All Posts in Category: Blog

Creating Hope through Clinical Trials and Cancer Research

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, is a multidisciplinary practice with the largest Phase I clinical research program in Nevada. We’ve participated in the development of more than 60 FDA-approved cancer treatment therapies, and participate in more than 170 active Phase I, Phase II and Phase III cancer research studies referred to as clinical trials each year. We do this so we can bring groundbreaking new cancer treatment therapies to Nevada residents and patients traveling from nearby states.

Creating Hope with Clinical Research

Comprehensive Cancer Center’s involvement in more than 170 clinical cancer research trials annually gives our patients the opportunity to have greater access to the most advanced treatment options available. Cancer patients with some of the rarest and most complicated types of cancer come to Comprehensive Cancer Centers for access to treatment options that are not available at some of the other cancer treatment centers across the country. Research is the only way to advance the field of cancer treatment. We are proud to be part of that progress and will continue to contribute to the advancement of cancer treatment through research. See our active clinical research studies here.

Participating in Clinical Trials Will Save Future Lives

Creating hope through clinical trials is hope that can last for generations to come. Using the cancer treatment that you helped bring to the marketplace through participating in the clinical trial can help someone else diagnosed with cancer later on. The benefits of participating in a clinical trial not only provide you with more treatment options, but also opens up more treatment options for the future.  

Learn more about Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada and the importance of clinical trials here or call 702-952-3350.

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How to Talk to Your Child about Cancer

When a parent is diagnosed with cancer, one of the many difficult questions they need to answer is: “How do I tell my child/children?”

Some parents may be hesitant to tell their children anything about their cancer diagnosis. Even at a young age, though, children may sense something amiss. Telling your kids about cancer certainly isn’t easy, but the timing is up to you. At some point during treatment, a discussion will be is necessary. When preparing to discuss cancer with your kid(s), keep the following tips in mind.

Prepare what you need to say in advance

This includes preparing for questions your child might ask during the conversation. Come in prepared with the right words to say to emphasize the seriousness but not hopelessness of the disease. Cancer.org provides some valuable information for how to prepare for and respond to any question they might ask.

Tell them the most important details

Young children (younger than eight years old) won’t need a lot of detail, but older children (8-12 years) and teenagers will need to know much more information. When preparing to discuss cancer with your child, keep his/her age in mind and remember that teenagers will have very different concerns than 6-year-olds. The following is basic cancer information you should tell your child, no matter their age:

  • What kind of cancer
  • Where on the body the cancer is located
  • What kind of treatment
  • What changes they should expect

Allow emotions to flow naturally

Every child will respond to learning about cancer differently. Some children will become very upset while others will act as if nothing happened. How a child responds to learning about cancer depends on a number of things, including how the information was given to them and any prior experience with family illness.

No matter how your child responds to learning about cancer, what’s most important is to be there for them. Whether they need a shoulder to cry on or they need some time to digest this new information or they react in fear and anger, just know that it is okay for them to respond this way.

when-mama-wore-a-hatUse tools to help

There are many resources available for parents to use while talking to their kids about cancer. For younger children, a storybook might be the easiest way to explain the side-effects of cancer treatment, such as hair loss. Consider the book “When Mama Wore a Hat” by Eleanor Schick when looking for a storybook to help explain the process and what you might go through.

Ask for help

Not only are there tools and resources available to help you explain cancer to children, but people are available too. If you don’t know how to start this difficult conversation with your child, ask professionals in the field for help. This can include your doctor, your cancer care team, a local or online support group and other local organizations designed to help with these types of situations.

Make sure to revisit the topic

Just because this is the first conversation you will have with your child about cancer doesn’t mean it should be the last. In fact, it should be the first of many conversations to have about your cancer. As children digest and understand what cancer means, they will naturally have more questions. Keep the lines of communication open by answering all their questions and talk to them about new information as it arises.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, provides cancer resources and treatment options for cancer patients in Nevada and from out of state. .  Visit our website to see all the resources and services we provide and call all 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment.

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Cancer Patients and Quality of Life

Cancer treatment is no longer just about treating the disease. It is also about treating the person and maintaining their quality of life during cancer treatment and after.

Quality of life refers to the level of health, happiness and comfort you experience in life. Maximizing quality of life during cancer treatment involves responding to the physical, emotional and mental well-being of cancer patients. Maximizing quality of life for cancer patients means that cancer treatment is focused on treating both the disease and the person. This form of treatment is also called palliative care. According to National Cancer Institute, the goal of palliative care is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to the related psychological, social, and spiritual problems.

Questions to Consider When Evaluating Your Quality of Life as a Cancer Patient

  • Do you experience chronic pain everyday?
  • Do you have trouble staying mentally focused on or remembering your daily routines?
  • Is your level of fatigue so overwhelming that you cannot do normal tasks without extreme effort?
  • Do you get stressed out or worried all the time?
  • Do you experience depression or anxiety related to your cancer diagnosis?

These are all example questions of what to ask yourself when evaluating your level of quality of life. If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider talking with your doctor about ways to control these problems and maintain a healthy quality of life.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, offers a form of cancer treatment that includes palliative care: treating both the disease and person’s quality of life. At Comprehensive Cancer Centers, we are focused on helping heal our cancer patients and ensure they experience the least amount of discomfort and pain possible. The following are a few tips to keep in mind when working to improve your quality of life during cancer treatment:

  • Tell your doctor about chronic pain, extreme fatigue, and other side-effects of cancer treatment. He/she may be able to prescribe a medication to improve these side-effects
  • Stay active. Although it is challenging to do all the same activities prior to your cancer, it is important to stay as active as your body will allow. The more active you are, the stronger your body will be to fight cancer.
  • Reach out for support. Maintain social support networks and find new support groups to help you throughout a cancer diagnosis, so you don’t have to do everything yourself.
  • Get educated. Knowing what is going on with your body and what to expect from cancer treatment can significantly lower your level of stress over the future of your cancer diagnosis. No one can predict the future, but staying educated on the subject and your body will help you maintain a sense of control.

Follow these tips and more from the American Cancer Society to maintain and maximize your level of quality of life during cancer treatment. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, is an award-winning oncology group located in Southern Nevada. We have helped develop more than 65 FDA-approved cancer treatments and participate in 170 clinical trials each year. We are dedicated to helping our cancer patients fight cancer and maintain quality of life. Visit our website at www.cccnevada.com to learn more about how we are your biggest ally in the fight against cancer.   

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Fight Fatigue While Fighting Cancer

Everyone experiences fatigue on occasion. When you don’t get enough sleep, participate in extremely active sports or just spend the whole day mentally challenging yourself, fatigue is natural and expected. This kind of normal fatigue can be relieved with rest. But cancer-related fatigue is a different kind of fatigue, which often occurs as a side-effect of chemotherapy.  If you are experiencing cancer-related fatigue due to the side-effects of chemotherapy, consider the following tips to help fight fatigue while you fight cancer.

Tips to Fight Cancer-Related Fatigue

Make a plan

When you fight cancer, some days may be harder than others, so it is a great idea to plan out your activities. Plan your day accordingly and plan the most important activities first. Take time off from work, or work fewer hours during treatment days or surrounding treatment days to combat extreme fatigue.

Ask others for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with basic chores, such as going to the grocery store or cleaning the dishes. Do less, and it will help you feel less tired, plus give your body the energy it needs to fight cancer.

Eat and drink healthy

Prepare healthy foods when you have the energy and freeze them to eat later when the fatigue kicks in. Eating healthy and drinking at least eight large glasses of water a day will also help you keep your strength and energy levels up.

Track your energy level

Many people will find it helpful to track when they experience the most fatigue. This will help you plan your day and manage your energy levels. You can also keep track of how you are feeling each day and share it with your doctor so you can both manage the cancer-related fatigue and other side effects.

Exercise can help

When you have the energy, try to exercise as often as possible. Even 15 minutes a day will help keep your strength up. This exercise doesn’t have to be physically intense, simply taking a walk or a short bike ride around the block can help. Other exercises can include stretching, yoga and Tai Chi.

Take the time you need to rest

Even though it is a great idea to exercise every day, also remember to give your body the time it needs to rest. Listen to your body and remember to slow down. The more rested you are, the more strength your body will have to fight and beat cancer. Make a bedtime routine that works for you and always sleep at least eight hours a night during cancer treatment.

Talk to your doctor

It’s important to keep your doctor updated on all the physical and emotional symptoms that come with a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Keep your doctor and cancer care team informed on your progress. They will help you manage the side effects. If you are so exhausted that you struggle to perform normal activities such as using the restroom, tell your doctor. Also, ask your cancer care team for advice about the side effects you experience and how to manage them accordingly.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, is an award-winning multidisciplinary practice providing advanced oncology, hematology, breast surgery and pulmonology services to patients in Southern Nevada. Our clinical research program is one of the largest in Nevada. Visit our website to learn more about Comprehensive or call 702.952.3350 to make an appointment.

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Cancer-Fighting Healthy Recipes to Try: Eggplant Pizza

Pizza is often considered a guilty pleasure and its ingredients are far from healthy. In order to maintain a health lifestyle, pizza is not something you should eat on a regular basis. However, this recipe has several cancer fighting ingredients that make it a perfect example of how you can have healthy eating habits and still satisfy your taste buds.

Eggplant Pizza: Recipe with Cancer-Fighting Ingredients

eggplant-pizza

This is the perfect dish to try if you are a pizza lover but need to start eating healthy, cancer-fighting foods. The dish can be cut into small pieces to serve as an appetizer, or it can be eaten whole for a nutritious entree. The eggplant, artichokes and tomatoes give this food its cancer-fighting power and counts as part of your required five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Ingredients

1/2 package frozen bread dough, thawed

1/4 teaspoon olive oil

1 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch slices and grilled until browned

8 Roma tomatoes, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 cup artichoke hearts

1 tablespoon black olives, chopped

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Press bread dough onto a pizza pan or cookie sheet, forming a crust. Rub dough lightly with olive oil. Top crust with eggplant, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and olives.
  3. Sprinkle with garlic salt, basil, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes on middle rack of oven until cheese is bubbling and crust is lightly browned.

Note: To avoid the sometimes bitter taste of eggplant, take some extra time to prep the eggplant before using in the recipe. During this prep time, salt both sides of the eggplant and let stand for 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water and patting dry.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, always puts the health of our patients first. We will continue to provide  healthy eating recipes to help our patients eat right and fight cancer. These recipes can also be used for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing cancer. Learn more about our healthy eating education, including grocery store strategies and a list of cancer-fighting foods to try. Learn more about Comprehensive Cancer Centers, an award-winning multidisciplinary practice, from our website at www.cccnevada.com.  

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Radiation Therapy at CCCN

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN) offers a variety of services to treat cancer. One of the most common and effective types of cancer treatment is radiation therapy. Radiation therapy  is a form of cancer treatment where specific beams of radiation permanently damage the DNA of cancer cells. Radiation prohibits the cancer cells from growing or dividing. Certain forms of radiation therapy, like CyberKnife® Radiosurgery, are so precise that it can pinpoint the tumor specifically, killing cancer cells while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue with little to no damage.   

This type of treatment is so common that close to 60 percent of cancer patients will receive radiation therapy at one point over the course of their treatment. For many cancer patients, radiation therapy will be used in conjunction with chemotherapy to provide the most effective treatment plan.

Radiation Therapy Technologies

CyberKnife® Radiosurgery

This form of radiation therapy is exclusively performed by radiation oncologists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada and is the most powerful form of cancer treatment available in Southern Nevada. Read more about CyberKnife® Radiosurgery here.

High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR)

This type of cancer treatment uses a radioactive source that is placed in the tumor site.  A high dose of radiation is given to that limited area, avoiding the surrounding normal tissue. It lasts only a few minutes and provides limited discomfort and quicker recovery time.

Intensity Modulate Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

This form of radiation cancer treatment can be used to target multiple areas of the tumor simultaneously while still avoiding the surrounding normal tissue. It is a three-dimensional imaging machine that can deliver higher doses of radiation when necessary.

Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT)

This cancer technology uses ultrasound, CT scan or X-rays to take pictures of the treatment area before delivering radiation therapy. It is often used to treat cancer in organs prone to movements like the lung or prostate. The use of this technology ensures precise treatment to cancerous areas while limiting exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

This form of cancer treatment is ideal for brain tumors and lesions that can’t be treated by surgery. SRS is a computer-guided radiation therapy system used to aim highly precise beams of radiation directly to brain tumors and other brain abnormalities. This technology is so precise; very little radiation will reach any normal brain cells.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)

This cancer treatment combines IMRT and IGRT to deliver “high precision radiation treatments.” Treatment cycles typically only last about 30 to 90 seconds.  

Our Radiation Oncologists

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada has seven radiation oncologists that use radiation therapy to treat patients with cancer. Click here to learn more about our board certified radiation oncologists. You will see your radiation oncologist every week, which is the perfect time to talk about side-effects that may arise throughout the treatment process. Many patients go through radiation treatment while continuing to work and maintain a good quality of life. The treatment will continue working after the treatment course is over.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is accredited by the American College of Radiation (ACR). The ACR is a national organization comprised of 36,000 radiologists. An ACR accreditation means that our level of radiation oncology cancer treatment has met the ACR’s highest level of quality and safety assurance. Comprehensive Cancer Centers is proud to have earned this accreditation status for its sixth consecutive three year term.  

Our dedication to the patient is evident in everything we do. We constantly check for quality assurance and ensure technology is providing the exact treatment needed for you. Radiation therapy is a powerful curative way of treating cancer patients. Whether used alone or combined combination with chemotherapy or other cancer treatments, radiation therapy helps save lives at Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

 

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What to Bring to Your First Round of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is standard of care and very common type of cancer treatment, one of the many available treatment options at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. Chemotherapy treatment is often used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and/or surgery. The following are some guidelines and tips to help you prepare for your first chemotherapy appointment.

How to Prepare for Chemotherapy

  • Eat a well balanced nutritious diet. Learn more about healthy eating during cancer treatment.
  • Drink 8 to 10 large glasses of fluid every day. This can include water, juice, tea, and other non-caffeinated and non-carbonated beverages.
  • Do not take aspirin or aspirin-based medications unless prescribed by a doctor.
  • Bringing Tylenol for pain is okay.
  • Taking over the counter multivitamins is okay.
  • Please do not take herbal supplements or high dose vitamins without doctor approval.
  • Please do not have dental work done without prior approval, even teeth-cleanings.
  • Bring an updated list of current medication to each appointment.
  • A consent form will be signed each time your receive new chemotherapy drug, with side effects listed.
  • You will receive a new drug information sheet each time your receive a new chemotherapy drug.

Chemotherapy Guidelines

  • You may eat and drink during chemotherapy treatment. It is recommended to bring snacks and drinks from home for long treatment days.
  • You may bring one family member to stay with you during treatment.
  • No children under the age of 14 are allowed in the chemotherapy room.
  • No smoking during chemotherapy treatment.
  • Please keep personal items to a minimum to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
  • Please do not wear perfume or cologne while in the chemotherapy treatment room.

Chemotherapy Treatment Tips to Remember

  • Use appropriate protection while in the sun (sunscreen SPF 30 or higher).
  • Constipation is normal. But do not go more than three days without a bowel movement.
  • Diarrhea is normal. However, call if diarrhea lasts longer than 12 hours.
  • Use pain medication as prescribed. If your pain is still a problem, talk to your doctor about changing your pain medication prescription.
  • Nausea and vomiting are normal side effects of chemotherapy. Use nausea medication as prescribed throughout treatment. If nausea medication does not work, inform your doctor to get a new prescription.
  • If you feel pain or burning at infusion site during or after treatment, report it to your doctor or nursing staff immediately.
  • Brush teeth with a soft toothbrush and use mouthwash without alcohol.

When fighting cancer with chemotherapy or any other type of cancer treatment, remember that you are in control. Your oncologist and cancer care team will provide you with all the information you need to know about your cancer treatment plan. But at the end of the day, you are in control of the final decisions for your cancer care.

Chemotherapy at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network is an award-winning oncology group that has helped cancer patients in Southern Nevada for more than 35 years. Our team of oncologists, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals work together to ensure you receive the best path of cancer treatment possible. We manage dosages, monitor patient progress and are there every step of the way to provide you the compassionate care you deserve. We can be your greatest ally in your cancer journey.

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6 Ways to Communicate Better Communicate with Your Oncologist and Cancer Care Specialists

Effective cancer treatment requires excellent communication between the patient and their physician, so everyone understands what is happening and what to expect. The following tips will help you communicate better with your oncologist and cancer care team throughout your cancer journey.

Tips to Communicate Better with Your Oncologist and Cancer Care Specialists

Write down questions and concerns before your appointment.

Writing your questions down can help lower stress and anxiety, while ensuring you get the answers you need.

Bring a notebook, tape recorder or a friend with you.

To ensure that you fully understand all the information your oncologist and/or cancer care team provides, consider recording the conversation or taking notes to review later on. This will help give you the time you need to process complicated information and avoid repetitive conversations during future cancer appointments. Bring a family member or friend with you to appointments, so that they can help you remember information or provide a summary of what was discussed.

Ask where you can find additional information.

With so much information available about cancer on the Internet, it can be difficult to know what is true and what is false. Ask your cancer care team and/or oncologist to provide you with the most reliable resources so you can find the most accurate information possible.

Talk to your doctor about information you find.

As mentioned above, not all information found on the internet is reliable. Have open conversations with your doctor, so he/she can tell you if the information you find about the disease is accurate.

Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are confused.

A cancer diagnosis and treatment plan can be confusing, especially when new options like clinical trials come into play. Be sure to tell your oncologist if you don’t understand something and have him/her explain it again. At Comprehensive Cancer Centers, we want to make sure that you understand everything, so you are fully informed throughout your cancer journey. This will help facilitate a better relationship between doctor and patient.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As cancer-fighting specialists, we know how important it is that patients fully understand their disease. Remember, there are no unintelligent questions when it comes to your health. We will answer any and all questions you have, so don’t be afraid to ask. Keep communication with your cancer care team and oncologists as open as possible. Ask the tough questions you have so they know what you are thinking and can help accordingly. Often times the answers will put you at ease.

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, we are all on the same team fighting for you. It’s important for us to keep the lines of communication open at all times. Visit www.cccnevada.com to learn more about our dedication to fighting cancer, one patient at a time.

 

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Healthy Eating and Beating Cancer on the Go

Eating healthy while on the go can be a challenge for anyone. It’s easy to turn to fast food when you are short on time. But, there are other alternatives to eating healthy foods that fight cancer without having to spend a ton of time prepping or cooking.

Tips to Eating Healthy and Fighting Cancer on the Go

Eat Fresh Fruit and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables require no prep time and are ready to go with you anytime. Many of these types of foods are known to help fight cancer, too. Try this cancer-fighting list of fruits and veggies from the American Institute for Cancer Research when you are on the go:

  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cranberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes

Know Which Foods to Buy Conventional and Which Foods to Buy Organic

Eating organic is almost always healthier than eating conventional foods. Why? Residue from pesticides contaminate many conventional foods. When buying food on the go, know which conventionally made foods are okay to eat and which foods should be avoided

Organics.org provides a list of foods that contain the most pesticides and which contain the least:

The Dirty Dozen – foods with the most pesticides

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas (imported)
  • Potatoes

Clean Fifteen – food with the least pesticides

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower

It’s important to note, if you can’t buy organic, make sure you wash your fruits and veggies really well before eating.

Prep Quick Meals with Simple Ingredients

If you in a hurry, try to plan ahead of time and bring a few simple ingredients that can be created into a healthy meal any time of day. The following are a few quick, healthy meals from The American Cancer Society that you can try:

  • Top mini-bagels with peanut butter and a sliced apple.
  • Make quick-and-easy chili the night before and pack for lunch.
  • Top mixed greens with cheese, cherry tomatoes, penne and mix with a low-fat dressing.
  • Stuff whole-wheat tortillas with black beans, lettuce, salsa, and cheese. Add sour cream for extra flavor.

Utilize Grocery Store Strategies to Keep Your Cupboard Stocked with Healthy Foods

Eating healthy on the go starts with eating healthy while at home. Keeping your cupboard stocked with healthy foods will make it easier for you to bring healthy foods with you throughout your day.

Keep the following items stocked in your cupboard, and you will have quick and easy cancer-fighting foods you can eat in a hurry:

  • Soup
  • Fresh or canned vegetables
  • Fresh or frozen fruit
  • Canned or dried fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Canned tuna
  • Minced clams
  • Reduced fat cheese sticks
  • Eggs
  • Whole grain bread and bagel slices
  • Mixed salad including kale and asparagus
  • Whole-wheat crackers
  • Hummus
  • Quinoa
  • Mixed nuts
  • Healthy energy bars that are low in  sugar
  • Brown rice
  • Peanut butter

These are just a few of the many grocery store items you can buy to eat healthily and help fight cancer on the go. However, everyone’s preference for food is different. Eating cancer-fighting foods works better when you find a balance between what you like to eat and what you are supposed to eat. Be aware of what you put in your body and how it affects you while you are out and about during the day.
At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, we believe that fighting cancer begins with preventing cancer through healthy lifestyle choices, including eating foods that help fight cancer. Learn more about cancer prevention, cancer-fighting healthy recipes and other cancer-related blog topics by visiting our website.

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