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Is it true that cancer can’t grow when your body’s pH is balanced? I read this, so I’ve been drinking essential water because it has the highest pH.

A cancer cell’s ability to grow does depend to some extent on the on the local environment of the organ where the cancer started. Different cancer producing organs can have very different pH levels and it would be hard to change any part of your body’s pH through diet. But the right diet can be one of the most effective ways you can prevent cancers of the uterus, breast and colon – following a low-fat diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to decrease your risk of getting many types of cancer.

Dr. Brown, if I haven’t had a cycle in 14 months then all of a sudden, I have a light cycle, is that normal with menopause or do I need to have an ultrasound to check it out?

You didn’t mention how old you are, but at any age, not having a menstrual cycle for more than 12 months and then bleeding again needs to be investigated by your doctor or health care provider. For younger women, losing your cycle for so long is usually caused by changes in hormones (including pregnancy). But if you are over 35 with this issue, your doctor will likely also perform an ultrasound and maybe even a biopsy of the lining of your uterus to make sure there is no structural cause of the bleeding like fibroids or even uterine cancer. Cancer would be more likely if you are at or beyond the age of menopause.

How often should women 58 and older get a Pap smear?

Most organizations recommend Pap smears every three years for women between the ages of 30 and 65, and if simultaneous HPV testing is done along with the Pap, screening can be done every five years. Due to recent evidence suggesting that the highest mortality for Black women with cervical cancer happens after age 65, and that 20% of cervical cancers in the US occur in women over 65, I recommend women consider getting Pap smears past age 65 for as long as they are sexually active.

Is there a treatment/cure if you have the have cancerous virus?

As with most viruses, there is no effective treatment or “cure” for HPV infection. When people are “treated” for HPV related changes on their cervix, the treatment is directed at the tissue that has been transformed by the HPV into a pre-cancerous state- you are not treating the virus itself.

Low level pre-cancer cells don’t need treatment as they will most likely never turn into real cancer. Methods to treat high level pre-cancer of the cervix include cutting out the affected tissue with a minor surgery called a cone biopsy or using a laser or other method to vaporize and destroy the high level pre-cancer cells. There are clinical trials looking at new HPV vaccines that help the immune system destroy the virus, and hopefully there will be an immune type therapy for HPV related cancers available in the future.

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