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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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AUGUST IS IMMUNIZATION AWARENESS MONTH

We all need shots (also called vaccinations or immunizations) to help protect us from serious diseases. To help keep our community safe, Legacy Health Educators is proudly participating in National Immunization Awareness Month. Are your shots up-to-date?

Shots can prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, and pneumonia. It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them.  Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year. Other shots work best when they are given at certain ages.

  • Immunization2If you have a child age 6 or younger, find out which shots are needed  by clicking HERE
  • Find out what immunization shots teenagers and adults need by clicking HERE
  • If you are pregnant, this schedule HERE will provide added information to discuss with your doctor
  • Take a look at CDC 2015 recommendations by age and health condition HERE

Before accepting any shots, talk with your doctor about the health benefits for your family at all ages.

Extended Family Group In Park

Please note: If you are immuno-compromised, currently undergoing treatment for Cancer, or have certain health condition, immunizations may not be recommended.

Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.

Adult Immunizations: Benefits and Challenges

 

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Last week we began on the topic of cancer recurrence. Usually, this is covered during workshops or one-on-one counseling sessions. This is an extensive and important topic for survivors.

It is difficult to address the fear of cancer recurrHopeence and give a definitive prescription on how to treat it. Every patient is different, and therefore, their needs in handling the tough topic of a cancer recurring will also be different. In order to individualize a patient’s care, the patient MUST be involved and willing to become their own advocate, though a love one may also be just as helpful.

  1. The Fear of the cancer coming back once treatment is complete, is absolutely normal.
  2. The Fear of cancer recurrence is usually link to one’s outlook on “Death and Dying”, so it is very important to openly discuss your thoughts about this topic (even if it is with yourself…first, to thine own self be true)
  3. Do not compare your treatment process with someone else’s or try to identify with someone else with a similar cancer (someone will always be doing better or and someone will always be worse)
  4. Be honest with yourself. Say out loud what your needs are…and then get it! Need a hug, need to laugh, need to cry, etc., These are normal range of emotions and needs. Don’t be afraid to fulfill them.
  5. Be ready and willing to let go of the fear. This will allow for healing and make the concerns and associated symptoms less traumatic each year. This too, takes time…
  6. Do not be afraid to seek help. Counseling and guidance from a professional, will ease the (perceived) burden of sharing with friends and family continually. It will also allow for venting, and provide personalized strategies on how best to handle anxiety, depression, etc., without repercussions.  Most cancer centers have such services available…please do ask!
  7. Know that your family and friends DO love and care for you. If they become tired, it is not just you. The care and concern for your well being also weighs heavily on them – in addition to work and other life stressors. Not communicating with them or not sharing, will not make their concern go away…it’s all a part of loving and caring for someone else.

hope-life-people-quotes-Favim.com-426177_largeThe Process: The process is rather extensive for this blog. However, I invite you to please take a moment to read and share this link from the American Cancer Society by clicking HEREThey did a great job of tackling different aspect of the fear of cancer recurrence.

Peace and Blessings!

 

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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A diagnosis of Cancer is a life changing event.

Once treatment is complete, the Fear of the Cancer Coming back (recurring)… is VERY common among cancer survivors…know that you are not alone.

recurrence1Many will attest that cancer diagnosis and treatment is (was) the most difficult thing to deal with.  HOWEVER, once the treatment is completed – surgery, months of chemotherapy, and weeks of radiation therapy, or a combination thereof – it is rather uncommon for a physician to use the other “C” word … Cure, because, the other “C” word would mean the cancer will never come back.

You see…no one can make such a guarantee. Oncologists (cancer doctors) truly does not know and cannot risk giving such a guarantee. Statistics can be given, but that too can be dangerous, as it truly depends on the patient’s personality. If the patients is an optimist (glass half full) then they will always think of being on the positive side of the equation, but if a pessimist (class half empty) then may be more self defeating.

Many patients live in ultimate dread of that post-treatment cancer evaluation/check-up. The mammogram for breast cancer, PSA’s for prostate cancer, colonoscopy for colon cancer, CT scans for lung cancer, the endoscope for head and neck cancer, the pelvic exam for gynecologic cancer, and so on, and so forth can be crippling. Patients often share that their thoughts include questions such as:

  • What if the cancer comes back?
  • What if I must go through those dreadful treatments again?
  • What if it becomes painful?
  • What if it comes back in a different area?
  • What if I ultimately die from this cancer?

New LifeSuch thoughts can be quite burdensome and may lead to heart palpitations, panic and anxiety attacks. These symptoms can occur days (and sometimes weeks/months) leading up to the follow-up appointments. Some patients may resort to living life to the fullest (sky diving, international travels, fulfilling bucket lists, etc.,) while others may abandon living (no plans for the future, no long term savings/retirement, depressed, etc..,). Both responses should be addressed.

While we can definitely do a better job at addressing the individual needs of each survivors… we are lacking the resources and staff. The Oncology community is working very hard to make a change. In the meantime, patients and their family can use an advocacy approach…how can they address their personal fear of cancer recurrence? What can they do to decrease some of the symptoms they are experiencing?

Stay tuned…next week we will review a few strategies to address some of the more common symptoms brought about by the Fear of Cancer Recurrence…

Consider the video below…more next week!

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

A Physician’s Touch

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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We have become a very busy society.  Everything moves fast and the demand for “faster” is on the rise. Attention spans are limited to a few minutes and “waiting” and “patience” will soon be removed from our vocabulary, garnering looks of disbelief, and ultimately tagged as “bad” words.

While I am in great favor of advancement, prompt customer service, and completing the task at hand quickly, there is something to be said for a doctor’s visit that is slower and specific to one’s needs or ailments. Physicians have great demands on their time as well, and their services are in danger of becoming similar to assembly lines: patients must be seen quickly and passed along to the next section to meet Relative Value Units (RVU’s) for reimbursement.

PAUSE.

touch1Things must be slow enough in a clinic, such that a patient is touched – a Physical Exam (PE) focused or otherwise should be performed. I am bewildered by reports of folks being seen by healthcare providers and not even being touched/examined. Gathering vital signs (blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature, etc.,) and the history are only portion of a doctor’s visit.

Digital health is the new wave, as patient call in with their questions and symptoms and a likely diagnosis is given over different media platform. However, take note of the disclaimers…

So, what type of physical exam should be expected at a Physician’s office? Well, it truly depends on the complaint or reason why you visited in the first place. Some are more direct than others.

Complaints of:

  • touch2Abdominal pain or discomfort – look, palpate, press the abdominal region
  • Cough – listen to lungs, heart, look in the mouth, feel neck nodes, etc.,
  • Back pain – look at skin, palpate area (bone, muscles, etc.,)
  • Earache – look in the ear, look in the mouth, palpate the neck nodes, etc.,
  • Breast pain – breast exam including visual, palpating, eval under arms, above clavicle and neck nodes…

The bottom line is: When someone sees their healthcare provider any reason, at the very least, a focused physical examination should be performed. No excuses. AND, if they do not, speak up and ask why!

Annual Physical Examination

Focused History & Exam for Headache

Complete Physical Exam

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Earlier this year, we looked at “Why Your Thyroid Gland Matters” take a quick review HERE. For some, this may be a reason why there are issues with weight gain, fatigue, etc.,  As an Oncologist and being the cancer world, topics such as “over-diagnosis” always renders a reaction from me. If a life is being saved in the long run, can we truly quantify “over-diagnosis” in cancer?

thyroiddA new study published in the journal Academic Radiology lists reasons why thyroid cancer over-diagnosis.  Although there were an estimated 62,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in 2014, the number of fatalities was estimated at fewer than 1,900. Incidence rates have risen by 185% in 35 years, and surging rates and a mismatch between incidence and mortality signal a problem with over-diagnosis.

3 Key reasons considered for overdiagnoses of Thyroid cancer are:

  1. the imaging of incidental thyroid nodules. Such nodules are present on 16 to 25 percent of computed tomography (CT) scans, which is lower than other modalities. The malignancy rate of incidental nodules on CT and ultrasound is less than 12 percent.
  2. A second underlying reason is thyroid nodules are easy to biopsy. This suggests the biopsy threshold (reason to do a biopsy) is low and that decisions may not always comply with recommendations. The number of fine-needle aspiration biopsies for thyroid nodules doubled from 2006 to 2011, which was linked to a 31 percent gain in the number of surgeries for thyroid nodules.
  3. The third reason is routine processing of surgical specimens for other thyroid diseases such as goiter and thyrotoxicosis find incidental cancers in anywhere from 6 to 18 percent of patients.

Would you want to know if you have thyroid cancer or thyroid disease?

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

 

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Americans and claimed ~160,000 precious lives in 2014. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now mandated coverage for lung cancer screening and we are on the way to saving many lives! However, many “high risk” patients are not aware if their “risk” status and availability for lung cancer screening is available.

Should you have Lung Cancer Screening? You may be a candidate for lung cancer screening if you answer “YES” to ALL of the following:

  • Are you 55 to 74 years old?
  • Are you in fairly good health (no symptoms of disease)?
  • Do you have a long or heavy smoking history? (use this link HERE calculate packs per year smoking history- http://smokingpackyears.com/calculate)
  • Are you still smoking or have quit smoking within the last 15 years?

lung_anatomy_rizwan_nuraniThe National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) was a large clinical trial that looked at using a type of CT scan known as low-dose CT to screen for lung cancer. The cost for a low-dose CT scan as a screening test for lung cancer is generally about $300 for each test, but prices vary widely at different centers.

Medicare recently decided to cover the cost of lung cancer screening, but if you are privately insured ask if your insurer covers lung cancer screening – they just might!

If all of the criteria for lung cancer screening listed above was answered “YES”, then you and your doctor (or other health care provider) should talk about starting screening. I would encourage you to also discuss screening, even if only some of the criteria listed are met, especially if you are concerned. Discussion should include what you can expect from screening, possible benefits and harms, as well as the limitations of screening.

The main benefit is a lower chance of dying of lung cancer, which accounts for many deaths in current and former smokers.

CAN LUNG CANCER BE PREVENTED?

  • Not all lung cancers can be prevented, but there are some ways you can reduce your risk of getting lung cancer
  • The best way to reduce your risk of lung cancer is not to smoke and to avoid breathing in other people’s smoke
  • If you stop smoking before a cancer develops, your damaged lung tissue gradually starts to repair itself
  • No matter what your age or how long you’ve smoked, quitting may lower your risk of lung cancer and help you live longer
  • People who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who continue to smoke

After watching the videos below, you will know more about lung cancer and lung cancer screening than most. Take the time to become an advocate for yourself, family and your community!

Great Video: Learning About the Lungs and Lung Cancer

Is Lung Cancer Screening Right For You?

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

Don’t forget to visit … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

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Recently, I was awaiting news regarding a change in my job position. Each time the subject would cross my mind, I noticed that my heart would beat faster, my heart rate increase, and my breathing pattern changed. When I mentally thought – “relax” – I felt my body release tension, my face relax, my breathing pattern steadied….I honestly did not realize how much the thought process about this situation was affecting my physical body. Hhhmm…ever had that experience?

DyerI have been accused of being “too calm”…(if there is such a thing) and too relax sometimes (blame my island roots vibe).  Now I’m wondering if I’ve been at this “place” too long and allowing the outside into my psyche. If so, that is not a good thing. I need to change my thought process, change my mind…regardless of the situations around me.  As TD Jakes noted,

“a ship does not sink because it is in the water, but because the water gets into it.” (Reference: learning how to be around chaos and crazy situations, but not allowing the chaotic situation to get into you).

I cannot imagine someone affected this way physically on a daily basis, because they are in a bad relationship, job, or situation (or even daily long commute/traffic). It reeks havoc on the physical body!  Mental weariness affects the physical body, much more than a lot of folks realize.

The Psyche is an area of great interest to me and Dr. Wayne Dyer is one of my “silent” mentors. Take a moment to listen to one of his very insightful presentations.

DR. WAYNE DYER – “CHANGE YOU THOUGHTS CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

dyer1

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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