Women’s Health

UNC REX’s Pregnancy & Baby App Is Now Available in the App Store

032017_facebook_ad_withlogo_and_titleThe brand new Pregnancy & Baby app from UNC REX has all the engaging information about your baby’s development that the most popular pregnancy apps have, but ours also connects you to your community hospital.

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Cute Photos of REX Newborns in Little Red Knit Hats

On February 3, REX Women’s Center distributed 200 red knitted caps to babies and new parents for National Wear Red Day. The knit hats were contributed to the REX Women’s Center courtesy of Little Hats Big Hearts, an American Heart Association organization.

We couldn’t resist stopping by to snap some photos.

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Breast Cancer Myths vs. Facts

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to dispel some common myths about breast cancer that you often hear.

Myth: All lumps are cancerous.

Fact: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.  But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored. It is very important that you see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.

Myth: Only women get breast cancer.

Fact: Each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. While this number is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians.

Myth: If you have a family history of breast cancer, you are likely to develop breast cancer, too.

Fact: While a family history of breast cancer can place you in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.

Here are the familial risks of breast cancer according to degree of family relation:

  • If you have a first degree relative with breast cancer: If you have a mother, daughter, or sister who developed breast cancer below the age of 50, you should consider some form of regular diagnostic breast imaging starting 10 years before the age of your relative’s diagnosis.
  • If you have a second degree relative with breast cancer: If you have had a grandmother or aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases slightly, but it is not in the same risk category as those who have a first degree relative with breast cancer.
  • If you have multiple generations diagnosed with breast cancer on the same side of the family or if there are several individuals who are first degree relatives to one another, or several family members diagnosed under age 50, the probability increases that there is a breast cancer gene contributing to the cause of this familial history.

Fact: Early Detection is Key

When it comes to breast cancer awareness, the most important thing to remember is that early detection is key. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, when breast cancer is detected early and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 98%.  Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Learn more about the REX Comprehensive Breast Care Program and how to make an appointment for a mammogram at rexhealth.com.



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Staying Active During Pregnancy

shutterstock_271083656Taking it easy during pregnancy may seem like a good idea for you and your baby’s health, but staying active could be beneficial too! Unless you’re experiencing serious complications, adding exercise to your daily routine (or continuing your exercise routine) can help in many ways.

Exercise during pregnancy can:

  • Ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts
  • Boost your mood and energy levels
  • Help you sleep better
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Increase stamina and muscle strength

Exercise during pregnancy may also help reduce your risk for gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure and having a baby with larger than average birth weight. Some studies also show that exercise during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester, may lower your risk or lessen symptoms of postpartum depression. If you’re worried about your unborn baby’s safety, take heart. Physical activity during pregnancy doesn’t increase your chances for low birth weight, early delivery or early pregnancy loss.

Keep moving
Adding movement to your day can be as simple as going for a walk. Choose exercises that place minimal stress on your joints. Swimming, cycling on a stationary bike, low-impact aerobics and prenatal yoga are all good low-impact activities to try. Avoid exercises with jumping or jarring movements, or quick changes of direction that could throw off your balance. As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to take your exercise down a notch or take days off when you feel tired.

Exercise safely
Be sure to heed your doctor’s recommendations for exercise during pregnancy. Avoid any exercises that involve lying flat on your back after your first trimester.

Paying attention to your body is very important, especially while pregnant. As you exercise, you should watch for signs that everything might not be OK. Stop exercising and contact your doctor if you experience pain, bleeding, fluid leaking from your vagina, faintness or dizziness, uneven or rapid heartbeat, or if you notice the baby stops moving.

REX Women’s Center offers comprehensive obstetric care, covering all aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. To learn more, download our Pregnancy Information Packet.

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6 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Cervical Cancer

12100Susan Moore, MD, MPH, of UNC REX Cancer Center and REX Hematology Oncology Associates is board-certified in oncology, hematology and internal medicine. Dr. Moore graduated from The UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC. She completed her Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California San Francisco in San Francisco, CA. She then attended Emory University in Atlanta, GA,  for her  fellowship in Hematology and Oncology.


shutterstock_2911274391. Why do women develop cervical cancer?
The primary risk factor for cervical cancer is infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), an infection which causes papillomas (more commonly known as warts). HPV is a common virus that is spread by skin-to-skin contact, usually through sexual activity. Certain types of HPV strains (HPV 16 and 18) are considered high-risk and are linked to developing cancer of the cervix, vulva and vagina.

Although HPV infection is common and the body can often clear the infection by itself, sometimes the infection becomes chronic which is what can increase risk of developing cancer.

2. Can cervical cancer be prevented?
The best way to prevent cervical cancer is to have testing to find pre-cancerous lesions. This is commonly done with a Pap smear and HPV testing. If the pre-cancerous lesions are treated, then cervical cancer can be stopped before it really starts. Talk to your gynecologist about how frequently this testing should be done. Since there is a vaccine to prevent HPV infection, being vaccinated in childhood is an important way to prevent HPV infection and risk of cervical cancer.

3. How is cervical cancer detected?
Most women with early cervical cancer or pre-cancerous lesions do not have symptoms, but these abnormalities can be detected on routine exam. Please visit your gynecologist regularly for early detection. When cervical cancer begins to grow, the most common signs and symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge or pain during intercourse. If any of these symptoms occur, please see your gynecologist immediately.

4. How is cervical cancer treated?
Treatment of cervical cancer varies depending on the stage of disease (how much the cancer has spread). For the earliest stages of cervical cancer, surgery or radiation combined with chemotherapy can be used. For later stages, radiation combined with chemotherapy is the main treatment. Treating cervical cancer frequently involves several specialists, including gynecologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists.

5. Are clinical trials available for cervical cancer patients?
Clinical trials are carefully designed and controlled studies done with patients who are interested in exploring new treatment options. Involvement in a clinical trial is strictly voluntary. Clinical trials are available at UNC REX and at UNC Medical Center. If you are interested in learning more, please discuss options with your doctor.

6. Is cervical cancer curable?
The ability to cure cervical cancer depends greatly on the stage of the cancer when it is detected. Rates of cure are greater than 90% when detected at the earliest stage but decline with advancing stage. The best option is to prevent cervical cancer from developing in the first place! In addition to early detection and vaccination, it is important not to smoke, maintain a healthy weight, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. If cervical cancer is detected, maintaining these healthy habits will help you to recover from treatment.




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Breast Cancer Misconceptions

092815_Dr. Dull Photo White BackgroundBarbara Z. Dull, M.D., is a breast surgeon at Rex Breast Care Specialists. Dr. Dull earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Piscataway, N.J. She completed her general surgery residency and served as a post-doctorate research fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. Most recently, she completed a Breast Surgery Fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to dispel some common misconceptions about breast cancer.

  1. 092815_breast_cancer2You’re only at risk of getting breast cancer if you have a family history of it. I see many patients in my office diagnosed with breast cancer who are shocked at the diagnosis because they have no family history of the disease.  In fact, only 10-15 percent of breast cancers are due to a genetic mutation running in a family, the other 85 percent occur sporadically.  For women with no family history of breast cancer we recommend starting screening mammography at the age of 40.
  2. I found a lump in my breast so I must have breast cancer. Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be breast cancer.  Even though most breast lumps will turn out to be normal breast tissue or benign (non-cancerous) masses, they should never be ignored.  Any patient feeling a breast lump should notify their doctor so that the appropriate work-up can be performed.
  3. Breast pain is a sign of breast cancer. Breast pain is a common symptom for many women, but rarely is a sign of breast cancer.  More than 60 percent of women will have breast pain in their lifetime and this is usually related to hormonal changes or benign masses.  Of all women evaluated for breast pain, less than 1 percent are found to have breast cancer.
  4. I heard that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is not really breast cancer. DCIS is non-invasive form of breast cancer that started in the milk ducts and has not spread to surrounding tissue so it is considered stage 0 breast cancer.  DCIS can develop into an invasive breast cancer and so it is treated similarly.  We currently can’t predict which patients with DCIS will develop invasive breast cancers and which will not, but research is ongoing to help answer that question.  The goal would be to identify patients at high risk of developing invasive breast cancer and target treatment appropriately.
  5. If I have a mastectomy I won’t need chemotherapy. If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer many times they have two surgical options to treat the breast cancer in the breast, a mastectomy or a lumpectomy (partial mastectomy).  Chemotherapy is a systemic (whole body) treatment, treating any breast cancer cells that cannot be treated via surgery or radiation.   The decision on whether or not a patient needs chemotherapy depends on the size of the breast cancer, whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, and which tumor markers it has and is not impacted by which type of surgery is done on the breast.

092815_breast_cancerEarly detection provides the best defense against breast cancer. For this reason, mammograms are only one part of the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer. In addition to yearly mammograms, women 40 and older should also get a breast exam by a healthcare professional every year (women in their 20s and 30s should have a breast exam at least every 3 years).

Along with these recommended exams, women need to be aware of how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to their doctor right away.

If you are interested in having your mammogram at the Rex Breast Care Center, please call 919-784-3419 for more information or schedule your mammogram online today.


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The Rex Comprehensive Breast Care Program is expanding!


The Rex Comprehensive Breast Care Program is expanding! We are proud to announce the opening of our new breast surgery clinic, Rex Breast Care Specialists. The clinic, an extension of Rex Surgical Specialists, is located in the same building as the Rex Breast Care Center at 3100 Duraleigh Road, Suite 205.

Rex Breast Care Specialists features board-certified surgeons, Dr. David Eddleman, Dr. Rachel Goble and Dr. Nancy Crowley. The clinic will be adding another fellowship-trained breast surgeon this summer as well. Combining their expertise with compassion, our surgeons focus on patients and their breast care needs in a calming, supportive atmosphere.

Our surgeons offer consultations, follow-up appointments, minimally invasive breast biopsies and coordination of comprehensive care for breast cancer and other complex breast problems. In addition to providing state-of-the-art breast cancer treatment, they treat many benign breast problems including breast cysts, nipple discharge, breast pain, breast lumps, mammographic abnormalities and patients with an elevated risk of developing breast cancer based on personal and family history.

Rex Breast Care Specialists is a seamless part of Rex’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program. Our breast surgeons also work closely with breast radiologists in the Rex Breast Imaging & Diagnostics Center and with physicians in the Rex Cancer Center. Patients at the clinic will receive a personalized treatment plan that may include some of the following services offered at Rex:

  • 3-D mammography
  • Screening and diagnostic digital mammography
  • Stereotactic breast biopsy
  • Bone-density testing
  • Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy
  • Breast ultrasound and MRI
  • Cyst aspiration
  • Lumpectomy, mastectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy
  • Coordination with plastic surgeons for immediate breast reconstruction
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Physical therapy, occupational therapy and lymphedema management
  • Participation in clinical trials
  • Guidance from nurse navigators
  • Counseling and nutrition services
  • Wellness and rehab support programs

All of these services will be linked with the surgical care offered at Rex Breast Care Specialists. “I’m excited about the addition of our new breast surgery clinic to the Rex Comprehensive Breast Care Program,” said Dr. David Eddleman, Breast Surgery Medical Director. “Our patients can now experience the convenience of having their breast imaging, surgical evaluation and support all in one central location.”

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Pink October Infographic


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New Stroke Guidelines Target Women

For the first time, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have issued guidelines aimed at reducing stroke risk in women. Each year, 55,000 more strokes occur in women than in men and represent the third leading cause of death for women (they’re the fifth leading cause for men).

Highlights of the guidelines include:

  • Pregnancy: Women with high blood pressure before pregnancy or a history of preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure) should be considered for a low-dose aspirin regimen to decrease the risk of preeclampsia; aspirin should be taken from the 12th week of gestation until delivery.
    Women with a systolic blood pressure of 150 to 159 mm Hg and a diastolic reading of 100 to 109 mm Hg should be considered for blood pressure medication. Pregnant women with blood pressure of 160/110 mm Hg should be treated.
  • History of preeclampsia: This condition should be considered a risk factor for stroke later in life.
  • Hormonal contraceptives: Having high blood pressure and taking birth control pills raise the risk of stroke, so women should be screened before taking the pill.
  • Migraines: Women who experience migraines with aura should avoid smoking to avoid further increasing risk.
  • Atrial fibrillation: Women older than 75 should be screened for this heart arrhythmia.



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