobenzone, ecamsule, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate, and oxybenzone.

By contrast, natural sunscreen are mineral-based products that usually contain titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or both, as active ingredients. Those minerals work by deflecting the sun’s UV rays.

Consumer Reports, a national product-testing organization, compared chemical and natural sunscreens for effectiveness over a four-year period. They found that chemical sunscreens consistently score better than their natural competitors. Chemical sunscreens provide superior UVA and UVB protection, and are more likely to deliver the SPF (sun protection factor) promised on their label than natural products.

Their conclusion: natural sunscreen provide some protection but are less effective than chemical sunscreens, so users may be getting more UV damage than they think.

Questions about chemicals

Some people opt for natural sunscreens because they’ve heard that the chemicals in sunscreens may be dangerous. There has been a lot of research showing the active in ingredients in BOTH natural and chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the body and present cancer and neurotoxic risks when used in large amounts, but the FDA currently approves the ingredients in chemical sunscreens as safe and effective. Besides, health professionals agree that getting skin cancer is a much greater risk. Those concerned would benefit greatly from broad-rimmed hats and new, cooling SPF labeled clothing that are hitting many outdoor stores.

How to use sunscreen effectively

Follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology to get maximum protection from your sunscreen:

  • Look for products labeled “broad spectrum,” which means they protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Choose a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30-50
  • Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors
  • To protect your lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen
  • When outdoors, reapply sunscreen about every two hours, or after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the bottle.
  • When possible, wear broad-rimmed hats, light weight and loose long sleeves and pants to keep skin covered.


Destiny Ingram, Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, received her Master of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. She sees patients in MPCP’s Glen Burnie office.

Why You Need a Checkup (Even If You Feel Fine)

By: Manuel Skow, P.A.

If you feel okay, you don’t need to see the doctor, right?

Wrong. An annual checkup with your primary care doctor should be part of your regular health routine, just like exercise. Here are five good reasons to schedule a checkup, even if you feel fine.

1. Staying healthy

Keeping up to date with vaccinations and screenings is basic to good health. Vaccinations can prevent some serious diseases, such as measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, German measles, mumps, tetanus, rotavirus, the flu and even cervical cancer. And screening tests are done to detect potential diseases in people who do not have any symptoms, leading to the early identification of serious conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer. Early detection is important because it provides the best opportunity for a cure.

2. Knowing your numbers

Do you know your numbers? They include:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol level
  • Blood sugar level
  • Body mass index

High blood pressure and blood sugar, and unhealthy weight and cholesterol, greatly increase your risk for heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease.  Also, if you have prediabetes or diabetes, you must carefully monitor your number to control the disease and improve the quality of your health.

Your doctor can help you learn your numbers and take steps to keep them in a healthy range.

3. Creating a medical record

Annual visits to the doctor are a chance to update your personal medical record. This record helps your doctor keep tabs on your health and monitor any issues you have.  Also, if you are hospitalized in an emergency, having access to your medical records can reduce unnecessary testing, prevent allergic reactions, and help you get the best care possible.

4. Building a doctor-patient relationship

This relationship doesn’t just happen. It takes several visits for your doctor to really understand you, and for you to feel comfortable with your doctor. A good relationship is important because it can affect any treatment you receive, such as whether you can take certain medications.

5. Low-cost prevention

Most health insurance covers an annual checkup, including lab tests. There may be a small co-pay, but this is usually minimal. For one low fee, your doctor can assess your health, discuss your needs and concerns, and help you head off potentially serious health issues.

Has it been more than a year since your last checkup? Call your MPCP office today to set one up and get started on your healthier future.


Manuel Skow, PAManuel Skow, Physician Assistant, received his Master of Science/Physician Assistant degree from St. Francis University, and completed his Physician Assistant Preceptorships in Primary Care at the U. S. Naval Academy Brigade Clinic and Internal Medicine/Cardiology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He sees patients in MPCP’s Glen Burnie office.