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Archive for November, 2011

November is National Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Month. Do you know of anyone with Stomach Cancer?  Chances are, you are more familiar with Prostate, Breast, Lung and Colon Cancer.  Although Stomach cancr is ranked 14th most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, approximately 21,000 people were expected to be diagnosed with Stomach Cancer in 2011…this is not quite a small number.

So where exactly is the stomach? How does it work? What happens to food during digestion? Watch this video on the basics of the function of the GastroIntestinal (GI) system, then become a member for free at http://www.LegacyEducators.com for more information.

Who gets stomach (gastric) cancer? How common is it? How is it treated? We do not know the exact cause of stomach cancer, but some of the risk factors associated with Stomach Cancer includes; gastric infection (with helicobacter pylori)s, male gender, advance age, cigarette smoking, family history, diet high in smoked, salted or preserved foods, and certain genetic abnormalities, to name a few.  It is, therefore, still possible to prevent many cases by changing some of the lifestyle associated risks, named above.

The prognosis for people with Stomach Cancer is highly dependent on the extent of the tumor and lymph node involvement (see basics of Staging in the free membership section at www.LegacyEducators.com).  In localized distal Stomach Cancer, more than 50% of patients can be cured. However, people with stomach cancer rarely have symptoms in the early stage of the disease and only ~15% of all patients in the United States presents at an early stage.  Watch this video on Stomach Cancer … then learn more at http://www.LegacyEducators.com

So what does this mean for you?  Basically, do/take everything in moderation. Take care of your temple (your body) and “arm” yourself with the basics of good health care and on how to become an advocate for yourself and love ones!

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My Mom (this makes up for my blogging about her;-)

My mother (love you mom!) has type 2 Diabetes (affectionately referred to as “the sugar”  in some communities). As the disease progressed, insulin was added to her daily regimen. When I asked about her glucose reading (through much meandering conversations) I found out that she no longer “checks” her glucose level. She just takes her medication based on how she “feels” and she has a good plan in place too. However, this is NOT what is medically recommended, but instead how she sees fit.  After many scars from previous engaged verbal battles on her health and well being, and with much heartache, I digress as my Mom continue to act AMA. I still try…every now-and-again, but know that my Mom is quite convincing and can “sell ice to Eskimos!” Ultimately, she sees me as her daughter (not her doctor) and in good ‘ole West Indian fashion, she is also very private.  So, now I just love on her (…but I still keep on trying  though;-)

A patient diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer was given standard of care treatment recommendations of surgery followed by Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy – she said NO.  Instead she elects to try “alternative natural treatment” for over a year.  The doctor must allow her to act AMA.  Then 18 months later when the disease has spread to the bones and an open cancerous ulcer develops on the breast, she returns.  She is accepted with open arms, knowing that now the journey is rendered much more difficult as cure is no longer an option…the physician heart bleeds. Patient with cancer of the base of tongue decided to pursue alternative modalities.  Each self trial of different types of berries, different pH levels of water, different roots … through each phase, the cancer continues to grow…Tis the same ending we hear at physician conferences, time and time again. Similar scenarios, different patient, different cities – same plight. How can we as physicians reach our patients?

Chemotherapy from bark of a YEW tree

I am not against Homeopathic medicine. My roots and heritage is steeped deep in alternative approach to good health and well being. But there is a right time for everything, including the use of natural herbs. Did you know that one of the chemotherapy drug that causes peripheral neuropathy (numbness in the extremities), hair loss, nausea, etc., was developed from the bark of a tree? (Yew tree – taxane family of chemotherapy drugs commonly used in the treatments for cancers such as Breast, Lung,  Ovarian etc.,).  Makes us wander what “side-effects” were experienced by those taking this plant as a “natural supplement” before it was fully  studied….Hhhmmm.  I would venture, the same exist for those “natural herbs” being used today. Yes, a world of undiscovered possibilities, but also a world of unknowns.

"Harmless" Appearing Yew Flower

Dear patients – we ask you to lose weight because we care. We ask you to stop smoking because we are deeply concerned. We ask you to take your medications (and check your glucose level) because we want you around living a long, productive, and healthy life.  But in the end, your doctor can only ask you kindly and make recommendations on the best treatment modalities available today, according to current standard of care (this continues to evolve as new things are discovered). We are not with you 24/7, we cannot force you to do what we ask, but know that we have your best interest at heart.  In the end, the decision is yours.   Please understand the reasons behind our suggestions and do not be afraid to ask questions. Because, you see, in the end, should you go AMA, you are only hurting the most precious person of all…YOU!

 

Be sure to visit http://www.LegacyEducators.com and become a member…it’s FREE!

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FROM THE PHYSICIAN’S HEART … 

A Caring Soul

One of the main focus in our country today is the “health initiative” and improving the overall health of the nation.  On the radio, TV, newspaper and the social media (twitter, facebook, etc.,) we are constantly informed on how to change our diet, how to lose weight, how to approach exercising more often, etc.,  As a nation, we are making an effort to decrease the chronic diseases that are not only killing us, but are leaving our loves ones debilitated. When a member of our family is unable to take care of themselves because of the devastating afflictions of certain diseases (Stroke, Alzheimer, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus, Diabetes Mellitus or other Chronic illness) we are called upon to take care of them.  We are told, our love ones need us!  Many answered that call without wavering for a moment. In some cases, external resources are used…but are no less important.

I would like to pause to say, “Thank You” to the Caretakers who are often overlooked. The ones who took the time off from work to get the ill to their appointments. Those who are awaken in the middle of the night by a scared parent suffering from Alzheimer. Those who endure the embarrassment of “changing diapers” of a love one. Those dealing with the pain of a relative who was able to walk one week prior, but MS now has her wheel chair bound. Those who are reminded of their mortality daily as their love ones are placed in hospice … waiting … waiting. Those whose careers embodies being a caretaker in these situations, also deserve to be recognized.

A Gentle Touch

Our society does not address the importance and genuine compassionate calling of those who are knighted “Caretakers” among us.  Caretakers take on the burden of others without a second thought.  Today, reach out to a Caretaker who may be silently hurting or struggling emotionally. A caretaker, who in the process of caring for others, forget to take care of themselves. Send them a postcard, say a silent prayer for their strength, give a hug, a smile, a pie, a gift card … anything! Anything to let them know, they are Angels among us and are greatly appreciated for what they do.  And who knows, maybe one day, should the need arise, we too can step up to the plate and become such an Angel to someone else. And should God smile on us … in our time of need, an Angel, disguised as a Caretaker, will stand by our side.

Caretakers…we thank you!

 

November is National Family Caregivers month and National Hospice Palliative Care month. Visit these sites at  www.thefamilycaregiver.org and www.nhpco.org, respectively.

 

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