Posts Tagged ‘Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’

Lung Cancer Live Chat Takeaways

lung-chat-260x200According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S.  At least 8.6 million Americans qualify as high risk for lung cancer and are recommended to receive annual screening with low-dose CT scans. Lung CT Screening for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.  At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, a highly coordinated multidisciplinary team provides advanced care and clinical trials option with cutting edge new therapies for lung cancer patients.

We hosted a live chat with Seth D. Force, MD and Suresh Ramalingam, MD of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s lung cancer team on Wednesday, January 11 where we answered your questions about lung cancer risk factors, lung CT screening, symptoms and therapy. We received a lot of great questions that our physicians were able to answer. Below are some highlights from live chat, and you can read the full chat transcript here.

Lung Cancer Live Chat Highlights

Question: Is a chest x-ray the best place to start for screening?

Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam: Chest xrays have not been shown to be helpful for lung cancer screening as confirmed by several older clinical trials. For patients at high risk for lung cancer, a chest CT scan is the best screening test.

Question: At what point should a patient seek specialist if diagnosed with nodule

Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam:  Any person who is found to have a nodule should seek a specialist. These specialists can include a thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, or an oncologist specializing in lung cancer. At Winship, our doctors sit down weekly to discuss the specifics cases and use specific guidelines to determine the next step for a patient found to have a lung nodule.

Question:  What are some of lung cancer symptoms that should worry us?

Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam: Good question! Most patients who present with early stage lung cancer are asymptomatic. Symptoms that should cause someone to seek medical consultation are persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing and unexplained weight loss.

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our lung cancer live chat with Dr. Force and Dr. Ramalingam. Learn more here.

Lung Cancer: Risk Factors, CT Lung Screening, Symptoms & Therapy Live Chat

lung-chat-260x200According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S.  At least 8.6 million Americans qualify as high risk for lung cancer and are recommended to receive annual screening with low-dose CT scans. Lung CT Screening for individuals at high risk has the potential to dramatically improve lung cancer survival rates by finding the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage.  At Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, a highly coordinated multidisciplinary team provides advanced care and clinical trials option with cutting edge new therapies for lung cancer patients.

Join Seth D. Force, MD and Suresh Ramalingam, MD, with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s lung cancer team, on Wednesday, January 11 at 12 PM for a live chat where we’ll answer your questions about lung cancer risk factors, lung CT screening, symptoms and therapy. All are welcome to attend this online open-forum discussion.

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Minimally Invasive Surgery is Changing the Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Minimally invasive surgery is changing the early detection of lung cancer by innovating ways of tracking lung nodules when lung cancer is suspected.How is minimally invasive surgery changing the early detection of lung cancer?

The majority of lung cancer surgeries are now performed using minimally invasive approaches. Above 80 percent at Emory. This presents advantages to the patient: less muscle is cut and recovery is quicker. Traditionally surgeons would need to touch the nodule to find it, and accessing the lung via smaller incisions prevents that hands on touch.

When it comes to lung cancer early detection, we have to remember that the lung tissue is normally filled with air, sort of like a puffy sleeping bag. When someone gets a CT scan and a nodule is detected, the air is present. During surgery, the tissue collapses, causing the nodule to shift away from where it was.

At Winship, cardiothoracic surgeons Manu Sancheti, Seth Force and colleagues have been developing a technique of using gold markers. It’s called fiducials and it keeps track of small nodules when lung cancer is suspected. The minimally invasive surgeons published their findings in 2014 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

During a CT scan the radiologist will mark a nodule by inserting a fiducial, which is then visible during the operation via fluoroscopy. This allows the surgeon to precisely cut out the appropriate lung tissue containing the nodule.

“Some nodules are small enough that it’s difficult to feel them at all,” Force says. “Rather than take as many as 45 minutes to hunt around for a nodule during surgery, gold markers are an attractive and accurate alternative.”

Sometimes, cancer can be diagnosed and removed in one day. Some nodules are located deeper, so that it’s harder to access them by needle biopsy first.

A sample from a nodule can be removed during minimally invasive surgery, sent to the pathology lab, and within 30 minutes, the surgeon can have an answer to the question: is it cancer?

Lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer in the U.S. It takes the lives of more people than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined. Lung screenings help lung cancer patients with early diagnosis and increased survival rates through options such as gold markers and minimally invasive surgery. Emory Healthcare’s low-radiation-dose lung screening is available for patients with a significant smoking history. Visit emoryhealthcare.org/lungct to learn more about screening qualifications.

Lung Cancer Screening Guidelines You Need To Know

Current guidelines state that screening for lung cancer is recommended when all of the following lung cancer screening guidelines are met. Learn more.Did you know that not everyone can actually qualify for lung cancer screening? Current guidelines state that screening for lung cancer is recommended when all of the following lung cancer screening guidelines are met:

  • Age 55-77 years
  • Asymptomatic (no signs or symptoms of lung cancer) no lung infection (pneumonia, bronchitis) within the past 12 weeks
  • Current or former smoker (if former smoker, it is recommended that it has been less than 15 years since quitting)
  • History of cigarette smoking with pack-years greater than or equal to 30
  • You have not had a CT of the chest within the last 12 months

How to Calculate “Pack-years”

VIEW ONLINE CALCULATOR

20 cigarettes = 1 Pack

To translate smoking history into ‘pack years,’ simply multiply the number of cigarette packs smoked per day by the number of years smoked.

(# packs per day x # total years smoked = pack-years)
For example: 1½ packs a day smoked over a 30-year period = 45 pack years. If an individual has less than a pack per day smoking history calculate pack-years using the formula below.

(# total years smoked x # cigarettes per day) / 20 = pack-years
For example: 40 year smoking history 15 cigarettes per day = 30 pack years

Please note: a physician’s order is required for the Lung CT Scan. If you do not have this information, please make an appointment with your primary care doctor first. If you do not have a primary care doctor, please call 404-778-7777 and a representative will be happy to match you with an Emory provider.

Do you have any questions? Please comment below.

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CT Lung Screening Real-life Patient Story

Read this real life patient story about Becky whose life was saved by an Emory doctor who performed a timely CT lung screening.This real-life story about an Emory CT lung screening patient is just one example of how ct screening for lung cancer can save a life.

Becky Huff had been seeing radiologists just to follow up on findings of calcification after a mammogram. A CT scan of her breasts detected nodules in her lungs. Now 67, she quit smoking more than two decades ago. Becky was wondering whether working in a smoke-filled office also contributed to her cancer risk.

For the next two years Emory doctors monitored her lungs with CT lung screening every six months. Pulmonologist Gerald Staton led the group. Then, a change in the appearance of the nodules, along with an inconclusive biopsy, led her to consult an Emory thoracic surgeon Allan Pickens. He recommended a unique type of imaging — a PET scan — to gauge the possibility that cancer had spread.

“To me, that was another safeguard that they knew what they needed to do beforehand,” Becky says.

Using two small incisions on the side of Becky’s body, Dr. Pickens removed the upper lobe of her left lung. Two months later, in a similar procedure, he removed a segment from her right lung. When pathologists examined the removed tissue and samples from her lymph nodes, they detected no signs that the tumors had infiltrated the lymph nodes. That meant she could forgo chemotherapy and radiation.

“This is an example of when we were able to get there early, before the cancer has progressed,” Dr. Pickens said.

Becky’s recovery from the surgeries included some pain. She had trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position and needed to take pain medicine for a couple of weeks. Yet, she had avoided surgeries that would open the chest.

“I did get over the surgery a lot quicker than other people that I’ve seen,” Becky said.

Around the time of her surgeries in the spring of 2011, Becky had begun taking piano lessons. While raising five children, she had always wanted to learn to play. Now, five years after her surgeries and a reassuring PET scan this year, she continues to learn piano and stays active with frequent walks on her family’s wooded property in Talbot County, Georgia.

A physician’s order is required for CT lung screening. If you don’t currently have a care provider; you may meet with one of Emory team members to determine if CT lung screening is right for you.

Visit emoryhealthcare.org/lungct to learn more about screening qualifications.

Colorectal Cancer Live Chat: Risk Factors, Screenings, Symptoms & Therapy – March 8, 2016

colorectal-chat-emailMost 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.  According to American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States and 134,490 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2016 nationally.

The colorectal cancer program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University offers multidisciplinary teams including oncology surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and advanced practice nurses with expertise in colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.  There are a variety of treatment options for colorectal cancer; for some patients, a combination of treatment methods may be used.

Join Drs. Bassel El-Rayes & Seth Rosen, two physicians with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s colorectal cancer team, on Tuesday, March 8th at 12pm EST for a live chat where they will answer your questions about colorectal cancer risk factors, screenings, symptoms and therapy. All are welcome to attend an online open-forum discussion about colorectal cancer. Sign up for this live chat here.

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Prostate Cancer: Statistics That May Surprise You

prostate cancer factsAccording to American Cancer Society (ACS), the cancers that most frequently affect men are prostate, colon, lung, and skin cancers. The most common men’s specific cancer in America, affecting 1 in 7 men, is prostate cancer. One new case occurs every 2.3 minutes and a man dies from prostate cancer every 18 minutes.

You probably didn’t know this shocking statistic, from the Prostate Cancer Foundation; a man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Yet, despite these realities we don’t talk as openly as women do about a serious health condition. There are disputes about screenings for prostate cancer specifically, but I am an advocate of screening– including not only the PSA but also the digital rectal exam. From the screenings, you and your doctor will determine if biopsies are needed to detect aggressive cancers that need immediate treatment but also pick up cancers that are “quasi cancer” and safe to watch rather than treat immediately. Over a five-to-10-year period, about a third of men whose cancers are considered low risk turn worse and require treatment. When prostate cancer is caught in the early stages the treatment options and outcomes are significantly better.

Nearly 3 million American men currently living with prostate cancer, Emory Healthcare is committed to providing the highest quality health care to its patients, with the most up-to-date treatment options available. A multidisciplinary prostate cancer team — involving urology medical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging– at Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute have come together to move novel treatments for advanced prostate cancer forward.

Start today and take control of your wellness.

  • Honestly discuss prostate cancer.
  • Avoid cancer-causing activities like tobacco use and excessive drinking.
  • Be proactive. Commit yourself to regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Know your risks and your family history.
  • Get regular check-ups; speak with your primary care physician about whether prostate screening is appropriate for you.

If you do not have one, find a primary physician through our Emory Healthcare Network or call Health Connection at 404-778-7777 to learn more from a registered nurse.

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About Dr. Sanda

Martin G. Sanda, MD is chair of the Department of Urology at Emory University School of Medicine and Director of the Prostate Cancer Center at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute.

As a urological surgeon specializing in cancers of the prostate and bladder, Sanda focuses on developing new surgical and non-surgical approaches to cancer care and to improving the quality of life among cancer survivors. Currently, he is spearheading studies that seek to develop urine tests for detecting prostate cancer; develop benchmarks for improving quality of life among cancer survivors; and develop innovative prostate cancer vaccines.

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Exercise, Diet and Breast Cancer

trio-exercisingDiet and exercise can help women who have completed treatment for breast cancer to live longer and feel better. They may even help lower the chance of the cancer coming back (recurrence). The Women’s Intervention Nutrition Study (WINS) was a randomized study of a low fat diet in women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer. At five years, the women on the low fat diet lost weight about six pounds on average (the control group didn’t lose weight) and had a lower risk of the cancer coming back or getting a new breast cancer than the control group. After longer follow up, the risk of recurrence evened out between the two groups, but the women in the low fat diet group had better survival. Observational studies have also found that women who exercised more had lower risks of the cancer coming back. These kinds of studies have also found that women who gain weight after diagnosis have a higher risk of the cancer coming back. Diet and exercise are key to preventing weight gain.

Women who are obese have an increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer compared with women who maintain a healthy weight, which means that those who maintain a healthy weight have a lower risk (of getting breast cancer after menopause) than those who do not. Studies have shown that moderate to vigorous exercise is linked to a lower risk of breast cancer. This may be in part due to effects on body composition, as well as hormone levels. Exercise can improve fatigue and other symptoms in women with breast cancer in active treatment, as well as maintain their physical function and prevent changes in body composition (like weight gain) that can result from treatment. Women in treatment may have to cut back on their exercise routine for a time (exercise at a lower intensity or for shorter periods) due to side effects of treatment, but it is helpful for them to try to stay active.

So how much exercise is enough? The American Cancer Society recommends that healthy adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Moderate activities may include walking, dancing, leisurely bicycling, and yoga, while vigorous activities may include jogging or running, fast bicycling, circuit weight training, swimming, jumping rope, aerobic dance, and martial arts.

About Dr. Kramer:

jkramerJoan Kramer, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Kramer graduated cum laude receiving her Medical Degree from Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She completed her postdoctoral training with a residency in internal medicine at Saint Louis University Hospital and a fellowship in hematology and medical oncology at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Kramer served as Medical Editor for the American Cancer Society until May 2015. She is published in a number of peer-reviewed journals.

 

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Prostate Cancer: Is Active Surveillance an Option?

guys (1)For many years, most men with prostate cancer were given the option of either surgery or radiation. Over time, doctors saw many men had prostate cancer that was less aggressive and unlikely to spread to other parts of the body or shorten lifespan. Doctors were also learning that many of these men were experiencing the downsides of prostate cancer treatment (e.g. difficulty with erections, leakage of urine) without benefit.

In response to “over treatment”, some centers offered men with low-risk prostate cancer prognosis were enrolled in a clinical trial of “active surveillance”. After 15 years of follow-up, half of the patients were able to avoid prostate cancer treatment. Today, these studies—with nearly 20 years follow-up—show excellent results of active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer.

Men with low prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test results, low-grade tumors, and minimal abnormalities on the prostate exam are considered for the newer protocols. Active surveillance programs usually involve repeat biopsies every one to two years and PSA tests every three to six months. Treatment is recommended if the patient is found to have higher-risk disease.

It is difficult to hear a cancer diagnosis and then be presented with surveillance as an option to avoid treatment. Yet, cancer patients can trust that active surveillance is a process that can delay or avoid cancer treatment side effects with rare risk of death from prostate cancer. Newer technologies, like multiparametric magnetic-resonance imaging and molecular biomarkers, may identify more prostate cancer patients who would benefit from active surveillance.

In the end, among selected patients on active surveillance, death or progression of cancer is rare. There is no evidence that prostate cancer patients who undergo delayed prostate cancer treatment fare worse than those treated immediately. In fact, they avoid the side effects of cancer treatment over that time. If newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, active surveillance may be an option worth discussing with your urologist or radiation oncologist.

Additional Resource:
The Prostate Cancer Support Group meets the 1st Wednesday of every month from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM at the Clifton Campus. If you’re interested in further details visit: https://winshipcancer.emory.edu/about-us/events/

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?
Winship’s Approach to Prostate Cancer Treatment

About Dr. Filson

filsonChristopher Filson, MD, MS, is an assistant professor of urology at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Filson started practicing with Emory Healthcare in July 2015. His main clinical specialties include robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery, cystectomy, urinary diversion, prostatectomy and nephrectomy. Dr. Filson received his Medical Degree from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor MI. His postdoctoral training included a surgery internship and urology residency also at University of Michigan and a Fellowship in Urologic Oncology at University of California Los Angeles.

Navigating a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men and can often be treated successfully. In fact, more than 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors. But a daunting set of questions faces the more than 200,000 men who are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year: is prompt or aggressive treatment necessary, or is “watchful waiting” an option? And if choosing treatment, then what kind?

Hugh Smith was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 51. Knowing that members of his family had died from prostate cancer prompted Smith to get checked. When tests showed the presence of cancer, he looked for an experienced prostate specialist who could provide the most advanced treatment available. Winship’s Dr. Martin Sanda performed a prostatectomy via robotic surgery at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital in 2013. Since then, Smith says he’s had no side effects and no recurrent cancer. He thanks God and the expertise of his cancer team for the good results. Now he wants to encourage other men to take charge of their own health. “Some men would rather not know about their risk of prostate cancer, but I say go in with your eyes wide open.”

Winship is at the forefront of research aimed at helping men at all stages of their journey with prostate cancer. A crucial segment of that journey starts with determining if a cancer is aggressive and fast-growing, or the type of slow, indolent cancer that could be safely monitored without treatment.

Winship urologists and cancer biologists are part of a nationwide effort to develop new blood and urine tests that could substantially improve detecting prostate cancer and determining how aggressive individual cancers might be. To more read about our approach to prostate cancer and other research advances in detecting and treating prostate cancer, go to http://advancingyourhealth.org/winship-prostate/

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?
Winship’s Approach to Prostate Cancer Treatment

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