A new diagnosis of colon cancer – what is next?

cancer diagnosis.fwThere are several paths that can lead patients to a diagnosis of colon cancer. You may have had symptoms that worried you, such as finding blood on your toilet paper. Or perhaps the doctor removed suspicious polyps during a routine colonoscopy. Either way, hearing that you have a diagnosis of colon cancer can be a shock, making it hard to process what the next steps might be or what decisions must be made. These tips can help you prepare for your first appointments with cancer specialists and understand what is going to happen over the next months: Continue reading

Are your genetics putting you at risk for colorectal cancer?

cancer geneticsColorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, trailing only lung cancer in the number of deaths each year. The American Cancer Society estimates 50,310 people will die from colorectal cancer in 2014 alone. Unlike lung cancer, however, there are ways to successfully screen for and prevent this common disease.

In conjunction with Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I have outlined some factors health care providers consider in assessing an individual’s risk for colorectal cancer and determining the best approaches for screening and prevention.

Screening = Prevention

Colon cancer screening has been very effective in reducing the number of colorectal cancer diagnoses and deaths in the United Continue reading

Top Myths about HPV

What is an HPV test and do you need one?

BlogHPV1HPV (or human papillomavirus, the infection that causes cervical cancer) has recently been in the news as parents and doctors debate whether or not young people should get a vaccine protecting them against it.

Two out of three adults in their sexual lifetime will have HPV – the most common sexually transmitted disease – and most are unaware that they have the infection. There is no treatment for HPV but for the average healthy adult, the infection disappears in two years. So how do you know if you should get tested for it or not?

HPV screening may depend on your doctor

Our recent study explored how often low-risk women aged 30-65 get tested for the root cause of Continue reading

Ovarian cancer: listen to what your body is saying

Symptoms and risk factors for ovarian cancer

ovarian awarenessIs ovarian cancer really a silent disease?  It’s sometimes called that because early stages of ovarian cancer rarely cause symptoms. If symptoms are present, they tend to be vague and not specific to the ovaries. Unfortunately, this lack of symptoms can often delay detection and diagnosis until the cancer is at an advanced stage when the chance for cure is smaller.

The National Cancer Institute notes, “ovarian cancer has the highest mortality of all cancers of the female reproductive system, yet comprises only 3% of all cancers in women.” Part of this is due to the fact there is no widely-available screening method for the early detection of ovarian cancer yet. Therefore knowing the risk factors and symptoms of the disease are key.

Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

Women should note the following symptoms and if they are new or persist daily for more than two weeks, should Continue reading

Progress in ovarian cancer research

Detecting ovarian cancer early is the key to surviving this disease

ovarian risks

Ovarian cancer is an aggressive disease that has a profound impact on the women who battle it and the families who support them

Approximately 1 in 70 women, or 1.4%, will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. In most cases in the United States, a woman’s ovarian cancer is not diagnosed until it is in the later stages of the disease.  At that point, few women are able to live longer than five years. In contrast, women whose ovarian cancer is diagnosed at earlier stages have up to a 90% chance of long term survival. As a result, ovarian cancer research continues to focus on ways to detect ovarian cancer when it is still in the earliest stages to give women the best chance to survive.

Ovarian cancer and early detection

There are many challenges to detecting ovarian cancer early. Each year in the United States approximately 1 in 2,500 women Continue reading

Throat cancer: one of many head and neck cancers

Throat cancers are included under the larger canopy of head and neck cancer. Here are the facts about throat cancer risk:

Susan Daron, RN, BSN, OCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

Susan Daron, RN, BSN, OCN, is one of four oncology registered nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine™

  • Throat cancer is more common in men than women
  • It occurs most often in people over the age of 50
  • Use of tobacco and alcohol

The National Cancer Institute estimates at least 75% of head and neck cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use. In fact, people who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk of developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone.

Another risk factor for throat cancer is human papilloma virus, or HPV infection. Although there are more than 100 types of this virus, one type in particular, HPV 16, is linked to throat cancer. It can be spread via open mouth kissing and oral sex.  According to the American Cancer Society, most people with HPV infections of the mouth and throat have no symptoms, and only a very small percentage develop throat cancer. Oral HPV infection is more common in men than in women. The risk also increases with the number of sexual partners a person has.

Now for the good news: here are some actions you can take to reduce your risk of getting throat cancer: Continue reading