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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Do something smart

Since I'm listed on the Internet as a doctor, once worked in a hospital and love all things medical (besides college-level science classes) — I'm blogging up a medical notice to everyone.

If you are a female, or you know any females, you need to know about Gardasil. It's a vaccine for HPV (the human papilomma virus). There are many strains of HPV and some of them cause cervical cancer. Some other strains of HPV cause genital warts. HPV is usually undetectable in men, though a man can give a woman HPV from sexual contact.

Gardasil is given in a series of three injections over six months. Women and girls from age 11 to 26 should get the vaccine and should ask their doctor's about it immediately.

It's critical to follow the vaccine timetable (take the first shot, the second two months later, the four months after that). I can't explain how this vaccine was created and the New York Times can't really explain it either, but this story gives you some insight.

Gardasil will do a lot to protect women in America from cervical cancer. And hopefully success here will bring more help for women and girls who don't have routine pap tests to check for precancerous cells and other abnormalities on the cervix which can lead to cancer. The vaccine is being distributed worldwide. Heck, New Hampshire is offering it for free. Awesome.

There's really no excuse not to get it. This can save your life, or the life of someone you know. The fewer people with HPV the better. Do it.

I can hear the complaining now, and I'm sure you've heard it before too. "I hate shots!" and "I don't like to go to my doctor," or "I'm healthy so I don't need to go to the doctor." Here goes, straight from Dr. Mandasaurus.
  • I take at least five shots a day from a syringe or insulin pen. I prick my finger at least five times a day. I have diabetes and I'm not scared of shots. Shots make my body work. If I don't take them I feel like shit. And if I didn't get shots I'd die. Seriously. I get bruises and bumps sometimes. Occasionally I'll hit a funny spot and the tiny needle will hurt really bad. But it's fine. I'm tough. Getting a shot that can save your life is easy. If you don't like needles be tough and take a deep breath.
  • Going to the doctor doesn't have to be fun. It's something you have to do. It's good for you. If you don't go you are being stupid. That's it. I'm sure you're not stupid. So don't be stupid.
  • Healthy is as healthy does and everyone — everyone — needs to go to the doctor. You need to go so the doctor can listen to your heart, check your reflexes and take notes on how freaking healthy you are. Then next time he can take notes on how much healthier you are. It will make your doctor so happy to see your healthiness every year. (Doctors mostly see pinkeye, coughs, mucus, rashes and people addicted to ibuprofen.) You'll be doing a good deed. Just go to the doctor.

That's the end of my public health announcement.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that it is also VERY important to note that EVERY woman in the world needs to have a pap smear yearly or more if recommended by her doctor. Every woman also needs to be practicing self examinations of her breasts.

Although some strands of HPV do cause cervical cancer or genital warts, the majority of HPV cases are asymptomatic or are limited to an initial outbreak. As the former Education Director at Planned Parenthood, we saw a majority of young women at our clinics who were asymptomactic but, we would still recommend that these women consider the vaccine.
It is also important to note that HPV can also cause or has been linked to colorectal cancer in men who sleep with men. The HPV vaccine may be adapted for that population at a later time. They may also be coming out with a pap smear for men who sleep with men to detect the virus before it reaches a pre-cancerous state.

The bottom line is if you are having sex, regardless of your level of protection, viruses are shed through the nerves at the pores of the skin. Condoms do not cover all regions. It is imperative for everyone to get checks for STDs regularly, especially for those who may have multiple partners in a year.

Anonymous JC said...

Maybe Mandasaurus should go to Med School next!

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