Cancer does not discriminate. Whether these malignancies are caused by genetics, environmental exposure or simply bad luck, the road to recovery is harrowing and unfortunately, not always guaranteed. Men are particularly susceptible to a handful of cancers that carry a history of high death tolls. Today’s oncologists are working to change that as they break ground on new treatments and immunotherapies that surpass the success of traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy. “What’s being developed are treatments that target certain molecular structures either in or on the cancer cell,” says Dr. Thomas Alberico of Virginia Oncology Associates. “Where before we were seeing response rates in the five to 10 percent range with standard chemotherapy, now we’re seeing response rates in the 40, 50 and 60 percent range [with new therapies].”
October 16, 2019
July 25, 2019
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer. Accounting for 1% to 5% of all breast cancer diagnoses in the United States, this type of cancer forms in the cells that line the breasts’ milk ducts, but quickly spreads to nearby lymph nodes and sometimes other tissues in the body. The cancer is called “inflammatory” because the cancer cells usually block the lymphphatic vessels in the breast. This causes fluid to build up, which leads to inflammation that is usually red and tender.
July 24, 2019
According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that there will be about 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in 2019. About one out of every nine (12%) men in general will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime, and that number rises to one in six (17%) for black or African American men specifically. Most often, prostate cancer happens sporadically, with no clear reason why the cancer started. However, sometimes prostate cancer can be seen running in a family in a hereditary manner, being passed down from generation to generation. Around 5-10% of prostate cancer diagnoses can be considered part of a hereditary cancer predisposition syndrome.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.