Traditional healing

Taxol had left Judith Stingo’s toes and thumbs feeling numb. I’s a common side effect of the drug, and it was discouraging to Stingo — particularly after doctors told her it could take as long as a year to regain full feeling.
When Stingo learned the University of Michigan Health System offers acupuncture, she decided to give it a try. After two treatments, she noticed marked improvement. After her third acupuncture appointment, the numbness was gone altogether.

“It was my thumbs that bothered me most. I was constantly touching them with my other fingers. I had to have my husband open jars for me and cut things up. That was very distressing to have to ask other people to do things for you,” said Stingo, a Dexter resident who was treated for breast cancer. “But after that second appointment, it pleased me to no end to feel my thumbs again. It was like a miracle for me.”

Acupuncture may be beneficial in treating a number of cancer-related symptoms and side effects, including fatigue, nausea, pain and nerve problems that cause tingling and numbness, said Andrew Heyman, M.D., a former adjunct assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. Acupuncture may also be beneficial to patients who have mild to moderate anxiety or depression. Continue reading

Cutting through sunscreen confusion

The July 4 weekend is a time for barbequing, lounging poolside or just goofing off in the backyard. But it’s important to practice good sun safety, stress dermatologists at the University of Michigan Health System.

They offer these tips for protecting yourself and your loved ones, along with guidance to help understand the Food and Drug Administration’s new rules about sunscreen.

One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Babies and young children can’t protect themselves from sunburn, so adults must do it for them.

With thousands of products on the market, it can be hard to know how to choose the best sunscreen. Before you start to consider which one to buy, doctors say you should know the following: Continue reading

U-M doctors discuss major lung cancer screening study

The National Cancer Institute published details yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine about a recent study showing a 20 percent decrease in lung cancer mortality among heavy smokers who were screened with CT scans rather than X-rays. But what does this mean for you? Hear what University of Michigan physicians Ella Kazerooni, M.D., and Douglas Arenberg, M.D., have to say.

Read our librarian’s picks for the best online cancer resources

If you think you can trust the results of your latest Google search on cancer, click again. And again. And again.

It’s important to use trusted resources when it comes to your health or that of a loved one, but verifying a cancer website’s credentials is a multistep — and often time-consuming — process.

“You want to make sure that the information you find on the Internet has the same level of credibility as your physician,” says Ruti Volk, M.S.I., A.H.I.P., the University of Michigan Health System’s Patient Education librarian and former manager of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Patient Education Resource Center. “It’s important to check a website’s credentials, because if you base a decision on bad, inaccurate or outdated information, you can really cause yourself a lot of harm,” she says.

Volk, an award-winning medical librarian, shares her choices for the best online cancer resources so cancer patients, their family and friends can focus on what’s important: time together.

Read the rest of this story from our most recent issue of Thrive, the Cancer Center’s patient publication.

Is second-hand smoke really that dangerous?

Absolutely, says Linda Thomas, manager of the University of Michigan Health System’s Tobacco Consultation Service. Thousands of toxic chemicals are in the smoke that smokers exhale-and it lingers in the air that the rest of us breathe.

To hear more about what you can do to avoid the health effects of second-hand smoke and how you can encourage loved ones to quit, view the videocast above of our conversation with Thomas. Or, if you’d like information about our free smoking cessation program, call 734-998-6222.


Most wanted supplements

Marketing claims for nutritional supplements can be lofty — and misleading. What’s lurking inside those bottles — cancer killers? Or con artists?

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians Nancy Burke, R.D., Joan Daniels, R.D., and Daniel Karsies, R.D., M.S., say the best bet for cancer prevention is a healthy diet. Nevertheless, we know many of our patients have questions about supplements. Get the lowdown on 10 commonly linked to cancer prevention.