Displaying items by tag: Detection - Facing Cancer Together Facing Cancer Together invites anyone to join the conversation as we connect stories and lives of people touched by cancer. http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org Mon, 18 Dec 2017 22:02:54 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb The basics of Colorectal Cancer http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/the-basics-of-colorectal-cancer-32415 http://www.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
Bill would ban minors from using tanning beds http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/bill-would-ban-minors-from-using-tanning-beds-4913 http://www.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
Self-diagnosis using the Internet 

 http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/self-diagnosis-using-the-internet-111612 http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/self-diagnosis-using-the-internet-111612 Self-diagnosis using the Internet 

(Lancaster) -- Many times, the first thing a person does when experiencing some unusual medical symptoms is head to the Internet.

But using a search engine may not always be the best way to diagnose an ailment or health-related issue.

witf's Megan Lello spoke with Dr. Paul Conslato, medical director for Lancaster General Medical Group, about how to responsibly read through diagnoses online. Dr. Conslato says that some independent learning on symptoms that they are experiencing is usually a good idea.

Listen to their conversation:


self-diagnosis-internetDr. Conslato says, “The reality is, a more informed patient usually leads to a more productive engagement where the physician is acting as a partner in finding a solution to a person’s healthcare needs,” he explains.

But, with every potential innovation in healthcare there are some downsides. What he sees on an infrequent basis is a heightened concern about symptoms.

Related stories:

“An e-Patient is someone that is empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled,” says Christine Amy from Aligning Forces for Quality --- South Central Pennsylvania. Amy works to help people become better so-called “e-Patients” by using technology to stay informed about their health.

Amy highlights some of the characteristics of an engaged patient in this video.

The healthcare industry is just starting to incorporate electronic medical records, patient portals, and apps into their practices. And, although it is just the beginning, Dr. Karen Jones, an Internist & Medical Director for Quality and Innovation at WellSpan Health, says that the future is not too far out in changing how care is delivered and received. Watch the video here.

“For me, the most exciting part of the Digital Age in health care is the potential we have to help people understand and have more control of their health care,” says Dr. Jones.

And, check out this video to learn more about how medical apps are streamlining care and are helping patients become more engaged in their care.

Where do you turn for information about a diagnosis or symptoms you're experiencing? Do you feel that doing some research before a visit with your doctor makes it a more meaningful interaction? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.

Cancer and Treatments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 15:41:00 +0000
How medical apps are streamlining health care http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/how-medical-apps-are-streamlining-health-care-102512 http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/how-medical-apps-are-streamlining-health-care-102512 How medical apps are streamlining health care

“When I think about the ways that doctors are accessing medical applications and patient data now, I think of keywords like value and convenience,” says Dr. Michael Ripchinski, Chief Medical Information Officer and Family Physician at Lancaster General Health. “It is valuable for them to have access to record electronically so they can can continue to deliver care for patient even in the off hours. And, it is convenient that they don’t have to travel back to office to initiate or continue care for their patients.”

medical-apps-chartDr. Ripchinski says that a lot of physicians on his staff are using cell phones and tablets to find patient info quickly and to be able to interact with their chart on the go. This allows them to deliver more efficient care and to be more connected with the medical information in their record. Medical apps also provide quick access to reference materials that can be used to diagnose a patient during a visit. Scroll down for the video.

As a family physician, he says that he will oftentimes prescribe apps for his patients to use at home. He highly encourages them to access their own medical chart, which is one of the biggest ways in which they can engage in their health care. It also increases the chart’s accuracy. For others, he will prescribe wellness or fitness apps that can track exercise, diet or sugars. He says that using apps has helped his patients improve their health care because apps are easy and fun to use.

health-appsDr. Adelle Kurtz, a Family Physician with Partners in Family Health PC, says, “There have been more studies recently on lifestyle, If someone watches more than four hours of TV per day, they are more likely to die early. If a person eats more sodium than they should, they are more likely to suffer sudden death. So, if they can track blood pressure, sodium, exercise- they’re going to live longer.” She highlights the fact that most apps are inexpensive and many are free. A ranking system will help a person decide what might be worth trying, and if a certain app doesn’t fit your needs, it is easy to delete and download a different one. Look below for a list of Dr. Kurtz’s favorite apps.

“For those people who are hesitant to try apps, I will show them an app in the office and show them how easy it is to access. It shouldn’t be scary to use apps because it provides great information to them,” Dr. Ripchinski says.

apps-mobileDr. Adelle Kurtz's list of favorite apps:

Blood Pressure Companion app
Salt Tracker app
Brainy app
Heart Rate Monitor app
Weight Tracker app
Glucose Buddy app
Diabetes app
SuperTracker online tracker

Related stories:
Telemedicine: Improving efficiency and outcomes
Doctors embrace the Digital Age
Online medical records
Is Wikipedia a good source for medical information?

Cancer and Treatments Wed, 31 Oct 2012 13:24:00 +0000
Code Pink http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/expert-journal/code-pink-102612 http://www.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://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/advertising-cigarettes-to-women-and-children-10412 http://www.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://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/capitol-fountain-turned-pink-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month-101512 http://www.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://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/the-impact-of-breast-cancer-awareness-month-111612 http://www.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
A brief history of smoking http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/a-brief-history-of-smoking-10412 http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/healthy-lifestyle/a-brief-history-of-smoking-10412 A brief history of smoking

In the video below, Dr. Dennis Gingrich, an educator at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, provides a brief history of smoking and the changes that have been made as a society to discourage smoking in public spaces.

columbus taking possessionDr. Gingrich explains that tobacco is a plant that was raised in the New World.  It wasn’t until Columbus discovered that the Native Americans were using tobacco for religious and medicinal purposes that people in  Europe began using it.

In the 18th century, tobacco became very popular on both sides of Atlantic, and in the 20th century came the cigarette. Dr. Gingrich explains that the advent of the cigarette as a method of smoking tobacco was a game-changer.


“What made the cigarette so popular is that there’s a physiological change that takes place when nicotine reaches the blood stream. It is absorbed very quickly and the effect is almost immediate.  But that effect also wares off very rapidly and requires another 'charge' or cigarette.  This is what develops a pattern of smoking throught the day,” he says.

In the 40’s and 50’s, people really didn’t know the dangers of smoking. Cigarettes were included in the ration packs of soldiers in WWII. Dr. Gingrich highlights that physicians at the time were even advertising the benefits of smoking in TV commercials and magazine ads.

no-smoking-policyBut, as a society, a lot of positive steps have been made to improve public health since the 50’s. “There was a Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of smoking in ’64.” Dr. Gingrich says, adding, “Then there were some changes in society including cigarette ads being pulled from television and cigarettes being banned in air travel. So we try to discourage smoking in public places wherever possible.”

Worldwide, there are about 6 million deaths due to smoking-related illness each year. “It is a staggering global health problem.” Dr. Gingrich says. “We really need to get the word out so that we can have a healthier community and world."

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

Healthy Lifestyle Thu, 18 Oct 2012 15:06:00 +0000
Communicating with patients about smoking http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/communicating-with-patients-about-smoking-10112 http://www.facingcancertogether.witf.org/cancer-and-treatments/communicating-with-patients-about-smoking-10112 Communicating with patients about smoking

Doctors and dentists are in an advantageous position to counsel patients about tobacco use and cessation. Developing relationships that allow for open and honest communication about tobacco use is key in helping patients take that critical step in deciding to quit.

cigarettesDr. Kevin Kelly, a family physician with PinnacleHealth Medical Group, says “My strategy is just total persistence.” He communicates with his patients about smoking at every visit and wants to make sure they know that the topic is always open for discussion no matter why they’re there.   Scroll down to watch the video.

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in our country and it is something we can change. “About fifty percent of smokers have made an attempt to quit in any given year, so I stay diligent in trying to help them achieve that goal,” Dr. Kelly says. “I always say we have to plant a lot of seeds and hope for some of them to germinate.  Because, I want that one opportunity when they are ready that they will reach out to me and we can move them along on that path of success.”

nicotine-gum-optionsDr. Kelly then works with the patient to identify what is triggering the behavior and will point them towards a cessation method that will work best for them, whether it is counseling, medication, or a community support group. “I’m not there to make them feel guilty. I am there to make sure they have the support,” he says.

“Sometimes I go through spells of talking to a lot of people and don’t see much happening. That’s the groundwork you have to lay out there." Dr. Kelly says.   "Then you get those ones who suddenly come back and surprise you with a smile saying ‘I quit smoking three months ago after speaking with you.’ Those are the kinds of wins I’m going for and it is so so rewarding. It makes me happy and it is why I come to work every day.”

dentist-smokingLike doctors, dentists are also in a good position to speak with patients about the dangers of tobacco and options for quitting. Dr. Wes Davis, a general dentist in private practice in Hershey, PA, says that because he sees his patients twice a year, he develops relationships that break down the barriers about conversing about the topic.

Dr. Davis says, “Generally we will remind patients at the end of every visit that they would be healthier if they ceased using tobacco.” And if the patient is receptive, he’ll talk about cessation options like gum, nicotine patches, counseling or a local cessation program.  “Generally they’ll listen and like to hear from their healthcare provider,” he says, adding “We are there to support them and inform them of deleterious effects of their habit.”

He says that tobacco-users generally have poorer oral health compared to non-tobacco users.  But, once a person quits the damages can actually reverse themselves.  He has found that showing pictures of stained teeth or soft lesions, that could be cancerous lesions, are effective methods of getting a person to decide to quit. 

“It is a highly addictive substance and is not easy for these patients to give this up. So, it is a cause for celebration and is remarkable how much oral health improves once stop smoking.”

Related stories:
Tackling the physical, mental and social aspects of tobacco addiction
Butt out for good

Cancer and Treatments Thu, 04 Oct 2012 16:54:00 +0000