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Gynecologic Cancer (Cervical Cancer)

Gynecologic Cancer (Cervical Cancer)

Cervical cancer is a cancer of the female reproductive tract.  The cause of most cervical cancers is human papillomavirus or HPV which is a common virus that is sexually transmitted, perhaps many years pre-diagnosis.  Most people who have had sex have been exposed to HPV.  In most cases it goes away.  Only women with persistent HPV are at risk for cervical cancer.  Lower your risk by delaying the onset of sexual activity, knowing your sexual partner, not smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, and practicing safe sexual activity.

 Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent through screening with pelvic exams and a test called Pap test.  The pelvic exam is usually done prior to the Pap.  The uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and rectum are felt for abnormalities.  An instrument called a speculum is used to widen the vagina so that the doctor can visualize the vagina and the cervix.  The doctor or other specially trained health care professionals then collect cells from the surface of the cervix.  These cells are looked at for any abnormalities.  This is called the Pap test.  Abnormal cells can be treated before cervical cancer develops.  When cancer is detected early, it is easier to treat.  The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation recommends that women have their first Pap test three years after the onset of sexual intercourse, or no later than age 21.  A woman will need to continue to have a Pap test every year until you are 30.  After age 30, if you have only had normal results, you may have them every 2-3 years after discussion with your physician and evaluation of your risk factors.  Remember to schedule your Pap when you are not having a menstrual period.  If you have an abnormal Pap test, your physician will discuss with you the recommended course of action such as HPV testing, repeat Pap, colposcopy, or cervical biopsy.

 The symptoms of cervical cancer include: abnormal bleeding between periods, with intercourse, or after menopause; unusual vaginal discharge; other symptoms such as pelvic or leg pain, or bleeding from the rectum or bladder.  Some women have no symptoms at all. 

Schedule your Pap today and talk with your physician about results and care.  The development of cervical cancer is usually very slow.  It starts as a pre-cancerous condition called dysplasia, which can be detected by the Pap smear and is treatable.  That is why it is so important for women to have regular Pap smears.

Folic Acid

Folic Acid

Folic acid is a B-vitamin taken before and during early pregnancy to promote proper cell growth in the fetus.  If taken before and during early pregnancy, folic acid can prevent some forms of birth defects called neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.  Folic acid may prevent other birth defects such as a cleft lip and palate.  Folic acid has also been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease and colon, cervical and breast cancers.  It may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

 It is difficult to obtain the recommended dose of folic acid through the diet and during pregnancy most experts will recommend a supplement to provide enough in the diet.  Breads, cereals, flours, pastas, rice and other grain products are fortified with a synthetic form of folic acid.  A daily multi-vitamin is an additional way to receive the amount of recommended folic acid.  Many experts recommend that women of childbearing years should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from fortified foods and/or a daily multi-vitamin, and eat a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet.




Vision or sight is a sense that most people are able to use every day of their life, probably more than any of the other senses. Protect your eyes now, save them for your future!

 As one ages, changes occur that may affect your vision.  Some of the changes include the need for more light; adjustments to the darkness or to glares may be more difficult, or being able to focus on near objects.   Some people experience difficulty in color differentiation.  Some people develop cataracts.

A cataract is a thickened, hardened and cloudy part of the eye lens.  The cloudy lens distorts or blocks light coming into the eye and blurs vision.  When a cataract becomes large enough to cause visual problems, surgery may be an effective treatment.  No medications, dietary supplements or exercises have been shown to prevent or cure cataracts.

 Causes of cataracts include:  aging of the eye, family history, medical problems such as diabetes, eye injury, medications, long-term, and unprotected exposure to sunlight.

 Symptoms of cataracts include painless blurring or fuzziness of vision, decreased ability to see at night, and problems with glare.  Double vision may occur, spots may be seen, and lights may appear to have a halo around them.

 Prevention of cataracts include avoiding overexposure to sunlight, wearing protective glasses to avoid any eye injuries, eating foods high in beta carotene and vitamin C found in oranges, carrots, and cantaloupes.  Keep any chronic diseases, such as diabetes, in good control.


What can I do to take care of my eyesight?

  • Visit an eye doctor on a regular basis, even if you have no problems with your eyes.  Some eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages and your eye doctor will examine them.                                             
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses that fit well and are able to absorb 99-100% of ultraviolet rays, also called UV (both UV-A and UV-B).  Some eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, corneal sunburns (photokeratitis) and skin cancer around the eyelids may be prevented by using well fitting sunglasses that are able to absorb the UV rays. 
  • Improve the lighting in your house to help you see better and keep your from injuring yourself.
  • Protect your eyes from injury by wearing safety eyewear when your eyes are at risk for injury, such as certain hobbies, sports, and work.
  • Eat foods that are healthy.  By eating healthy foods one generally stays healthier overall.  Healthy eating may prevent or control other diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Stay physically active to reduce your risk of diseases and to improve your overall health.
  • Control your diabetes, blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Quit smoking ~ smoking increases one’s risk for cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.


Thyroid Health

Thyroid Health

The thyroid gland helps to control the function of your heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and skin.  The gland is a small, butterfly shaped gland located at the base of your neck.  Thyroid disease is more common than diabetes or heart disease.  Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone and when it is not functioning properly, one can produce either too much hormone or too little thyroid hormone.  The causes of thyroid disease are many.  Thyroid disease can be controlled.

 Hypothyroidism:  too little thyroid hormone causes your body’s systems to slow down. Hypothyroidism may be present at birth and tends to run in families.  Hypothyroidism may be caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto thyroiditis, a disease in which the thyroid gland is attacked by the body’s own immune system.  Hypothyroidism may arise as a temporary disease following pregnancy or if the thyroid becomes inflamed with a viral infection.  Certain medications may cause hypothyroidism.  Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, an unexplained weight gain, intolerance to cold, dry hair and skin, and an increased cholesterol level.  Hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the body’s thyroid hormone with a daily synthetic hormone. 

 Hyperthyroidism:  too much thyroid hormone causes your body’s systems to speed up.  Hyperthyroidism may be caused by an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease, thyroid cancer, or an iodine insufficiency.  Thyroid tissue removal may be needed to reduce the hormone levels.  Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, irritability, and sleeplessness, an unexplained weight loss, heat intolerance, irregular heart beat, and increased sweating.

 The best way to know about your thyroid health is to know what your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test results are.  It is a simple blood test to measure how your thyroid gland is functioning.  You may want to talk with your doctor about getting a TSH test if you have a family member with thyroid disease, are over the age of 35, or have any symptoms of thyroid disease.  If the results show thyroid disease, your doctor will talk with you about the treatments available to manage it.  Your body is sensitive to even small changes in thyroid hormone levels.   If you are placed on medication it is very important that you take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and have periodic blood tests to monitor your hormone levels. 



Staying healthy as you start 2014:

Staying healthy as you start 2014:

Consider a healthy weight for yourself, increasing your activity level, decreasing your cholesterol number, decreasing your blood pressure and decreasing / quitting tobacco use.

 Blood Pressure (B/P):  High blood pressure can almost always be prevented, so follow these steps even if you do not have high blood pressure.  If you do have high blood pressure, you and your health care provider need to work together as a team to reduce it by establishing a B/P goal, a plan and a timetable to meet your goal.


·         Maintaining a healthy weight:  Losing even 10 pounds can lower your B/P.  Losing weight has the biggest effect on those who are overweight and already have high B/P.  The DASH eating plan is an example that may help to manage B/P by selecting foods that are low in saturated and total fat, and cholesterol.  It is high in fruits and vegetables, and low fat dairy foods.  It includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and has low amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugared beverages.  It is also high in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as protein and fiber.  Eating foods lower in salt and sodium also can reduce blood pressure.

·         Be physically active:  All you need is 30 minutes of moderate level physical activities on most days of the week.   You can even divide the 30 minutes into shorter periods of at least 10 minutes each.  Check with your doctor if you have heart trouble or have had a heart attack, if you are over age 50 and are not used to moderate level physical activity, if you have a family history of heart disease at an early age, or if you have any other serious health problem.

·         Drink alcohol only in moderation.

·         Have your B/P checked and logged on a regular basis.

·         Take your B/P prescribed medications as directed.


Cholesterol:  Your blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease.  High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. You can lower your cholesterol with therapeutic lifestyle changes: 

  • Eat a low saturated fat, low cholesterol eating plan that calls for less than 7% of calories from saturated fat and less than 200mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
  • Manage your weight – losing weight if you are overweight can help lower LDL and is especially important for those with a cluster of risk factors that includes high triglyceride and / or low HDL levels and being overweight with a large waist measurement (more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women.
  • Get regular physical activity of thirty minutes on most, if not all days.  It can help raise your high density lipids (HDL) and lower your low density lipids (LDL) and is especially important for those who are overweight with a large waist measurement.
  • Quitting smoking today will help reduce your LDL.
  • Follow your medication treatment as prescribed by your doctor

 Consider joining RFGH’s Weigh to Go weight management program.  Our eight week classes are taught by RFGH dietitians and other health professionals.  The agenda includes keys to success, weight loss goals, a plan for healthy eating, self assessment, meal planning, portion control, label reading, healthy cooking, baking and recipe modifications, getting excited about exercise, pre-diabetes, and much more! Call our Community Health Educator at 858-2318 for more information or to register.  The January 2014 class will start son Monday, January 13th.  Choose either 10 am – 11 am or 5 – 6 pm.  RFGH also offers a program for individuals who want  to lose 100 lbs or more called “Road to Wellness”.  This program is held on Mondays for 8 weeks starting on Monday, January 13th from 2:30 – 3:30 pmk.  Call 858-2318 for either of these classes.


Welcome to Redington-Fairview

The Mission of Redington-Fairview General Hospital (RFGH) is to develop, provide, and facilitate quality comprehensive, cost-effective health services for the people we serve.

Redington-Fairview General Hospital is an independent community hospital located in Skowhegan, Maine. RFGH has provided quality, comprehensive health services to the residents of Somerset County since 1952. A member of the Maine Hospital Association, RFGH offers inpatient and outpatient services in many specialities, has a network of community-based primary care and pediatric physicians, and provides 24-hour emergency medical services.

Where To Find Us

Redington-Fairview General Hospital
46 Fairview Avenue
P.O. Box 468
Skowhegan  Maine


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