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What is Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial Cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus, according to the National Cancer Institute. It is the leading cause of gynecologic cancer in the United States. It is the fourth most common cancer amongst women. The most common sign of this cancer is unusual bleeding from the vagina especially after menopause. Therefore, any woman with such symptoms should be carefully assessed.

Certain aspects put women at risk for this type of cancer:

  • It is most common in women over 50 years of age.
  • Women who have high levels of estrogen in their bodies (some things that increase your risk for higher estrogen is being extremely overweight, and having high blood pressure or diabetes).
  • Using estrogen replacement therapy without taking progestin. Progestin seems to protect the lining of the uterus from the estrogen.
  • Having a first period before age 12 or going through menopause after age 50.

The evaluation of women with abnormal vaginal bleeding and suspected endometrial cancer, should have a focused physical exam with a Body Mass Index calculation and a pelvic exam that includes a visual inspection to evaluate the source of the bleeding. Basic lab studies should be performed to include a pregnancy test, complete blood count, Pap Smear, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. As well as thyroid check, liver check and other blood tests.


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Other diagnostic studies can also be performed to include an endometrial biopsy, which involves inserting a narrow tube into the uterus and removing a small amount of tissue that is tested in a lab for re-cancerous cells. Imaging tests may also be performed such as endovaginal and transabdominal ultrasonography. MRI and CT scans may also be performed.

Treatment of endometrial hyperplasia depends on the presence of atypical cells and the patient’s desire for future fertility. Treatment usually involves removing the uterus, the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. Women may also need to take progestin to balance out high levels of estrogen. Sometimes radiation therapy or chemotherapy is also needed. Treatment can be very effective if the cancer is found early.

Be sure to have your annual Women’s Wellness exam to check for any abnormalities. Call our office today, 757-488-3333, to schedule an appointment.

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, MD



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Pneumonia: Symptoms and Prevention

During this time of year, with the flu running rampant, pneumonia is very commonly seen, especially after someone has had the flu.   Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. It is caused by a bacteria or virus caused by irritants entering the lungs. The symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the risk factors and the type of pneumonia.

Lung Xray

Common symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Mucus
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Chills

Anyone can get pneumonia, but it is more likely to develop pneumonia if you have a weak immune system, are a baby or young child,  are a smoker, or are someone over 65 years of age. You may be more likely to get the disease after having a cold or the flu. These illnesses make it hard for your lungs to fight infection.

Pneumonia is diagnosed based on a chest x-ray. For bacterial pneumonia, your doctor will probably prescribe some antibiotics, which will improve the symptoms in a few days, although the cough may last several weeks. Severe cases of pneumonia may require treatment in the hospital and antibiotics through an IV. Complications of pneumonia include pleural effusion and bacteria of the blood stream.

To prevent pneumonia, get a flu shot each year. Getting the flu shot will decrease your risk of contracting pneumonia. Even though we are in the heart of the flu season, it is NOT too late to get vaccinated. 

Call our office today, 757-488-3333, to schedule your flu shot.

~Dr. Abdelshaheed

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The “Migraine Difference”

We all get headaches. That aching neck pain and throbbing temples, making it nearly impossible to concentrate. But are you having a migraine? How do you know?

Migraine headaches seem to be caused in part by changes in the level of a chemical made in the brain called serotonin, which plays many roles in the body and has an effect on blood vessels. When the serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict and when the levels are low, the vessels dilate, which can cause pain. Many things can affect serotonin level in the body including diet and level of blood sugars, as well as changes in estrogen levels for women.

Woman with a Migraine

The pain of a migraine can be intense and can get in the way of daily activities. Migraines affect people differently and some folks may have a feeling of when a migraine is coming on. This may be in the way of intense energy, fatigue, food cravings, or mood changes.

The most widely experienced migraines are 1) classic and 2) common migraines. Classic migraines start with a warning signal called an aura. This often involves changes in vision. Patients may see flashing lights, colors, temporary loss of some vision, such as side vision. Other signals include strange burning sensation or muscle weakness, depression, irritability and restlessness. Common migraines don’t typically start with an aura, they start more slowly, last longer and are more likely to interfere with daily activities.

Symptoms of migraines include:

  • Intense throbbing or dull aching pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Pain worsens with physical activity
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Changes in vision
  • Feeling cold or hot
  • Stiff or tender neck
  • Tender scalp
  • Light headed-ness
  • Stopped up nose

Things that can set off a migraine include:

  • Strong or unusual odors, bright lights or loud noises (This could include smoking or fumes)
  • Changes in weather or altitude
  • Feeling tired or depressed, including changes in sleeping habits
  • Missing meals or fasting
  • Menstrual periods, birth control pills or hormonal changes
  • Intense physical activity
  • Some foods


There are two types of medications that help relieve migraine pain. One type focuses on relieving the headache pain, and this type of treatment is typically started on the onset of a migraine. Other types of medications are used to prevent headaches before they occur. Non prescription medication can also be used to help relieve the pain. Talk to your doctor about which medicine is best for you. Non prescription and prescription medicines that are used often or in large doses may cause other problems.

To prevent migraines try to avoid foods or other things that seem to cause migraines. Keep a journal to help identify the triggers. Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of fluids, get regular exercise.

If you are experiencing painful headaches, possibly migraines, give us a call – (757) 488-3333. Help is on the way!

~ Dr. Abdelshaheed


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Preventing the Flu

Once again we are entering the flu season. The Flu Shot should be or become available in most doctor offices very shortly. The flu season lasts from the end of October through April.  As you may know, Influenza is a viral infection in the nose, throat, and lungs.

10- 20% of Americans get the flu each year. Some get very sick and a few die. The flu may cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and tiredness. Some people describe the flu as the worse cold they had ever had. Most people get better within 1- 2 weeks. For some people, the flu leads to serious, and maybe life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia. The flu shot is recommended for people who are more likely to get really sick for protection from the flu.

Flu Vaccine

People who have a higher risk of complications from the flu and should get the flu vaccine every year:

  • All children 6 months to 3 years old
  • All adults 65 years and older
  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the flu season
  • Nursing home and long term care facility residents
  • Health care workers that have direct care with patients
  • Caregivers and household contacts of children less than 6 months of age
  • Individuals with long term health problems
  • Children 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy


The best way to avoid the flu is to get the influenza vaccine each fall, before the flu season. The vaccine is available by shot or nasal spray. IT works by exposing the immune system to the flu virus. The body will build up antibodies to the virus to protect you from the virus. The flu shot contains dead viruses. The nasal spray contains live but weakened viruses. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot or the nasal spray vaccine. People who have had an allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past or have an allergy to eggs should not get the flu shot.

The flu vaccine is safe. There are very few side effects. With the flu shot the arm may be sore for a few days, a fever, feeling tired or have sore muscles for a short time. With the nasal spray vaccine the side effects are runny nose, headache, cough or sore throat. With pregnancy you should not get the nasal spray vaccine. However, it is recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot.

There are antiviral flu drugs, which are prescription medicines that can be used to help prevent or treat the flu. Taking these drugs with in 2 days of getting sick can lessen your symptoms and decrease the amount of time a person is sick. Your doctor will decide if these medications are right for you.

Call our office to get your flu shot, 757-488-3333.

~ Dr. Abdelshaheed

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How to Avoid a “Medication Messup”

What medications, including OTC and herbal supplements, are you currently taking? Do you know? Does your doctor know? If not, you may want to make a list to bring to your next visit. It could save your life.




1.5 Million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medication. The populations most at risk are geriatrics and pediatrics. That is since more than half of pediatric patient visits result in a prescription.

12% of the US population is greater than 65 years of age and consume about 30% of prescription medication. This is why it is critical that patients bring their medications for visits or admissions, so that the doctors are able to document medications as well as dosages. This should include any herbals or vitamins as well as over the counter drugs. I encourage family members to become involved in the care of elderly patients. Provide them with a list of their medications, the dosages, as well as allergies.

One medication may have many drug names, which may create confusion in regards to the drug. Always write down the brand name of the drug that you’re using if utilizing a list and ensure that you spell the generic name properly. It is important for patients who are traveling to take enough medication with them for the duration of their travel. That is since, medications from other countries may differ from those that are FDA approved in the US. In addition, brand names are used for different drugs in different countries.

Ways to Avoid Medication Errors at Home:

  • Make a list of current medication
  • Update med list when medications change
  • List all allergies to food or medications
  • Keep medications in original container
  • Read the label before taking any medication
  • Read the patient information sheet and call the pharmacy if there is a change is shape, size or color of your medication
  • Don’t take anyone else’s medication
  • Discard expired medications
  • Discard all medications one year after they are dispensed.


As you read this article consider taking your medications to your next doctor’s visit for review and update. It’s the simple things like this that can save your or a loved one’s life.

~ Dr. Abdelshaheed


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