2 AnswersInterventional oncology is a field of medicine that combines cancer treatment (oncology) with imaging tests (radiology). Doctors who specialize in this field use imaging tools, like CT or MRI scans, to target and treat cancers that have not spread. For example, they use the images to see a specific tumor and deliver chemotherapy medication directly into it. This way, the drugs don't affect the rest of your body. Or, the images show them the specific body area to be treated with ablation (the burning away of tissue). Interventional oncology treatments are minimally invasive. That means you don't need a big surgical cut or operation.
1 AnswerIf you're in disease remission, it means your symptoms have stopped for a period of time. Usually, this is due to treatment. Depending on the disease and other factors, remission can last for days, weeks, months or years before symptoms return. In the most ideal cases, remission continues and the disease is considered "cured." The exact medical requirements for remission differ by disease. For example, people with rheumatoid arthritis are considered to be in remission when they have no noticeable arthritis symptoms, along with test results that show no signs of joint inflammation. People with some types of cancer and autoimmune diseases may also have short or long periods of remission. For some types of cancer, a cure may be said to have occured when remission lasts five years.
1 AnswerDr. Joseph P. Thornton, MD , Colorectal Surgery, answered on behalf of Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center
1 AnswerHealthyWomen answeredA histologic grade refers to how much tumor cells resemble normal cells when viewed under the microscope. The grading scale usually ranges from 1 to 3. Grade 1 tumors are composed of cells that closely resemble normal ones. Grade 3 tumors contain very abnormal-looking and rapidly growing cancer cells.
Find out as much as you can about your cancer. Research on the Internet for successful treatments, new treatments, and experimental treatments. Learn all you can about your condition so that you can ask the right questions during your doctor visits. Find out what other people with your cancer have tried successfully. Find out what you can do to support your medical treatment at home. Some of the information you find online may be difficult to interpret or may not apply to you, so be sure to print the information and talk to your doctor about what you find.
3 AnswersDr. Shauna M. Birdsall, ND , Naturopathic Medicine, answered on behalf of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)It is important for caregivers to take care of themselves as well as their loved ones with cancer. Here are a few tips to help:
- Plan time for yourself: arrange for a friend or family to relieve you for a period of time to give you a break.
- Maintain a healthy diet. This will keep you strong and feeling your best.
- Get enough sleep: at least 8 hours per night.
- Exercise: Even a 20 minute walk around the block will help you relax
- Don’t use tobacco and limit alcohol intake
- Make time for doing something you enjoy-every day if possible.
- Ask for help from friends and family. Reach out to mental health professionals if you need additional support.
- Don’t neglect your health-keep up with regular doctor visits. Don’t neglect your own cancer screening tests.
- Be kind and forgiving to yourself and others.
1 AnswerDr. Nimesh P. Nagarsheth, MD , Gynecologic Oncology, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health SystemYour sex life will likely be impacted by your partner’s diagnosis. Here's how you can help as a partner:
1. Empathy. Understanding the emotional and physical effects of treatment will help you find solutions.
2. Communication is critical. Share your concerns and fears. Tell your partner that you find him or her desirable but are willing to wait until he or she is ready to resume sexual activity.
3. Be patient. Most of the effects of treatment for cancer lessen when treatment ends. At that time your partner will feel better physically and emotionally. Keep in mind that every patient recovers at his or her own pace and some patients continue to experience lack of desire. This is normal.
4. If you and your partner were experiencing problems in your sex life before the cancer diagnosis, this may be a good time to seek professional help. Talk to the doctor or the hospital social worker for a referral.
5. If your partner is a gynecologic-oncology patient and experienced orgasm before her diagnosis, she will in all likelihood experience orgasm again. Some women report their orgasms feel somewhat different but they do occur. The use of vaginal lubricants and moisturizers can help remedy vaginal dryness. Regular vaginal intercourse, if and when your partner is ready, helps stretch the vagina following radiation. If you are not ready for vaginal intercourse, vaginal dilators have the same effect. In general, you will not feel a difference during intercourse if your partner had a hysterectomy.
1 AnswerDr. Nimesh P. Nagarsheth, MD , Gynecologic Oncology, answered on behalf of The Mount Sinai Health SystemAs with any serious surgery, patients typically suffer from fatigue and pain following surgery. The doctor may prescribe pain medications and other treatments, and the body’s natural healing powers should reduce the side effects over time. How you can help your partner:
1. Talk with your partner about visitors. Most patients are uncomfortable following surgery, and it can be difficult to receive visitors. Find out what your partner’s preferences are before going into surgery, and confirm this following surgery.
2. Before you leave the hospital, make sure you have all necessary prescriptions and phone numbers to call if your partner has questions or concerns.
3. When your partner returns home, monitor his or her pain medications, and don’t let your partner perform any physical activity that the doctor has advised against (e.g., cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.). This is one of the exceptions to the rule about asking how much your partner wants to do .
4. During the weeks following surgery, your partner will need your physical and emotional support. The physical support you can provide includes helping with meals, driving, childcare, and other household tasks. On the emotional side, being a supportive and reassuring presence can help in many ways. Assure your partner that you will be there for him or her. Your partner’s emotions may include anxiety, fear, and feeling out of control and overwhelmed. Being a good listener is especially helpful at this time. Many patients adjust to the stress of surgery by telling and retelling the story of the surgical experience.
5. Most patients do not need home health nursing following surgery, and insurance will only pay for nurses to come to your house if your doctors believe it is a “medical necessity.” If you have concerns or questions, or think your partner will need a nurse or special equipment at home, speak to the social worker before your partner is discharged from the hospital.