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The CTCA blog

Fighting cancer one pound at a time

Kevin E. Woods, MD, MPH

With the holiday season on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about the diet and exercise pitfalls that come around the most wonderful time of the year. Getting your weight in check before the holidays may be especially important. In one 2000 study, published in Nutrition Reviews, for example, overweight participants gained nearly five times as much weight as the general population between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

It's the Great American Smokeout - time to kick butts and stop smoking


Whoever said quitters never win and winners never quit probably never met a former smoker. Plenty of people, though, have yet to learn firsthand the many benefits that come with kicking the habit. According to the American Cancer Society, about 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes—or about 42 million too many. Today is a good time to reflect on what that means, as people across the country band together to encourage smokers to quit as part of the Great American Smokeout.

Smart travel preparations can help patients stay healthy during holidays


Thanksgiving week marks the busiest travel time of the year. For cancer patients, that means not just visiting with friends and loved ones. It also means taking extra steps to avoid additional illnesses. Cancer and its treatment can weaken the immune system, leaving patients vulnerable to a number of infections, including pneumonia or bronchitis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 percent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy seek hospital care for an infection.

Serving up a tasty meal for the cancer patient on your holiday guest list


With the holidays just around the corner, ‘tis the season for planning those family meals. This year, if your guest list includes a loved one undergoing cancer treatment, you may want to adjust the menu accordingly. The holiday season offers an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. But for some cancer patients, holiday meals can prove challenging.

Annual physicals really can be good for your health


Should annual checkups with your doctor go the way of the mercury thermometer? Two doctors think so, and their suggestions are causing a stir throughout the medical community. But before you cancel that physical, it’s important that you consider all sides of the now-simmering debate.

Cancer patients find many layers of support in free websites


Many challenges come with cancer. One of them, for many, is the driving need to share the journey, and connect with others who can offer help, comfort and resources. A variety of patient support websites are filling the void, offering patients a free, convenient, personalized way to build a network of supporters around them. Popular cancer communication and networking tools like CaringBridge®, PostHope, GiveForward,, PatientsLikeMe® and CancerCompass® serve as important online hubs that offer multiple benefits.

Celebrating caregivers in November


Caring for someone with cancer can feel like a full-time job. With duties ranging from making medical decisions, to cooking and preparing meals, to driving to and from medical appointments, tests and treatments, being a caregiver can be challenging, frustrating and rewarding at the same time. It’s a job that often comes with little preparation or training, and sometimes, with little recognition.

Is it still safe to bring home the bacon? What you need to know about the WHO report


An international panel of health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) caused a stir this week by reporting that eating processed meats, including bacon and hot dogs, increases the risk of getting cancer. While that assessment is not entirely new, the report, published in the journal Lancet Oncology, went a step further, adding that fresh cuts of red meat probably cause cancer, too.  

Reconstructive plastic surgery helping patients feel whole again after cancer surgery


Patients who undergo cancer operations to remove tumors often face unique challenges. While the surgeries themselves may be lifesaving, they can have a lasting impact on patients’ quality of life, especially if the procedures changed how they feel, function or look. For many, reconstructive plastic surgery offers a chance to feel whole again, to recover lost confidence, dignity and sense of self.