Fertility options for women with cancer

women fertilityAs many as 15% of all couples have difficulty becoming pregnant or meet the definition for infertility, but for those undergoing treatment for cancer the number can be even higher. This post discusses fertility options for women with cancer. Men, you haven’t been left out, my September blog discussed your fertility options, so you haven’t been left out.

For women who are undergoing cancer treatments, experts recommend they wait at least one year after treatment ends to have a fertility evaluation. This time is needed to allow the body to recover and readjust to Continue reading

Is the flu bug out to get you?

fluThe FLU virus is thought to be spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. Flu viruses may also spread when people touch something with the flu virus on it, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. Patients with cancer and immune-compromised patients are NOT at an increased risk for getting the flu, but they are at an increased risk for complications from the flu. But there are steps you can take to stop the flu bug from getting to you.

According to FLU.gov, a website managed Continue reading

Fertility options for men with cancer

fertility optionsWhile the focus of this blog is on fertility for men with cancer, I have not forgotten about women. Female fertility options will be addressed next month, so ladies please stay tuned.

Infertility, or not being able to conceive or bear children, affects about 10% of the population. While that seems like a small percentage, infertility can disproportionally affect both men and women undergoing cancer treatments. Many of our standard therapies for treating cancer such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy can damage the Continue reading

U-M Radiation Oncology’s partnerships bring radiation therapy closer to home

radiation therapyRadiation therapy is often a treatment option for those diagnosed with cancer. Traveling to receive radiation treatment five times a week for six to eight weeks is not always easy or feasible for some patients. Luckily, the University of Michigan’s Radiation Oncology Department has collaborated with community hospitals to help provide this type of treatment closer to home.

The Radiation Oncology Network is a group of seven centers in Michigan that partner with the U-M Radiation Oncology Department to create a network of facilities Continue reading

HPV vaccine and cervical cancer: Is this the new magic bullet?

cervical cancer and HPVOne of the most recommended screenings is for cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV immunization could reduce the impact of cervical cancer worldwide by as much as two-thirds, if all adolescent and adult women were to get the vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC), there is no evidence to suggest that HPV vaccine loses the ability to provide protection over time.

Currently there are two vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, that prevent infection from HPV, the most common cause of cervical cancer. Gardasil and Cervarix both are highly effective in preventing infection with the types of HPV they target. Gardasil targets the two HPV types that cause 90% of genital warts and it is used to prevent cancers and precancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, and anus. Cervarix is used for the prevention of cervical cancer and precancers.

The CDC recommends that all women age 26 years and younger receive three doses of the HPV vaccine (Cervarix or Continue reading

Cancer pain and the fear of addiction

fear of addictionI’ve taken care of hundreds of cancer patients over the years in my nursing practice. There were times when a family member would approach me and ask that I not give their loved one a narcotic pain reliever. They were concerned about them becoming addicted. And this wasn’t always a family member, but patients themselves would sometimes refuse pain medication, even though clearly in pain. Fear of addiction is oftentimes misplaced in these circumstances.

Many cancer patients and their families are fearful of prescription pain medicine. They worry that addiction can occur, and this anxiety can cause some patients to avoid telling their doctor they are experiencing pain. In fact, some studies indicate that up to one third of cancer patients experiencing pain do not receive adequate pain relief.

Although the concern of addiction has always been present, increasing awareness and media coverage regarding opioid addiction have probably heightened this anxiety. There has been a growing problem with prescription drug abuse in this country over the last decade; however, the majority of cancer Continue reading