5 Ways to Thank Your Cancer Caregivers

October 10, 2018

Having cancer is emotionally and physically draining. Looking back on your journey, you’ll probably agree that the unwavering support of your cancer caregivers played a huge role in your recovery. Maybe you had friends and family members who seemed to instinctively know what you needed and stepped up to help without being asked? From giving you rides to and from your appointments, making you meals, doing your laundry, taking care of your yard, helping with your children and pets, and simply providing a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear, your cancer caregivers were an unofficial yet important part of your care team. Thanks to their help, you didn’t have to “sweat the small stuff” and were able to focus on your recovery.

Read More Categories: Survivorship and Family

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips: How to Read a Sunscreen Label

September 27, 2018

The state of Virginia has so much to offer. From its beaches to its mountains, as well as its “Goldilocks Climate” (not too hot; not too cold), there are so many reasons and opportunities to get outside. With that said, as you enjoy those outdoor activities, it’s important to keep your skin protected from the harmful rays of the sun.

Exposure to ultraviolet light is the primary cause of skin cancers and premature aging. Both of these can be largely avoided by protecting the skin from ultraviolet rays. If you’re going to be outdoors enjoying any of the 5 distinct climate regions Virginia has to offer, one of the best things you can do to protect your skin is to wear sunscreen. Wearing protective clothing and avoiding the sun at the hottest times of the day (10 am - 4 pm) can also reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

Read More Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer

Cancer Research is Advancing Breast Cancer Treatment Options

September 25, 2018

By David Z. Chang, MD,PhD, FACP

Recent developments in breast cancer treatment have continued to fuel our movement toward tailored treatment for each individual patient.

Two of the newest and most promising fronts are targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Both aim to more effectively kill cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue, thereby causing fewer debilitating side effects as compared to traditional chemotherapy.

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Healthcare Providers

What Does SPF Mean?

August 8, 2018

Even though summer is halfway over, August is Summer Sun Safety Month. Which means there is still time to be conscious about practicing sun safety. One major way you can do this is by slathering on some sunscreen.

Choosing a sunscreen can be a daunting task. With so many combinations of numbers and specializations (SPF what?), it’s no wonder a lot of people skip wearing sunscreen altogether. To clear up some of the confusion, let’s talk more about what SPF is as well as its importance when using the right sunscreen for your skin.

Read More Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer, Cancer Risk

How to Use the UV Index to Know When to Stay Inside

July 16, 2018

For most people, summer fun includes summer sun. As you soak up those warm rays, however, keep in mind that prolonged exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun can be harmful to your skin. Since July is known as UV Safety Month, let’s take a moment to learn more about sun exposure, including how much is safe, when you should avoid it, and how it can play a role in the development of skin cancer.

Understanding the UV Index

Did you know that the risk of UV damage to your eyes and skin is dependent upon where you live? In the United States, the strength of UV radiation is measured by the UV Index, which provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun based on geographical location.

Read More Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer, Cancer Risk

Is Your Weight Affecting Your Risk of Developing Cancer?

June 6, 2018

It’s no secret that being carrying excess pounds can lead to serious health consequences–but did you know that it can also raise your risk for certain types of cancer? National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that in 2011–2014, nearly 70% of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older were overweight or obese.

Research shows that higher amounts of body fat can increase the risk for several types of cancer, including liver cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, thyroid cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer (in women past menopause). Obesity also increases the risk for developing advanced prostate cancer, which is the most dangerous stage of the disease. 

Read More Categories: Cancer Risk

How to Detect Skin Cancer

May 31, 2018

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more people being diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined. Knowing what to look for can help catch it early when it’s much easier to treat.

The Importance of Skin Cancer Self-Examination

When detected early, skin cancer is almost always curable. This is why getting to know your skin through regular self-exams is so important, so that any new or changing marks or lesions can be caught quickly.

Lesions, ulcers, or tumors on the skin should be checked out by a skin cancer specialist right away. Marks and moles should be documented and monitored for changes during your self-exams. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends head-to-toe self-examinations of the skin once a month and an annual exam by a dermatologist once a year. 

Read More Categories: Cancer Screening, Skin Cancer

Genetic vs Genomic Testing: What’s the Difference?

May 29, 2018

Although the terms “genetic” and “genomic” are often used interchangeably, they are actually very different. Learning more about the differences between them can help clear up some of the confusion we often see related to hereditary genes linked to developing cancer.

Genetic Testing  

Genetics usually refers to the study of specific, individual genes and whether they are passed from one generation to the next. Cancer researchers have studied hereditary gene mutations (changes) that can play a role in the development of cancer.  

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

4 Ways You Can Show Support for the Cancer Survivors in Your Life

May 28, 2018

Just about everyone knows at least one cancer survivor. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’re a survivor! Recent statistics show that there’s an increase in the number of cancer survivors as we progress with more advanced cancer treatments and technologies. And that’s good news! But when it comes down to it, each cancer survivor has their own experiences and feelings that they need to manage. These feelings may be somewhat different as they are transitioning out of cancer treatment compared to a few years down the road. But the fact remains that cancer has changed their lives forever and will always affect how they think and act.

Read More Categories: Cancer Survivorship, Survivorship and Helping Others

Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults: What You Need to Know

May 24, 2018

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published in February 2017 that colorectal cancer in young adults has risen dramatically in generations born after 1950. Those currently between the ages of 18-27 have 2 times the risk of developing colon cancer and 4 times the risk of developing rectal cancer than people born in the 1950s were when they were between those ages.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer develops in the colon or rectum and can be referred to as either colon cancer or rectal cancer. Most begin with a polyp appearing on the inner lining of the rectum. Polyps are more common in people age 50 or above. If a polyp is cancerous, the cells can spread to the wall of the colon or rectum, and then to the blood or lymph vessels of the colon or rectum and eventually metastasize throughout the body. Symptoms of colon or rectal cancers can include: 

Read More Categories: Colon & Rectal Cancer