Dr. Rachael Faces Her Fears
Family medicine physician and sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross is one of the almost three million women in the United States with a family history of breast cancer. Just last year, Dr. Rachael’s aunt lost her battle with breast and ovarian cancer.
“I see it a lot with patients, losing loved ones, but when it happens to you, and that pain finally hits … then it hits you that this could happen to anyone,” Dr. Rachael says.
Dr. Rachael faces her fears and decides to get tested for the BRCA gene mutation. Inherited BRCA gene mutations are responsible for about five percent of breast cancers and about 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers. While a positive result doesn’t mean that you will ultimately develop cancer, women who have the mutations face a much higher risk of developing the disease. They also may face further decisions regarding vigilant health surveillance or possibly even preventative surgical options, such as a double mastectomy, which Angelina Jolie selected after her positive test result.
A negative BRCA test result isn’t a get-out-of-breast-cancer-free card, however. “If you do not test positive for BRCA mutation, but you were high risk enough to take the test in the first place, we still need to step back and look at [how high risk you are],” breast surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk explains.
Learn more about BRCA gene testing and watch as Dr. Rachael learns whether she carries the gene mutation.
Surprising Skin Ailment “Down There”
Shortly after giving birth to her first child, Jayme began experiencing itching and discomfort in her vaginal area. At first, her gynecologist diagnosed her with a yeast infection, but when the irritation failed to go away and instead became worse, she visited the emergency room for further treatment. There, she was diagnosed with lichen sclerosus, a rare skin disease affecting the skin around the genitals and anal area that results in white patches, severe itching, dryness, severe tearing and even fusing of parts.
“About one in 60 women will develop vaginal lichen sclerosus,” OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton explains. “And since it’s so often misdiagnosed as eczema or yeast infection, it’s very difficult to get a good diagnosis or treatment.”
One Tough Cookie
Philanthropist and HIV and AIDS activist Cookie Johnson, wife of NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, joins The Doctors to discuss the stigmas surrounding HIV and AIDS, and the importance of education. Cookie’s husband was famously diagnosed with HIV in 1991, shortly after they married. She says at the time, she was devastated and scared, but the couple decided to fight it together. Since then, Cookie has become a fierce advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness and education.
“The real truth is that this disease is totally preventable, if we act responsibly,” Cookie says.
Through the couple’s foundation, the Magic Johnson Foundation, they strive to dispel the stigmas around being HIV positive and encourage people to get tested. Cookie’s latest project is her “Truth” jeans, so named because, as Cookie explains, “Truth means knowing the truth about HIV and AIDS, so get educated, know your facts, know about the disease, so you know how not to spread [it].” For every purchase of CJ by Cookie Johnson jeans, $10 will be donated to the Magic Johnson Foundation to go toward raising awareness of HIV and AIDS.
Post Pregnancy Weight Loss
Celebrity moms face incredible scrutiny from the media in regard to their post-baby bodies, prompting many to go to incredible lengths to return to their pre-baby figures. However, with so many post-baby weight loss success stories, are celebrities and society setting the bar too high for the average woman, who might not have the resources or ability to bounce back as quickly, if at all?
"The shape you're in before you get pregnant is critically important," Dr. Ashton says.
The Doctors, along with members of the audience, discuss the pressures placed on women to bounce back after pregnancy.