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Dr. April Speed will go just about anywhere to spread the message about the importance of women taking care of their health – including “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

Speed got a call from Kenya Moore, a cast member on the Bravo reality show, regarding Moore’s concern about a breast lump. Moore also asked that the consultation be filmed and shared with viewers to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Speed agreed and the episode aired in February. The mass found in Moore’s biopsy turned out to be benign.

“As physicians, we have to understand that patients aren’t acquiring information only in our offices anymore,” Speed said in an interview with ASCO magazine, a publication of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“Mass media is a place where people are gathering information about cancer. The responsibility is on us to not be afraid of technology, but to use it to educate people on a broad scale and help save lives.”

Speed, a breast surgeon, also encourages women to focus on their overall wellness, having a good work-life balance and doing all the other things women should do to remain healthy, including reducing alcohol intake to no more than 1-2 drinks per day, reducing the intake of processed foods and sugars, and decreasing foods high in saturated fats.

Moore vowed to change her life to eliminate unnecessary stress and take better care of her body.

And women would do well to get the eight basic health screenings that can help ensure optimal health:

•    Annual well-woman visits. This covers preventive services that are age and developmentally appropriate, including mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, preconception and prenatal care.

•    Screening for gestational diabetes. This covers pregnant women between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation and at the first prenatal visit for pregnant women identified to be at high risk for diabetes.

•    Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. This covers high-risk human papillomavirus DNA testing in women with normal cytology results. Screening should begin at 30 years of age and should occur no more frequently than every 3 years.

•     Annual counseling for sexually transmitted infections. This covers counseling on sexually transmitted infections for all sexually active women.

•     Annual counseling and screening for human immune-deficiency virus (HIV). This covers counseling and screening for human immune-deficiency virus infection for all sexually active women.

•    Contraceptive methods and counseling as prescribed by a doctor. This covers all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.

•    Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. This covers comprehensive lactation support and counseling by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, and costs for renting breastfeeding equipment.

•    Annual screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

Do birth control pills make you retain water weight? Or make you gain weight?

Yes, BCP can cause you to retain more

What do you do about a rash that is around/under your breast?

This  could be yeast which occurs naturally on our skin. To treat it use nystatin or Gold Bond mediated powder. Make sure you get a bra fitting, wearing the wrong size bra can irritate the skin under the breast

I am 34-years-old, 5′ 11, 155 lbs. My problem is belly fat. I have a good diet. How can I get rid of the belly fat?

Exercise and stress less.

Can extreme stress affect a woman’s metabolism?

Yes, it can slow the metabolism down.

My children recently lost their father to blood clots in his lungs. Is this hereditary? What are preventive measures that can be taken against getting blood clots?

It can be but your children would need to be tested if they got blood clots for no reason. Inactivity, cancer, pregnancy, orthopedic injuries can put you or your children at increased risk of blood clots

My name is Shidina and I  was listening to the meatless Monday portion of your discussion and didn’t hear your answer regarding whether fish was okay.  Also, could doing something like that help you lose weight?

Fish is ok but there is some fish that has just as much fat in it as a pork chop. Try to get wild (non-farm raised) fish. Weight gain be minimized by having moderate meat, sugars and processed food intake coupled with exercise.

What do we do about urinary leakage?

Kegal exercises (squeeze as if you are trying to stop your urine stream, several times a day

How late is too late to have kids? I’ve never really wanted kids and right now I’m focused on school and my career but I may change my mind.

The longer you wait past 40 the more difficult although not impossible to have children. You are born with all the eggs you’ll ever have so as we age they don’t work as well.

What about problems with  The pelvic floor after menopause?

It gets weak.

If you only spot during your menstruation each month can you still get pregnant?  


After having a hysterectomy do you need to get pap smears?

If you still have your cervix yes, otherwise no but you should still have a vaginal exam regardless

Can the umbilical cord around the neck at the birth of the child cause autism?

No,  research currently has proven this.

Is it ok to have a couple of cups of hot chocolate bumped up with liquor. Especially on cold & horny morning & night.

That’s ok if done less than three times per week.

I was told the paragaurd is a great iud alternative to the mirena. Is this a good option as my mom had an iud that malfunctioned years ago?

No two women are alike you have to weigh the pros and cons and if you decide to get the mirena if there are any unusual side effects switch t another form of birth control immediately.

Through an ultrasound my doctor sees a uterine fibroid growing. It is not bothering me now. Should I look to having it removed now or wait until there is a problem?

If it’s not causing in problems and it does not look suspicious on U.S it’s ok to have it followed by an ObGyn.

What are some different ways to lower your blood pressure?

Exercise consistently, yoga, stretching, de-stressing.

What could a soft lump on top of right shoulder possibly be?

Sound like a lipoma (non-cancerous fatty tumor) but if it begins to grow rapidly, become firm or fixed underneath the skin these changes need to be assessed by a surgeon because it may need to be removed.

I‘ve read two different things pertaining to water intake please help. Should I drink half of my body weight of water a day or the eight glasses?

Eight glasses are appropriate but if your activity level or salt intake increases you must adjust (increase)  your intake.

If red causes cancer then how come my aunts and uncles in the south have not had any of those cancer related problems yet although their in their late 70’s?

Red wine does not CAUSE cancer. It’s actually very good for your heart and chronic inflammation but alcohol in excess can increase your risk of breast, esophageal and head and neck cancers.

Dr. April, does being in solitude too often as harmful as constant demand?

Yes. Keep a balanced and healthy interaction with family and friends.

Hi Doc, I’m a 60-year-old woman, vegan diet for 33 years. Healthy, no meds or health issues. Had always included soy in my meal, recently eliminating it from my meals. Is that okay for my age?

Soy is definitely ok at your age as long as it doesn’t interfere with any meds that you might be taking, check with your doctor

I’ve eliminated all meat from my diet. It’s day 11 and I feel pretty great!  What about dairy products?

Great discipline! Dairy in excess, especially calcium can cause arthritis, stomach pains and changes in the mood like depression. You don’t have to eliminate dairy but keep it moderate.

I have an 2 part question 1. What does it mean that your body is becoming insulin resistant? 2. How does that play in my woman’s health ? Finally, what can be done to correct question 1 that possibly affects question 2?

Insulin’s job is to keep blood sugar at healthy levels. In regards to your health, when your body stops doing this it can cause diabetes. losing weight, even just 5-10 lbs have been effective in helping insulin resistance.

For the last month or so I have tenderness, irritation in my arm pits; it’s mainly in the morning than kind of fade away during the day. I had my breast exam in August and nothing was found. I’m scheduled for mammogram in Dec. is this a symptom of breast cancer? I’m very concerned.

Usually if it’s arm pit tenderness that goes away that likely is not associated with breast cancer. With breast cancer it gets bigger, usually does not hurt and progresses to arm swelling.

I am a 53-year-old male having knee problems. It is very difficult to walk up stairs. I currently take Glucosine Chondrotine but are there any options recommended other than surgery or knee replacement?

A-Low impact exercise. The more you move your joints will start to rebuild that cushion in your joints that have worn down over time.