From the ancient Greeks to modern medicine (part 1)

Ken Burns’ PBS documentary on cancer features U-M medical historian

A depiction of ancient Greek physician Galen treating a patient, by 20th century artist Robert Thom

A depiction of ancient Greek physician Galen treating a patient, by 20th century artist Robert Thom

If you look in the night sky at this time of year, you might see a constellation called Cancer. To the ancient Greeks, who gave it that name, the collection of stars looked like a crab. So they gave it the Greek name for crab: carcinos.

Later, the Romans kept that name for the same constellation, but used the Latin word for crab: cancer.

Both cultures also used those words for something else: a terrible disease that formed growths as hard as crab shells inside the body, and sent spindly legs out from a central body.

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A Gentler Colonoscopy Prep

Gentler Colonoscopy PrepMany people will tell you that the worst part of a colonoscopy is the prep. Preparation is critical, though, to help your doctor identify any polyps — it also helps the colonoscopy go faster. Some colonoscopy prep involves drinking up to four liters of a prep solution to help cleanse your colon. Even for someone who typically drinks a lot of fluids, that’s a large amount and you have to drink a few ounces every 15 minutes, which makes the prep almost a full-time job.

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Breast Cancer Summit 2015

Not just for breast cancer patients and survivors

On Saturday, April 18th the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center Breast Oncology and Community Outreach Programs (with support from the Michigan affiliate of Susan G. Komen, U-M School of Public Health, and QVC presents FFANY Shoes on Sales) will give you the opportunity to learn more breast health, the latest advances in breast cancer and learn about the resources available in the community. The Breast Cancer Summit is held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I have attended the event in the past and was amazed by the uplifting spirit of everyone there. Breast cancer patients and breast cancer survivors have made up the majority of those who attended. However, there also were healthy, non-cancer patients at the summit who wanted to learn more about general breast health and what type of screening is recommended.

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Take a bite out of nutrition

Nutrition2In March the days are finally getting longer, which hopefully means that spring is right around the corner! March is also designated National Nutrition Month, when we recognize and promote optimal nutrition and health for all.

Often nutrition campaigns focus on diet, which many people think of as one of those four letter words. But this year, instead of focusing on what NOT to do, the focus is on trying to eat more of the foods that are “good for you.” You may be surprised how embracing this principle alone will help you make more nutritious choices overall. Continue reading

Best Nap Ever!

Colonoscopy is a quick procedure and a guaranteed day of rest

Best Nap Ever blogSure, a colonoscopy isn’t on anyone’s list of favorite things to do, but look at the bright side — you’ll get an awesome nap. Most people receive what is known as “conscious sedation” during their colonoscopy. Anesthesia is delivered via an IV and you’ll feel drowsy almost immediately. You’ll nod off and when the procedure is over, you will be woken up. Most patients feel nothing during the procedure nor do they remember anything about the procedure.

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Dr. Theodore Lawrence on advances in radiation therapy for cancer

Theodore Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a world renowned expert in radiation therapy. In this short video, Dr. Lawrence talks about some of the exciting advances in radiation therapy. These include the ability to individualize radiation therapy. Instead of treating all patients with a particular tumor the same, we can now see – while it is happening – how an individual’s tumor is responding to therapy and make adjustments during treatment.

Take the next step:
• If you have questions about radiation therapy, or any aspect of cancer care, call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 1-800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.


Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.