Public awareness of specific cancer types has grown tremendously thanks to the efforts of survivors, family members, and patient advocacy groups. We are proud of the hard work that continues to go into this increased awareness, but we also believe that every cancer deserves the same amount of attention and support. Surprisingly, the cancers we hear the most about are not necessarily the most prevalent. There are numerous cancer types that are under-publicized and under-funded, yet they continue to affect individuals and families every day.
By: Scot Ackerman, M.D. -- The majority of patients being treated for head and neck cancer experience oral side effects, but dental problems can arise in patients undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. There are, however, steps patients can take to minimize these side effects.
An increasing body of scientific evidence shows that addressing the psychological and spiritual needs of cancer patients helps to facilitate their healing process.
By: Scot Ackerman, M.D. -- One of the most valuable features of the human body is its ability to protect itself against the invasion of abnormal cells. This powerful protection system, known as the immune system, uses a specific type of white blood cell, called a T-cell, to detect and destroy harmful viruses and bacteria that make their way into the body. Unfortunately, some cancers have the ability to hide from or suppress these hardworking T-cells. To combat the problem, new drug therapies are being developed that work to supercharge the immune system to help fight off cancer.
When a person receives a cancer diagnosis, his first reaction is often to find a reason why. He may blame himself, others, an environmental factor, or a bad habit. This behavior can lead to misplaced feelings of guilt or shame. However, the majority of cancer cases may simply be the result of random DNA mutations, say researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
By: Paul Ossi, M.D. -- By identifying biomarkers, doctors are better able to detect cancers in their early stages, classify tumors, and select appropriate therapy options. Biomarkers also allow patients with a family history of inherited cancers to better manage their cancer risk.
By: Karen Ambrosio, Oncology Wellness Specialist -- For many of us, the New Year presents new opportunities to improve our quality of life. Forty-five percent of Americans will make resolutions in 2015 in hopes of working towards a longer and happier life. The relationship between healthy lifestyle choices and chronic disease prevention is well-known. Moreover, recent studies have linked poor lifestyle choices with genetic aging due to telomere unraveling.
By: Scot Ackerman, M.D. -- The FDA has now granted approval for Gardasil 9, a new vaccine that offers expanded protection against HPV. In addition to the four types of HPV covered by Gardasil, the new vaccine is also effective in preventing high-risk HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.
"Caregiver burnout” is a term for physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion experienced by those tending to a loved one. Dedicating yourself completely to another person’s health is admirable, but neglecting your own needs can have serious consequences. Here are some tips for staying healthy and avoiding burnout.
By: Scot Ackerman, M.D. -- A recent proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicates that Medicare will cover the cost of annual lung cancer screenings for long-term, heavy smokers. This step is indicative of the overall U.S. trend toward preventive medicine, and could greatly reduce the rate of lung cancer mortality in American patients.