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Immunotherapy a Focus For Comprehensive Doctors and Patients

Immunotherapy a Focus For Comprehensive Doctors and Patients

Immunotherapy is an evolving science in cancer care that has captured the attention of patients, who ask about immunotherapy as a treatment option. The advancement in the treatment path for immunotherapy is also of great interest to the medical team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, who remain at the forefront of modern medicine by examining every treatment option available and conducting extensive clinical research on all new options in immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy Removes Cancer’s Camouflage

The body’s immune system works to defend itself against infections and diseases, such as cancer. Your immune system knows which elements normally exist in your body and which do not. So, if new or unknown elements appear in your body, your immune system and cells will work to destroy it. This process can also work against cancer cells.

Unfortunately, the body’s immune system doesn’t always recognize and attack cancer cells, which happens when normal cells change and start to grow out of control. Cancer can also create a camouflage to shield itself from the immune system, where these foreign elements appear too similar to normal cells, which can lower efficacy of certain treatments. Immunotherapy cancer treatment strengthens your immune system, which helps remove that camouflage and enable treatments to recognize the cancer cells. Once these foreign elements are more easily identified, treatments can destroy the cells or prevent cancerous cells from further spreading.

Immunotherapy Treatment at Comprehensive

Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ extensive research efforts has developed many of the compounds used in immunotherapy treatments. The practice participates in clinical research designed to learn more about how immunotherapy can help destroy cancer cells and advance this type of treatment. Comprehensive has also been instrumental in the research that has contributed to the FDA approval of these treatments for various cancer types. That’s all part of continual efforts to elevate how we treat cancer.

A question that the team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers often gets from patients is whether or not immunotherapy is a viable treatment option for them. As with all cancers and cancer treatments, no cancer or treatment path is exactly the same.  When our team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and if necessary, breast surgeons or pulmonologists, collaborate to develop a treatment plan, every plan is specific and custom to the patient whose care is being outlined.

“Researchers have accelerated the development of immunotherapy, where newer drugs aim to re-establish the body’s immune system capabilities to recognize the cancer cells and selectively destroy them through natural means,” said Fadi Braiteh, MD, a medical oncologist and clinical researcher at Comprehensive Cancer Centers. “This approach is not just providing meaningful hope, but is delivering unprecedented results with many cases resulting in a cure of advanced widespread cancer, which until today would be deemed terminal.”

Dr. Braiteh also noted that as immunotherapy has become a part of treatment protocols, and used in treating certain types of cancer, newer types of immunotherapy treatments are emerging that might offer new methods for treating cancers. He and his colleagues at Comprehensive stay current regarding all treatment trends and advancements.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and clinical research for the treatment of cancer. For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Comprehensive Cancer Focuses Awareness on Gynecologic and Ovarian Cancer Months

Comprehensive Cancer Focuses Awareness on Gynecologic and Ovarian Cancer Months

The arrival of September brings a renewed focus on cancers related to women’s health including Gynecologic Cancer Month and Ovarian Cancer Month. The spotlight being placed on these cancers offers support to survivors and current patients, as well as highlights the critical importance of regular testing for women in order to find the diseases early to create better treatment outcomes.

“Physicians are grateful for Gynecological and Ovarian Cancer Months and how they bring for the need for early detection, as well as financial and emotional support for survivors and current patients with these cancers,” said Anu Thummala, MD, a medical oncologist at Comprehensive Cancer Centers. “As with every cancer we treat at Comprehensive, we can’t stress enough how invaluable early detection is for our efforts, and we’re glad that people take time to learn about symptoms, screenings and treatment options.”

Every year, more than 95,000 women in the United States are told they have a gynecologic cancer. Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month encourages women to learn more about cancers of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, vagina and vulva.  The month hopes to drive more women to get regular screenings for cervical cancer and HPV.

Gynecological Cancer and HPV Screenings

Cervical cancer diagnosis comes from regular pap tests, which will be performed during gynecological visits. Although the test screens for cervical cancer, it does not reveal any other gynecological cancers.  HPV testing is used to look for the presence of high-risk HPV types in cervical cells. These tests can detect HPV infections that cause cell abnormalities, sometimes even before cell abnormalities are evident.

The Benefits of HPV Vaccinations

The HPV vaccine targets the HPV types that most commonly cause cervical cancer and can cause some cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and oropharynx. It also protects against the HPV types that cause most genital warts. The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing the targeted HPV types, as well as the most common health problems caused by HPV. Women who have been exposed to HPV before may find HPV vaccinations to be less effective, underscoring the benefits of early vaccinations.

Knowing Gynecological Cancer Risk and Symptoms

If vaginal bleeding is unusual, Comprehensive Cancer urges women to talk to their gynecologist or primary physician immediately.  If other warning signs (pain, discharge, unfamiliar feelings) last for more than two weeks and are not normal for you, this will also require a visit to your doctor. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor, which again underscores the benefits of regular examinations for early detection.

While gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer months are only celebrated in September, Comprehensive Cancer urges women to take their healthcare seriously all year long. Get checked regularly, and don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist or general physician, outside of regular exams, if something concerns you about your health.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and clinical research for the treatment of cancer.  For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Making Friends in the Chemotherapy Room

Making Friends in the Chemotherapy Room

Chemotherapy is part of a standardized regimen often prescribed by the medical team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers to treat cancerous diseases with drugs that interfere with cancer cell growth and reproduction.  These cancer-fighting drugs also target and attack cancerous cells that may have spread to other parts of the body. The treatment is often used in conjunction with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy and or surgery.

Before your first chemotherapy appointment it’s good to get yourself acclimated to what you can expect from the process, in particular your first day.

If your treatment process requires chemotherapy, you will meet one-on-one with a nurse or nurse practitioner at Comprehensive Cancer Centers to better understand the treatment process as well as how to manage any side effects. Some of the topics covered in the chemo class include:

  • Chemotherapy at a glance
  • Infusion room guidelines
  • Information about laboratory values
  • This to report to your physician
  • Managing the side effects of chemo
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Local resources for cancer patients

If chemotherapy is a treatment option for you or a loved one, also as be aware of other resources that you may not know about, such as the benefits of making friends who are also going through chemotherapy at the same time as you or your family member or friend.

Chemotherapy First Day Tips and Guidelines

There are many things to consider the first day you start chemotherapy and having the following information understood will make the day, and the others to follow, a little easier:

  • You may eat and drink during chemotherapy treatment. Comprehensive Cancer provides some of these snacks, but is recommended to bring snacks and drinks from home for long treatment days that are your favorites
  • You may bring one family member to stay with you during treatment. They will be provided with a comfortable chair next to you.
  • No children under the age of 14 are allowed in the chemotherapy room.
  • No smoking or e-cigarettes allowed during chemotherapy treatment.
  • Please keep personal items to a minimum to ensure a safe environment for everyone. A bag or backpack will help in keeping all of your things in one place for an easier entry and exit.
  • Do not wear perfume or cologne while in the chemotherapy treatment room.

Making Friends in the Chemo Room

Patients often do chemotherapy, or chemo, by themselves, or with a single loved one accompanying them. During these sessions, many patients find themselves making friends with others having treatment at the same time. Many patients find these friendships helpful in learning what to expect, what questions to ask, and just enjoyable by having someone you can relate with you sitting right next you.

“I’ve made some friends in the chemo room during my treatment with many of them becoming friends outside of treatment,” said Helen O’Hanlan, a patient of Comprehensive Cancer Centers. “Going into chemo you may not think that treatment is going to be a place where you have a little fun and joke around, but it happens and it’s such a big help in relieving stress and making the time go by more quickly.”

For physicians and the team at Comprehensive, much effort in put into making the chemotherapy room a comfortable place and somewhere that can offer a more positive experience than expected. Feedback from patients and loved ones regarding how the practice can improve the room is always encouraged.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and clinical research for the treatment of cancer.  For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Comprehensive Celebrates ‘Take a Loved One to the Doctor’ Day

Comprehensive Celebrates ‘Take a Loved One to the Doctor’ Day

The team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers knows that going to the doctor might not be on the list of options when making plans to spend time with a loved one. What would you do if you could take spending time with a loved one and combine that with a doctor visit to help them live a healthier life? National Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day (September 16) offers that opportunity.

Created by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day was started to encourage more people to visit a health care professional.  According to the HHS, many people wait until they have an emergency before going to the doctor, and they’d like to help change those habits through some friendly, familiar peer pressure. Regular visits to a medical professional can help catch such problems earlier when treatment, and long-term recovery, options are much better.

Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day was initially created to generate awareness of the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment within minority communities, who don’t schedule regular check in the same numbers as other populations.  The benefits of visiting the doctor should be something everyone, no matter their background, should understand and value. The marking of such a visit in a nationally recognized day offers the chance to make the discussion of going to the doctor easier.

“Most people don’t bring up the idea of going to the doctor in regular conversation said Dr. Rupesh Parikh, Comprehensive Cancers Centers’ practice president. “Days like Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day offer the opportunity to have those discussions with someone who might be resistant to get a routine check-up.”

Here are a few ways you can talk to your loved one about the idea of going to the doctor for a check up and necessary screenings:

  • ID the Risks: While you don’t want to cause anyone unnecessary concern, based on the age of your loved one, there are risks that start to come about for certain age groups. Let them know that seeing a doctor to check on these risks is normal and doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with them. You’re just letting them know that there are easy options for staying ahead of the curve with regular check ups.
  • Teamwork: Let them know that you’ll be going with them, so they won’t be alone. Joining in on the visit can put them at ease, while providing them with an advocate that can help them ask the right questions.
  • Incentives: In addition to going with your loved one to the appointment, let them know that you’ll also take them to lunch or coffee or a movie afterwards. Make the day as fun as possible, so they want to go and have something to look forward to. .
  • Set it Up: Don’t delay in getting them their appointment, once they’re okay with the idea of making a visit to their doctor. Help your loved one find an approved provider, set up the time and date, and put that information on your calendars.

Tips to Consider When Visiting a Primary Care Physician

Once you get your loved one to commit to visiting their doctor, here are few considerations to think of before the visit:

  • Questions: Help your loved one write down a list of questions (e.g. if they have issues they think are only minor, such as pains in certain areas, make sure they remember to ask about them). Bring that list and some extra paper to write down answers.
  • Health Histories: When a doctor asks if a family member has had health issues, it can be hard to recall instantly. If you take the time to ask about parents, grandparents, siblings and even extended family, you can make sure all of that information is known, and written down, before the visit.
  • Medications: If your loved one is on medications, or family members are, have them write that down as well. This should include prescription names and if those are long, you can always take a photo of any medications with your cell phone to show to your doctor.
  • Book It Again: See about setting up the next annual checkup appointment for your loved one, so that’s on their calendar and your calendar, after your appointment is over. Once you build a routine, it’s easier to stick to the schedule.

During and After Your Doctor Visit

When you get to the appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions during your visit if you see something that your loved one may have overlooked.  Also be prepared to take notes, in case follow up appointments or referrals to other doctors is recommended.  If an additional appointment is necessary, ensure your loved one books it while you’re there at the office or on the way home. No time like the present, and the longer one waits to book these appointments, the more often they don’t end up happening.

Should your doctor recommend any follow up examinations regarding oncology, ask them to refer you to Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Comprehensive is the leader in oncology treatment with access to the most advanced clinical research therapies available.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and clinical research for the treatment of cancer.  For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

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Sun Safety to Lower Risks for Skin Tones

Sun Safety to Lower Risks for Skin Tones

As summer starts to wind down, people may think it’s OK to start lowering their guard against the sun’s rays. Just as this belief is incorrect and dangerous, so is the belief that people of Native American, African Americans, Latinos, Middle Eastern and Pacific Rim descent can rely on the natural pigments in their skin, without considering sunscreen, to avoid risks associated with sun exposure. Just as with those with darker skin colors, there are options for light skinned people that they might not be aware of.

The team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers has treated people of all ethnic and geographic backgrounds for cancers such as melanoma, and can attest to the fact that exposure to sun’s rays merit caution for everyone that calls Southern Nevada home at all times of the year.

Skin Cancer Risks and Ethnicity

As noted, Comprehensive has treated many people of many ethnicities for skin cancer, and according to a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, of all racial groups, non-Hispanic African Americans had the lowest rates of melanoma diagnoses, but they were also the most likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, which lowers treatment success rates.

Another area of concern for those with dark skin is their elevated risk for acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM). With increased sun exposure in our climate, and lower percentages of sun exposure risk mitigation, this cancer can occur and go undiagnosed by those suffering from the melanoma.  Musician Bob Marley died of ALM when he was only 36.

Warning Signs for Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM)

As with all cancers, early detection is key to better treatment outcomes. Comprehensive urges patients with dark skin to be mindful of the following warning signs for ALM, while also conducting monthly self-exams.

  • A bump, patch, sore or growth that bleeds, oozes, crusts, doesn’t heal or lasts longer than a month.
  • An ulcer, scaly red patch, wart-like growth or sore that sometimes crusts or bleeds could be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
  • New or existing moles that are asymmetrical, have an irregular border, more than one color, are larger than a pencil eraser or change in any way.
  • Spots on the hands, soles of the feet or under the nails.

Additionally, certain skin cancers, such as ALM, can be caused by factors other than sun exposure, including genetics or environmental influences, and may occur on parts of the body rarely exposed to the sun.

Sunscreen Options for People with Dark Skin

Many sunscreens can leave those with dark skin looking like they’re covered with chalk and uncomfortable with their appearances. Fortunately, several companies have recognized the need for sunscreens for those with dark skin and are offering new products specifically for these audiences. Many of the risks of sun exposure, and new products designed to help, were featured in recent story from Fast Company. The story featured some of the following new products, focused on African-American women:

  • Bolden Skincare – a SPF moisturizing sunscreen formulated with ingredients like safflower oil and Vitamin C that was both sulfate and paraben-free.
  • Black Girl Sunscreen – a natural SPF 30 for African Americans.
  • Unsun Cosmetics – an all-natural mineral sun protectant.

There are a number of other sunscreens that are made for dark skin, as well as other skin types. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations.

Sunscreen Options for Those With Light Skin

Whereas people with darker skin tones might not be aware of risks associated with the sun and skin cancers, those with very light skin might not be aware of options for sunscreen specifically made for their needs. A few options include:

As with any other product for your skin, it is recommended that you consult with your dermatologist to ensure you’re using the best option for your skin safety.

Lowering Cancer Risks by Being Sun Smart

Reducing cancer risks for those that spend time in the sun – no matter their skin type – can be accomplished by using the following tips:

  • Enjoy Some Shade – 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.
  • Hats and Sunglasses – Cover up with loose clothing, wide brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re in the sun.
  • Sunscreen – Wear sunscreen, all year long (more on that next)

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options including for the treatment of skin cancer and melanoma. To learn more about signs, symptoms and treatment options, visit our website. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, please call 702-952-3350.

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Physical Activity to Reduce Cancer Risks and Benefit Recovery

Physical Activity to Reduce Cancer Risks and Benefit Recovery

The team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers encourages people to be more physically active for cancer prevention, as well as to help improve outcomes with cancer treatment and recovery. Fitting more physical activity into your day can be easier than you think, with the benefits being proven through studies and research.

What Does it Mean to be Physically Active?

Physical activity is defined as any movement that uses skeletal muscles and requires more energy than resting – basically getting up and doing something. Physical activity can include exertion expend while working, doing specific exercises, or even while performing household chores. You can enjoy benefits from leisure-time activities such as tennis, golf, walking, hiking, swimming and going for a bicycle ride.

The fundamental of physical activity is based upon the benefits the body enjoys from balancing calories consumed and the number of calories used during each day. Consistently expending fewer calories than consumed leads to moderate weight gain to clinical obesity. Research has linked obesity to increased risks for at many different cancers

How Does Physical Activity Lower Cancer Risks?

While evidence exists that suggests obesity increases cancer risks, studies have also generated evidence that physical activity that includes weight loss and reduced blood pressure, may reduce cancer risks. There is specific evidence for several cancer types regarding the benefits of physical activity.

  • Colon Cancer – A 2009 meta-analysis of 52 epidemiologic studies that examined the association between physical activity and colon cancer risk found that the most physically active individuals had a 24 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those who were the least physically active
  • Breast Cancer – In a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12 percent. Women who increase physical activity after menopause may have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who are not physically active.
  • Other Cancers – Physical activity has also been linked to reduced risks of liver cancer, stomach cancer, kidney cancer, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, and a number of other cancers.

These benefits were discovered to be possible due to factors including lowering levels of hormones, including insulin and estrogen, reducing inflammation, reducing body mass/body fat levels, bolstering the immune system, and moving food through the body’s digestive system quicker.

How Much Physical Activity Do You Need to Reduce Cancer Risks?

It is recommended that people in good health do at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, with a combination of moderate intensity physical activity (walking, riding a bike) along with higher intensity aerobic activity (where your heart rate is elevated enough to break a sweat). Children and young adults are recommended to get at least an hour per day of physical activity. All physical activity programs should be started only after consultation with a professional or your physician, who can help establish plans that fit an individual’s health and abilities.

Can Physical Activity Help Cancer Patients and Survivors?

The physicians and researchers at Comprehensive Cancer Centers have noted that physical activity, with approval from your physician, can yield benefits for both cancer patients currently in treatment, as well as for those post treatment.

Benefits for both those in treatment and survivors includes better mental outlooks through stress relief and endorphin release, appropriate weight gain or loss, increased appetite, better maintenance of body mass, body image and self-esteem as well as socializing.

While nothing is guaranteed by being physically active with everyone’s treatment outcome, or completely reducing cancer risks, the benefits of physical activity are seen as much more beneficial than the risks associated with remaining inactive.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Comprehensive Cancer Centers provides a variety of services including medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonology, clinical research and diagnostics. a complete list of services at  Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment, please call 702-952-3350. 

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Collaborate With Your Cancer Care Team at Comprehensive

Collaborate With Your Cancer Care Team at Comprehensive

Patients who have been diagnosed with cancer may need to work with several different cancer care specialists during treatment and recovery..  At Comprehensive Cancer Centers, this may include a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, breast surgeon, pulmonologists, or one of our advanced practice providers. The following guide will help make it easier to understand the role that each member of our team may play in your cancer care.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers

The team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers offers the following specialties:.

  • Medical Oncologist: A doctor who has special training in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biological therapy, and/or targeted therapy, as appropriate for each patient’s situation. A medical oncologist often serves in the role of the main health care provider for a patient undergoing cancer treatment. A medical oncologist also gives supportive care and may coordinate cancer treatments given by other specialists.
  • Hematologist: A hematologist is a physician who specializes in disorders of the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic systems. Most hematologists are also board certified in oncology and can treat many types of cancers, including blood cancers.
  • Radiation Oncologist: A doctor who has special training in using various types of external and/or internal radiation to treat cancer. Radiation oncologists often work with a medical dosimetrist and/or a medical physicist to ensure treatment plans are uniquely tailored to both the patient and their cancer.
  • Breast Surgeon: A breast surgeon conducts both non-cancer and cancer-related surgeries of the breast. Their mission is to provide the most current and effective treatment options to our breast care and breast cancer patients.

Comprehensive’s Advanced Practice Providers & Clinical Staff

In addition to physicians, Comprehensive has a staff of highly-trained and experience Advanced Practice Providers. The following details these roles and responsibilities as related to patient care.

  • Nurse Practitioner: Also called an advanced practice nurse, APN, or NP, this is a registered nurse at Comprehensive Cancer Centers who has additional education and training in how to diagnose and treat disease. Nurse practitioners are licensed at the state level and certified by national nursing organizations. Seeing an NP is similar to seeing a doctor in some cases. In cancer care, a nurse practitioner may manage the primary care of patients based on a practice agreement with a doctor.
  • Physician Assistant: Physician assistants, also known as PAs, operate under the supervision of a doctors at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, but share many of the same responsibilities of a medical doctor, with the exception of a few major procedures (including surgery). They practice medicine on teams with physicians and other healthcare workers. They’ll examine, diagnose, and treat patients in the same way a physician would, making them a valuable part of the cancer care team.
  • Cancer Genetic Counselor: A specialist who assesses individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and support to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions, such as cancer. Learn more about Comprehensive’s Genetic Counseling service.
  • Oncology Certified Nurse: A nurse who have a special certification in treating and caring for people who have cancer. An oncology nurse is often the first line of communication for patients to discuss how they’re feeling during treatment and side effects they’re experiencing. Some of their duties include, but are not limited to:
    • Monitoring physical conditions
    • Managing patient symptoms and side effects
    • Providing emotional support
    • Administering chemotherapy and other treatments, under the supervision of a doctor
    • Educating and counseling patients and their families about cancer treatment
  • Registered Nurse: A medical professional who collaborates with a physician to develop a plan of care for individuals. Nurses practice in a variety of settings and specialties including oncology, surgery, emergency medicine, family practice and more.
  • Medical Assistant: A professional in the healthcare setting who works with a physician and other medical professionals to provide care to patients. A medical assistant may also complete a variety of administration and clinical tasks to assist in the overall care plan for a patient.
  • Radiation Therapist: A professional who works in the field of radiation oncology. A radiation therapist plans and administers radiation treatments to cancer patients, under the supervision of a doctor.

Comprehensive’s Supportive Care Team

Cancer is a challenge for both patients and their families. Comprehensive offers the following support services to help make the treatment process as simple as possible.

  • Social Worker: A professional trained to talk with people and their families about emotional or physical needs, and to find them support services and the appropriate community resources. Some of the needs that social workers will commonly identify and assist with include:
    • Transportation and housing needs
    • Financial concerns that patients may have about paying medical bills, rent, or utilities
    • Limitations that patients may have independently performing daily life needs, such as bathing, cooking, or dressing
    • Support for mental health, emotional health, or self-image concerns
    • Advanced care planning and documenting future healthcare wishes
  • Patient Benefit Representative (Financial Counselor): A person who works with patients and their families to help them reduce stress or hardship related to the cost of cancer treatment. Patient benefit representatives (sometimes called financial counselors) help patients understand their out-of-pocket expenses and what their health insurance plans may cover. Patient benefit representatives (may also help patients set up payment plans, find cost-saving methods for treatments, and improve access to healthcare services that the patient needs.
  • Dietitian: A registered dietitian is an important part of the cancer care team, helping with cancer treatment and recovery. A dietitian will work with patients, their families, and the rest of the medical team to manage the patient’s diet during and after cancer treatment.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Comprehensive Cancer Centers is a multidisciplinary practice comprising medical oncology, hematology, radiation oncology, breast surgery, pulmonary medicine, cancer genetic counseling and clinical research. The practice’s specialized physician and nursing staff offers sophisticated diagnostic tools, the latest advances in cancer treatment, a full range of innovative, exclusive services and research-based care in a supportive and caring environment. To schedule an appointment, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Life After Successful Cancer Treatment

Life After Cancer Treatment

Life can change after cancer treatment. While there is the welcome relief of no more cancer treatments, there’s also the discovery of new challenges that cancer survivorship can bring. These challenges are often referred to as adjusting to a “new normal.”

For many cancer survivors, many of whom celebrate National Cancer Survivor’s Day, this new normal requires making adjustments in daily life. For starters, you may be filled with thoughts of uncertainty about the future and experiencing a wide range of new emotions. You also may be recognizing that life has a different meaning now that you’re moving past the cancer treatment phase.

The challenge isn’t so much getting back to the way things were before receiving a cancer diagnosis. Rather it’s about figuring out what is normal for you now that you’re done with cancer treatment.  This type of adjustment is unique for each survivor. Whatever your new normal may be, remember that it’s okay to take time for yourself until you’ve become comfortable with the changes.

Your new normal after cancer treatment may include:

  • Changes in diet and physical activity
  • New or different sources of support
  • Accepting body changes
  • Limited ability to do things as easily as you used to
  • Potential for emotional turmoil and anxiety

Your cancer care team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers is here for you during this transition, so be sure to talk openly about any struggles or concerns you have. They will be able to provide you with tips on how to cope or refer you to other sources of support.

Dealing with Fear of Cancer Reoccurrence

While a variety of emotions present themselves after cancer treatment, the most common one among survivors is probably the fear that the cancer will come back (cancer reoccurrence). This is a completely normal emotional reaction and one that usually lessens over time. Still, the emotion  is real and often takes time to cope with it.

Some important steps you can take if you have similar emotions or concerns:

  • Identify Triggers. Lingering symptoms, follow-up visits, the illness of a loved one are some of the things that can stir up concerns. Learn what your triggers are and then create a plan to help you cope. This might include scheduling activities to distract you from certain triggers or simply reaching out to a loved one for emotional support.
  • Talk with Your Cancer Care Team. Your care team at Comprehensive can be a valuable tool when it comes to managing your concern of cancer reoccurrence. Ask them questions about your type of cancer and signs to look for. Knowing this can calm your concerns and allow you to move forward.
  • Talk with a Professional Counselor. If you can’t seem to gain control over your thoughts, talking with a counselor can be helpful in moving forward with your daily life.
  • Get a Follow-up Care Plan in Place. All cancer survivors should have follow-up care. Meet with Comprehensive Cancer Center specialists to discuss a specific follow-up plan and actions that you can take at home to begin to adjust to your new normal. Knowing what to expect after treatment can help give you a sense of control in regards to your health.
  • Take Care of Your Mind and Body. Focusing on your overall wellness is an important part of managing stress effectively. Exercising, eating healthy foods, journaling, volunteering, socializing with family and friends, and prayer and/or meditation are all effective techniques that can help ease your anxieties.
  • Support Groups. In Southern Nevada, The Caring Place is an option where patients and caregivers receive counseling, meditation, art therapy, therapeutic massage, Reiki and others to promote emotional and mental healing. The nonprofit which is now under the umbrella of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation and offers many new services and programs to adults and children affected by cancer.

Dealing with Physical Changes

Some cancer survivors may have physical changes to cope with once treatment is done, which may include changes to the way you look, feel, and perform regular activities. Depending on the type of treatment given, some changes may be temporary, while others are permanent. Some treatments have no lingering effect at all.

Common physical changes that cancer survivors experience after treatment may include:

  • Bone, nerve, and/or soft tissue pain that is typically caused by the tumor pressing on these areas
  • Fatigue
  • Memory and concentration changes
  • Nervous system changes (neuropathy) that causes tingling or numbness, especially in the hands and feet
  • Mouth or teeth problems
  • Changes in intimacy
  • Changes in weight or eating habits
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Bladder or bowel control problems

It is important to remember that you may experience changes that are very different from someone else, and that adjusting to the effects of cancer treatment takes time. If you have questions or concerns about any of the changes in your body, be sure to talk with your oncologist or nurse about any areas of concern.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada provide a variety of treatment options including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, breast surgery and clinical research for the treatment of cancer. For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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How Comprehensive Cancer Diagnoses and Treats Sarcomas

How Comprehensive Cancer Finds and Treats Sarcoma

Sarcomas (Soft tissue and bone tumors) are cancers that start in connective tissues such as muscles, bones, or in fat cells. The two main types of sarcoma that Comprehensive Cancer Centers treats include soft tissue sarcomas and bone sarcomas. Sarcomas often cause bone pain that worsens at night or with physical activity.

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body.

What Is a Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

A sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops from certain tissues, like bone or muscle. Bone and soft tissue sarcomas are the main types of sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop from soft tissues like fat, muscle, nerves, fibrous tissues, blood vessels, or deep skin tissues. They How Comprehensive Cancer Diagnoses and Treats Sarcomascan be found in any part of the body. Most sarcomas develop in the arms or legs. They can also be found in the trunk, head and neck area, internal organs, and the area in back of the abdominal cavity. Sarcomas are not common tumors, and most cancers are the type of tumors called carcinomas.

There are many types of soft tissue tumors, and not all of them are cancerous. When the term sarcoma is part of the name of a disease, it means the tumor is malignant, or cancerous. Some soft tissue tumors behave in ways between a cancer and a non-cancer. These are called intermediate soft tissue tumors. There are more than 50 different types of soft tissue sarcomas.

Types and Characteristics of Soft Tissue Sarcomas

  • Adult Fibrosarcoma usually affects fibrous tissue in the legs, arms, or trunk. It is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 60, but can occur in people of any age, even in infants.
  • Alveolar Soft-part Sarcoma is a rare cancer that mostly affects young adults. These tumors most commonly occur in legs.
  • Angiosarcoma can develop either from blood vessels (hemangiosarcomas) or from lymph vessels (lymphangiosarcomas). These tumors sometimes start in a part of the body that has been treated with radiation. Angiosarcomas are sometimes seen in the breast after radiation therapy and in limbs with lymphedema.
  • Clear Cell Sarcoma is a rare cancer that often develops in tendons of the arms or legs. Under the microscope, it has some features of malignant melanoma, a type of cancer that develops from pigment-producing skin cells. How cancers with these features start in parts of the body other than the skin is not known.
  • Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor is a rare sarcoma of adolescents and young adults, found most often in the abdomen.
  • Epithelioid Sarcoma most often develops in tissues under the skin of the hands, forearms, feet, or lower legs. Adolescents and young adults are often affected.
  • Fibromyxoid Sarcoma, Low-Grade is a slow growing cancer that most often develops as a painless growth in the trunk or arms and legs (particularly the thigh). It is more common in young to middle aged adults. It is also sometimes called an Evans’ tumor.
  • Liposarcomas are malignant tumors of fat tissue. They can develop anywhere in the body, but they most often develop in the thigh, behind the knee, and inside the back of the abdomen. They occur mostly in adults between 50 and 65 years old.
  • Malignant Mesenchymoma is a rare type of sarcoma that shows features of fibrosarcoma and features of at least 2 other types of sarcoma.
  • Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors include neurofibrosarcomas, malignant schwannomas, and neurogenic sarcomas. These are sarcomas that develop from the cells that surround a nerve.
  • Myxofibrosarcomas, Low-Grade are most often found in the arms and legs of elderly patients. They are most common in or just under the skin and there might be more than one tumor nodule.
  • Synovial Sarcoma is a malignant tumor of the tissue around joints. The most common locations are the hip, knee, ankle, and shoulder. This tumor is more common in children and young adults, but it can occur in older people.
  • Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma, previously known as malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), is most often found in the arms or legs. Less often, it can start inside at the back of the abdomen (the retroperitoneum). This sarcoma is most common in older adults. Although it mostly tends to grow locally, it can spread to distant sites.

How Comprehensive Cancer Centers Treats Sarcoma

If a patient is diagnosed with sarcoma, surgery is often an important tool in the treatment process. Additional treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may be administered before and/or after surgery. Chemotherapy significantly improves the prognosis for many sarcoma patients, especially those with bone sarcomas.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy and clinical research for the treatment of sarcomas. For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive, please click here. To schedule an appointment, please call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Eastern Medicine and Modern Treatment of Cancer

Eastern Medicine and Modern Treatment of Cancer

Comprehensive Cancer Centers know that an important part of treating cancer comes from learning about what was done in the past. Often times what was done in the past is still used today to help patients recover mentally, physically and emotionally. This holds especially true with teachings and applications of Eastern Medicine.

Comprehension and treatment of cancer can be traced back to doctors in the Qin Dynasty in China dating back to 221 B.C. with notations of patients suffering from malignant sores and swelling without ulceration when ill. Recognition of cancer dates back farther in China with records of tumors being found inscribed on bones and tortoise shells as far back as 16th century B.C.

These early doctors determined that health issues could be attributed to poor diets.  Poor diets, they theorized, could block the proper flow of nutrients into the body’s system, and prevent the release of toxins out of the cells. In addition to dietary guidance, doctors began to treat health issues with acupuncture.

Acupuncture for Cancer

Acupuncture is an Eastern Medicine practice used today by many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cause feelings of nausea for some patients, which has been successfully addressed by acupuncture. Cancer treatment can adversely affect the body’s immune system, and acupuncture has demonstrated benefits for patients, in that regard, as well.

Herbal Medicine for Cancer

Eastern Medicine and Modern Treatment of CancerCancer patients have also used herbal medicine when faced with cancer and it is one of the most commonly used complementary and alternative therapies by people being treated for cancer. Some studies have shown that as many as 6 out of every 10 people with cancer (60 percent) use herbal remedies alongside conventional cancer treatments.

While the efficacy of these efforts is not completely understood or measured, patients have found herbal medicine can offer benefits including helping them relax and cope with anxiety and depression. Perhaps most important of all, some cancer patients may feel better or more in control of their situation by taking herbal medicines, which can offer benefits to their mental and spiritual wellbeing, which is important when being treated for cancer.

Should you wish to explore acupuncture or herbal medicine options, always speak with your oncologist and primary care physician first.  Before meeting with your medical team, it’s a good idea to have a list of herbal ingredients in any remedies you’re considering in hand. This will help your doctors get a clear picture of what you’re doing, so they can address any risks or side effects that could present themselves during your standard treatment.

To schedule an appointment with a physician at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Read More