Coping with Cancer During the Holidays

Check out these tips for coping with cancer during the holiday season from CancerCare, a national organization that provides free, professional support services and information to help people manage the emotional, practical and financial challenges of cancer.

Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness

June is National Cancer Survivor Month.  It is a month dedicated to celebrating and recognizing those who have survived cancer, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute of the United States, people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis.  The CDC reports that there are currently nearly 14 million Americans living with cancer and that about two out of every three people with cancer live at least five years after diagnosis. 

Cancer survivors are living longer after diagnosis because of advances in early detection and treatment, and improvements in medical and other health care services.  Though cancer continues to be the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., it increasingly is becoming a chronic illness that can be treated and lived with.  

Because of the significant advances made in cancer care, now even when a cure is not possible, many cancers can be controlled and managed for long periods of time.  Many physicians consider patients being treated for some types of cancer as living with a chronic condition.  However, these patients require ongoing therapy or medicine to control their condition, much like people with diabetes or high blood pressure. 

Some cancer types, such as ovarian cancer, leukemia, and some lymphomas, can be closely watched and treated, but sometimes they never completely go away, and are considered a chronic or ongoing illness.  Sometimes cancers that have spread or have come back in other parts of the body, like metastatic breast or prostate cancer, also become chronic cancers.  

For people living with cancer, the cancer may be controlled with treatment, meaning it might seem to go away or stay the same.  The cancer may not grow or spread as long as you’re getting treatment. Sometimes when treatment shrinks the cancer, you can take a break until the cancer starts to grow again.  But in either of these cases the cancer is still there, it doesn’t go away and stay away, and it’s not cured. 

Being diagnosed with cancer or battling cancer for a second time can be scary.  Columbus CyberKnife understands and is here to help.  With state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology, and a dedicated team of physicians and staff who are experienced in treating patients with stereotactic radiation therapy, Columbus CyberKnife delivers quality care in a compassionate manner. 

If you, or a loved one, have recently been diagnosed with cancer, please contact Columbus CyberKnife today. 

Shorter Radiation Regimen Gets Same Results as Conventional Treatment

Researchers at the 2016 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium reported that a recent 2016 study found that prostate cancer radiation regimen that delivers less radiation over a shorter period of time still provides equivalent oncologic control for low-risk patients as does conventional radiation schemes. 

For the study, published last month in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Proceedings, a supplement to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1,115 men with low-risk prostate cancer were randomly assigned to a conventional schedule (41 treatments over 8 weeks) or to a hypofractionated schedule (28 fractions over 5 weeks).   Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups, including the patients’ age (median age 65) and pretreatment prostate specific antigen (PSA) scores. 

The primary purpose of the study was to determine if hypofractionated radiation therapy results in five-year disease free survival that is not lower than conventional radiation therapy by more than seven percent.  The study also looked at overall survival rates and patients’ biochemical recurrence, which is a rise in PSA levels following treatment. 

The study concluded that delivering radiation therapy in larger doses over a shorter time period results in similar rates of cure and side effects, compared to a longer treatment schedule for some men with low-risk prostate cancer. 

“The benefit of this demonstration is that we shorten the duration of therapy by more than two weeks,” said Sumanta Pal, MD, Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at City of Hope.  “And that may relieve many burdens, including economic costs and time costs to the patient. One of the traditional challenges with radiation therapy in prostate cancer is that it is administered over such an extended period of time. It becomes a real challenge for patients who come from long distances for their radiation treatment and certainly might compromise compliance.” 

If you or a loved one is screened for prostate cancer and the disease is detected, be sure to fully inform yourself of your options, including a second opinion.  Cyberknife is an accepted treatment for prostate cancer and is delivered over a shorter period of time – 5 treatments vs. 28-41 treatments.  Contact Columbus CyberKnife to learn how we treat prostate cancer painlessly and noninvasively with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, a painless, nonsurgical cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy. 

Do These Three Things to Help Prevent Cancer

If your New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy is already losing steam, February, which is National Cancer Prevention Month, is a great 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. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading national public health institute of the United States, reports that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, exceeded only by heart disease.  Every year, cancer claims the lives of more than half a million Americans and one of every four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.  

According to the American Cancer Society, the nationwide health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem, to help reduce your cancer risk, you should do the following things: 

– Stay away from all forms of tobacco.

– Get to and stay at a healthy weight.

– Get moving with regular physical activity.

– Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

– Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).

– Protect your skin.

– Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.

– Get regular check-ups and cancer screening tests. 

While the recommended tips above will all help you take control of your health, the American Cancer Society says much of the suffering and death from cancer could be prevented by more systematic efforts to reduce tobacco use, improve diet and physical activity, and expand the use of established screening tests.  These three things have the most impact on reducing your chances of being diagnosed with cancer. 

About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit.  Smoking accounts for about 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States, including about 80% of all lung cancer deaths.  Currently, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, and is one of the hardest cancers to treat.  Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. 

For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are diet and physical activity.  One-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year are linked to diet and physical activity, including being overweight or obese.  Eating a healthy diet and being physically active are good for you and will lower your risk of cancer. 

Cancer screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies, increase the chances of detecting certain cancers early, when they are most likely to be curable.  If you have a new health insurance plan or insurance policy beginning on or after September 23, 2010, there are several preventive services that are covered without you having to pay a copayment or co-insurance or meet your deductible.  Check out www.HHS.gov to see what preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act. 

By quitting or limiting your tobacco use, improving your diet and increasing physical activity, and getting your preventative screenings, you are taking an active role in living a healthier lifestyle and lowering your chances of cancer. 

If you, or a loved one, has been diagnosed with cancer, or have questions about cancer treatment options available, please contact Columbus CyberKnife today. 

Patient Perspectives: ‘How Will the Treatment Affect my Daily Routine?’

At Columbus CyberKnife, a key part of our consultation and treatment process is educating our patients on what they can expect before, during and after treatment. One common question our care team hears from patients is “how will the treatment affect my daily routine?”

For some patients, maintaining a daily routine is important, particularly for those who work or travel. Fortunately, as cancer technology and approaches to treatment have advanced, there are options and methods available that can help to reduce the impact of cancer treatment on a patient’s daily routine. One example of this is stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

SRS is a noninvasive treatment in which precisely targeted, high-dose radiation is delivered to tumors in one to five outpatient sessions. Patients do not have to undergo surgery, sedation or a prolonged recovery time. This benefit is particularly important for patients who are seeking a treatment option that allows them to maintain their routines or continue going to work. Columbus Cyberknife delivers SRS using the CyberKnife® system.

In addition to convenience, CyberKnife SRS is also safe and effective. There is a growing base of clinical research and information available demonstrating the treatment’s effectiveness for several types of cancers, including lung cancer, prostate cancer, brain tumors and metastatic cancer.

For more information, view our post on what to expect during CyberKnife treatment

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Columbus CyberKnife offers Cancer Patients Advanced Radiation Treatment backed by Experienced Team

Hearing that you have cancer can be frightening and confusing. An important step following a diagnosis is learning about your treatment options and potentially seeking second opinions from other physicians.

If you learn you’re one of the more than 65,000 people in Ohio the American Cancer Society predicts will receive a cancer diagnosis in 2015, take time to learn about the treatment options available not only in your community, but also surrounding areas. Educating yourself and asking your physician questions will allow you to make an informed decision that is best for your specific case and lifestyle.

Based in Westerville on the campus of hospital partner Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital, Columbus CyberKnife has been treating patients from areas throughout Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana for the past five years. Having established the first CyberKnife program in central and southeastern Ohio in 2010, Columbus CyberKnife brought together an expert team of radiation oncologists with decades of experience treating patients with a variety of radiation therapy approaches.

For patients who live in areas around Columbus, such as Zanesville, Lancaster, Chillicothe or Newark, CyberKnife treatment may provide an option not available in your community or that may complement and be used in combination with a treatment available from a local provider.

At Columbus CyberKnife, the CyberKnife is used to deliver highly advanced radiation treatments called stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). CyberKnife SRS is used to treat benign and malignant brain tumors, certain types of head and neck cancer and non-cancerous conditions like trigeminal neuralgia. CyberKnife SBRT treats several different types of cancer throughout the body, including prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. It can also treat metastatic tumors that may develop in the brain, lung or bones from the spread of a primary cancer in another area of the body, such as breast cancer or skin cancer.

While the name may invoke images of knives and scalpels, CyberKnife treatment is completely noninvasive and does not require incisions or sedation. The technology delivers high doses of radiation to precisely targeted locations in the body. The precision and accuracy of radiation delivered directly to tumors minimizes exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

While some treatments like intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) also focus on precise areas and reduce radiation to normal tissue, these therapies typically involve around 40 treatments delivered daily over the course of six to eight weeks. In contrast, CyberKnife treatments are delivered in one to five outpatient sessions over the course of one to two weeks. The convenience of CyberKnife SRS and SBRT is a key benefit for patients seeking not only an effective and high-quality radiation treatment, but also one that allows them to spend less time stressing about treatment and more time with their families and friends.

We encourage you to learn more about CyberKnife treatment from real patients who have undergone the procedure. View testimonials here. You can also find support resources here.

If you live in or around Columbus or in the southeastern part of Ohio and have been diagnosed with cancer, contact Columbus CyberKnife to schedule a consultation and find out if CyberKnife treatment is an option for you. Call us at 614-898-8300 or request additional information here

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Tips for Caregivers: Providing Support to a Loved one Coping with Cancer

A cancer diagnosis of a loved one presents many challenges, both for the person coping with cancer and for his or her caregivers. There are many ways to help and support a loved one going through this difficult time. Read below for some helpful tips from CancerCare.org.

  • Communicate with loved ones: Be open and listen to your loved one’s feelings. The more open you are, the more comfortable your loved one will feel about asking for help.
  • Ask how you can help with medical matters: Offering to run errands like picking up prescriptions or bringing a loved one to appointments can help to relieve their stress and show them support in a productive way.
  • Join a support group: Sharing your feelings with other caregivers can help you to feel connected to those who can relate to your experience.

Designating yourself as a caregiver is a big responsibility and the role you take on can change throughout the treatment process. By staying mindful and positive, your encouragement can greatly contribute to the cancer journey of your friend or family member.

To learn more tips for caregivers, visit www.CancerCare.org. You can also visit our Support Resources page for additional information.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Common Patient Questions: ˜What is ‘Local Control?’

If you or a loved one is preparing to undergo cancer treatment and have been presented with various treatment options, one of the many medical terms you may have heard is “local control.”

This term refers to cancer that hasn’™t grown and progressed and remains at the original tumor site. Radiation is used for local control of cancer cells at the primary tumor site.

CyberKnife® has been shown to provide excellent local control rates for several types of primary and metastatic cancers. Click here for a list of studies. You can also check out our blog post on recent prostate cancer research.

If interested in learning more about CyberKnife treatment outcomes for various types of cancer and assessing whether you or a loved one may be a candidate for treatment, contact our center at 614-898-8300.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Spotlight On: CyberKnife Treatment for Kidney Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 61,500 new cases of kidney cancer are expected in 2015. In recognition of National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month, Columbus CyberKnife encourages patients and their loved ones to learn about the disease and treatment options.

At Columbus CyberKnife, we treat kidney cancer with a procedure called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) using advanced CyberKnife® technology. CyberKnife treatment for kidney cancer is a noninvasive approach completed in five or fewer outpatient treatments. With CyberKnife, patients typically return to their normal activities immediately following treatment, allowing for minimal interruption to daily routines.

Contact us to learn more about CyberKnife or to determine if you or a loved one may be a candidate for treatment.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.