HOTFLASHES | January 2023

Lower Your Risk of Cervical Cancer

light-blue-ribbon-crop-handsEach January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and we are celebrating by talking about ways you can lower your risk. Each year about 14,000 cases are diagnosed, and roughly 4,000 women die from it each year. However, thanks to modern medicine, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk of cervical cancer.

  • Get screened every year. It’s important to get a Pap smear and HPV (human papillomavirus) test regularly. A Pap smear looks for cell changes on your cervix that, if not treated, may turn into cancer, and the HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these changes. How often you should be screened depends on your age and several other factors, so talk to your provider about what is best for you.
  • Get your HPV vaccine. HPV is what causes cervical cancer in most cases, and it also raises both men and women’s risk of other cancers as well. It’s recommended for people aged 11-26.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk of several different cancers, including cervical cancer.
  • Use condoms during sex. Because cervical cancer is most often caused by HPV, you can lower your risk of cervical cancer by protecting yourself from HPV.


Preventing Illness This Flu Season

Caring black father giving a cup of tea to his sick small daughter at home.

No one likes being sick, but this time of year—it’s hard to avoid it. With COVID-19, the flu, and other viruses out there, we put together a few tips to keep you and your family feeling well this January.

  • Get your vaccine(s). The single best way to prevent illness is to make sure you’re vaccinated. If you haven’t received your COVID-19 vaccines or booster or your flu vaccine, it’s not too late to do so.
  • Avoid close contact. Keep your distance from people you know are sick, and if you’re sick, protect others by keeping your distances too.
  • Cover your mouth and nose. While it won’t protect you from getting sick, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze can protect others from getting sick. If you have kids, it’s also a good practice to teach them.
  • Practice hand hygiene. Washing your hands often with warm soap and water is a great way to get rid of germs and viruses. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you have germs on your hands and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, it’s an easy way to get sick.
  • Clean and disinfect. It’s a good idea to clean and disinfect areas that are touched often like door knobs, phones, keys, and other surfaces to kill germs.
  • Eat healthy. Eating healthy and drinking lots of water is a great way to stay healthy and keep your immune system in good shape.


Classic Tomato Soup


  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • Minced fresh basil, optional


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook and stir until tender, 2-4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except for optional fresh basil. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  2. Puree soup using an immersion blender. Or cool soup slightly and puree in batches in a blender; return to pan and heat through. If desired, top with fresh minced basil.