Displaying items by tag: Cancer Risks - Facing Cancer Together Facing Cancer Together invites anyone to join the conversation as we connect stories and lives of people touched by cancer. http://facingcancertogether.witf.org Sun, 18 Mar 2018 04:01:28 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb The basics of Colorectal Cancer http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/the-basics-of-colorectal-cancer-32415 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/the-basics-of-colorectal-cancer-32415 The basics of Colorectal Cancer

Smart Talk Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One in twenty people will develop colon cancer at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, colon cancer has the second-highest cancer death rate in Pennsylvania. The good news is that there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk.

Family history makes a difference but so do diet, physical activity, and smoking and alcohol use.

Many people may feel nervous about having invasive preventative tests, but with the right lifestyle habits and regular screenings, colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and doctors all over our local region are encouraging their patients to get screened for colon cancer.

On this episode of Smart Talk, physicians Dr. Ray Hohl, director of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, and Dr. Walter Koltun, chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, will discuss the causes, risk factors, symptoms, treatments and what we're learning about colon cancer.

Colorectal Cancer 3.24.2015.jpg

Dr. Walter Koltun and Dr. Ray Holh

Expert Journal Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:53:08 +0000
Report: Pennsylvania needs to do more to prevent, fight cancer http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/report-pennsylvania-needs-to-do-more-to-prevent-fight-cancer-82313 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/report-pennsylvania-needs-to-do-more-to-prevent-fight-cancer-82313

(Harrisburg) -- A new report from the American Cancer Society finds Pennsylvania is like most states in that it falls short when it comes to fighting the causes of cancer.

The commonwealth only gets top marks for its tobacco tax rates.

The Cancer Action Network report gives Pennsylvania low marks on tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.

Spokeswoman Laura Weis says the state also scores poorly for physical education time requirements, which can help in cancer prevention.

"One in three cancer deaths is due to factors relating to poor nutrition and physical inactivity," Weis says.

The report gives the commonwealth low grades for tanning bed restrictions, because over-exposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer.

The state's smoking ban only gets moderate marks because many locations are not covered by the law.

The Cancer Society also docks the commonwealth for an uptick in the use of smokeless tobacco.

Please visit witf's Facing Cancer Together project for more cancer resources and stories.

Healthy Lifestyle Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:37:13 +0000
Midstaters wanted for cancer prevention study http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/midstaters-wanted-for-cancer-prevention-study-82313 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/research-and-clinical-trials/midstaters-wanted-for-cancer-prevention-study-82313

(York) -- The American Cancer Society hopes to enroll hundreds of people in the midstate in its Cancer Prevention Study-3. The study aims to gather health and lifestyle information to help advance ACS research.

Getting started in CPS-3 is a two-step process. First, participants register online. Then, Carol Miller of the society's York office says they attend an enrollment event at Sovereign Bank Stadium on September 17th.

"I call it a no-brainer," Miller explains. "It's really simple. You fill out a questionnaire, you come for 30 minutes, you're in and you can have a profound influence on the research that will lead to a cure."

Miller says they hope to enroll more than 200 people at the event.

Participants must be 30 - 65 years old and will to commit for the long-term. They will receive a survey in the mail every few years for the next two to three decades. This is the second midstate enrollment event for the Cancer Prevention Study-3. Nationwide enrollment closes at the end of the year.

Research and Clinical Trials Fri, 23 Aug 2013 13:34:29 +0000
What you can learn from Angelina’s choice http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/what-you-can-learn-from-angelina-s-choice-6713 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/what-you-can-learn-from-angelina-s-choice-6713

Angelina Jolie’s revelation that she had both breasts removed to prevent breast cancer is focusing attention on genetic testing and the choices patients face when they get the result. What does the news mean for you?

Jolie is in a very small group of women with a genetic mutation, BRCA1, which made it very likely she would develop breast cancer at some point. She said her doctors estimated her risk at 87 percent, far more than a woman’s average risk of 12.4 percent.

Jolie’s mother died of ovarian cancer at age 56. Her cancer was caused by the same genetic mutation. When she learned that she too carried the breast cancer gene mutation, Jolie decided to have a preventive mastectomy and breast reconstruction. She estimates the surgery lowered her risk to five percent.

It is a drastic choice for an extreme circumstance. In the aftermath, Jolie is being praised as courageous and brave and for making her medical choice public in an Op-ed piece in The New York Times.

genetic-dropperAs one of the world’s most glamorous and influential women, Jolie has certainly raised awareness of the seriousness of carrying the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, and of the importance of genetic testing to give some women potentially life-saving information.

But genetic testing—and preventive mastectomies—are not for women of average risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Testing may be appropriate for people who are likely to have inherited a mutation, who have a personal or family history of cancer, or who have specific types of breast cancer.

At Lancaster General Health, we have partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to offer a Cancer Risk Evaluation Program on-site. We provide a comprehensive evaluation of your family history to see if it’s likely that you inherited a mutation. You will be counseled so that you can give informed consent to the test and how the information will be used. And you will receive a risk-reduction plan, regardless of whether you have the mutation or not. The program is staffed by two genetics counselors and directed by a medical oncologist.

Remember, more than 99 percent of women do not have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which cause only five percent of all breast cancers. They are not like Angelina Jolie. They will not face the choices she had to make.

randall-oyerWe must make sure that Jolie’s revelation helps the right women—those in the high-risk category. And even these women need to proceed with caution because preventive mastectomies may not be the best option in all cases.

Randall A. Oyer, MD, is the medical director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Risk Evaluation Program at Lancaster General Health and the Ann B. Barshinger Institute. He is a hematologist/oncologist with Hematology-Oncology Medical Specialists in Lancaster.

(Angelina Jolie photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Expert Journal Fri, 07 Jun 2013 16:39:11 +0000
Bill would ban minors from using tanning beds http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/bill-would-ban-minors-from-using-tanning-beds-4913 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/bill-would-ban-minors-from-using-tanning-beds-4913 Bill would ban minors from using tanning beds

(Harrisburg) -- Some midstate teens may use indoor tanning facilities to get ready for the prom and graduation seasons.

But a new proposal from state Representative RoseMarie Swanger could soon bar Pennsylvanians under the age of 18 from using tanning beds, even if they have permission from a legal guardian.

The Republican from Lebanon County says other behaviors deemed harmful to minors are banned, so indoor tanning should be, too. "We protect children by prohibiting their use of tobacco, which is also irrefutably linked to cancer. We also ban them from consuming alcohol. Likewise, for minors, we mandate seatbelt use, require bicycle and motorcycle safety helmets, and do many other things to help protect their safety."

The measure would also require Pennsylvanians to show ID before gaining access to an indoor tanning facility.

Tanning beds give off ultraviolet radiation, which has been linked to skin cancer, or melanoma.

A study from the International Journal of Cancer has found using tanning beds before the age of 35 can increase the risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent.

Swanger's bill has been referred to the House Health Committee.

Healthy Lifestyle Tue, 09 Apr 2013 13:58:16 +0000
Tobacco as a cash crop and opening up about addiction http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/tobacco-as-a-cash-crop-and-opening-up-about-addiction-10412 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/tobacco-as-a-cash-crop-and-opening-up-about-addiction-10412 Tobacco as a cash crop and opening up about addiction

Tobacco has been a cash crop since the time of exploration of the Americas, to the establishment of the colonies and on through our time of independence. Pennsylvania has a strong heritage in agriculture. And, if you drive through Lancaster County today you’ll see lots of fields where tobacco is growing.

women-tobacco-workers“There’s a huge profit incentive and on the part of the consumer, with the highly addictive nature of nicotine, unfortunately it is kind of the perfect storm,” explains Dr. Peter Lewis, and educator at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.

Many characterize the cigarette as the perfect vehicle for delivering nicotine, and compare it to more illicit substances like cocaine.

Some patients may assign blame, guilt or even shame, to their behavior, and so it is important for physicians to create a safe environment for them to open up about their addiction and honestly talk about what they are experiencing in order to get the right help.

cigarette-breakDr. Lewis says that addiction is experienced at a very personal and individual level. Some people who are battling an addiction may be self-medicating and might be facing something like anxiety or depression. So, to strip away something that may be a coping mechanism without properly offering support, is unproductive.

“It takes courage to change a behavior and what they need is support and encouragement,” Dr. Lewis says.

Related stories:
Advertising cigarettes to women and children
A brief history of smoking
Tackling the physical, mental and social aspects of tobacco addiction
Options for quitting
Butt out for good
How doctors communicate with their patient about smoking

Healthy Lifestyle Fri, 26 Oct 2012 18:34:00 +0000
Code Pink http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/code-pink-102612 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/code-pink-102612 Code Pink

Cancer is the epidemic of modern times. Unlike other diseases that have plagued people throughout history like tuberculosis and polio, we haven’t yet discovered a vaccine against it. One of the most common manifestations of this disease is breast cancer, which affects not only one in eight women, but also thousands of men in the United States.

In fact, only lung cancer is more destructive. And if someone you love gets breast cancer, it will cost more than just their health: treatment typically costs between $50,000 and $100,000, the latter of which is more than twice the annual median U.S. income. Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer, so share this graphic with people you love to help them learn stuff about beating cancer before it has a chance.


Expert Journal Fri, 26 Oct 2012 13:16:32 +0000
Advertising cigarettes to women and children http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/advertising-cigarettes-to-women-and-children-10412 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/advertising-cigarettes-to-women-and-children-10412 Advertising cigarettes to women and children

Dr. Shou Ling Leong, an educator at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, explains that smoking cigarettes in the past was something that only men did, not women and children. But clever advertising campaigns targeted to women and children changed that.


Advertising played a key role in getting Americans hooked on tobacco, and glamorized the habit in magazines, on billboards and even at sporting events.

But, it was advertising campaigns like Virginia Slim’s “You’ve come a long way baby” campaign that encouraged smoking among women, playing off of a theme of equality with men.

These campaigns were so successful, in fact, that by 1965 the number of women who died of lung cancer surpassed the number who died of breast cancer in the U.S. And, smoking-related deaths are still the leading cause of death today.  Scroll down to watch the video.

Cigarette companies also targeted children with ads that featured cartoon characters like Joe Camel. “If you look at the data when they rolled out Joe Camel, the number of teen smokers went up. They know that if they can get them hooked at an early age before they know the dangers of smoking, they’ll have them for life because it is very hard to quit,” says Dr. Leong.


That’s why prevention is so important with children, teens and young adults. Programs that reach out to kids about the dangers of smoking in schools and communities can help prevent some kids from starting the habit.

“About 440,000 people die each year in the U.S. due to smoking-related illness. So, this is a very major health problem for us,” explains Dr. Leong. “But, if we look at the evidence, there is good news. 50% want to quit and we in the medical community want to help them.”

Dr. Leong says that there are several resources right here in our community that people can utilize to help them quit smoking. From smoking cessation programs, to counseling or group support, there are many places to turn for information and encouragement.

She also highlights a great resource that is free 24 hours a day and 7 days a week- The PA Quitline: 1-800-QUIT NOW

cigarettesDr. Leong says, “There are a lot of resources out there and I think we as a community working together, we should be able to help people quit smoking.”

Related stories:
A brief history of smoking
Tackling the physical, mental and social aspects of tobacco addiction
Options for quitting
Butt out for good
How doctors communicate with their patient about smoking

Healthy Lifestyle Thu, 25 Oct 2012 15:06:00 +0000
Capitol fountain turned pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/capitol-fountain-turned-pink-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month-101512 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/capitol-fountain-turned-pink-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month-101512

(Harrisburg) -- The fountain behind the State Capitol is roaring with pink-colored water this month in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness.

pink fountain 300x170It's been a tradition during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett says the pink water serves as a reminder of the importance of early detection through self-exams, check-ups and mammograms.

"When they walk past the pink fountain, I hope they think of their mothers, their sisters, their daughters, their wives, and ask them, 'have you had your annual mammogram?' It's a reminder that this is an illness that we can fight," Corbett says.

The recent ceremony marking the coloring of the fountain also recognized the 20th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.

The Lancaster County-based group advocates for breast cancer patients and raises funds for research.

Related stories:

Click here for breast cancer patient resources at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition site.

Watch the video below to hear personal stories shared by breast cancer survivors.

Cancer and Treatments Mon, 22 Oct 2012 21:26:00 +0000
The impact of Breast Cancer Awareness Month http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-impact-of-breast-cancer-awareness-month-111612 http://facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-impact-of-breast-cancer-awareness-month-111612 The impact of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One doesn't have to look far to see a pink ribbon, buildings cast in pink light or fountains flowing with pink water. The color pink is associated with the cause so much during the month that everyone knows exactly what it signifies.


When the campaign began in October 1985, the focus was on early detection of breast cancer. That's still an important message, but billions of dollars have been donated and contributed toward breast cancer research and treatment.

Progress has been made. About 2% fewer breast cancers were detected between 1999 and 2005 and death rates from breast cancer have been dropping since 1990.

This episode of Radio Smart Talk explores the impact of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the past and into the future.

We'll also look into current statistics, treatments, research, and what the future holds.

Program guests include Pat Halpin-Murphy, the president and founder of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Leigh Hurst, the founder of Feel Your Boobies, and Dr. Ronald Hempling, a gynecologic oncologist with WellSpan Health.

Listen to the program:

Cancer and Treatments Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:00:00 +0000