We’re all prone to the uncomfortable feeling that arises when a doctor mentions screening for colon or rectal cancers. Despite the unease surrounding this topic, it’s time to stop avoiding the colonoscopy and get screened! There are often no symptoms with colorectal cancer. You can’t feel a polyp, and very rarely will you see visible blood. For this reason, screening is the most effective way to be protected.
According to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths in both men and women. Further, it is currently the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. That is why doctors recommend screenings, even though they may be embarrassing to discuss.
Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum, most often as a polyp, or a small piece of tissue that protrudes from the inner wall. Screenings help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they progress. Everyone needs screening because we are all at risk for colon cancer. If everyone got screened we could prevent up to 90% of colorectal cancers. Continue reading →
“My first thought was, ‘Really? Me, breast cancer?’ I just couldn’t believe it,” said actress and comedian Wanda Sykes on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2011. Sykes’s family had a history of breast cancer on her mother’s side, but that wasn’t what prompted her doctors to discover her cancer. At the age of 47 she had cosmetic surgery to reduce her breast size, and the cancer was discovered afterward when pathologists examined the breast tissue that had been removed. She was fortunate that her cancer was caught at a very early stage when treatments are more effective. Continue reading →
Caregiving can look many ways. It is not necessarily providing physical care such as lifting and dressing like so many tend to believe. Being a caregiver frequently refers to providing emotional support and love. It can mean providing transportation, meals and maybe financial assistance. No matter the type of care, it typically means that a lot of changes are occurring for both the person receiving and the person providing care.
A study published by the American Cancer Society online in 2008 discussed the relationship between caregiving and mental health. The report showed that caregivers who have emotional and problem orientated support were better able to cope with a loved one’s cancer and the pressures of caregiving. Individuals who reported skills in seeking out information also dealt with caregiving with greater ease. These skills are not innate and often times adults need assistance in further developing them. Continue reading →
Triple negative breast cancer tends to be an aggressive form of breast cancer that disproportionately affects African American women. Among women with breast cancer, the triple negative subtype represents about 15% of diagnoses in white American women and is twice as common in African-American breast cancer patients. In Africa, this form of breast cancer represents more than half of all cases diagnosed.
We call this subtype triple negative because it doesn’t have, or is negative for, all three specific tumor markers currently used to decide treatment: Continue reading →
While researchers have not been able to pinpoint a single cause for cancer, we know that several variables are involved. Our age, race, genetics, lifestyle and environment can influence our chances of developing it. Some of these variables such as race can cause differences or inequalities known as cancer disparities. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), African Americans have the highest cancer death rate of any racial group for all cancers combined. This is a huge disparity and one that is not experienced by other ethic groups to quite the extent it is in African-America individuals. Continue reading →
“I think one of my lowest points was when I found out I was actually going to have a mastectomy,” Linda said. “That word was so scary…it was a word that you read, but to think this was going to be my journey was really frightening.”
Linda Van Howe is one of the many women being treated for breast cancer who had breast reconstruction following a mastectomy.
A new study shows that the rate of breast reconstruction for patients like Linda has gone up dramatically over time. Researchers found that 46 percent of patients received reconstruction in 1998 but that figure rose to 63 percent by 2007. Continue reading →