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5 Things You Need to Know about Ovarian Cancer

Throughout the year, cancer prevention and research activists—along with patients, survivors, and families—come together to educate the public about the many forms of cancer, efforts to advance treatment, and ways to support those battling the disease. This September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity for all people—both women and men—to learn about the condition and the ways that women can protect themselves and their loved ones. Stay Informed During Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month To support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, commit to broadening your own education with these five facts about the disease: Ovarian cancer affects the female reproductive organs and shows itself in several different forms, including on the stomal cells that release estrogen and progesterone, the germ cells that produce eggs or the surface epithelial cells, which account for 90% of ovarian cancer cases. The disease overwhelmingly affects older women: About two-thirds of cases are seen in women ages 50-75, and just 5% in those under 30. It is the second-most common gynecological cancer, affecting about one in every 70 women in the United States. There are a number of factors that can increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer, including inheriting the BRCA1 or 2 genes, endometriosis, and family history. Symptoms include weight changes, abdominal pain, changes to urination and bowel patterns, vaginal bleeding between periods, lack of appetite, and more. Women with persistent symptoms are urged to contact a physician and undergo a pelvic exam. Because ovarian cancer often develops slowly and symptoms gradually progress, it can be difficult to diagnose, leading many women to develop advanced forms of the disease. As such, it is... read more

5 Things You Need to Know about Leukemia

Leukemia Awareness Month is marked every September, as a way to honor those who are fighting the disease, those who survived, and those who lost their battle. It’s a time to encourage education about the disease, its impacts, and methods of prevention—all in an effort to pay tribute to the courage it takes to confront the illness. Stay Informed DuringLeukemia Awareness Month Here are five things to know about the disease so that you can do your part this Leukemia Awareness Month to fight its spread: Leukemia is cancer of the blood-forming tissues, including bone barrow, that leads to abnormalities in the white blood cells. Its name is derived from the Greek meaning for “white blood,” leading researchers to believe the disease has been recognized for more than 1,500 years. Anyone is susceptible to leukemia, but it particularly occurs in older and younger patients. It is, unfortunately, the most common cancer in those under 15. Red flags for leukemia include abnormal white blood cell counts, easy bruising, night sweats, fatigue, joint pain and swollen lymph nodes. Diagnosis usually centers on bloodwork. The prognosis for leukemia patients has improved drastically in recent years, with the overall five-year survival rate tripling to more than 60% in the last 40 years. There have been particular strides made in treating pediatric leukemia; more than 80% of children diagnosed with leukemia now live at least five years, a figure that was only at 10% just four decades ago. Leukemia Awareness Month is signified by the color orange. Throughout September, those whose lives have been touched by the disease, as well as healthcare professionals and... read more

5 Things You Need to Know about Prostate Cancer

Among the most startling statistics about prostate cancer is that one in nine men will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lives. That’s a significant risk, one that is at the heart of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The occasion is marked every September as a way to encourage education about prostate cancer, its risks, and prevention methods. Cancer activists and advocates join to observe Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in an effort to honor those who’ve been lost to the disease, those who have survived, and the many men who are battling it each day. Stay Informed During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month While this cancer can affect any man, older men are much more at risk; about 60% of new diagnoses are among men who are over 65. African American men are also at a higher risk. The prognosis for most men is generally good; more than 3 million American men are currently survivors of prostate cancer. However, it can progress to be life-threatening in some cases. After lung cancer, it is the most common cancer to kill men in the United States. Family history of prostate cancer and genetic mutations, such as the inherited BRCA1 and 2 genes, are thought to increase the risk for prostate cancer. Smoking, obesity, and poor diet have also been shown to have an effect on the development of the cancer. Prevention strategies typically include diets low in dairy consumption, efforts to maintain a healthy weight, and high physical activity. Symptoms include trouble urinating, blood in the urine, lower-body pain, leg and foot numbness, loss of bladder control, and erectile... read more

Creating a Budget After Cancer Diagnosis

While medical concerns are usually the first thing on someone’s mind when they’re diagnosed with cancer, another issue may quickly arise: finances. Just like with any major life disruption, it’s important to assess your entire financial picture, consider all of the factors that may impact your finances because of the diagnosis and come up with a detailed budget. Creating your budget after cancer comes into your life can be a scary prospect, but it’s one that is necessary to stay financially healthy so you can instead focus on your physical health. Here are a few things to consider during your budget-planning process: Healthcare: This is often where the most expenses are incurred by cancer patients. Even with insurance, medical care can be extremely expensive. Contact your insurance company and try to get a handle on what the treatments, medications, and other care will cost, factoring in co-pays and other smaller expenses that can add up. Routine changes: Creating your budget after cancer should include forward-thinking about how your daily routine could change. For instance, patients may experience a job loss or cut hours because of treatment as well as added childcare costs. Travel: Patients often need transportation assistance to and from appointments and treatments, which can become costly. Look into transportation services, including those offered by your healthcare facility, to plan for expenses. Unnecessary spending: As you’re creating a budget, explore all of your current expenses to see where you can cut costs. Consider how much you spend on non-essential things, such as going out to dinner, seeing a movie, and clothes shopping. Look into your regular expenses like... read more

Managing the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment with a Better Diet

The side effects of cancer are wide-ranging and can vary depending on the patient, treatment, and prognosis. While certain medications and holistic remedies can ease some symptoms, a special diet for cancer patients is another way that many choose to alleviate the discomfort. Below are a few common side effects, along with recommendations that should be included in a diet for cancer patients experiencing those symptoms. Nausea This is one of the most commonly reported side effects of both chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Smaller meals eaten slowly can provide some relief, as can plenty of liquids, especially clear beverages. If you’re putting together a diet for cancer patients with nausea, it should focus on low-fat, bland foods. The following foods have all been shown to help reduce nausea: Cold cereal Crackers Baked chicken Mouth tenderness Many cancer patients experience mouth sores and general tenderness that can make eating comfortably a challenge. However, keeping up energy and stamina to help the body fight off the disease is incredibly important, so patients must continue to take in nourishing foods. For patients with painful mouth side effects, experts recommend cool, soft foods, such as: Applesauce Soup Pudding Constipation Any diet for cancer patients should take into account the effect of the cancer and the treatment on the digestive system. Many patients report constipation, especially after chemo or when using certain medications. To reduce that risk, they should incorporate plenty of high-fiber foods: Beans Fresh fruits and vegetables Chickpeas Vomiting Cancer patients may develop a hypersensitive reaction to smells, which can prompt nausea and vomiting, which are also sometimes caused by certain treatments.... read more

What Is An Orphan Drug? And More Cancer Terminology You Should Know

Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer likely realized that they needed a crash course in cancer terminology right away. Oncologists, social workers, insurance representatives, and more all commonly throw around unfamiliar words—related to medications, treatments, side effects, and more—and patients often have to struggle to educate themselves about the meaning of all of these new words. In fact, the National Cancer Institute’s dictionary of cancer terminology includes more than 8,700 words. Cancer Terminology You Should Be Familiar With Avoid some of that legwork and review these 10 common terms you should know if you’ve been diagnosed:  Orphan drug: This is a medication that aims to treat or prevent an orphan disease, or a rare condition experienced by fewer than 200,000 Americans annually. Drug companies are eligible for certain financial bonuses if they develop a safe orphan drug, particularly because such diseases are often life-threatening.  Malignant: If you have been diagnosed with malignant cells, they are cancerous and potentially dangerous, as they have the ability to destroy tissue and spread throughout your body.  Metastasis: This is the life-threatening process by which cancerous cells break away from a primary tumor and spread to other parts of the body. Immunotherapy: A type of therapy designed to stimulate or suppress the immune system as a way to kill cancer cells. Ablation: This is cancer terminology related to treatment, as it involves the removal or destruction of tissue. It can be performed through a variety of means, including drugs and surgery. Biopsy: Pathologists use a biopsy to remove cells from the body so they can study them more closely. This is often the... read more