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.

Our full-service patient library: one of the Cancer Center’s crown jewels

full-service library for UMHS Comprehensive Cancer Center patients and family members

Lori Boylan, information resource assistant (left) and Ann Marie Scholten

The Patient Education Resource Center, commonly referred to as the PERC, is a full-service library for UMHS Comprehensive Cancer Center patients and family members. The PERC takes great pride in making sure the resources and services it provides are tailor-made to those who are facing a cancer diagnosis. The PERC, located on Level B2 of the Cancer Center, is home to the usual library amenities such as: books, reference services, medical models, computers for patient and family use, and a copy and fax machine. In my opinion, what sets the PERC apart are its caring individuals and the following services and programs: Continue reading

Pneumonia vaccine: What is it, and why do I need it??

pneumonia vaccineThe numbers of pneumonia cases are on the increase. You can blame the weather, our aging population, or the fact that this is one of the more common side effects that can occur as a result of having chemo or radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment. No matter which factor you choose, pneumonia affects millions of people worldwide each year.

Pneumonia is a severe acute respiratory infection, a condition where fluids fill the lungs and disrupt how oxygen is absorbed. Breathing can become very difficult, along with several other key symptoms including: Continue reading

The right to be hopeful about cancer recurrence

Carolyn CIt was great to learn more about social work services at the Cancer Center, especially when I saw how they’ve helped our patient, Carolyn C., cope with the fear of cancer recurrence. Carolyn received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Her cancer will return in the future, an idea that was almost impossible not to worry about in the beginning.

“Anyone who is recently diagnosed, you owe it to yourself to use the services,” she says. “Take charge and purge your fears in a therapeutic session. A fear is valid. She (social worker Jane Deering) gave me advice on how to handle legitimate fears and how to purge irrational fears.” Continue reading

New patients and their first visit:

Some useful things to know about the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center

information for new patientsNewly diagnosed patients who choose their care at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center can feel overwhelmed by the number of decisions they and their family must make. I’m often asked by new patients how to get to Ann Arbor and where to park. Others have financial questions or wonder if their family can come to the appointment, too.

Given the complexities of health care and of large academic medical centers like ours, it seems only natural that we should provide our patients with some degree of orientation. Patients receive a virtual encyclopedia Continue reading

Joint pain: Is it just the weather??

joint painToo often people blame the winter weather and extreme temperatures for their new or increased joint pain and inflammation, also called arthralgia. If these same people are patients being treated with chemotherapy, the pain could be related to treatment. Joint pain can be debilitating, and can cause a decrease in daily functioning and quality of life.

Certain types of chemotherapy are known to cause increased amounts of joint pain:

  • Paclitaxel or the other taxanes
  • Bleomycin
  • Cladribine
  • L-asparaginase
  • Biologic response modifiers such as filgrastim, pegfilgrastim, and sargramostim.

There many other causes of this type of pain and these should be ruled out prior to treatment for this condition. A doctor’s evaluation can help determine the cause of joint pain. There are multiple tests that might be used to evaluate these symptoms including x-rays, bone scans, MRI and blood tests. Continue reading