VIGILANCE FOR BRAIN CANCER

Brain cancer is a very serious form of cancer. Recently, Sen. John McCain revealed he has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive type of brain tumor. GBMs originate in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known. This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which McCain was treated in the past.

….FULL ARTICLE

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells….

….FULL ARTICLE

RESTORING DIGNITY AND ’DOS

For many women facing cancer, the most devastating aspect is learning they may lose their hair due to chemotherapy.  “Most women tell me that as soon as they hear the oncologist say, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ that’s the last thing they remember hearing,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner, with his wife, Jeletta, of Hair Institute in Lexington. “They can deal with the sickness; they can deal with the treatments; but it’s the hair loss that gets them the most.

….FULL ARTICLE

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Individuals who are at risk for pneumonia should discuss prevention and vaccination with their primary care physician. Vaccinations protect against certain bacterial and viral pneumonia's both in children and adults.


Sources and Resources:


Centers for Disease Control

Mayo Clinic

Pneumonia is a common lung infection caused by bacteria and viruses that are present in the air we breathe. The immune system usually fights these invaders off, preventing them from infecting the lungs, but there are occasions when the germs can overpower the immune system.


Pneumonia has been known throughout human history. Hippocrates and Maimonides recognized pneumonia in the early history of medicine. Today pneumonia can be treated effectively with medications, but complications can present serious problems for vulnerable individuals. High-risk groups include infants, children, the elderly and those who are immune impaired.


Pneumonia and its symptoms can vary from mild to severe. One of the most serious complications is pleural effusion, which is the accumulation of fluid in the thin space between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity. When this fluid accumulation becomes infected, you may need to have it drained through a chest tube or surgically removed.


Another complication involves bacteria that enters the bloodstream from the lungs. When this occurs, the infection can spread to other organs, potentially causing organ failure. With a lung abscess, pus forms in a cavity in the lung. The abscess is usually treated with antibiotics. Sometimes surgery or drainage with a long needle or tube placed into the abscess is needed to remove the puss.

COMPLICATIONS OF PNEUMONIA

When the pneumonia is severe or a person has chronic underlying lung diseases, the individual often develops breathing difficulties. This is when a ventilator becomes necessary to help the patient breathe while the infected lung heals.


Under normal circumstances, only air should enter the airways. Aspiration pneumonia occurs when a person inhales food, drink, vomitus or saliva into the lungs. It is more likely to happen if something is preventing the normal gag reflux. It can occur as a result of a brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, a swallowing problem or excessive use of alcohol or drugs. Some individuals, such as people with cerebral palsy, may find viruses and bacteria get into their lungs through the mouth and cause repeated incidences of aspiration pneumonia.


The epiglottis makes food travel toward the esophagus and away from the trachea. If the epiglottis doesn’t close the way it is supposed to, this causes a gag reflex, which can result in the deterioration of the epiglottis. When it does not work correctly, aspiration pneumonia can occur because food and liquid carrying bacteria enters the lungs.

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller