Lymph Nodes: An Early Warning Sign of Cancer

Lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) are part of your immune system, and they let you know when your body is fighting an infection by becoming enlarged or sensitive to the touch. They also function as an early warning system for some types of cancer, including lymphoma, leukemia, and breast cancer.

What are Lymph Nodes?

Lymph is a clear fluid that circulates throughout your body, bringing nutrients to cells and carrying away bacteria and waste products. This fluid flows through a special system of tiny vessels in your body, passing through small bean-shaped filtering organs called lymph nodes. Some nodes are as large as an inch across, while others are as small as a pinhead. 

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Categories: Cancer Screening, Lymphomas

What Should I Expect at My First Mammogram?

The mammogram is an important breast cancer screening and diagnostic tool for women. This highly effective, non-invasive, and inexpensive procedure detects breast cancer and saves lives. The American Cancer Society recommends women start breast cancer screening at age 45. However, research has found mammograms are most beneficial for women age 50 and older. Regular mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by 14% among 50- to 60-year-olds and 33% among 60- to 69-year-olds.

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Categories: Cancer Screening, Breast Cancer

How Does Your Family’s History of Melanoma Affect You?

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It forms in the cells that produce melanin, which is the substance responsible for your skin's color. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun or tanning beds increases the risk of developing any skin cancer. In the case of melanoma, experts say there's also a strong link between family genetics and your risk of developing melanoma. 

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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Screening, Genetic Testing, Skin Cancer

A Simple Test Could Let You Know if You’re at High Risk for Developing Colon Cancer

Cancer researchers from Johns Hopkins have concluded that some patients may develop colon cancer due to two specific digestive bacterias that form a film on the colon.

The two bacteria the doctors found working together to heighten cancer are known as Bacteroides fragilis and Escherichia coli (or E. coli). The B. fragilis strain, called ETBF, appears to cause inflammation in the colon, while the E. coli strain causes DNA mutations. 

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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk, Cancer Screening, Colorectal Cancer

It’s Time for Awareness: Common Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma

Although multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, not many people are familiar with the disease or aware of what the signs and symptoms are. Considering this, our cancer specialists at Compass Oncology have decided that now seems like the perfect time to both educate and empower people regarding this disease.

Multiple myeloma is defined as a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell that helps fight infections in the body. When myeloma cells form and multiply beyond control, they crowd out normal plasma cells, which causes cancer.

While the exact cause of multiple myeloma is still unclear, scientists have made progress in understanding how the disease develops. Recently, researchers have found that genetic factors (changes or mutations in the DNA) may influence the development of multiple myeloma.

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Categories: Blood Cancers, Cancer Screening, Multiple Myeloma

Skin Cancer Detection Guide

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more people being diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined. Knowing what to look for can help catch it early when it’s much easier to treat.

The Importance of Skin Cancer Self-Examination

When detected early, skin cancer is almost always curable. This is why getting to know your skin through regular self-exams is so important so that any new or changing marks or lesions can be caught quickly.

Lesions, ulcers, or tumors on the skin should be checked out by a skin cancer specialist right away.

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Categories: Cancer Screening, Skin Cancer

5 Common Cancer Myths Debunked

The internet can be an extremely useful tool for people seeking information on specific healthcare topics like cancer. And while there is a lot of data out there to be read, it is important to keep in mind that not all online sources offer reliable information. We’ve come a long way when it comes to understanding cancer--yet many myths and misconceptions continue to leave people confused and searching for answers. Busting these cancer myths, and learning more about what has actually been proven, is a great way to get people closer to truly understanding this complex group of diseases known as cancer.

Here are 5 commonly held myths about cancer: 

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Categories: Cancer Prevention, Cancer Risk, Cancer Screening, Genetic Testing

What Do You Know About Mammograms?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, making it a great time to learn a little more about breast cancer screenings for yourself or a loved one. The information below will help you better understand why mammograms are important, other potential screening methods, when you should be screened and what can be done if someone needs a mammogram but cannot afford one. This knowledge can help you be better informed so you can share it with others this October, as well as the rest of the year.

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Categories: Breast Cancer, Cancer Screening

5 Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer That Every Woman Should Know

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so it's a good time to learn more about early detection to help save lives. Certain risk factors, including being overweight and a history of ovarian cancer in the family, may increase your chances of being diagnosed. Ovarian cancer research clinical trials are underway, but it's still good for patients to be educated about detecting ovarian cancer early.

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Categories: Cancer Screening, Ovarian Cancer

When Should You Get a Prostate Cancer Screening?

Are you interested in learning about prostate cancer screening? It's important to remember that many perfectly healthy people are screened for prostate cancer as part of their regular health care. Doctors sometimes recommend testing simply because of your age or family history. Other times, patients have some symptoms, and their doctor may suggest a prostate cancer screening as the first step to understanding the problem.

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Categories: Cancer Screening, Prostate Cancer