Posts Tagged ‘live chat’

Dermatologist #1 Skin Care Rule – Wear Sunscreen!

Melanoma Web MD ChatIt’s almost summer time, and many of us are already spending more time outside enjoying the warm weather. Most of us don’t consider the consequences of increased sun exposure on our skin, even indirect exposure. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, with about one million new cases every year. The three common forms of skin cancer are distinguished by the types of cells affected: melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell. While melanoma is less common than basal and squamous cell cancers, it is the most dangerous. If caught early, melanoma can be treated; however, if left untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a cancer of melanocytes, which are cells whose primary function is to make pigment. These cells are located in the layers of epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. Melanocytes are also responsible for making birthmarks and freckles; however, in those cases, the cells are not cancerous. Melanomas can form on any part of the skin but are most commonly found on the chest and back in men, and the legs in women. Melanomas can also develop on the neck and face, and they sometimes occur in the eye and in mucosal surfaces, such as the mouth and bowel.

Why do dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen daily?

Skin cancer is most commonly a result of excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sun contains two types of these rays: UVB, which are responsible for sunburns, and UVA, which cause cell aging and long-term skin damage. Both rays cause damage to skin cells’ DNA, resulting in abnormal cell growth. Here are some tips to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays and prevent skin cancer:

  • Use a broad spectrum SPF of a level 15 or higher, which is a type of sunscreen that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.• Wear protective clothing as well as a hat and sunglasses to protect more sensitive parts of the body.
  • Remember, the UV rays can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds.
  • While shade offers some protection, the sun’s UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and trees and have harmful effects.

Check yourself!

Remember, skin cancer is generally treatable if detected early. If you haven’t done so, give your body a quick scan, and repeat this practice at least once a month. Get to know the pattern of moles, spots, freckles, and other marks on your skin. If you notice any new moles or changes in shape or color to existing ones, please contact your healthcare provider.

Have additional questions? Join Dr. Suephy Chen on May 14, 2012 at 11:30 AM EST for a live online discussion about diagnosing and treating melanoma.

For more information about melanoma and other skin cancers, visit Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

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An Intro to Colorectal Cancer Part II: Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment

Colon Cancer Chat Sign UpMarch is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. A few weeks ago, we gave you an intro to Colorectal Cancer, including statistics, information on the risk factors and symptoms of colorectal cancer, and information on the most popularly recommended diagnostic test, the colonoscopy. This week, we’re following up with information on preventing and treating cancer of the colon or rectum (also known as colorectal cancer), and providing more information on other methods for diagnosing.

Colorectal Cancer Prevention

Receiving regular screenings is going to be the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. Catching cancer early while it is still curable and/or removing polyps before they turn cancerous are keys to survival. According to the American Cancer Society, “people who have no identified risk factors (other than age) should begin regular screening at age 50.” If you have a strong family history of colon polyps or cancer, getting screened prior to age 50 is highly recommended. Other advice you’ll see for cancer prevention is similar across cancers. A few things you can do to help improve your health and fight off cancer, including colorectal cancer, include: quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Diagnosing Colorectal Cancer

While a colonoscopy is the most common method of diagnosing and staging colorectal cancer and/or other gastrointestinal disorders, there are several other procedures used including:

  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: This test uses a flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end. It can travel the full length of the rectum and half of the colon.
  • Colonoscopy: This test allows the doctor to look at the entire length of the colon and rectum with a colonoscope, which is a longer version of a sigmoidoscope.
  • Double Contrast Barium Enema: A type of x-ray test using barium sulfate, which is a chalky liquid, and air to outline the inner part of the colon and rectum, highlighting abnormal areas on x-rays.
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy): This is an advanced type of computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan of the colon and rectum. It is non-invasive, can be done fairly quickly, and does not require sedation.

For more information on each of these procedures, please visit the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Treating Colorectal Cancer

After cancer is diagnosed and staged, your multidisciplinary colorectal cancer care team will create a treatment plan using one, or a combination, of these main treatment methods:

  1. Surgery – Surgery is the main treatment method for colorectal cancer. This procedure involves removing the cancer, a section of normal tissue on either side of the cancer, and any local lymph nodes.
  2. Radiation Therapy – A type of cancer treatment that uses ionizing radiation energy to kill cancer cells and shrink cancerous tumors. Colorectal cancer may be treated using external beam radiation before surgery to shrink the tumor or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
  3. Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy is medication delivered to the body to eliminate cancer cells or greatly reduce their effect. It targets cells that divide rapidly, a characteristic of most cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used to support and enhance other cancer treatment modalities.

If you are interested in learning more about colorectal cancer, or have questions not covered in this blog,  make sure to sign up for Dr. Bassel El-Rayes and Dr. Roberd Bostick’s colon cancer chat  tomorrow, March 20th (UPDATE – CHAT TRANSCRIPT). It’s bound to be a great discussion!

Contact us for more information about our colorectal cancer treatment programs: 404-778-1900 or request an appointment online.

Related Resources:

An Intro to Colorectal Cancer Part I: Risk Factors, Symptoms & Diagnosis

Colorectal Cancer Awareness MonthMarch is colorectal cancer month, and an article in the New York Times highlights the important role colonoscopies have played in reducing deaths from colorectal cancer. The study included patients tracked over 20 years after receiving a colonoscopy, which lead to the detection and removal of precancerous polyps, known as adenomatous polyps. Findings from the study show that the combination of a colonoscopy and polyp(s) removal lowered the colorectal death rate by 53 percent. While not all polyps turn into cancer, evidence shows that early detection and intervention are keys to survival. In the spirit of helping raise awareness around Colon Cancer and the importance of colonoscopies as a diagnostic and preventive tool, below you’ll find some helpful resources and important information about colorectal cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Statistics

According to the American Cancer Society, “excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.” That means in 2012, estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases that will be diagnosed in the United States are:

  • 103,170 new cases of colon cancer
  • 40,290 new cases of rectal cancer

But, if detected early enough, colorectal cancer is curable. So, how is colorectal cancer detected?

Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis

According to the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, “colorectal cancer usually starts in the innermost layer of the lining and slowly progresses through the other layers.”  There are several ways of diagnosing colorectal cancer, but the most popular method is a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a special type of cancer screening because it allows doctors to screen and intervene at the same time.

During a colonoscopy, the doctor will use a colonoscope, which is a flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end. They use this instrument to look at the entire length of the colon and rectum. If the doctor finds abnormalities such as polyps or growths, he or she can remove them right away while patients are under sedation. Special instruments can be passed through the colonoscope to remove the suspicious looking areas before they have the chance to turn into cancer.

Colon Cancer Web Chat

According to Roberd Bostick, MD, MPH and a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, “most of the time, a colonoscopy is the most effective means for diagnosing [colorectal cancer].Certainly, if a person were to have symptoms that would be suggestive of colon cancer, then those symptoms might precipitate them wanting to have a diagnostic test, like a colonoscopy.”

For a full list of symptoms and risk factors of colorectal cancer, please see below. Watch the full video discussion with Roberd Bostick, MD, MPH. Also, bring your additional questions to Dr. Bassel El-Reyes and Dr. Roberd Bostick’s colon cancer chat on March 20th (UPDATE – CHAT TRANSCRIPT).

Colorectal Cancer Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor to be properly diagnosed and treated. It’s important to note that these symptoms may not necessarily be a result of colorectal cancer. Other health problems can produce similar symptoms, which is why it is important to contact your physician if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below:

  • Change in bowel habits:
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    • Feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
    • Finding blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
    • Finding your stools are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps, or feeling full or bloated
  • Loss of weight for no apparent reason
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Nausea or vomiting

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

The main risk factors for colorectal cancer are uncontrollable. They are heredity, family history and personal medical history. Other risk factors include:

  • Presence of an inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
  • Diabetes
  • Other controllable factors
    • Obesity
    • Red meat consumption
    • Processed meat consumption
    • Smoking
    • Alcohol consumption

Remember, early detection is the key to providing the best chance for a cure. It is important to contact your physician if you are experiencing symptoms or are at risk for colorectal cancer.  If your physician feels it’s appropriate, a screening test, such as a colonoscopy, will most likely be recommended to rule out the possibility of cancer.

With all this information, what can you do to stay healthy? Take action and make sure you are getting regularly screened! While a colonoscopy is bound to not be the most pleasant experience, it could potentially save your life by detecting colorectal cancer early when the disease is easier to cure.  If you are interested in learning more about colorectal cancer, make sure to check out the chat transcript the colorectal cancer chat.

Contact us for more information about our colorectal cancer treatment programs: 404-778-1900 or request an appointment online.

Related Resources:

Raising Lymphedema Awareness in Honor of “D” Day

Lymphedema Web ChatMarch 6 marks the official awareness day around one of the least understood but most commonly faced conditions among cancer patients—Lymphedema. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you’re not alone. Essentially, Lymphedema is a condition that occurs when the lymph system is blocked or impeded, which results in the build up of fluid in the body’s soft tissue. This fluid buildup results in swelling–usually in the arms and legs–which is the most common symptom of Lymphedema. Lymphedema can be genetic, but it is often caused as a result of some cancers and their respective treatments. In regards to the latter, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), “Lymphedema is one of the most poorly understood, relatively underestimated, and least researched complications of cancer or its treatment.”

Because of the relatively high frequency of Lymphedema among cancer patients and its implications for potential decline in patients’ quality of life, Lymphedema is a condition that clinicians and survivorship programs have begun to place a larger emphasis on.  In the spirit of raising awareness around Lymphedema and helping those who suffer from it and the family members supporting them better understand it, Lymphedema therapist, Stephanie Kirkpatrick, of the Winship Cancer Institute will be holding an online chat on the topic of Lymphedema on “D” Day*.

Stephanie will cover Lymphedema causes, types, treatments, and coping strategies and answer questions from participants during the chat, which takes place on Tuesday, March 6 at noon EST.

*UPDATE: View the Lymphedema chat transcript.

 

 

Breast Cancer Questions? Dr. Styblo Has Your Answers

Breast Cancer Doctor Chat

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women. In fact, 13% of all women will develop breast cancer in their lives. Many women are concerned about their risk for breast cancer, and are unsure what their next steps should be. Our doctors frequently get questions such as, Is getting yearly check-ups sufficient? At what age should I start scheduling regular mammograms? What symptoms should I look out for?

Are you concerned about breast cancer? If you have unanswered questions related to breast cancer, look no further. To kick off October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, surgical oncologist and breast surgeon at the Winship Cancer Institute, Dr. Toncred Styblo will be hosting a live 1-hour web chat to answer all of your breast cancer questions.

Wonder if you’re at high risk for developing breast cancer and what you should do? Dr. Styblo will provide guidance on how to determine if you are high risk and steps you can take if you are. And as an expert in surgical oncology, Dr. Styblo will also be able to answer questions related to breast cancer treatment and surgical options.

Don’t forget, early detection is key to providing the best chance for cure. So take action and control of your health by scheduling your mammogram today and remind a friend to do the same! And, make sure to sign up for Dr. Styblo’s breast cancer chat and bring your questions with you. We’ll see you on October 4th for what’s sure to be a great discussion!