a good cause

Blog Hop ’08 Party and Chat!

BlogHOP 08 PartyMy blogging buddy Robin from Pensieve cooked up a very special get-together for those of us not attending the BlogHer conference in San Francisco this week.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am determined to be oh so happy for everyone who actually gets to go this year — there’s always next year for me. Right? 🙂 But this Blog Hop has been designed to encourage us to get out of our funk and get funky!

Did I just say get funky? Seriously? I did, didn’t I?

To join in the fun, and for all the details – go to Robin’s place by simply clicking on the 50’s sock hop girl to the left — she’ll take you right to the post!

So grab the button and help her promote it – she’d love to see a ton of us there! Here’s the code, courtesy of my good pal, Megan of Fried Okra:

<a href = “http://pensieve.typepad.com/pensieve/2008/07/bloghop-08-your.html”><img src = “http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b381/mamabean/bloghop08.jpg”></a&gt;

See you tonight – be there or be SQUARE.


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Nip Cancer in the Bud – THE ANSWERS Part 2 of 2

This is the final installment of the Cancer Awareness series, answering the rest of the questions (with the exception of one that required more detailed information and got help up, but I will try to get it added later today) (it’s in there now!) from y’all regarding breast and cervix cancers. If you missed Part 1, you can go here to read the answers you asked about skin and other types of cancer.

I have been amazed by the response to this campaign and I’m happy to say that I feel so blessed to have been a part of it. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t know at least one other person who has or has had cancer.

We just learned last week that my MIL’s aunt has relapsed and is now in her third round of chemo treatments for pancreatic cancer, which has a poor survival rate. Very few victims live longer than five years beyond initial diagnosis – my MIL’s mother lasted just under 6 months. Cancer is a thief. I hate it – and with that being said, I am so thankful for the Drs that diagnose and treat it. I’d like to introduce you to a few more that have answered your questions with care and thought:

Three Texas Oncology physicians contributed to the answers for part two of “Nip Cancer in the Bud,” including Doctors Russell Hoverman, Debra Patt, and Carolyn Matthews.

J. Russell Hoverman,
is a medical oncologist and is board certified in internal
medicine and hematology.

Carolyn Matthews, M.D., a medical oncologist,
specializes in gynecological oncology and is board certified in obstetrics and
gynecology and gynecologic oncology.

Debra Patt, M.D., M.P.H., specializes in
medical oncology and hematology, with a special interest in breast cancer,
cancer prevention, outcomes-based research, and tobacco policy.

{For more information about cancer or to find a Texas Oncology physician in your area, visit http://www.TexasOncology.com or call 1-888-864-I CAN (4226). }

Blog Q & A – Breast Cancer, Cervix Cancer and Other Topics

1. Is breast cancer becoming more common, or is awareness simply better now?

While there has been a tremendous increase in awareness about breast cancer and the causes of breast cancer, there has actually been a reduction in the incidence by 3.5 percent a year, according to the American Cancer Society. The decrease could be a reflection of the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is still the second-deadliest cancer among American women. Nevertheless, women should continue to follow the recommended age-appropriate screenings for breast cancer, as early detection is truly the most effective way of combating the disease.

2. I understand that cancers are so varied, but could they touch on why 2 women, who both have breast cancer of the same nature, would have 2 completely different treatments? How do doctors decide what treatment works best?

Without knowing the complete details of each diagnosis, it’s challenging to say why a doctor chooses a certain treatment protocol. The type of treatment protocol really depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the tumor, its relative malignancy, and the patient’s personal medical and family history.

3. Last summer I found a large lump (walnut size) in my breast. Went to my doc, had a mammogram and ultrasound. They told me it was a cyst. It has not changed and several of my friends think I should have it checked further. I will return in late summer to my doc for my regular annual exam. Should I push for further testing or just accept that it’s a cyst that’s there for a while?

It is important for you to continue to monitor the lump through breast self-exams and be sure to note any changes in size. While cysts can linger in your body for years, you should be cautious if you see or feel any changes. Certainly, if you are not comfortable waiting for your annual exam or the explanations you have been given, you can seek a second opinion and further evaluation. Digital mammography often gives a better view of dense breast tissue, so be sure you are getting a digital mammogram on your next visit.

4. Why suggest a lumpectomy when it seems that “it” (the cancer) comes back anyway?

Many women prefer to have a lumpectomy, as this procedure preserves the nipple and much of the normal contour of the breast. Most of the time a lumpectomy is combined with radiation therapy to the breast to reduce the recurrence rate of the cancer. Survival statistics indicate that treatment with lumpectomy/radiation therapy in appropriately selected patients is associated with the same survival rates as more extensive surgery. Though breast reconstruction after mastectomy is an excellent treatment option, sensation and cosmetic appearance are best preserved with lumpectomy. There are, however, many instances where lumpectomy is not appropriate and is an important decision to be made with your surgeon.

5. I found you through Antique Mommy, and I have just finished treatment for Stage III Breast Cancer. I applaud your efforts to get the word out! While I have a great team of professionals here to draw from, I have gotten mixed messages about nutrition and dietary changes recommended for protection against recurrence. I already eat a fairly healthy diet and exercise regularly, and I’ve heard everything from “the only thing proven with breast cancer is that alcohol contributes” to “become a vegetarian”. I would love to hear what the Texas oncologists would recommend. (see below for answer to both 5 & 6)

6. As oncologists, do you also stress the importance of diet in prevention AND treatment to your patients? My father died of cancer, and his oncologists never addressed this. I was furious with them, because if his “doctors” had said he needed to eat better, he probably would have listened.

Answer to both #5 & 6:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important in both the prevention and treatment of cancer. General guidelines for nutrition include choosing a diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods, eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, drinking alcohol only in moderation, and selecting foods low in fat and sodium. There is no evidence that a vegetarian diet provides any more protection than a mostly plant-based diet with small amounts of meat. Eating well will also help you as your body recovers from cancer and you will feel better overall. It is always important to remember that there are many factors that are involved in a patient’s treatment and recovery and it is difficult to comment on your father’s case without knowing his full medical history. For more information from Texas Oncology about certain foods that have cancer-fighting properties, click here. It is also important to be physically active every day and to maintain a healthy weight.

7. I’ve heard that itchy breasts can be a symptom of breast cancer – is this true? I’m also breastfeeding so is it more likely that any itchiness is caused by milk flow/production?

Breast feeding can cause itchiness of your breasts, however, itchiness can also be a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of cancer that accounts for about 1 to 3 percent of all breast cancers. I would recommend that you discuss your concerns and symptoms with your obstetrician.

8. Got here via Antique Mommy. My question is this: what is the difference between “regular” breast cancer and IBC? Is IBC harder to diagnose?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that forms in the cells of the breast. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an uncommon, highly aggressive form of breast cancer in which there is not a single tumor or lump, but the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. Although there are others, the two primary symptoms of IBC are swelling and redness of the breast. IBC is more difficult to diagnose as it is not usually detected by mammograms or ultrasounds because of the fact that there is not a defined lump. More information on breast cancer and inflammatory breast cancer is available on the Texas Oncology Web site.

9. Also, are women who have never had children at a higher risk of having ovarian cancer?

Yes, pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

10. My question is: are there any reliable early screening tests for ovarian cancer?

In 2007, the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation announced the first national consensus on ovarian cancer symptoms. This announcement debunks the commonly held belief that ovarian cancer is a “silent killer” by revealing that there are symptoms that women can look for. Until now, early detection was difficult and therefore led to a reduced chance of survival. The symptoms include: bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency). Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist. Specifically to answer your question, there are no dependable screening studies, however, in high-risk women tumor markers and trans-vaginal ultrasound are often used.

11. If one has had one kind of cancer, say thyroid, is that any indication that she is more likely to get another kind of cancer at some point down the road?

There are many variables to determining if someone might develop another type of cancer in the future or if the current type of cancer will recur. Early screening is the most effective way to fight any type of cancer. However, as with any type of cancer, there is a risk that the disease can recur if it has spread or metastasized to other organs in the body. You should always be vigilant about screenings, especially if you have had a prior cancer diagnosis, and work with your physician to determine the best course of action to monitor for recurrences.

12. Another colon cancer question: A good friend of mine (two weeks shy of 26) has idiopathic gastroparesis and a family history of colon issues (not specifically cancer, to my knowledge). She recently had a colonoscopy due to some symptoms that had previously been attributed to her gastroparesis meds, and they found and tested polyps. The tests came back alright, but it sounded as though polyps are unusual in a 25 year old. How unusual/high risk is this?

A risk assessment cannot be made without a complete evaluation of a patient’s clinical state and family history. Polyps are uncommon in people under 40, but determining the risk depends on the number and type of polyp.

13. My dad has just been diagnosed with stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma (kidney cancer) He has started chemo and is doing ok with it so far, although he is really sick and very tired. I am not able to go with him to the doctors and I am afraid that he is not telling me anything that is actual (just what he wants me to know). The cancer has spread to his spine, his liver and his lymph nodes. I want to know if this is treatable…he is very positive and he says he is going to kick it, but I am so worried about him. I just want some answers. He is the type of person to put a positive spin on everything and so I don’t actually know if the doctors are actually this positive or not. My question is this: can you beat stage IV metastasized kidney cancer. Is this possible? Can he go into remission? I know this is a hard question, but I am in such desperate need of some answers. Cancer has so deeply touched my family. Both grandmothers (IBC), my mother (in remission) and now my father.

Chemotherapy is often used to treat kidney cancer that has spread beyond the kidney, and unfortunately nausea and vomiting, along with tiredness, are some of the more common side effects, but they should go away when his treatment is complete. There are many factors to assess when considering your father’s prognosis, and it is difficult to say what the outcome will be without knowing his full medical history. Your father’s outlook is very important, as a good attitude has shown to be a positive factor in fighting cancer. If you are not already, I would strongly encourage you to be sure you are taking care of yourself and that you are getting regular screenings for both kidney cancer and breast cancer. People with a family history may need to start recommended cancer screenings at an earlier age, primarily as a monitoring tool.

Honest communication among the physician, patient, and important family members is critical in caring for patients with cancer. When the disease may not be curable, the issues of pain and symptom control, family affairs, short- and long-term goals, and how best to live one’s life become paramount. You can ask your father’s permission to contact his physician to discuss the outlook for him. It is also important to discuss your father’s wishes for decision-making in the case that he cannot make decisions for himself in the future. Helpful Web sites about having conversations with patients with potentially incurable cancer are http://www.cancer.net/coping and http://www.AetnaCompassionateCareProgram.com.

14. A mole. or cancer? Cancer doesn’t run in my family, I don’t tan, and I am far from a sun worshiper. The second I step outside, I seem to get “sun spots” everywhere…large freckles, from my arms down my legs. I have had a mole on my neck for as long as I can remember…but recently, I feel like its changed. Now, that could be my paranoia or the fact that I don’t look at it that often because of its placement, or even due to the summer months…my question is, how do you KNOW when a mole has changed in a negative fashion? Dr visits are not cheap, and not easy w/ children, I just cant run to the dr all the time if its just sillyness. Here is a picture . DO I go? Or completely normal?

One simply cannot make a decision about a mole from a picture. Any mole of concern needs to be evaluated by your physician. However, it is good that you are aware of your skin and keeping an eye on any changes.

    The ABCD rule can help guide you when checking your skin for changes:

  • A = Asymmetry: One side of the mole does not match the other in size, shape, color, or thickness.
  • B = Border: The edge or border of the mole may be irregular.
  • C = Color: The color of the mole is not uniform, various shades of brown and black may be present.
  • D = Diameter: Skin cancer melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters in diameter, but they can be smaller.

Pay careful attention to spots on your body and note what they look like, or you could even take photos as you have done of this mole, so you will have a comparison the next month. If you are concerned about a particular mole, it is always recommended that you seek an appointment with a dermatologist. The dermatologist will perform a thorough examination and record information about your skin for review during future appointments.

15. I have had three PAP smear/colposcopies that have come back “mild dysplasia” over the past 9 months. My doctor says we just need to keep testing as long as the “mild” doesn’t elevate to “moderate.” Is there anything else I need to do?
The Pap smear is only a screening test, and can be associated with both false positives and false negatives. Most patients with low grade dysplasia on their Pap tests should have a colposcopic exam, which uses a microscope to examine under magnification the cervix and the vagina. A colposcopically directed biopsy that shows mild dysplasia has a low likelihood of progressing to cancer and a high likelihood of regressing spontaneously, particularly in young patients. The American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology guidelines recommend a follow up Pap smear every six to 12 months with a repeat colposcopy if the Pap is abnormal. An alternate approach would be to perform a test for HPV DNA, and if that test is positive, to then repeat the colposcopy. Treatment is generally not recommended unless the mild dysplasia persists for two years or more, and even in that setting continued follow up is an option. Another setting where treatment would be considered would be when the dysplasia extends up into the endocervical canal, and cannot be viewed in its entirety with the colposcopy.

Here’s the last button for your blogs if you would like to post so folks know to come back for the last of the answers:

Grab the Code Here:

Again, a huge thank you to everyone who has participated and especially to all of my fellow bloggers who were willing to post my button on their blog to help get the word out from the very first dayAntique Mommy, BooMama, Don’t Try This at Home, Fried Okra, Looking Toward Heaven, Musings of a Housewife, Pensieve, Shalee’s Diner, Scribbit, and Unretouched Photo. I know many readers also posted the buttons and words just can’t express how much I appreciate you all. MUAH. So I just gave you a big ole wet sloppy kiss. 🙂

Now y’all go forth and get yourself screened. Okey-dokey artichokeys?


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Cancer – Nip it in the Bud : THE ANSWERS Part 1

cancer awareness buttonI am so thrilled at the response to this campaign to help raise awareness and promote early detection for cancer in women – there were more questions than the oncologists expected, so they have asked if we could divide them into two segments, the first of which you see today, covering skin cancer and some other types. The next set of questions will be posted next Friday 5/30, so if you don’t see your question – bookmark this and come back next week!

I’d like to take just a moment and introduce you to one of the Doctors that will be answering questions so you know who you’re dealing with and to thank her for her time. If you live in the Dallas area

Dr. Jessica Hals,D.O. – a medical oncologist with Texas Oncology, specializes in medical oncology with a special interest in colorectal cancers, lung cancers, and head and neck cancers, as well as palliative care and end of life care issues. Dr. Hals is board certified in medical oncology and internal medicine. She received her doctor of osteopathy from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. Dr. Hals completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas in 2002 and her fellowship in medical oncology at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in 2004. (For more information about cancer or to find a physician in your area, visit http://www.TexasOncology.com or call 1-888-864-I CAN (4226).)

Questions & Answers – Skin Cancer and Other

1. Could the docs identify the different types of screenings available and at what age women should get them?

    At Every Age:

  • Keep an eye on your skin and check for changes in moles, freckles, and other marks on your skin once a month.
  • Conduct self breast exams monthly to every three or four months and report any changes to your physician.


  • Begin checking breasts for lumps every month and have a clinical breast exam by a physician every one to three years.
  • Have a Pap smear to screen for cervical cancer at least once every year beginning at age 21 or approximately three years after first sexual intercourse, whichever comes first.


  • Continue having a clinical breast exam and Pap smear every one to three years. After three consecutive normal Pap smears, women may limit screenings to every two or three years.
  • Discuss MRI screening with your physician if you have an unusually high lifetime risk for breast cancer. You may have a higher risk for breast cancer if you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, have any first degree male relatives with breast cancer, had a previous abnormal breast biopsy, or have breast cancer in a family member who is younger than age 50.


  • Begin having an annual mammogram while continuing your annual clinical breast exam, annual Pap smear, and if recommended by your doctor, a MRI screening.
  • Begin colorectal cancer screenings if you have an increased risk for the disease.


  • Continue your annual clinical breast exam, mammogram, Pap smear and if recommended, MRI screening.
  • Begin screening for colorectal cancer with one of the options below:
    o Annual fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical tests (FIT),which can detect small amounts of blood in stool samples, along with aflexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.
    o Every five years, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, an internal examination of the rectum and lower colon for polyps.
    o Every five years, a double contrast barium enema; x-rays are then taken of the colon and rectum to detect polyps.
    o Every 10 years, a colonoscopy, the only test that directly examines the entire colon.

For more information from Texas Oncology about screenings, click here

2. Discuss alternative forms of tanning (tanning beds, spray/creme tanners).

I understand that many people like the way a tan looks on their skin. However, I would caution you that sunlamps and tanning beds DO emit UVA radiation which can cause skin damage and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, has been linked to melanoma (skin cancer). Sprays and lotions are safer options that will give a tanned look to your skin. Any time you are exposed to the sun, you should always apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater to protect your skin from prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays.

3. Discuss cancer risk from USING high SPF sunscreens.

While it is always important to wear sunscreen, the false sense of security that high SPF sunscreen creates may lead to an increased risk of cancer as people may stay in the sun longer. In order to protect your skin from sun damage, you should always apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. The sunscreen should be reapplied every 1 ½ to 2 hours or when you sweat, are in the water, or towel dry.

4. How about a very specific break down of what we need to watch for on moles. I’ve gone in before for a mole I was certain was “bad” and been laughed out the door. How do we know?
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the surface of the skin. The ABCD rule can help guide you when checking your skin.

  • A = Asymmetry: One side of the mole does not match the other in size, shape, color or thickness
  • B = Border: The edge or border of the mole may be irregular
  • C = Color: The color of the mole is not uniform, various shades of brown and black may be present.
  • D = Diameter: Skin cancer melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters in diameter, but they can be smaller.

It is important to have any mole that has changed checked by a dermatologist.

5. I am fair skinned, blond, blue-eyed. I had several bad sunburns in childhood, teens. Since age 18 I have protected my skin vigilantly. I know I may be high risk for skin cancer. Should I schedule regular screenings of some kind with a dermatologist or just go in when a mole does not appear normal? If I were to have a regular visit, how often should I go and what do I say when I schedule the visit? Is this a normal screening that they do?

Keep an eye on your skin and check your body monthly for changes in moles, freckles, and other marks on your skin. Paying attention to your body for any skin changes is key to preventing skin cancer. I would recommend that high risk individuals, those with significant history of severe sunburns (two degree burns), fair skinned individuals, and those with family histories of melanoma (skin cancer) seek routine, annual skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist. When you call for your appointment, you can request a skin cancer screening. The dermatologist will perform a thorough examination and record information about your skin for review during future appointments.

6. What if a mole has smooth boundaries and overall is smaller than a pencil eraser, but part of it is raised like a skin tag?

Without seeing the mole, it is difficult to say if there is an issue or not. I suggest you see your primary care physician first to determine if you need to see a dermatologist.

7. And are regular skin tags ever problematic?

Skin tags are an outgrowth of normal skin that occur in about 25 percent of adults with the risk of occurrence increasing with age. There is a familial tendency for these to develop. Skin tags usually occur in sites of friction on the body, particularly the armpit, neck, underneath the breasts, and in the groin regions. They become symptomatic when caught on jewelry or rubbed by clothing. Sometimes the skin tag may become twisted on their blood supply and turn red or black. Skin tags can be treated if they are irritating or removed for cosmetic reasons.

8. I also had too many sunburns as a child… now when I get in the sun, even with sunscreen my chest often gets very tiny red dots that are itchy. it only comes with sun exposure. I would like to know if this is something to worry about. I would also like to know more about timelines for skin cancer, for instance if you have an odd mole or freckly how long does it take to be dangerous?

Severe itching or the appearance of a rash after sun exposure may be an allergic reaction. There is no set timeline for moles or freckles to become cancerous, so it is very important to monitor your skin and see a dermatologist if you see any changes.

9. I am very fair and have had more than my fair share of sunburns. Many ending up with water blisters (when I was growing up) I hear that many women don’t get enough vitamin D, but I am nervous to be in the sun.

As a person with fair skin, you should be extremely cautious when exposed to the sun. For example, avoid the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., always wear sunscreen above SPF 30, sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection, and clothing such as a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants. You can also get Vitamin D from sources other than the sun, for example, fish, milk, eggs with the yolk, and cod liver oil to name a few. Consider taking a Vitamin D supplement as well.

10. My primary care physician has told me that some of my moles look “pre-cancerous”, she suggested that I get a second opinion from a dermatologist but said that I could get them looked at on my own time. I assumed this means that they are not dangerous right now and decided to wait to see a dermatologist when my schedule opens up in a few months. Am I being too careless or is it okay to wait?

I don’t think you are being careless, but remember that as a new patient, it can take some time to get an appointment with some dermatologists. For this reason, I recommend researching dermatologists in your area and making an appointment as soon as you can, as it could take a few weeks or even months to see someone.

11. Are you more at risk to get melanoma in a tanning bed rather than the sun?

According to the International Journal of Cancer, tanning beds significantly increase your risk of melanoma (skin cancer) because they emit UVA radiation, which can cause skin damage. If you must tan, consider lotions or spray tans.

12. Colon Cancer: I lost my mother, her brother, their father, and several paternal cousins/aunts etc. Also on my fathers side we’ve lost my grandmother to CC and have had 2 aunts with breast cancer. I am 38 and have had one colonoscopy. How often should I have them, what else should I do (other screening, blood work up, signs and symptoms) and when? I feel like my life will end with CC – it’s my history and my future…is this a valid viewpoint?

Colon cancer generally begins as a polyp, which then progresses through specific changes to evolve into a cancer. These changes typically take several years to occur, but the earlier they are detected, the better chances for catching a polyp before it turns into a cancer. Routine screening with colonoscopy is the best method currently available for early detection. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may be at risk of developing the disease. You should begin annual screenings with one of the options below at age 40, or 10 years before the youngest case in your immediate family, whichever is earlier. While it is a good sign that you had no polyps at age 38, with your family history, you could discuss genetic counseling and screening with your primary care physician. Screening recommendations include:

  • Annual fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical tests (FIT),
    which can detect small amounts of blood in stool samples, along with a
    flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.
  • Every five years, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, an internal examination of the
    rectum and lower colon for polyps.
  • Every five years, a double contrast barium enema; x-rays are then taken of the
    colon and rectum to detect polyps.
  • Every 10 years, a colonoscopy, the only test that directly examines the entire

It is recommended to have a colonoscopy every five years after the initial test. When colorectal cancers are detected at an early, localized stage, the five-year survival is 90 percent.

13. My 83 year old, non-smoking grandmother was just diagnosed via a PET scan with lung cancer by her pulmonologist today. I know she has two ‘spots’ in her upper right lung. Her doctor said it looks like it could have entered into her lymph system. Does my grandmother need an oncologist to take over care or will her pulmonologist treat her? What will her options be? Her doctor told her she could not survive major surgery? I think my grandmother is very strong willed and she wants to do whatever will give her quality life left. What do PET scans show and why doesn’t she know for sure what grade the cancer is and whether it has gone into her lymph system for sure?

A diagnosis of cancer can be truly frightening for any family. As with any diagnosis you have been given, you certainly have the right to ask for a second opinion. I would think that your grandmother probably will be referred to an oncologist if she hasn’t been referred to one already and will most likely be treated by a team of doctors who will work together to care for her.

Without being able to review the PET report or films, it is difficult to comment on the stage of your grandmother’s disease. In general, the earlier a lung cancer is caught, the better chances of cure, however, even when caught early, oftentimes it will recur and become fatal.

If a person is very healthy and the remainder of their lungs are healthy and can support normal respiratory function after removal of all or part of a lung, surgery may be an option for very early lung cancers. However, most of the time, the cancer has already spread to other parts of the lung or the lymph nodes, making surgery impossible. Most lung cancer is diagnosed in smokers who have heavily damaged lungs that won’t allow for surgery.

When surgery is not an option or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, treatments options beside surgery are necessary. Sometimes radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of both is used. The treatment depends upon the overall stage of the disease and the overall health of the patient.

A PET scan, or positron emission tomography, is a medical imaging technique that provides physicians with better knowledge and data about the affected organs. The PET scan along with a computed tomography (CT) scan should provide enough information to determine if the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes. The PET scan looks at metabolic activity, but doesn’t give exact location, just a general location of the cancers – for example in the left lung, upper part – however, a CT scan can give an exact location of the cancers.

Your grandmother’s medical team should be able to provide her with the necessary information and treatment options to make good decisions about her care.

Be sure to come back next week for the rest of your answers. Help get the word out by adding one of this button to your sidebar:

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Cancer – Nip it in the bud with early detection!

**This is a sticky post and will remain up top until Sunday 5/18. Please scroll down for new posts!**

cancer button

It has to be one of the ugliest words in the English language, if you ask me. It is no respector of persons and will take them whether they are young or old, short or tall, skinny or plump, male or female.

Almost every woman I know has had someone stolen from them by cancer. I specifically chose the word “stolen” because that’s really what it is. Most cancer is treatable, if not curable, if detected early enough. But we don’t take the preventative measures because we think it can’t happen to us, or we’re too young, or we don’t have the money, or a million other excuses. I’ve heard them all and even used them myself.

But no longer. You see, I can’t afford not to be screened. I have three children. All under the age of 12. How could I possibly face them and tell them that they just aren’t worth the extra money or inconvenience that it might cause me to have a pap smear and mammogram or to have those pesky little moles finally checked out? No one likes those procedures, but as uncomfortable as they are, they win hands down to telling your kids that it is only a matter of time before you are gone from their lives for good.
No more good night stories, no more songs, no more kisses.

All because you either didn’t know, or you didn’t bother to be checked out. I am pleading with you – don’t become a statistic. Help me in this cause – together we can help nip cancer in the bud with early detection.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • *Melanoma takes one person every 62 seconds.
  • *Breast cancer will take the lives of 40, 480 women this year – that’s about one every 15 minutes.
  • *Each year, about 15,000 women learn they have cervical cancer.
    (if you’d like to read more go to the American Cancer Society webpage and click on “Learn about Cancer)

Here’s the deal. I have some oncologists in Texas that want you to be informed so badly, they are willing to donate some time to the cause.
They are inviting you to a question and answer right here on my blog.

Leave your cancer question and I’ll do my very best to have it answered by one of these highly trained oncologists. Obviously, not every question will be able to be answered, but we will get as many as we can. I will accept questions throughout the weekend and comments will close at 9 pm central mountain time on Sunday, May 18th.

I will be posting the answers starting Friday, May 23rd (subscribe via email or RSS so you won’t miss any of them!) and, depending on the Drs. schedule and the volume of questions, may continue through on into next week.

Lastly, I encourage you to help me spread the word. Grab a button and put in in your sidebar. Get the word OUT that prevention can save lives. There are some very special blogging ladies that agreed to help me get the word out about this today and I want them to all know how much I appreciate them posting and linking back to this little blog to help promote this cause. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says that “Two are better than one, for they have a good return for their work.” Partner with us, won’t you?

Cancer Q&A
Grab the Code HERE:

To Find a Screening Provider:
~Contact your primary care physician.
~If you do not have a primary care physician or need a referral to a screening provider, contact:
National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4CANCER to find screening facilities in your area (English and Spanish options available).
– American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 for information about facilities offering low-cost mammograms in your area.
– If you are in Texas, you can check out the Women’s Health Program, which provides low-income women with family planning exams, related health screenings including breast and cervical cancer screenings, and birth control through Texas Medicaid. For an application and more information, call 1-866-993-9972 or
visit here.


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