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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How to Stay Connected During the Holidays While Coping With Cancer

October 30, 2019

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. You can stay connected however even if you have to stick close to home with these 3 tips:

  1. Use technology
  2. Connect on social media
  3. Exchange letters or care packages

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

Preventatives and Treatments for the Most Common Cancers in Men

October 16, 2019

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].”

Read More Categories: Cancer Screening, Cancer Prevention, Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Colon & Rectal Cancer

What is Inflammatory Breast Cancer?

October 16, 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.

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer

Should I Get Genetic Testing for Prostate Cancer?

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.

Read More Categories: Genetic Testing, Prostate Cancer

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).

Read More Categories: Cancer Treatment, Immunotherapy, Car T-Cell Therapy

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