The Birth of Chemotherapy

Dr. Ryan joins us again today to discuss the origins of chemotherapy treatment. We discuss how earlier chemotherapy treatments were initially derived from poison and how chemotherapy research and development have improved over the years. We discuss the challenges researchers and medical oncologists faced during the early days of using chemo to treat cancer and how the mustard gas leak in Bari, Italy, impacted medical science’s research into cancer. We discuss how early cancer research paved the way for today’s combination therapy treatments, research, and treatment protocols and why many people are still concerned – and even fearful — of receiving chemotherapy treatment. We also discuss how medications like cisplatin and lorazepam led to improvements in making treating cancer more tolerable while improving cancer cure rates.

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Clinical Trial Myths

Dr. Brian Burnette joins us again today to discuss the myths surrounding clinical trials. We debunk some of the biggest myths around clinical trials and cancer research and why doctors are required to request a patient’s informed consent prior to starting any treatment. We discuss how the enactment of the Affordable Care Act impacted patients’ ability to participate in clinical trial research and why Brian believes it’s in the health insurance industry’s best interest to cover and invest in clinical trial research. We discuss why it’s important to ensure patients understand they are in the driver’s seat of their treatment plan and have the ability to stop treatment or withdraw their consent to participate in a clinical trial any time they choose. We also debunk some of the misconceptions around data and identity security when participating in clinical trial research and how clinical trials have impacted the advancement of cancer treatment as well as the life expectancy for many people living with cancer.
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Quality vs. Quantity

In this episode of Cancer Covered:  Dr. Mitch Winkler and Dr. Kamal Abbi delve into the complex dynamics of cancer treatment in the palliative setting, exploring the struggle between curative goals and the potential toll aggressive therapies can take on a patient’s quality of life. Kamal highlights the challenges patients and physicians face in understanding the trade-offs between quantity and quality of life. We also discuss the difficult decisions patients and doctors must make when weighing treatment’s benefits and potential harms. The conversation sheds light on the importance of open communication, patient advocacy, and the need for an individualized approach to cancer care.
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Bleeding Breakthrough

In this episode of Cancer Covered: Highlighting the impact of gene therapy on Mason’s life and the potential for this treatment to revolutionize the lives of individuals with bleeding disorders, Dr. Mitch Winkler, Andrea Miller, Dr. Matthew Ryan, and Mason Buxton discuss the Hemophilia Outreach Center and the advancements in gene therapy for Hemophilia B. Mason, who has Hemophilia B, shares his experience as the first patient to receive gene therapy since its FDA approval.
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Cancer and Alcohol

Dr. Ruth Warren joins us today to discuss alcohol, cancer risk, and society’s relationship with alcohol consumption. We explore how our relationship with alcohol is conditioned at a young age and how we’re taught to love the drink as we grow up, even if we don’t like the taste. We describe the two ways of connecting and our tendency to use substances—alcohol, cannabis, and others—to enhance our experiences and the way we connect with ourselves and others. We also discuss the sober-curious movement, working on alcohol moderation and abstinence, and witnessing our life patterns without judgment.
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The Birth of Radiation

Michael joins us today to discuss the history of radiation treatment for various types of cancers. We discuss why it was initially perceived as a magical solution to treating cancer and why regulations were eventually implemented on the use of radiation therapy for cancer patients. We discuss how doctors obtained the radiation they needed to treat their patients in the early days of its discovery.  We discuss why the public wasn’t afraid or concerned about radiation therapy to treat different ailments during the 1890s and how doctors eventually began to realize the negative effects it can have on a person’s health. We also discuss technology’s current role in our ability to safely and accurately dose radiation to treat our patients and what Michael believes we can learn from our history with radiation oncology. [Read more…]

Cancer Myths

This week on Cancer Covered:

  • Differentiating between evidence-based research and myths
  • Debunking common myths around cancer and cancer care
  • Where we believe these myths began
  • How oncologists decide when it’s appropriate to remove cancerous tumors surgically
  • Addressing ‘accurate adjacent’ myths around cancer
  • The dangers of changing the human body’s pH levels to try to cure a cancer diagnosis
  • The true relationship between cancer and sugar
  • The impact of a positive mindset and emotional resilience
  • The challenge of measuring stress and its impact on cancer care

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Scans: When, Why & Which One?

This week on Cancer Covered:

  • Why oncologists need to order scans
  • How scans help doctors diagnose, treat, and monitor cancer
  • Common misconceptions about getting follow-up scans after a cancer diagnosis
  • Only three cancer diagnoses that early detection has been proven to change the survival rate of patients
  • The difference between PET scans and CT scans and why your doctor may choose one over the other
  • Why a clear scan does not always mean a patient is cured
  • Why doctors may order a different type of scan or test even after a clear CT scan result
  • Why CT, PET, and MRI scans are an important part of the cancer workup and diagnostic journey
  • Why scans are not always helpful in determining the extent of progression, patient comfortability, or life expectancy
  • When and why doctors may use more targeted scans

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Just Cut it Out!

This week on Cancer Covered:

  • Why surgery isn’t always the answer for treating or curing cancer
  • Why our ancient ancestors did not perform radical surgeries to treat cancer
  • The discovery of anesthesia and its impact on treating cancer
  • What inspired Dr. Halsted  to explore using surgery as a treatment option for breast cancer
  • Realizing that radical mastectomies are not the ‘end-all-be-all’ cure for treating breast cancer
  • The health and physical impacts of undergoing radical mastectomies
  • The history and development of lumpectomies
  • Understanding what modified radical mastectomies are and when it’s appropriate to perform them
  • Preventing breast cancer diagnoses in high-risk patients through bilateral mastectomy surgery
  • What cancer physicians can learn from Dr. Halsted’s career as a cancer doctor

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Healthcare Burnout

Karianne and Tom join us today to discuss healthcare worker burnout and its impact on cancer care delivery. We discuss the importance of taking breaks and time off to manage the challenges of working in oncology and its unique stressors. We examine the shortage of healthcare professionals in 2020 that was caused by pandemic working conditions and explore the symptoms of burnout, strategies, coping mechanisms to prevent it, the importance of seeking support and investing in self-care, and the desperate need for healthcare reform.

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