Are fibroids cancerous? When can I quit getting Pap Smears to check for cervical cancer? Are heart palpitations during menopause more than just a menopause symptom? McLeod OB/GYN Candice Greenan answered these and other questions during a Women’s Health Panel. Here she answers those questions.
Here are summaries of Dr. Greenan’s answers:
The vast majority of fibroids are benign. A lot of patients have fibroids and have no symptoms. Yet, there are fibroids that can be cancerous. There are some fibroids that can be cancerous from the beginning — usually faster growing fibroids. But, for the most women, their fibroids are not cancerous. You want to make sure that you follow up with your doctor to evaluate your fibroids. For most people, fibroids will not become cancerous.
When you can forgo Pap smears depends on your history. At 65 if you’ve had adequate screening and negative Pap smears for 10 years, you can stop. It can be difficult to determine, because women go to multiple different doctors and we don’t always have records. It really is patient specific. But, in general, 65 if you’ve had adequate screening for the last 10 years. If you’ve had a history of abnormal Pap smears, then that screening is extended, usually 20 years from your abnormal Pap smear or procedure from your abnormal Pap smear. If you’ve had a history of cervical cancer or a hysterectomy for abnormal cells, you should continue getting a Pap smear forever.
So, it’s really depending on your situation, what testing you’ve had, how often you’ve had that testing. So, we individualize that to each person. If you’re concerned, ask your own Gynecologist.
MENOPAUSE & HEART PALPITATIONS:
In terms of menopausal symptoms, most people experience hot flashes and night sweats. Most women describe a burning from the inside out or redness that kind of comes up. You can have problems with vaginal dryness or pain with intercourse. Those menopause symptoms are typical.
But heart palpitations shouldn’t be a symptom of menopause. If your heart races or you have chest pain when you’re exercising or walking, it could be a sign of heart disease. You would want to you know see your general practitioner about that and they may send you to a cardiologist, if they felt it was necessary.