The Doctors: Cervical Cancer Screening & Cinnamon Challenge


The Doctors: Medical Emergencies You Can Avoid

Who wouldn’t want to avoid an emergency situation before it starts? That’s exactly what the Doctors clued us in on September 6, with a countdown of the Medical Emergencies You Can Avoid. But first, Dr Travis Stork and the rest of the gang began with a news headline that is vital to the health of all women.

The Doctors: Cervical Cancer Screening

First up, the Doctors were joined on the phone by Dr Wanda Nicholson, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr Nicholson explained some of the new guidelines for cervical cancer screening that have been implemented by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).


The Doctors: Cervical Cancer Screening & Cinnamon Challenge

New cervical cancer screening guidelines were detailed on The Doctors.

The new guidelines are based on age. If you’re a healthy woman between the ages of 21 and 65, you should get a pap smear every three years. For women aged 30 to 65, get a pap smear plus an HPV test. If both are negative, you can reduce frequency to once every five years. For women 65 and older, the USPSTF advises against continued screenings if previous screenings are up-to-date. Finally, for women under 30, HPV testing is not needed.

Dr Nicholson: Cervical Cancer Screening Guidelines Explained

Dr Nicholson explained that the new guidelines are based on a series of large, randomized trials and studies in which women were followed for over five years. However, the guidelines are controversial with some doctors; as Dr Masterson said, it’s hard enough to make women get their regular pap smear anyway. If you extend the time period, women will be even less likely to make screening a priority.


Dr Nicholson understood Dr Masterson’s concerns, but she did say that the guidelines are not meant to replace individual visits and decisions made between a woman and her doctor.

Dr Masterson: Protecting Women’s Health Care

The conversation between Dr Masterson and Dr Nicholson became slightly heated when Dr Masterson explained that it is difficult for doctors to work with insurance policies under guidelines such as these. She believes that there have been too many recent attacks on women’s health care, from STD testing to contraceptive coverage.

Dr Nicholson rebutted that both HPV screenings and pap smears are mandated to be covered by insurance. She suggested that women continue to attend regular appointments with their doctors in order to figure out what works best for them and avoid cervical cancer.

The Doctors: The Cinnamon Challenge

What is the Cinnamon Challenge? It may sound like a joke, but this activity could be hazardous to your health.

The challenge involves attempting to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon without any water. The task is nearly impossible, because there is not enough saliva in your salivary glands to digest this much of the dry, powdered substance. When you do try, it can form a hard, concrete-like lump in the back of your throat; this can actually cause you to choke and is very dangerous.

Additionally, you can get inflammation or even pneumonia. You could also have an intense reaction, such as a young woman who was featured in a tape piece. Beats me why anyone would want to try the Cinnamon Challenge; as Dr Stork said, “it’s just stupid.” But just in case someone ever asks you, say no!


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