Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cancer Survivor’ Category

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

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

——————————-

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although breast cancer is only one of many cancers, I am pleased of the exposure that the many “pink” ribbon brings. It gives me hope that other cancers can have a similar banner of awareness…in the near future. Despite our many progress and technological advances in medicine, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States. For example, Breast Cancer has over 220,000 new diagnosis annually, and over 400,000 deaths each year. Many are surviving a longer time thank in the past.

  • Overall, cancer has taken on a more “chronic” long term debilitating effect, for those who survive initial treatment and are then diagnosed with recurrence/metastatic disease.
  • One the most feared symptom in this category of patients is pain. Overall, 50% to 70% of people with cancer experience some degree of pain, which usually intensifies as the disease progresses.
  • Less than 50% of these patients receive adequate relief of their pain, either because they are afraid to ask because they fear “addiction”, or physicians are unlikely to prescribe adequate medication to attain relief that will allow the patient continued good quality of life.
  • Suboptimal pain control can be debilitating and caregivers are often times unsure how to address this issue.

pm_general_cp_pain_approachThe World Health Organization program for cancer pain control recognizes that 1 in 5 patients with cancer has uncontrolled pain and has a ‘three-step ladder’ for the rational use of analgesics including morphine (recommended adaption to 4-step-ladder – see HERE).

Analgesic pain 4Morphine has long been the ‘gold standard’ for the treatment of severe cancer pain. However, its side-effects, particularly sedation/drowsiness, and cognitive impairment have led to ‘opioid rotation’ to alternatives such as methadone and hydromorphone. The one I like to use most in uncontrolled pain situation is the 72-h transdermal patch for Fentanyl, which offers advantages of reduced side-effects and increased convenience over oral morphine. Another novel pain medication is Intravenous (IV) strontium-89 and bisphosphonate therapy which are effective for both short- and long-term control of metastatic bone pain.

Pain Management Physician Review

Patient Discusses Pain

——————————————–

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 … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

—————————–

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is that time of year again, when American Cancer Society seeks our support. The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk is being held in many cities throughout the United States. Have you joined a team and offer your financial support?

breast pinkThis could be a template for all other cancers. Imagine for a moment, if there is a walk for a specific cancer every 2 weeks…that would be awesome right?! Prostate Cancer, Colon Cancer, Gastric Cancer, Lung Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, Brain Cancer, etc.,… Imagine the societal impact and the health benefit for the participants too? A walk every 2 weeks…Why not? Just imagine…

Learn more about upcoming American Cancer Society Breast Cancer walk in your city, by clicking HERE and also see the videos below. Who knows, maybe you will see me at one of these walks…be sure to say hello! 🙂

ACS 2015

ACS Video

——————————————–

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 … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

—————————–

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!

 

——————————————–

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 … http://www.LegacyEducators.org and click on “Cancer Information”

——————————

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!

——————————————–

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”

———————————-

As October comes to an end and breast cancer awareness publicity winds down…many continue to live with, and fight this disease. Often, I am asked, “when can I say I am a survivor? When can I say I am disease free?” I use to think this was a difficult question. But, with maturity and experience comes wisdom. The answer is not a generic one…

Survivor JeannineWalston500

“I did not think I’d still be alive after diagnosed with a brain tumor in the spring of 1998 at age 24, 15 years ago.” Says Jeannine Walston in her blog.

During a recent cancer walk, the buzz was all about being a cancer  “over-comer” and not a “survivor” … Hhhmm.  I say, whichever phrase empowers you most…use it! The Merriam Webster dictionary defines both as:

Survive: To remain alive or in existence; live on. To continue to function or prosper; to continue to function or prosper despite … (Merriam-Webster)

Overcome: to defeat something. To successfully deal with or gain control of (something difficult). To affect (someone) very strongly or severely

Strong terms!

About 7 years ago while wrestling with the different faces and phases of cancer…I chose to express myself on paper (not sure I would call it a poem though). It never gets easier to handle…as physician, we need an escape too. I choose to download to Jesus daily…and leave it at the alter. Yes…I pray for my patients in private…

 

The identity of cancer1

 

To ALL the Survivors and Over-comers – Blessings, Peace and Love!

——————————————–

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 »