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Prostate cancer screening: Is it for me?

Written by Community Health Network on 6/19/2014 6:00:00 AM

Dr. Jianan Graybill, prostate cancer expert at Community

What do men need to know about watchful waiting in order to catch prostate cancer before it becomes aggressive? Dr. Jianan Graybill, radiation oncologist and an MD Anderson Cancer Network® certified physician, explains who should get screened for prostate cancer and outlines current recommendations by age.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in America for men behind skin cancer. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. 

Prostate cancer typically has no symptoms or warning signs in the early stages. For men with advanced disease, these men will typically have urinary symptoms or erectile dysfunction. They may also complain of severe back pain (because the cancer has spread to the spine).

Prostate cancer can often be found early by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in a man’s blood. Until recently, PSA was routinely obtained from older men as part of their annual physical screening.

However, in May 2012, the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force issued new recommendationscontinue reading ...


Stacy's story: Part I

Written by Community Health Network on 6/10/2014 7:00:00 AM

“Is there anything I can do to help you? Maybe take the kids out for a few hours?” Those are the types of things that can really help. What you don’t want to say to a (breast) cancer patient is “How are you feeling today?”

When Stacy Costa was 18 and her aunt, age 31, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembers thinking to herself that she was going to get cancer too.

“It was just a feeling because four people on my mom’s side had cancer,” said Costa.

Knowing her family history, Costa stayed conscious of her breast health and very self-aware of what felt normal and what did not. Part of that included performing routine self-exams. It was one of those routine self-exams that told her a lump in her breast was different and it shouldn’t hurt to touch. She acted quickly and called her family doctor.

It started with an ultrasound and moved onto the radiology department where she had a mammogram screening and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Upon receiving the diagnosis Costa reached out to her mother, a former nurse and pharmaceutical representative, who put her in touch with Community Breast Care Center.

“I made the call to Community and got in quickly,” said Costa. “I asked my mom to come with me, not so much because she was my mom, but because she could translate all the medical-speak. But Dr. Goulet (breast surgeon) spoke to me so plainly that I didn’t need to worry. He was so good at giving me all the information and letting me take time to make decisions.”

Costa said she wasn’t surprised by her diagnosis and that she would need surgery and chemotherapy. But she did wonder if the family history was a factor, so Dr. Goulet did a gene test. continue reading ...


Breast cancer prevention should start early

Written by Community Health Network on 3/26/2014 2:15:00 PM

Take steps now to prevent breast cancer

An article published in The Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Wednesday, states that half of breast cancers in the U.S. might be avoided if women adopted healthier lifestyles sooner in life, and the highest-risk women took preventive drugs like tamoxifen.

The article reviews breast cancer primary prevention strategies that are applicable to all women, discusses the underutilization of chemoprevention in high-risk women, highlights the additional advances that could be made by including young women in prevention efforts.

"This article is re-stating many things we have known for some time regarding breast cancer prevention," said Dr. Robert Goulet, breast surgeon and MD Anderson certified physician with Community Physician Network. "However, I agree that we don’t place enough emphasis on preventive strategies at all ages."

Goulet states that there are simple lifestyle modifications that women should make to decrease their risk.

"There is irrefutable evidence that, through study of women over decades, as little as 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week leads to significant reduction in breast cancer risk," he said. "Weight control has also been implicated, and I think that goes hand in hand with exercise strategy."

A healthy diet with emphasis on trying to minimize weight gain is also incredibly important, and that includes a decrease in alcohol consumption.

Robert J. Goulet, breast cancer specialist"There are recent studies that clearly demonstrate that women who drink as little as one ounce of alcohol at least three times a week have an increased risk of developing breast cancer," said Goulet. "The impact of exposure to carcinogens such as alcohol begin at we believe a very early age. So recognition of the fact that you have the ability to change risk has to occur at a younger age."

With respect to drugs such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, Goulet states that there is a fair amount of controversy regarding the use of those drugs. continue reading ...


Laurie's story

Written by Community Health Network on 3/21/2014 1:00:00 PM

Laurie Plue had a history of breast and ovarian cancer in her family. Knowing that her risk for developing cancer was increased due to her family lineage, she chose to have genetic testing performed to determine whether or not she carried the cancer gene.

Here is her story.

To donate to Community's patient assistance fund that supports genetic testing, visit our Community Health Network Foundation website.

Genetic counseling

At Community Health Network, we frequently use genetic testing and have genetic counselors to shepherd patients through the process. Our certified genetic counselor, Rebekah Krukenberg, MS, CGC, LGC, helps breast cancer patients understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. For more information, call 317-621-8988.


Colorectal cancer risk factors

Written by Community Health Network on 3/6/2014 7:00:00 AM

Researchers have found several risk factors that may increase a person's chance of developing colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.

Age
Younger adults can develop colorectal cancer, but the chances increase greatly after age 50. About 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old.

Family history
As many as 1 in 5 people who develop colon cancer have other family members who have had it. People with a history of colorectal cancer in first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) are at increased risk. It is even higher if that relative was diagnosed with cancer when they were younger than 45, or if more than one first-degree relative is affected.

Family history of other colon problems can also increase risk. These problems include pre-cancerous polyps and hereditary syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome.

Personal health history
Having conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or type 2 diabetes, can also increase your risk of colon cancer. If you have any of these problems, talk to your doctor about when to begin screening.

A personal history of adenomatous polyps (adenomas) also means you are at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. This is especially true if the polyps are large or if there are many of them.

Getting a colonoscopy screening is the best way to determine whether or not your polyps are cancerous.

Racial and ethnic background
African Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the United States. The reasons for this are not yet understood.

Lifestyle-related factors
Many lifestyle factors have been linked to the development of colorectal cancer. The links between diet, weight, exercise and colorectal cancer risk are some of the strongest for any type of cancer. By making small lifestyle changes, your risk for colon cancer could be drastically reduced.

Tackling risk

Are you at risk for colon cancer? Ask our doctors right now, or call us at 800-777-7775 to schedule a preventive screening.


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When it comes to your fight against cancer, they've got your back. Our nurse navigators act as a guide, resource, advocate and educator for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families. Learn more here.


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