Monthly Archives: January 2012

January: Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Guest Post By Lisa Roddy

January is cervical cancer awareness month, part of a global initiative to eradicate the second-most common cancer in women. Over 12,000 women in the US will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012, with more than 4,000 dying from the disease. Research shows that over 70% of cervical cancer cases worldwide are caused by the virus HPV – it also estimates that at least half of those who are sexually active will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives.

This disease starts on the surface of the cervix and usually develops slowly. The first stage, called dysplasia, is a precancerous condition that physicians can detect through a Pap smear. Dysplasia is 100 percent treatable, which tells how vital regular Pap smears are to a woman’s health.

Women diagnosed with cervical cancer have three main treatment options, depending on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the woman’s health status and whether she plans to have children in the future.

Surgery: During surgery, doctors remove precancerous and cancerous tissue from the cervix and uterus if it is found there as well. Surgeons have various ways to perform this procedure without damaging the cervix or removing the uterus so that a woman can still have children.

Types of surgery for cervical cancer include:

  • Conization: Conization, or cone biopsy, removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix and cervical canal.  Doctors can use conization to diagnose cervical cancer as well as to treat it in its very early stages.
  • Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP): LEEP uses an electrical current passed through a thin wire as a knife to cut away abnormal tissue.
  • Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery applies extreme cold to freeze or destroy abnormal tissue.
  • Hysterectomy: During a hysterectomy, surgeons remove the uterus, including the cervix. Doctors can perform a hysterectomy vaginally, abdominally, or laparoscopically (using small incisions).
  • Radical Hysterectomy: Along with the uterus and cervix, a radical hysterectomy removes part of the vagina. In most cases, surgeons also remove nearby lymph nodes, the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Radiation: High-energy radiation kills cancer cells and shrinks tumors. Generally, radiation can treat cervical cancer that has spread beyond the pelvis or that has recurred.

Doctors use two main types of radiation therapy to treat cervical cancer:

  • External Beam Radiation (EBT): The most common form of radiation, EBT, similar to an x-ray, uses a carefully focused machine to deliver a high beam of radiation onto the area of the body where cancer is present.
  • Brachytherapy: During brachytherapy, doctors place tiny, radioactive filled devices, seeds or needles inside the woman’s body, near the cervix, for a period of time.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy for cervical cancer uses cytotoxic, cell killing drugs to destroy cancers cells that have spread from the primary tumor. Chemotherapy is usually prescribed in combination with radiation therapy for advanced cervical cancer.

  • Cisplatin: A platinum-based drug, Cisplatin, is the primary drug used in chemotherapy for cervical cancer. Cisplatin triggers apoptosis, causing cervical cancer cells to die.

Side effects for cervical cancer treatment vary by type. Women should consult with their physician about which treatment is most appropriate for their specific type of cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer survival has significantly increased over the years. The average combined five-year survival rate for women with invasive cervical cancer is around 71%, with overall survival for localized cervical cancer over 90%.

About Lisa Roddy
Lisa is the Vice President of Product and Marketing at Medify, Inc. in Seattle, WA. Medify is a leading provider of data-driven consumer health solutions that mines hundreds of millions of real patient experiences from medical research and makes them discoverable, trackable, and shareable. Lisa is also a breast cancer survivor. Prior to joining Medify, Lisa was Director, Strategic Development at Premera Blue Cross. She holds an MBA from Babson College and a BS from Northeastern University.





Assessing Fatigue and Physical Activity Levels in Cancer Survivors

You are invited to participate in the thesis study, “Assessing Fatigue and Physical Activity Levels in Cancer Survivors.” This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board at Georgia College & State University.

The purpose of this study is to assess fatigue and physical activity levels of cancer survivors before, during, and after treatment.  Further, it will investigate the relationship between physical activity levels and fatigue levels.  Please use the following link to complete the survey.

The Survey of Fatigue and Physical Activity Levels in Cancer Survivors should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete. We ask that you complete the survey no later than Jan. 31, 2012.

If you have any questions concerning this study, please contact Liz Hathaway, MPH at

Thank you for your support of this investigation! The study results will provide important information about fatigue and physical activity levels in cancer survivors.

Find Out How To Prepare Yourself for Chemotherapy Treatments

Guest post on how to prepare for chemotherapy.

It is a well-known fact that not all the cancer patients respond identically to the chemotherapy treatments. And this is one of the reasons why the researchers have developed various chemotherapy treatments for the same type of cancer. However, it is important to know that even though people may suffer from the same types of cancer, the tumors can have different structures. For this reason, some patients respond to specific treatments while others have to undergo other alternatives and even try multiple chemotherapies. A person who needs to undergo chemotherapy must prepare himself or herself for this type of treatment. Listed below are a few ideas that the person should consider.

Preparing for Chemo

There are a few things that every person needs to do prior to starting chemotherapy. The current article explains the processes that a cancer patient should consider in order to get prepared for such a treatment.


The most important thing that a person who intends to start chemotherapy must do is to make sure that he or she can undergo such treatment. There are a series of heart tests that verify the heart health and blood tests which check the liver function. These tests are going to show whether the person is healthy enough to start chemotherapy or not. Another important test that a cancer patient should complete is the one that checks the blood for certain genes. This is very important especially because particular genes may respond differently to the chemotherapy drugs. Additionally, specific genes can cause supplementary side effects and even aggravate the common ones.



There are several procedures that can help a person to get ready for chemotherapy. These procedures include additional tests that are meant to complete a therapeutic selection. Based on these tests, the physicians are able to identify the most suitable treatments for a patient who has a particular type of tumor. For instance, the people who suffer from colorectal cancer should complete the Everist Genomics ( molecular diagnostic test, also known as OncoSelector-5FU. With the help of the OncoSelector-5UF, the physicians are able to decide the right chemotherapy treatment for every colorectal cancer patient. Additionally, this test is able to show whether the patient can tolerate specific side-effects, which are associated with particular chemotherapeutic drugs or not. Some additional procedures that most doctors require are the tumor marker tests and chemosensitivity tests.


Intravenous Chemotherapy:

After the aforementioned stages are completed, the specialists recommend different chemotherapy treatments, which consist of drugs or intravenous medication. For the second option, the patient needs to have a pump, port, or catheter inserted into a vein. These devices are surgically inserted into large veins so that the chemotherapy medication can be administrated easily.


Plan Ahead:

It is very important to plan ahead for possible side effects. The best thing that a person who intends to start a chemotherapeutic treatment can do is to ask the doctor about any potential side effects. By knowing these details in advance, the patient can make different arrangements. For example, if the chemotherapy treatment causes infertility, the patient can store fertilized eggs or sperm for future use.


These are some important things that a person should take into account before undergoing a chemotherapy treatment. However, besides these, the person should also make different arrangements for necessary help at work and at home. And obviously, the physical and psychological preparation for the this stage of the treatment should never be taken lightly.

Chemo Can Be Less Stressful Than Many People Think

Chemo is not easy. We all know this. And the truth is that these days, many people are terrified to find out that they must undergo such treatment. However, it is essential to know that every single hospital, doctor, and nurse tries to make chemo a pleasant experience as much as possible.

David Veibl writes for Everist Genomics Inc. (EGI) ( which is a personalized medicine company which develops and commercializes proprietary, highly differentiated, diagnostics, prognostics and therapeutic selection technologies which assist physicians in making medically optimal and cost effective treatment decisions. EGI is focused on rapidly growing disease areas with substantial unmet needs including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease (e.g. diabetes).