Wellness

Coping with Stress and Cancer

cancer fatigueCancer can create a great deal of stress as individuals try to understand their diagnosis, navigate treatment and manage follow-up care. Feelings of anger, sadness, worry, fear, as well as experiences of questioning personal values and beliefs, wondering about the meaning of life, and having challenges in relationships are all common. It is a lot for any one person to manage!

There are little things you can do to help manage your spiritual and emotional stress while you are living with a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment:

1. Accept a New Normal

It can be very frustrating when you’re no longer able to do the things you could do before cancer treatment. It may be helpful to acknowledge your current limitations and to work toward accepting a new normal.

  • Modify favorite activities so you can still enjoy the things you love
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Set small goals and celebrate small successes
  • Be honest about how you feel and what you can do with yourself and your loved ones
  • Find new activities you can enjoy

2. Seek Out People Who Support

When you are living with cancer, many people may be genuinely concerned and want to express their love and care. Sometimes, people may be unsure of how to act, or what to say or do to help. You may find, at times, that you need to manage other people’s feelings relating to your diagnosis. This can create an unnecessary burden for you!

Pay attention to the people you surround yourself with, and spend time with the people that can support you without adding additional burden. It is absolutely okay to decline offers to help, and you are not obligated to share details about your journey that you do not want to share. Perhaps you might not be up for visitors, but you could use help with practical tasks around home. Some ideas may be making a dinner, helping with minor house maintenance, or running an errand for your caregiver.

3. Connect to Your Spiritual Health

Engaging your spirituality is the action of connecting to what you value most. It can take many different forms, such as prayer, meditation, engagement in religious ritual or worship, or it could be sitting quietly on a porch, going fishing or taking a quiet walk around the block. Your spirituality, in whatever form it takes, is important. Engaging with your spirituality can help you reconnect, recharge, and better manage stressful situations. Engaging your spirituality can help you reflect on that which matters most to you.

Start small by dedicating 5-10 minutes every day to an activity that helps you reconnect with what you value and what gives you meaning. Be willing to try a few new things to find what brings you peace and comfort.

4. Remember You Are Not Alone – Lean on Someone

It’s impossible to manage everything on your own — especially during cancer. Find someone with whom you can openly and honestly share how you’re feeling, without the fear of being judged. That may be a close friend, family member, a spiritual health clinician, religious provider, or a licensed therapist.

Visit our website if you’d like to talk with someone from our spiritual health team.

For more information, call HealthConnection at 404-778-7777 or contact your primary care physician.

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.

The Spiritual Side of Cancer Treatment

A cancer diagnosis is nothing short of overwhelming.

In addition to concerns about coordinating treatment for the physical condition, emotions brew in the patient and family members. Fear, anger, and a feeling of being alone are common reactions.

When facing cancer, one mustn’t neglect the spiritual side of treatment.

Caroline Peacock, LCSW, MDiv, Manager of Spiritual Health at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, shares the importance of having someone to talk to about the spiritual side of the cancer diagnosis. “We believe in supporting the whole person in their care. Having a spiritual health clinician attend to the patient and family members helps them to know we care about all of them—all of their personhood—and that we want to support them in comprehensive care.”

Spiritual Doubts & Faith Crises

Many cancer patients experience an urge to be strong and put on a brave face. It’s tough to express one’s spiritual doubts and emotions to friends and family. A spiritual health clinician can serve as a pressure valve, allowing patients to express the suffering and angst they may not be able to comfortably share with friends or family.

“If a person has a particular faith background or spirituality he or she ascribes to, we support that individual in the expression of that spirituality. It can really help patients cope when they’re going through a terribly difficult time like this,” explains Peacock.

Spiritual health clinicians don’t prescribe a particular religious practice but rather help individuals connect to what gives them hope and a sense of connection. For those with a specific faith, community leaders in that faith are accessible to visit and provide spiritual support.

Cancer may also prompt a crisis of faith. Spiritual health clinicians make space to explore these crises by acknowledging how confusing and frightening the diagnosis may be.

“Patients can then further explore how difficult it is to be undergoing this crisis of faith and it allows them to come to their own answer within their own framework for how they understand their situation,” says Peacock.

Spiritual health clinicians willingly listen when patients experience spiritual struggles tied to their cancer diagnosis. Patients receive non-judgmental support, and can even explore some of the thoughts that may feel difficult to bring up in a religious context.

Patient-to-Patient Care

An interesting form of spiritual support can occur between patients. “When two patients are receiving treatment right next to each other in the waiting room or family resource center they often strike up conversations. It’s not uncommon for each to become a source of support,” explains Peacock. “It’s sometimes easier to reveal your emotional and spiritual concerns to someone who is facing similar circumstances.”

A Team Approach

Spiritual help is not just available for patients, but for family members as well. It’s important for all involved in the cancer recovery to find support within their own structure. Visit our website if you’d like to talk with someone from our spiritual health team.

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.

 

About Caroline Peacock, LCSW, MDiv

Caroline Peacock, LCSW, MDiv, is the Manager of Spiritual Health and Community Care for the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. She is a Certified Associate Educator with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, an ordained Episcopal priest, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been with Emory Healthcare since 2013, where she received her training as a spiritual health educator. Prior to training in Spiritual Health, she worked as a clinical social worker in New York City. Caroline has a passion for offering compassionate, respectful, and effective patient/family-centered care in a multi-faith, multi-cultural environment. She has a Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary, and a Master of Social Work from City University of New York Hunter College.

To listen to an interview with Caroline Peacock, LCSW, MDiv, Spiritual Health Manager at Winship Cancer Institue of Emory University, please follow this link: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/podcasts/index.html?segitem=36546

Spiritual Health and Your Cancer Journey

When a person is experiencing a serious illness, it’s not just their body that’s affected. The entire being — from the spiritual to emotional — can be impacted. This can be particularly true for individuals navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is not uncommon for people to experience a crisis of faith, to feel disconnected from their religious community or loved ones, or to feel that it is hard to talk about the way their outlook on life may be changing. Some people may feel isolated, angry or overwhelmed. Others may have a renewed sense of meaning or faith. No matter the experience, it can be helpful for people living with cancer to connect with their own spiritual life as a way of coping with their illness.

What is Spiritual Health?

Simply put, spiritual health is the quality of whole-person wellness – including spiritual and emotional wellness.

People have different ideas about what gives them meaning, their deepest values, and religious beliefs, which may affect decisions they make relating to treatment. These values can also impact decision-making about end-of-life care. Even common health issues can bring up spiritual concerns, and patients and family members may benefit from exploring the way their broader life is affected when they experience illness. Some patients and their family caregivers want doctors to talk about spiritual concerns, but feel unsure about how to bring up the subject.

Spiritual Health at Winship Cancer Institute is here to help patients connect with what they value most, to what gives them meaning in life — whether that’s a particular faith, religious or spiritual practice, meditation, cherished pastime, or loving connection to community, family and friends.

Our Spiritual Health clinicians are available to talk to anyone and everyone, regardless of their religious identity. We provide an open, supportive and compassionate presence. This can happen at any point of a person’s cancer journey – at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, or when returning for follow-up care. The Spiritual Health clinicians at Winship Cancer Institute will not impose any belief, but will be present to listen, understand and help you connect with what you value.

In recent years, there have been studies to investigate the benefits of spiritual health. The results support the importance of spiritual health in giving a renewed sense of hope, self-worth and meaning.

How Can I Attend to My Spiritual Health?

Ultimately, a person’s spirituality is a part of their own personal journey. What works best for one person may not work for another. Spiritual health clinicians can talk with you to help you find or strengthen a spiritual connection to whatever it is you believe or find of value.

For some, engaging spirituality may include prayer, attending a religious service, spending time outdoors or daily meditation. The first step is to identify what’s important to you and asking yourself questions such as “What gives me meaning?” and “What do I value most?”

These questions may be difficult to answer at first, but spending time thinking about what you value most can help you find and strengthen a path to spiritual wellness.

Ask for Help

Spiritual clinicians are also available to talk with any patient or caregiver at Winship Cancer Institute. Visit our website if you’d like to talk with someone from our spiritual health team.

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.

 

About Caroline Peacock, LCSW, MDiv

Caroline Peacock, LCSW, MDiv, is the Manager of Spiritual Health and Community Care for the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. She is a Certified Associate Educator with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, an ordained Episcopal priest, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been with Emory Healthcare since 2013, where she received her training as a spiritual health educator. Prior to training in Spiritual Health, she worked as a clinical social worker in New York City. Caroline has a passion for offering compassionate, respectful, and effective patient/family-centered care in a multi-faith, multi-cultural environment. She has a Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary, and a Master of Social Work from City University of New York Hunter College.

Listen to the Spiritual Health podcast: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/podcasts/index.html?segitem=36546

Kick Butts Day’s Effort to End Smoking

Did you know that over 3,000 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time every day? According to Kick Butts Day, 700 of these 3,000 kids will become regular smokers. Kick Butts Day takes place every March 15th to encourage American youth to speak out against this tobacco use in hopes of eliminating and preventing nicotine addiction in teens. It is extremely important for teens to learn about the side effects and consequences of using tobacco primarily because it is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

Facts about Smoking Cigarettes from the CDC

  • Causes 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
  • Increases the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke, which leads to death
  • Causes about 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and women
  • Makes it harder for women to become pregnant and can affect the baby’s health
  • Reduces the fertility of men’s sperm
  • Causes tooth loss
  • Decreases the immune system

Steps to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

The CDC recommends taking three steps to quit smoking. The first is to build a quit plan. In this preparation stage, you will determine your quit date, identify your reasons to quit, and develop coping strategies. In the next stage, you will learn to manage your cravings. This can primarily be done by staying active. For example, former smokers recommend chewing gum to keep your mouth busy or going for a walk to boost your energy. Lastly, find support. Listen to motivating stories from former smokers or watch YouTube videos of smoking campaigns to find the encouragement you need to get through the tough days.

Foods that Fight Prostate Cancer

prostate healthy eatingEating a healthy diet helps reduce your chances of getting cancer, but which foods should men eat to reduce their prostate cancer risk and why? See our list of cancer-fighting foods below to find out.

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed with lycopene; a member of the carotenoid family found commonly in red pigmented fruit and vegetables, lycopene has been established as having strong antioxidant properties. Research suggests that lycopene is a preventive agent for prostate disease. [1]

2. Watermelon

Watermelon, like tomatoes, is loaded with lycopene. In fact, one cup has the lycopene content of two tomatoes. But watermelon is also rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage and rid your body of harmful cells that can lead to cancer.

3. Garlic

Garlic is famed for its supposed health benefits, and studies concerning its anti-cancer benefits look promising. Several compounds are involved in garlic’s possible anti-cancer effects – garlic contains allyl sulfur and other compounds that slow or prevent the growth of tumor cells. In one study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2002, scientists discovered that men who ate about a clove of garlic daily had a 50 percent reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. [2]

4. Green Tea

Green tea contains polyphenol compounds, particularly catechins, which are antioxidants and whose biological activities may be relevant to cancer prevention. Studies have shown that green tea and its components effectively mitigate cellular damage due to oxidative stress, and green tea extract is reported to induce cancer cell death and starve tumors by curbing the growth of new blood vessels that feed them. [3]

5. Soy

Soy fills the body with isoflavones — compounds that act like the hormone estrogen in humans — and have been found to have an abundance of anti-cancer benefits. Studies have shown that the isoflavones in soy inhibit prostate cancer cell growth, induce cellular death, and enhance the ability of radiation to kill prostate cancer cells. [4]

6. Beans

Beans are a good source of protein; a good alternative to meat. Beans are high in fiber.

7. Broccoli

Studies suggest a link between cruciferous vegetables and prostate cancer risk. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetables and contains the phytochemical sulforaphane, which targets cancer cells.

8. Fish

Fish have a healthier balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which may help prevent the development of prostate cancer. Eat fish found in cold waters to increase Omega-3 intake: salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines

Sources:
[1] Ilic D., “Lycopene for the prevention and treatment of prostate disease.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24531784
[2] Milner JA. “A historical perspective on garlic and cancer.” J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3s):1027S-31S.
[3] Butt MS, Sultant MT. “Green tea: nature’s defense against malignancies.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19399671
[4] Mahmoud AM, Yang W, Bosland MC., Soy isoflavones and prostate cancer: A review of molecular mechanisms.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24373791

Find a primary physician through our Emory Healthcare Network or call Health Connection at 404-778-7777 to learn more from a registered nurse.

Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s Prostate Cancer Program offers a multidisciplinary approach. Our team of experienced specialists in urology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, advanced practice nursing, and social work deliver a comprehensive and coordinated approach to treating prostate cancer.

At Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute, our specialized clinicians use the latest precision medicine treatments and procedures that improve prostate cancer care. Proton therapy, a precision radiation treatment, is now one of the many technologically advanced tools to precisely and effectively treat each individual patient’s specific cancer.

About Tiffany Barrett

tiffanybarrettTiffany Barrett, MS, RD, CSO, LD, is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and sought after expert in her field. She is a key contributor to support programs at Winship and provides personalized nutritional advice to Winship Cancer Institute patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. She also consults with patients who have completed treatment and wish to continue to build a strong and healthy diet. She earned her Bachelor of Science at Florida State University and a Master of Science at University of North Florida. Tiffany is a Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and completed a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Cancer Clinical Study Leads to Video Tool for Prostate Cancer Patients
Two Patients Benefit from Two Alternative Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
PSA Screening for Prostate Cancer – A Healthy Debate
Questions on Validity of PSA Test as Prostate Cancer Screening Tool
Prostate Cancer, To Screen or Not?

 

Cancer Survivor Exercises for Health

Winship at the Y was established to provide cancer survivors with better access to specialized exercise programs. This program, which is unlike any other in the country, is open to any cancer survivor, not just patients at the Winship Cancer Institute.  In addition to physical benefits, exercise may provide a psychological and emotional benefit during and after cancer treatment. Breast cancer survivor, Janel Green, who was treated at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, talks about how the special exercise program has helped her regain her health.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
Bringing Survivorship Tools Closer to Home

Massage Therapy Used to Combat Breast Cancer-Related Fatigue

cancer and massage therapyFatigue is the most common side effect of cancer treatment according to the National Cancer Institute. Many breast cancer survivors describe their fatigue as more intense than the feelings of being tired that we all experience from time to time. Reported characteristics include feeling tired, weak, worn-out, heavy, slow, or lack of energy and difficulty getting-up-and-going.

Currently, researchers from Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University are investigating the benefits of massage therapy on breast cancer survivors with extreme fatigue.

“We decided to look at massage therapy for cancer fatigue because cancer-related fatigue is one of the most prevalent and debilitating symptoms experienced by people with cancer,” explains Mark Rapaport, MD, principle investigator for this study. “Many studies investigating massage for patients with cancer have been focused on depression, anxiety or pain.”

“We already know that frequent massage can enhance the immune system and reduce anxiety, and it has been reported that massage therapy can stimulate energy, and reduce symptoms such as nausea and pain,” says Mylin Torres, MD, associate professor in Emory’s Department of Radiation Oncology, serves as a co-investigator on the study. “We believe that there are many positive effects to be gained by therapeutic massage and we hope to prove that, among other biological advantages, massage may diminish the incapacitation that cancer-related fatigue can cause for our patients.”

Participants in the six-week study are post-surgery breast cancer patients, between the ages of 18 and 65, who have been treated with standard chemotherapy, chemoprevention and/or radiation, and are suffering with breast cancer-related fatigue. They are broken into three groups.

  • Group one receives a typical Swedish-type massage
  • Group two does not receive a massage
  • Group three receives a light touch massage.

Throughout the clinical trial, participants’ vital signs are taken and blood drawn to check for immune markers. The study staff also regularly checks in with each participant to record any changes in their life or their health. So far, the findings are promising.

View this Fox21 news clip to learn more about recent findings from the cancer fatigue trial!

 

Related Resources:

It’s Melanoma Awareness Monday: Reduce Your Risk

melanoma awarenessDid you know that melanoma cases in the United States are growing faster than any other cancer? Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be deadly if it spreads throughout the body. It usually grows near the surface of the skin and then begins to grow deeper, increasing the risk of spread to other organs. Detecting and removing a malignant melanoma early can result in a complete cure. Removal after the tumor has spread may not be effective.

Melanoma can occur anywhere on the skin, including areas that are difficult for self-examination. Many melanomas are first noticed by other family members.

Most patients with early melanoma have no skin discomfort whatsoever. See a doctor when a mole suddenly appears or changes. Itching, burning or pain in a pigmented lesion should cause suspicion, Visual examination remains the most reliable method for identifying a malignant melanoma.

Avoiding exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the best way to prevent melanoma and other skin cancers. Melanoma Monday is May 4th so here are a few tips for reducing your risk:

  • Avoid direct exposure between 10am and 4pm, opt for shade
  • Cover up with clothing (broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, long sleeves, etc.)
  • Use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every day (including lip balm with SPF 30)
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to the entire body, 30 minutes prior to going outdoors; reapply every 2 hours or after excessive sweating or swimming
  • Keep newborns out of the sun; if it cannot be avoided use a sunscreen with physical blockers to exposed areas (see below)
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Remember water, sand, and snow reflect the sun; and clouds allow 70-80% UV penetration

Have fun this summer, but remember these tips for sun safety.

About Dr. Chen

chen, suephySuephy Chen, MD, MS, began practicing at Emory Healthcare in 2000 and has been board certified in dermatology since 1997. In addition to melanoma, Dr. Chen has clinical interests in pruritus, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis.
Dr. Chen is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. She is also a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Society for Investigative Dermatology, and the Women’s Dermatology Society. In addition, she is a founding member of the Pigmented Lesion Group of the Melanoma Prevention Working Group.

Dr. Chen earned her Doctor of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her internship at the Beth Israel Hospital, a Harvard University teaching hospital, before continuing on to a dermatology residency at Emory University Hospital. She obtained her Master of Science in Health Services Research at Stanford University and completed her fellowship at Stanford Hospital.

Dr. Chen is interested in quantifying the burden of skin disease, particularly the quality of life and economic burden on both patients and society as a whole. She is also interested in testing new technologies in the delivery of dermatologic care. She has contributed to numerous phase I-IV clinical studies of novel therapeutic regimens for the treatment of both inflammatory skin disorders and skin cancers.

Related Resources

Dermatologist #1 Skin Care Rule – Wear Sunscreen!
Top 5 Skin Protection & Skin Cancer Prevention Tips for UV Safety
Skin Cancer Chat

Kidney-Saving Robotics & Education

Saving kidneys from cancerous tumors and stones using minimally invasive techniques is my specialty. I’ve performed nearly 200 kidney operations in the last year alone and I recently launched a robotic kidney tumor program for Winship Cancer Institute at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. Kidneys are essential to life but most people aren’t aware of their extraordinary function until there’s a problem. As a vital organ, kidneys are a filter for the body and they make urine to rid the body of waste toxins.

How would you know if you have a possible kidney concern? Check for a change when going to the bathroom. Kidney cancers in the early stages usually do not cause any signs or symptoms, but patients will sometimes experience signs that should be brought to a doctor’s attention, such as:

  • Noticing blood or very dark urine
  • Flank/back pain on one side (not caused by injury)
  • A mass (lump) on the side or lower back
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss not caused by dieting
  • Fever that is not caused by an infection and doesn’t go away

Contact your doctor if you see changes like these. Recognizing your body’s warning signals can reduce your risk of serious disease, but the best option of all is prevention.

Kidney cancer prevention starts with smoking cessation and being aware of any history of kidney cancer in your family. The National Cancer Institute also identifies obesity as a known risk factor for kidney cancer, so take steps to manage your weight, exercise as a doctor prescribes for your individual condition, and eat whole foods that are rich in nutrients. Everyone should get regular check-ups.

When tumors or stones do develop, my job is to preserve this vital organ by using a minimally invasive procedure such as laparoscopic or robotic surgery (see video below). Not every tumor in the kidney is cancerous so options other than removing the entire kidney should be evaluated. Emory surgeons have been pioneers in using technologies like these to do organ-sparing cancer surgeries and complex stone surgeries.

As a specialist, I typically see patients after they are found to have a tumor or mass in the kidney or start experiencing symptoms. Let’s make prevention a part of your routine.

See Dr. Pattaras discuss this special type of organ-sparing robotic surgery:

About Dr. Pattaras

pattarasJohn G. Pattaras, MD, FACS, is an Associate Professor of Urology at the Emory University School of Medicine, Chief of Emory Urology services at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery.

As the Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Dr. Pattaras started laparoscopic and robotic urologic surgery program at Emory University. Over the past 14 years, the program has expanded to become the premier laparoscopic and robotics program in Atlanta serving patients from Georgia, neighboring states as well as international patients. The program offers highly specialized minimally invasive surgery that includes organ-sparing cancer surgery and complex stone surgery. Patients attending Emory Urology for cancer treatment have the unique opportunity to be cured of their disease while at the same time preserve their vital organs, their functionality and quality of life.

Dr. Pattaras is a diplomate of the American Board of Urology (2002) a Fellow of the American College of Surgery.

In addition to his dedication to Emory patients, Dr. Pattaras is also involved in humanitarianism outside Emory. On an annual basis, he volunteers his time to organize and head a team of Emory medical students to Haiti. The team provides free urologic care including surgical treatment to indigent Haitian patients with urologic conditions.

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Take Steps Now to Prevent Cancer

April CancerApril is Cancer Control Month. That means we need to find ways to reduce our risk of cancer as well as the chances that we’ll die from the disease. We have a tough job ahead. Before the year is over, nearly 1.7 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer. It’s a sobering statistic and one that we can impact in a big way by taking steps now to help prevent the second leading cause of death in the United States.

If you’re a smoker, find a way quit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking cigarettes can cause cancer in almost any part of the body and is responsible for some of the most deadly types of the disease. As an oncologist, I would recommend that you stay away from all tobacco products and byproducts, including second hand smoke.

It is estimated that one in three Americans is now obese. Obesity is proven to be a major risk factor for breast, colon, esophageal and kidney cancers. It’s more important than ever that you maintain a healthy weight by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Pay attention to portion size and cut down on alcohol consumption. While you’re at it, get off the couch and get some regular exercise. It will not only help you watch your weight, but studies show staying physically active can lower your risk of certain cancers.

As the summer months approach, be sure to protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation by wearing sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. Cover up or better yet, stay out of the sun during the peak hours of 10am to 2pm and stay away from tanning beds and sun lamps.

Finally, some cancers are hereditary. Know your family history of cancer and learn about the importance of early detection through screening. If you’re a woman at average risk for breast cancer, be sure to have a clinical breast exam and mammogram every year starting at age 40. Women ages 30-65 should also be screened every five years for cervical cancer. Colorectal cancer screening for women and men should begin in those 50 and older. Your health care provider can give you more information about the benefits of a colonoscopy.

For advice on locating cancer-screening opportunities, contact Emory Health Connection at 404-778-7777 to learn more from a registered nurse.

About Dr. Jillella

Anand Jillella, MDAnand Jillella, MD, is a national leader in bone marrow transplantation and has led the development of a strategy to decrease induction mortality for acute promyelocytic leukemia. He leads the efforts of the Winship Cancer Network and is expanding Winship’s role in bringing clinical and population-based cancer research to communities throughout Georgia and surrounding states.

Related Resources

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Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University