HCA East Florida Division
Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. In recognition of this commitment, we strive to deliver high quality, cost effective healthcare in the communities we serve.

Cervical Cancer Screening: What All Women Need to Know

Cervical cancer is a life-threatening disease, but it’s also readily preventable and detectable in its early stages. To support gynecologic health, women are encouraged to speak with their doctors about screening tests for cervical cancer. Health screenings are performed on a routine basis despite the absence of symptoms. They are a cornerstone of preventive medicine and they are available in many HCA East Florida Division hospitals .

Understanding Cervical Cancer
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. Cervical cancer is diagnosed when abnormal, cancerous cells originate in this area. As long as a woman still has her cervix, she is at risk of cervical cancer. Thousands of women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and many of them die from this disease. The good news is that since the introduction of routine Pap smears for cervical cancer detection, cervical cancer deaths have been reduced by more than 70% according to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.

Taking a Look at the Screening Guidelines
The Pap test involves taking a small sample of cells from the cervix and analyzing them in the lab to check for abnormalities. An abnormality doesn’t always indicate cancer, but may call for further testing. Some abnormalities may later turn into cancerous changes. Identifying and treating these issues as early as possible can help prevent cervical cancer, which is why women are advised to have regular Pap tests. The screening guidelines recommend that women begin having annual Pap tests and pelvic exams beginning at age 21 or within three years of their first sexual activity—whichever occurs first. As long as there are no abnormal results, women may later have routine Pap tests every two to three years. Women may also have a routine human papillomavirus (HPV) test, since HPV infection can sometimes cause cancer. It’s important to note that these guidelines do not apply to every patient. Consider speaking with your doctor to find out which screening tests you should have and how often to get them.

HCA East Florida Division hospitals are committed to empowering women to be proactive patients. Cervical cancer screenings are available at many of our hospitals . Call the HCA Consult-A-Nurse line at (866) 442-2362 to find a medical center near you.

Should You Be Screened for Lung Cancer?

Out of all the different types of cancer, lung cancer is the most deadly. One major reason for the difficulty in treating lung cancer is that it is often detected after the disease has metastasized or spread to other areas of the body. Cancer is a disease that is best treated as quickly as possible. Some patients who are at a high risk of lung cancer may wish to speak with their doctors about whether low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening tests might be right for them. The HCA East Florida Division includes hospitals that offer exceptional imaging capabilities and cancer care programs.

Screening Recommendations
In 2013, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released its latest recommendations that support the efforts of doctors to discuss lung cancer screenings with patients who are at a high risk. High-risk patients who may be good candidates for lung cancer screenings are those who are between the ages of 55 and 74, and who either currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Additional screening criteria include having a personal smoking history equivalent to 30 pack years. One pack year is defined as having smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for the year. This means that if an individual smokes two packs of cigarettes daily, he or she will reach 30 pack years in just 15 years.

Clinical Evidence
The ACS based its recommendations on its review of multiple studies that evaluated low-dose CT screening for lung cancer, including the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST). This study evaluated over 50,000 individuals between the ages of 55 and 74 who had a personal history of at least 30 pack years. The study found that the individuals who did receive the low-dose CT screening had a 20% reduced risk of dying from lung cancer compared to the study participants who received chest X-rays.

Numerous hospitals in HCA East Florida Division network offer diagnostic imaging and cancer care programs. Call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (866) 442-2362 to request further information about imaging and interventional services available at hospitals within the HCA East Florida Division.

Recognizing National Birth Defects Prevention Awareness Month

Every January is recognized as National Birth Defects Prevention Month, which was designated by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. This year, the theme is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection.” Of course, not all birth defects are preventable, but many of them are with the help of proper prenatal care. If you’re pregnant or planning to be, consider speaking with a women’s health professional at an HCA East Florida Division hospital in Treasure Coast. Our state-of-the-art hospitals are dedicated to promoting the wellness of mothers and babies.

Understanding the Dangers of Maternal Infections
Infections are a major cause of birth defects. These include sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Fortunately, treating STIs before or during pregnancy can reduce the risk of harm to the baby. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is another infection that can result in birth defects. CMV is a common infection caused by a virus. In some cases, the virus can affect the unborn baby and potentially lead to hearing loss, vision problems, and intellectual disabilities. Rubella, or German measles, can cause miscarriage or deafness, blindness, intellectual disabilities, or heart defects in babies. Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite that can result in hearing loss, intellectual disabilities, and vision problems in babies.

Taking Steps to Protect Your Baby
There are effective ways to prevent maternal infections and reduce the risk of birth defects. Consider talking to your doctor about your immunization history and your current medical conditions. He or she may recommend certain vaccinations or treatments. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially if you come into contact with young children or people who are ill. Avoid exposure to lead and if you have a cat you should avoid going near the litterbox. Ensure that all foods are cooked thoroughly and avoid fish with high mercury levels.

Obstetrics services are available at many hospitals within the HCA East Florida Division. For general information about our medical specialties or locations, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (866) 442-2362.

$650 Million to Be Invested in East Florida: Expanding and Upgrading Patient Services

Big changes are coming to East Florida’s medical facilities! At locations throughout the region, millions of dollars will be invested to expand and upgrade existing hospitals, and to build new hospital facilities. These projects include a new hospital in Davie, FL, the expansion of the emergency room at JFK Medical Center in Palm Beach, and the development of free-standing emergency rooms in Doral and Kendall. You can find out more about these projects and the services offered at East Florida hospitals in this infographic from HCA East Florida. Please spread the word by sharing this information with your friends and family.

Joint Replacement and Reconstruction Procedures in Southeast Florida

The body’s joints serve many functions. They facilitate your body’s movement, bear its weight, and provide stability. Yet, joints are vulnerable to both acute injuries, and wear and tear damage that occurs gradually over time. Patients who suffer from severe or chronic joint pain may consider undergoing a joint reconstruction or replacement procedure at one of the HCA East Florida Division.

Am I a Candidate for Surgery?

Only an orthopedic specialist can determine if you are a good candidate for joint surgery. Your physician may ask you about your symptoms and how long you've had them. He or she may request some diagnostic tests, such as X-rays. And your physician may consider whether you’ve tried conservative treatments, such as medications, assistive devices, and physical therapy. Generally, joint reconstruction or replacement surgery is recommended for patients who cannot find relief of symptoms with non-surgical treatment options.

What Is Joint Reconstruction Surgery?

An orthopedic surgeon may perform an arthroscopic procedure to take a closer look at the joint. This procedure involves making several small incisions and inserting a tiny camera into the area near the joint. Arthroscopy also allows minor corrections of the joint, such as the removal of bone spurs or the loosening of a tight ligament. Another option for some patients is an osteotomy, which involves removing a small amount of bone to relieve pain. Joint resurfacing may also be an option for you, which involves trimming the top of the thighbone and placing a covering on top.

What Is Joint Replacement Surgery?

When a joint reconstruction procedure isn’t an option, an orthopedic surgeon can perform a joint replacement surgery. As the name implies, this surgery involves the removal of the components of the joint. The surgeon will then replace them with artificial components, which may be made of materials such as ceramic or metal. For many patients, joint replacement surgery has relieved their pain and improved their ability to function.

The hospitals within the HCA East Florida Division provide a range of healthcare services, including sophisticated orthopedic care. Patients will find options for joint reconstruction and replacement at JFK Medical Center, Aventura Hospital, Plantation General Hospital, and our other hospitals. To locate an HCA hospital near you with a comprehensive orthopedic program, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (954) 767-5748.

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