Cancer Survivorship: Family Counseling Helps the Healing Process

January 16, 2020

Transitioning from a cancer patient to a cancer survivor signifies that you have physically healed from cancer; however, it does not mean that you’ve physically healed from the effects of chemo, nor does it signify that you have healed emotionally. Emotional wellbeing is much harder to measure. And right now, you and your family could be experiencing a lot of different feelings. 

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Targeted Therapy: Striking Cancer Cells from Within

January 10, 2020

By Jared Kobulnicky, MD

One of the most promising developments in cancer treatment over the past few years is the rapid emergence of targeted therapy

Unlike chemotherapy and immunotherapy, targeted therapy attacks specific mutations in the DNA of cancer cells. The goal is to interfere with growth processes inside those cells – the signals that drive a disease – with fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.

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Do You Know Your Family Medical History?

November 25, 2019

Family history is a term often tossed around by medical professionals and the media alike.  Do you know your family history? Do you know how to take your family history? Who is an important part of your family history – parents, grandparents, children, cousins, or beyond?  Do you understand the importance of sharing your family medical history with your healthcare provider? If you answered no to any of these questions, keep reading!  

The family medical history has rapidly become one of the most important cancer screening tools we have available and yet, unfortunately, so many people know very little about their family history or have been unwilling to share this information with their relatives. While there may be a difference in cultural norms that have previously prevented – or currently prevent – discussing personal health history, we challenge you to consider the benefit of asking and sharing health information with your family members.  

Read More Categories: Genetic Testing, Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk

Advances in Breast Cancer Treatment

November 21, 2019

By Daniel Atienza, MD

At Virginia Oncology Associates, we see a large volume of breast cancer patients. Because breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women, it’s important that we stay on top of how breast cancer treatments are changing and evolving so we can ensure our patients have access to the right care. We encourage patients to participate in clinical trials.

Women are surviving breast cancer at higher rates than ever. We can attribute that to multiple factors, including screening (it’s extremely important to keep your mammogram appointments), new, better tolerated therapy options, and improved supportive measures.

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Exercising Before, During and After Cancer Treatments

November 20, 2019

If you have recently received a cancer diagnosis or you’re currently undergoing treatment, it is important that you put focus on taking special care of yourself. This includes eating healthy foods, getting enough rest, and incorporating physical activity into your routine - research strongly suggests that exercise is a wonderful way to care for yourself.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management, Nutrition and Exercise

What to Expect at Your First Mammogram

November 19, 2019

A lot of women are nervous about mammograms. Mammograms are a routine screening tool for early detection of breast cancer in middle aged to older women. It's effective, inexpensive, and non-invasive, although it can be a little uncomfortable.

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Screening

Are People of Color Safe from Skin Cancer?

November 15, 2019

It's a fairly common myth that African-Americans and other people with dark skin don't get sunburned or get skin cancer. Unfortunately, this is not true. While Caucasians are definitely at higher risk, skin cancer still represents 1 to 2% of all cancers diagnosed in non-Hispanic black people and 4 to 5% in Hispanics. Because of this myth, however, a skin cancer diagnosis tends to come at a later stage, partly because it's harder to see on dark skin and partly because dark-skinned people are less likely to be screened regularly.

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Debunking Common Myths About UV Protection and Skin Cancer

November 13, 2019

Since many sun protection and skin cancer myths seem logical many people what they hear without verifying the information. But, it is very important to be sure that you have the facts.

Here is a look at several common myths about UV protection and skin cancer. Identifying the myths and accepting the facts can help protect your health.

Read More Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer

Colon Cancer Screening Age is Lowered to 45 - How and Why does this Affect You?

November 11, 2019

Recent research by the American Cancer Society (ACS) resulted in changes for colon cancer screening. Based on its findings, the ACS lowered the recommended age from 50 to 45. The five-year difference is important to note when it comes to managing your health care. The ACS predicts that more than 45,000 Virginians will receive a colon cancer diagnosis during 2019. Learning more about the screening process is one step a patient can take in preventing and fighting this dreaded disease.

Read More Categories: Cancer Screening, Colon & Rectal Cancer

How Breast Cancer Treatment has Become More Conservative and More Effective

November 8, 2019

By Kasey Fuqua

Treatment for breast cancer has come a long way from mastectomies and broad-spectrum chemotherapy. Thanks to new research and clinical trials, treatment has become more personalized — and conservative — than ever, improving not only survival rates but quality of life throughout survival. For the nearly 235,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States each year, these advances can’t come soon enough.

“The ability to individualize the treatment plan to each patient and the biology of their tumors has been the biggest advance in breast cancer treatment in the last decade,” says Brian King, MD, breast surgeon at Sentara Surgery Specialists. “Patients are getting smaller operations and less treatment and still have great outcomes.”

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