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Archive for June, 2013

 From the Physicians Desk ...Doc’s Weekly Blog!

We cannot put off living until we are ready!  Jose Ortega y Gasset

As a Radiation Oncologist, I am focused on using Radiation to treat cancer… there is nothing I like better than the ability to instill hope and doing my best to “zap” those nasty cancers cells! However, as Oncology physicians, sometimes we overlook an important aspect of Cancer Care – personal needs of the patient, their significant other, family, and most importantly – the Children of those who are affected by Cancer.

Life With Cancer Center

Life With Cancer Center

I recently discovered an AWESOME place that addresses the questions of those touched by Cancer and provide support … and all the programs are FREE! Yes FREE! The Life with Cancer Center is set in a very tranquil environment, and offers services to the ENTIRE family touched by cancer. Their services includes, but are not limited to;

 

Classes – explaining lab values, peripheral neuropathy, what to expect with Chemotherapy, tools for couples, strategies to improve sleep…and much more! It is my goal to hopefully offer additional information for patients and their family on The Basics of Radiation Therapy, Expected Side effects from Radiation Therapy, Radiation therapy and Breast Cancer, Radiation Therapy and Prostate Cancer … and other Cancer sites …stay tuned!

Tranquility inside the Center

Tranquility inside the Center

Fitness and Nutrition – aerobic exercise, gently yoga or tai chi, healthy food choices, life beyond treatment, etc.,

Other  classes include; Expressive Arts, Support Groups, Individual and Family Counseling, Individual and family nursing consultations, Children, teen parents, Spanish Language programs and bereavement.

If a “Life With Cancer Center”  is not close to you, please do call/visit the American Cancer Society to seek out similar programs in your city/state. Educate yourself by clicking HERE and watch short introductory video clips on the basics of Caner.

As we say at our church, “No one should have to go through a Cancer Diagnosis alone!”

Click Below to watch video … You can do this for your neighborhood also!

Remember

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power

Visit 
http://www.LegacyEducators.com
 for more health information!

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physicians Desk ...Doc’s Weekly Blog!

 Doctor Shop BEFORE – not During – Cancer Treatment

Last few weeks we reviewed 2 of 3 of the many  “Pot Holes” on the road to a possible long cancer free life…We discussed;

#1. Hospital X is famous for (pancreatic) Cancer  treatment but is located 500 miles away from your home, family, friends and support systems. What will you do

#2. Hospital Virginia recommends a different type of surgery from Hospital Maryland. Which surgery should you choose and why? Are there guidelines?

This week we will review –

#3. Hospital Q in DC Oncology team recommends Radiation Therapy but Hospital V in Delaware said Radiation Therapy is not necessary. How should you approach this differing opinion?

(rubbing hands together and smiling sheepishly;)

My Million Dollar Baby! (grins)

My Million Dollar Baby! (grins)

First and foremost, in regard to point #3, please make sure your opinions are from Board Certified Radiation Oncologists! Unfortunately, our comrades in Medical Oncology cannot make recommendations on Radiation Therapy – suggestions maybe, but a Radiation Oncologist should respectfully, make the final recommendation.

Would you consider a Heart (Cardiac) Surgeon to operate on a patient’s Brain lesion? Certainly not!  Though a Cardiac Surgeon and a Neurosurgeon are both respected surgeons, and may have common knowledge about some of the surgical procedures for each others’ specialty, it does not compute to have recommendations from a Neurosurgeon (Brain) about what a Cardiac Surgeon (Heart) should do about a valve replacement. Shiver at the thought!

Radiation Oncology Treatment Recommendations should be taken from Radiation Oncologist….only!

For the most part, Radiation Oncology recommendations are quite straightforward and most Radiation Oncologists tend to agree on the basic treatment approaches for most cancers. To help you understand the basics of their recommendations, you may ask the following questions;

  1. Is Radiation therapy indicated for this type of Cancer? (Radiation is not indicated for all cancers. Some Cancers, such as cancer of the blood, like Leukemias are treated with chemotherapy only)
  2. If I have surgery, will Radiation therapy treatments still be recommended? Is there a type of surgery that would make it possible to obviate (skip) Radiation therapy treatment?
  3. When will I need to have Radiation Therapy in the sequence of my Cancer treatments?
  • Before surgery (as in the case of Rectal Cancer), After surgery (as in the case of Breast Cancer),
  • No surgery recommended but will be combined with chemotherapy (as in the case of unresectable pancreatic cancer), or
  • Radiation therapy will be given alone (as in the case of early stage lung cancer in a someone who cannot have surgery because of pre-existing illnesses)
  • Click below to watch video

4.  Ask the Radiation Oncologists what guidelines they are using and if they use NCCN guidelines or guidelines from open trials/studies. {The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines are reviewed annually and updated with recent study results that may change practice recommendations}

5. At the end of every consultation and after review of all the possible side effects, ask your Radiation Oncologists

  • what would happen if you decide against having Radiation therapy treatments? What are the recurrence risk rates?
  • What would they recommend if you were a family member (one that they like) and faced with the same stage of Cancer?

(caveat: I am NOT a big believer in statistics. When it is my patient, the only statistics/probability that matter is what happens to that ONE patient. I tend to instill hope … or at least try. If the statistics states a 5yr survival rate of 5%, who am I as your doctor, to say you are not a part of that 5%? I tend to treat aggressively, and have high hopes, that the “healing beams” of Radiation Therapy will make a difference and place you in that 5% survivorship group! Why not? Not reckless optimism but calculated hopeful. If you are not in the 5%, we will deal with it then …)

6. Having more than one consultation is reasonable. However, more than 3 is excessive and may become unproductive and lead to increase stressors and worry.

As you can see from the above thought processes and line of questionings, the patients must become their own advocate or have a love one who can do this “job” for them/you!

Click below to watch video…it just may be worth your time!

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power

Visit 
http://www.LegacyEducators.com
 for more health information!

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  See you next week…

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From the Physicians Desk ...Doc’s Weekly Blog!

Learn more about your health by watching videos – click here!

A Plea from the Nation’s Families …

  • We need the Men in our lives to take better care of themselves.
  • We need the men in our lives to lead by “Health” example.
  • We need the men in our lives to be checked routinely  for preventable health problems and be screened for early detection and have life saving treatment for diseases such as Cancer.
  • We need our men to be around for us … living a long, healthy life.
mens-health-doctor

Visit your Doc today!

JUN 10-16 is National Men’s Health Week…speak to the men in your life about the common chronic diseases listed below. If they answer “NO” to any of the questions, then they should also provide their “NUMBER” and know the DATE of their last exam/lab tests – have them prove it ! Let them show you the papers from the Doctor’s visit – this is serious!  No papers, no evidence, an appointment is necessary – Call for an appointment with his Doctor today! “wink”;

  1. Are you Diabetic?
  2. Do you have High Blood Pressure?
  3. Do you have High Cholesterol?
  4. Are you Obese? What is your BMI?
  5. What is your Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) number?
  6. Did you have a Colonoscopy? What is the age you should be screened for Colon Cancer?
  7. Do you know your family history for Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes?

visit click HERE to learn more MEN’S HEALTH WEEK

Click below to watch video

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power

Visit http://www.LegacyEducators.com for more health information!

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  See you next week…

Read Full Post »

From the Physicians Desk ...Doc’s Weekly Blog!

Learn more about your health by watching videos – click here!

Doctor Shop BEFORE, not During, Cancer Treatment

Last Week we reviewed the first of 3 of the many  “Pot Holes” on the road to a cure…We discussed;

  1. Hospital X is famous for (pancreatic) Cancer  treatment but is located 500 miles away from your home, family, friends and support systems. What will you do?

This week we will review –

2. Hospital Virginia recommends a different type of surgery from Hospital Maryland. Which surgery should you choose and why? Are there guidelines?

YES …There are guidelines! Again, the key to this dilemma is a thorough conversation with your Doctors. Let us use Breast Cancer as an example. What kind of surgeries are available for this kind of Cancer? (Mastectomy and Lumpectomy) What are the major differences? Can you show me on a picture/diagram? (Yes, One takes the entire breast and the other just the area where the cancer is located). Do you use the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines? (click HERE to access NCCN for patients) Yes.

Other questions may include;

Lumpectomy - removes only the area where the Cancer is located,

Lumpectomy – removes only the area where the Cancer is located, the Lymph nodes are area the Cancer can spread

You mentioned taking lymph nodes from under my arm. What are those and why do you have to take those out? What are the side effects from either surgeries and how long will I be in the hospital? Which surgery is best in making sure this Cancer never comes back? Which one do you recommend and Why?

In essence, the patient and/or their advocate must become almost pragmatic and analytic in fashioning their questions.  LISTEN to what the Doctor is saying initially. Interrupt and ask them to explain terminologies you do not understand ..or you will find that you are quickly lost in the Consultation. Ask them to use pictures and diagrams – it makes all the difference! Make the consultation more of a “conversation” … but be prepared with your own questions too! There is nothing wrong with a 2nd opinion, but more than 3 opinions will confuse you. You should only consider a 3rd for a tie-breaker in rare cases. The Physicians truly do have your best interest at heart!

Visit my website … and scroll down to Cancer Information section. Click to enter and in this area you will find easy to understand guidelines, videos and printable pdf’s on, “Questions to ask your Doctor” and “Questions your Doctor will ask you … be prepared!” Print these documents and take them with you! Questions … please feel free to ask!

Next time we will review scenario;

3. Hospital Q in DC Oncology team recommends Radiation Therapy but Hospital V in Delaware said Radiation Therapy is not necessary. How should you approach this differing opinion?

Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power

Visit http://www.LegacyEducators.com for more health information!

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  See you next week…

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