Cancer News

Prevent Breast Cancer: It Starts with Proper Nutrition

Eat Healthy with CancerScience has come a long way in identifying nutrients that can help boost cell health and lower the risk of developing breast cancer. At first glance, these diet to-dos can seem overwhelming:

  1. Eat a plant-based diet
  2. Incorporate more antioxidants in your diet
  3. Try an anti-inflammatory diet

But the good news is that it’s actually much easier than you think to create and stick to a healthy diet. Each of these tips work together to create a well-rounded, healthy and delicious approach to nutrition.

Eat a Plant-Based Diet

A plant-based diet delivers important nutrients to your body, including antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber and other important vitamins and minerals that help your body function at its best. These nutrients have been linked to a reduced cancer risk.

Phytonutrients, in particular, can help protect cell health. These are naturally occurring chemicals that provide plants with color, odor and flavor. Research has shown these powerful substances have many benefits, including stimulating the immune system, blocking substances from becoming carcinogens, reducing inflammation, slowing the growth rate of cancer cells, and much more.

When it comes to shifting to a plant-based diet, there’s no need to go vegetarian or vegan. A few simple steps can deliver the benefits your body needs:

  • Go for 80/20. No more than 20 percent of your plate should be from protein, which includes meat, beans, eggs or other lean-protein sources. Make sure fruit, vegetables and grain take up most of the space on your plate.
  • Try meatless at least one night a week. Whole grain pasta with a fresh marinara sauce or healthy burritos filled with nutritious black beans, healthy cheeses and your favorite vegetables are healthful, delicious options.
  • Add berries to breakfast. Top yogurt or oats with berries, scramble eggs with veggies, or add bananas to peanut butter toast on whole grain bread.
  • Snack on veggies. Vegetables don’t have to be bland. Try some of your favorites dipped in hummus or Greek yogurt.

Know the Score on Antioxidants

Antioxidants help protect cells from damage, keeping them healthy and lowering your risk of cancer. Many fruit and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants, including:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Purple, blue and red grapes
  • Sweet potatoes

Other sources of antioxidants include:

  • Green tea
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Herbs and spices

There are many great ways to include antioxidants in your diet. Add at least one fruit or vegetable to each meal or snack every day. Veggies in dip and smoothies made with berries and spinach are also an easy and tasty way to boost your diet with antioxidants.

Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Anti-inflammatory diets have been in the news lately for a host of health benefits, including improved heart health, joint health, and reduced inflammation along with the potential to help lower your risk of cancer. Typically, these diets include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Plant-based protein, such as beans and nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Fresh herbs and spices

Phytonutrients come into play once again with the anti-inflammatory diet. One of the many benefits of these little substances includes the ability to reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation can cause damage to DNA and lead to cancer.

Because chronic inflammation often has no signs or symptoms, and can be caused by a variety of issues, including injury, obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and even stress, health professionals recommend eating a healthy diet high in phytonutrients to help lower your cancer risk.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Changing what and how you eat can be a daunting process. The success comes when you commit yourself to taking it slow. Introduce one new healthy eating habit once a week, and work your way to eating healthy all day, every day.

Keep these tips in mind to boost your chances of success:

  • Try a variety of new food, cooked in different ways.
  • Vegetables can retain a lot of their nutrients when sautéed or roasted. A good rule of thumb is to keep vegetables crisp when cooking, and make sure they don’t wind up falling apart.
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutrient-rich as fresh produce and often cost less.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season to boost nutrition and save money.
  • Discover healthy options that you like. Mealtimes and snacks should be enjoyable. Don’t eat something just because it’s included on a list. Find a healthy option that tastes good to you.

Learn More

Learn more about how a healthy diet can help prevent cancer and boost your health before, during, and after treatment. The dietitians at Winship Cancer Institute can answer your questions and create a customized nutrition plan that’s right for you.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University is the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center for Georgia – the highest designation given by the NCI to cancer centers in the nation. Winship offers expertise in cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment with the most advanced therapies. Winship is where you get treatments years before others can. Our expert team coordinates every detail of your visit to meet your individualized treatment plan. Visit emoryhealthcare.org/cancer or call 1-888-WINSHIP for an appointment.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Dr. Seth Rosen Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 95,520 new cases of colon cancer and 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer in 2017.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Most colorectal cancers start as a growth, called a polyp, in the inner lining of the colon or rectum and slowly progresses through the other layers. Removing a noncancerous polyp early can keep it from becoming a cancerous tumor, which is why screening is such an important tool for preventing this disease.

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

Colorectal cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms. It’s important to get screened regularly.

If you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Unintended weight loss

If you develop symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor immediately.

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

Your risk for developing colorectal cancer increases as you get older. Younger adults can get colorectal cancer, but more than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older.

Other risk factors include:

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Personal or Family History of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Your racial and ethnic background
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Lack of regular physical activity
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet
  • Overweight and obesity

Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Several tests are used to detect colorectal cancers, one of the most commonly used tests is a colonoscopy. During this test, the doctor uses a colonoscope (a thin tube with a small video camera on the end) to look at the entire length of the colon and rectum. Special instruments can be passed through the colonoscope to biopsy or remove any suspicious-looking polyps.

Other tests include:

  • Double-contrast barium enema (DCBE)
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT)
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Stool DNA test

When should I get screened? 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that adults age 50 to 75 get screened for colorectal cancer. Adults age 76 to 85 should ask their doctor if they should be tested. However, you may need to get screened earlier than 50 if you meet certain risk factors.

If you believe you are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer, talk with your doctor to determine how often you should be tested and what screening is right for you.

Colorectal Cancer Treatments

There are many ways to treat colorectal cancer depending on its type and stage.

  • Some treatments may include local therapies such as: surgery, radiation therapy, ablation or embolization
    • These treatments are often used for earlier stage cancers
  • Systematic treatments including chemotherapy and targeted therapy may be used because they can reach cancer cells anywhere in the body

Next Steps

If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, please call 404-778-1900 or 888-946-7447 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Winship Cancer Care

Your Winship multidisciplinary care team includes oncology surgeons, colorectal surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists, nutritionists, social workers and advanced practice nurses with expertise in colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers. The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top colorectal cancer experts in the world
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties
  • Access to a nurse navigator to assist you throughout the treatment process
  • Access to support groups and education classes for you and your caregivers
  • Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program

Bio – Dr. Seth Rosen

Dr. Seth Rosen is a board certified colon and rectal surgeon. He’s an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. As chair of Emory Healthcare’s Robotic Institute Committee, Dr. Rosen leads a team that is tracking utilization of robotic surgery throughout Emory Healthcare, including outcomes, quality, cost, and efficiency; identifying areas for improvement; and initiating plans based on its recommendations.

Dr. Rosen is a Fellow of The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and a current member of the Medical Association of Georgia.

He’s also a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital to offer Gamma Knife Treatment

Winship Cancer Institute at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital is the first hospital in the state and one of only seven medical centers in the nation to offer advanced radiosurgery for the brain with the Gamma Knife Icon. The device delivers minimally invasive radiation treatment for malignant and nonmalignant tumors, trigeminal neuralgia (facial pain syndrome) and other neurological disorders.

“This technology pinpoints the tumor with the greatest accuracy to date, and also preserves cognitive function by avoiding critical brain structures. The Gamma Knife Icon is the best combination of all we’ve come to learn about stereotactic radiosurgery for the brain,” says Peter Rossi, MD, Winship director of radiation oncology at Emory Saint Joseph’s.

Gamma Knife Treatment

Gamma Knife treatment is an alternative to open brain surgery, as it does not require a scalpel or an incision. The procedure treats brain lesions with enough radiation to control them. As a result, the lesion will disappear, shrink or stop growing. This often occurs in the most critical, difficult-to-access areas of the brain. With Gamma Knife treatment, patients avoid whole brain radiation therapy, and do not experience side effects such as memory loss.

The Gamma Knife treatment lasts from 20 minutes to two hours, and patients go home the same day. The day of the procedure, the patient will first receive an MRI. The treatment team, a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist and physicist, will then use the MRI to carefully plan and identify the area of the brain to be treated. Next, the patient is fitted with either a head frame or mask to stabilize the head during the procedure. The patient is then moved into the machine for treatment.

“There is minimal pain involved for patients,” says Shannon Kahn, MD, Winship radiation oncologist at Emory Saint Joseph’s. “After being fitted with either the head frame or mask, patients lay on a table with a comfortable mattress and often sleep during treatment. After treatment is complete, patients can go home the same day.”

Gamma Knife Patient Experience

Joseph Garrett, the first patient at Emory Saint Joseph’s to be treated with the Gamma Knife Icon, was pleased with his treatment. Garrett, who experienced vision problems and was later diagnosed with a benign brain tumor, said, “I didn’t experience any side effects at all.” He reported treatment to be painless, and immediately returned to normal activities.

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute Launch Comprehensive Lung Cancer Screening Program

Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute have launched a comprehensive lung cancer screening program for high risk patients.Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Winship Cancer Institute have launched a comprehensive lung cancer screening program for Emory Healthcare that offers a low-dose CT (computed tomography) scan for patients most at risk for developing the disease.

According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer and research shows that lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans and appropriate follow-up care significantly reduce lung cancer deaths. The CT scan of the chest is used to screen for pulmonary nodules – collections of abnormal tissue within the lungs that may be early manifestations of lung cancer. These nodules are often detectable by lung screening before physical symptoms of lung cancer develop.

“Our goal is to detect lung cancer early,” says Stephen Szabo, MD, director of Winship’s community oncology at Emory Saint Joseph’s, “and our program is unique because we have a team of specialists in radiology, oncology, cardiothoracic surgery and pulmonology providing a continuum of care for each patient.” Participants also have access to the latest clinical trials and cutting edge new therapies within one academic medical system.

“Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and for women. This comprehensive lung cancer screening program will increase the chances of detecting any lung cancers at an earlier, more curable stage” says Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, Winship’s executive director.

The CT scan is recommended for current or former smokers ages 55-80 who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (packs per day x total years smoked = pack years) or for those who have quit within the past 15 years.

Patients meeting the criteria for the CT scan are required to have a provider referral. Emory Saint Joseph and Winship will assist those candidates without a referral by scheduling a shared decision making appointment with a provider on site in order to facilitate the screening.

Once the scan is completed and read by a radiologist within 48 hours, the multidisciplinary team will determine the best care plan for each patient based upon the results, whether it is immediate treatment or an annual follow up appointment. Patients that have nodules identified during the screening are provided an appointment within 48 hours for a lung nodule consultation with a physician who is a part of the multidisciplinary team.

For more information about lung cancer screening at Emory Healthcare, call 404-686-5864 (LUNG) or visit http://www.emoryhealthcare.org.

View the Emory New Center article here.

Winship Cancer Institute Celebrates 2015 as a Banner Year

Ranked first in Georgia for cancer care, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University offers patients with access to progressive resources, technology and cancer treatment options through Georgia’s largest health care system Emory Healthcare. As Georgia’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, Winship is a national leader in seeking out new ways to defeat cancer and in translating that knowledge into patient care.

Key 2015 Highlights:

  • For the second year in a row, Winship was ranked as a top 25 cancer program nationwide, moving up from 24th to 22nd nationally, and as best in Georgia by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Winship expanded staff and services this year at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Emory John’s Creek Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown.
  • Winship’s clinical trials program enrolled more patients on trials than in any other year and contributed to the approval of four new therapies for multiple myeloma.
  • Winship exceeded its fundraising goal for the Win the Fight 5K in September, bringing in more than $778,000 for cancer research.

Read the full transcript of the video here.

Winship key to four new myeloma drugs in 2015

lonial patientThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved elotuzumab as part of an innovative immune-based therapy treatment for patients with relapsed multiple myeloma. This is the third myeloma drug approved by the FDA within the last month and the fourth new myeloma treatment approved within the last year. All four new agents were tested in clinical trials at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Sagar Lonial, MD, chief medical officer of Winship, says the potential of elotuzumab can be seen in the overall response rate as well as the longer duration of progression-free survival.

“The Winship multiple myeloma team has shepherded several of these treatments from the beginning stages of testing through to their approval,” said Lonial. “It’s a great source of pride to know we were instrumental in the process that has led to many more treatment options for our patients.”

Read the full press release here.

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November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month – Reduce Your Cancer Risks Today

lung-cancerAccording to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lung cancer accounts for about 13% of all new cancers. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. For smokers, the risk of lung cancer is higher than non-smokers risks so I encourage smokers to make a plan to quit smoking during this lung cancer awareness month.

I would also recommend that you stay away from all tobacco products and byproducts, including second hand smoke. It’s never too late to stop smoking, contact Emory HealthConnection at 404-778-7777 to learn more from a registered nurse about finding a primary physician who can assist you in your health goals.

In addition to not smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you get your home tested for radon. Radon, a naturally occurring gas that comes from rocks and dirt, is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon can have a big impact on indoor air quality if you would like more information on test kits call 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or visit the website www.UGAradon.org.

About Dr. Sancheti

sanchetiLocated at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Dr. Sancheti specializes in thoracic oncology, minimally invasive thoracic surgery, esophageal surgery, and lung transplantation.

A board certified thoracic surgeon, Manu S. Sancheti, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery of the Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine. He joined the Emory faculty in 2014. Dr. Sancheti holds memberships with the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, the Southern Thoracic Surgical Association and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Dr. Sancheti received his MD from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 2006, after which he did a general surgery residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City from 2006-2011. He joined the faculty at Emory University after completing his cardiothoracic surgery residency on a general thoracic track there.

New Mammography Guidelines

mammogramAlthough the American Cancer Society (ACS) confirms that mammography saves lives, the organization issued new breast cancer screening guidelines on Oct. 20 that recommend women at average risk for breast cancer start getting annual mammograms at age 45. The previous recommendation was to start at age 40, and I will continue to recommend that women get yearly screening mammograms starting at age 40.

Evidence shows that the most lives are saved when screening starts at age 40. Although breast cancer is a little less common in women aged 40 to 44, this group receives the same life-saving benefit from screening mammography that older women do. As a radiologist specializing in breast cancer detection and diagnosis, I see this first-hand. My colleagues in the American College of Radiology agree and are also continuing to recommend that yearly screenings begin at age 40.

The new ACS guidelines note that the “harms” associated with screening may outweigh the benefits in women age 40-44. It is vital that women compare the magnitude and implication of the harms versus benefits associated with screening mammography. The harms they identify are about getting false positive readings from mammograms that can result in women being called back in for more imaging or an ultrasound. About 10% of women are recalled for these additional tests and the vast majority are cleared at that point. About 1 – 2% of patients who are recalled receive a needle biopsy using local anesthetic.

The benefits include saving lives and finding cancers smaller and earlier so that less aggressive treatment is required. I believe most women will agree that the drawbacks pale in comparison to the benefits of screening, and will choose to proceed with yearly screening. In fact, the ACS declares that yearly screening is beneficial and something that the majority of women would want, as long as they are healthy and have a 10 year or longer life expectancy. It is vital that we preserve a woman’s access to this life-saving technology so that she may choose to screen.

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About Dr. Newell

Newell_MaryMary S. Newell, MD, began practicing with Emory Healthcare in 2001 where she is a board certified radiologist specializing in breast cancer imaging and diagnosis. Dr. Newell has interests in emerging imaging technologies, teaching, and healthcare policy.

Dr. Newell chairs the American Board of Radiology Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Breast Committee and the American College of Radiology Joint Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards and Appropriateness Committee on Criteria. She is Head of Curriculum Assessment for the Society of Breast Imaging and Special Consulting Editor for CME for the American Journal of Roentgenology. She also serves as the treasurer for the Georgia Radiologicial Society, is a councilor to the American college of radiology representing the state of Georgia, and serves on numerous committees institutionally and nationally.

Dr. Newell earned her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School. She then completed her residency in diagnostic radiology and fellowship in body imaging at the St. Francis Hospital in Illinois. Dr. Newell’s research focuses on discovery and evaluation of new imaging modalities for future use in breast cancer screening and detection.

Landmark Multiple Myeloma Studies from Winship

In recognition of September being Blood Caner Awareness Month, Dr. Sagar Lonial, Winship’s Chief Medical Officer shares a video about his Winship phase III clinical trial study on elotuzumab in treating myeloma patients.

Many cancers have benefited from FDA approvals for monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Multiple myeloma, a second common blood cancer, had limited outcome improvements with mAbs until Dr. Lonial’s recent work. Dr. Lonial’s research was presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year.

Learn more about Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Winship Trial Reduces Mortality Rate for APL Patients

Winship's APL team (left to right): Martha Arellano, Kaitlin Sitchenko, Anand P. Jillella, Vamsi Kota, Ann Shen, Emily Bennett.

Winship’s APL team (left to right): Martha Arellano, Kaitlin Sitchenko, Anand P. Jillella, Vamsi Kota, Ann Shen, Emily Bennett.

Winship oncologist Anand Jillella, MD is spearheading a clinical trial for patients with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) that could change the mortality rate for this disease on a major scale.

Often called the heart attack of leukemias, APL is a highly aggressive disease that is curable if treated early. A third of patients, however, do not survive the first month of treatment. By observing and analyzing the problem, Jillella and his team of physicians, nurses, and research staff came up with a collaborative approach that decreases mortality from 30 percent to about five percent. This new trial is open to patients all across the country.

Jillella has found that some physicians who treat patients with APL may not be familiar with the potential complications that can develop during treatment. He took a very detailed treatment algorithm and boiled it down to a three-step process that can be easily shared. “As soon as we get a call from a community physician, we send the simplified algorithm via smart phone,” says Jillella. “We come up with a treatment plan based on what the patient is experiencing and follow up with them regularly to get them through that difficult first month.”

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Clinical Trials: Leading the Way to Better Health Care