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Психология BREAST CANCER
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AIDS

The freak-out: Before an AIDS test confirmed that Cross was HIV-negative, she whipped her whole group of friends into a state of frenzy. “Watching me climb the walls made them if they should be worried too,” says Cross. And for good reason; AIDS is undoubtedly one of the most anxiety-producing infectious diseases, both because of its high fatality rate and because today it’s one of the most preventable. “With AIDS, you not only worry about having it,” says Dr. Sur, “but you agonize over what you could have done differently to protect yourself.” Another stress-elevating element: The early symptoms of HIV infection – weight loss, dry cough, night sweats, fatigue – overlap with less serious conditions, such as influenza and chronic fatigue syndrome. The reality check: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV/AIDS remains a leading cause of death for women in the U.S. ages 25 to 44. In just over a decade, the number of all AIDS cases reported among adult and adolescent women more than tripled, from 7 percent in 1985 to 23 percent in 1998. So if you have ever had unprotected sex with a partner whose sexual history you do not know, you should take an AIDS test, says Kim Miller, Ph.D., a researcher at the CDC’s division of HIV and AIDS prevention. (Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from two weeks to six months for antibodies to show up on a test). Then be vigilant about using a condom each time you have a sexual encounter and make sure you know your partner’s sexual history. Super-safety measure:Though it takes superhuman discipline, the best way to protect yourself is to hold off having sex with a new partner until you’ve both been tested. At-home HIV test kits by Home Access, the only test that’s FDA-approved, can be ordered their Web site at www.homeaccess.com. An express test costs $55 and takes three business days to get results.

The freak-out: Breast-cancer awareness has risen rapidly in the last few years – which is a great thing. What’s not so great is that millions of young women now feel doomed to be diagnosed with the life threatening illness. Add to that a family history of the disease and the fear factor can become downright paralyzing. That’s what happened to 27-year-old Lisa Jennings, a producer for an Internet company in Virginia. When her doctor found a lump in her breast, he wasn’t alarmed because her age made it unlikely that she had cancer. He told her the mass would “most likely go away on its own” and sent her packing. “I, on the other hand, had a panic attack,” says Jennings, who’d fretted over getting breast cancer ever since her grandmother battled the disease. After literally sweating it out for a few days, Jennings hounded her doctor to send her to a specialist. The lump turned out to be a benign cyst that disappeared on its own – the doctor’s original diagnosis – but Jennings’ obsession with getting sick clouded her ability to accept her physician’s opinion. However, she still played it safe by getting a second opinion. The reality check: Though breast cancer does strike women in their 20s and 30s, its occurrence at such a young age is extremely rare. “As many as 90 percent of breast lumps found in young women are cysts or other noncancerous growths,” assures Helen Chew, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine in the division of medical oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “The majority of women who get breast cancer are in their 50s and 60s, and if caught early, the survival rate is 80 percent.”

And although women who have a close relative (a sister, mother, or grandmother) with breast cancer should be especially vigilant about monitoring their breasts’ health, up to 70 percent of women who develop malignant tumors have no family history of the disease. The point? It’s futile to obsess about getting a disease based on a setoff factors that may or may not have an influence on your health. A better bet: Take control by performing a breast self-exam each month about a week after you start menstruating, and alert your doctor to lumps that are immobile, hard, and solid or that stick around long past your period. Super-safety measure: Though mammograms are recommended for women over 40 and young women with a family history of breast cancer, you can talk to your doctor about having one done every few years if it will help put your mind at ease. Your insurance may cover the cost.


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  • - BREAST CANCER

    AIDS The freak-out: Before an AIDS test confirmed that Cross was HIV-negative, she whipped her whole group of friends into a state of frenzy. “Watching me climb the walls made them if they should be worried too,” says Cross. And for good reason; AIDS is undoubtedly one of the most anxiety-producing infectious diseases, both because of its high fatality rate and because today it’s one of the most preventable. “With AIDS, you not only worry about having it,” says Dr. Sur, “but... [читать подробенее]