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support for breast cancer patients

How to Support a Friend with Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women will develop this disease in her lifetime. With so many mothers, daughters, wives, nieces, aunts and grandmothers being affected, it’s important to show them how much we care and support them throughout their entire cancer journey–from diagnosis to remission.

Studies show that cancer survivors can better adjust to the life changes cancer brings if they feel well supported by family and friends. They often have a more positive outlook on life than patients who do not feel supported.

But what happens if you don’t know where to start with providing support for breast cancer patients? Here are some tips to show your love to a friend or family member who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.

What Can I Do for a Friend with Breast Cancer?

Be available

One of the best things to do to show breast cancer support is to be there for your friend. Keep in touch as often as comfortable for your loved one. Text, call, or email her often, and try to find a time that works best for her. Keep it short if you need to.

Visit when the time is right. Call before you arrive, and be okay with rescheduling if your friend asks. Try to understand the dynamics of your friendship and continue to be the kind caring friend your loved one needs.

Say the right things—or just listen

If you don’t know what to talk about with your friend with cancer, let her talk about things she enjoys. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have someone there to listen. Allow your friend to express her emotions and be open to hug, laugh, cry, smile—whatever is appropriate for the moment.

Avoid telling her how to feel or how to approach the treatment. Also, if she doesn’t want to talk about the diagnosis and treatment, you don’t have to. Provide a space in which she’ll always feel comfortable in your company.

Offer your help

Offer to help your friend with any chores like running errands, cooking meals, stopping by the grocery store, cleaning the house, babysitting the kids, picking up medication, driving to the doctor’s office, and more. When you promise to help, always be reliable.

Accompany them to medical appointments

Often, breast cancer patients find it comforting to have a close loved one at doctor appointments with her. This doctor appointment companion can take notes, ask questions, or just be there to hold a hand.

Gift little surprises

A cute, thoughtful gift for a friend with breast cancer can be a much-needed distraction during a patient’s journey. If you want to give your loved one a little surprise, consider an interesting book to read, a spa basket, her favorite snack, a cozy robe, or even a card that says, “I’m thinking about you.”

Attend a support group with them

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada offers support groups to create a safe space for our patients to express their emotions and hear stories from other patients. It’s also another great way to show your support for breast cancer patients. Consider attending a breast cancer support group with your loved one to help her feel more comfortable.

The Las Vegas Breast Cancer Support Group for Breast Cancer Survivors meets at Comprehensive’s Central Valley location on the third Thursday of every month from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Social worker, Margo Otto, leads each group. RSVP by calling (702) 952-3400 ext. 13729.

How to Support a Friend with Breast Cancer

If your close friend or loved one has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, contact Comprehensive to learn more about breast surgery, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as tips for offering support for breast cancer patients.

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healthy eating for liver cancer prevention

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

The liver is the largest internal organ, located on the right side of your body, under the ribs and just beneath the lung. It breaks down and stores nutrients absorbed by the large intestine, and it helps with many bodily functions. Your liver works to break down alcohol and other toxins in the body and passes them through the body in urine and stool. If cancer starts in the liver, it can negatively affect these functions. For Liver Cancer Awareness Month this October, learn how to maintain a healthy liver and what you need to do for liver cancer prevention.

Liver Cancer Prevention Tips

Reduce risk of hepatitis infections

The leading risk factor for liver cancer is chronic infection with hepatitis B and C. For liver cancer prevention, take the necessary steps for reducing your risk or make sure you treat any hepatitis infections appropriately. Your risk factor for these infections can be increased through shared contaminated needles and unprotected sex. Get the vaccine to prevent hepatitis B, and talk to your doctor about your risk for hepatitis C.

Limit alcohol and tobacco usage

When you drink alcohol in excess, it could increase your risk for cirrhosis, which can lead to liver cancer. Smoking also increases your risk for liver cancer. To reduce your risk, quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Obesity is another risk factor for liver cancer. When you are overweight, you have a higher risk of developing fatty liver diseases and diabetes which can also be linked to liver cancer.

What Foods Cleanse Your Liver?

Healthy eating can help with liver cancer prevention. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which help fights cell damage that often leads to cancer. Here are some tips for picking the right foods.

Reduce your consumption of red meats and processed foods like lunch meat, hot dogs and bacon. Chemicals in these foods may increase your cancer risk. Instead, eat foods that are high in fiber, like whole grains, or choose lean proteins.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

Enjoy citrus fruits. Grapefruits, oranges, limes and lemons are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. They support the liver’s natural cleansing functions. These fruits also help the production of liver detoxifying enzymes that flush out carcinogens.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

Drink green tea. This delicious drink is full of plant-based antioxidants known to help with liver function.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

Eat leafy greens. Arugula, spinach and mustard greens are high in chlorophyll, which can soak up toxins from the blood. These cleansing foods help increase the creation and flow of stool which removes waste from the organs.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

Try alternative grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat. If you have certain food sensitivities, grains with gluten can add to the problem. Try gluten-free alternatives to avoid more severe issues.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

Eat cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables, a great source of glucosinolate. This nutrient helps with enzyme production in the liver. Natural enzymes help flush toxins and carcinogens out the body and can help lower your liver cancer risk.

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Liver

Cancer Prevention Starts with You

Learn more about clean eating for cancer patients on our blog, or visit our website to find various cancer-fighting recipes to try. If you have any questions about cancer prevention and treatment, call us at (702) 952-3350.

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radiation therapy at CCCN

Options for Radiation Therapy at Comprehensive

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, your cancer care team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada will create an individualized treatment plan specific to you. Learn about your cancer treatment options for radiation therapy at Comprehensive.

How Does Radiation Therapy Work?

Radiation therapy is one of the most common cancer treatment options. Depending on your cancer type, stage and treatment plan, you might need radiation therapy. During radiation,  high-energy particles of radiation will be delivered to the body to shrink a tumor or rid the body of cancer cells. Many cancer patients receive radiation therapy in combination with other treatment options like chemotherapy and/or surgery.

Patients receive radiation therapy for cancer to:

  • Destroy or shrink early-stage cancer cells
  • Prevent cancer recurrence
  • Treat symptoms caused by advanced cancer

Types of Radiation Therapy Offered at Comprehensive

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is accredited by the American College of Radiology. This status ensures patients who receive radiation therapy at our facility meet the highest standards for quality and safety. Our team has gone through extensive review to receive this accreditation.

At Comprehensive, we use the most state-of-the-art technology to provide external and internal radiation options. We work to prevent cancer cells from growing, dividing, and possibly eliminate them completely. Here’s more information about the different types of radiation therapy you can receive at the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada.

CyberKnife Radiosurgery

CyberKnife Radiosurgery is exclusive to the radiation oncologists at Comprehensive and is the most powerful and precise radiation treatment available in Southern Nevada. The CyberKnife System is a computer-operated robotic alternative to surgery that requires no anesthesia and offers shorter recovery time. CyberKnife is used to treat brain tumors, lung tumors, liver lesions, prostate cancer, spine tumors, and other hard-to-reach areas by delivering sub-millimeter accuracy that eliminates damage to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor site.

High Dose Rate Brachytherapy

During a High Dose Rate Brachytherapy (HDR) procedure, your doctor places a radioactive source in the tumor site. This high dose of radiation targeted to a limited area helps prevent damage to surrounding areas. This outpatient procedure usually lasts a few minutes. Patients may have a little discomfort, and they require a quicker recovery time than other procedures.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

IMRT uses three-dimensional imaging to target varied doses of radiation to many different areas in the body simultaneously. This procedure can reduce the amount of radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue.

Image-Guided Radiotherapy

IGRT uses imaging software like Ultrasound, X-ray, and CT scan to capture images of the affected area before beginning treatment. This radiation therapy option is mostly used for tumors that move, like those on the prostate or lung. This procedure is effective at delivering less radiation exposure to surrounding tissue.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

SRS is ideal for treating brain tumors and lesions that are difficult to treat with traditional surgical procedures. This type of radiation uses computer-guided radiation therapy to focus beams into brain tumors, without affecting healthy brain tissue. It’s often an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy

VMAT uses IMRT and IGRT to perform high-precision radiation therapy. The procedure is very quick, and it can often be completed in 30-90 seconds.

Comprehensive Cancer Treatment

Comprehensive is a multi-specialty practice, providing treatment for various cancers and blood diseases, breast health conditions and lung and sleep disorders. If you or a loved one has just been diagnosed with cancer, contact us to learn more about radiation therapy and other treatment options or to schedule an appointment. Call 702-952-3350 today.

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safe bras for breast cancer survivors

Shopping for a Bra after Breast Cancer Treatment

After breast cancer treatment, many patients experience trouble while shopping for safe and comfortable bras. When the body goes through changes after breast cancer treatment, it can be difficult finding what you need from traditional lingerie stores. Here are some tips on finding comfortable and safe bras for breast cancer survivors.

Finding Bras after Breast Cancer Surgery and Treatment

Get fitted by a professional

Many women are wearing the wrong bra size, which can contribute to discomfort and sometimes pain—even if you aren’t undergoing breast cancer treatment. Finding your correct bra size is crucial to feeling comfortable throughout the day, and it’s the first step in shopping for bras for breast cancer survivors.

However, finding the correct bra size can be challenging with reconstructed breasts that may sit a different way and are a different shape than natural breasts. Visit a professional to get fitted for a bra, or measure yourself at home if you’re uncomfortable with going into a store. Here are the steps.

  1. Grab a measuring tape (the flexible kind tailors use).
  2. Measure your underbust, the area directly under your bust line. This will be your band size.
  3. Next, measure your bust line, or the largest part around your breasts.
  4. The difference between your underbust and the bust line is your cup size (A cup=1, B=2, etc.).

When you try on bras, the band should be snug, but still comfortable. Your breasts should fill the cup without “spilling” over the top of the bra.

Look for comfort

When shopping for safe bras, try ones without underwire. They are sometimes more comfortable than bras with wire. Often, the underwire in a bra can hurt if it rubs against an incision point.

Next, look for a bra with a stretch fit. After breast reconstruction surgery, a patient’s breasts can be uncomfortable in the pre-formed cups of traditional bras. Find a bra that will conform to your body and meet your needs. Take into consideration where your incision points are, get a bra with breathable fabric, and choose the right width of strap to offer you the most comfort. Also, choose a bra with pockets if you have a modesty pad or inserts.

Talk to your doctor

Take your time when shopping for the right bra. Breast reconstruction surgery requires a pretty long recovery process. Do not rush into shopping for a bra until you feel you are ready.  Talk to your doctor about when you’re all clear to start wearing bras again, and listen to his or her recommendations for safe bras.

Bras for Breast Cancer Survivors

AnaOno is a lingerie and loungewear company, founded by a breast cancer survivor. After undergoing breast cancer treatment and a bilateral mastectomy, Dana Donofree experienced troubles finding a bra that was comfortable, safe, and still made her feel feminine and sexy. Thus, she founded AnaOno, a loungewear company designed specifically for women undergoing cancer treatment and breast cancer survivors.

These bras for cancer survivors are made to fit the woman’s particular needs. They feature wire-free designs, comfortable and safe materials, and four-way stretch. Their goal is to suit the needs of women who have undergone breast reconstruction, breast surgery, mastectomy, and more. If you are a breast cancer patient or survivor looking for the best bra after lumpectomy and radiation or other treatments, start with AnaOno.

Other bras can be found through American Cancer Society’s TLC, which

is a not-for-profit website and catalog of the American Cancer Society. Others can be found at Soma and Herrom, to name a few other options for women.

Breast Cancer Treatment and Support at CCCN

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we provide various methods of breast cancer treatment and support for breast cancer patients and survivors. If you’d like to learn more about recovering from breast reconstruction surgery after cancer treatment, contact us today. If you have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, call us at 702-952-3350 to make an appointment.

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cancer fighting recipe porkchops

Cancer-fighting Recipes: Veggie-Stuffed Pork Chops

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, our main priority is the health and wellness of our patients. When you’re in between medical appointments, maintain your health by eating a healthy diet. What’s for dinner this week? Try some cancer-fighting foods, like this delicious veggie-stuffed pork chops recipe.

Cancer-fighting Foods: Veggie-Stuffed Pork Loin Chops

This light and healthy dinner recipe can help you on your journey to clean eating, which is an important part of cancer prevention. And, because the pork loin chops are stuffed with veggies and seasonings, there’s an explosion of flavor in every bite! As for the cancer-fighting benefits, the green leafy vegetables can help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.Pork tenderloin is low in fat, high in protein and a rich source of B vitamins and selenium.

Ready to try these delicious cancer-fighting foods? Start by gathering your ingredients.

Ingredients

To make this delicious veggie-stuffed pork loin chops recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops, around 3-4 ounces each
  • 1 package of baby spinach leaves
  • ½ of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • ½ cup of roughly-chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of dried tarragon
  • ¼ cup of Dijon mustard
  • 2 ounces of goat cheese
  • Non-stick spray

Directions

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Then, spray a large nonstick skillet with light oil. Turn your stove on high heat. Next, wilt the baby spinach, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Once they’re cooked through, turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes. Then, once the spinach mixture has cooled, combine it with the goat cheese mixture. In a separate small bowl, mix the tarragon and mustard.

Take your pork chops, and cut a pocket along the side large enough to insert the filling. Then, fill the pork chops with the spinach and goat cheese mixture.

Once your lean pork chops are stuffed with the veggies, coat them with the tarragon and mustard mixture. Place the veggie-stuffed pork chops in a large baking dish. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the chops’ internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

This recipe makes about four servings. Pair it with another cancer-fighting recipe like a side salad, and enjoy!

More Cancer Prevention Recipes and Tips

Your Nevada cancer specialists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada believe your health and cancer prevention starts at home. If you’ve been recently diagnosed with cancer, or if you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your cancer risk with clean eating, visit our website at www.cccnevada.com. To schedule an appointment, contact us at (702) 952-3350.

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types of thyroid cancer

Types of Thyroid Cancer and Their Risk Factors

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck underneath the Adam’s apple. The lobes on either side of the thyroid gland work to produce the hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. Learn about the different types of thyroid cancer, including risk factors and how this cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Understanding Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer occurs when cancer cells develop and grow in the thyroid glands. One of the most common symptoms of thyroid cancer is a lump in the throat.

Types of Thyroid Cancer and Their Risk Factors

Photo credit: American Cancer Society

Risk factors

Thyroid cancer is often genetic. More common in women than men, thyroid cancer often occurs in patients between the ages of 25 and 65. People who have been exposed to radiation are also at higher risk for this cancer.

How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?

One of the first steps in thyroid cancer diagnosis is visiting a doctor to have them examine the throat for lumps. Doctors also perform blood tests or scans to determine whether the thyroid is producing too many hormones in the body. A doctor may take tissue from the thyroid in a test called a biopsy and look at the tissue under a microscope to determine a diagnosis.

Types of Thyroid Cancer

There are four main types of thyroid cancer. Each has their own risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment options. These cancer types are determined by how the cancer cells look under a microscope.

Papillary carcinoma

The most common type of thyroid cancer, papillary carcinoma, amounts to about 80 percent of cases. This cancer grows slowly and can develop on one or both lobes of the thyroid gland. Sometimes, papillary carcinoma may spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. However, most of the time, this cancer is treatable with a good prognosis.

Follicular carcinoma

This is the second most common, found in about 10 percent of thyroid cancer cases. Follicular carcinoma is often found in countries that have a deficiency in iodine in their diets. It’s sometimes more aggressive than papillary. Even though it does not always spread to the lymph nodes, it can sometimes spread to other organs.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma

This cancer type is a little less common. It develops from C cells in the thyroid. Medullary is more aggressive than the previous two types of thyroid cancer and is more likely to spread to the lymph nodes and other organs in the body.

Anaplastic carcinoma

Anaplastic carcinoma looks the least like normal cells of the thyroid when examined. It’s very aggressive and can quickly spread to other areas. However, this type has the fewest cases of the four main types.

Treating thyroid cancer

One of the most common types of treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to remove cancer from the body:

  • Lobectomy: removes one side of the thyroid that’s affected by cancer
  • Total thyroidectomy: complete thyroid removal
  • Lymph node dissection: removes lymph nodes that contain cancer, if thyroid cancer has spread

Patients also have the option of radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy to treat thyroid cancer.

Comprehensive Cancer Care

If you have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, contact Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada (CCCN) to learn more about your treatment options. To schedule an appointment, call 702-952-3350. For more information about the services we offer, visit our website at www.cccnevada.com/medical-services.

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fertility treatments for cancer patients

You CAN Start a Family after Cancer Treatment

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. More than 46,000 women will be diagnosed with a gynecological cancer this year. Many of those women affected may fear the loss of fertility after cancer treatment. Fortunately, these women have options that will help them start a family after treatment has been completed. Learn about fertility treatments for cancer patients and how they can assist even after procedures like radiation and chemotherapy.

How Cancer Treatment Affects Fertility

Various cancer treatments can affect a person’s fertility. Chemotherapy works to destroy cancer cells, but often, it can have other side effects around the body. Speak to your cancer care team to fully understand any risks associated with your treatment plan and which route is best for you. Be sure to mention any concerns you may have about chemotherapy and fertility in females.

Fertility Treatments for Cancer Patients

Fertility preservation

Fertility preservation is a step many cancer patients can take before they start cancer treatment. In this procedure, patients can preserve their fertility and choose a time to start their family through in vitro fertilization, or IVF after cancer treatment. Fertility preservation includes egg freezing, embryo freezing, and sperm freezing.

Donation

If a cancer or cancer treatment impacts a patient’s fertility, one of the first options in fertility treatments for cancer patients is donation. Egg donations and sperm donations can help individuals or couples who are not able to produce healthy and fertile reproductive cells.

Surrogacy

During surrogacy, an individual or couple will “hire” a healthy woman to carry and deliver a baby for them. These women are often volunteers and can even be a friend or family member of the cancer patient. Surrogacy is a great option for women who are unable to achieve pregnancy after radiation therapy or other cancer treatments. Many fertility clinics can help patients find the right surrogate for their family.

Adoption

Adoption is not necessarily one of the fertility treatments for cancer patients, but it’s still a viable option for people who are unable to conceive a child.

If you have any questions about starting a family and how cancer treatment may affect your fertility, contact your cancer care team at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. They can help you learn more and explore your options and resources.

CCCN Is Here to Support Your Family

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, we care about our patients’ wellbeing before, during, and after they visit us for treatment. If you or your family would like to learn more about your cancer treatment options, support groups, and more, check out our cancer patient resources. To schedule an appointment, call 702-952-3350.

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signs of leukemia and lymphoma

Understanding the Warning Signs of Leukemia and Lymphoma

In September, we observe Blood Cancer Awareness Month. These cancers can affect the cells in our blood, bone marrow, and lymph nodes. More than 315,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of blood cancer this year. With so many people being effected, it’s important to raise awareness and learn the signs and symptoms of the various blood cancers.

What Is Blood Cancer?

Cancers are named after the area of the body in which they develop. Thus, blood cancers start in the blood tissue. These cancers affect the ability of healthy blood cells to grow and function properly. Blood cancer treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, but many blood cancer patients receive treatment from a hematologist-oncologist.

Leukemia affects the bone marrow and blood of a patient. The bone marrow cells begin to spread and crowd the development of normal, healthy cells. The growth and progression of the cells depend on the type of leukemia a patient has:

  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
  • Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia

Lymphoma develops in the lymphatic system. This system of tissues and organs help detoxify the body by transporting lymph throughout. This fluid contains white blood cells that fight infection. There are two types of lymphoma: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Hodgkin Lymphoma, (in which there is a presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, large cancerous cells named after the doctor who discovered them).

Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that develops from the cells found in the bone marrow. It is a cancer of plasma cells, which are an important part of your body’s immune system. The immune system is the body’s way of helping fight infection, but when someone has myeloma, the cancerous plasma cell will grow uncontrollably. This makes it very hard for the body’s immune system to fight off the infection.

Warning Signs of Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma

The signs of leukemia, lymphoma, and Myeloma are often different, even though they are all blood cancers. Below are the symptoms to look out for.

Early symptoms of leukemia

Many patients don’t experience symptoms during the early stages of Leukemia. In most cases, the symptoms develop slowly. Often, leukemia starts with flu-like symptoms, including night sweats, fatigue, and fever. However, if these flu symptoms go on for longer than usual, it’s best to contact a doctor.

Other early symptoms of leukemia include:

  • Loss of appetite or sudden weight loss
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent infections
  • Easy bruising or heavy bleeding

How is leukemia diagnosed? Most doctors will start with discussing a patient’s medical history to check risk factors. Also, the doctor will conduct a physical exam to check out the lymph nodes and other affected areas. Next, doctors may look for further evidence of leukemia through a blood test, bone marrow test, gene test, lymph node biopsy, or imaging tests.

Treatment of leukemia will depend on the type and stage of the cancer. Contact CCCN to learn more.

Warning signs of Lymphoma

There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Because these are two different cancers, they are associated with different symptoms as well.

Hodgkin Lymphoma: Often, patients notice a lump under their skin that indicates an enlarged lymph node (usually in the neck, underarm, or groin). Also, patients may suffer from fever, night sweats, sudden weight loss, itchy skin, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Symptoms of lymphoma in lungs can also occur. Swollen lymph nodes in the chest cavity can cause trouble breathing or some coughing.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Early warning signs for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma include: swollen lymph nodes, fever, sweating, weight loss, extreme tiredness, swollen abdomen, chest pain or pressure, and shortness of breath.

Myeloma signs and symptoms

There are several forms of myeloma, those include:

  • Multiple myeloma is the most common and affects multiple areas of the body.
  • Plasmacytoma only presents itself in one area of the body, such as a tumor in the bone, skin, muscle, or lung.
  • Localized myeloma can be found in one site but has spread to the surrounding areas.
  • Extramedullary myeloma effects tissue other than the marrow, such as the skin, muscles or lungs.

It’s not always clear why some cells become myeloma cells; however, some risk factors include medical history, race, age, and gender. Other risk factors are obesity and radiation or exposure to certain kinds of chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers and Agent Orange. In the early stages of myeloma, some patients have no signs or symptoms.

Some physicians refer to the acronym, CRAB, to describe symptoms of myeloma:

C – Calcium elevation

R – Renal insufficiency

A – Anemia

B – Bone abnormalities

Expert Hematologists-Oncologists at Your Side

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada is a multi-specialty practice consisting of medical oncologists, hematologists, radiation oncologists, breast surgeons and pumonologists. In addition to our various options for cancer treatment, breast surgery and lung diseases, we also offer hematology services for serious blood disorders. To schedule an appointment, call 702-952-3350.

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importance of pelvic exams

The Importance of Regular Pap Smears and Pelvic Exams

In September, we observe Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, as well as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Learn how to maintain and care for your women’s health by finding out the importance of pelvic exams.

Maintain and Protect Women’s Health

Every woman is at risk for gynecologic cancers. That’s why it’s so important that we learn more about them and how to notice the warning signs. The five main types of gynecologic cancer include:

  • Cervical cancer, which develops in the cervix
  • Ovarian cancer, which develops in the ovaries
  • Uterine cancer, which develops in the uterus
  • Vaginal cancer, which develops in the vagina
  • Vulvar cancer, which develops around the vulva

Each of these women’s cancers has its own warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors. However, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk and detect them early. The importance of pelvic exams lies with these cancers—with this screening test, your doctor can more accurately detect cancer early.

The importance of pelvic exams

Visiting a doctor for a regular pelvic exam is crucial to maintaining women’s health. During this exam, the doctor will perform a full check of a woman’s pelvic organs. Often, this procedure includes a pap smear.

Pelvic exams help doctors determine the cause for any discomfort, pain, or abnormal symptoms. Most importantly, these tests can screen for many signs that lead to gynecologic cancers. During a pelvic exam, your doctor can diagnose:

  • Vaginal infections, like a yeast infection
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • The cause of abnormal uterine bleeding
  • More severe issues, like uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine prolapse, and gynecologic cancers

What to expect from your regular pelvic exam

Before your pelvic exam begins, your doctor will gather some background information about your medical and sexual history. He or she may ask when your last period was and how long it lasted. They may also need to know about your history of taking birth control, as well as any previous medical procedures like surgery or radiation.

During the exam the patient will lay back on exam table, put her feet in the stirrups, and allow the doctor to examine the vagina, uterus, and other pelvic organs. The doctor may check the vulva and the opening of the vagina for any abnormal symptoms, such as redness, irritation, discharge, cysts, warts, or any growths.

Next, the doctor may insert a gloved finger inside the vagina or use a tool called a speculum to see the reproductive organs more clearly. The doctor will examine the size, shape, and condition of the uterus and ovaries to check for any abnormalities.

Doctors recommend that women should get their first pelvic exam around age 21, and follow up with another exam every three years.

Comprehensive Care for Men and Women

Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, affiliates of the US Oncology Network, is a group of multi-specialty cancer treatment centers servicing patients with various cancers, blood disorders, breast health conditions, and sleep disorders. To learn more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at (702) 952-350.

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take a loved one to the doctor

Benefits of Visiting the Doctor with a Loved One

When was the last time you accompanied your loved one to a doctor’s appointment? September 19 is Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day, meant to raise health awareness and invite more people to participate in their loved one’s wellness. This day encourages people to stop leaving healthcare up to solely the patient and doctor, but also to be included and show support.

Observe Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day

Many patients benefit from having a doctor appointment companion, or a loved one who accompanies them to their medical appointments. It often helps to have another person there with them, offering their support and learning about their condition alongside them. Appointment companions are especially helpful for older patients who may not be able to remember all the details of an appointment by themselves.

Sometimes, when patients are older—or even a bit anxious—they can miss important information from their doctor, like instructions about taking medication. When you take a loved one to the doctor, your support can help the patient remain calm and comfortable throughout the appointment.

For patients: How to find a doctor appointment companion

So, how do you choose the person who’ll accompany you to the doctor? It’s entirely up to you. Often, patients bring a close family member, like their spouse, adult son or daughter, or their sibling. But, you can also invite a close friend or caregiver whom you trust.

When choosing your doctor appointment companion, ask these questions:

  • Is this person caring and kind towards you?
  • Is this person mature and respectful towards others?
  • Is this person knowledgeable of your condition and medical history?
  • Is this person good at taking notes?
  • Does this person have a good memory?
  • Does this person exude positivity and optimism?
  • Last, is this person willing to help you?

When you ask for your loved one’s help, make sure he or she is someone you trust and someone who already knows about your condition. That way, they’ll be prepared to hear what your doctor and cancer care team have to say.

For companions: How to encourage someone with cancer

Can you take a friend to the doctors? Of course you can! But, it is a big responsibility to undertake. When you take a loved one to the doctor, be ready to support them in any way they need. This role is more than just medical appointment transportation—it’s being their support system in a sometimes stressful environment.

Doctor visits offer patients a lot of information. Your job is to pay close attention and pick up any information your loved one may have missed or forgotten. Practice active listening and take notes to remember the important details. For instance, write down future office visits, medical advice, and instructions on how to properly use any prescribed medication.

Also, a doctor appointment companion can help their loved one recount their medical history to their doctor. Family members do an especially good job at this. They can help patients recall family medical history, as well as previous procedures, current medication, and any allergies.

Finally, a companion can serve as an advocate for the patient. They can help clear up any questions the patient may be too nervous to ask. They should also ask follow up questions after the doctor is done talking, to make sure everyone understands what the doctor discussed.

Bring Your Supporting Loved One to CCCN

At Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, your Nevada cancer specialists encourage support from patient’s loved ones. If you’d like to accompany your close friend or family member to their next visit, call us at (702) 952-3350 to schedule an appointment.

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