Another Advance in Immunotherapy: CAR T-cell Therapy

June 26, 2019

By: Daniel Aruch, MD, oncologist at Virginia Oncology Associates

It’s an exciting time for oncologists as numerous advances in immunotherapy allow us to offer more treatment options and greater hope to our patients. In the treatment of advanced blood cancers, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is offering meaningful, long-lasting results. CAR T-cell therapy is currently approved in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

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Tobacco After Cancer

May 20, 2019

You probably know tobacco use is bad for your health. In fact, over-the-counter tobacco products are legally required to include one of the following warning labels reminding the public of tobacco’s dangers, especially the dangers of cancer.

Read More Categories: Cancer Prevention, Lung Cancer, Cancer Survivorship, Survivorship and Nutrition

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips: Common Sunscreen Mistakes

April 23, 2019

Keeping your skin healthy and damage-free is important for reducing your risk of developing melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. One of the best ways to do that is to prevent sun damage from occurring by using sunscreen. However, many people don't apply sunscreen properly, or they’re making other common mistakes when using sunscreen which is increasing their risks of developing skin cancer.

Read More Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer

The Expanding Role of PD-1 Inhibitors in Cancer Treatment

March 22, 2019

By: John C. Paschold, MD - Virginia Oncology Associates

Since 2006, when the first clinical trial began testing the effectiveness of PD-1 inhibitors, the use of these immunotherapy drugs has increased dramatically. Over the last two to three years, these drugs have moved from research trials into mainstream cancer treatment, particularly for late stage melanoma, lung cancers, kidney cancers, and head and neck cancers.

Read More Categories: Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment

Novel Treatments in Lung Cancer See Expanded Use

January 4, 2019

By: Graham T. Watson, MD – Virginia Oncology Associates

The quickly expanding knowledge of cancer biology has led to new, highly effective treatments for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Advances in genetics have brought about targeted therapy with drugs that “target” a specific driver mutation. With deeper understanding of the immune system’s interaction with cancer cells, we can uncloak cancer cells that previously hid from immune destruction. For years, we have leveraged these therapies only in Stage IV lung cancer, but research has shown that that Stage III patients treated first with chemoradiotherapy can also gain benefit.

 Immunotherapies such as nivolumab (Opdivo®) or pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) have helped patients with incurable, Stage IV, lung cancer live longer. While these drugs represent a major breakthrough, limiting their use to Stage IV patients is a frustration for both patients and doctors. While the goal of treatment in Stage III lung cancer patients is cure, the rates of recurrence are high. Finding treatment that can reduce this risk of recurrence is a worthy goal.

Read More Categories: Lung Cancer, Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment

Bone Health After Cancer Treatment

November 29, 2018

It’s no secret that cancer treatment takes an emotional and physical toll on patients, and leaves cancer survivors dealing with some long-term side effects. According to the American Cancer Society, the goals of cancer treatment include shrinking cancerous tumors to make them easier to remove surgically, killing cancer cells in the body, and/or controlling cancer so it does not grow and spread. Chemotherapy, steroid medications, and hormonal therapies used to achieve these goals sometimes have unwelcome side effects, such as accelerated bone loss, potentially leading to osteopenia and/or osteoporosis.

Read More Categories: Survivorship and Side Effects

3 Ways to Connect With Loved Ones While Undergoing Cancer Treatment During the Holidays

November 21, 2018

When you have cancer, even the most joyous of holidays can leave you feeling sad. On top of all the physical stresses, the thought of missing out on your traditional get-togethers can make it hard to get into the holiday spirit.

Of course, you should first talk to your cancer care team before the holidays to determine what would be reasonable for you. Sometimes travel isn’t recommended; however, for some, it can be done as long as you have a solid plan in place. Your plans should include what to do if you experience new pain or side effects while traveling.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management

What Happens After Ovarian Cancer?

November 12, 2018

I’m done with Ovarian Cancer Treatment, now what? 

It’s understandable that women who have recently gone through treatment for ovarian cancer want the answer to this question. While the thought of remission can bring a sense of relief, there are also questions and concerns about what it means to be an ovarian cancer survivor--What lifestyle changes will I have to make? Will there be fertility challenges? What are the chances my cancer will come back?

If you have recently finished ovarian cancer treatment it is important to remember to give yourself time to adjust to any physical and emotional changes you are going through. Eventually, ovarian cancer survivors re-establish a daily routine--and you will too, at your own pace.

Read More Categories: Ovarian Cancer, Cancer Survivorship, Gynecologic Cancer

Can I Donate My Organs After Cancer?

October 31, 2018

As a cancer survivor, it’s probably safe to assume that during your journey you’ve developed a true appreciation of life. You know firsthand what it feels like to receive a serious diagnosis, the uncertainties of living with cancer, and the feelings of joy, relief, and gratitude when you beat it. Thanks to your unique life experiences, you may feel compelled to sign up as an organ donor so you can give the gift of life to someone else.

Read More Categories: Survivorship and Helping Others

Alcohol After Cancer?

October 26, 2018

As a cancer survivor, your goal is probably to resume your familiar lifestyle as quickly as possible. You may be feeling more like your old self again with a growing appetite and the ability to enjoy the flavors in food once again. If you also enjoyed an alcoholic beverage before cancer, you may be wondering if that’s acceptable after cancer treatment. You may be right to think twice about drinking alcohol after cancer.

Read More Categories: Survivorship and Nutrition

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