By Megan Silianoff
As a blogger and cancer survivor, I'm knowledgeable about various topics. My favorite television shows, for example, are an area of my expertise. I'm also very good at shopping and can navigate my favorite mall with poise and purpose.
And, when I got my latest mammogram earlier this month, I was reminded that I'm also an expert at getting this important screening exam.
So, first, I'll tell you this: While mammograms can be life-saving, they aren't fun. But learning about them "David Letterman" style could be. (Which is telling of my expertise in watching talk shows.)
10. Plan to wait in a separate waiting room.
I've had mammograms in a number of different hospitals, and they all have separate waiting rooms for people getting mammograms.
Immediately upon checking in for your appointment, they'll call you back, and you'll think, "I'm going to be in and out of here," but that's not necessarily the case. You're actually just getting called to sit in a different waiting room. This is important to know if someone plans to go with you because you won't see them throughout the entire process.
Recently in Cancer Prevention Category
By Megan Silianoff
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. And, although many cases of skin melanoma can be prevented, it's becoming increasingly common in the United States, especially among young adults.
MD Anderson is working hard to combat melanoma through our Moon Shot Program.
Below, Ana M. Ciurea, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Dermatology and associate medical director of MD Anderson's Cancer Prevention Center, answers questions about skin melanoma.
What is melanoma of the skin?
Melanoma of the skin originates in the cells that make melanin, the substance that gives the skin its color. Sometimes these cells change, often due to damage from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial light. Over time, this can result in melanoma.
How common is skin melanoma in the United States?
Since 1950, melanoma cases have increased by 600% in the United States, and death rates have risen by 150%. In recent years, there's been an especially disturbing trend of increased incidence in young adults -- especially women ages 20-30.The American Cancer Society projects that 76,690 new cases will be diagnosed in 2013, and about 9,480 people will die of melanoma this year.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. That means it's a great time to think about scheduling a colonoscopy if needed.
Colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon and rectum, is the third most common type of cancer in the United States, not counting skin cancers. But many early stage colon cancers can be prevented through a colonoscopy.
According to Gottumukkala S. Raju, M.D., professor in the Department of Gastroenterology, cancer begins as benign polyps within the colon and develops into cancer over years when left untreated, mainly because they are undetected without a colonoscopy.
Quitting smoking isn't easy. But it's one of the best decisions you can make for your health. Giving up tobacco helps lower the risk for cancer, stroke, and heart and lung disease. In fact, people who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years by 50%.
That's why MD Anderson encourages smokers to make a plan to quit as part of the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 15. By quitting -- even for just one day -- you'll be taking an important step toward a healthier life.
Curb smoking urges with nicotine replacement therapy
So, what's the best way to quit? For many people, nicotine replacement therapy options like gum, lozenges and the patch can help curb your urges and help you wean off tobacco for good. These products deliver controlled doses of nicotine to an individual without the harmful chemicals that are in tobacco products.
Whether you've been smoking for 30 years or 30 days, your body has developed a dependence on nicotine. So quitting will result in some degree of nicotine withdrawal. This often causes smokers to give up trying to quit, but there are many options to help manage nicotine withdrawal and quit successfully.
By Ronald A. DePinho, M.D.
Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., became president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in September 2011.
For MD Anderson Cancer Center, a place where hope abounds and an indomitable spirit is on constant display in our clinics and hallways, Sept. 21, 2012 marks a new chapter in our 71-year history.
Today we take another step -- make that a giant leap -- toward fulfilling our mission of Making Cancer History.
With this morning's launch of our Moon Shots Program, we set forth on a bold new course that will better enable us to convert scientific discoveries into clinical applications and to more quickly and directly benefit the patients who turn to us for help, for hope and for cure.
Inspired by President John Kennedy's historic speech here in Houston 50 years ago this month that both challenged and propelled America's space program to reach the moon within a decade, our Moon Shots Program is equally ambitious -- and achievable, aiming to significantly increase patient survival and reduce suffering over the next decade.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. In observance of this month, MD Anderson encourages men to start making healthier choices for prostate health.
It's true no doctor can guarantee you won't get cancer if you make these healthy choices. But, the research is clear on this point --making healthy choices now means you'll be less likely to develop the disease later.
And, even if you do get prostate cancer, being in tip-top shape can up your odds of successfully treating the disease if needed.
Follow the advice below for better health.
Get your heart pumping daily
What are you doing to stay active every day? It's an important question because 30 minutes of exercise can help lower your cancer risk. And, for those who get prostate cancer, a recent study says exercise improves your chances of survival.
Luckily, exercise doesn't have to mean going to gym.
Activities, like mowing the lawn or playing golf, can count as exercise. The trick is to be able to talk but not sing when doing these activities.
Regular physical activity is known to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and other serious diseases. Often overlooked, though, is the potential for exercise to boost one's sex life.
In men, regular physical activity offers protection against erectile dysfunction and may even be helpful in reversing it. A 1990 randomized trial found that men who participated in a vigorous exercise program had more frequent sex, improved erectile function and more satisfying orgasms than men in the control group, whose activity levels changed very little.
More recent clinical trials showed that similar benefits may extend not only to healthy men, but also to men with obesity and chronic heart failure. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2004, researchers found that nearly one-third of obese men who already had erectile dysfunction were able to substantially improve their sexual function through a program of diet and exercise.
Although comparable trials have not been carried out in women, surveys of premenopausal and postmenopausal women have found links between physical activity and better sexual function.
Increased blood flow
Laboratory studies also show that exercise just before sexual stimulation can improve blood flow to the genitals, which may enhance sexual arousal and orgasm.
By Shalin Shah, M.D. and John Papadopoulos, M.D. MD Anderson Regional Care Centers in Sugar Land and Katy
There has been a great deal of discussion in the news, at medical meetings, within advocacy groups and among men for some time now about the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer screening. No doubt this has sparked questions for men who want to do everything they can to monitor their health and stay on track with their cancer screening program.
MD Anderson recommends that men talk to their physicians about their risks for the disease or any symptoms they may be experiencing. Age, race and family history are factors that contribute to a man's risk and they should drive the conversation about whether a PSA test may be beneficial. Make sure your doctor takes the time to explain all aspects of screening.
So how do I know if I have prostate cancer?
Katrina Burton, MD Anderson Staff Writer
With nearly one in five teens smoking cigarettes, there is no better advocate for smoking-cessation than Breanna Jordan, a senior at Stone Mountain High, a school nestled in DeKalb County in Georgia.
As a member of the National Honor Society, varsity cheerleader squad and active participant of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) - a student-run program that discourages students from drinking, smoking and engaging in destructive behaviors - Jordan is no stranger to peer pressure and what's popular among teens.
"Smoking is the in thing to do for those going through the cool phase," says Jordan. "There is a lot of stress that comes with being a teenager, and some think that smoking among other things helps relieve that stress."
Jordan says it is not only the hygiene problems - bad breath, bad teeth and body odor - that have made her say no to smoking, but diseases like cancer that concern her. Jordan, like most people, has either had a personal experience with cancer or knows someone whose life has been touched by the disease. Just last year her aunt died of a non-smoking related cancer - ovarian cancer.
Results from a report released today in a leading medical journal indicate that low dose daily aspirin reduces the risk of metastasis of several cancers. According to articles in The Lancet, the protective effect occurs within 3-5 years of beginning aspirin use.
Read more about the study in a post from our Cancer Frontline blog.
Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D, MD Anderson's provost and executive vice president and a professor of cancer biology and cancer medicine, shares his insights on the study's significance and addresses questions about aspirin dose, and how cancer patients should respond to this news.
Kimberly Tripp was 12 years old when her grandmother died of gastrointestinal cancer. The loss of the person she most admired led her to a career in health care and, eventually, to MD Anderson.
"My first position here was as a post-op surgical nurse on the GI floor," says Tripp, currently administrative director of Acute Care Services. "I ended up taking care of these very same patients."
She eventually became a research nurse in the Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, where she worked with colorectal and pancreatic cancer patients. About the same time (in 2002), Cathy Eng, M.D., associate professor, joined GI Medical Oncology, and Tripp began working on a number of her colorectal cancer trials.
A stroll through a "colon"
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer in men and women and the second leading cause of cancer death. However, colorectal cancer, relative to other malignancies, is a preventable cancer.
Connect on social media
- Your first mammogram: 10 things to expect
- Q&A: Focus on skin melanoma
- Know your colon cancer risks: Get screened
- Quit smoking: How to curb the urge
- A new challenge, a new chapter
- How to score prostate health
- Another great reason to exercise - your sex life
- My PSA is elevated. Now What Should I Do?
- Panel Introduces Final Recommendation on PSA Screening Guidelines
- Seeing Past the Smoke Screen
- Cancer Prevention (108)
- Cancer Research (138)
- Education (71)
- Patient Care (300)
- Global Navigation
- About Us
- How You Can Help
- Children's Art Project
- Contact Us
- Patient and Cancer Information
- Cancer Information
- Patient Information
- Care Centers & Clinics
- Children’s Cancer Hospital
- Services & Amenities
- Clinical Trials
- News and Publications
- Education and Research
- Departments, Programs & Labs
- Research at MD Anderson
- Education & Training
- Resources for Professionals
- For Employees
- Employee Resources
- Doing Business
- Vendors & Suppliers
- Partners & Affiliates
- State of Texas
- State of Texas Home Page
- Statewide Search (TRAIL)
- State Comptroller - Where the Money Goes
- Texas Homeland Security
- The University of Texas System
- Institution Resume
- Legal and Policy
- Legal Statements & Site Policies
- Stay Connected
- Emergency Alerts
- Emergency Alert Information