All Posts in Category: Blog

Carrot and Apple Soup

Cold, stormy weather certainly makes you want to sit by a fire, curl up in a cozy blanket and have a delicious bowl soup. It always seems like a warm soup belly is an instant cure for cold weather blues, but did you know it can also be beneficial to your health and preventing cancer, if you add the right ingredients of course… This apple and carrot soup contains cancer-fighting fiber and other preventative ingredients like beta-carotene which is in carrots, and quercetin which can be found in apples.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium leek, white part only, rinsed well and chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2- inch slides
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. minced fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Makes 6 servings.
Per Serving: 92 calories, 4 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 84 mg sodium.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour

Directions
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion and leek and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Mix in the carrots and apple. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the broth, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the carrots are very soft. Remove the pot from the heat and set the soup aside to cool slightly.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to pan and heat to very hot before serving. If soup is too thick, add more broth, as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, garnishing each serving with mint.

Credit: American Institute for Cancer Research

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BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 Cancer Risks and Cancer Genetic Counseling

Risk of BRCA-1 and BRCA-2

Many women treated for breast cancer and ovarian cancer by Comprehensive Cancer Centers are familiar with the technical terms BRCA-1 and BRCA-2.  These are genes that produce proteins that suppress tumors. The proteins repair damaged DNA and ensure the stability of genetic material at a cellular level. When either of these genes are mutated, or altered, cells become more likely to develop additional genetic alterations that may lead to cancer.

For those who have not had cancer, but may have risks associated with carrying the genes, knowing the risk and preparing accordingly can be an important part of remaining healthy.  Learning more about, and identifying these risks, is something that can be accomplished through Cancer Genetic Counseling at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada.

Why Get Cancer Genetic Counseling?

Inherited cancer syndromes account for approximately 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. This equates to nearly 50,000 newly diagnosed cancers that can be attributed to a gene inherited from your parents. It is important for individuals and families that have cancer susceptibility genes to be aware of risks.

Not everyone with a cancer gene will develop cancer, but his or her risk is greatly increased based on genealogical circumstances. Many people with genes that are at risk can develop cancer at younger ages than other people. Genetic testing to reveal risks for those who are at high risk is now highly recommended. Comprehensive Cancer Centers is the only oncology practice in Southern Nevada to offer cancer genetic counseling. We have a nurse practitioner who has received specialized training to be a cancer genetic counselor who focuses specifically on cancer genetic counseling to deliver the most current medical knowledge and treatment options for patients with genetic cancers.

Who Needs to Get Genetic Testing?

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women who have family members with breast, ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer be evaluated through genetic cancer screening.  For BRCA-1 or BRCA-2, factors associated with increased likelihood of having a harmful mutation include:

  • Two or more BRCA-1- or BRCA-2-related cancers in a single family member
  • Breast cancer diagnosed before age 50 years
  • Cancer in both breasts in the same woman
  • Breast and ovarian cancers in either the same woman or the same family
  • Multiple breast cancers in the family
  • Cases of male breast cancer
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity

What Are the Benefits of Getting Screening Results?

For those with BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes, 72% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA-1 mutation and about 69% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA-2 mutation will develop breast cancer by the age of 80. Those numbers are much higher than the national average of 12% of all women who will develop breast cancer sometime during their lives.  An additional factor of concern is that women with the gene have increased chances of getting breast cancer in their other breast, after having had cancer in one breast.

For ovarian cancer, risk factors for those with BRCA1 and BRCA2, approximately 44% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and approximately 17% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by the age of 80. Less than two percent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer sometime during their lives

The risks aren’t all about women’s health. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 genes have been linked to pancreatic and prostate cancers. There are concerns about passing on that defect to children. If a man carries a BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 gene, each of his children may have a 50-50 chance of carrying the gene.

When I Get Results What Will They Mean?

All of those who get Cancer Genetic Counseling will be provided with information on the specific test being performed, what the results mean, the psychological implications of test results, confidentiality issues, options for risk estimation without genetic testing, the risk of passing a gene mutation to a child, fees involved in testing, options and limitations of medical surveillance and strategies for prevention after testing and the importance of sharing your genetic test results with at-risk relatives.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.  For certain cancer patients, clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer Centers may offer help, please click here to learn more. 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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Thyroid Cancer Detection and Treatment

Thyroid Cancer Awareness

January is Thyroid Awareness Month, which the medical team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers believes offers an excellent time to become more aware of what the gland does for keeping the body healthy, and how to best identify symptoms for thyroid cancer, along with some insights into how you may be able to reduce risk for cancer.

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland covers the windpipe, or upper middle of the front of the throat from three sides.  If the thyroid is not functioning properly, the body may not effectively break down proteins and process carbohydrates and vitamins. For many with thyroid issues, challenges can present with weight management, which can require medication and dietary modifications to control.

When working properly, the thyroid successfully manages two specific hormones: T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine), both are critical in the production and regulation of the adrenaline and dopamine. These chemical substances help control the functions of certain cells and organs, and are active in physical and emotional responses, including fear, excitement, and pleasure. Other hormones from this gland also help regulate metabolism, which is the process by which calories and oxygen are converted into energy to power the body.

The thyroid gland cannot produce hormones entirely on its own, as it required the assistance of the pituitary gland, which creates the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). A non-functional pituitary gland will lead to thyroid-gland-related issues. TSH will either trigger the production of thyroxine or triiodothyronine. If TSH is not present at the right levels, too much or too little of either hormone will be made.

The thyroid is a critical part of the body and carries significant responsibilities relative to its small size.

Who Gets Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid Cancer is more common in women than men, with most cases found for women patients in their 40s and 50s. Men who are diagnosed most often get the disease a few decades  later, with cases being found mostly in men in their 60s or 70s.  Follicular thyroid cancer happens more often in Caucasians than African Americans. Thyroid cancer affects younger patients between the ages of 30 and 50, that age group should remain mindful of symptom awareness and early diagnosis.

Thyroid cancer develops when cells change or mutate. The abnormal cells begin multiplying in your thyroid and, once there are enough of them, they form a tumor. If it’s caught early, thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Researchers have identified four main types of thyroid cancers:

  • Papillary Thyroid Cancer. This is the most common type of thyroid cancer with 80% of all thyroid cancer cases being papillary thyroid cancer. This cancer tends to grow slowly, but often spreads to nymph nodes in the neck. This cancer offers a good chance for a full recovery.
  • Follicular Thyroid Cancer. Follicular thyroid cancer makes up between 10% and 15% of all thyroid cancers diagnoses. This cancer can spread into your lymph nodes and is also more likely to spread into your blood vessels making early diagnosis and treatment important.
  • Medullary cancer. This cancer is found in about fewer than 5% of all thyroid cancer diagnoses. The cancer is more likely to be found at an early stage because it produces a hormone called calcitonin, which doctors monitor in early blood test results.
  • Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer. This is often the most severe type of thyroid, because due to the aggressive in which is spreads to other parts of the body. It’s rare, and it is the most challenging to treat.

What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer?

There are not many symptoms in the beginning stages of thyroid cancer. As the cancer grows, you could notice any of the following problems:

  • Persistent neck and throat pain
  • Lumps in your neck where the thyroid gland is found
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vocal changes, and hoarseness
  • Coughs that don’t go away

What Causes Thyroid Cancer?

While there are no specific reasons why people get thyroid cancer, there are certain risk factors identified that offer reasons why some may get the disease.

  • Inherited Genetic Syndromes. In 20% of medullary thyroid cancer, the cancer is a result of an abnormal gene you’ve inherited. This follows from form from other cancers that come DNA you inherit from your family.
  • Iodine Deficiency. While it’s rare in the United States, some patients may get thyroid cancer form iodine deficiency (or lack of salt).
  • Radiation Exposure. If exposure to radiation treatment as a child to your head or neck, thyroid cancers risks may be elevated.

Is Thyroid Cancer Treatable? Medical oncologists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers do find that thyroid cancer is usually treatable, even for patients with more advanced stages of the cancer. As with any cancer type, early diagnosis is critical, so make sure to look out for symptoms and report them to your physician as soon as they are detected.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for thyroid cancer 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 Cancer, 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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What Exactly Is Cancer?

Cancer: What is it?

When people think of cancer, often for those who have never had the disease, the belief is widely held that cancer is a singular disease and that all cancers are the same.  When consideration is given to the idea of curing cancer, the thought remains that if that if ‘cancer’ is cured, all cancers will go away. This, unfortunately well known by the physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, is not true.

Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.  There are more than 200 types of cancer, and cancers can be further expanded into different sub-groups by their severity, stage, and the specific cells that are affected by the cancer. When making differentiations on cancers terms such as the stage , acute or metastatic are used. These terms help paint the mosaic of the disease that its cancer, as well as the challenges found in treating their many variations

The 5 Main Groups of Cancer

To better understand the disease, it’s best to start with grasping the five main groups of cancer, what they are and what parts of the body they affect.

Carcinomas

Carcinomas are cancers that start in the skin, or tissues that surround and protect internal organs. The affected cells are called epithelial cells. Accounting for more than three quarters of all cancer diagnoses, carcinomas are the most common type of cancer. They include skin cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer, among others. The most common subcategories of carcinomas are basal cell carcinoma, which affects a deep layer of the skin.

L3eukemias

Leukemias are blood cancers that start in bone marrow and affect the blood. Bone marrow produces the body’s white blood cells and when the body produces too many of those cells in an uncontrolled way, they build up in the blood and the body is unable to cope with them. Leukemia is mostly associated with children, and although it’s a rare type of cancer (3% of diagnosed cancers) the disease seems more prominent due to its specific demographic.

Sarcomas

Sarcomas are a rare type of cancers that are found in bones or soft tissues including tendons or cartilage.  The disease comprises only 1% of cancer diagnoses, with about half of those diagnoses occurring in people under the age of 35.

Lymphatic System Cancers

Lymphatic system cancers are cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, which is responsible for carrying white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes and around the body. Lymph nodes are found in different points in the body, including the neck, armpits and tonsils. They are extremely important for maintaining your health. These systems filter germs and diseases, while serving as the base of our immune system. Lymphatic system cancers include non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma, among others.

Brain and Spinal-Cord Cancers

Brain and spinal cord cancers can have a huge impact on the functioning of the brain; however, symptoms are often not noticed directly, but rather through headaches, loss of vision, loss of balance or confusion. Some of these symptoms are unfortunately dismissed, preventing early detection. Often tumors that start in the brain are benign (they do no harm and grow very slowly); however, they also include aggressive malignant tumors, and removing the tumor is often the only option.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers, we believe that being well informed about cancer is important in your fight against the disease. We provide our patients with up-to-date information about diagnosis and treatment options, as well as resources that can provide you and your family with valuable information, which can be found in our blog.

The board-certified physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.  Clinical research may also offer treatment alternatives. For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, 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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Taking Care of Yourself When You Have Cancer

Stay Well With Cancer

When the medical team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers delivers a cancer diagnosis, they are fully prepared to do everything possible to ensure a successful outcome for our patients. A significant part of treatment and recovery happens when you’re outside of our clinics and with family and friends.  For many with cancer, the disease offers no downtime for taking care of others. To assist in these areas, we’ve compiled some resources to help those with cancer, as well as their loved ones.

Take Care of Yourself First

Most people are wired to be selfless, even in the face of great challenges. This is a good thing, but for those with cancer it’s important to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to take care of yourself, even if that means putting the needs of others at a lower priority than you did before your diagnosis.

Take a few minutes and understand you need to allow yourself to not dwell too deeply on daily stresses that existed before cancer, will be there during cancer, and will be there after treatment concludes. This includes things such as kids running late in the morning, the grocery store being out of something you need, not finding a parking spot, etc. Let yourself know that these are all parts of life, and reassure yourself that you won’t let them get you down anymore than you would before your diagnosis.

Stay Mentally and Physically Active

Make an effort to notice and talk about things you do as they happen during the day. Watch the news or take time to read the morning paper to find things to discuss that do not directly relate to your illness. Set aside time during the day, like during a meal, to make sure you stay connected to life and don’t allow your diagnosis to be the only topic of discussion.

You can also look to stay active physically to reduce stress and remind yourself to enjoy life. This can be done by enjoying the following:

  • Get outside and exercise with simple activities such as walks
  • Enjoy a healthy diet by cooking nutritious recipes
  • Stay spiritual by praying, journaling, or enjoying meditation
  • Be social and having lunch with a friend.
  • Start and finish a project such as a crossword puzzle or a new book.
  • Watch funny videos and programs

When to be Concerned and When to Consider Getting Help

Staying positive and active isn’t always going to solve  your challenges and leave you feeling fulfilled. With that in mind, if you do start to feel overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to get help from a mental health professional.  Some warning signs to be mindful of, in this regard, includes the following red flags:

  • Feeling depressed, physically sick, or hopeless
  • Feeling like hurting yourself or hurting or yelling at the people you care for
  • Depending too heavily on alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Fighting with your spouse, children, stepchildren, or other family members and friends
  • No longer taking care of yourself

If you find yourself concerned about these feelings, talk with a nurse or social worker or contact the local American Cancer Society office to learn about services here in Southern Nevada.

Religion can be also be a source of strength for some people. Some members of the clergy are specially trained to help people with cancer and their families. People who are not religious may find spiritual support in other ways. Check with your house of worship, or ask a family or friend for a place they think can help you, and ask for help. Also, being outside in nature are examples of different ways a person may feel they’re part of something greater than themselves.

Alex is a patient of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and he found peace and comfort in getting outdoors. He enjoys hiking, running and biking. He credits these activities with staying positive and helping him through his cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Work can also be stressful when dealing with cancer. If you need some time away from work, speak with your supervisor, human resources or benefits department. If your workplace has an Employee Assistance Program, consider what it offers. Some offer counseling services which can include money concerns, stress, and depression.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees up to 12 weeks off per year to take care of a seriously ill family member (spouse, parent, or child). It only applies to larger companies, and not every employee qualifies for it. If you can’t or don’t want to stop working, you might be able to take unpaid time off under the FMLA. Ask your employ about these benefits for you or have a family member see if such plans could help them take some time off to help you.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or you want to support someone who has, Comprehensive Cancer Centers can provide more information and assistance and treatment options for patients including chemotherapy radiation therapy or surgery.  For certain cases, clinical research may offer new options for treatment.  To see a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer, 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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Work with Your Primary Physician to Set Up Cancer Screenings

Save the Date: Annual Cancer Screenings

Comprehensive Cancer Centers reminds everyone that an important part of managing one’s healthcare comes from ensuring all relevant screenings are completed each year. Screening tests are used to detect cancer before a person presents any symptoms. This need often extends beyond the individual and to their family and friends, who can benefit from gentle, and informed, encouragement to be screened regularly, as well.

Setting up screenings is often guided by regular, primary care physicians or family doctors that patient see regularly and who build patient profiles based on age, family and health history and other factors. These factors lead to setting up a regular screening schedule that patients can follow, as necessary, and can always supplement with additional exams when risk factors or symptoms present.

If you do not have a regular doctor, or a family or loved one does not either, Comprehensive urges you to establish a relationship with one. Once you have a regular physician relationship , the following information will help with guidelines for screenings that can be shared with your physician to help set up timelines for testing.

Cancer Screening Guidelines

Guidelines for cancer screenings offer excellent details to help people more thoroughly take ownership over their health, appropriate to their ages, medical history and family medical histories.  The American Cancer Society provides these cancer-screening guidelines for most adults, with exceptions including previous illnesses or family histories of these cancers.

Breast Cancer Screenings

Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish. Women age 45 to 54 are recommended to get mammograms every year. Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening depending on physician’s counsel. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

The breast surgery team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers also recommends that those with family history, genetic tendencies, or other risk factors should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms prior to the age of 40.  Prior, and in addition to screenings, women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.

Colon and Rectal Cancer and Polyps Screenings

Comprehensive Cancer adheres to guidelines that recommend people at average risk for colorectal cancer starting regular screening at age 45. This can be done either with a sensitive test that looks for signs of cancer in a person’s stool, or with a visual exam that looks at the colon and rectum through a scope.

If people are in good health, regular screening should continue through age 75. For those ages 76 through 85, talk with your health care provider about whether continued screening is your best option. People over 85 should no longer get colorectal cancer screening. When deciding on testing timelines, take into account your own preferences, overall health, and past screening history.

If you choose to be screened with a test other than colonoscopy, any abnormal test result needs to be followed up with a colonoscopy.

Cervical Cancer Screenings

Cervical cancer testing should start at age 21. Women under age 21 should not be tested. Women between the ages of 21 and 29 should have a Pap test done every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used in this age group unless it’s needed after an abnormal Pap test result. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 should have a Pap test plus an HPV test “co-testing” completed every 5 years.

Women over age 65 who have had regular cervical cancer testing in the past 10 years with normal results should not be tested for cervical cancer, unless a physician determines special need. Once testing is discontinued, it should not be started again. Women with a history of a serious cervical pre-cancer should continue to be tested for at least 20 years after that diagnosis, even if testing goes past age 65.

A woman who has had her uterus and cervix removed – a total hysterectomy – for reasons unrelated to cervical cancer and who has no history of cervical cancer or serious pre-cancer should not be tested. All women who have been vaccinated for HPV should still follow screening recommendations for their age groups.

Certain women – because of their health history – HIV infection, organ transplant, DES exposure, etc. – may require a different screening schedule for cervical cancer. Here, as always, speak to your health care provider about your medical history.

Endometrial Cancer Screening

The American Cancer Society recommends at the time of menopause, women should be told about risks and symptoms of endometrial cancer. Women should report any unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting to their doctors to determine if additional testing is necessary.

Certain women due to medical history may consider having a yearly endometrial biopsy. Such a plan should be created in conjunction with a physician.

L3ung Cancer Screenings

Smokers, former smoker or those who work in an environment where second hand smoke is prevalent, may need a screening for lung cancer. If so, the American Cancer Society recommends yearly lung cancer screening with a low-dose CT scan (LDCT) for certain people at higher risk for lung cancer who are smokers or those who may have smoked and later quit. Share your smoking history with your doctor to confirm testing needs. Comprehensive Cancer Centers and its lung division offers evaluations for lung cancer screenings as well as low-dose CT scans for those who are at risk.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Starting at age 50, men should talk to a health care provider about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If you are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, you should have this talk with a health care provider starting at age 45. If testing is seen as necessary, get a PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often you’re tested will depend on your PSA level.

Skin Cancer Screenings

Make sure to set up an annual full body skin review with your dermatologist. The full body review will make sure nothing is currently on your skin that requires further review and/or treatment. Screenings for skin, as with all other cancers, gives your physicians baselines to account for any changes with each passing year.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada 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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Schedule Your Annual Skin Screenings in January

Save the Date: Skin Cancer Screening

The arrival of a New Year drives many people to consider how they’re living, and to start building new and healthy habits. While making some changes can be challenging, and are often short-lived, some excellent new habits can be built that are very easy to follow. A new and smart habit can be found in scheduling an annual full-body skin exam, which offers immediate and long-term health benefits.

The physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers encourages everyone to add to their list of New Year’s resolutions setting up annual full body skin exams.  Most insurance plans cover these check ups, which ensure every year starts with a full awareness about any red flags that currently exist with your skin. The exams also provide an important baseline of information about your skin a dermatologist can reference when you see them next year.

According to research from the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer affects one out of every five Americans, and more than three and a half million new cases are diagnosed each year.  Living in Southern Nevada, with nearly 300 sunny days per year, offers additional risk factors that makes having skin checks even more important. An annual screening appointment is the best way to get started on a skin smart heath program.

Visiting a Dermatologist

Comprehensive Cancer Centers collaborates with dermatologists in the community, assisting when they identify anything unusual or abnormal in skin exams, by providing additional tests and oncology treatment, when necessary. Often, initial dermatology exams happen when patients become aware of something abnormal.  With with any illness or disease, such as cancer, early detection helps increase better outcomes with treatment, so annual screenings often catch problems long before patients identify them on their own.

By setting up an appointment initially with a dermatologist, patients get the most complete skin check up from the beginning of the process.  If challenges do present, a dermatologist can make a direct referral for a consultation with an oncologist, like members of the team at Comprehensive who specializes in skin cancer and melanoma diagnosis and treatment.

“For early detection and prevention, you should check your skin monthly for any new or changing blemishes, moles or marks. Any abnormality that persists or continues to change over time is worth noting,” said Dr. Wolfram Samlowski, an oncologist with Comprehensive Cancer Centers who specializes in skin cancers. “If you find anything suspicious, make an appointment with your doctor no matter how minor you perceive the change to be.”

Skin exams at a dermatologist’s office are more detailed, since dermatologists are specially trained in treating conditions that affect the skin.  In addition to cancer, there are more than 3,000 known diseases that are treated by dermatologist, including other conditions that may benefit from active treatment, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Preparing for Your Full Body Skin Exam

In advance of your visit to a dermatologist, make sure that any concerns you’re currently aware of are addressed. Take notes about anything unusual about your skin, hair or nails can do this, and make sure your questions are brought up during your exam. This can include odd shaped moles, black lines in your fingernails or even conditions such as dry or oily skin that you notice. Increased hair loss can also be something of concern that should be brought up during your visit.

As with any and all medical diagnoses and treatments, remember that the best advocate for a patient is the patient. Help your dermatologist know more about you and your body through regular, monthly self skin exams, which include making note of anything unusual, new or changing on your body. It’s important to check the soles of your feel, between toes and fingers and your scalp. Do the best you can to see what you can. If you see something before your annual exam, get it checked out immediately.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients who’ve been referred to the practice by a patient’s dermatologist or primary physician. For certain patients under our care, clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer Centers may offer help, please click here to learn more. 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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Exercise May Decrease Risk for Breast Cancer Among Women

Benefits of  Exercise for Women

The health benefits for exercise and physical activity are well documented and the physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers encourage everyone to be physically active. Additional studies and data suggest that for breast cancer, increased physical activity may lower risks of breast cancer.

A study conducted in France discovered that postmenopausal women, who exercised regularly in the last four years, had a lower risk of breast cancer than postmenopausal women who exercised less during the four years. The researchers found that postmenopausal women who had exercised regularly between five and nine years earlier, but were less active in the past four years, didn’t have a lower risk of breast cancer.

Does Everyone Benefit?

Generally speaking, women who exercise can expect a lowered risk of developing breast cancer. It turns out, though, that women in the study who were overweight or obese benefited less. As a whole, this group of women included in the study still decreased their risk by around 10 percent.

How exercising lowers breast cancer risk is not fully understood. It’s thought that physical activity regulates hormones including estrogen and insulin, which can fuel breast cancer growth. Regular exercise also helps women stay at a healthy weight, which also helps regulate hormones and helps keep the immune system healthier.

Additionally, men can benefit from strength training. Studies show that exercising regularly reduces anxiety, depression, nausea, and fatigue, while increasing self-esteem, mood and quality of life. These benefits can be achieved through moderate exercise and strength training is the best way to start. To learn more, read this blog on Cancer-Fighting Exercises.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

While the right amount of exercise depends upon each individual and their health, and should be determined by working with your primary care physician, the general recommended amount of physical activity per week is 150 minutes.  Activities can include more active options, such as swimming, cycling or playing sports, but there are great benefits to many everyday activities like brisk walking or taking the stairs, rather than an elevator.

The following are additional activities are also great ways to be active, just with daily living:

  • Gardening
  • Vacuuming
  • Washing a car
  • Parking farther away to walk more
  • Taking the stairs

Is it Too Late to Start Exercising Now?

It’s never too late to start exercising if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is recommended that adults engage in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity, every week.

So, if you haven’t already started getting more active, meet with your physician to set up a plan to get started.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for breast cancer including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy 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 and Leukemia Treatment

History of Leukemia Treatment

Leukemia, cancer of the blood or bone marrow, typically begins in the white blood cells, and can spread rapidly. The disease, and other blood cancers, is one that is treated by Comprehensive Cancer Centers’ team of medical oncologists, with focuses in hematology. There are several types of leukemias, some of which affect children while others primarily affect adults.

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, approximately every three minutes one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer with an estimated 174,250 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2018.

Leukemia, Blood Cancers and Symptoms

Leukemia primarily affects the blood and bone marrow, or the part of the bone where blood cells form. The disease stems from an unusual increase in a person’s number of white blood cells. Although no one knows for sure what causes the cancer, it is believed that family history and environmental factors, including smoking tobacco, prolonged exposure to radiation and other various chemicals may play a role in the development of the disease.

Common symptoms for patients with leukemia seen by Comprehensive Cancer include frequent infections, ongoing fatigue and weakness, recurring nosebleeds, easy bleeding or bruising and unintentional weight loss.

The History of Leukemia

With symptoms, diagnosis numbers and a general understanding of the disease in mind, it helps to know more about leukemia and the history of its treatment:

  • 1845 – John Hughes Bennett, from Edinburgh, Scotland makes the official diagnosis of leukemia
  • 1900s – Arsenic becomes main therapy for the cancer
  • 1913 – Four types of the disease are classified, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, and erythroleukemia
  • 1920s – X-ray imaging is introduced, and is later found to be a cause and cure for the disease
  • 1940s – Leukemia treatment based solely on Aminopterin, which helps to prevent DNA replication among tumor cells in acute childhood leukemia
  • 1960s – Multi-agent chemotherapy is now being used as treatment, offering expanded survival rates
  • 1970s – Blood and marrow transplants introduced to replace non-working drug treatments, craniospinal radiation used to prevent leukemia in the central nervous system, pre-symptomatic treatment for same type of leukemia improves treatment

An important part of the history of leukemia is found in the increasing survival rate for those diagnosed, which has quadrupled since the 1960s. The key for success in treating leukemia, as with any blood cancer or other cancer, is in early detection and quick treatment. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, make sure to let your primary physician know immediately, and ask for a referral to Comprehensive Cancer, should further tests and exams be warranted.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Whether you have been diagnosed with leukemia or you want to support someone who has, Comprehensive Cancer Centers can provide more information and assistance and treatment options for patients including chemotherapy, immunotherapy or clinical research. To see a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer, 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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Talking with Other People After Completing Cancer Treatment

After Cancer Treatment

When cancer treatment comes to a successful conclusion, often new challenges arise for survivors. One challenge is found in simply getting back to what survivors considered normal life before treatment. While life is never exactly the same after going through any difficult period in life, there are things that can be done to bring back familiar and comfortable patterns in life.

For cancer survivors, a significant part of getting back to living life comes with processing what happened by talking with people that either know about your cancer journey, or those who may not. These conversations aren’t always easy, and figuring out to navigate them is an important part of the process of returning to normalcy. A few insights that can help you start talking to other people again, post-recovery include:

Cancer Does Not Define You

As you first start to talk to others, post recovery, be mindful that cancer is not who you are. It doesn’t have to be the first thing you tell someone about, or something you need to speak about endlessly. If you feel like talking about it, talk about it. If you do not want to discuss cancer, then don’t.  The choice is entirely yours.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you do want to talk to people about your cancer journey, a good way to better communicate with people about your story is found through practicing with a friend or family member. This can help you manage the emotions and get the tone to feel right for you so that you feel comfortable sharing your story.

Other People Might Not Understand

While you endured cancer treatment, and you know what you had to overcome to get back to where you are now, other people may need some help understanding what you went through.  It may be tough but be patient.

Do New Things/Meet New People

Surviving cancer is a difficult experience. A great way to improve your mental outlook can come through meeting new people and having new experiences. You can do this by volunteering, signing up for book groups, or playing sports.

Cancer Support Groups

Another option for cancer survivors to help get acclimated to life, post-recovery, is through support groups. Comprehensive Cancer Centers offers support groups for breast cancer survivors, in particular, to create a safe space for patients to express their emotions and hear stories from other patients. Survivors are welcome to attend, and can help themselves by helping others. If you’re still working through the process of communicating your story, there’s no better place to do so than among others on the same path.

The Breast Cancer Support Group at Comprehensive Cancer Centers is for survivors and meets at the Southeast Henderson location on the third Thursday of every month from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The location is at 1505 Wigwam Parkway, Suite 130, Henderson, NV 89074. Social worker, Margo Otto, leads each group. RSVP by calling (702) 952-3400 ext. 13729.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

The physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or surgery.  Clinical research may also offer treatment alternatives. For a complete list of clinical research studies currently being conducted at Comprehensive Cancer Centers, 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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