A group of 5th and 6th grade students at Orange Park Elementary are making the world just a little warmer. For the past four or five years, Orange Park Elementary teacher turned librarian, Mary Pat Callihan, along with fellow teacher Karen Walker, have hosted an after school club that makes quilts for patients at Wolfson’s Children Hospital. This year, the students added mastectomy pillows to their repertoire. When Mrs. Callihan became a patient at Ackerman Cancer Center, the students decided they needed to make pillows for the ACC patients as well.
Early in April 2017, the FDA approved a DNA test kit for home use. Developed by the genetic testing company, 23andMe, the kit reveals an individual’s genetic risk for developing 10 diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, celiac and a variety of blood diseases. It is the first kit of its kind to receive FDA approval for home use.
A recent New York Times article highlighted the use of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, or SBRT, for the treatment of prostate cancer. Although the use of SBRT for prostate cancer treatment has risen significantly in recent years, the article called into question the wisdom of using the high dose radiation delivery system near the delicate structures surrounding the prostate gland, touting a lack of solid evidence proving its effectiveness. Understandably, the article generated questions and concerns from a number of our patients and I feel it is important to address the issue.
Most of us are not prepared for the physical, emotional or financial toll a cancer diagnosis brings. From those who carry high-end health insurance to under- or uninsured patients, it is common to have questions about what to expect in the way of coverage and personal expense. No one understands the financial burden of cancer better than Charlotte Sadler, Ackerman Cancer Center’s Financial Resource Coordinator. Committed to helping any way she can, Charlotte’s role is to walk patients through the benefits offered by their specific insurance plans, determine the individual financial responsibility associated with the plan and, when necessary, assist ACC patients in locating additional financial resources.
Researchers have found that focused ultrasound can be used for treatment of a variety of cancers, as it has the potential to adjust for breathing movement in patients. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Bremen, Germany are working on the TRANS-FUSIMO EU, a focused ultrasound therapy concept that can accurately track liver movement to deliver cancer-fighting ultrawaves.
Healthcare professionals who work with cancer patients have long recognized the benefits of social support. It is not uncommon to see patients who have strong relationships with spouses, family, friends, community or religious groups experience better treatment outcomes than those with limited social interactions. A recent study showcased this for breast cancer patients.
After peaking in 1991, cancer death rates have consistently declined. According to a report published January 5 in the American Cancer Society’s journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, there was a 25% drop in cancer deaths for men and women between 1991 and 2014. The numbers are encouraging, and reflect the progress made in the areas of awareness, early detection and cancer treatment.
Cancer patients often experience fatigue during and after treatment. Such fatigue is not only physically limiting; it can also affect the psychological, emotional, and economic wellbeing of an individual. If you experience fatigue following cancer treatment, it may be difficult to find the motivation to exercise - but many experts believe regular physical activity might be the best medicine for combating post-treatment fatigue.
Navigating the unfamiliar territory of cancer diagnosis and treatment isn't easy. If you have recently been diagnosed, you will surely be filled with questions and concerns about how cancer will impact your life and the lives of your loved ones. Support programs like Ackerman Cancer Center's BEAM Team connect you with cancer survivors who understand the difficulties you are facing.
When life gets busy, it is easy to put your own wellbeing on hold. But making time for recommended health screenings can pay big dividends. Diagnosing serious diseases – like cancer – early, before the onset of symptoms, improves the chance for successful treatment. Follow these steps to ensure that you are up-to-date with all the cancer screening tests you need.