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Learn More about CyberKnife© Radiosurgery

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is dedicated to providing the best, most progressive forms of cancer treatment to our patients. Our highly trained team of doctors, nurses and medical professionals are on the cutting edge of cancer treatment. One of the most innovative and advanced technology for cancer treatment is called CyberKnife© Radiosurgery, and it’s offered at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada exclusively by our radiation oncologists.

cyberknife

Las Vegas CyberKnife© opened at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada’s Summerlin treatment center in 2010, making it the most advanced technology available in southern Nevada. But what is CyberKnife© Radiosurgery?

CyberKnife© technology offers cancer patients a painless and non-invasive form of cancer treatment that requires no anesthesia. Patients who are treated with CyberKnife© Radiosurgery will have shorter recovery times and minimized side effects due to its pin-point accuracy. Why?

With sub-millimeter accuracy, CyberKnife© technology is so advanced that it can deliver high doses of radiation to the tumor site, eliminating damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. The technology’s accuracy makes it possible for patients to complete treatment in a matter of days instead of months of cancer treatment.

Las Vegas CyberKnife© at Summerlin was made possible by the partnership formed between Comprehensive Cancer Centers‘ radiation oncologists, Select Healthcare Solutions and Summerlin Hospital. Visit our website to learn more http://www.cccnevada.com/service/cyberknife-radiosurgery.

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Comprehensive Cancer Centers and Wet ‘n’ Wild Team up for the Summer

It’s summertime, which means it’s time to enjoy all those outdoor activities. While it’s great to get out in the sun, it’s important to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. To help the community stay protected and to promote sun safety awareness, Comprehensive Cancer Centers and Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas have teamed up for the third year to provide free sunscreen to park gusts throughout the summer season. In addition, CCCN and Wet ‘n’ Wild will host an educational, family-friendly event on May 22 at 11:30am.

Staying protected in the sun is one of the best ways you can prevent skin cancer. The ultraviolet rays from the sun are the primary cause of skin cancer, and we want to help you protect yourself with basic sun-safety tips and complimentary sunscreen at Wet ‘n’ Wild.

Sun Safety Tips

Cover Up

When you are out in the sun, make sure to take basic precautions to protect yourself. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head, neck and face from the sun.

Use Sunscreen

When you are out in the sun, sunscreen is an effective way to protect yourself from dangerous UVA and UVB rays. Comprehensive Cancer Centers and Wet ‘n’ Wild will be offering complimentary SPF 30 sunscreen throughout the summer season.  The free sunscreen kiosk is located at the park entrance.

sunscreen kiosk

Seek Shade

Even when you have sunscreen on, it’s important to seek shade when you are out in the sun all day. Sunscreen can wear off over time, so make sure to reapply your sunscreen often and seek shade to avoid getting a sunburn.

Sun Safety Storytime

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is excited to continue its partnership with Wet ‘n’ Wild and to help keep the community safe this summer and all year long.

On Sunday, May 22, CCCN medical oncologist Karen Jacks, MD will take part in Wet‘n’Wild’s summer storytime series, reading the story “George the Sun Safe Superstar” to park guests.

george the sun safe superstar

Storytime begins at 11:30 a.m. inside the park adjacent to the children’s play area. This is a family friendly event and we want you to join us as we help bring sun safety awareness to the Las Vegas community.  

 

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Cancer Support – Raising Awareness the Right Way

Cancer is a disease that affects us all. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in his/her lifetime. With more than 100 different types of cancer, each has their own set of risk factors, symptoms and treatment options. Because cancer affects so many, it is important to raise awareness for cancer all year long.

Ways You Can Raise Awareness for Cancer

  • There are different cancer awareness months throughout the year. Follow the Cancer Awareness Calendar, to show your support all year long.
  • Donate. Big or small, every amount counts. You can use the Charity Navigator to find the cancer fighting organizations you would like to donate to.  
  • Join an event. From 5k walks to local fundraising events, there are always cancer awareness events you can join throughout the year. Different organizations have different events, so keep your eyes and ears out for events near you.
  • Take it to social media. Raising awareness doesn’t have to be extravagant or involve a lot of money or time. When you notice a trending cancer awareness hashtag, post about it. Add the cancer awareness of the month image to your profile picture or cover photo. Different cancer fighting organizations have different images you can share. Share interesting cancer news, fundraising opportunities and upcoming events with your social profiles and encourage your friends and family to join too. Don’t forget to follow Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn.

These are only some of the ideas to help support cancer awareness. However, you can get involved with cancer awareness in plenty of other ways.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, has a long history of supporting local and national organizations that promote cancer awareness. For a list of local organizations we support, visit our website. To join us in supporting these organizations, click here to see a list of upcoming events we will be participating in.

 

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Clinical Trial Research Q&A – Part 2

Continued from Clinical Trial Research Q&A – Part 1

  • If I agree to a clinical trial, do I continue standard of care treatment?

Oscar B. Goodman (OBG): This depends on the individual clinical trial. Phase III studies typically include a group of patients receiving a standard treatment. Some trials allow patients to continue with ongoing standard treatments.

Nicholas Vogelzang (NV): Yes, if you are on a clinical trial, you will still receive the standard of care treatment.

Fadi Braiteh (FB): Each clinical trial has its own design and process. When applicable, standard of care treatment is integrated into the trial itself.

 

  • If the clinical trial is working, what happens next?

OBG: This, too, depends on the trial. Typically phase I and phase II trials may involve a predefined course of treatment. Phase III trials are different in that the results of the trial may become evident during the early analysis (typically mandated by the FDA to assess the worthiness of continuing the study). If the results are conclusive, the trial may be terminated and patients may be offered the actual drug under an amended trial.  If the trial is deemed futile or harmful to the patient, then it will be halted immediately.

NV: All clinical trials follow a protocol. Those protocols determine what would be a positive result from the trial. The results of the trial will go through different phases of interim analyses to determine with they are reaching the pre-determined goal.

FB: This depends on the trial itself. A treatment will always be discontinued if it’s proven to be ineffective. A trial will be maintained and will eventually lead to FDA approval as long as the patients are benefiting from it.

 

  • What happens after a clinical trial is completed?

OBG: This also depends on the phase of treatment. In general, if a patient is benefiting on an open-ended trial of any phase, that individual will be allowed to continue treatment until that benefit is lost. Once the trial is complete, the results are compiled and a decision is made by the sponsor (pharmaceutical company or researcher) to move on to the next phase. If phase III, the FDA will grant approval so the drug can become a standard treatment option for all patients.

NV: When a trial is completed, it will go through a major final analysis which takes six to nine months to complete. If the goal has been met, the trial will be submitted for FDA approval. There will be a period of time where the drug is not available to the public because FDA is reviewing the data and making a decision. However, if a patient was on a clinical trial and doing well, they will be able to remain on the trial during this time. Once the trial is approved by the FDA, it will be available to the public.

FB: Once a trail has completed enrolling patients and the data has matured to be analyzed, the study will be published and made public. It will be shared with the community of physicians and scientists through professional conventions around the world. This often leads to a next phase trial, new designed trail and sometimes, it will change practice to become the new standard of care. In fact, every modality of clinical treatment that exists today was once part of a clinical trial where many patients benefited from it before it was approved by the FDA.

 

  • How do I enroll in a clinical trial at CCCN?

OBG: In order for patients to participate, they must identify a site, typically a medical office, where the trial is being held. Then they must undergo informed consent (which allows the patient to have a full understanding of their options and the specifics of the clinical trial) as well as screening to see if they meet the requirements to participate. Please call 702-952-3350 or visit our website, www.cccnevada.com for more information or to request an appointment. Your oncologist will be able to determine if you might qualify for one of our trials. You can also ask your primary oncologist for a more information about the trials we offer at our practice.

NV: Most patients are sent to Comprehensive Cancer by referral from their primary care physician. Patients can enroll on a clinical trial if they meet all the criteria and they are willing to participate.

FB: Always ask your physician, “What clinical trials are available to me for my condition today?” and/or “Can you recommend that I explore options for clinical trials with a research nurse?” 

 

  • What do you see on the horizon as the latest and greatest in clinical research?  

OBG: Advanced and incurable cancers are transitioning from life-threatening, imminently ‘terminal” diseases to chronic diseases, like hypertension and diabetes. Combinatorial treatment approaches using targeted and immunotherapies have the potential to cure cancers in the next several years. Clinical trials hold the key to future curative cancer treatment options.

NV: I am most excited about the new diagnostic tests, which will allow us to identify cancer very early. It will essentially be a blood test for cancer. However, this will be enormously challenging because it’s going to signal to the doctor that a patient’s blood test is rising, before it even appears on the x-ray. It’s going to push the envelope to a very significant degree. We will need to have more clinical trials to figure out if it’s better to treat early, when all you have is a blood test, or if it’s better to wait. I am also interested in the new nanotechnology. If we can create nanoparticles that can identify the cancer area only, we can deliver the right drugs precisely to that area.  Both of these are on the horizon, about three to five years away.

FB: Scientific research is the foundation for discovery and progress. In medicine, testing a question which affects the care of a patient is the ultimate way to prove that a drug works. It allows the medical community to select those compounds with proven benefit and reasonable safety to be manufactured and made available to patients.

 
Conducting clinical trials through our research program provides us with a unique opportunity to offer our community the latest and greatest in cancer treatment. Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, is dedicated to providing high quality cancer care, and we can’t do that without the advancement of cancer clinical research.

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Message from the Executive Director of Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

James KiblerComprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has provided oncology services to Southern Nevada residents and visitors for more than 40 years. James Kilber, Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Executive Director, is proud to lead the award-winning oncology practice in its commitment to providing patients with the “highest standards of care, newest technologies available and access to the latest clinical research in cancer treatment.”

Our oncology services and business practices have earned us many awards and accolades over the years, but what we are most proud of providing the best care possible and putting our patient’s needs above all else.

The physicians and our nursing staff at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada believes in the foundation of research to further advance patient care and to help develop new cancer fighting therapies. We are dedicated to our patients and committed to advancing the treatment of cancer for our patients.

We have contributed to the development of more than 55 FDA-approved cancer treatments and therapies and participate in more than 170 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III trials every year.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, provides medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery and pulmonary medicine services to those in need. From local Nevadans to patients traveling from other states, the physicians at Comprehensive are committed to providing the highest quality patient care. As James Kilber states, “[Comprehensive Cancer Centers’] main priority is saving lives through intelligent, thorough and compassionate patient care.”

We are here to save lives—one patient at a time—and we couldn’t do it without the support of our staff, physicians, affiliates and community partners. From our entire practice to you, thank you for allowing us to be part of your cancer-fighting journey.

 

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Clinical Trial Research Q&A – Part 1

Clinical research is a critical component in expanding treatment options for people with all types of cancer. All new cancer therapies in the last 50 years have come by way of doing research. Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has built an extensive clinical research program offering groundbreaking treatments to patients in Southern Nevada and from out-of-state. We participate in 170 Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials each year, and through our research efforts, we have helped develop more than 60 FDA approved cancer therapies.

The physicians at CCCN are dedicated to developing clinical research that will help save lives. We recently interviewed three of our physicians who actively enroll patients in clinical research to provide information about the latest in clinical research. Dr. Oscar Goodman is the medical director of CCCN’s research program and specializes in treating genitourinary malignancies. Dr. Fadi Braiteh focuses his treatment and research on gastrointestinal malignancies, lung cancer, breast cancer, and Immunotherapy. And Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang has a particular interest in genitourinary malignancies, Mesothelioma, and clinical research.

Dr. Oscar B Goodman, Jr.

Dr.-Goodman-2015

Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang

Dr.-Vogelzang-2015

Dr. Fadi Braiteh

Dr_Fadi_Braiteh_MD_CPI-670x500

 

  • What is a clinical trial and how does it work?

Dr. Oscar B Goodman, Jr. (OBG): Clinical trials allow new therapies (or medical devices) to be evaluated prior to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.  These options have generally been tested and evaluated in laboratory models with promising results.  For patients, they allow access to treatments otherwise unavailable, and they provide hope by offering new forms of therapies to combat human disease.

Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang (NV):  The advances that we’ve made in cancer treatment and the medicines that we have today have been developed from clinical trials. In a clinical trial, we will ask a patient to take a new drug, compare a new drug to an old drug, or take an old drug and add a new drug to that. Clinical trials also compare two standard drugs. However, clinical trial research is changing rapidly. There are two new types of clinical research being conducted. One new way is through Bayesian, or adaptive clinical trials, where you pick the best drug over time. The second way is through diagnostics, where patients are only able to get the drug if they have a certain genetic characteristic.  

Dr. Fadi Braiteh (FB): A clinical trial, also referred to as a clinical study, is a type of scientific research study that tests how well new medical approaches, or new drugs, will work in humans. These studies test new methods of prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of a disease, such as cancer.

 

  • What are the different phases of clinical trials?

OBG: Phase I is typically a first in human study to assess whether a drug is safe and to identify its appropriate dose moving forward. Phase II- uses the phase I dose to assess whether a drug is effective and worthy of further evaluation.  These trials may be randomized against another treatment option in a blinded (unknown what is being administered) or unblinded (open label, with knowledge of what treatment is being administered). Phase III assesses whether the drug is better than the pre-existing standard of care, typically using criteria such as survival benefit or prevention of disease progression, are always randomized against the standard of care. Phase IV asses the drug for ongoing safety concerns after FDA approval.

NV: Currently, clinical research trials are organized into four phases – Phase I, Phase II, Phase III, and Phase IV. Each phase tests for different things; however, the research landscape is changing so rapidly that these numbers are going to go away. In a Bayesian trial or a randomized trial, they are not the traditional Phase I, II or III anymore. For example, we are doing Phase I trials for specific patient populations, when before, Phase I was available for everyone.

FB: A new drug or device is evaluated in the laboratory, often over years; in what is referred to as “pre-clinical trials.” This type of research does not include human subjects. After the pre-clinical phase, there are four different phases of a clinical research process that aim to answer specific questions about whether a new treatment will work well and if it’s safe. Phase I trials test the newest concept drugs in humans to find the best way to give the new treatment as well as the best dose. This phase tests the early evidence of efficacy. Phase II trials tests what effect the new treatment has on the disease. Phase III trials, typically much larger than I and II; compare the results of people taking a new treatment versus the results of people taking the standard of care. Phase IV trials are given after a drug is approved by the FDA and made commercially available. This phase checks for the occurrence of certain side effects, and detects the adverse events that are very rare and not witnessed in the phase III trial. Typically, a drug is made commercially available after a phase III trial. But in certain diseases, such as certain cancers, they can be made available after phase II if the trials show great results.

 

  • Why are clinical trials important to cancer treatment?

OBG: Clinical trials are critical to providing treatment options, particular for incurable diseases. Our future cancer cures will come exclusively through clinical trials.

NV: Conducting clinical trials is the only way the FDA will grant new drug approval in the United States or in the world, so it’s very important. Some people might fear clinical trials because they don’t know enough about it. It’s important to note that new drugs being developed through clinical research have far fewer side effects than older drugs.  

FB: Clinical trials are important for any treatment. It is the only way to test new drugs and to demonstrate that they are helpful. This is the only scientific research method that will prove such efficacy. Clinical trials are heavily regulated and supervised by ethics, scientific and governmental agencies. They are delivered by specifically trained investigators to ensure patients safety.

 

  • Who can participate in clinical trials?

OBG: Any individual who can provide informed consent (i.e. understand the potential risks, benefits, and alternative treatment options) and meets eligibility requirements (e.g. has the appropriate diagnosis and intact organ function) can participate.

NV: Anyone who has cancer, but also has good kidney function, good liver function and good blood function. We have to do a checklist of eligibility criteria before we can conduct a clinical trial.  

FB: Any patient with a specific condition can participate in a clinical trial, when available. These trials are designed so a patient will receive nothing less than the best standard of care that is available. In a trial, there is no compromise on medical care a patient receives.

 

  • What are the risks associated with clinical trials?

OBG: Risk depends on the trial phase (typically higher for phase I since there is less extensive experience with the drug or device) and the emergence of any unknown side effects.

NV: There are always new drugs being developed. They claim there are no side effects, but they do have some. However, through clinical research, we are able to identify those side effects and make modifications to the drugs. Sometimes the drug might not be the right dose, or it might affect humans differently. There’s a fair bit of science that doesn’t translate into the human experience, which may expose them to side effects.  

FB: Participation in a clinical trial itself has no risks, and in fact, studies show the quality of care given to a patient on a trial is often better. The risk is related to the new drug being studied, however, patients are well aware of the risks. Part of the enrollment process is to review, understand and accept the risks associated.

 

  • Will my clinical trial treatment be given by qualified physicians and staff?

OBG: Yes, this is mandated by the FDA. Since trials involve non-approved therapies, there is very extensive FDA-mandated oversight to assure patient safety. A full team of medical professionals including physicians, nurses, and research staff will monitor the patient and care for them through the duration of treatment.

NV: Yes. All doctors who participate in clinical trials have to sign an agreement with the company developing the trail that they will follow the letter of the law, in this case, the trial protocol. Clinical trials call for experienced doctors who are willing to communicate with the company on a regular basis which means agreeing to follow the protocol, joining regular calls, monitoring the patient and doing a very careful job. At CCCN, we have an entire team dedicated to research which includes the physician, clinical research coordinators, data managers, regulatory specialists and financial specialists.  

(FB): Yes, the provider administering the study must be licensed to practice medicine in her/his subspecialty. Additionally, the research staff and the physician must have  extensive training, must pass evaluation for conducting clinical trials, and have specific training for each trial individually.

Read Clinical Trial Research Q&A – Part 2 to learn more.

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How Much Physical Activity is Beneficial for a Cancer Patient

In the past, doctors often told patients being treated for a chronic illness like cancer to rest and reduce physical activity. This is good advice if movement causes any pain, rapid heart rate or shortness of breath. However, new research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can also have a positive impact on their prognosis during treatment.

Inactivity can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness and reduced range of motion in cancer patients. Nowadays, cancer centers like Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada recommend to cancer patients to remain as physically active as possible during and after cancer treatment.

Take a look at some of the ways physical exercise during and after cancer treatment can help to keep you healthy:

  • Improves balance
  • Lowers risk of falls and broken bones
  • Reduces muscle weakness due to inactivity
  • Helps lower the risk of heart disease
  • Diminishes osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
  • Improves blood flow to legs and reduces the risk of blood clots
  • Allows less dependency on others for help
  • Improves self-esteem and lowers anxiety and depression
  • Lessens nausea
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Helps control weight during and after treatment
  • Reduces the impact of side effects

In short, physical exercise can be helpful for  cancer patients, and can help improve quality of life during and after cancer treatment. Many  cancer patients have reported health benefits when they maintained regular physical exercise during and after cancer treatment.

For more information on how to optimize your health during and after cancer treatment, contact the cancer care team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our team of oncologists, nursing staff and medical professionals can help. Visit www.cccnevada.com for more information and to schedule an appointment, call 702-952-3350.

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Tips to Help Teach Your Kids About Cancer

When someone in your family is diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to talk to your children about what to expect and the seriousness of the disease. It’s also important to be there for them and let them express their feelings. They might handle the news differently, so it’s necessary to keep an open line of communication.

CancerCare, a national nonprofit organization, provides valuable advice and tips for helping those diagnosed with cancer as well as their family members and loved ones. The organization provides counseling and family workshops that help bring families together during a cancer diagnosis. The organization also offers great tips for keeping your child informed when someone in the family receives a cancer diagnosis.

How to Teach Your Child about Cancer

Prepare what you will say.

Many parents find it extremely helpful to practice or list what they will say when they explain a cancer diagnosis to a child. Try to have these conversations together as a family, so the child feels supported by all their family members.

Set the tone.

Some parents recommend choosing a time of day in which their child is rested and calm. Starting the conversation during this time will lead to better results. Once you start the conversation, it is just as important to set the tone. Not only does it matter what you say, but also how you say it. During this time, it’s okay to show your emotions. This will let your child know that it is okay to express their emotions in a healthy way. Do not talk longer than they can listen, and let them know that they can ask any questions they need to at any time.

Consider your child’s age.

As you speak with a child, it is also essential to keep their age and maturity level in mind. Younger children have shorter attention spans and cannot sit still for long periods of time.

When speaking about a cancer diagnosis, use simple and concrete terms that they will understand. Be prepared to answer questions. Some children, depending on their age, will have more questions than others. This is okay, and it can be good for you to discover answers together.

Ask professionals for help.

If you need guidance before addressing your child with a discussion about cancer, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone for support. Organizations like CancerCare, can provide assistance to anyone who needs advice in this area. You can also join support groups in your area. Locally, The Caring Place, a program of Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, offers support groups for adults and children who have been touched by cancer.  Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is also available to provide support and resources for every cancer patient.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, contact Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. We are here to provide treatment, support, advice and resources for every cancer patient, and their families. Together, we can fight and beat cancer, one family at a time.  

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