Patient Care


Meet our doctors: Thomas Slavin on genetic testing

August 28, 2015 | by
Thomas Slavin, M.D.

Thomas Slavin, assistant clinical professor in the Division of Clinical Cancer Genetics at City of Hope, discusses genetic testing and why he chose genetics as a career.

People with a family history of cancer often want, or need, to know whether they have a gene mutation linked to that cancer. For that, they seek genetic testing, involving a blood sample that is analyzed for specific gene abnormalities.

Thomas Slavin, M.D., a geneticist and assistant clinical professor at City of Hope, typically works with patients – primarily breast, ovarian or colorectal cancer patients – who have a hereditary predisposition to cancer. Most are part of City of Hope’s large Hereditary Cancer Registry and are working with a genetic counselor. Slavin, the counselor and the patient use the patient’s history and genetic information to inform testing and make treatment plans.

Here, Slavin explains why he chose such a complex and rapidly involving field.

Why did you choose the field of genetic testing?

It has been an interest of mine since I was very young.  When I was in middle school, I wrote to the American Society of Human Genetics requesting information about careers in genetics because I’ve always found it intriguing that one little mutation in a single gene can be life-changing for a family. After pursuing residencies in both pediatrics and medical genetics and completing a board certification in molecular diagnosis, I became particularly interested in the rapid advances in genetics sequencing and the newfound ability to make detailed molecular diagnoses on individuals. » Continue Reading


Breast cancer survivor/yoga therapist Rachel Divine: Tips for patients

August 21, 2015 | by
yoga and cancer

Breast cancer survivor and yoga therapist Rachel Divine shares helpful tips for cancer patients and caregivers on using yoga to relieve stress and anxiety.

Rachel Divine is a yoga therapist and patient leader for the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. She’s also a former City of Hope patient.

When someone you know has cancer, even the word “cancer” can make you feel nervous, sleepless, depressed or more. But, as a yoga teacher for 15 years and a breast cancer survivor of two years, I’ve found that exercise, even for five minutes a day, can offer a world of relief.

Doctors and scientists are now using yoga and meditation to help cancer patients and caregivers alike. Some responses from patients and caregivers on on how yoga has helped them include:

  • “Yoga helps my anxiety.”
  • “I have better balance.”
  • “Relaxes my body and restores my spirit.”
  • “Calms me and I am able to fall asleep better.”

» Continue Reading


Breast cancer: How to reduce your risk (w/PODCAST)

August 17, 2015 | by
breast cancer prevention

Linda Bosserman is a premier medical oncologist at City of Hope in Rancho Cucamonga. Her primary interests include women’s cancer care, cancer prevention, clinical trials and quality cancer care delivery in community practice.

About one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer.

Although women can’t change some risk factors, such as genetics and the natural aging process, there are certain things they can do to lower their risk of breast cancer, such as eating right, exercising and limiting alcohol consumption.

Here, Linda Bosserman, M.D., a medical oncologist at City of Hope in Rancho Cucamonga, California, discusses ways that women can help reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

As she says: “If you can’t do anything except walk, that’s a good start, but it has to be at a pace that really gets your heart rate up for a period of time. Walking is acceptable. I tell women, ‘If you can’t do anything else, buy a dog and walk four miles a day. It’ll keep your weight under control and you’ll improve your fitness.”

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For other interviews with City of Hope experts,  go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.


Prostate cancer survivor Barry Leshowitz: My advice to others

August 12, 2015 | by

Barry Leshowitz is a former City of Hope patient and a family advisor for the Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center.

prostate cancer survivor shares some tips

Former City of Hope patient and prostate cancer survivor Barry Leshowitz shares his tips and advice for newly diagnosed patients.

It’s been almost seven years since I checked into a local hospital in Phoenix for a hip replacement, only to be informed by the surgeon that he had canceled the surgery. An MRI had indicated a “hot spot” of unknown origin in the pelvic area.

Knowing that my prostate specific antigen (PSA) level recently had increased, the surgeon expressed concern that this hot spot might be related to my prostate situation.

The next day I called my urologist to inform him of my concerns and to request that he perform a biopsy immediately. He agreed, and a few days later I received word that I indeed had prostate cancer, which needed to be addressed as soon as arrangements could be made. » Continue Reading


Bladder cancer: What you need to know (w/INFOGRAPHIC)

August 7, 2015 | by

Bladder Cancer Infographic

 

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Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course: Get answers to your questions

August 6, 2015 | by

Women with ovarian cancer have questions about the most promising treatment options, revolutionary research avenues, survivorship and, of course, the potential impact on their personal lives. Now, together in one place, are experts who can provide answers.

Ovarian cancer answers

Ovarian cancer experts will gather on Sept. 12 to provide answers and information about ovarian cancer.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, the 2015 Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course will offer leading-edge expertise from some of the most knowledgeable scientists and physicians in the field, not only from City of Hope but also University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California and elsewhere. Sponsored by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, and supported by City of Hope, the course will provide women with the opportunity to network, ask questions, interact with gynecologic oncologists and researchers, and share their experience with other women. Even better, family members, friends and caregivers are welcome as well.

The foundation offers the course across the country throughout the year, and the one at City of Hope promises to be especially illuminating.

Among the sessions:

  • Ovarian Cancer: State of the Art Treatment and Importance of Enrollment in Clinical Trials
  • New Immunotherapeutic Approaches to Ovarian Cancer Treatment
  • Treatment of Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
  • Effect of Nutrition and Physician Activity on Cancer Survivorship
  • Hereditary Component of Ovarian Cancer
  • Gender Matters: Cancer as a Catalyst for Couples Inspiring Their Relationship
  • And more …

» Continue Reading


In the news: Intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer

August 5, 2015 | by

Delivering chemotherapy directly to the abdomen in women with advanced ovarian cancer is part of an effective treatment regimen that’s too little used. That’s the conclusion of a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

ovarian cancer treatment

Intraperitoneal chemotherapy can benefit many women with advanced ovarian cancer, experts say. Too often, a study finds, it isn’t offered. Illustrated here: female reproductive system, with the ovaries at the upper left and right.

The technique, known as intraperitoneal, or IP, chemotherapy, has been linked to extended survival when delivered with traditional intravenous, or IV, chemotherapy. In fact, the National Cancer Institute in 2006 actively encouraged use of intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer in the wake of a study concluding that women who received the combination approach had a 16-month improvement in median overall survival.

City of Hope experts are well-versed in the regimen and offer IP chemotherapy to appropriate patients. But, says the new study by researchers at City of Hope and elsewhere, fewer than 50 percent of eligible patients in a recent study of select institutions received IP/IV chemotherapy.

“Increasing IP/IV chemotherapy use in clinical practice may be an important and underused strategy to improve ovarian cancer outcomes,” wrote the study authors, which included City of Hope’s Mihaela Cristea, M.D., associate clinical professor of medical oncology, and Joyce C. Niland, the Edward and Estelle Alexander Chair in Information Sciences. » Continue Reading


Urologic cancers and urinary stones (w/PODCAST)

August 3, 2015 | by
urologic cancer

Donald Hannoun, an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope ǀ Antelope Valley, explains the changes in his field, and explains what urinary stones are and what patients need to know about them.

Urinary tract stones are hard masses, or calculi, that form in the urinary tract and may cause pain, bleeding or an infection, or even block of the flow of urine. Urinary tract stones begin to form in a kidney and may enlarge in a ureter or the bladder.

Depending on where a stone is located, it may be called a kidney stone, ureteral stone or bladder stone. But stones aren’t the only common urinary tract condition. Urologic cancers include cancers of the bladder, kidney, prostate and testicles, and are all relatively common.

The treatment of urologic cancers, including bladder cancer, is rapidly evolving.

In this podcast, urologic oncologic surgeon and kidney stone specialist Donald Hannoun, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the Division of Urology and Urologic Oncology at City of Hope | Antelope Valley, explains the changes in his field, what urinary stones are, and what  patients need to know about them.

 

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For other interviews with City of Hope experts,  go to our list of City of Hope podcasts.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.


Blood donations needed in summer, too

August 1, 2015 | by


Every summer, hospitals nationwide experience a shortage of blood donations. This summer is no exception.

Nearly 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. this year,  and many of those patients will need blood transfusions during their treatment. Patients at City of Hope alone rely on more than 37,000 units of blood and platelets each year for their treatment and survival.

blood donations

The summer and winter months are the most difficult time for blood donations, due to travel and changes in donor’s schedules.

“Due to the nature of our patients and treatments here at City of Hope, we require more transfusion support than your typical hospital,” said Kasie Uyeno, manager of blood donor recruitment at City of Hope’s Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center.

This summer, the Blood Donor Center especially needs O positive and O negative blood types, as well as platelets, which are always in demand because of their short shelf life.

Uyeno said the summer and winter months are the most difficult time for collections, due to donors’ travel and changes in their schedules. » Continue Reading


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma: What you need to know (w/INFOGRAPHIC)

July 31, 2015 | by

City of Hope lymphoma facts infographic

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