Thyroid cancer, rare but treatable

thyroid cancerWho knew that a little gland in your neck, shaped like a butterfly, could cause so many problems including, potentially, thyroid cancer? The thyroid gland is responsible for many functions in the body by releasing thyroid hormones into your bloodstream. It affects almost every cell in your body. The gland’s main function is to control metabolism, but it can also affect hair and skin growth, mood, body temperature regulation, or how cold or hot you get.

When something goes wrong, like cancer, it can wreak havoc with your body systems, and you might begin to notice some changes. Thyroid cancer is a malignant growth, or tumor, in the thyroid gland. It is a rare cancer, about 2% of all cancers, but it is the most common cancer of the Continue reading

Don’t let compassion fatigue rob you of the ability to care

compassion fatigueCompassion fatigue is a physical, mental and emotional drain suffered by those who care for others. Caregivers develop compassion fatigue by internalizing the suffering or trauma of those they care for. While the term compassion fatigue originated in the field of nursing in the early 90s, it applies broadly to anyone who is in a helping profession or is a caregiver.

Anyone can over use their compassion and empathy skills just as athletes can overuse their muscles and need to take a break from competition. Compassion fatigue isn’t the same as burnout, says the American Institute of Stress. Compassion fatigue can take months to years to develop and often the person affected does not immediately realize it. Co-workers or family members may notice some of these common symptoms: Continue reading

What you should know about sarcoma

en Español

sarcomaSarcoma is not a well-known cancer. Unlike breast or prostate cancer, many people have never heard of this cancer until they or someone they know is diagnosed. July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, and the following are some facts about this disease.

  • Sarcoma is rare – it accounts for only 1% of all cancers diagnosed in adults.
  • Sarcoma is more common in children and young adults, accounting for approximately 15% of cancers seen in children.
  • Sarcoma commonly occurs in the extremities like the legs and arms, but can also arise in the abdomen and hips.
  • There are two main types of sarcoma: Bone and soft tissue. Soft tissue is the more common, and it can arise in the muscle, cartilage, fat, tendons and nerves.
  • Soft tissue sarcomas are named according to the tissue from which they arise. There are approximately 50 sub-types of sarcoma.
  • Most people that develop sarcoma don’t have a known risk factor, but risk factors include previous radiation therapy, certain genetic syndromes and exposure to dioxins that are used in herbicides and insecticides.
  • Signs and symptoms include a lump on the body that is usually painless, or abdominal pain that doesn’t go away.
  • There is no regular screening that is done for sarcoma like there is for breast, prostate or colon cancer.

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My health information on line, anytime????

Yes. Get secure access to your UMHS health information 24/7

My U of M health informationDid you know that with a few easy steps, you can get secure access to your U-M health information online? Click on www.myuofmhealth.org or search My U of M Health. Either will take you to the website where you can set up a free portal, or page that is secure and just for you.

Once you have created your own secure account, you can start accessing the portal’s many features:

Contacting your doctor

Email your doctor about any issues you may be having or to ask a specific question. Do not use the portal for urgent medical matters. For urgent matters, please call 911 or your doctor’s office immediately.

Other medical features

  • Request to have your prescriptions renewed
  • Make appointments
  • View health summary notes

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Living with a urinary diversion or neobladder

urinary diversionA patient with bladder cancer called and told me that she was scheduled to have her bladder removed (cystectomy). Her daughter was getting married in another state and she wanted to know about traveling after the surgery. I was happy to tell her that people with a urinary diversion are usually able to return to the life, work, and hobbies they previously enjoyed, including travel.

When the bladder is removed, it is necessary to create a new method for the patient’s body to handle urine. Urinary reconstruction and diversion is a surgical method to create a new way for you to pass urine. There are three ways to do this, called urinary diversions: Continue reading

For men: Communicating with doctors

communicating with doctorsIt’s a well-known fact that men and women communicate differently, and this carries over into all relationships, including ones with health care providers. A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, and there can be a great deal of information to process. Some men may have more difficulty in communicating with doctors for the following reasons:

  • More discomfort in discussing health related problems
  • Stress can cause men to withdraw and become quiet
  • Men don’t like to be told what to do
  • Don’t want to waste people’s time by asking questions

Patients are taking a more active role in their health care. We know that outcomes are better when patients are working along with their doctor in making decisions that are best for them. The following are some tips that can be helpful in improving communication: Continue reading