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Cancer
Gamma Knife, Not a Knife At All
Jul 6, 2015 By Shannon Kahn, MD

Gamma Knife Surgery Emory Saint Joseph's

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is performed at Winship at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.

What is Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

Despite its name, Gamma Knife is not a knife or scalpel. With a Gamma Knife procedure, there is no incision, no blood and virtually no pain. Gamma Knife refers to the name of the machine that is used to treat benign or malignant tumors and functional disorders like Trigeminal Neuralgia or Parkinson’s disease. The Gamma Knife machine uses 201 targeted beams of radiation to destroy disease with unmatched precision. Healthy tissue surrounding tumors is spared. The procedure is so accurate that it is considered to be as good as surgery, or better.

Who is a good candidate for Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

Gamma Knife is used largely to treat malignant brain tumors (most commonly metastases to the brain), or benign brain tumors related to hearing and balance. The [...]

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Cancer
What is High Dose Rate Brachytherapy?
Jun 18, 2015 By Peter J. Rossi, MD, Medical Director, Radiation Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute

One of the most technically advanced and convenient options for cancer treatment is called high dose rate brachytherapy (HDR). It is a precise type of radiation therapy that is commonly used to treat localized gynecologic, lung, breast and prostate cancers that have not spread to lymph nodes. As opposed to low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy, where tiny radioactive “seeds” are permanently placed inside or near a tumor, HDR brachytherapy involves temporarily placing high intensity sources of radiation inside the body with a catheter, for example, and then removing them once treatment is complete. With short treatment and recovery times, HDR brachytherapy can help patients get back to their lives with minimal disruption. At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, the therapy is usually performed on an outpatient basis and carried out in two short sessions over one to two [...]

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Cancer
New Tests to Improve Decision Making in Prostate Cancer Treatment
Jun 8, 2015 By Carlos S. Moreno, PhD

This blog was originally posted June 3, 2015 AACR Press Office.

Prostate Cancer Cells

Prostate Cancer Cells

A diagnosis of prostate cancer can often result in difficult choices for both patients and physicians. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in American men, with over 200,000 diagnosed cases and almost 28,000 deaths per year. A major reason why prostate cancer is diagnosed so frequently is that the FDA-approved blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is widely used and is highly sensitive. However, the PSA test cannot distinguish prostate cancers that are aggressive from indolent cases that will not spread if left untreated. It has been estimated that about 50 percent of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer as a result of PSA testing would remain asymptomatic if left untreated. Furthermore, the side effects of surgery or radiation therapy can be [...]

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Cancer
Massage Therapy Used to Combat Breast Cancer-Related Fatigue
Jun 1, 2015 By Emory Healthcare

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 [...]

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Cancer
Coping with Survivor’s Guilt After Cancer
May 27, 2015 By Joy McCall, LCSW

cancer survivor guiltBeing diagnosed with cancer can bring on many different types of emotions from fear to sadness to relief; however, many patients don’t think about how they might feel after they complete their treatment. Many are surprised when they begin to feel guilty. This is known as survivor’s guilt. It is a feeling that is often experienced by those who have survived a major or traumatic event such as being diagnosed with cancer. The feelings may come from a sense of guilt that they survived the disease and another patient did not or they did well with treatment while another had a very difficult time recovering. Here are some things to keep in mind if you think you might be suffering from survivor's guilt:

  • You are not alone. Survivor’s guilt is very common. It is a natural response for many cancer patients. It often feels like sadness, depression or even grief.
  • Tell someone
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Cancer
Takeaways from the Pancreatic Cancer Live Chat at Winship
May 19, 2015 By Winship Cancer Institute

Pancreatic Cancer Chat Thanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, May 12th for the live online pancreatic cancer program chat at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University hosted by Drs. El-Rayes & Kooby. Drs. El-Rayes & Kooby answered several of your questions about pancreatic cancer risk factors, symptoms and therapy. There are a variety of treatment options for pancreatic cancer; for some patients, a combination of treatment methods may be used. Check out the conversation by viewing the chat transcript! Here are just a few highlights from the chat: Question: Who is at the most risk for pancreatic cancer? David Kooby, MDDr. Kooby: Pancreatic cancer can affect anyone. People with a family history of pancreatic cancer in first degree relatives have an increased risk. Smokers are at risk, as tobacco appears to be a causative factor. Other groups who have an elevated risk of getting pancreatic cancer are [...]

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Cancer
What is Radiation Therapy and How is it Used to Treat Cancer?
May 18, 2015 By Karen Godette, MD, Medical Director, Department of Radiation Oncology, Winship at Emory University Hospital Midtown

Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that is used to shrink tumors and stop the growth of cancer cells. High energy x-rays are aimed directly at cancerous cells or tumors. According to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the technique is so effective in treating many different types of cancer that nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy at some time during the course of their cancer treatment. Depending on the type of cancer being treated, radiation may be used as a stand-alone treatment and often it is the only treatment needed. Or, it may be used in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and/or other targeted therapies. For example, doctors may use radiation therapy to shrink a tumor before surgery, or after surgery to stop the growth of any cancer cells that may be left behind. Watch the video below to learn about [...]

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Cancer
Scientists of the Next Generation
May 11, 2015 By Adam Marcus, PhD, Director of Emory School of Medicine-Winship Cancer Institute Integrated Cellular Imaging Core

As children we have all been to the doctor, visited the dentist, perhaps even sat in the cockpit of a plane. Anyone ever sit in front of a cryo-electron microscope, play with the dials on a mass spectrometer, or manipulate the genetic code? Most of us probably did not have that opportunity. I surely did not. So how will children, that is, our next generation of scientists, even consider being a scientist without ever knowing what a scientist does? I am a cancer biologist with a lab focused on cancer metastasis (spread of the cancer). We study how cancer metastasis occurs in subtypes of patients to develop new treatments designed for these particular patients. On the side, I have also traveled throughout Georgia visiting over 3,000 students in K-12th grade to teach them about science and scientists. I have had the fortunate experience of visiting over 40 schools ranging from [...]

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Cancer
It’s Melanoma Awareness Monday: Reduce Your Risk
May 4, 2015 By Suephy Chen, MD, MS

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 [...]

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Cancer
Kidney-Saving Robotics & Education
Apr 27, 2015 By John G. Pattaras, MD, FACS

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
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