Cancer Program Gets Three Year Accreditation
Lansdale Hospital recently received a three-year accreditation for a Community Hospital Cancer Program from the American College of Surgeon's Commission on Cancer. Only 25 percent of hospitals nationwide have this distinction. Our program includes preventive care, intervention, radiation oncology, medical oncology and follow-up care in the form of support groups and hospice care.
Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
Obesity, smoking and inactivity can increase the risk of certain cancers. To help lower your risk of cancer, eat a low-fat diet, maintain a healthy body weight, quit smoking and exercise regularly.
Get Regular Cancer Screenings
Effective screening tests are in use for several types of cancer. Ask your doctor which tests are appropriate for you. Tests include:
Mammograms – Lansdale Hospital performs nearly 10,000 mammograms each year. In 2003, 29 of those mammograms resulted in cancer diagnoses. The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year. If you are at increased risk for breast cancer, your doctor might want you to have mammograms sooner or more frequently or have additional tests performed.
Colorectal screening tests – Everyone age 50 and older should be tested for colorectal cancer. Talk with your doctor about the following options:
- A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- A flexible signoidoscopy every five years
- A double-contrast barium enema every five years
- A colonoscopy every 10 years
Skin cancer screenings – Your primary physician or a dermatologist can provide skin cancer screenings. Make sure to get any suspicious moles monitored by your doctor. Learn the ABCDs of inspecting moles:
Asymmetry – most early melanomas are asymmetrical, in other words, they do not have matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical.
Border – the borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges. Common moles have smoother, more even borders.
Color – common moles usually are a single shade of brown. Varied shades of brown, tan or black are often the first sign of melanoma. As melanomas progress, the colors red, white and blue may appear.
Diameter – early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles, generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm, or ¼ inch, in diameter). However, they may also be smaller.
Medical Oncology Options
When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, the medical oncologist must choose the best combination of drugs, dosages and dosing schedule to help the patient. He or she also schedules early and frequent consultations with radiation therapists and surgeons so together they can coordinate the best possible treatment plan. The key elements in a medical oncologist's arsenal include chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and immunotherapy.
Chemotherapy utilizes drugs that specifically target fast-growing cells. The one thing all cancers have in common is that they are made up of cells that divide quickly and grow out of control.
Hormonal therapy is helpful against certain types of cancer. For example, women with breast tumors are often given estrogen-suppression drugs.
Immunotherapy helps the immune system fight disease, including cancer. This can include stimulating the patient's own immune system to work harder or using an outside source, such as man-made immune system proteins. Immunotherapy is most often used to improve the effectiveness of the main therapy.
About half of all cancer patients will require radiation therapy during some phase of their cancer care. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill or damage cancer cells and shrink tumors by altering their genetic material making it impossible for the cells to grow.
A radiation oncologist can choose among three different methods to deliver therapy. The decision is based on the type of cancer, whether the area to be treated is small or large and whether the cancer is confined to one area or has spread to other organs. Here are three ways to deliver radiation:
- Treatment can be administered from a machine outside the body, usually on an outpatient basis,
- Radioactive material can be implanted near the tumor inside the body,
- A radioactive substance can be injected into the bloodstream to circulate throughout the body. Treatments are usually given daily for five to eight weeks with most sessions lasting less than five minutes.
Lansdale Hospital patients can receive any of these effective radiation treatments at the Highpoint Cancer Center conveniently located in Chalfont, PA, within five miles from the hospital.