For Patients

The Evolution of Genetic Testing and Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer

February 16, 2018

The Evolution of Genetic Testing and Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer

By Mark T. Fleming, MD

Genetic testing for cancer and targeted drug therapy regimens have changed how multiple cancers, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancers are cared for. More and more, we are finding similar benefits in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

High-quality genetic testing now can accurately pinpoint both hereditary and somatic mutations, providing crucial insights into how prostate cancer develops and grows. At the same time, new medications tailored to specific mutations have shown great promise in clinical trials, especially in metastatic disease that has not responded to standard androgen-deprivation therapy.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention

Genetic Testing: Personalized Medicine at its Best

February 16, 2018

Genetic Testing: Personalized Medicine at its Best

In 2013, the US Supreme Court ruled against one company owning the patent on genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Changes in these genes are associated with a high risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The ruling cited that human genes are not eligible for patents because they are a product of nature. Since this ruling, the world of cancer genetic testing has opened up both scientifically and financially.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, only one commercial laboratory was able to offer testing for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Since the patent has been overturned, multiple laboratories have started to offer testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 and from this, multigene cancer panels have emerged. Multigene cancer panels allow testing for many additional genes associated with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and various other cancers.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention

Behind Every Great Oncologist Is a Great Oncology Nurse

February 16, 2018

Behind Every Great Oncologist Is a Great Oncology Nurse

Oncologists get a lot of the limelight in a cancer patient’s care--and for good reason. If you talk with most cancer patients, however, you might be surprised to find out that it’s actually their nurse--not their oncologist--who they have a closer relationship with.

Since doctors must focus their patient time on identifying, treating, and managing the cancer, a nurse can take the time to ask questions about home life, side effects of the cancer treatment, and how to increase a patient’s overall quality of life. This consistent, one-on-one involvement is often why patients share most information with their oncology nurse rather than their oncologist.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management

Clinical Trials Expand Treatment Options for Cancer Patients in Hampton Roads

February 14, 2018

Clinical Trials Expand Treatment Options for Cancer Patients in Hampton Roads

For people with cancer, having access to all available treatment options for their specific type of cancer can be difficult. Specialized cancer clinical trials and research may require extensive travel or even relocation to be closer to hospitals or research institutes conducting such studies. Fortunately, for residents of Hampton Roads, this is not the case.

One of the largest and most reputable cancer research networks in the world is US Oncology Research, which specializes in Phase I-IV oncology clinical trials in communities throughout the nation. Our location here in Hampton Roads is one of 16 Translational Oncology Program (TOP) sites for US Oncology Research, offering the largest clinical research program in the region.

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What Are Your Lymph Nodes Trying To Tell You?

February 8, 2018

What Are Your Lymph Nodes Trying To Tell You?

Lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) are part of your immune system, and they let you know when your body is fighting an infection by becoming enlarged or sensitive to the touch. They also function as an early warning system for some types of cancer.

What are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates throughout your body, bringing nutrients to cells and carrying away bacteria and waste products. This fluid flows through a special system of tiny vessels in your body, passing through small bean-shaped filtering organs called lymph nodes. Some nodes are as large as an inch across, while others are as small as a pinhead. Clusters of these nodes are located at the sides of your jaws, neck and upper chest, under your arms, and in your groin on either side of the pubic bone.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management, Cancer Prevention

Making the Most of Your Holidays During Cancer Treatment

December 7, 2017

Making the Most of Your Holidays During Cancer Treatment

Even people in perfect health can feel exhausted and overwhelmed during the holiday season; that feeling is often magnified when you’re undergoing cancer treatment. You may not have the stamina to battle Black Friday crowds, deck the halls or entertain as lavishly as you have in years past, and that’s OK. If you’re a cancer patient try not to overexert yourself, but don’t isolate yourself either.  We've put together a few tips for managing the holiday season while undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management

What Does the Great American Smokeout Have to Do with Lung Cancer Risk?

November 13, 2017

What Does the Great American Smokeout Have to Do with Lung Cancer Risk?

What is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout? It's an annual event, held the third Thursday of every November, a date on which smokers nationwide are asked to give up smoking. Quitting for just one day helps you take action toward a healthier life, and reduce your lung cancer risk.

Each year, the Great American Smokeout calls attention to the deaths, lung cancer diagnoses and other chronic diseases that smoking causes, and how to prevent them. As a result of this event, there have been actions taken towards reducing the health impacts that smoking can have on smokers and non-smokers including:

Read More Categories: Lung Cancer

Mammograms… Who Needs ‘em?

October 6, 2017

Mammograms… Who Needs ‘em?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it a great time to learn a little more about breast cancer screenings for yourself or a loved one. The information below will help you better understand why mammograms are important, other potential screening methods, when you should be screened and what can be done if someone needs a mammogram but cannot afford one. This knowledge can help you be better informed so you can share it with others this October, as well as the rest of the year.

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Prevention

What You Should Know About Inflammatory Breast Cancer

September 27, 2017

What You Should Know About Inflammatory Breast Cancer

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, the 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 lymph 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

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips: Common Sunscreen Mistakes

September 20, 2017

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips: Common Sunscreen Mistakes

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. It’s important that everyone understand:

Read More Categories: Skin Cancer