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The CTCA blog

3D nipple tattoos offer a shot of realism after breast reconstruction


Undergoing a mastectomy can prove instrumental in a breast cancer patient’s treatment plan. But the procedure often comes with its own challenges, especially for women struggling with body image after surgery. To help these patients recover a sense of normalcy, some reconstructive surgeons are turning to an age-old tool—the tattoo gun. The 3D nipple tattoo, or “nat” as it’s called in the trade, uses shadows and highlights to restore a sense of depth and detail to the reconstructed breast.

The skinny on probiotics and a healthy digestive system


You’ve likely seen the TV commercials, or you’ve heard your dietitian talk about them. But plenty of confusion continues to surround probiotics, the live bacteria in your gut that helps the digestive system work. Are supplements good for you? How much should you be getting in your daily diet? To help clear up some of the mystery, Khara Lucius, ND, FABNO, a Naturopathic Oncology Provider at our Illinois hospital, answers some frequently asked questions about probiotics:

Jimmy Carter's treatment underscores importance of immunotherapy


Sometimes it takes a national news event to shine an important light on key developments in cancer care and treatment. Such was the case last week, when former President Jimmy Carter announced he began targeted radiation and immunotherapy treatments for metastatic cancer that spread to his brain. The world-renowned peacemaker has become a symbol of resilience during his fight against stage IV melanoma, and now, his openness has shed light on the emerging science around immunotherapy.

Nuts about soy? Evolving research offers good news for breast cancer patients

It sometimes seems that as soon as a nutrition “truth” is revealed, it’s no longer true. One recent example is the scientific world’s view on soy and breast cancer. Our knowledge of how certain foods can help or hurt us continues to evolve as the body of evidence grows and changes. Some areas of research change little over time. Others, though, have changed radically in just the past couple of decades. Long before scientists began changing their minds about soy, they were viewing nuts with a new eye.

Managing and treating lymphedema



For many cancer patients, the side effects that come with treatment can prove challenging. Lymphedema is one relatively common example that impacts some patients who undergo surgery or radiation. But advances in treating lymphedema offer new options for an improved quality of life.

New podcast series shines spotlight on cancer care


Podcasts have exploded in popularity recently, and for good reason. Often produced as a series of episodes, much like a TV show, podcasts deliver audio-only programming that is downloaded from the Internet and enjoyed at listeners’ convenience. In a new feature that debuted earlier this month, our cancer experts have joined the podcast revolution with a series of in-depth interviews highlighting advances and innovations in treatment and care.

Cancer at 90: Jimmy Carter's diagnosis shows treatment a viable option at any age


Fighting cancer is difficult at any age. But the battle may prove even more complex when patients are diagnosed with the disease late in life. Wednesday’s announcement that former President Jimmy Carter has been diagnosed with cancer at 90 years old, though, shows that treatment remains a viable option, determined and designed according to the specifics of each patient’s individual case.  

3D printing can benefit cancer patients who need reconstructive surgery

Daniel Liu, MD

Over the past 10 years, the technology behind three-dimensional (3D) printing has exploded to create new markets for designers, engineers and the average consumer. Creating solid objects from a digital file occurs through what’s called an additive process, which builds layer upon layer to form a 3D printout. The technology has advanced to the point where a 3D home printer can now be purchased for the price of a desktop computer.