Cancer Treatment Centers of America

The CTCA blog

What I wish I knew: Live in the moment

CTCA

Dan Cuccherini always considered himself a typical guy’s guy. “I was a pretty athletic, outdoors kind of a guy,” he says. The Virginia native had a busy life with a lot on his plate—he and his wife have nine children. In 2013, his stressful job as a safety director was taking its toll on him. “I was sick all the time,” he says. “As time went on, I just grew more and more fatigued.”

What's the difference in skin cells? Melanocytes and basal, squamous and Merkel cells

CTCA

Consider the remarkable functions the skin performs every day. It's only 1.5 millimeters at its thickest point, but it protects the muscles and organs from outside threats. It can take a pounding, enduring bumps and bruises, the sun’s burning rays and the grime left by dirt and dust. It moves and stretches when you do, but even when the body is at rest, the skin is a bustle of cellular activity.

How to care for your wig

CTCA

Many patients who lose their hair after cancer treatment find comfort and a sense of style in wigs. Because wigs often look and feel like normal hair, they may help patients feel more secure as they navigate the cancer journey. But it may surprise some patients to learn that they have to take specific steps to care for their wig. “Wig care probably isn’t top of mind for most cancer patients, and that makes sense,” says Joyce Clements, an Esthetician at our hospital in Tulsa.

Is there such a thing as a safe suntan?

CTCA

With summertime comes warm days in the sun, baseball games, barbecues and lazy days at the beach. And, for many, it's the time to celebrate the end of winter with a deep, "healthy" summer tan. But is there a way to safely tan your skin without exposing it to the damage that may lead to skin cancer?

Treating cancer while protecting the heart

CTCA

Chemotherapy and radiation may be essential to killing cancer, but while they’re attacking cancer cells, they often damage healthy cells and tissues, too. That may be especially problematic if those cells and tissues are in the heart. Even small doses of certain treatments may cause long-term harm to the heart, which may have serious consequences for patients’ overall health. That’s why doctors are increasingly turning to tools and techniques designed to protect the heart from unnecessary damage.

Unraveling the mystery of radiation therapy

CTCA

The confusion and mystery that often surrounds radiation therapy has led to a number of myths and misconceptions. Some cancer patients, for example, mistakenly believe that radiation is painful or that it may make them radioactive, instilling fear or hesitation about undergoing the treatment. “Radiation may be scary to some patients,” says Dr. Marnee Spierer, Radiation Oncologist at our hospital near Phoenix. “They don’t understand what it is.

Busting myths: 7 common chemotherapy misconceptions

CTCA

If you think you know all about chemotherapy, you may be surprised to hear that it no longer automatically causes severe nausea and vomiting. In fact, medical advances over the years have helped lessen chemotherapy’s impact on the body in a number of ways. “Chemotherapy has a very bad rap,” says Dr. Dennis Citrin, a Medical Oncologist at our hospital near Chicago. “While the cancer treatment itself has evolved for the better over the past few decades, its public perception hasn’t quite caught up. Educating patients about the facts is such an important piece of what we do every day.”

What are the signs of breast cancer?

CTCA

If your tire goes flat, a warning sign may appear on the dashboard. If your smartphone battery is low, it may send you an alert. The human body has a similar alarm system. From hives and rashes to pains, fever and vomiting, your body has its own way of letting you know something’s wrong. Some signs are more subtle than others. Breast cancer is one disease that often causes a variety of more obvious signs and symptoms that may alert you to a potential concern to share with your doctor.