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Cancer
Progress and Thanks for Five Years of Phase I Clinical Trials
Dec 19, 2014 By R. Donald Harvey, PharmD, FCCP BCOP, director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s Phase I Clinical Trials Unit

Phase I AnniversaryPatients. Clinical trials. We cannot have one without the other. The Phase I Clinical Trials Unit at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University opened in 2009, a time when a significant expansion of clinical trial efforts was underway to support the National Cancer Institute cancer center designation. Over this rapid five-year period, a truly collaborative culture has led to a cutting-edge, early drug development program at a nationally recognized, top 25 cancer center. None of this has been possible without patients putting their trust in our physicians, nurses, scientists, and many others, to deliver optimal care while asking critical questions about novel drugs and approaches. When I think about the impact of our Phase I unit on patients and their families, I recall a recent conversation with a seasoned oncologist here at Emory. He said, “Donald, if I saw anyone [...]

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Cancer
Every Cancer is Personal
Dec 9, 2014 By Adam Marcus, PhD, Director of Emory School of Medicine-Winship Cancer Institute Integrated Cellular Imaging Core

As a cancer researcher, I've delivered plenty of lectures, but nothing compares with a talk I gave in October to an audience of 500 strangers. My TEDx address focused on how the treatment and diagnosis of cancer is becoming more personal. Scientists across the world are going all-in on determining the driving genetic changes for each individual cancer to better personalize treatment for each patient. In my talk, I tried to emphasize where hope lives for cancer treatment in the next 5-10 years based upon this approach and how my laboratory at the Winship Cancer Institute is contributing to this effort. Although I went into the day looking to impact others, I never expected the event to have such an impact on me. There were a dozen speakers that day with talks ranging from robotics and mathematics to tap dancing and beatboxing. The day of mass-education concluded with an impromptu [...]

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Cancer
Key Steps for Coping with Cancer-Related Fatigue
Dec 4, 2014 By Emory Johns Creek Hospital

cancer fatigueFatigue is one of the most common side effects reported by cancer patients, and symptoms of cancer- related fatigue differ significantly from the fatigue patients experienced before cancer diagnosis. Cancer-related fatigue is not only caused by the disease itself, but cancer treatment as well as the emotional and psychological effects of fighting cancer can also contribute. Described by patients as more pronounced during treatment, cancer-related fatigue can leave patients feeling wiped out by simple and small activities. It can also last years after treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, characteristics of cancer-related fatigue include:

  • Extreme tiredness that may vary in severity from day to day
  • Weakness, weariness or lethargy even after sleep
  • Feeling worn out after simple tasks like standing up from a chair or getting out of bed
  • Heaviness in arms
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Cancer
HPV-Related Head and Neck Cancers on the Rise
Dec 2, 2014 By Nabil F. Saba, MD, FACP, Chief of Head and Neck Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Head Neck CancerHead and neck cancer causes almost 200,000 deaths each year and is now recognized as one of the major health concerns both in the United States and worldwide. In particular, there has been a noted increase in the incidence of oropharynx cancer (OPC), mainly tonsil and base of tongue cancers, that are linked to infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). According to the National Cancer Institute, HPV infections are the most common sexually transmitted infections in the US and more than half of sexually active people are infected with one or more HPV types at some point in their lives. Most HPV infections occur without any symptoms and go away without any treatment over the course of a few years. However, HPV infections sometimes persist for many years and can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. The human papilloma virus 16 (HPV16) infection linked to [...]

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Cancer
Enjoy Holiday Food without Regret
Nov 26, 2014 By Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, Clinical Dietician

Eating Thanksgiving with CancerEating healthy during the holidays can be a challenge for most of us, but for many cancer patients it’s a struggle just to eat. If you’re currently going through cancer treatment, eating might not be the first thing on your mind. However, staying nourished during treatment is extremely important. Your body needs more nutrients than normal to repair the effects of treatment. We are all well aware that holiday foods tend to be fatty and sugary with many strong flavors. If you are having symptoms such as nausea, low appetite, taste changes or pain with swallowing, many of the traditional holiday foods will be unsettling. Avoid heavy cream sauces or gravies if you have a sensitive stomach. Also, stay out of the room where food is being cooked because cooking smells can make you nauseous. Turkey breast, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and basic vegetable dishes should be well [...]

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Cancer
Easing the Tension of Traveling for Cancer Treatment
Nov 17, 2014 By Joy McCall, LCSW

Travel for TreatmentAs a social worker at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, I see many patients who travel from out of the state and the country in order to receive medical care. Their cancer treatment can sometimes be scheduled every day for six weeks or more. This can add a lot of stress to an already difficult situation. It can be daunting to arrange all the transportation and lodging logistics, especially for an extended period of time. Patients and caregivers are also faced with being away from the comforts of their own home and support of loved ones who may live close by. Here are a few tips to consider if you have to travel for treatment:

  1. Contact your medical insurance company regarding travel benefits. Some insurers will provide transportation and lodging benefits in the form of reimbursements if patients must receive treatment a great distance from their home.
  2. Discuss
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Cancer
Getting the Best Cancer Treatments into Outlying Communities
Nov 12, 2014 By Anand Jillella, MD

Cancer Treatment in CommunitiesThe purpose of the community outreach program I oversee at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is to bring our clinical and population-based research to communities throughout Georgia and surrounding states in order to benefit patients in those areas. By partnering with community oncologists, we can offer our expertise and best practices to help them successfully treat patients with types of cancer that are less common or more difficult to treat. A great example of this is a program we’ve developed to treat patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), an uncommon but highly aggressive disease. We actually call it the heart attack of leukemias because a third of the patients do not survive the first month of treatment. We have chemotherapeutic drugs that are very effective in treating APL, but because it is a rare condition, physicians who treat it in the [...]

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Cancer
Coping After Cancer Treatment is Finished
Nov 6, 2014 By Joy McCall, LCSW

Cancer TherapyA cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. In fact, many patients have told me that cancer can easily define your life with on-going treatment lasting months and even years. Many patients stop working, limit their social interactions and even change roles within their household as a way to focus on completing treatment. You might think that once chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are over a patient would celebrate and move on, but that’s not always the case. Many patients feel lost and can find themselves asking what now? The intense focus on treatment often overshadows the future. Here are five tips to help you cope after your treatment is finished:

  1. Consider attending a local support group. They are a great way to connect with others who have a similar diagnosis and have completed treatment. Support groups are a safe place to discuss the feelings that go along with being
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Cancer
Lung Cancer Progress Made, But We’re Not There Yet
Oct 30, 2014 By Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, deputy director, Winship Cancer Institute

Lung Cancer (This blog was originally posted on September 29, 2014 on the American Association for Cancer Research website) Luther Terry, the ninth Surgeon General of the United States, released his now seminal Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States on Jan. 11, 1964. The report, assembled by a brave and committed panel of independent physicians and scientists, definitively concluded that lung cancer and chronic bronchitis are causally related to cigarette smoking. Fifty years later, genomic discovery and the rapidly accelerating fields of epigenetics, proteomics, metabolomics, and drug discovery have presented an armada of new options for patients with lung cancer. Computed tomography (CT) screening of high-risk individuals, particularly smokers, helps detect the disease in its early, more-curable stages more than 80 percent of [...]

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Cancer
Takeaways from Dr. Cohen's “Advancements in Breast Imaging” Live Chat
Oct 27, 2014 By Emory Healthcare

Thank you to everyone who joined us for last week’s live web chat on “Advancements in Imaging for Early Breast Cancer Detection.” Dr. Michael Cohen, director, Division of Breast Imaging for Emory’s Department of Radiology, discussed the latest in breast imaging screening and technology. Questions varied from ,“What are the current breast screening guidelines?” to “What is tomosynthesis and when is it the right choice for screening?” Below are just a few of the questions and answers from the chat. Make sure to view the chat transcript for the whole discussion. Question: What are the current breast cancer screening guidelines? Michael Cohen, MDAnswer: Women aged 40 and younger should have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years. All women aged 40 and over should get a yearly screening mammogram, clinical breast exam and perform a monthly breast [...]

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