Healthy eating tips for a spring tune-up

healthy eating tipsLately, there have been a lot of questions and speculations concerning sugar consumption and cancer risk. While researchers are working on finding any such connection between the two, it is important to remember the role sugar plays in the body. Understanding sugar and following our healthy eating tips can serve as a spring tune-up for the body.

Carbohydrates and sugar break down into glucose, also known as blood sugar.

Carbohydrates come from foods such as fruits, starches, beans/peas, and vegetables. During times of low carbohydrate intake or intense exercise, glucose can also be made from fat and protein. Continue reading

National Cancer Moonshot

Reflections on the new presidential initiative by a cancer nurse

National Cancer MoonshotAt the State of the Union Address in January, President Obama shot out a rocket concerning cancer research and finding a cure by 2020. This “moonshot” initiative is being led by Vice President Biden, who recently lost a son to glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

The National Institutes of Health will receive additional funding to bring its budget up to $2 billion. The National Cancer Institute will receive an additional $264 million towards its 2016 budget.  WOW!

The thinking behind this generous funding is that it will allow scientists the opportunity to pursue potential avenues that might lead to a cure for cancer. These avenues might not otherwise have been pursued due to lack of funds. Continue reading

Another genetic cause found for colorectal polyps and cancer

Polymerase Proofreading Associated Polyposis can be identified through genetic testing

colorectal polyps and cancer

Anyone with the inherited gene mutation PPAP has an increased risk for colorectal polyps and/or cancer.

People with a personal or family history of multiple colorectal polyps may be familiar with well-known hereditary syndromes causing colorectal polyposis and cancer. These include Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and MYH Associated Polyposis (MAP). Recently, another syndrome was added to the genetics alphabet soup – Polymerase Proofreading Associated Polyposis, or PPAP for short. Continue reading

Overcoming anxiety about the colonoscopy

Learning the facts can reduce your fear factor of this important cancer detection tool

colonoscopy anxietyFor many, the thought of having a colonoscopy can cause dismay and distress. I’ve known people who have procrastinated having a colonoscopy for years because of the fear and anxiety surrounding this procedure. The following are some concerns and myths, along with the facts about this important screening test.

Concern: I’m afraid I will be awake or in pain for this procedure.

FACT: The vast majority of patients are adequately sedated for this procedure and experience no pain or memory of the procedure. Something called conscious sedation is given. These medicines are given through an intravenous injection and they relax you and block pain. It’s not general anesthesia; therefore, you recover quickly from its effects. Continue reading

Autologous donation: Can I donate my own blood before cancer surgery?

autologous donation
If you are facing surgery as treatment for your cancer, you may need a blood transfusion during the surgery. Sometimes people are nervous about receiving another person’s blood. Any blood transfusion may result in minor side effects including fever, chills or hives. Although there is a possibility of a serious reaction, rarely do these occur. Improved donor screening and blood testing procedures have made the nation’s blood supply safer than it has ever been. But there is often the option of making your own blood donation, called an autologous donation, in advance to use during your surgery. Continue reading

Neuroendocrine tumors : What does this diagnosis mean?

Whether benign or cancer, neuroendocrine tumors are rare and can occur anywhere in the body

Neuroendocrine tumors

Neuroendocrine cells are part of the endocrine system; examples of the glands that are found in this system include the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands and pancreatic islet cells.

If your doctor told you that you had a neuroendocrine tumor, or NET for short, what would you think? Many possible questions may come to mind. Do I have cancer? How is this treated? What type of doctors treat these types of tumors?

To understand a diagnosis of neuroendocrine tumors, it helps to understand the basic biology of the neuroendocrine system. These cells are part of the endocrine system which includes the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, pancreatic islet cells, the ovaries and testicles. Neuroendocrine cells are found throughout the body, but mainly in the digestive and respiratory systems. Continue reading