March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Here are the most common myths about this disease that I hear from my patients.
“I feel fine, I have no pain or feel any lumps- there is no way for me to have colon cancer”
Most patients who underwent screening colonoscopy and a colon cancer were found did NOT have any symptoms. Most importantly, those are the cases that are curable! By the time symptoms developed, unfortunately it is often already too late. 91% of patients with cancer that were detected early are alive and well 5 years after diagnosis. But only 37% of all colorectal cancer are diagnosed at this stage- we can do better, this is the most preventable cancer with screening.
Allium vegetables comprise approximately 500 species, the most common including onions, leeks, garlic, chives, and shallots. They have been valued throughout history for their flavor as well as their medicinal properties. Rich in health-promoting flavanols and organosulfur compounds, alliums have increasingly attracted the interest of the medical community for their potential to play a part in preventing cancer.
Although skin cancer has a lower incidence in patients of color, it can occur. The most common type of skin cancer varies based on your ethnic background, with African Americans being most at risk for squamous cell carcinoma. However while melanoma is often associated with people who have blue eyes and blonde hair, it also occurs in people with darker skin tones.
For reasons that are unclear, melanomas in African Americans most commonly develop on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and nails. Unfortunately, when these melanomas are discovered they are more aggressive at the time of presentation. The overall five-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent, versus 91 percent for Caucasians. Read more
Tony-nominated actress Valisia LeKae used her voice to sing hit songs from the 1960s, recently starring as Diana Ross in “Motown: The Musical” on Broadway. Now, two months after receiving a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and stepping down from her leading role to receive treatment at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Ms. LeKae is using her voice to speak about the importance of early cancer detection.
Cancer patients with metastatic cancer, whose disease has spread to another area of the body beyond the initial site of the disease, require specialized care. At our Metastasis Center, we offer a unique approach to treating patients with metastatic cancer.
The core of our program is the personalized, concierge-style service we provide to patients. With this approach, patients can schedule an appointment to come to Mount Sinai for one day, during which a team of experts can conduct tests, review the patient’s treatment options, and provide consultation with the patient’s off-site doctors if necessary. A Clinical Nurse Navigator will work with each patient to personally tailor his or her visit and schedule all necessary appointments and tests. Remote consultations are also available.
In 2011, painter Reinhold Schwenk was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although the side effects of treatment left Schwenk weak, his oncologist, Dr. Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, encouraged Schwenk to pursue painting as a creative outlet.
Oncologists have long puzzled over the fact that after cancer treatment, disseminated tumor cells are quick to grow and form secondary tumors in certain organs, while in other organs they metastasize more slowly. Such is the case with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cells, which remain dormant when lodged in bone marrow but rapidly form tumors when they make their way into the lungs.
Mount Sinai’s Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology practice has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The QOPI® Certification Program provides a 3-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the highest standards for quality cancer care.
QOPI certification signifies that an outpatient oncology practice has met core standards in a variety of areas that affect the quality of patient care, including staff training and education, chemotherapy orders and drug preparation, patient consent and education, safe chemotherapy administration, and monitoring and assessment of patient well-being. Mount Sinai is the first site in Manhattan to receive QOPI-certification.
Music is Medicine is a nonprofit run by a team of college students that pairs artists with pediatric patients through uplifting music programs. Through Music is Medicine’s Donate a Song project, artists write and record original songs for seriously-ill children to inspire the patients, share their stories of strength, and contribute to the greater fight against their diseases.
This past summer, Cindy, a 16 year-old girl battling cancer at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, met artists Sam Tsui and Elle Winter. The artists then went on to produce an original song called “Unsinkable” for Cindy. In the chorus Sam and Elle sing, “My heart’s unsinkable. Never doubt that things will get better. Can you feel the love? I’m never giving up.” Through the song, Sam and Elle motivate Cindy and people everywhere to never give up. At the same time, all proceeds for the song will benefit pediatric oncology research at Mount Sinai.
Ovarian cancer is a heterogeneous and rapidly progressive disease of low prevalence and poor survival. In the United States the number of deaths attributed to ovarian cancer approximates that of all other gynecologic malignancies combined. Unfortunately, the majority (75%) of women diagnosed with ovarian carcinoma continue to have advanced stage disease (Stage III/ IV), with widespread metastases throughout the peritoneal cavity, lymph nodes, liver or lungs. Presently less than 20% of women with ovarian cancers are detected when the cancer is still confined to the ovary (Stage I).