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prostate cancer screening

Men’s Health Month: When to Get a Prostate Cancer Screening

Every June, healthcare professionals and their community observe Men’s Health Month. During this time, organizations host screenings, health fairs, and educational outreach programs to raise awareness about preventable health problems in men. The goal is to encourage screenings for early detection and proper treatment for men’s cancers and other diseases. This month, we encourage the CCCN family to learn about prostate cancer and how a prostate cancer screening can be beneficial to you and the other men in your life.

Recently a federal panel reversed its opposition to routine screenings. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a draft recommendation stated the screenings should be discussed with your doctor and decision to have one should be a personal one.

Raising Prostate Cancer Awareness

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males. It occurs when the cells in the prostate gland begin to grow uncontrollably. Found only in males, the prostate gland makes some of the fluid that is found in semen. This gland is located below the bladder in front of the rectum.

As with many other cancers, prostate cancer has risk factors that doctors look out for in their patients, including:

  • Age: The risk for developing prostate cancer rises for men over the age of 50
  • Ethnicity: Prostate cancer is more common in African American men than other races.
  • Family history: Prostate cancer can run in families via an inherited genetic mutation.

Get a Prostate Cancer Screening during Men’s Health Month

Cancer screenings and early detection are essential to helping develop a more successful treatment plan after a diagnosis. If cancer is left undetected, it could spread to other areas of the body and become more difficult to treat.

Prostate cancer screenings allow doctors to look for and discover cancer before any signs or symptoms are present in the patient. Like other screenings, the goal of prostate cancer screenings is to reduce the amount of people who die from it and also reduce the amount of people who develop it in the first place.

This June for Men’s Health Month, learn more about prostate cancer screenings, and ask your medical professional if you’re due for an exam.

Types of prostate cancer screenings

There are two main types of prostate cancer screening:

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): During this screening test, the doctor will insert his or her gloved and lubricated finger into the patient’s rectum. Then, the doctor will feel the prostate and notate anything irregular.

PSA Blood Test: The Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test can help a doctor detect early-stage prostate cancer. In turn, man can start a proper treatment plan before cancer spreads to other areas of his body. However, there are both benefits and risks to this type of screening test. So, discuss with doctor which type of screening would be more beneficial to you. Often, the type of screening your doctor recommends will depend on your risk factors.

When should I get a prostate cancer screening?

The prostate screening age depends on a patient’s risk factor for developing cancer. When you visit your general practitioner, discuss any possible family history of prostate cancer and other lifestyle habits that may affect your chances of developing this disease.

Here is a general rule of thumb for which age men should start pursuing a prostate cancer screening:

  • 50 years old: Men with an average risk of developing prostate cancer
  • 45 years old: Men with high risk, meaning African-American men and men with a first-degree relative (father, brother, son) who was diagnosed younger than age 65.
  • 40 years old: Men with more than one relative who was diagnosed at an early age.

Men’s Health at CCCN

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we are dedicated to teaching our patients and their loved ones about cancer prevention and care. We are a multi-specialty practice, offering treatments for various cancers, blood disorders, breast health conditions, lung disease and sleep disorders. Visit our website to learn more about men’s health, or call us at 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment.

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cancer remission

Celebrating Cancer Survivors: How to Keep Cancer Away When You Go into Remission

Over the years, we’ve had  major advancements in the way we manage and treat cancer. All of these advancements are working toward one goal – finding a cure for cancer and increasing survival rates. According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached nearly 14.5 million in 2014 and is expected to rise to almost 19 million by 2024.

On June 4, we celebrated National Cancer Survivors Day, which honors all of those who battled and beat cancer. It’s also a day to encourage existing patients to keep fighting.

While we celebrate those who beat cancer, we also want to remind them of the importance of staying healthy to reduce their risk for recurrence.

What Is Cancer Remission?

Any person who lives with cancer and fights every day is considered a survivor. When you fight the battle, live each day to the fullest and not let cancer win, you’re a survivor in our book. However, many people use the term “survivor” for people who are no longer showing signs of cancer. This is called being in remission.

There are two types of cancer remission:

  • Partial Remission: When a patient is in partial remission, the cancer still exists in their body, but the tumor has shrunk or is no longer growing. In other cases, a patient can be in partial remission if there is less cancer throughout their body. In these cases, a doctor may pause treatment as long as the cancer doesn’t start to grow again.
  • Complete Remission: A patient is in complete remission if their tests, exams, and scans show no more signs of cancer. Many of our doctors prefer to use the term “no evidence of disease” instead of remission. It does not mean you are cured, but it does mean the disease can no longer be found in your body.

Cancer may return in either of these situations, but if it does, it most often returns in the five years after a patient’s initial diagnosis and treatment. Many cancer survivors may be concerned about recurrence, or the cancer coming back. Fortunately, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to stay healthy even after cancer treatment has stopped.

Cancer-Fighting Habits to Maintain Wellness

Reduce your risk of cancer recurrence by practicing these wellness tips during your survivorship.

Stay active

Exercise is great at helping cancer survivors stay healthy and well. Same rules apply for patients going through treatment. In fact, research shows that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment, but it can also help maintain your quality of life and physical strength throughout the course of the disease. If your doctor does not recommend intense exercise right away, there are many small things you can do to make your life more active. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or, park your car further away from the door, and walk the rest of the way.

Doctors recommend about 30 minutes of exercise a day for about five days a week. Take it slow to begin with—start by taking a walk around your block, and then add more activity to your routine as you can manage it and as your doctor approves it.

Research indicates that physical activity may have beneficial effects for several aspects of cancer survivorship–specifically, weight gain, quality of life and cancer recurrence. Most of the evidence for the potential benefits of physical activity in cancer survivors comes from people diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer, but most likely has benefits for all other cancer types.

Regular exercise provides many other health benefits including:

  • Making you feel stronger and increasing your endurance
  • Reducing your symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Improving your mood and self-esteem
  • Reducing pain and improving your sleep

Eat a healthy diet

In addition to practicing a more active lifestyle, eating healthy is also a way to maintain wellness during treatment and cancer survivorship. Improve your diet by eating two and a half cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Also, incorporate healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids. As for protein, chose those that are low in saturated fats, like fish, lean meats, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Incorporate healthier sources of carbs like whole grains.

Keeping up with this balance of good foods can help you get the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay healthy and reduce the risk of cancer or cancer recurrence. Talk to your doctor to develop a more specific diet plan for your needs.

Maintain a healthy body weight

To determine your ideal body weight, talk to doctor about what to work for, specific to your age and height. If you need to gain weight to reach a healthy place, meet with a dietician to create a healthy plan to gain and keep weight. They can also help make food look more appealing and increase your appetite. Your doctor can also help you control any pain or nausea after cancer treatments.

If you need to lose weight, however, take things slowly. Watch your calorie intake and start an exercise plan slowly. Work with your doctor to develop a plan that is reasonable and healthy for you.

Quit smoking and limit alcohol

Smoking cigarettes and using chewing tobacco increase your risk for several cancers. When you stop smoking, you can reduce your risk of cancer recurrence or even developing a second cancer.

If you want to drink alcohol, doctors recommend your drink in moderation. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you should be limiting your alcohol intake and how much you should reduce it.

Stay in contact with your cancer care team

Just because cancer treatments are over does not mean you should lose contact with your cancer care team. Schedule follow-up appointments where your doctors and cancer care team can evaluate any possible signs of recurrence. They can also help you manage any long-term side effects of your cancer treatment and develop a cancer survivorship care plan.

Learn More about Cancer Prevention

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is a team of medical oncologists, hematologists, radiation oncologists, breast surgeons and pulmonologists who are here to support your throughout your cancer journey. Call us at 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment, or visit us online to learn more about the latest in cancer care.

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understand hereditary cancer risk

The Importance of Knowing Your Hereditary Cancer Risk

Cancer develops from abnormal genes in a person’s body and can be passed down from generation to generation. Understanding your hereditary cancer risk can help a medical professional better diagnose and treat your condition. Learn more about some common cancer risk factors, as well as the benefits of genetic counseling.

What Are Cancer Risk Factors?

A person’s cancer risk is their chance of developing a certain type of cancer. When you visit a medical professional for a screening, or sometimes even a regular checkup, they may ask you about your family medical history as well as other questions regarding lifestyle and habits. This helps them evaluate your risk of developing cancer by determining the cancer risk factors.

Cancer risk factors are conditions or substances that could increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. Some cancer risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Alcohol or tobacco consumption
  • Diet
  • Hormones
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to sunlight

It’s not always easy to pinpoint a single cause of cancer. Often, cancer can be a result of many risk factors combined. That’s why it’s so important to be mindful of the aspects of your lifestyle and how it could affect your overall health.

Can cancer run in the family?

Some cancers may run in the family because they are a result of certain conditions like obesity. However, in other cases, an abnormal gene (called a mutation) can be passed down from generation to generation and may increase a person’s hereditary cancer risk. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 5 percent to 10 percent of all cancers result directly from gene defects inherited from a parent.

Why It’s Important to Know Your Hereditary Cancer Risk

If you have a family history of cancer, you and your loved ones may want to know your genetic makeup and your risk of inheriting cancer. Genetic counseling and testing can help with that, as it allows you to:

  • Learn if you have genetic mutations linked to a hereditary cancer risk
  • Develop a plan for screenings or treatment options
  • Plan future health care
  • Ease uncertainty

If you receive a positive result, your doctor may recommend that you start screenings earlier than other people. He or she may also recommend you get screened more often and possibly undergo screenings created specifically for people at a higher cancer risk. After a positive result, you should be more mindful of symptoms and start learning healthy habits to lower your hereditary cancer risk.

It’s important to understand that genetic tests only determine whether or not you carry a gene mutation and therefore a higher risk. Genetic testing will not predict whether you will develop cancer. They simply alert you on what could happen.

Before you get tested, genetic counseling is important. Genetic counselors can guide you through the process and give you advice on what to do after you receive your results. They can coach you on what to expect from the procedure, the pros and cons of a certain genetic test, what your results may mean, and what options you have moving forward.

Contact Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada Today

If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with cancer, contact the Nevada cancer specialists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. We are a multi-specialty practice treating patients with various cancers and blood disorders, breast health conditions, sleep disorders and lung diseases. Visit us online for more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (702) 952-3350.

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tips for traveling with cancer

Vacationing during Cancer Treatment

Summer is almost here, which means you may be planning a vacation with your loved ones. However, when you’re undergoing cancer treatments, you may be hesitant to travel outside the country—or even your home state. Here are some tips for traveling with cancer, including what to bring with you and how to make a plan for emergencies.

Tips for Traveling with Cancer

When traveling with cancer, it’s important to know if you might have any health risks. Sometimes, cancer patients who travel during chemotherapy treatment are at an increased risk of infection. Flying after radiation treatment could be dangerous depending on the severity of your cancer.

Doctors may give a flight restriction to cancer patients, as the changing oxygen levels and air pressure can cause complications, like lymphedema or swelling in the limbs. Also, the risk of blood clots can be life-threatening to cancer patients. However, if you do decide to take a trip while you’re undergoing cancer treatment, take the necessary precautions to protect your health and talk to your oncologist if you have any questions or concerns

Get the go-ahead from your doctor

Before you travel, make sure it’s safe by getting a medical clearance from your doctor. He or she can tell you what precautions to take and how to stay safe. They can also instruct you on what to do if you start to feel ill.

When leaving the country, you may be required to get a vaccination for a disease that’s prevalent in that country. However, certain cancer treatments can weaken the immune system, and it may be risky to visit a location that’s affected by a dangerous disease. Your doctor can inform you about any required vaccinations and let you know if your body can handle it.

Depending on your condition, your doctor may give you the go-ahead, but if your case is severe, you may be advised to wait until your treatment is over or until your condition is more stable.

Vacationing during Cancer Treatment

Materials to bring with you

If you get the “okay” to travel, you’ll need to pack a few essentials.

  • First, carry any relevant medical records that may help another doctor treat you, if necessary. Make sure they are packed in a place that’s easily accessible.
  • Second, pack a strong sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can make the skin more sensitive to sun damage, so it’s important to protect your skin at all times. While you’re in the sun, reapply sunscreen often and cover your skin with loose, comfortable clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Next, you’ll need to carry your prescription medications. While flying, keep them in your carry-on bag so that it won’t get lost in flight. You want to pack enough medication to cover your trip and a little extra, just in case. Also, bring with you a copy of your prescription to refill your medicine in case any is lost or stolen.
  • It’s also important to carry a note from your doctor to notify the airline of any extra medical equipment you’ll need to keep with you, like syringes and oxygen tanks.

Contacts to have on hand

When traveling after chemo and radiation, you’ll want a list of emergency contact information handy—mainly the people who know your treatment plan and can help you during an emergency.

Make sure you keep the following numbers on-hand:

  • Your oncologist and any other important members of your cancer team like your oncology nurse or medical assistant
  • A doctor at the location you’re traveling to
  • Emergency contacts, like a caregiver, family member, or close friend

Travel medicine plan

Many patients purchase travel health insurance in case they need medical assistance during their trip. Many travel health insurance companies offer options for trip insurance, including giving you the right to cancel your trip or interrupt it to seek medical assistance.

Travel with a responsible caregiver

Cancer patients should never travel alone. Bring with you a caregiver who understands your treatment plan, knows the medications you’re taking, and can contact the proper people if an emergency occurs.

Is it safe to fly with cancer?

Air travel during chemotherapy may not always be safe. But, depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may give you clearance to fly. Talk to your doctor first before booking any flights.

If you are given clearance to fly, make sure you plan your trip with the airport and your chosen airline before you arrive. Ask for help when it comes to boarding plane early, carrying luggage or medical equipment and using a wheelchair or cart.

If you wear a head cover, wig, breast prosthesis or catheter, TSA may examine it or ask you to remove them. Fill out a TSA Notification card to notify them. You can even request to be screened privately.

When in Doubt, Plan a Staycation!

If traveling with cancer is not approved by your doctor, do not fret! There are plenty of great locations to visit here in the city of Las Vegas such as Mt. Charleston, Lake Las Vegas, and the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada’s mission is to heal you, to support the emotional well-being of you and your family, and to be your strongest ally in your fight against cancer.. Visit our patient resources page to learn all about what you need to know during your cancer journey. Consult with your cancer team to find out if travel is safe for you this summer.
Visit us online at cccnevada.com or call us at (702) 952-3350.

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cancer-fighting foods lasagna

Cancer-fighting Recipes: Vegetable and Cashew Lasagna

What’s on your family’s menu for dinner this week? As your Nevada cancer specialists, we hope you’re eating a healthy diet that features some cancer-fighting foods. Maintain your health, and prepare a meal the whole family will love and benefit from. This vegetable and cashew lasagna is a cancer-fighting recipe that features some not-so-traditional lasagna ingredients, but is surprisingly delicious.

Vegetable and Cashew Lasagna: Cancer-fighting Recipe

In this vegetarian cancer-fighting recipe, we replace a lot of traditional lasagna ingredients with more healthy options. Instead of noodles, this recipe calls for layers of nutrient-rich eggplant and zucchini vegetables. Not only are these veggies fat-free and low calorie, but they also serve up some brain and heart healthy benefits.

Eggplant contains a healthy, natural plant chemical that’s known to promote brain health. Its phytonutrients and antioxidants also make it great for your cardiovascular health. Zucchini contains potassium, folate, and Vitamin A, which are all great for your overall health.

Try this recipe this week, or prepare it, freeze it, and eat it later on a busy day when you don’t have time to cook!

Food allergy warning: This recipe does contain tree nut products.

Ingredients

To make this cancer-fighting recipe, start by gathering your ingredients.

For the faux ricotta cheese, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of raw unsalted cashews
  • ¼ cup of warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

For the lasagna, you’ll need:

  • 1 small eggplant that you’ve sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1 zucchini, also thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 bell pepper of any color, with the seeds removed and cut into large squares
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of your faux Ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
  • A pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes

Directions

Start by making the faux ricotta cheese. Soak your cashews in hot water for at least an hour at room temperature. You can also soak them in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Drain your cashews. Add them to your food processor along with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and the warm water. Process your mixture until you get a smooth paste. Add more water if needed. The ease of processing will depend on how long you soak the cashews.

Next, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grab a large bowl. Combine the eggplant, zucchini, squash, and bell pepper with the olive oil and salt. Toss to incorporate. Then, spread the veggies in a single layer on two baking sheets. Roast them for about 20-25 minutes until they start to caramelize. To make sure the vegetables get cooked evenly, rotate the sheet halfway through the cooking time.

Take out the baking sheet and let it cool. Then, lower the temperature on your oven to 350 degrees. While the vegetables cool, whisk together your faux cheese mixture with the egg, black pepper, and oregano. Spread a fourth of the mixture on the bottom of a 9-inch baking dish. Then, spoon half of the crushed tomatoes on top.

Cover your first layer of tomatoes with a layer of one type of vegetable. Keep layering the faux ricotta cheese, tomatoes, and veggies until you use all your ingredients. Top off your lasagna with some more tomatoes.

Bake your lasagna for 30 minutes. Let it cool for five minutes before serving to you family and friends. Got leftovers? Store your lasagna in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is a multi-specialty practice specializing in medical oncology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, and lung diseases. It is our goal to make sure you receive the best care and education on reducing your cancer risk through cancer prevention. For more information, visit our website, or give us a call at (702) 952-3350.

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understand colorectal cancer risk

Know Your Risk Factor for Colorectal Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer that affects both men and women in the United States. They predict that in 2017, there will be over 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and over 39,000 new cases of rectal cancer. A recent article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal featuring Dr. Fadi Braiteh and his patient, Kyle, touches the fact that colon cancer cases will increase by 90 percent in people ages 20 to 34 by 2030. It’s very important, even for the younger generation, to keep health and wellness top of mind. Many things can contribute to someone’s colorectal cancer risk. Here, we’ve listed some conditions that may lead to colorectal cancer and how you can work to prevent cancer from developing.

Learn More about Your Colorectal Cancer Risk

Most colorectal cancers are sporadic, meaning the genetic mutations that lead to the development of colon cancers are random. The two most common inherited colorectal cancer syndromes are hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). These two inherited cancer syndromes account for less than 5% of all colorectal cancers. Many times, the cause of colorectal cancer is unknown or is due to a variety of factors, but there are many common ones that could raise a person’s cancer risk.

Age

Your colorectal cancer risk may develop with age. Although this cancer can occur in young adults and teenagers, and its rates are increasing for Generation X and Millennials, it’s more common in people who are over the age of 50. The average age of Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer is 72 years old.

Gender and race

When it comes to gender, men have a higher risk than women for developing colorectal cancer. Men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer, but men are more likely to develop rectal cancer. And as for race, African Americans have the highest rate of sporadic non-hereditary colorectal cancer cases than any other race.

Family history

Colorectal cancer may run in the family if a patient’s close relatives have been diagnosed with it in the past. Close relatives include parents, siblings, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. This family inheritance can especially be a concern for a patient if their family member’s colon cancer or rectal cancer diagnosis was made before he or she turned 60.

Inherited conditions

You may be at risk for colorectal cancer if you have other certain medical conditions that run in your family or if you have been diagnosed with other types of cancer. Contact your doctor to discuss your colorectal cancer risk if any of the following medical conditions run in your family:

  • Familial adenomatous polyposis
  • Gardner syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Nutrition and other lifestyle habits

Focus on colon cancer prevention by watching your lifestyle habits. Certain activities can increase your cancer risk. First, nutrition is crucial to cancer prevention. If you eat a lot of red meat or processed meat, that could contribute to a higher risk. Also, your activity level can affect your risk. Being inactive with little or no regular exercise could increase your risk for colorectal cancer.

In addition to an unhealthy diet and little exercise, smoking can affect your chances of developing colorectal cancer. Smokers are even more likely to die from colorectal cancer than nonsmokers. So, if you are already at risk for this cancer, consider taking the steps to quit smoking for cancer prevention and your overall health.

More Information from Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

How you manage your health and wellness will greatly impact whether or not your cancer risk increases. Make a plan to work on colorectal cancer prevention by eating a healthy diet, keeping up with cancer screenings, exercising regularly, and talking with your family and doctor about your cancer risk. For more information about colorectal cancer, visit our website at www.cccnevada.com/colon-cancer/.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada offers access to experienced medical professionals who work together to treat patients with a variety of cancers. Contact us to learn more about your cancer risk and how you can get started with cancer screenings. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, call 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment.

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celebs who got cancer screening

Celebrities Who Beat Cancer Because of Early Screening

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 1.6 Million new cancer cases diagnosed in 2017. With those staggering numbers, it’s safe to say that cancer touches everyone in some way, which includes celebrities. One advantage a celebrity has when they’ve been touched by cancer, is the public platform they have when it comes to raising awareness about the disease. They are able to put a national or global spotlight on cancer and how you can prevent a diagnosis through regular screenings.

For the celebrities on this list of famous cancer survivors, a cancer screening made the difference in their lives and treatment options.

Why Cancer Screenings Are Crucial

Early detection is important when it comes to treating various cancers. Often, it’s easier to create a cancer treatment plan when someone is diagnosed early on. If left untreated, certain cancers can grow, or metastasize, to other areas of the body making them more difficult to treat.

So, it’s best to take control of your health and make it a priority to see a doctor regularly and to stay current in cancer screenings, depending on your cancer risk and any possible family history. An early detection could save a life like it did with these celebrities.

Celebrity Cancer Survivors

Ben Stiller, prostate cancer

Actor, Ben Stiller, began getting an annual prostate exam when he was 46. This specific antigen test was what helped doctors diagnose him of prostate cancer at age 48. He now is an advocate for cancer screenings, stating that this diagnostic test saved his life. Because of the early diagnosis, Stiller was able to undergo surgery that removed cancer from his body completely.

Christina Applegate, breast cancer

Actress Christina Applegate has a history of breast cancer in her family. After her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer (and survived!), Christina decided to go in for regular mammograms when she turned 30. After getting one of these tests at age 36, she was recommended to get an MRI, which revealed she had breast cancer. In response to her early diagnosis, Christina decided to undergo a double mastectomy to remove her cancer. As a result of her experience, she founded Right Action for Women, an organization that offers free MRIs to high-risk women.

Kathy Bates, breast and ovarian cancer

Breast cancer runs in actress Kathy Bates’ family. After she decided to get tested for genetic mutations, she received negative results. However, that did not stop her from continuing to get regular cancer screenings. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, beat it, and was then diagnosed with breast cancer years later. Bates decided to undergo a double mastectomy and has no evidence of disease.

Mark Ruffalo, brain tumor

After having a vivid dream about him having a brain tumor, Mark Ruffalo decided to see a doctor just to make sure he was healthy and well. It turned out that he actually did have a brain tumor, and underwent surgery to remove the tumor. His story just goes to show that no one knows your body better than you. If you have a concern about your health, you should never ignore it.

Hugh Jackman, skin cancer

Actor Hugh Jackman underwent previous procedures for skin cancer, and later the doctors found Basal Cell Carcinoma in his nose. Now, he gets checked for cancer every three months and is an advocate for cancer screenings and skin protection.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, prostate cancer

Dr. Drew Pinsky was urged by his wife to visit a doctor after returning from a Caribbean vacation feeling ill for several months. During his visit, the doctors found cancer that “low grade and localized.”. Dr. Drew had surgery, and two years later, he is cancer free.

Wanda Sykes, breast cancer

Comedian Wanda Sykes was simply getting a routine breast reduction when her doctor found an early stage of breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Breast cancer runs on her mother’s side of her family, so Wanda decided to act fast and get a double mastectomy.

Mr. T, T-cell lymphoma

Mr. T felt a bump after removing an earring. He decided to get it checked out by a dermatologist. His biopsy revealed T-cell lymphoma. Mr. T struggled with his cancer and recurrence. Mr. T is now cancer free.

What’s Your Cancer Risk?

At the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we encourage our patients and their families to learn all they can about cancer risk and cancer prevention by undergoing regular cancer screenings. Contact us to learn how you can get screened and how to determine your risk for various cancers. If you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with cancer, we are here to offer you the best cancer treatment options available. Call 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment today.

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skin cancer awareness at cccn

Ways to Raise Awareness during Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 190,700 people will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer or melanoma this year. Skin cancer and melanoma can affect people of all skin tones and ethnicities. That’s why it’s important for us all to learn about the causes and symptoms of the various skin cancers during Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Here are some skin cancer facts and find out how you can pay attention to the warning signs.

What Is Skin Cancer?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. When skin cells are damaged by ultraviolet radiation (UV rays), the damage may be permanent and can trigger mutations. That means the skin cells will rapidly multiply and form malignant tumors in the epidermis.

There are many types of skin cancer, including actinic keratosis, atypical moles, Basal cell carcinoma, melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer because if left untreated, it may grow and spread to other areas of the body.

Skin cancer causes

Many different factors may contribute to a person developing skin cancer. However, the most common cause is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month was established to raise awareness about the disease so people can learn about their risk factors. Early detection of skin cancer is crucial to creating an effective cancer treatment plan. If you live in a sunny climate for most of the year (like in Las Vegas), it’s important to stay mindful of any warning signs for melanoma and other skin cancers.

If you notice any of the following skin cancer symptoms, contact a doctor who specializes in skin and dermatology immediately:

  • Growth on the skin that increases in size can appear translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
  • Mole, brown spot, or birthmark that changes color, is bigger in size than a pencil eraser, changes texture, or appears on your body after age 21
  • Spot that itches, hurts, crusts, scabs, or bleeds
  • Open sore that doesn’t heal after three weeks

Participate in Skin Cancer Prevention and Awareness

Protect your skin in the sun

You have the power to protect your skin and work towards skin cancer prevention. During Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month and throughout the year, use these tips to avoid skin cancer.

Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. It’s always best to use a water-resistant sunscreen if you plan on swimming or if you know you’ll be sweating throughout the day. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours.

When you’re outside, protect yourself by staying in the shade. It’s especially important to stay in the shade during the hours of the day when the sun is highest and brightest in the sky, like mid-afternoon.

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, as these shine direct ultraviolet radiation at your skin. Cover up with loose clothing, wide brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re in the sun.

Watch for warning signs

Perform a self-exam every month to watch out for any unusual symptoms or spots. To perform a self skin exam, you’ll need a full-length and a hand mirror, bright light, and a blow dryer.

  1. Start by examining your face for any strange spots or bumps.
  2. Use a blow dryer and a mirror to examine your scalp.
  3. Stand in front of the full-length mirror to examine each part of your body, including your hands, arms, underarms, neck, chest, torso, etc.
  4. Use both mirrors and a chair or stool to examine your legs and the back of your body.

It’s helpful to remember the ABCDE’s of skin cancer when checking your body for skin cancer. Contact your doctor if anything looks unusual, and visit him or her for a regular professional skin exam.

  • Asymmetry: One-half of the mole does not match the other half
  • Border irregularity: The edges of the mole are ragged or notched
  • Color: The color of the mole is not the same all over. There may be shades of tan, brown or black and sometimes patches of red, white or blue
  • Diameter: The mole is wider that about ¼ inch
  • Evolution: Change over time

Skin Cancer Awareness at CCCN

Summer is here, which means you may be outside enjoying the sun more often. Do your part for skin cancer prevention by covering up, staying in the shade, and using sunscreen!

Throughout 2017, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN) is partnering with Wet‘n’Wild Las Vegas, The Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball team, The PENTA Building Group and Transition Services, Inc. to provide skin safety tips as well as complimentary SPF 30 sunscreen to visitors and employees of each establishment. The partnerships aim to preserve the health and well-being of the Las Vegas community by using a proactive approach to preventing unnecessary skin conditions.

Your trusted Nevada cancer specialists are at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. We are a multi-specialty practice providing treatments in medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, and pulmonology. If you have questions about skin cancer and melanoma or other types of cancer, or if you have been recently diagnosed, contact our offices today at (702) 952-3350.

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How to Protect Your Skin from the Summer Sun

Summer is right around the corner! While some people are packing their bags and getting ready for their next vacation, your Nevada cancer specialists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers are preparing for Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. We’ve put together some tips for skin cancer prevention.  Learn how you can protect your fun in the sun.

What Are UV Rays?

Why should you wear sunscreen every day? It’s one of the best ways to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays. UV rays come from the sun and emit electromagnetic radiation. These rays, however bright, brilliant, and life-giving, are a major risk factor for many cases of skin cancer. The rays can permanently damage the DNA in our skin cells.

If you expose yourself to a lot of UV rays on a daily basis without protection, you can increase your risk of skin cancer and melanoma. Depending on where you live and the time of day, these UV rays have varying effects on your skin. They can also cause eye damage, sunburn, and premature wrinkles.

Take part in skin cancer prevention by learning how to protect your skin in the most efficient ways.

How to Protect Skin from Summer Sun

Cover your skin with light clothing

Whenever you spend time outdoors this summer, whether you’re traveling or staying in the Las Vegas sun, wear clothing that protects your skin. Loose, cool fabrics will keep your skin protected from the sun’s dangerous rays. Also, you can pair your summer clothing with a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. Your Nevada cancer specialists suggest you try a pair of sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.

Stay in the shade

If you’d prefer to relax on the beach in a swimsuit or a tank top and shirts, you can still protect your skin from the sun by sitting in the shade. You want to limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially when the sun is brightest and highest in the sky. This is when the UV rays are the strongest.

Stay away from tanning beds

The next part of skin cancer prevention is to avoid tanning beds and sun lamps. Both of these products can cause severe and long-term skin damage. Like the natural sun, they can contribute to skin cancer and melanoma.

Use the right sunscreen

The last and most important part of skin cancer prevention is wearing the right sunscreen when you’re outside. Keep these things in mind the next time you shop for your sunblock:

SPF stands for sun protection factor. Experts recommend you use a sunscreen that has  a SPF of 30 or greater. This number tells you the level of protection a sunscreen provides—the higher the number, the more protection you’ll get.

When a sunscreen covers a broad spectrum, this means it will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. According to Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA rays penetrate to the skin’s deepest layer know as the dermis. UVB rays typically burn the skin’s surface known as the epidermis. Most sunscreens only protect against UVB rays, but UVAs are the ones that contribute to skin cancer.

No sunscreen is completely “waterproof” or sweat-proof. When you see “water-resistant,” that means the sunscreen can temporarily block water. Check the label to see how long a sunscreen’s water-resistant properties last.

Reapply your sunscreen often. However, if you are swimming or sweating, you may want to reapply more often, just in case you lose some coverage.

Stay Safe This Summer

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we treat patients with cancer, but we also strive to offer information on how to prevent cancer. Visit our website to learn more about cancer resources, community support, and other cancer patient resources.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with skin cancer or melanoma, schedule an appointment with one of our oncologists by calling 702-952-3350.

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Supporting Brain Cancer Awareness Month

May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month. While incidence rates for brain cancer are not as high as other cancer types, it’s still extremely important to raise awareness and learn about the diagnosis, treatment, and support for brain tumors.

Show Your Support for Brain Cancer Awareness Month

What are brain tumors?

Start participating in brain tumor awareness by learning about this disease. According to the American Cancer Society, brain tumors are a mass of abnormal cells in a patient’s brain or spinal cord that grow out of control. Depending on where the brain tumor forms, a patient can experience various symptoms and some disability in cognitive functions such as memory loss, impaired motor skills and difficulty speaking.

If not treated early enough, some brain cancers can spread to other areas of the body and other areas of the brain.

How is brain cancer diagnosed?

Most cases of brain cancer are diagnosed after a patient experiences severe symptoms:

  • HeadacheSupporting Brain Cancer Awareness Month
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Problems keeping balance
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • Drowsiness or in extreme cases, coma

When a patient visits their doctor with these symptoms, the doctor will need a complete medical history from the patient. He or she will mainly focus on the period when the symptoms began.

Next, the doctor may give the patient a neurological exam, which is meant to check the brain and spinal cord function. The doctor will test the patient’s reflexes, strength of muscles, vision, eye movement, coordination and balance, alertness, and more. If the patient receives abnormal results, he or she will be referred to a neurologist for further testing.

The neurologist will perform more tests, including any of the following:

  • Imaging tests: MRI, CT scan, PET scan, chest X-ray, angiogram
  • Brain or spinal cord biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture
  • Blood and urine tests

How is brain cancer treated?

Treatment for brain cancer varies by patient. Depending on the type of brain tumor, the tumor’s location, and many other factors, a patient’s cancer care team will determine the best treatment plan.

Treatment for brain tumors may include surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. In addition, brain tumors can be treated with CyberKnife® Radiosurgery, a painless, non-invasive treatment alternative that requires no anesthesia and offers shorter recovery times. For more information about CyberKnife®, click here.

How can I raise awareness for brain tumors?

To get involved in brain cancer awareness month, start by learning more about this cancer by visiting our Brain Tumor page on our website or from organizations like the National Brain Tumor Society. You can also raise awareness by sharing information about brain tumors with the hashtag #GoGrayInMay.

Another way to support brain health is to donate to organizations dedicated to researching and curing brain cancers. You can also show your support by running or walking in a 5K race supporting the cause. Desert Gray Matters is hosting their third annual 5K, a walk to end brain tumors on Sunday, May 21 at Sunset Park. Click here for more information and to register!

Possibly the best thing you can do during Brain Cancer Awareness Month and beyond is to pay attention to your body. If you notice any abnormal symptoms, speak to your doctor. Regular checkups with your healthcare provider are one of the easiest ways to detect cancer early.

Brain Cancer Treatment at CCCN

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is a multi-specialty practice of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, breast surgeons, hematologists, and pulmonologists treating patients with blood disorders, breast health conditions, pulmonary diseases, and sleep disorders. Our specialists are dedicated to treating our patients with the best care possible. Contact us to learn more about our services and treatments. To schedule an appointment, call 702-952-3350.

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