S P E C I AL A DVE RT IS ING S E CT IO N
a guide To PreVenTion, diagnosis and TreaTMenT
LIVING on The coVer: Breast cancer survivor Patricia Dent
Research helps pave the way for future medical treatments
The iMage of a clinical Trial trial sponsored by the Accelerated
might bring to mind scientists hud- Community Oncology Research
dled over beakers and microscopes Network after her 2006 breast can-
attempting to discover the next cer diagnosis.
medical breakthrough. The Phase 2 trial was created to
But the truth is, a vast majority of help determine if a different treat-
clinical trials are conducted through ment regimen would increase cure
physician oﬃces. Once the initial Phase rates for Ms. Adams’ type of breast
1 trials, which are often conducted at cancer. Although Ms. Adams has
research universities, are complete, completed her cancer treatments,
Phase 2 and 3 trials are usually moved she knows she’ll be followed for the
to physicians, such as Mark Keaton, rest of her life as part of the trial.
M.D., a medical oncologist who prac- Ms. Adams decided to join the trial
tices at University Hospital. after speaking with her physician and
It’s there that industry- and gov- Pam Anderson, program coordinator
ernment-sponsored trials are offered of University’s Cancer Services and
to patients in the hopes that these the Breast Health Center. “All of the
Some things that are experimental treatments will lead to therapies I received were proven ef-
now standard treat- better, stronger and faster treatments fective against breast cancer, and be-
ments for breast can- for most patients and the next gen- cause this was the second phase of
cer were used as part eration of patients, while helping the the trial, I felt more confident that this
of clinical trials right test subjects as well. was the best choice for me,” she said.
here in Augusta. “We try to keep clinical trials as a The 30-35 trials open at Dr.
-Mark Keaton, M.D. treatment option for most patients Keaton’s oﬃce along with other phy-
and types of cancer,” Dr. Keaton said. sicians aﬃliated with University run
Kathi Adams, a 39-year-old oper- the gamut of potential treatments –
ating room nurse, joined a clinical drug-based or device-based; spon-
46 University Health Care System
Q Why are there clinical trials?
A clinical trial is one of the
final stages of a long and
careful cancer research
process. Studies are done
with cancer patients to find
out whether promising ap-
proaches to cancer preven-
tion, diagnosis and treat-
ment are safe and effective.
Source: National Cancer Institute
right here in Augusta.”
There are a number of resources
for those interested in learning more
about clinical trials, including Univer-
sity’s Web site, www.university.org/
clinicaltrials. The government Web
has an extensive list of more than
8,000 current trials from which
to choose. An easy-to-use search
function lets people search by can-
Kathi Adams joined a clinical trial sponsored by the Accelerated Community cer, location and treatment type.
Oncology Research Network after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006.
Carole Ehleben, director of Hu-
sored by pharmaceutical companies cancer drugs on the market today. man Subject Research and Institu-
or the U.S. government. Herceptin, an effective antibody tional Review Board administrator,
“These are advanced studies, so that targets cancer cells that make also suggested talking with your
they’re Phase 2 and 3, which are too much of a protein called HER- physician about any clinical trials
much further along in develop- 2, was the focus of just one of the you might have an interest in. ❖
ment,” Dr. Keaton said. “It’s because clinical trials conducted through Dr.
of these trials that we have access Keaton’s oﬃce. Talk to your physician if you have
to some drugs that are not acces- “We probably had a half doz- questions about clinical trials, or
sible to the general public.” en patients in that trial,” he said. log on to www.universityhealth.org/
Past trials Dr. Keaton has con- “Some things that are now stan- clinicaltrials. you also can ﬁnd more
ducted have helped get approval for dard treatments for breast cancer information at the government Web
some of the most-effective breast were used as part of clinical trials site www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 47
Early prostate cancer screening can help save lives
dePending on Where you turn,
you’re likely to get conﬂicting in-
formation about prostate cancer
Some researchers dispute the
need for the prostate-specific an-
tigen (PSA) blood screenings in
addition to digital rectal exams
(DRE), but physicians who practice
at University Hospital say the addi-
tional test is needed to help catch
prostate cancer earlier, which helps
both treatment and recovery from
“I tell patients that both PSA and
DRE are warranted,” said Benjamin
Kay, M.D., a urologist who practices
at University Hospital. “Together,
they are more reliable than just one
or the other.”
Local firefighter Robert Szoncin-
ski, 51, is a believer in the benefits of
the PSA screening.
A PSA blood test was just one part
of a head-to-toe physical the then-
48 University Health Care System
48-year-old had in November 2006.
“I thought I was healthy; I had ab-
solutely no problems,” he said. Those men with risk
Elevated screening numbers factors should be
prompted Mr. Szoncinski to get screened because of a
further testing, and to his surprise, relatively higher chance
he was diagnosed with early stage of developing prostate
prostate cancer. cancer. Because prostate
“Because of the screening, the can- cancer is prevalent in
cer was caught very early,” he said. those populations, I do
Dr. Kay said men with prostate think early screening is
Benjamin Kay, M.D.
cancer risk factors – such as a fami- warranted.
ly member diagnosed with prostate
cancer or being an African Ameri-
can – need to be vigilant in keeping
up with their screenings. Early screening, which must in- ■ Less blood loss and transfusions
“Those men with risk factors clude both the PSA blood test and ■ Smaller scars
should be screened because of a a DRE, is so vital when it comes to ■ Faster recovery
relatively higher chance of devel- prostate cancer because there of- ■ Quicker return to normal activities
oping prostate cancer,” he said. ten are no symptoms in the early Dr. Kay warned, however, that not
“Because prostate cancer is preva- stages. A quicker diagnosis can every patient is a candidate for ro-
lent in those populations, I do think lead to earlier treatment, which can botic or any other type of surgery.
early screening is warranted.” improve survival. “There are a number of options
University Hospital teams up with If you are diagnosed with pros- available for the treatment of pros-
Lowe’s Home Improvement stores tate cancer, you should know that tate cancer, but not every man is a
on Sep. 12, 19 and 26 to provide free University Hospital offers the latest candidate for every option,” he said.
PSA screenings to men. Check the surgical treatment technology – the Every cancer is different, so
Healthy U Calendar, in The Augusta da Vinci® Surgical System. take time to talk with your physician
Chronicle and The Aiken Standard The da Vinci® robotic surgical sys- about your treatment options to de-
on the third Sunday of the month, tem allows physicians to perform termine what will work best for you. ❖
for locations and times. more precise surgical procedures,
“This has changed my life dramat- and the system also offers many for more information about pros-
ically,” Mr. Szoncinski said. “I totally patients added benefits including: tate cancer, call university’s can-
support PSA screenings and encour- ■ Shorter hospital stay cer answer line at 706/828-2522
age other men to get them, too.” ■ Less pain or toll free at 866/869-2522.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 49
Knowledge is Power
Screenings can help
Teresa MoXley is The PerfecT
eXaMPle of always listening to
your mother. In 2001, when she was
just 51 years old, Ms. Moxley was
suffering recurrent rectal bleed-
ing, but was hesitant to contact her
Her mother’s prodding finally con-
vinced Ms. Moxley to get checked
out, and after the results of a fe-
cal occult blood test, was given a
The results were devastating –
Stage III colon cancer.
“It had already spread to my pelvis
and was in 17 of the 21 lymph nodes
they removed,” she said. “It was the
biggest shock to me and my family;
we knew nothing about cancer.”
Nearly 150,000 men and women
were diagnosed with colorectal
cancer in 2008 and nearly 50,000
died of the disease, according to
the National Cancer Institute.
Those numbers might be reduced Teresa Moxley and her mother
50 University Health Care System
Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, researchers are unsure why most people develop colorectal
cancer – excluding the small number of patients with hereditary genetic syndromes that lead to a high rate
of colorectal cancer – but studies have shown that there are risk factors for the disease. They include:
■ age: Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur as people get older. More than 90 percent of
people with this disease are diagnosed after age 50. The average age at diagnosis is 72.
■ colorecTal PolyPs: Polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. They are
common in people over age 50. Most polyps are benign (not cancer), but some polyps can be-
come cancer. Finding and removing polyps may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
■ faMily hisTory of colorecTal cancer: Close relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children)
of a person with a history of colorectal cancer are somewhat more likely to develop this disease
themselves, especially if the relative had the cancer at a young age.
■ geneTic alTeraTions: Changes in certain genes increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
■ Personal hisTory of cancer: A person who has already had colorectal cancer may develop
colorectal cancer a second time. Also, women with a history of cancer of the ovary, uterus or breast
are at a somewhat higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
■ ulceraTiVe coliTis or crohn’s disease: A person who has had a condition that causes
inﬂammation of the colon for many years is at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.
■ dieT: Studies suggest that diets high in fat (especially animal fat) and low in calcium, folate, and
fiber may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Also, some studies suggest that people who eat
a diet very low in fruits and vegetables may have a higher risk of colorectal cancer.
■ cigareTTe sMoKing: A person who smokes cigarettes may be at increased risk of developing
polyps and colorectal cancer.
Source: National Cancer Institute
if more people had recommended practices at University Hospital. don’t have any symptoms, the
colorectal cancer screenings. Dr. Keaton noted that even with overall prognosis is going to be
“Screening will help prevent 90 risk factors, many people with col- very good.”
percent of colorectal cancers, so it’s orectal cancer won’t have any no- Ms. Moxley had a very long and
important that people start having ticeable symptoms. arduous road to recovery, but had
colonoscopies at age 50, unless you “By the time you have symptoms, nothing but praise for her treat-
are in a high-risk group that would the disease is fairly far along,” he ment at University Hospital, noting
require earlier screening,” said Mark said. “If the cancer can be picked “I just had the best care – the best
Keaton, M.D., an oncologist who up on a colonoscopy when you team of doctors.” ❖
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 51
can be quickly viewed by the tech-
nologist to ensure she got the shot.
Because the image is digital, it can
be stored and sent electronically,
allowing viewing from wherever it
is needed. Software programs can
help the radiologist manipulate the
images to highlight problem areas,
giving greater ﬂexibility in mam-
Glenda Chears, 60, has always been
diligent about getting her scheduled
mammograms and found that the
convenience of the Mobile Mammog-
raphy Unit made it especially easy to
Glenda Chears get in and out in a timely manner.
It was on the unit in June 2009
Take a Picture
when a spot on her digital screening
mammogram concerned her radi-
ologist. Mrs. Chears was referred to
Technology keeps mammograms looking sharp a surgeon for a biopsy.
“It was a very small lump, and I
Technology is eVer-eVolVing, film, which is fine for most women, was diagnosed with Stage I breast
with new ideas and new products be- but doesn’t work as well for women cancer,” she said.
ing produced at a dizzying rate. That’s with dense breast tissue. The tech- The digital Mobile Mammogra-
true at University Hospital, too. nologist would have to take the film phy Unit offers women the added
University’s Mobile Mammogra- and develop it while the woman convenience of getting a mammo-
phy Unit went digital in 2008 as a waits – taking around 10 minutes to gram off site. With a mobile unit, the
way to get faster, crisper images find out if the image is clear enough center is able to take breast health
that eliminated the need for chemi- to use – and once developed, the film care to underserved populations, to
cal development. could not be changed much. Under- working women at business and in-
The differences in the technology or overexposure couldn’t be fixed. dustrial sites, and to community and
are hard to miss: digiTal. With digital mammogra- church groups throughout the area.
TradiTional. In traditional mam- phy, an image is taken and stored These mammograms are the key to
mography, the image is created on directly into a computer, where it early detection of breast cancer. ❖
52 University Health Care System
Breast Health Center
Facility is a haven for the comfort, education of women
BreasT cancer changes a feel so much better when I left. It’s
WoMan’s life in the blink of an a godsend, really.”
eye. Suddenly work, family, friends The Breast Health Center offers
and home have been supplanted by a wide range of education materi-
Melba Holland physicians, treatments and, most als and support, from the Cancer
likely, fear. Research Room to the employees
University’s Breast Health Cen- who work at the center.
ter works to ease those fears by Herself a breast cancer survi-
Where can you offering women and their families vor, Ms. Anderson said having that
the education and comfort they first-hand knowledge is an impor-
get a digital
need to get through cancer. From tant message to newly diagnosed
mammogram? diagnosis to treatments to recov- women.
university’s Mobile ery, those who work at the Breast “They listen to me because I’ve
Health Center offer guidance and been through it and I’m still here, so
Open to the public for women clarity to support patients physi- they do understand that it’s not a
40 and over. Appointments
cally, mentally and emotionally. death sentence,” she said.
required. Call 706/ 774-4149 or
toll free 866/774-4141. Log on Pam Anderson, Cancer Services Ms. Anderson noted that the cen-
and Breast Health Center program ter follows patients through the en-
calendar to see an updated list
of scheduled stops. coordinator at University Hospital, tire disease process – from diagno-
said the first thing her staff does is sis to recovery – and that can mean
Brown & radiology associates try to change their perception of everything from explaining a proce-
breast cancer. dure to scheduling an appointment.
818 St. Sebastian Way Melba Holland, of Augusta, knows And sometimes, it’s as simple as of-
that firsthand after she was diagnosed fering a hand to hold. ❖
Augusta, GA 30901
706/722-3574 with breast cancer in July 2008.
“When you hear that word ‘can- for more information about uni-
4350 Towne Centre Drive
Suite 1000 cer’, there’s a fear that comes inside versity’s Breast health center, call
Evans, GA 30809
of you,” she said. “I could go into 706/774-4141 or toll free 866/774-
the Breast Health Center and have 4141. you can also log on to www.
all my questions answered, and I’d universityhealth.org/breasthealth.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 53
Portraits of Life
Ten breast cancer survivors tell their stories
Diagnosed in August 2004
Just six weeks after her son, Nevin,
was born in 2004, Patricia Dent
3 Ida M. Jenkins
North Augusta, S.C.
Diagnosed in May 2000
It’s not often that a person can say
breast cancer gave them a second
Carol Buchanan Vernon
Diagnosed in August 2002
When Carol Buchanan Vernon was
diagnosed with breast cancer in Au-
was dealt an enormous physical chance at life, but then there’s Ida gust 2002, she knew she was going
and emotional blow – she was di- Jenkins. to beat the disease – she knew she
agnosed with breast cancer. Overweight and depressed, Ida wasn’t done living yet.
The young mother of two had was not the picture of health when “After something like this, you re-
found the lump under her arm, and she was diagnosed with breast can- ally look at your life and say, ‘I’m go-
after going through all her treat- cer in May 2000. ing to be one of those people who
ments, was devastated to discover But during her cancer treat- gives back now,’” she said.
that the cancer had returned and ment, Ida rapidly lost more than Carol’s chance to give back even-
metastasized to her brain and liver. 50 pounds, which concerned her tually came – but at a devastating
But the news didn’t shake her faith. physicians, but thrilled the then personal price. Her sister died of
At an appointment in January, 46-year-old. heart attack, leaving two young
Patricia got the news she had been “It really changed me to not worry daughters without a family.
waiting to hear. “They told me that about small things,” she said. “This “I really think God let me live so
there’s no more cancer in my brain,” had to happen to get me to really that I could take care of those chil-
2 4 6
she said. “And I said, ‘It’s God.’” look at the big picture.” dren,” she said.
Melinda Armstrong Emma J. Smith Sherry Scott
Evans, Ga. Lincolnton, Ga. Evans, Ga.
Diagnosed in May 2007 Diagnosed in March 1989 Diagnosed in May 2008
People say you never know how “When you’ve always had insur- Sherry Scott’s job as a nurse in Uni-
many friends you have until you re- ance; always had a good job, you versity Hospital’s labor and delivery
ally need one. never think about ‘what if?’” unit lets her be a part of the joyous
Melinda Armstrong would add Emma Smith said she had good beginnings of life.
that the kindness and support of insurance, but when she was diag- That is a stark contrast to the fear
strangers also is a key ingredient to nosed with breast cancer in March she felt when she was diagnosed
surviving breast cancer. 1989, she found out firsthand how with breast cancer in May 2008,
Diagnosed in May 2007, Melinda fickle fate can be. but she said her family, her friends
said she was often surprised by Emma’s insurance refused to pay and her faith gave her the strength
well-wishers who did everything for her cancer treatments, saying to battle a foe that at times seemed
from send cards and e-mails to go- she had a pre-existing condition insurmountable.
ing to treatments with her. since she went through a number “It’s a rollercoaster, and you just
“I don’t normally put myself out of surgeries for benign tumors. have to take it one small step at a
there and want people to know That experience led Emma to go time and you can make it through,”
things, but I looked at people who to work for the Health Department, she said.
had been through this before me where she ultimately became the
and got encouragement from first patient navigator in the state.
them,” she said. “It’s not a job, it’s a calling,” she said.
“Women need to know there’s help
and hope out there.”
54 University Health Care System
Dana Davis Morris
North Augusta, S.C.
Diagnosed in January 2008
The median age for women to be
of what, to many women, it actually
means to be a woman.
Amy Winn, who has worked in the
health care industry for years, said
that her busy lifestyle – as a wife,
ily – a rallying point for anyone
who questions the need for routine
mammograms, which helped pin-
point her own cancer.
“My church friends tell me, ‘If you
diagnosed with breast cancer is as a mother and as a friend – didn’t get mammograms, we’re getting
61, but that doesn’t mean younger and couldn’t be put on hold after them, too’,” she said. “And that’s the
women are immune to the disease. she was diagnosed with breast can- greatest gift of all.”
Dana Davis Morris is living proof. cer in June 2008.
At a routine visit to the gyne- “People think their lives are going
cologist when she was just 35, her to stop while they’re going through Mary Ann Unger
physician noted a lump in Dana’s cancer treatments,” she said. “They Martinez, Ga.
breast, but dismissed it as a fibroid think, ‘I’ll get through this and when Diagnosed in April 2004
cyst, mainly because of her age. I get to the other side I’ll pick my As a teacher, Mary Ann Unger
“He handed me a piece of pa- life back up,’ but there is meaning- spent years educating students
per with the phone number to get ful life during treatment as well.” and molding the minds of future
a mammogram, and he told me I generations.
could go get one if I wanted,” she A breast cancer diagnosis in April
said. Dana decided to have the Carolyn Moore 2004 altered her educational mis-
mammogram done. Augusta, Ga. sion forever.
“The Lord was looking out for me Diagnosed in April 2009 Mary Ann left her teaching job
because I’m really the type of per- In the back of her mind, Carolyn during her cancer treatments, but
son who doesn’t like to go to the Moore admits she thought breast never stopped thinking of ways she
doctor,” she said. cancer was something that hap- could help others learn more about
pened to other people. But after the disease.
she was diagnosed with the dis- “I left teaching in May 2005 and
Amy Winn ease on April 4, 2009, she realized by October of that year, I was volun-
Aiken, S.C. cancer is the great equalizer and teering at University’s Breast Health
Diagnosed in June 2008 that no one is immune from its life- Center,” she said. It was there that
No one ever expects to be diag- changing effects. Mary Ann found her calling, helping
nosed with breast cancer. It is a dis- Carolyn said she’s become a schedule mammograms on the cen-
ease that strikes at the very heart cheerleader for friends and fam- ter’s Mobile Mammography Unit.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 55
Chemotherapy symptoms can often be managed
The idea of cheMoTheraPy is Chemotherapy is a cancer treat-
a looming threat that often strikes ment that uses drugs to help de-
fear in the hearts of cancer pa- stroy cancer cells, stop cancer from
tients. And really, the thought of spreading and slow its growth. In at-
months of hair loss, pain and nau- tempting to destroy the cancer cells,
sea is enough to scare anybody. it may also destroy normal cells,
But Silvana Bucur, M.D., a medi- which are innocent bystanders.
When patients are cal oncologist who practices at It literally poisons the cells, and
able to maintain University Hospital, said that de- in doing so, poisons the body as
their weight, they’re pending on the type of cancer and well. In the past, the side effects of
able to keep their therapy you have, your chemo side these treatments have had the po-
strength, which helps effects might be less overwhelm- tential to literally bring patients to
them better deal with ing than you think. their knees with weakness, fatigue,
-Silvana Bucur, M.D.
56 University Health Care System
By helping lessen or even avoiding the side eﬀects of chemotherapy, patients are able to focus solely on
the healing process and the battle against their disease.
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth loss of appetite, there are a number “We have a better understanding
sores and pain. of medications that can help.” of how to pair medications and how
But chemotherapy-related symp- She noted that nausea and loss of those medications work together
toms can now be tempered with appetite were of particular concern to help the patient through chemo-
more effective supportive therapies to physicians because good nutrition therapy,” she said.
such as medications, including anti- is vital to cancer patients’ health. Dr. Bucur noted that physicians
nausea, anti-diarrheals, appetite “When patients are able to main- work to monitor even those side ef-
stimulants, antidepressants, pain tain their weight, they’re able to fects that patient can’t feel.
medications, soothing mouthwash- keep their strength, which helps By helping lessen or even avoid-
es and ointments. them better deal with chemother- ing the side effects of chemothera-
“Depending on the kind of can- apy,” Dr. Bucur said. py, patients are able to focus solely
cer you have, your side effects and It’s been a learning process for on the healing process and the bat-
the treatments will be different,” physicians to find the perfect com- tle against their disease.
Dr. Bucur said. “Well, for hair loss, bination of therapies to help allevi- “If patients know what to ex-
there’s nothing we can do for that ate the side effects of chemo, but pect, they’re able to deal with
except for things like wigs, but for it’s a process that is well worth the chemotherapy much better,” Dr.
others side effects like nausea and effort, Dr. Bucur said. Bucur said. ❖
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 57
Lowering your risk
factors can mean a
breath of fresh air
Smoking rates continue to drop
in the United States, but that hasn’t
stopped lung cancer from being the
most deadly form of the disease.
According to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention,
more people die of lung cancer an-
nually than all breast, prostate and
colorectal cancers combined. Every
year, more than 160,000 men and
women die of lung cancer in the U.S.
But there is good news on the
horizon: In 2007, the percentage of
U.S. smokers older than 18 fell below
20 percent for the first time. This is
a bright spot, but physicians note
that even though a vast majority of
lung cancers are caused by smoking,
around 10-15 percent of annual cases
are diagnosed in patients who have
58 University Health Care System
“There are three or four potential
causes for people to develop lung
cancer if they’ve never smoked,” said Nonsmoking lung cancers
Lynne Brannen, M.D., a pulmonary are usually found earlier.
disease physician who practices at If you’re not expecting
University Hospital. Secondhand to have a cough, like you
smoke and contact with asbestos might if you’re a smoker ...
and radon gas can increase your then you’re more likely to
Lynne Brannen, M.D.
risk for lung cancer. “And some get it checked out.
people just have a genetic suscep-
tibility,” Dr. Brannen said.
Part of lung cancer’s deadliness quite large,” Dr. Brannen said. Larg- agnosed with Stage I lung cancer.
can be attributed to its few specif- er tumors often mean the cancer But Dr. Brannen and other physi-
ic symptoms, which can include a has advanced and possibly spread, cians are hopeful that the prolifera-
persistent cough. which can greatly decrease the tion of anti-smoking laws, includ-
“The more significant symptoms chances of survival. ing total public smoking bans, will
don’t occur until the tumors are “If you present in Stage I, survival eventually have a positive effect on
rates are around 75-80 percent,” the number of lung cancer cases di-
he said. “At Stage II, that drops to agnosed every year.
Risk Factors around 50 percent.” “Various charity groups and or-
for Lung Cancer Overall, Dr. Brannen said the sur- ganizations have really pushed the
sMokinG and being around vival rate for lung cancer is around government to raise cigarette taxes
others who smoke
20 percent, mainly because it’s dif- and pushed for stricter smoking
thinGs aroUnd the hoMe ficult to catch in the early stages – laws, which all could help in the fight
or work, such as radon gas,
especially for smokers. against lung cancer,” he said. ❖
asbestos, ionizing radiation
and other cancer-causing “Nonsmoking lung cancers are
usually found earlier,” Dr. Brannen free fresh sTarT sMoKing
Personal traits, such as said. “If you’re not expecting to have cessaTion classes. sponsored
having a family history of lung
a cough, like you might if you’re a by the american cancer society
smoker, that would really raise a red with university hospital instruc-
aGinG. The risk of death from lung
ﬂag and you’re more likely to get it tors, these four-week sessions
cancer increases with age and is
greater in men than in women checked out.” help people give up all forms of
For comparison, Dr. Brannen not- tobacco. registration is required.
Source: U.S. Centers for Dis-
ease Control and Prevention ed that 40 percent of nonsmokers call 706/774-8900 for dates and
versus 25 percent of smokers are di- to register.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 59
A Little Education Goes a Long
Way to Prevent Skin Cancer
ignorance isn’T Bliss – especially for men have held steady. she said. “But just because you call a
when it comes to skin cancer. That’s “Younger girls tend to use tan- pizza low-fat, you have to know that
the finding of a medical study that ning beds more, and mature women it’s still not actually good for you.”
looked at how education materials af- tend to do their tanning poolside,” By educating women about the
fect the perceptions of young women said Frances Florentino, M.D., a der- dangers of excessive sun exposure,
when it comes to skin cancer. matologist who practices at Univer- Dr. Florentino said dermatologists
According to the article in Can- sity Hospital. “When they’re young, might be able to help reduce the
cer, a peer-reviewed journal of the women think they’re invincible, and number of deaths from skin cancer,
American Cancer Society, even brief they don’t really consider their skin which kills more than 8,000 Ameri-
education pamphlets made a last- cancer risks.” cans annually, according to the
ing impression on young women Dr. Florentino said the tanning indus- American Cancer Society.
and were readily remembered even try lobby also has increased the num- Dr. Florentino noted many older
months after reading. ber of people who tan year-round. women don’t think of themselves
This is good news for derma- “People listen to what they want in danger of skin cancer because
tologists since skin cancer rates to hear, and if people are telling they’ve stopped actively tanning.
for women have steadily increased them that tanning beds aren’t dan- “Skin cancer can have a delayed
over the years while the numbers gerous, they want to believe that,” effect – it’s cumulative,” she said.
“Women will say, ‘But I don’t go out in
the sun.’ Yeah, you haven’t been out
Skin cancer can have a delayed in the sun this year, but you’ve got 60
effect – it’s cumulative. Women years of sun exposure to consider.”
will say, ‘But I don’t go out in the Ultimately, Dr. Florentino encour-
sun.’ Yeah, you haven’t been out aged everyone to get checked if they
in the sun this year, but you’ve suspect a problem with a mole.
got 60 years of sun exposure to “We want people to feel comfort-
consider. able coming to a physician if they’re
Frances Florentino, M.D.
concerned,” she said. ❖
60 University Health Care System
The American Cancer
applying sunscreen with
an SPF of 15 or higher
once an hour while
exposed to the sun.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 61
University’s Cancer Services receives prestigious award
cancer is a scary ProPosiTion;
one that involves not only the pa-
tient, but family and friends as well. This is a wonderful achievement for
University Hospital has taken that University’s Cancer Services. It really
group approach to care and ap- shows the residents here that there’s
plied it to its cancer services, and no need for them to go outside of
that attention to detail has earned Augusta to get top quality cancer
the hospital the American College treatments. We’ve got it all right here.
of Surgeons Commission on Cancer -Miriam J. Atkins, M.D.
Outstanding Achievement Award.
University is the only hospital in
Georgia to receive the full designa- search, community outreach and sity Hospital for cancer treatments
tion, which recognizes those cancer quality improvement. The hospital know they’re receiving experienced
programs that strive for excellence also received a compliance rating care from some of the region’s top
in providing quality care to cancer for the remaining 29 standards. cancer specialists who practice at
patients, and only 95 programs – 19 “This is a wonderful achievement University are continually looking for
percent of U.S. programs surveyed for University’s Cancer Services,” ways to improve that level of care.
in late 2008 – have achieved this said Miriam J. Atkins, M.D., a medi- “I think patients are pleasantly
level of recognition. cal oncologist who practices at surprised when they come to Uni-
After undergoing an onsite University Hospital and chairwom- versity,” Dr. Atkins said. “Especially
evaluation, University received a an of the hospital’s Cancer Com- if they’ve gone somewhere else for
Commendation level of compli- mittee. “It really shows the resi- any kind of treatment.” ❖
ance with seven standards that dents here that there’s no need for
represent the full scope of Uni- them to go outside of Augusta to for more information about uni-
versity’s cancer program – cancer get top quality cancer treatments. versity’s cancer services, call the
committee leadership, cancer data We’ve got it all right here.” cancer answer line at 706/828-
management, clinical services, re- Patients who come to Univer- 2522 or toll free at 866/869-2522.
62 University Health Care System
Cancer treatments don’t happen in a vacuum. The same is true for the support cancer
patients need during their ﬁght against the disease. With that in mind, here are some of
the many cancer resources you can ﬁnd at University and the American Cancer Society:
BreasT healTh cenTer The PinK Magnolias ProsTaTe cancer
The University Breast Health Cen- The University Hospital Breast Men and women concerned about
ter offers a comprehensive array of Health Center hosts a breast cancer prostate cancer are welcome at
well-coordinated breast health ser- support group the second Monday meetings of the Us-Too Prostate
vices, including education, diagnos- of each month. This group is open Cancer-Augusta chapter. Meetings
tic testing, treatment options and to all women who have undergone are held at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday
support. call 706/774-4141 or toll breast cancer surgery or are going of each month. Reservations are re-
free 866/774-4141. through treatment for breast can- quired. call 706/868-8758 for res-
cer. A support group for women’s ervations and information.
reneWal aT second spouses or significant others meets
To naTure BouTiQue at the same time. call 706/774- reach To recoVery
Renewal at Second to Nature 4141 or toll free 866/774-4141. For more than 30 years, the American
Women’s Boutique offers women Cancer Society Reach to Recovery
professional, certified fittings in a focus on healing program has helped people (female
comfortable, private setting, and This educational program through and male) cope with their breast can-
is the CSRA’s only one-stop shop- dance and movement for breast cer experience. call 706/731-9900.
ping outlet for women with special cancer survivors is sponsored by
needs. call 706/774-4155. Walton Rehabilitation Hospital road To recoVery
and University Breast Health Cen- Road to Recovery is an American
Buddy checK 6 PrograM ter, and is held on Tuesdays. call Cancer Society program that pro-
Because early detection is so im- 706/823-5294. vides transportation for cancer pa-
portant, University’s Breast Health tients to their treatments and home
Center has teamed up with News oB/gyn cancer again. call 706/731-9900.
Channel 6 and area Dillard’s stores This community support group
to bring you the Buddy Check 6 pro- for gynecological cancers, such for more information about uni-
gram – a community outreach initia- as cervical, endometrial, ovarian versity’s cancer services or Breast
tive designed to encourage women and vulvar, meets at 7 p.m. on the health center, call 706/774-4141
to take an active role in detecting second Tuesday of the month. call or toll free 866/774-4141. you can
breast cancer early. call 706/828- 706/821-2944 for more informa- also log on to www.university-
2522 or toll free at 866/869-2522. tion and the location. health.org/breasthealth.
www.universityhealth.org/canc er 63
Cancer The folloWing early deTecTion guidelines for people without
symptoms are recommended by the American Cancer Society and en-
Screening dorsed by University's Cancer Services program. If symptoms are present
or a person is at high risk, then the frequency of the tests and examina-
tions can change upon the advice of a physician. if you have any ques-
tions or would like additional information, please contact the cancer
answer line at 706/828-2522 or toll free at 866/869-2522.
Early Detection Breast CanCer
(Women, ages 20+)
Saves Lives • Breast Self Exam (BSE): Monthly, starting at age 20
• Clinical Breast Exam: Every three years, ages 20-39; annually starting at age 40
• Mammography: Annually, starting at age 40
(Men and women, ages 50+)
One of these five testing schedules should be followed. Your physician can
help you decide which is best for you:
• Yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
• Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Yearly FOBT or FIT, plus flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
• Double-contrast barium enema every five years
• Colonoscopy every 10 years
(Women, ages 18+)
• Screening should begin approximately three years after a woman begins
having vaginal intercourse, but no later than 21 years of age.
• Screening should be done every year with regular Pap tests or every
two years using liquid-based tests.
• At or after age 30, women who have had three normal test results in a
row may get screened less frequently unless she has certain risk factors,
such as HIV infection or a weakened immune system.
• Women 70 and older who have had three or more consecutive Pap tests
in the past 10 years may choose to stop cervical cancer screening.
• Screening after a total hysterectomy (with removal of the cervix) is not
necessary unless the surgery was done as a treatment for cervical cancer.
(Men, ages 50+)
• Digital rectal examination and prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) of-
fered annually starting at age 50 to men with a life expectancy of at
least 10 years.
• Men at high risk (African-American men and men with a strong family
history or one or more first-degree relatives diagnosed with prostate
cancer at an early age) should begin testing at age 45.
(Men and women, ages 20+)
Examinations every three years from ages 20 to 39 years and annually
after age 40. The cancer-related check-up should include examination for
cancers of the thyroid, testicles, ovaries, lymph nodes, oral cavity and skin.
Health counseling about tobacco, sun exposure, diet and nutrition, risk
factors, sexual practices and environmental and occupational exposures
www.universityhealth.org/cancer should be offered.