Category Archives: HEALTH


The Battle Against Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide.

Two years ago, Fort Myers resident Amanda Salazar didn’t know if she would be able to have children.  The day before her 26th birthday, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer.  Salazar was referred to Dr. James Orr, one of the top gynecologic oncologists in the nation.

“Amanda had cervical squamous cell carcinoma, which is very rare.  Unlike many other forms of cervical cancer that are caused by the human papilloma virus, we don’t know what causes squamous cell.  Her cancer was also fairly advanced,” said Dr. Orr.

Normally, because of how far her cancer had progressed, Salazar would have undergone a complete hysterectomy.  However, Dr. Orr felt he could save her ability to have children by performing a less common procedure known as a trachelectomy.

“In this surgery, the cervix and the upper part of the vagina are removed, but the uterus is left in place, making it possible for a woman to still naturally conceive,” said Dr. Orr.

Salazar underwent the trachelectomy, and also had her appendix, left ovary and left fallopian tube removed due to endometriosis. 

“Following surgery, life was just really overwhelming.  Not only was I trying to recover from cancer, I was facing some pretty tough odds for conceiving my own child.  Dr. Orr and his staff were with me every step of the way. When I still wasn’t pregnant after 9 months, Dr. Orr performed another surgery to make sure that I could undergo successful in-vitro fertilization,” said Salazar.

One year later, Salazar is cancer-free and getting a nursery ready for her first baby.

“Dr. Orr really helped me do the impossible. I have one ovary and endometriosis and I’m expecting a child. I don’t know that any other physician could have done that.”

Cervical Cancer Symptoms Women Should Not Ignore

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide.  In 2016, an estimated 12,900 American women were diagnosed, and 4,100 women passed away from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  As part of January’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, 21st Century Oncology wants to raise awareness about this often silent but deadly disease.  As with all cancers, prevention and early detection is key to successful treatment.  Below are the five most common cervical cancer symptoms that women should be aware of:

Abnormal Pap Test– Abnormal cervical cell changes will normally not produce any noticeable symptoms, so it is extremely important for women to be vigilant about getting a regular pelvic exam. If a pap test shows abnormal cell changes, your doctor will run other tests to determine if they are precancerous or cancerous cells.

Abnormal bleeding– Women should pay attention to any bleeding in between menstrual periods, following sex, and after menopause.

Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis– Ongoing abdominal pain or discomfort, including indigestion, pressure, bloating and cramps, can signal cancer.

Painful sexual intercourse– Pain during and after sex can be a common early symptom of cervical changes.

Abnormal discharge– Bloody and dark discharge or discharge with a foul odor can be a sign of cervical cancer, though it is more commonly a sign of infection. Any kind of unusual discharge is a good reason to schedule a doctor’s visit.

Swollen leg– Though rare, a leg that looks or feels swollen for no apparent reason can be a sign of cervical cancer. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as pain and discharge.

– Dr. James Orr is a Certified American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology doctor with 21st Century Oncology. Orr has strong ties to academic medicine and clinical research, and believes in offering women the best access to gynecologic cancer treatment available.  21st Century Oncology is the largest global, physician led provider of Integrated Cancer Care services.  The company offers a comprehensive range of cancer treatment services, focused on delivering academic quality, cost-effective patient care in personal and convenient settings.  For more information about our services, visit or call 239-334-6626. 


National Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, about 1 in 6 people who start using drugs and alcohol as a teen, and 25 – 50 percent of people who use it every day, become addicted.  With January 23 – 29 designated National Drug and Alcohol Week, here are some basic questions to get the conversation started with your children.

What is marijuana? Are there different kinds?

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp, or cannabis, plant. It goes by many different names—pot, herb, weed, grass—and stronger forms include sinsemilla, hashish and hash oil. 

How does marijuana work? 

All forms of marijuana are mind-altering.  In other words, they change how the brain works.  Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Since THC is the main active chemical in marijuana, the amount of THC in marijuana determines its strength or potency and therefore its effects.  The THC content of marijuana has been increasing since the 1980s. 

How long does marijuana stay in your body? 

The THC in marijuana is rapidly absorbed by fatty tissues in various organs throughout the body.  In general, standard urine tests can detect traces (metabolites) of THC several days after use.  In heavy users, however, THC metabolites can sometimes be detected for weeks after use stops. 

What happens if you smoke marijuana? 

•  problems with learning and memory 

•  distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch) 

•  poor motor coordination 

•  increased heart rate 

What if a person wants to quit using marijuana? 

Researchers are testing different ways to help marijuana users stay off the drug, including some medications.  Current treatment programs focus on counseling and group support systems.  There are also a number of programs designed especially to help teenagers. 


In Motion!

Join the Million Mile Movement

The Million Mile Movement is a fun, inclusive way to empower all of us to move.

The fresh start of a new year inspires many of us to set resolutions to change and improve our health, wellness and lifestyle. Even with the best intentions, our resolutions often fizzle. This year, at the start of the year, Healthy Lee is challenging our community to join the Million Mile Movement—a challenge to collectively log 1,000,000 miles in less than three months. This challenge, which runs Jan. 9-March 31, might be just what we all need to set a healthy goal, and to find the support and motivation to keep and reach it. 

The Million Mile Movement is a fun, inclusive way to empower all of us to move. Whether you walk, run, bike, swim or participate in other aerobic activities that energize your body and mind, every step counts—for yourself and our community.  Here are the steps to take so your steps count:

Register to Participate

The Million Mile Movement challenge is free and open to all Lee County residents—of all ages and fitness levels. Visit to register as an individual or create a team with your family, friends and co-workers. All participants will receive a weekly email newsletter with health tips and motivation throughout the 12-week challenge. If you participated last year, your registration automatically renews. Please log in to update your profile.

Set Your Goal

How many miles do you want to move during the challenge? Make sure your goal is realistic and attainable, so you stay motivated to reach it. If you choose to create a team, set your own individual goal, as well as the team’s goal. 

Get Moving and Log Your Miles

Keep count of your efforts and then visit the easy-to-use website— —to track your healthy activities. This keeps you motivated to continue working toward your goal, and keeps you updated on our community’s progress toward 1,000,000 miles. The website also features a movement converter tool to convert a variety of healthy activities into miles, so incorporate different exercises to keep yourself interested, engaged and challenged. If you’re looking for different ways to get moving in Lee County, the event calendar on the Healthy Lee website features health and wellness events, activities and ideas.

If you don’t exercise regularly, use the Million Mile Movement as a jumpstart to a new routine. Find something you like to do, and commit to finding the time to take care of yourself.