National Cancer Control Month

National Cancer Control Month, which is recognized during the month of April.April is National Cancer Control Month. During this time each year, organizations throughout the United States recognize the burden experienced by people with cancer. Each year, cancer directly impacts millions of individuals, families, and communities, and even the country as a whole. The overall goal of Cancer Control Month is to reduce this impact by:

Preventing as many cancer deaths as possible: Up to 50% of all cancer deaths are preventable through early diagnosis and treatment, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Prevention is one of the most effective methods possible of controlling rates of cancer and cancer deaths. Standard cancer prevention strategies involve:

  • Raising awareness of signs, symptoms, and diagnostic testing procedures
  • Reducing exposure to known cancer risk factors
  • Promoting healthy lifestyle habits that reduce cancer risk

Detecting cancer as early as possible: Early detection of cancer is one of the most important factors for successful treatment, making this an important goal of Cancer Control Month. Cancer prevention strategies, such as patient education regarding risk factors and warning signs, are crucial for encouraging people to visit their healthcare provider for diagnostic testing as soon as possible.

Improving cancer treatments: Many modern cancer treatments are effective when it comes to improving survival rates and quality of life among patients, but further improvements, as well as more research into treatment-resistant forms of cancer, can help prevent an even greater number of cancer deaths.

You can reduce your risk of developing cancer by avoiding certain factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common risk factors for preventable forms of cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as from the sun or a tanning bed
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

If you have noticed potential signs of cancer and require a diagnostic screening or treatment, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Oncology Department. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What are Heart Tumors?

Heart tumors are growths that develop in the heart. They can form in many different parts of the heart, such as the:

  • Endocardium (the tissue that lines the chambers of the heart)
  • Myocardium (the muscle tissue of the heart)
  • Pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart)
  • Heart valves (which control the flow of blood through the heart)

Most of the time, heart tumors develop due to cancer that has spread from other parts of the body. These are referred to as metastatic heart tumors. Certain types of cancer, such as lung, breast, kidney, or esophageal cancer, are more likely to lead to the growth of these tumors than others. Metastatic heart tumors occur most commonly in people who have melanoma, affecting up to approximately 65% of people with this type of cancer.

Only a small number of heart tumors are primary tumors, meaning that they first developed in the heart. The vast majority of primary heart tumors are not cancerous, but even these can pose serious health risks, such as blood flow problems, blood clots, or stroke.  Some examples of primary heart tumors include:

  • Myxoma (the most common benign primary heart tumor; it usually affects the left atrium)
  • Papillary fibroelastoma (benign tumor that usually develops in heart valves)
  • Lipoma (benign tumor that typically grows in the left ventricle, right atrium, or atrial septum)
  • Angiosarcoma (the most common cancerous primary heart tumor; this usually grows in the right atrium or pericardium)
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma (the most common cancerous primary heart tumor in children)

Heart tumors are typically diagnosed through imaging tests, such as an echocardiogram, cardiac MRI or CT scan, and/or a PET scan. Your doctor will most likely order these tests if you have cancer in another part of your body and have started to develop heart problems. Primary heart tumors are more difficult to diagnose than metastatic tumors, as their symptoms are similar to other conditions; they are typically discovered as incidental findings through diagnostic tests ordered for other medical problems.

If you have developed symptoms of a heart condition, you can receive high-quality care at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s award-winning Queens cardiology center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-7100.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Eye Cancer?

Eye cancer is an extremely rare form of cancer that first develops in the eyeball or nearby structures such as the tear ducts and eyelids.

There are several different types of eye cancer. The most common form is intraocular melanoma. These often develop in the choroid, a structure in the uvea (the middle part of the eye), but can also begin in the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the ciliary body (the muscles behind the iris that allow you to focus on close or distant objects). Intraocular melanoma can also develop in the conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the front of your eyeball).

Other forms of eye cancer include:

  • Eyelid cancer
  • Orbital cancer
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Intraocular lymphoma

Symptoms of eye cancer generally include vision loss, blurred vision, flashes of light, and spots in your vision, and can also potentially include eye bulging or irritation, a growing dark spot in the iris, a growing lump on the eyelid or eyeball, and changes in the movement or positioning of the eyeball. However, many people with eye cancer may not experience any symptoms and, as a result, may not be aware of their condition until it’s discovered by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Several factors may increase your risk of developing eye cancer. It occurs most commonly in people over the age of 50 (with the exception of retinoblastoma, which is most common in children under five years of age). It’s also more common for people with pale skin complexion, people with light-colored eyes, and people with certain inherited conditions, such as dysplastic nevus syndrome or BAP1 tumor predisposition syndrome.

Radiation therapy and surgery are common treatment options for eye cancer. These may be supplemented by additional treatment approaches, such as laser therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy. Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that minimizes your risk of vision loss or other potential complications.

The specialists at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology can help you get the care you need to treat your eye cancer effectively, achieve remission, and preserve your vision. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Link Between Diabetes and Cancer

Type 2 diabetes and cancer are two of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Individually, these conditions can be devastating for your health, but certain factors for diabetes may also increase your risk for a few different types of cancer, including pancreatic, liver, colon, breast, bladder, and uterine cancer.

Some risk factors for diabetes and cancer may be outside of your control and, as a result, difficult to manage. These include:

  • Age: Your risk of developing both diabetes and cancer increases with age.
  • Gender: Men are generally at a higher risk of both cancer and diabetes than women.

Most of the factors that affect your risk of diabetes and cancer relate to your diet and lifestyle. These can largely be managed by making healthy adjustments to your regular habits. Manageable risk factors include:

Weight: Excessive body weight is one of the leading risk factors for both diabetes and cancer. Your weight can mainly be managed through diet and regular exercise. Your diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a limited amount of animal protein products such as meat, fish, and dairy.

Activity: Physical inactivity contributes to excessive weight and the development of various other health issues. Regular exercise is crucial for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and provides significant benefits for your overall physical well-being.

Smoking: Smoking increases your risk for several different forms of cancer. While it is most commonly associated with lung, oral, and esophageal cancer, it can also lead to pancreatic, liver, colon, and bladder cancer.

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption increases your risk of both diabetes and cancer. Stick to the recommended limits (two drinks per day for men, one drink per day for women) to reduce your risk.

Regular screenings for both diabetes and cancer can help you receive the treatment you need as early as possible. To schedule an appointment for a diabetes screening with an endocrinologist, please call Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center at (718) 206-7001. To schedule a cancer screening, please contact our Oncology Department at (718) 206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Cancer Prevention Month

Approximately one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point within their lifetime. It is partially for this reason that cancer the second leading cause of death among Americans, accounting for over 600,000 estimated deaths throughout the United States. Nearly half of these deaths are the result of preventable lifestyle factors or a failure to diagnose the disease early.

As there are many different types of cancer, there is no singular way to prevent it; additionally, there is no way to completely eliminate your risk of developing the disease. However, targeting the lifestyle factors that most frequently contribute to the incidence of cancer in general can help you protect your health and remain as cancer-free as possible.

To reduce the risk of cancer, you should:

Avoid smoking: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke causes as many as 90% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. For people who don’t smoke but are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke, the risk of cancer may increase by up to 30%.

Avoid UV light: Exposure to ultra-violet radiation is the most common cause of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. This exposure most frequently occurs due to excessive time in the sun, particularly for people who are not wearing protective sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

Adopt a healthy diet and exercise routine: Obesity is linked to a wide range of chronic health problems, including at least 13 forms of cancer. A moderate diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, healthy proteins, and a limited amount of meat, paired with an exercise routine that includes a moderate amount of aerobic, strength, core, balance, and flexibility exercises, is ideal for maintaining your physical health and fitness.

Limit alcohol consumption: Your alcohol consumption, even at low levels, is directly correlated with your risk for several different types of cancer. Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink can help reduce your risk, but it is ideal to avoid it entirely, if possible.

Visit your doctor regularly: Typical annual check-ups such as a physical exam from your primary care physician or a skin exam from a dermatologist can help identify signs of cancer that may warrant further testing or a diagnosis. Many forms of cancer are also easiest to treat in their early stages, making regular screenings from cancer specialists helpful for reducing your risk of death.

Expert diagnostic testing and treatment for cancer is available in Queens through Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s joint Oncology program. Our state-of-the-art technology and innovative treatment approaches, coupled with services such as our patient navigation program to help guide you through the entire process, can give you the best possible chance at achieving remission and living cancer-free.

To learn more about our oncology services or to schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6742.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Prostate Cancer – Screening and Treatment

The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that produces a fluid that mixes with sperm and other fluids during ejaculation.  It sits just below the bladder and is normally about the side of a walnut.

Prostate cancer is an abnormal growth of cells within the prostate gland.  Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.  The majority of men who reach the age of 80 are found to have prostate cancer however most of types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may not contribute to any serious harm.  Some types of prostate cancers are more aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.

Prostate cancer, especially in its early stages, may not have any symptoms.  When symptoms are present they may include difficulty starting urination, less force to the stream of urine, dribbling at the end of urination, needing to urinate frequently, urinating frequently at night, pain while urinating, blood in the urine or semen, difficulty starting or maintaining an erection, pain with ejaculation, pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis and upper thighs, or unintended weight loss.

Although it is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer some risk factors for developing prostate cancer are older age (more than 65% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65), race (African-American men are 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men), family history (having a father or brother with prostate cancer) and obesity.

There is an ongoing debate among physicians and medical groups about screening for prostate cancer.  Currently many organizations including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommend against routine screening for prostate cancer.  Having a discussion with your doctor about prostate cancer screening can help you decide if you should consider undergoing prostate cancer screening based on your unique health history and preferences.

When screening is done there are two tests that are available.  The available tests are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.  To perform a digital rectal exam your doctor uses a gloved finger, inserted a few inches into your rectum, to check your prostate gland.  A prostate-specific antigen test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA in your blood.  Many men who have prostate cancer have elevated levels of PSA however PSA can also be elevated for less serious causes such as prostate enlargement or infection.  Further testing is needed to diagnose cancer.  Additional tests that your doctor may recommend to diagnose cancer include an ultrasound of the prostate and a biopsy of the prostate.  A biopsy is when a small piece of the prostate is removed to look for abnormal cells.

Treatment of prostate cancer depends on many factors including your age, your overall health and the growth and spread of the cancer when it is diagnosed.  Some men who have slow growing tumors may not need treatment right away and some may never need treatment.  Other types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can quickly spread to other parts of the body making treatment difficult.  Common treatment options include watchful waiting or expectant management (regular testing and checkups to assess for new signs or symptoms), radiation therapy (high-energy x-rays used to kill cancer cells), chemotherapy, surgery (having the prostate gland removed) and hormone therapy. Flushing Hospital also offers robotic surgery and physicians specially trained in its use, as an option for the treatment of prostate cancer.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Smoking and Dental Care

With smoking, we tend to focus on the effects it may have on the lungs or the heart. However, we don’t focus on the health effects it may have on other parts of the body including your oral health.

The American Cancer Society states that smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. In addition, smoking can cause many serious problems for teeth and oral structures. It can interfere with the normal function of gum tissue cells; this can make smokers more susceptible to infections, gum disease, or even periodontal disease. The problem can be further exacerbated when proper dental health care is not followed. The excess of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke makes smokers twice more likely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.

Keep your winning smile and kick the smoking habit. For help to quit smoking, please contact Jamaica Hospital’s smoking cessation support group at 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. During this time of month, Jamaica Hospital urges everyone to adopt healthy lifestyle practices to reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.

ThinkstockPhotos-159290583According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) there are three factors that we have control over that affects our risk of developing this terrible disease. They are: What we eat, how active we are and how much we weigh. The AICR states that the best protection against cancer is to control all three.

Let’s look at them one at a time:

What We Eat
Choosing a diet consisting mostly of plant foods and limiting red meat and avoiding processed food is the best defense. Preparing meals focused around vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans will help you fortify your body against cancer.

How Active We Are
Being physically active for at least 30 minutes each day. Participating in any number of physical activities can lower your risk for colon cancer and possibly several other cancers as well. To fit time in your schedule, try breaking activities into 10-15 minute sessions.

What We Weigh
It is the third key to help protect against as many as six different types of cancer. The good news is that once you start following the first two guidelines about diet and physical activity, you’ll find it easier to accomplish this one.

Jamaica Hospital joins the American Institute of Cancer Research to bring awareness to how we can reduce our chances of getting cancer by altering our daily lives.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.