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Archive for the ‘Advocate’ Category

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…

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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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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…

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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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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…

 

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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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It use to be that a cancer diagnosis lead to high mortality (death) rates and survivorship came at an extreme cost of post-surgical disfiguring features, neuropathy and other late effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy as well.  With improved technology and clinical applications of (bench) research, many patients are surviving and doing much better than generation past. As survival continues to improve, quality of life, including fertility preservation has become increasing important to patients and their families.

fertility-preservation

Sperm Banking

I recently received my seasonal St. Jude magazine with the featured topic of preserving fertility. It was great to know that fertility preservation options are now being offered to children undergoing cancer treatments or those who are survivors.  Per their report, “…[it is] estimated that half of adolescent and young adult male cancer patients are at increased risk for infertility, with about 10% of female childhood cancer survivors having acute ovarian failure and an additional 15% entering menopause prematurely.”

fertility

Egg Harvesting

It was noted in their report, that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is currently the only hospital in the U.S. to cover the expense associated with harvesting and storing sperm and eggs until patients reach age 35. That policy eliminates one of the greatest barriers to fertility preservation for many childhood cancer patients:cost. This is GREAT news!

I remain and avid supporter of St. Judes Research Hospital!  Hope to be a visiting professor/clinician there one day. If you are looking for a charity to support, please consider St.Judes!

stjude1

 

 

Fertility Preservation for Young Women with Cancer

Fertility Preservation Options

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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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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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Seeking a second opinion is often exercised in many areas of life. It is often quoted that:

  • 70% of people consider a 2nd opinion for home improvement
  • 55% of people would consider a 2nd opinion on vehicle repairs.
  • What about Cancer diagnosis? How many get another opinion?

second-opinion-cartoonWhen it comes to cancer diagnosis and other serious chronic diseases, a second opinion is not only ok, it is recommended!

Your treating physicians should not mind, and in most cases, a good physician may even recommend that a second opinion be obtained. This recommendation is NOT a bad thing! As physicians, we are often very comfortable with our recommendations, but understand that there may be other ways of accomplishing what is best for you, the patient.

***Cancer is often a scary and frightening diagnosis! It is my recommendation to NEVER go to an appointment alone, if at all possible.***

PREPARING FOR A 2nd OPINION

Don’t wait too long after diagnosis – time is of the essence! Once you have completed your 1st set of appointments (or even during the process):

  • Tell your physicians that you would like to have a 2nd a opinion. They may recommend another hospital or physician and may assist with arranging an expedient 2nd opinion appointment. Alternatively, you may do this on your own, by seeking recommendations elsewhere/trusted sources
  • Sign release forms and/or gather all of your relevant medical records—including biopsy/pathogloy/test results, blood work, or any imaging test (CT scans, MRI, US, Mammograms, etc.,). This will prevent the need to repeat these exams – save time and money!
  • Create a list/time line of all the symptoms that lead to your diagnosis, if any was experienced
  • Write down and bring a list of all the medications you are currently taking (prescription and over the counter)
  • Write down and bring a list of all your questions. If you do not know what to ask, consider the things discussed at your first oncology appointment…AND please bring someone with you!

WHAT TO EXPECT

  •  The hospital/clinic may repeat their review of the pathology report to confirm the diagnosis
  • They will provide additional details about the type of cancer and its overall stage (a description of where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body)
  • Perspective from experts in different oncology disciplines, such as medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology
  • Discussion treatment options (sometimes doctors may disagree with the original diagnosis or the previous proposed treatment plan – different chemotherapy, different radiation therapy approach, no chemotherapy or radiation, different type of surgery, etc.,)
  • The availability of clinical trials that you may want to consider
  • The favorite question most of my patient like to ask me – “What would you recommend if I was your…___(fill in the blank/relative)” … It never hurt to ask the same!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of recommendations in preparing for a 2nd opinion, but it is a start – for a blog *smile*.  Apply these recommendations to any other serious diagnosis. If possible, ask  questions before any surgeries or serious treatment. Oh, by the way, your research on the internet does not count as a second opinion!

Again, take someone with you on your appointments!

God’s speed!

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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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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

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

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It is Black History Month!  Thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we are living in different and better times….

Giving credit where it is due…is very important! Recall for a moment, the way you felt when you worked very hard on a project and you were not acknowledged for it. Instead, Mr. Lazy or Ms. Thorny was credited for something you did! Frustrating, wasn’t it?

As an immigrant, I am very grateful for all that I have attained and hope to continually give back to the community. As such, I am really big on giving credit where credit is due! How about you?

There are many who made GREAT contribution to our medical community – Hispanic, Blacks, Whites, Indians, etc.,.  Blacks/African Americans have contributed quite a bit to the Medical History. Here are only a few of interest:

  • Dr. Ben Carson

    Dr. Ben Carson

    Alcon, George Edward Jr. – Physicist Inventor: Invented a method of fabricating an imaging X-ray spectrometer.

  • Bath, Patricia – Opthalmologist: First African American woman to receive a patent for a medical invention. Inventions relate to cataract surgery and include the Laserphaco Probe, an ultrasound technique that revolutionized the industry in the 1980’s.
  • Black, Keith – Neurosurgeon: Brain tumor surgery and research
  • Brooks, Phil – Inventor: First US patent for a disposable syringe
  • Cardozo, William – Pediatrician: Sickle Cell Anemia studies. Published in OCT 1937 “Immunologic Studies in Sickle Cell Anemia” in Archives of Internal Medicine; many of the findings are still valid today!
  • Carson, Ben – Pediatric Neurosurgeon: First surgeon to successfully separated craniopagus twins.
  • Clarke, Maime – Psychologist: Conducted 1940’s experiments using dolls to study children’s attitudes about race
  • Drew, Charles – Medical Researcher: Developed improved techniques for blood storage
  • Griffin, Bessie Blunt – Physical Therapist/Inventor: Amputee self-feeding device
  • Kittles, Rick – Geneticist: Work in tracing the ancestry of African Americans via DNA testing
  • Kountz, Samuel – Transplant surgeon: Organ transplantation pioneer, particularly renal transplant research and surgery. Author or co-author over 172 articles in scientific publication (wow…I only have 165 to go, to catch up!)

    Dr. Charles Drew

    Dr. Charles Drew

  • Lee, Raphael carl – Surgeon, Biomedical Engineer: Discovered use of surfactant copolymers as molecular chaperones to augment injury repair mechanism of living cells. Holder of many patents covering scar treatment therapies, tissue engineered ligaments, brain trauma therapies…
  • Morgan, Garrett – Inventor: Invented the first gas mask (great for threats soldiers have to contend with on deployments)
  • Thomas, Vivien – Surgical Technician: Blue baby syndrome treatment in the 1940’s.
  • Wright, Louis T. – Surgeon: Led team that first used Aureomycin as a treatment on humans

Dreams attained?

 

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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…

Read Full Post »

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

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

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Advance DirectiveA difficult conversation is anything you find hard to talk about. It is challenging, because it is surrounded by a cloud of possible conflict, fear, anxiety, anger, depression, or frustration (among other emotions).

But, when having a difficult conversation with yourself, there is no blaming, no misunderstanding, just you and your thoughts. Tough.

Advance directive end-of-lifeFor 2015, I resolve to have a better handle on my finances. Though finance can be a difficult conversation in and of itself, I was caught off guard, when asked if I had a “Living Will and Advance Health Directive”…what? I have asked patients that question on many occasions, but never thought to ask myself. If the patient answered “no” then our wonderful nurse would take care of it and it becomes part of the “cloud”…  doctors are usually not involved.

I am young, healthy, why do I need a Living Will? Hhhmmm. The world is indeed unpredictable and having this information known and written will only serve to help love ones.  Things can happen…suddenly!

Do YOU have an Advance Directive?  

Advance direct dyingA Will Preparation Questionnaire was sent to me. Some of the questions were simple and straight forward, but others were downright brazen and difficult. I am still chewing on:

  • Do you want to be buried or cremated? (depends if natural death or otherwise – hhhmmm)
  • Which of your organs would you like to donate? Hhmmm. (Most organs seem ok…but I flinch whenever I think about my eyes)
  • Do you consent to an autopsy? Or do you leave that decision to your appointed love one/agent? (if foul play suspected, ok with autopsy…otherwise, unsure if necessary), etc.,

Thinking about death may be depressing…but we all know, that death is inevitable. When do you need an Advance Directive? If you are over 18 years old, the experts say you should think about it.

See videos below…think about it?

Life is BEAUTIFUL!

Advance Health Directives

 

Last Will and Testament

 

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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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