Radiation Oncology Questions Answered by Ravi Chandra, MD, PhD

In my first of an occasional series of Blog posts, I wanted to take a few moments to answer questions that frequently arise for patients referred for radiation therapy.

What is radiation and how does it work?
Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. Precisely focused X-rays damage the DNA inside cancer cells causing them to die, either right away or when they try to grow. There are even new data suggesting that radiation may help the body’s immune system (the same system that fights infections) attack cancers. Cancers in any part of the body can be treated, and in any age patient.

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Categories: Radiation Oncology

Could Your Skincare Products Make You More Prone to Sunburns?

Male or female, young or young at heart, if you use skincare products it’s safe to assume you’re committed to keeping your skin healthy and attractive. However, some of the products you rely on to achieve those goals may actually increase your risk of sunburn – which can put you at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. It can also make your skin show more wrinkles, sunspots and other signs of premature aging.

Four Products That Can Cause Sun Sensitivity

Below are four types of products you may be using that are known to cause sun sensitivity and could increase your likelihood of sunburn, especially if you’re not using SPF.
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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Skin Cancer

What You Should Know About Participating in a Cancer Clinical Trial

Learning you have cancer, or that cancer has returned, is shocking news. After you begin to wrap your mind around it your main focus is probably, “How can I beat this?” In most situations your oncologist begins treatments using established, proven cancer treatment protocols based on the specific type of cancer you have been diagnosed with. For some people, the most commonly effective cancer treatments don't work as expected, and in these cases your cancer specialist may recommend enrolling in a cancer clinical trial. Should you do this? Find out more about cancer research done right in your community.

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Categories: Cancer Research

Alcohol and Its Link to Cancer

It's fairly common knowledge that an occasional glass of red wine has been shown to boost heart health. Even beer has been linked to "some benefit against cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. And, at least one study from by the European Journal of Cancer Prevention suggests alcohol could reduce the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Before you pop a cork or tab and say, "Cheers, I'll drink to that!" there are risks you should be aware of. A growing body of evidence suggests a worrisome link between alcohol consumption and certain types of cancers.

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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk

Meet Your Team: Becky Clark, MS, CGC

“What I love about genetics is that it can be translated to help people. With what we now know about hereditary cancers, we can prevent, we can screen and we can be more empowered.”

Becky Clark is a genetic counselor with the Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing program. She strives to be a guide and educator to her patients, to collect information about their personal and family histories and help them understand how that information may contribute to their cancer risk.

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Categories: Meet Your Team

Meet Your Team: Andrea Hamilton, MS, RDN, LD

“It’s so meaningful when a patient who is struggling leaves feeling happy and hopeful, empowered to try the strategies we’ve talked about. I’m honored to share these moments with them.”

Andrea Hamilton is a registered dietitian and an important part of Compass Oncology’s care team. Staying well nourished during treatment provides the energy needed to fight the cancer. Often that’s easier said than done. 

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Categories: Meet Your Team

Dr. Lucy Langer and Dr. Tammy De La Melena Present at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

The San Antonio Breast Cancer Syposium was held December 6 - 20, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Tammy De La Melena, Breast Surgical Oncologist, and Dr. Lucy Langer, Medical Oncologist, gave presentations at the symposium focusing on individual topics and how Compass Oncology uses clinical research to provide the best care possible for their patieints. Below are summaries of the two presentations given by Dr. Langer and Dr. De La Melena.

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Categories: Breast Cancer

Colorectal Cancer and Young Adults: What You Need to Know

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published in February that colorectal cancer in young adults has risen dramatically in generations born after 1950. Those currently between the ages of 18-27 have 2 times the risk of developing colon cancer and 4 times the risk of developing rectal cancer than people born in the 1950s were when they were between those ages.

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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Screening, Colorectal Cancer

Meet Your Team: Susan Zaretsky, FNP-BC

“If I can help people not get cancer or find it early when we can have a strong influence on their prognosis, that’s exciting.”

Susan Zaretsky has worked in nursing for close to four decades, most of that time in oncology. While she’s worked across the cancer care spectrum, her current role is focused on breast cancer prevention, seeing patients deemed high-risk due to a genetic mutation, strong family history or biopsy and those dealing with complex issues like nipple discharge or pain.

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Categories: Meet Your Team

Stereotactic Radiation Offers New Hope for Many Cancer Patients

About 60% of all cancer patients will be treated with radiation therapy at some point during their cancer care. However, what radiation therapy looks like has been undergoing a rapid transformation in recent years. Thanks to technological advances and research in radiation oncology, stereotactic radiation has taken its place as an advanced tool in today’s cancer-fighting arsenal. It has proven its ability to eradicate certain tumors with surgical precision, opening up new and effective treatments for patients who previously had little or no options.

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Categories: Cancer Treatment, Radiation Oncology