Celebrating Cancer Survivors

June is National Cancer Survivor Month, a time to celebrate and recognize cancer survivors, inspire those recently diagnosed, and, most importantly, to celebrate life.

During the month, cancer survivors and supporters in communities around the world unite to celebrate life and raise awareness of the challenges faced by cancer survivors.

It is a time for everyone to celebrate, whether you’re a cancer survivor, a family member, friend, or medical professional.  The month provides an opportunity for all people living with a history of cancer to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize those who have supported them along the way.  It is also a time to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship in order to promote more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

Thanks to advances in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and follow-up care, more people than ever before are surviving the disease.  According to the official website for the National Cancer Survivors Day, more than 15.5 million people are alive today after being diagnosed with cancer in the United States alone.

However, surviving cancer can leave a host of problems in its wake.  Cancer survivors may face numerous challenges during and after treatment, including limited access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, denial of health insurance and life insurance coverage, difficulty finding jobs, and economic burdens due to mounting medical expenses and lost wages.  Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.

If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with cancer, please contact our center today.  Whether you would like to discuss treatment options, or get a second option, we are here to help in any way we can.

The Role of Nutrition in Cancer Care

March is National Nutrition Month.  A nutrition education and information campaign, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, that focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

We all know that good nutrition is important for good health.  This statement is even truer for cancer patients.  Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after cancer treatment can help patients feel better and stay stronger.

Sometimes a registered dietitian, or nutritionist, is part of the team of health professionals that help with cancer treatment and recovery.  A dietitian will work with patients, their families, and the rest of the medical team to manage the patient’s diet during and after cancer treatment.  Nutrition therapy is used to help cancer patients keep a healthy body weight, maintain strength, keep body tissue healthy, and decrease side effects both during and after treatment.

For many patients, the effects of cancer and cancer treatments make it hard to eat well.  Cancer treatments that affect nutrition include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy, and stem cell transplant.  When the head, neck, esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, or liver are affected by the cancer treatment, it is hard to take in enough nutrients to stay healthy.  Cancer and cancer treatments may affect taste, smell, appetite, and the ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food.  This can cause malnutrition, which is a condition caused by a lack of key nutrients.

Cancer and cancer treatment can change your body’s nutritional needs.  Even if you ate well before, it is a good idea to ask your team about healthy eating during treatment to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to help your body handle the rigors of treatment and heal faster.  Ask your healthcare team for eating advice specific to your situation and follow these general guidelines:

– Eat vegetables and fruits, if possible at least five servings/day

– Eat dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables such broccoli, spinach and kale daily

– Limit your intake of red meat, sugar and high-fat foods

– Eat whole grains and legumes such as whole wheat bread, brown rice and beans

– Avoid alcohol

– Limit the amount of salt-cured, smoked and pickled foods

– Drink fluids to stay hydrated

Study Finds SBRT Better than Surgery in Post-Treatment Lung Cancer Survival

In a recent new study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, patients with non-small cell lung cancer who underwent stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) had a better post-treatment survival rate than those who received surgery.

The gold standard for the treatment of early-stage lung cancer has long been surgery, but accurately targeted radiation is emerging as a viable nonsurgical alternative, especially for older patients who have a high risk of surgical complications.

For the study, researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center wanted to determine the post-treatment survival rate of patients from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) with non-small cell lung cancer.  They identified 76,623 patients who underwent surgery and 8,216 patients who received SBRT.  The investigation revealed that both forms of treatment resulted in low rates of post-treatment mortality: 2.1% of patients who underwent surgery died within 30 days of treatment compared with 0.7% of patients who received focused radiation.  The gap between the mortality rates of SBRT and surgery widened with age: For patients ages 71 to 75, surgery led to a 1.87% greater risk of mortality compared with SBRT; for patients ages 76 to 80, the difference in risk increased to 2.8%; and for patients older than 80, the difference increased to 3% within 30 days after treatment.

At Columbus CyberKnife, lung tumors are treated with SBRT using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical outpatient cancer treatment with minimal to no side effects.  During the CyberKnife treatment, hundreds of highly concentrated and incredibly precise beams of radiation are targeted directly to tumors and lesions in the lung.  As the patient breathes during the CyberKnife treatment, the CyberKnife robotic arm moves with the rise and fall of his/her body, meaning that healthy tissue is protected from radiation and only the tumor is treated.

To learn more about how Columbus CyberKnife treats lung tumors with CyberKnife technology, please click here.

Preventing Cancer

February is National Cancer Prevention Month.  If your New Year’s resolution to get healthy is already losing steam, now is a perfect time to give yourself a second chance.  Renew your efforts to make healthier choices by learning what you can do to help reduce your cancer risk.

Research has shown that more than half of all cancers diagnosed in the United States can be attributed to preventable causes – things like smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and excessive exposure to the sun.  As a result, steps like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, protecting your skin from the sun, and getting vaccinated against the viruses that cause certain cancers can dramatically reduce your risk of certain cancers.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), an American cancer research organization associated with the World Cancer Research Fund, estimates that approximately one-third of cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active, and staying lean.  That’s an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that would never happen.

In honor of National Cancer Prevention Month, the AICR released these ten recommendations for cancer prevention:

– Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.

– Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.  Limit sedentary habits.

– Avoid sugary drinks.  Limit consumption of energy-dense foods.

– Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.

– Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats.

– If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day.

– Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).

– Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer.

– It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add other liquids and foods.

– After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

Another way you can reduce your risk for cancer is by getting screening tests that can help find cancer at an early stage, before symptoms appear.  When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure.  By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread, making the cancer harder to treat or cure.  The earlier doctors can detect changes in tissue, the better the chances of removing a cancer with few complications.  Important cancer screenings such as colonoscopies, mammograms, pap tests, PSA tests, and skin cancer screenings save lives and prevent tumor development.

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer or have questions about treatment options, please contact our center today.

Dr. Heuser’s CyberKnife Story

Watch general surgeon, Dr. Louis Heuser, talk about why he chose CyberKnife for the treatment of his prostate cancer. Dr. Heuser was very happy with the quick treatments and the fact that he was able to stay close to home and continue to work and see his patients. It’s Your Prostate, Your Cancer, Your Choice.

World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.  Check out this infographic and learn more about the campaign and how to get engaged today.

National Radon Action Month

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in America and claims the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year.  In fact, the EPA and the U.S. Surgeon General urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes, schools, and other buildings for radon.

Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas released from the normal decay of the elements uranium, thorium, and radium in rocks and soil.  It seeps up through the ground and diffuses into the air, and in a few areas, dissolves into ground water and can be released into the air when the water is used.  Radon gas usually exists at very low levels outdoors.  However, in areas without adequate ventilation, such as underground mines, radon can accumulate to levels that substantially increase the risk of lung cancer.

For both adults and children, most exposure to radon comes from being indoors in homes, offices, schools, and other buildings.  The levels of radon in homes and other buildings depend on the characteristics of the rock and soil in the area.  As a result, radon levels vary greatly in different parts of the United States, sometimes even within neighborhoods.

Being exposed to radon can be extremely harmful.  Radon gas in the air breaks down quickly, giving off tiny radioactive particles.  When inhaled, these radioactive particles can damage the cells that line the lung.  Long-term exposure to radon can lead to lung cancer, the only cancer proven to be associated with inhaling radon.

Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home can help prevent unnecessary exposure.  If a high radon level is detected in your home, you can take steps to fix the problem to protect yourself and your family.  For learn more, please call 1–800–SOS–RADON (1–800–767–7236) to reach an automated system for ordering materials and listen to informational recordings or click here today.

Columbus CyberKnife: Treat Prostate Cancer in 5 Treatments

Watch Douglas W. Widman, M.D., Medical Director at Columbus CyberKnife, and Thomas, a CyberKnife patient, talk about how CyberKnife is an excellent treatment option for prostate cancer. CyberKnife is as effective as surgery and is completed in only 5 outpatient treatment sessions compared to the 44 you have with traditional radiation therapy. In addition, CyberKnife treatment is painless, there are minimal (if any) side effects, and there is no disruption to your daily life.

Radiosurgery Society Study Examines Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Outcomes in the Treatment of Lung Metastases

The Radiosurgery Society (RSS), a non-profit medical society dedicated to advancing the science and clinical practice of radiosurgery, recently published a study using data from its RSSearch Patient Registry, a multi-institutional, observational registry established to standardize data collection from patients treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).

The study was titled “Lung metastases treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy: the RSSearch® patient Registry’s experience,” and examined outcomes from 447 patients treated for lung metastases using SBRT at 30 academic and community cancer centers participating in the RSSearch Patient Registry.

The study found five year survival of 21.8 percent consistent with the survival benefit of local treatment such as surgery previously published for low volume metastatic disease (oligometastases).  The study also found that patients with smaller metastases treated with higher doses of SBRT with a biological effective dose of at least 100Gy had the best local control.  There was no difference in local control between different tumor types, however survival was improved for breast and head and neck cancer consistent with a longer natural history.

“The RSSearch Patient Registry is an important resource in expanding knowledge and understanding of SRS and SBRT treatment practices and outcomes,” said Joanne Davis, Ph.D., Executive Director, RSS.  “Not only is this the sixth manuscript generated from RSSearch data, it is the third focused on SBRT for the treatment of lung tumors, providing clinicians with important clinical information on the use of SRS/SBRT to treat this highly prevalent and very deadly form of cancer.”

At Columbus CyberKnife, lung tumors are treated with SBRT using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive outpatient cancer treatment with minimal to no side effects.  During the CyberKnife treatment, hundreds of highly concentrated and incredibly precise beams of radiation are targeted directly to tumors and lesions in the lung.  As the patient breathes during the CyberKnife treatment, the CyberKnife robotic arm moves with the rise and fall of his/her body – meaning that healthy tissue is protected from radiation and only the tumor is treated.

To learn more about treating lung tumors with CyberKnife technology, please click here.