November 9th, 2012
04:19 PM ET
The American Heart Association just concluded its annual "Scientific Sessions" conference, where heart experts gather to discuss and share findings about the latest treatments, procedures and studies about heart health and heart disease prevention.
While many of the presentations targeted doctors to improve their knowledge and understanding about keeping hearts healthy and treating heart disease, some the presentations included information to help consumers understand how to keep their hearts healthy.
Professor Donna Arnett is the current President of the American Heart Association and she's the first epidemiologist to lead the AHA. She discussed four things that heart experts want you to know, based upon information presented during the conference:
1. Don't rely on multivitamins to protect heart health. A large study of doctors found that taking a daily multivitamin didn't reduce major heart events such as heart attacks, stroke or death from heart disease. Many people take multivitamins under the false assumption that they will prevent heart disease or other medical conditions.
November 9th, 2012
12:32 PM ET
She says had no clue she had cancer - it was discovered during a routine physical.
"Doctors say this is a good kind of cancer to have. A good cancer ... that sounds so crazy," she says in the video. She says she is feeling great and is not going to let her diagnosis define her. "I'm going to make a positive out of this negative thing."
We strongly believe knowledge is power and that it's critical to be an Empowered Patient. So here are five things to know about thyroid cancer.
1. Women are more likely to get thyroid cancer then men. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2011 there were just over 48,000 new cases of thyroid cancer. Of those, 36,550 were in women and 11,470 were in men. Doctors aren't sure why.
2. It also impacts younger people. Nearly two out of three thyroid cancer cases are found in adults under 55. While it can occur at any age, women's risk peaks typically in their 40s or 50s, while the risk peaks for men usually in their 60s or 70s.
3. It tends not to be an "obvious" cancer. As was the case for Burke-Charvet, for most people there are no obvious symptoms. But over time as the cancer grows, according to the Mayo Clinic, it may cause symptoms ranging from a lump on your neck to difficulty swallowing to changes in your voice.
4. There are more cases now than there were 20 years ago. The number of thyroid cancer diagnoses have more than doubled since 1990. Why? According to the ACS, some of it is the result of the increased use of ultrasound, which can detect tiny nodules on the thyroid that might have been missed in the past.
5. The survival rate is high. Burke-Charvet says in her video that her doctor told her, "this is a happily-ever-after-ending kind of thing." If caught early, the survival rate is nearly 100%. But not everyone survives. Around 1,700 people do die, mostly because their cancer was caught in the late stages.
As for Burke-Charvet, she says that she will soon undergo a thyroidectomy which will remove her thyroid and leave a scar across her neck.
November 9th, 2012
09:43 AM ET
Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. Basma Hameed was severely burned as a toddler and lived with visible scars for a long time. Then she found tattoos and a way to help others overcome their pain.
After 16 years of constant surgeries and pain, nothing can compare to the pain of people's stares and comments. Imagine going through so many surgeries, then meeting someone and the first thing they say is: "What happened to your face? Have you tried surgery?"
People could not accept my scars and the main reason was because I had not accepted them myself. I couldn't accept that this accident did happen to me and this is my face forever.
I was in denial for so many years. I would lock myself in my bedroom and did not want to go outside because I was not comfortable with everyone's reactions.
I did not have anyone I could relate to growing up, and I did not look like what the media portrays as "beautiful." I believed that if you didn't look a certain way, then you could not be accepted and were not "normal." FULL POST
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.