Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month

A cardiac specialist died and at his funeral the coffin was placed in front of a huge mockup of a heart made up of flowers. When the pastor finished with the sermon and eulogy and after everyone said their good-byes, the heart opened, the coffin rolled inside and the heart closed. Just then one of the mourners burst into laughter.
The guy next to him asked: “Why are you laughing?”
“I was thinking about my own funeral” the man replied.
“What’s so funny about that?”
“I’m a gynecologist.”

A new, young MD doing his residency in OB was quite embarrassed performing female pelvic exams.
To cover his embarrassment he had unconsciously formed a habit of whistling softly.
The middle aged lady upon whom he was performing this exam suddenly burst out laughing and further embarrassed him.
He looked up from his work and sheepishly said, "I'm sorry. Was I tickling you?"
She replied, "No doctor, but the song you were whistling was 'I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener."

Gyecologic exams are embarrassing and dreaded by nearly every female on the planet.  However, these exams are necessary and essential for detecting cancer.  The 5 gynecological cancers are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar.  This month is designated as Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. It aims to communicate: 1) the importance of finding gynecologic cancers early, when treatment is most effective, and 2) the need for women to pay attention to their bodies and know what is normal for them, so that they can recognize the warning signs of gynecologic cancers.
In the United States in 2007, 80,976 women were told that they had a gynecologic cancer, and 27,739 died from a gynecologic cancer. The CDC provides information and educational materials for women and health care providers to raise awareness about the five main gynecologic cancers.
Guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women begin Pap test screening at age 21, be screened every 2 years through age 30, and then be screened every 3 years as long as their last three test results have been normal. Women aged 65 to 70 years who have had at least three normal Pap tests and no abnormal Pap tests in the last 10 years may decide, after talking with their doctor, to stop having Pap tests. Women who have had a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus and cervix) do not need to have a Pap test, unless the surgery was done as a treatment for a precancerous condition or cancer.  Women who have had abnormal results will need to have exams more frequently.  Gynecological exams are no laughing matter, if you haven't had one recently, today is the perfect day to make an appointment to make sure everything is ok.
This story takes place in (where else?) San Francisco. A happy, hip, happening woman living in SF has to endure a visit from her mother, a prim and proper matronly sort from somewhere in the Midwest. The mother is in the throes of menopause, apparently very cranky and physically uncomfortable, what with hot flashes and the like, and the daughter, in an effort to help but probably also to get Mom out of the house for a while, suggests that the mother visit her gynecologist.
Mom is not fond of the idea of visiting a gynecologist in a strange city. But after the daughter assures her that the man is thoughtful, kind, humorous and sweet and implores her to go just to make sure everything is okay, the mother reluctantly assents and makes an appointment.
The morning of the appointment, mother is VERY nervous and in preparation takes a shower AND a bath, deodorant head to toe, FDS vaginal spray, the whole nine yards, and heads to the gynecologist.
So. Moms in the stirrups, the doctor's mucking about down there, and he looks up, fixes her with a funny smile and says, "Looks like we've got ourselves a PARTY GIRL!!"
Mother is shocked, to say the least. "What... what did you say??!!!"
He grins even wider. "I said, 'Looks like we've got ourselves a PARTY GIRL!'" and this is accompanied by a smirk and a wink. Mom is flabbergasted and doesn't utter another word for the balance of the exam, hastily dresses and runs out while avoiding his glance.
Later that evening, the daughter returns home from work, inquires how the appointment went, and the mother says, "You have a very rude doctor! He called me a party girl!"
"A what?"
"A party girl!" Mom is sniffling now. "Why would he call me that?"
"I don't know it's very out of character for him..." the daughter puzzles. 
 "There must be some reason. Think back. Did you say anything, maybe?"
"No!" The mother bristles. "I didn't say anything like that!"
"Come on, think back. What did you do before the appointment?"
"Well," the mother sniffs, "I was VERY conscientious with my hygiene. I took a bath AND a shower, I used your deodorant and FDS — I hope you don't mind — and then I got dressed, and..."
"Mom!" the daughter interrupts. "Mom, I don't have any FDS."
The mother is silent. They both head to the bathroom where the mother points out what she mistook for FDS. It wasn't. It was orange glitter hair spray from the previous Halloween.

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