Study: Cervical cancer screening less than thought

Cervical cancer screening rates are "unacceptably low," a Mayo Clinic family medicine specialist says.

Dr. Kathy McLaughlin was lead author of a study on those rates published in the Journal of Women's Health, the clinic reported in a news release.

The 2015 National Health Interview Survey reported a compliance rating of 81 percent, based on self-reporting.

But McLaughlin found that fewer than two-thirds of women ages 30 to 65 were up-to-date with cervical cancer screenings in 2016, and just over half for women ages 21 to 29.

The Mayo Clinic research came from a review of medical records for more than 47,000 women living in Olmsted County from 2005 to 2016, according to the news release. It acknowledged the limitation that Olmsted County is less ethnically and racially diverse than the nation as a whole.

Cervical cancer death rates have dropped dramatically in recent decades thanks the the development of the Pap test in the 1950s, according to the news release.

Still, 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018, according to the American Cancer Society. Another 4,170 women died from cervical cancer last year.

"We, as clinicians, must start thinking outside the box on how best to reach these women and ensure they are receiving these effective and potentially life-saving screening tests," McLaughlin said.


January brings radon reminders

January is National Radon Action Month, Carlton County Public Health and Human Services reminds us.

It's a serious matter: More than 21,000 lung cancer deaths are attributed each year to radon, an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota soils and can enter into homes.

About two in five Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon gas, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, although it's more prevalent in the southern half of the state.

Test kits are available to help you determine if your home has a dangerous level of radon. Radon test kits are available for $2 at the Carlton County Public Health and Human Services Building, 14 11th St. N., Cloquet. They're also available from other public agencies and in retail stores.

Learn more Click on "Radon Awareness Month."

Bamford appears in mental health film

Northland Health Minds is hosting a "Mental Health Monday" film series beginning this coming Monday at The Underground Theatre, 506 W. Michigan St. (the lower level of the Depot).

The first offering, from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, is a two-part documentary called "Make it OK - Reframing Mental Illness" featuring Duluth native Maria Bamford.

Following the screening, psychologist Carolyn Phelps will lead a discussion.

Other films and discussions will take place on Feb. 4, March 4, April 1 and May 6.

It's free, and no registration is required.

MNsure assistance at bowling alley

Navigators with the Insure Duluth Coalition will provide MNsure enrollment assistance from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Skyline Lanes, 4894 Miller Trunk Highway.

Assistance is free and available to anyone with no registration required, according to a news release from Generations Health Care Initiatives.

Open enrollment ends Sunday, and this will be one of the last opportunities in the Duluth area to get help enrolling.

As of Jan. 2, 116,795 Minnesotans had signed up for private health insurance, according to MNsure; 56 percent of them received tax credits.

Orthopaedic treatment expands in Grand Rapids

Drs. Patrick Hall and Joel Zamzow, both orthopaedic surgeons, now are seeing patients at Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital, according to Orthopaedic Associates, where both are based.

They join their colleagues Drs. Peter G. Goldschmidt, Joshua J. Rother and Ryan R. Reinking. Orthopaedic Associates has been providing services in Grand Rapids since August. Patients can call (218) 999-5633 to make an appointment.

Flu scoreboard

Hospitalizations for influenza climbed in Minnesota in the week that ended Dec. 29, according to the state Department of Health.

The total was 24, compared with 15 a week earlier. The total for the season is 116, still much lower than last year at the same time. For the first time this season, a hospitalization was reported in Northeastern Minnesota.

Statewide, four influenza-related deaths have been reported so far this season. No pediatric deaths have been reported.