Cancer Awareness

When Ovarian Cysts Turn Cancerous

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Cysts can occur all over a person’s body. There are types of cysts that occur more common than others, such as ovarian cysts in women. Some cysts may become cancerous but they occur rarely in the ovary. But when can you know if an ovarian cysts becomes cancerous? Preventative care for an ovarian cyst is a way to take care of a cyst before it can become cancerous. Constant monitoring of the ovarian cysts will make sure that it will not become a bigger problem, like a cancerous cyst, down the road.

Can Ovarian Cyst Become Cancerous?

Ovarian cysts that get preventative care will most likely not become cancerous. It is rare for an ovarian cyst to become cancerous, but there still is a chance that it can be a cancerous cyst.

Similar symptoms

Ovarian cancer and ovarian cysts don’t just share similar locations in the body. They also share similar symptoms. This may be the reason that it can be confusing on whether or not you may have an ovarian cyst or symptoms of ovarian cysts.

The symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain and pressure
  • Frequent or urgent urination
  • Painful intercourse
  • Abdominal swelling or bloating
  • Feeling overstuffed or having trouble eating

Preventative care

In order to prevent an ovarian cyst that may become cancerous, your doctor will either monitor the cysts or do a removal treatment. Most cysts don’t require treatment, and if small, they could even go away on their own. Depending on how large the cyst is, the doctor will determine whether they will monitor the cyst or remove it.

There are two types of removal procedures done for ovarian cysts:

  • Laparoscopy: This is a procedure doctors will do on smaller cysts. They will make a small cut above the belly button so that the doctor will insert a small tool with a camera to see inside. The doctor will take another tool and remove the cyst. You will not have any hospital time after this procedure.
  • Laparotomy: This is the procedure for large cysts or cysts that may be cancerous. It is similar to the laparoscopy, but requires a bigger cut.

Preventive and Comprehensive Care

Ovarian cysts have a chance to be cancerous. Don’t guess whether or not it will be, visit the doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care in order to have your ovarian cyst monitor. Visit us today in order to schedule an appointment.

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Screening Time: How to Screen Yourself for Cancer

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Early detection of cancer could be the number one way to survive cancer. Finding cancer early gives doctors a chance to keep it from spreading further. It’s important to know what to look out for early on and have a doctor address any concerns you have. Screening yourself for cancer can help with finding things that may be abnormal. Self assessments, such as self breast exams, are a great way for you to take charge of preventing cancer from spreading. Early detection can help you from allowing the cancer to take over.

How You Can Screen Yourself for Cancer

Some cancers have self exams that you can perform to evaluate anything that’s abnormal or if something new has appear that wasn’t there previously.

Self exam for skin cancer

One monthly self exam you can perform will keep you mindful of signs of skin cancer. This exam involves examining your body for any new or changing marks or spots that may be precancerous. The areas of focus on the face is the nose, lips, mouth, and ears. Using a hairdryer, you can check your scalp for any changes. This exam requires that you examine every inch of your body for any skin changes that were not there the month before.

Self breast exam

Women of all ages are recommended to do a self breast exam at least once a month. These exams can help get you familiar with how your breast looks and feels. This exam helps you sense when something’s not right.

You can perform a self breast exam in the following locations:

  • In front of a mirror
  • In the shower
  • Lying down on your bed

If you feel something abnormal in your monthly exam, visit a doctor to check if it is something serious.

Comprehensive Care for Your Cancer Needs

If you detect something that is abnormal, visit the doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care. We will help provide comprehensive counseling for your cancer needs. Schedule a consultation with us today!

The Results Are in: What Doctors Can Tell from Pap Smear Results

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During your visit to your gynecologist, they may have informed you that they will be performing a pap smear that day. You have always wondered what the pap smear actually shows in the results. Pap smear results could show doctors many things and could be a preventative way to check for certain diseases, such as HPV and Cervical cancer. If the results come out unusual, additional procedures will be recommended such as a colposcopy.

What Your Doctor Can Learn from Your Pap Smear Results

A pap smear is the most simple way for a doctor to detect and prevent diseases from spreading further than they need to. A pap smear is very important for women to receive in order to detect major cancers and viruses.

What is a pap smear?

A pap smear is a screening procedure where the doctor will scrape cells from the cervix, the lower area of the uterus that opens into the vagina. The doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina in order to keep the vaginal walls open. The pap smear results will show whether or not there is a presence of precancerous or cancerous cells in the cervix. The age to begin getting a pap smear is 21 years old.

Pap smear results

Pap smear results will usually come in within a couple of days. There are two important detections that doctors will look for in the results, the detection of HPV, or human papillomavirus, and cervical cancer. If your test comes out negative, that is actually a good thing, as it shows that the results don’t show any precancerous cells in the cervix. If the test comes back positive, then there are abnormal cells present. It may not be cancer automatically, as it could just be just slight inflammation or minor cell change. Your doctor may ask for you to have another pap smear done in a few months to see if it clears up. If your results are still positive after a second pap smear, then the doctor will take more tests, such as a colposcopy. The colposcopy is when the doctor will use a special magnifying device look at your vagina, cervix, and vulva.

Plan Your Pap Smear Today

Pap smears are performed every three to five years. If you are due for a pap smear, let the doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care take care of you and help you through your pap smear results. Schedule an appointment with us today!

5 Early Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

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Ovarian cancer is the number one threat to women’s health due to women finding out they have it in the late stages of cancer. Women will not see or feel the signs of ovarian cancer until it is too late. Ovarian cancer awareness is very important, and there are several warning signs to look out for cancer prevention.

5 Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is known as the “Silent Killer” and can kill 1 in 70 women in the US. This is a major threat to women’s health. It still doesn’t have a reliable screening test, so it is very important to read the signs and visit a doctor to start prevention.

1. Painful sexual activity

If your sexual activity has been pain-free and has recently become very painful, consult with your doctor to try to find the reason for the pain. Most situations could be due to lubrication, but it would be better to be certain that it isn’t anything serious.

2. Urgent frequency in urination

Most women frequent the bathroom due to a urinary tract infection or a weak pelvic floor. Those symptoms can be cured with proper medication or kegel exercises. If you believe that it is abnormal, consider asking your doctor if it is something more serious.

3. Fatigue

You usually have energy throughout the day, but if you suddenly are constantly tired, ask your doctor if it is something more serious affecting you.

4. Increased size in abdomen

Abdominal bloating can usually be experienced before or during your menstrual cycle. Experiencing bloating and sudden increase in hip and waist size, talk with your doctor to see if verify that you are not experiencing signs of ovarian cancer

5. Loss of appetite or sudden fullness after eating

Consider talking with your doctor if you have a sudden loss of appetite that you had never experienced before. Consult them as well if you get full with eating small amounts. This could be something more serious that your body is trying to tell you.

Consult the Doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care

If you are experiencing signs, remember that there isn’t a screening test for ovarian cancer. It is better to know than to wait too long before you start seeing more drastic symptoms. Consult with the doctors at the Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care so that you can be sure you are cancer-free. Schedule a consultation today!

National Women’s History Month: Women in Medicine

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March is National Women’s History month. To celebrate, we’re talking about some important women in medicine throughout history. Prior to the mid-1800s, medicine was a man’s world, but women in medicine statistics beg to differ. Some noteworthy ladies’ research and hard work goes to show that a man’s world ain’t nothin’ without a woman.

Women in Medicine History

Discoveries made by female physicianswomen-in-medicine-woman

We’re living in the golden age of medical research. If you can believe it, way before health tracking apps, women’s health was put on the backburner. Women in medicine statistics show female conducted research was even less regarded than women’s health. It’s a good thing science is getting with the times because women have discovered some pretty groundbreaking stuff.

Here are just a few of the things we wouldn’t know without women in medicine:

  • Mary-Claire King did the groundwork which led researchers to discover the cancer-causing gene BRCA1
  • Gail Martin figured out how to keep stem cells alive and kicking in Petri dishes, then later she discovered how to separate embryonic cells for in-vitro cultivation
  • Rosalind Franklin took the famous Photo 51 which was a key step in developing the shape of DNA

Well-known women in medicine

Metrodora

We’ll start from the very beginning. Although she did not have an official medical degree from a prestigious university. Metrodora is considered the first female doctor in the world. She penned On the Diseases and Cures of Women sometime between 200-400 CE.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Blackwell wasn’t the first female doctor in the world, but she was the first female physician in the United States. In 1849 she graduated from Geneva Medical College in New York. Later, she co-founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Crumpler was the first African-American doctor. In 1864 she earned her medical degree from Boston University. She forged a career caring for freed slaves without access to health care. Later she wrote Book of Medical Discourses.

Gertrude Belle Elion

Elion invented the first big drug used to fight leukemia after her grandfather died of cancer. During her studies, she created 45 treatments to help the immune system ward off cancer. In recognition of her hard work and groundbreaking research, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988.

Looking for a Las Vegas Cancer Center?

Contact Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care if you’ve recently received an abnormal pap smear or you have a history of gynecological cancer in your family. Women in medicine at Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care are making history everyday. Dr. Lynn D. Kowalski specializes in gynecological cancers while Dr. Stephanie A. Wishnev is one of the only surgeons in the state performing anorectal ultrasounds.

Are You a Good Candidate for Genetic Testing?

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genetic-testing-for-cancer-mom-daughterHave any of your close relatives been diagnosed with a terminal illness? A cancer diagnosis is scary for those diagnosed and for those closest to them. Serious medical conditions in biological family members can be a precursor of your future health. Doctors recommend patients with a family history of serious illnesses seek genetic testing for cancer. You can quiz yourself to find out if you’re a good candidate for genetic testing for cancer predisposition.

Although there are some drawbacks to the test, your results can help you make some serious decisions about your health.

Genetic Testing for Cancer

Benefits of testing for cancer predispositions

The most important thing to know about genetic testing for cancer is that a positive test does not mean you will get cancer. On the same note, a negative reading doesn’t mean you won’t ever develop cancer cells. What the test does do is help you and your physician make some decisions about your future health. Some women who test positive for a genetic mutation opt to have a hysterectomy to help lower their risk of developing cancer.

People with an immediate family member who have been diagnosed with colon cancer or ovarian cancer have a higher risk of developing the same disease. Genetic testing for colon cancer and others can help start treatment early and increase survival rates.

After a cancer diagnosis, genetic testing tumors can help doctors determine the patient’s treatment outlook. As researchers learn more about cancer and what causes the cell mutations, genetic testing will yield a more generous amount of information.

Stress can severely affect your health. If you’re worried about potential cancer risks, get tested if only for a peace of mind.

What to expect from your test

Genetic testing for cancer usually requires several blood samples. The doctor will send your specimen to the lab to test for mutated genes. It could take several weeks to get your results back so in the meantime, try to relax. Find comfort in the fact that you’re taking the first steps to take control of your health.

Once your results are back, you will meet with your doctor to discuss. If the test comes back positive for gene mutations, you could decide to take some preventative measures.

Test yourself

If you answer yes to any of the following questions you should consider genetic testing for cancer.

Do you have any of the following personal or family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer:

  • Breast cancer at or below age 50
  • Any occurrence of ovarian cancer
  • Male breast cancer at any age
  • Two breast cancers in the same person or same side of the family
  • Triple negative breast cancer at any age
  • Known BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation
  • Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry along with an HBOC-associated cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer and an HBOC-associated cancer in the same person or side of the family

Do you have any of the following personal or family history of colorectal cancer:

  • Colorectal cancer before or after age 50
  • One or more colorectal adenomatous polyps
  • Uterine cancer
  • More than one Lynch Syndrome-related cancers in the same person
  • Close relative with a Lynch Syndrome gene mutation
  • Tumor with microsatellite instability

Get Tested

If you answered yes to any of the above questions or if you have concerns about your family history, get tested. Make your genetic testing for cancer appointment with Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care.

Rectal Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatments in Las Vegas

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, but what is it? Rectal cancer affects the cells in the rectum, the last piece of the large intestine. It’s usually grouped with colon cancer and commonly known as colorectal cancer. Like any other cancer diagnosis, rectal cancer survival rate varies, depending on the stage in which treatment begins. If you’re 50 years or older, you need to know about rectal cancer symptoms, causes, and treatments.rectal-cancer-surgery

Rectal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Rectal cancer causes and diagnosis at a cancer center in Las Vegas

During digestion food moves from the stomach and small intestine to the colon, where it absorbs nutrients and water and pushes waste to the rectum. Rectal cancer begins with the growth of non-cancerous polyps. Polyps are small clumps of cells that form on the lining of the colon and can occur in anyone.

Although anyone can experience rectal cancer-causing polyps, high-risk factors like these increase chances:

  • Age 50 or older
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity

Recognizing symptoms early on is an important first step to successful rectal cancer treatment. An anal pap test can detect cancer. Any of the symptoms below should be followed by a pap smear:rectal-cancer-ribbon

  • Rectal itching and/or bleeding
  • Feeling a lump near the anal opening
  • Anus pain
  • Abnormal discharge and pain from the rectum
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or anus
  • Persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloody Stool

Rectal cancer treatments from a Las Vegas cancer center

One of the most common questions for patients going in for cancer screening or treatments is, what is the rectal cancer survival rate? First off, the highest form of cancer treatment is prevention by having regular cancer screenings. Regular colonoscopies and fecal blood tests have lowered rectal cancer death rates.

Rectal cancer treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

The chance of recovery hinges on the stage of the cancer, like whether it affects the inner lining of the rectum only, envelopes the whole rectum or has spread to other organs in the body. Rectal cancer survival rates after five years are as follows:

 

  • Stage I: 70-80 percent
  • Stage II: 50-60 percent
  • Stage III: 30-40 percent
  • Stage IV: 10 percent or less

 

Colorectal Cancer Treatment and Prevention Services

If you are concerned that you are showing symptoms, or have a family history of rectal cancer, seek treatment and screenings at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Center. Doctors Stephanie Wishnev and Ren Yu Zhang specialize in overall rectal health, and Dr. Wishnev is one of the only surgeons in the state currently performing anorectal ultrasound for rectal cancer. Make an appointment today.