Blog - Clearview Cancer Institute
world-cancer-day

 


(February 4, 2023) -
 Today is World Cancer Day, a global observance that aims to raise awareness about cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018 alone.

 
Cancer is a disease that affects people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. It can take many forms, including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer. While some types of cancer can be caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity, others are caused by genetic or environmental factors that are beyond our control.
 
One of the most important things we can do to reduce our risk of cancer is to make healthy lifestyle choices. This includes eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and that is low in processed foods, sugar, and saturated fat. It also means getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and protecting our skin from the sun.
 
Another important step we can take to prevent cancer is to undergo regular cancer screenings. This includes mammograms for women, colonoscopies for both men and women, and PSA tests for men. Early detection can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery.
 
While we can take steps to prevent cancer, it is important to remember that not all cancer can be prevented.
 
On World Cancer Day, let us pledge to take action to prevent cancer, to support those who are affected by the disease, and to work together towards a future without cancer.
 
It is also important to remember that cancer doesn't discriminate, it affects people of all ages, genders, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. This means that we all have a role to play in the fight against cancer, whether it be through individual action, community engagement or policy change.
 
Clearview Cancer Institute is honored to provide excellent cancer care to patients across north Alabama in an outpatient setting.  With 13 locations and more than 20 physicians, we are here, in your community, if you need us.
 
Finally, let us all take a moment to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, and to support and uplift those who are currently battling the disease. Together, we can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
signs-you-have-lung-cancer

 


(January 17, 2023) -
 Life as you know it changes when your doctor says three words, “You have cancer.” According to Ron Williams, Coping with Cancer class facilitator at Clearview Cancer Institute, effective communication to friends, family and co-workers about a cancer diagnosis can be difficult and emotionally draining.

Williams, a licensed counselor, suggests spending time to truly comprehend the diagnosis yourself. He says to discuss the diagnosis with someone you trust in order to grasp the gravity of the situation. Take notes and bring a trusted friend or family member to listen to the information provided by your care team. Williams says note taking in one notebook is beneficial to keep thoughts and comments organized and in one place.

Who Do I Tell and How? 

Williams suggests: 

First, ask: What does this cancer diagnosis mean to me? Carefully consider what you will need to do as you begin your cancer regiment.


Secondly, ask yourself: Who do I need to tell first? Williams says to consider having a face-to-face conversation with those closest to you. Plan when, where and how you are going to have this conversation. Consider the following: will it be best to tell people face-to-face, on the phone, etc. Every situation in communicating your news to others will be different, just as your cancer diagnosis is unique from others. 


Next, consider  how to get the word out to others like friends, neighbors and close confidants. Be aware that you may be at times dissatisfied with and disappointed how the news of a cancer diagnosis spreads without your permission or dissemination.

Expect the Unexpected

Also, reactions about the news can vary widely. “Initially, you want to communicate that you have been diagnosed with cancer and their thoughts and prayers would be appreciated. You might also mention that you are just starting this cancer journey and you don’t know everything you need to know to answer any questions at this time,” said Williams. “You might add that you need everyone to be patient as you decide how to best relay information to those concerned. Thank them again for their friendship and concern as you conclude your initial news announcement.”


Consider several effective ways to inform others about the diagnosis:

    1. Authorize a gatekeeper, a person who has your blessings to communicate via email, phone calls, or other media forms to those interested in your progress. Be sure you have total access to this gatekeeper and you trust them to properly disseminate the news to share with others.
    2. Utilize social media and websites like caringbridge.org, PostHope.org, LotsaHelpingHands.com. This allows one centralized platform for updates.
    3. Create a private Facebook group where information is sent out only to those who have been approved to be part of the group.
    4. Other social media forms like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom can be useful when communicating with people far away.


Williams says something to remember is that you are not obligated to tell everything about your condition or even tell everyone the same amount of information. “You can be as selective as you deem necessary.  Take control of your message, as you see fit.”


Again, telling people about a cancer diagnosis can be challenging. Williams says above all, take care of yourself. This is your diagnosis and your journey. Do what works best for you, and consider the recommendations above. 

social-services-assist-patients-with-needs

social photo

(December 24, 2022) - At Clearview Cancer Institute, every oncologist has a dedicated social worker focused on educating, advocating for and connecting patients to resources in the clinic and throughout the community. They can also help address financial challenges such as high prescription copay costs, transportation needs, and applying for disabilities, all of which can be more difficult during the holiday months.

"During the holiday season a cancer diagnosis can be especially tough for patients and their caregivers," CCI's social services director Brittney Dial said. "We as social workers can offer support and help address the unique financial challenge that arise during this season."

Brittney said her favorite part of being a social worker is the relationships formed with both patients and their caregivers. "One of my favorite things about being a social worker is the chance to get to know our patients, to really make a difference in their lives, and to invest in those relationships while they are here throughout treatment."

Our social work services are complementary for our patients. You may request a social worker by asking the physician, nurse, scheduler, or front desk.

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signs-you-have-lung-cancer



(January 9, 2023) -
If you’re a smoker, we know it’s not easy to quit.  Addiction is defined as the “mental and/or emotional dependence on a substance”.  Regarding tobacco usage, nicotine is the substance that creates this addiction. Nicotine (and other chemicals in tobacco) are easily absorbed into the blood through the lungs. It acts on the brain and nervous system to release dopamine and norepinephrine which gives the user a pleasant feeling and increases alertness and concentration.  The release wears off a few minutes later and withdrawal symptoms can begin within 1-2 hours creating the desire to continue the behavior.

“Addiction is multi-fold. Understanding this is the best way to overcome addiction,” said Cyndi Lemery, a nurse of 18 years, she now serves as the Lung Screening program coordinator at Clearview Cancer Institute.  “Developing a ‘quit plan’ increases a smoker’s chances of success.”

 

chain of addiction

The Physical Effect

Biologically, people using tobacco have a physical reaction to nicotine. This involves the reduction of anxiety and stabilized mood. Nicotine relaxes smooth muscles, suppresses appetite, and increases blood pressure. It takes less than 10 seconds for nicotine to cross the blood brain barrier resulting in the effects we just discussed. In a nutshell, people get hooked on how nicotine affects their mind and body.

The Mental Effect

Psychologically, use of tobacco products become a habit. This habit is usually related to environmental cues such as your morning coffee, driving, after meals, or smoke breaks from work. Additionally, tobacco is used to cope with underlying conditions such as anxiety, stress, and depression.  People become hooked on the feeling of smoking.

The Social Effect

Socially tobacco use may be a part of identifying with a group, or a part of social/cultural practices. People become addicted to the connections that smoking helps you make with other people. Often times you feel more at ease, or like you belong, with a cigarette in your hand. And surrounded by people that also smoke.


Triggers

A trigger is defined as a situation or event that sets off the urge to use tobacco.

Most triggers fall into one of these four categories:

  1. Emotional
    Feeling intense emotions, either good or bad, can make a person want to smoke.
  2. Pattern
    Pattern triggers are tied to things you do on a regular basis such as driving, talking on the phone, or watching TV.
  3. Social
    Social triggers are tied to being around other people. You may be triggered when you see others smoking or being with fellow smokers. Be open and honest with people in your life. Let them know your goal and ask them for support. Avoid places where you know these triggers exist. Again, you won’t manage all your triggers overnight, but with small changes over time, you will find that the triggers happen less and less
  4. Withdrawal
    When it comes to withdrawal triggers, distract yourself. Understand that when your body craves nicotine and you don’t give in to that craving, you will naturally release the chemicals. This is encouraging! Find something to do for 5-10 and the desire will pass! And remember that positive thinking has so much power! Remind yourself that you’re doing great, and you CAN achieve this goal

“Smokers can identify triggers by thinking about their day and what reminds them to reach for that cigarette or device,” said Lemery. “You must believe that quitting is possible. Leave behind any previous quitting attempts. Find your confidence and know that you can succeed,” said Lemery. “The long term benefits of quitting far outweigh the short term discomforts. You must bring together what you know in your head and heart with what you feel in your gut. When you make that connection, your confidence will grow as will your desire to stop smoking.”

Form a Quit Plan

  1. Choose a day. Maybe your desire is to stop smoking before a big life event, like the birth of a child or grandchild. Maybe you want to quit smoking because you want to start a family. Whatever your reason for quitting, pick a day and mark it on your calendar.
  2. Figure out how much money you’re spending on your tobacco products. Then set a goal or a reward for yourself. For example: By saving “X” I can now travel more, pay off debt, save, etc.
  3. Identify your why. What motivates you to stop smoking? Write this down where you can see it often and be reminded daily.
  4. Know your triggers. Identify those triggers and create a plan for them. Whether it’s avoiding the situation or choosing an alternative activity. Don’t be caught off guard. Really spend a lot of time on this step. Find a friend to help you. Someone you can call when those triggers happen.
  5. Set yourself up for success. This could mean finding a group or class. Talk to your friends and family. Develop a plan for when cravings hit.
signs-you-have-lung-cancer

Signs You Have Lung Cancer

signs you have lung cancer

Lung cancer, both small-cell and non-small-cell, is the second most common type. Cancer of the prostate is more common in men, while cancer of the breast is more common in women. Most people with lung cancer are over the age of 65 and only a small number are younger than 45. People are diagnosed, on average, when they are 70 years old.

 

Lung cancer kills almost a quarter of all people who die from cancer. It is by far the most common type of cancer-related death. Each year, more people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

 

In this article, let’s review lung cancer and its signs and symptoms, as well as some of the common treatments available for this disease. 

What is Lung Cancer?

Your lungs are two soft organs in your chest. When you breathe in, they take in oxygen and let out carbon dioxide when you breathe out.

 

People who smoke are more likely to get lung cancer, but people who have never smoked can also get it. The chances of getting lung cancer goes up the longer and more often you smoke. Even if you have smoked for a long time, quitting can make it much less likely that you will get lung cancer in the future.

 

On the bright side, the number of new cases of lung cancer keeps going down. This is partly because people are giving up smoking. The number of people who die from lung cancer also keeps going down because people are giving up smoking and early detection and treatment methods are getting better.

Non-Small Cell Cancer

The first major type of lung cancer can happen to people who have never smoked or to people who have. About 80% to 85% of lung cancers are NSCLC. The most common types of NSCLC are adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Even though these subtypes start in different kinds of lung cells, they are often treated the same way and have the same results.

 

  • Adenocarcinoma - Adenocarcinomas start in cells that normally make mucus or other substances. This type of lung cancer is more likely to happen to people who smoke or have smoked in the past, but it is also the most common type of lung cancer in people who don't smoke.

 

Younger people are more likely to get it, and women are more likely to get it than men. Most cases of adenocarcinoma happen in the outer parts of the lung, and it is more likely to be found early before it has spread

  • Squamous cell carcinoma - Squamous cell carcinomas start in squamous cells, which are flat cells that line the inside of the airways in the lungs. Most of the time, they are caused by a history of smoking, and they are usually found in the middle of the lungs, close to the bronchus, which is the main airway
  • Large cell carcinoma - Also called "undifferentiated carcinoma," this can happen in any part of the lung. It spreads quickly and grows quickly, which can make it harder to treat. A subtype of large-cell carcinoma called large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma grows quickly and looks a lot like small-cell lung cancer

 

Other tumors can grow in the lungs in addition to the main types of lung cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

When lung cancer is in its early stages, there are usually no signs or symptoms. Most symptoms and signs of lung cancer show up when the disease is already more advanced.

 

Some common symptoms and signs of lung cancer are:

 

  • A new cough that doesn't go away
  • Coughing up blood, even a small amount
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Losing weight for seemingly no reason
  • Bone pain
  • Headache

Common Treatments for Lung Cancer

You and your doctor decide on a cancer treatment plan based on things like your overall health, the type and stage of your cancer, and your preferences.

 

Sometimes, you might decide not to get treatment. For example, you may think that the treatment's side effects will be worse than its possible benefits. When this happens, your doctor may suggest comfort care, which only treats the symptoms of cancer, like pain or shortness of breath.

 

Below are the most common treatment options for lung cancer. Keep in mind that these treatments are all for different stages of the disease, as well as location, and how you are experiencing the disease. 

 

  • Surgery - During surgery, your doctor will try to get rid of the lung cancer and some healthy tissue around it. Some ways to get rid of lung cancer are:
    • Wedge resection
    • Segmental resection
    • Lobectomy
    • Pneumonectomy
  • Radiation therapy - Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by sending them powerful beams of energy from sources like X-rays and protons
  • Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. You can get one or more chemo drugs through a vein in your arm or by mouth. Most of the time, a combination of drugs is given for weeks or months, with breaks in between so that the body can heal
  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy - Stereotactic body radiotherapy, which is also called "radiosurgery," is a very powerful radiation treatment that sends many beams of radiation at cancer from different directions
  • Targeted drug therapy - Targeted drug treatments are based on the fact that cancer cells have certain abnormalities. By stopping these from happening, targeted drug treatments can kill cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy - Immunotherapy is a way to fight cancer by using your immune system. Your immune system, which fights diseases, might not be able to attack your cancer because the cancer cells make proteins that help them hide from immune system cells. Immunotherapy works by stopping this from happening
  • Palliative care - People with lung cancer often have signs and symptoms of cancer as well as side effects of treatment. Supportive care, also called palliative care, is a field of medicine that involves working with a doctor to reduce your signs and symptoms

 

Are you or someone you love concerned about your risk of lung cancer? Here at Clearview Cancer Institute, our specialists are experts in cancer diagnosis, treatment, and care. Give us a call at (888)374-1015 to schedule an appointment and possible screenings. 

 

 

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