Taking Advantage of Preventative Care

Treating Your Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: Newer Options You Should Know About

When you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you may wonder if there are any treatment options that available to you. You may not know if there are choices that can give you a chance at keeping you going for as long as possible, let alone beating the cancer entirely. While pancreatic cancer can be tricky to treat (mainly because it is often quite advanced when it is detected), this does not mean that there is nothing you can do. If you have been diagnosed specifically with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, a type of cancer that is not surgically resectable (and has yet to metastasize), there are numerous treatment options available to you. Get to know a few of these options so that you can be prepared to discuss them with your oncologist. Combined Radiation and Chemotherapy Treatments Because pancreatic cancer, even if it has not yet spread to other areas of the body, is known to be an aggressive form of cancer, many oncologists prefer to combine two of the more common cancer treatments to attack the cancer cells with equal aggression. As such, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are often administered at the same time. Chemotherapy is the use of different chemicals or drugs that destroy the rapidly reproducing cells in your body. Cancer cells are among the cells that most rapidly reproduce. Radiation therapy, on the other hand, uses x-ray energy that targets your tumors. This is a treatment option designed to damage the cell membranes and cell tissues to destroy the cancer cells and reduce or stop their ability to reproduce. The idea behind the combination of infusion chemotherapy and radiation therapy (also referred to as chemoradiation), is to not only prevent the cancer from growing or spreading, but also to reduce an unresectable tumor on the pancreas to a resectable one. If the cancer can be fought back to the point that the malignancy can be surgically removed, this is a person’s best and virtually only chance at a cure to their pancreatic cancer. Irreversible Electroporation Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is also known as nanoknife cancer surgery or nanoknife ablation treatment. It is a relatively new treatment that is still being studied in clinical trials to help treat locally advanced pancreatic cancer. Recent studies have shown that the use of this treatment method in locally advanced pancreatic cancer essentially doubles the survival rate for patients who receive […]

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Reasons You May Want To Seek Out Counseling During Your Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, it is a time of a great many changes in your body, life, and mind. Change is not always easy and some women have difficulties throughout their pregnancy adjusting to everything that is going on. As such, it may be beneficial to seek out mental health counseling during pregnancy. Get to know some of the reasons that you may want to go to pregnancy counseling so that you can be sure you are taking the best possible care of yourself and your growing family.   You Have Panic Attacks Or Feel A General Sense Of Anxiety Anxiety is a common reaction to pregnancy. There are many hormonal shifts that occur throughout the nine months you will be carrying your child which can affect the chemical balance in your brain. This can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. If you feel a general sense of constant worry, feel short of breath frequently, or have periods in which your heart starts racing for no reason, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Going to counseling can help you to better manage and overcome your anxiety so you do not spend your entire pregnancy (not to mention the months after your pregnancy) suffering from this potentially debilitating mental health condition. You And Your Partner Are Experiencing Problems Pregnancy can cause strain in even the best of partnerships or marriages. However, if you and your partner already have issues or if you are no longer together but are having a child, then there will likely be even more issues to deal with. Fighting with your partner during your pregnancy can cause you a great deal of stress which can negatively affect your physical health and that of your unborn baby. Going to pregnancy counseling with or without your partner to deal with these issues can help a great deal with your stress management. Your counselor can walk you through communication techniques to avoid arguing, help you to figure out what you want as an individual and from the partnership, and give you coping strategies to use if your partner tries to engage you in an argument. If you go to counseling with your partner, you can develop a better understanding of where they are coming from and what they need from you to feel heard and emotionally supported so that the disagreements you two experience do not escalate into […]

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2 Signs That You Might Have Allergies

Having allergies can change the way you live your life. Unfortunately, many people have severe allergic reactions to foods or environmental pathogens. It is not hard to detect these allergies, since the response will be so intense. However, many people have allergies with less common symptoms and so they go unnoticed, even though they can make a negative impact on their quality of life. Here are some signs that you might have allergies. 1. Digestive Problems If you don’t suffer from a severe allergy, you might be able to eat food you are allergic to and it will get all the way to the digestive tract before it starts to mess with your body. For example, someone with an intense reaction to milk might start to vomit, get a swollen tongue, and could have a hard time breathing immediately after drinking milk. Yet, others find that they might be able to drink the milk and then after it has reached their digestive tract a few hours later, it will give them a stomachache, diarrhea or constipation, bloody stool, or a variety of other bowel and stomach issues. In order to detect a food allergy, you should keep a food journal. You should write down the foods that you eat, even small traces of foods, and then write how you feel throughout the day. You might start to see a correlation between food and your body. This will help you know if you have a food allergy. 2. Feeling Of Anxiety and Doom Allergies can mess with your mind, too– not just your stomach. When you eat something you are allergic to, it can trigger a response that makes your mind feel as though something is wrong. Since the immune system is triggered with an allergen, it will jump into fight mode. This can make many people feel as though something is wrong and can give them panic attacks or anxiety. You might have a hard time detecting this symptom in children, since a young child cannot articulate their feelings. Thus, you should look for behavioral issues such as excessive crying, zoning out, and acting out. This could be a sign that the child is feeling jittery and worried without them actually telling you. If you suspect that you have any kind of allergies, you need to talk to an allergist like one from Ear Nose & Throat Specialties PC right away. […]

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What To Do If You Find A Lump In Your Breast

If you are a woman who recently did a self-breast exam and noticed there is a small lump present on one of your breasts, your reaction will most likely be one of concern. Finding a lump in the breast is a situation that should be monitored to determine its status and whether treatment is necessary for its removal. Here are some steps you can take after a self-breast exam so you get the best possible care. Consider The Timing And Intensity Of The Lump To Determine Action After finding the lump, consider at what point in your monthly cycle you are currently. If you are having your period, natural lumps in the breast tissue may be a bit more noticeable at this time. Wait until after you have finished menstruating and repeat the breast exam to see if the lump is less noticeable, If both of your breasts have slight lumpy areas, and they feel the same, it may be normal breast tissue you are feeling. If a lump is hard, painful, or if you have done self-exams in the past and the lump is new, testing will be necessary. Have Tests Performed To Make A Diagnosis Of Your Condition It is best to see your regular doctor as soon as you possibly can if the lump is causing you distress. They will do a complete physical to determine your overall health and will recommend you have a mammogram done to take a look at the interior of your breasts for any areas of concern. This will show any masses that may need to be tested for cancerous cells. A breast MRI may also be done to pinpoint the exact location of a lump found in a breast. If there is indeed a suspicious lump present, a biopsy will be done to find out if it is benign or cancerous. Take Steps In Breast Care After A Diagnosis Is Made If the lump is deemed benign after tests are conducted, the doctor may allow you to go about your routine as normal. If the lump enlarges in size, it can be removed surgically. If the lump is cancerous, your doctor will recommend you see an oncologist to properly treat your medical condition. They may recommend surgically removing the lump so that the cancer does not spread throughout the body. If the cancer is metastatic (spread to other parts of the body), your oncologist, like those at Sturdy Memorial Hospital and similar locations, will prepare a plan in treating your condition. This may involve medication, hormone therapy, radiation, or […]

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New Treatments In Development For Pancreatic Cancer: What You Should Know

Pancreatic cancer has garnered a reputation in popular culture as being among the worst forms of cancer to be diagnosed with, and much of this has to do with the fact that it is often diagnosed in the late stages of the disease. Late stage diagnosis makes cancer difficult to treat and control. Another issue with pancreatic cancer is that treatment options have traditionally be quite limited (often to a single-drug chemotherapy option). However, in the field of oncology, many strides are being made to develop new treatments to treat pancreatic cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you should get to know some of these newer treatment options that are coming available or are in clinical trials. Bubbly or Fizzy Drinks to Improve Chemo Results When a person is suffering from pancreatic cancer, particularly in the late stages, one of the reasons that chemotherapy is not as effective as when the cancer is in the early stages is a lack of oxygen in the blood. If there is not enough oxygen going to the tumor site, then the treatments cannot as easily penetrate the cells of the tumor, meaning the chemo medication and even radiation treatments cannot do their jobs. Doctors have previously tried to oxygenate the tumors directly with pure oxygen treatments, but the side effects can be severe. As such, researchers are currently working on developing a bubbly or fizzy drink that patients could consume just like any other beverage. The drink would be bubbly because it is oxygenated, meaning it has little tiny bubbles of oxygen in it. The oxygen bubbles would travel from the stomach to the pancreas and oxygenate the area, making it more receptive to treatments. The idea of a bubbly drink to assist with pancreatic cancer treatments is still in the earliest stages of development. Clinical trials have been performed on lab mice, but human trials are still forthcoming.  Vitamin A Treatments Along With Chemotherapy Another combination treatment for pancreatic cancer that is in development involves using vitamin A to help improve chemotherapy results. To date, the chemo drug most commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer is gemcitabine, as it has traditionally been the most effective. However, as a rule, chemotherapy is not highly effective in advanced stages of pancreatic cancer. Researchers have begun trying to design treatments that both attack the cancer cells and target the surrounding healthy cells (known […]

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Know Thyself–And Thy Crafty Poison: The Two Keys To Successful Drug Addiction Recovery

You may have been ordered into a drug rehabilitation program, or you may be checking yourself into a rehab facility to solve your addiction issues. In either case, you will have a far greater chance at beating your drug dependence if you know the following two things: There’s no use for shame in an addiction treatment plan It’s easy to become addicted to intoxicating or narcotic substances including certain classes of prescription pain killers, even if you started taking them after an accident or surgical procedure. An educated, nurturing, stay-at-home mom can become an addict as easily as a bank executive, a dentist or a judge. Prescription painkiller abuse and addiction costs Americans $55 billion per year, so it’s not a problem linked to being poor, uneducated or “bad.” It’s everybody’s problem. Painkillers don’t care how much money you make. They can’t judge you; they can only work inside your body to make you want more and more whether you’re in actual pain or not. They kill indiscriminately, as 44 people die every day in the U.S. due to prescription painkiller overdose. Know that you are joined by many other people in your weakness for pills. You are not a bad person. When you accept that your addiction was caused by the way you took a highly addictive medicine, you realize it is a medical/behavioral crisis that will only be solved through modern medicine and therapy. Like heart disease from lack of exercise, or skin cancer from too much sun exposure, an illness like addiction may be caused by poor choices, but in the end, it only needs to be fought, not used to make yourself feel worthless for having succumbed to it. It’s normal to feel regret and remorse for past actions, and it’s a great idea to make amends where you can, but seek treatment with the thought in mind that you are valued and worth making better so you can live a fuller life with those you love. Knowledge of what to expect equals power over your addiction Most standard drug rehab programs feature a combination of medical and mental health support. You may be prescribed an opiate blocker to curb your craving for painkillers, and you may attend group or individual counseling sessions. The more you understand how your treatment will be managed, the more likely you are to comply with program demands and make good […]

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Understanding Your Middle Schooler’s Changed Behavior: What You Can Do

When you are the parent of a child in middle school, you will more than likely begin to notice dramatic changes in their attitudes and behaviors. While this is a part of growing up and beginning puberty, there are some changes in behavior that you may find distressing. It can be difficult to gauge why your child is acting differently and if their behaviors should be a cause for concern and action. Get to know some of the steps that you can take to better understand your middle schooler’s changed behavior so that you can be sure that your child remains happy and healthy going forward. Keep In Close Contact With Their Teachers And Counselors One of the best ways that you can keep track of your child’s overall behavior and well-being is by staying in close contact with your child’s teachers and guidance counselors. Your middle school child spends most of their waking hours at school where you cannot keep track of them, which can make it difficult for you to understand the reasons their attitudes may have changed. Talking to their teachers and counselors will help fill in the gaps. For example, if you notice that your middle school child seems detached and depressed at home and is not interested in family activities or in things that used to delight them, you can ask their teachers to keep an eye out for similar issues at school. They may have a mental health disorder (depression), be experiencing bullying, or be completely fine at school and just going through the transition in their life where they want to be more independent from parents and family. Once you have the teachers’ and counselors’ perspectives, you can better determine what your next step will be. You can contact a mental health therapist if you suspect depression, work with school administrators to address bullying, or simply try to give your child their space and keep a watchful eye on them, depending on their observations and recommendations.  Test Your Child For Drugs Unfortunately, more and more children are beginning to experiment with drugs at early ages, including in middle school. Drugs cause many different behavioral and mood changes including lethargy, depression, anxiety, mood swings, anger and aggression, and the like. Of course, many of these changes are similar to the common to changes your child is already going through during puberty, making it difficult […]

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What You Should Know About Detecting Autism In Your Toddler

One important aspect of well visit for children is to monitor their development. At each visit, the doctor may ask a series of questions to determine if the child is developing physically and mentally at the right pace, and the answers you give will often help spot problems early on. If you suspect your child might have a problem such as autism, you should talk to your doctor about this during one of your visits. Early symptoms of autism It can be hard to diagnose autism in children under the age of three, and this is mostly because the symptoms can be very hard to spot in children that are only one or two years old. Some of the early signs you might notice may include the following symptoms: The child is not talking by the right age. He or she does not want to be held. The child tends to act out when your schedule is broken. He or she may have a lot of problems interacting with other children. While these symptoms can all be signs of autism, it’s also important to realize that all kids mature at different paces, and every child’s personality is different and unique. This means that even if your child is demonstrating these symptoms, he or she might not suffer from autism. What your pediatrician might do If you notice these symptoms and are concerned, the doctor might begin by suggesting you wait for a few more months to see if the symptoms disappear. If they do not go away or if they get worse, the doctor might suggest getting a professional assessment completed. This typically involves a combination of different professionals assessing your child. This can include a physical therapist, speech clinician, and an occupational therapist. Doctors also often suggest using a test called the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R). This test is very comprehensive and can be helpful in diagnosing autism in children who are 16 to 30 months old. While there is no cure for autism, there are different treatment options available that can be very helpful for a child who is diagnosed with autism. It is always best if you can find out if your child may have this when he or she is young because this will help you understand why he or she acts certain ways. If you are concerned that your child may have autism, […]

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3 Non-Surgical Options To Strengthen Your Vaginal Muscles

You may not think about the weakening of your vaginal muscles (vaginal laxity), but age, natural childbirth, and changes in hormones can all contribute to this problem. If you use tampons, weakened vaginal muscles can make tampons difficult to wear comfortably because the tampon may not be held in place. Loose muscles can also contribute to light bladder leakage (LBL) and cause your sex life to be less satisfying. There are multiple non-surgical options to help strengthen your vaginal muscles. Vaginal Weightlifting Vaginal weightlifting may sound unusual, but it is a technique that is receiving more attention. A small, egg-shaped stone is attached to a string with a small bag on the other end. The stone is inserted into the vagina, and lightweight objects can be added to the bag. Your objective is to strengthen your vaginal muscles by keeping the egg inside your vagina. Over time, you can add more weight  to the bag for increased vaginal strength. The idea behind vaginal weightlifting is that you exercise other muscles throughout your body to improve muscle growth and strength, so the same should be done to maintain healthy, strong vaginal muscles. Laser Treatments Laser treatments, such as ThermiVa, is another option to improve muscle tone inside the vagina. It is also considered a vaginal rejuvenation technique. The laser used emits a radiofrequency that is adjusted based on the type of tissue that is being treated. Not only can laser treatments strengthen vaginal muscles, but the treatment can also be used to reduce sagging of the external genitalia. Laser treatments may be ideal if you have multiple concerns regarding changes in your vagina. You will likely need multiple treatments to achieve the desired results, but several areas can be treated during each session. Hormone Therapy Changes in the vaginal muscles can often occur after menopause. For some post-menopausal women, the problem is significant enough to consider hormone replacements, mainly estrogen. Since hormone replacement therapy can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, and reproductive cancers, you must weight these significant risks with any potential benefits. Another option may be to use vaginal creams containing estrogen. Although vaginal creams will carry estrogen-associated risks, a targeted treatment will decrease the amount of estrogen that circulates throughout your body. In addition to improving muscle tone in the vagina, hormonal treatments may improve issues with lubrication. Some women may face concerns about changes in their […]

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Accidents Happen: 3 Steps To Take When Your Child Gets A Cut

If you’re a first time parent, those first scrapes and cuts can cause you a lot of stress. This is particularly true if you’re not prepared for all the blood that a small cut can generate. Kids tumble and fall all the time, especially when they’re busy playing. If your little one has fallen and cut themselves, you’ll need to act fast to stop the bleeding. Here are three steps that will help you get control of the bleeding. Wash the Wound The first thing you need to do is wash the wound. This step is particularly important if there is dirt or debris in the wound. Washing the wound will remove the debris and allow you to see how deep the injury is. Begin by flushing the wound with lukewarm water. Next, soak a wash cloth with water and apply a small amount of soap. Carefully wash the wound with the washcloth. Rinse the washcloth often to remove the blood. Once the wound is clean, pat dry with a soft, clean towel. Stop the Bleeding If the wound is still bleeding, you’re going to want to stop that as quickly as possible. With gloved hands, place several layers of gauze bandage over the wound. The gloves will help prevent the transfer of germs from your hands to the open wound. Place your hand over the gauze and apply pressure for about 5 minutes. Carefully lift up your hand and check for bleeding. Take care not to re-open the wound with the removal of the gauze. If the wound is still bleeding, place several more pieces of gauze over the existing gauze and apply pressure for another five minutes. Once the bleeding stops, you can apply an antibiotic ointment and dress the wound with non-stick gauze and first aid tape.  Know When to Go to Urgent Care While some cuts can be taken care of with the quick application of a bandage, others will require medical assistance. It’s important for you to know the difference. Here are three steps that will help you determine whether or not you should head to the urgent care center. Bleeding Won’t Stop If you’ve been applying pressure, and the wound won’t stop bleeding, you should head to the urgent care center. This is particularly important if the bleeding has been saturating gauze for more than 5 minutes. Continue applying pressure, and get to the […]

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