Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Penn Fertility Care

The First Step in Getting Pregnant May Be Finding Out Why You Can't

When should you see a fertility specialist? If you've experienced the following events, it may be time for you to schedule an appointment with an infertility specialist:
  • If you are under 35 and have been unable to conceive after a year of trying to get pregnant. 
  • If you are over 35 and have been unable to conceive after 6 months of trying to get pregnant.
  • When you've miscarried two or more times. 
  • When other infertility treatments have not been successful. 
If you do not have regular menstrual cycles, or if you have had prior gynecological problems including endometriosis, pelvic surgery, tubal pregnancy or infections, you should seek assistance sooner.

Fertility evaluation diagnostic procedures at Penn Medicine can identify the causes of infertility. Sometimes, a diagnosis can be easy — just a matter of conducting a few simple tests. Other times, pinpointing the cause requires time and patience. In some cases, no cause of infertility can be found.

What to Expect at a Diagnostic Evaluation

A diagnostic evaluation often begins with a physical exam and a thorough health history. Afterward, your physician may further conduct additional testing using one or more of the following methods:
  • Blood Test: A blood test will determine if there is normal ovulation physiology. Ovulation dysfunction can result from hormonal deficiencies, congenital defects, and age. 
  • Assessing Ovarian Reserve: A physician evaluates the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level and antimullerian hormone (AMH). A blood test is performed that can determine the number/quality of eggs remaining in a woman's ovary. 
  • Measuring Hormone Levels: A common cause of infertility is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This syndrome is genetically linked to hormonal imbalances thereby causing a condition that prevents ovulation.
  • A hysterosalpingogram or sonohysterogram may be performed to evaluate the uterus and to determine if the fallopian tubes are open. 
  • An ultrasound may be performed to evaluate the uterus and ovaries. 
  • semen analysis may be performed to evaluate the amount and quality of a man's semen and sperm. 
Penn Fertility Care works in conjunction with the Male Fertility Program and Microsurgery Section in the Division of Urology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Penn's experts have extensive clinical experience in male infertility and have particular expertise in microsurgical reconstruction of the male reproductive tract.

Depending on the patient's condition, additional detailed tests may be performed to determine the cause of the infertility.

Learn more about infertility diagnosis and evaluation at Penn Medicine.

The 2 Cancer Screenings You Should Never Skip

The Mammogram
The mammogram remains the most important screening test in the detection of breast cancer and it likely saves thousands of lives every year.

Beginning at the age of 40, all women should have an annual mammogram to check for breast cancer. Depending on a woman’s personal risk, her physician may recommend she begin annual mammograms before the age of 40.

Schedule a Mammogram at Penn Medicine
Penn offers dedicated breast imagers with access to digital mammography, breast ultrasound and MRI. All mammograms performed at Penn are connected to a comprehensive breast cancer program at the Abramson Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center.

Also, most locations offer same-day, walk-in appointments.

Mammograms at Penn Medicine are offered at the following locations: 
  • Penn Medicine Valley Forge
  • Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine*
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Penn Medicine Radnor
Schedule a mammogram at Penn Medicine
Call 1-800-789-PENN (7366) to schedule a mammogram at Penn.

The Colonoscopy
Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented with screening. More than 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are age 50 or older.

Current screening recommendations in the United States include:

  • Men and women over the age of 50 be screened for colorectal cancer
  • Those with a personal or family history of colon polyps, cancer at an early age or certain chronic medical conditions be encouraged to be screened starting at an earlier age.

Although the incidence of colorectal cancer and cancer-related deaths is decreasing, colon cancer screening remains underutilized. Consequently, colorectal remains the third most common cancer worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer deaths.

One of the main barriers to colorectal screening is the lack of awareness of the disease. Colorectal cancer tends to not be discussed as openly as other conditions such as breast or lung cancer. Furthermore, the thought of undergoing a colonoscopy is not appealing.. This is compounded by the fact that there is a general misperception about the study.

Colonoscopy can detect early tumors, and more importantly pre-cancerous growths of tissue called polyps. Polyps can be removed at the time of the procedure, thereby preventing cancer from developing.

Colonoscopies at Penn Medicine are offered at the following locations: 

  • Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Penn Medicine Radnor

Schedule a colonoscopy at Penn Medicine

Are you 50 years old or older? Make an appointment at Penn Medicine for your routine colonoscopy by calling 1-800-789-PENN (7366).

 *Digital breast tomosynthesis, a revolutionary way to perform mammograms combining traditional mammography with 3D technology, is offered at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicien. DBT allows for more accurate pictures of breast health. Women who get their mammograms using the new DBT technology at Penn may find they are called less often for follow-up visits and more tests.Learn more about DBT at Penn, and how you can schedule your DBT mammogram at Penn.