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October 1, 2021 Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a disease that affects many different areas of your body, and sometimes requires very invasive and uncomfortable forms of treatment. One of the common types of cancer treatment is chemotherapy. If you’re familiar with this treatment, you might know that it often leads to hair loss — that is, until now.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team members treat many different types of cancer. Our practice consists of five specialists, all of whom are experts in oncology and hematology conditions and treatments. One of the very special treatments they offer is known as scalp cooling.

Why chemo causes hair loss

Your hair is something you might take for granted — that is, until you’re faced with cancer and chemotherapy. One of the best known side effects of this type of treatment is alopecia, or hair loss.

So why does chemotherapy lead to lost hair? You first have to understand that your hair is constantly growing, because it’s made of cells that multiply rapidly, which is why you need a haircut every few weeks.

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses powerful drugs to attack cancer cells at the source. The problem is, the drugs also attack other cells that grow rapidly, including your hair cells.

After several treatments of chemotherapy, you may notice clumps of your hair falling out from your head. You may also lose hair in other areas of your body like your arms and legs.

How does scalp cooling therapy work?

In order for your hair to grow, you need an adequate blood supply to your hair follicles. The scalp cooling system uses scalp hypothermia to reduce and restrict blood flow to the hair follicles. This helps reduce hair loss, because the cells become less active without the proper amount of blood circulating to them, and therefore less attractive to the chemotherapy agents.

The cool temperatures also work to lessen the amount of chemotherapy medications that are able to reach the hair follicles. The medications are introduced into your bloodstream and run all throughout your body, wherever the blood takes them.

By reducing the amount of blood flow that gets to your scalp, you’re also reducing the amount of chemotherapy drugs that have access to your hair follicles. This, in turn, helps reduce the amount of hair you’ll lose during treatment.

The three stages of treatment

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team uses the Paxman Scalp Cooling System to help you avoid hair loss during your treatment. This system works very well, and is implemented using three specific stages during chemotherapy. These stages include:

1. Pre-cooling stage

The first stage of the scalp cooling treatment starts 30 minutes before your chemotherapy treatment. However, if you have very thick hair, you’ll need to start the therapy 45 minutes before your chemo treatment.

2. Infusion cooling stage

The second phase of the scalp cooling treatment happens during your chemotherapy treatment. The length of this phase varies widely, as it depends on how long your chemotherapy session lasts.

3. Post-infusion cooling stage

The last stage of this therapy occurs after your chemotherapy session is finished. The cooling cap is left on for about 90-100 minutes after your treatment is finished. You may be moved to a different area after your treatment to undergo this last phase of the scalp cooling therapy.

After 90 or so minutes, the cap is removed. Before you get up and move around, you should allow your scalp temperature to adjust to the ambient temperature.

The great thing about our scalp cooling system is it’s very versatile — meaning you’re able to get up and walk around with it on, and even head to the restroom if you need to.

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy and are interested in learning more about our scalp cooling treatment, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our amazing doctors today.


September 1, 2021 Educational

Your immune system is an amazing component of your body. When you’re healthy, it fights off dangerous diseases and infections that would otherwise wreak havoc on your organs and tissues. However, sometimes your immune system is compromised — especially when you have cancer. Immunotherapy is a treatment that’s offered to help you fight cancer using your own immune system.

Cancer treatment is our specialty at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology. Our team consists of five expert oncologists and hematologists who are up-to-date on the latest and best treatments for your specific type of cancer.

What is immunotherapy?

There are many different types of cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation. However, immunotherapy is different because it has the ability to boost your body’s natural defense against cancer — your immune system.

Immunotherapy is an umbrella term, meaning there are several different kinds of treatment. Each type works to strengthen some part of your immune system, so it can fight off cancer more effectively.

We’ll talk about specific types of immunotherapy below, but the main goal of this class is to boost your body’s response to cancer cells by making your immune system more aware of cancerous invaders in your body.

There are a lot of potential uses for immunotherapy, and it yields several major benefits over other types of cancer treatments. The main benefit is that immunotherapy uses your own body to systematically fight cancer. Other benefits include:

  • May help when other treatments don’t
  • Has far fewer side effects
  • Works with other treatments to increase success
  • Your cancer isn’t as likely to come back

While this type of treatment shows a lot of promise, it can have a down side as well. For example, you could have an allergic reaction to the treatment itself, or the medications used could damage your body in some way.

Unfortunately, it also doesn’t work for everyone. That’s because cancer cells sometimes find ways to outsmart your immune system and continue growing and spreading despite treatment.

Our team members are experts in cancer therapy, however, and they can help you determine if this form of therapy is right for you and your type of cancer.

Types of immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a very versatile type of cancer treatment; in fact, there are many different types of treatment. Our team discusses your options based on the type of cancer you have and what works best for you.

At our facility, we offer several different options for immunotherapy. These options include:

Treatment vaccines

A vaccine is a type of therapy that helps your immune system recognize and fight off specific infections and diseases. There are many different cancer vaccines, including one that fights off cancer related to the human papillomavirus (HPV). Hepatitis B is another vaccine, one that helps prevent liver cancer.

Immune system modulators

This type of therapy targets specific areas of your immune system, teaching them to fight off cancer cells. The modulators are used to enhance your immune response to certain types of cancer. This therapy is sometimes used together with treatment vaccines.

Monoclonal antibodies

Your body makes antibodies when it senses a foreign invader. Monoclonal antibodies mimic your own antibodies, but are produced in a laboratory. They’re made of proteins that can attach to specific structures on the cancer cells’ surface, either destroying the cells or preventing their proliferation.

These antibodies also have the ability to transport radioactive materials and medications to the tumor directly.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors

Just like anything in your body, your immune system is structured so it works when needed but doesn’t go overboard when it’s not. Checkpoints keep it from going into overdrive when not threatened.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors work by overpowering the checkpoints, allowing for a stronger and more effective response to cancer cells.

T-cell transfer therapy

T-cell transfer therapy uses immune cells from your tumor. For this to work, our providers extract the strongest and most vital immune cells from the tumor itself.

Once the T-cells are extracted, the lab modifies them to be even stronger and more effective against the tumor they came from, then makes a small army of them to infuse back into your body. There, they have an enhanced response to the tumor.

To learn more about how immunotherapy can help you, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to schedule an appointment with one of our amazing doctors today.


August 1, 2021 Educational

Of all the conditions that may affect you in your life, cancer is by far one of the scariest. Although many types of cancer are treatable, there are not many that have a true cure. Head and neck cancers are just two forms of cancer that may cause irreversible effects if not caught early.

Our team at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, LLC helps you when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. If it’s head and neck cancer or another form, our expert team of oncologists and hematologists give you the treatment — and the care — you desperately need.

Cancers that affect your head and neck

Cancer can affect just about any part of your body, including your head and neck. They’re caused by cells that change (mutate) and grow out of control, forming masses called tumors.

When mutated cells grow in your head or neck, it may affect your throat, nose, and mouth. Your salivary glands and sinuses may also be involved. But what’s considered cancer of your head and neck? Here are some examples:

  • Hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Nasal cavity cancer

Cancer may also affect your sinuses, and is called paranasal sinus cancer. Head and neck cancers lead to several different symptoms. Knowing these symptoms may help you identify the cancer early, making it more likely to be treatable.

Symptoms to watch out for

The scary thing about cancer is it sometimes hits without real warning. One day you might be fine, and the next you notice something different. Head and neck cancers are like this as well.

The symptoms of these types of cancer are based on which part of your head or neck is affected. Whether it’s your throat or your nose, there are signs to look out for, including:

Some of these signs can also be symptoms of less severe conditions like allergies or the common cold. But if you have more than one of these symptoms, or they don’t get better with conservative treatment, you should seek help at our facility as soon as possible.

But what if you could avoid these symptoms all together? Knowing what puts you at risk for head and neck cancers helps you lower your chances of this condition.

Are you at risk?

Head and neck cancers don’t just happen on their own — they’re sometimes caused by other factors that can be controlled. Although not all risk factors are controllable, knowing the ones that are help you avoid head and neck cancer altogether.

Here are six common risk factors for head and neck cancer:

1. Prolonged tobacco use

This is the number one cause of head and neck cancer. In fact, it’s linked to at least 85% of all types of head and neck cancers. Tobacco isn’t just cigarettes; it includes pipe tobacco, cigars, and chewing tobacco. Secondhand smoke also contributes to this disease.

2. Heavy alcohol consumption

Drinking large amounts of alcohol, or drinking alcohol frequently, greatly increases your risk of cancers like esophageal cancer or oropharyngeal cancer.

3. Exposure to the sun

Frequent exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays without protection may lead to skin cancer, especially on your lips. However, it may also cause skin cancer in the area of your head and neck.

4. Exposure to HPV

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is linked to certain types of head and neck cancer, especially in your mouth and throat. This is considered a sexually transmitted disease, but can be prevented through the vaccine.

5. Male gender

Men are much more likely, at least 2 to 3 times, to develop head and neck cancers than women. However, if you have other risk factors, gender may not matter as much.

6. Epstein Barr virus

This virus is best known for causing mononucleosis, also called mono. If you contract this virus, your risk of getting nasopharyngeal cancer is greatly increased.

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms or are worried about your risk of head and neck cancers, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to schedule an appointment with one of our amazing doctors today.


July 14, 2021 Cancer Treatment

Cancer is a ruthless and exhausting disease, especially after you’ve been through several rounds of treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation are two very well-known treatment options, but what happens when those don’t do the trick, or aren’t warranted for your type of cancer? At that point, a clinical trial could be just the answer you’ve been looking for.

At Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, our staff members are willing to do whatever it takes to get you the type of treatment you need. Our team of five expert oncologists and hematologists participate in several types of clinical trials to get you the most up-to-date treatment options for your condition.

What are clinical trials?

There are many different types of cancer, each with its own specific treatment approach. However, the type of treatment you receive is highly dependent on how early the cancer was caught, along with other factors like your overall health.

Cancer research is constantly evolving, meaning treatments also evolve as more information is learned about each disease. This is where clinical trials come in to help when you have exhausted other options.

Clinical trials are research-based study groups that use the best and most effective treatment option for a specific type of cancer, but add in another component to hopefully yield even better results. This not only includes a trial of different medications, but it may also include therapies such as radiation or chemo.

Because research is constantly evolving, there’s literally a trial for just about any type of cancer you can think of. Many of these trials focus on later stages of cancer that are harder to beat; however, clinical trials exist for earlier stages as well.

Are you a candidate?

Now that you know what a clinical trial is, how do you know if you’re a good fit for one? This is a decision you need to think carefully about, as it’s about your life and your health. Our doctors are available to answer any questions you have and give you information on the latest clinical trials, as well as benefits and complications from each.

Here are a few guidelines to help you determine if a trial is right for you:

  • Having a specific type of cancer
  • Being in a specified stage of that cancer
  • Being in a certain age group
  • Having genetic changes in your tumor
  • Looking at your past medical history

The trial may also take into account your current health status, as the drugs and treatments might not be good for you if you aren’t healthy enough. They may also need to know what types of treatments you’ve tried in the past, and the results those treatments had.

Because there are so many different types of clinical trials for cancer, each one has its own set of criteria in order for you to participate. If you’re accepted into a trial, it’s a chance for you to receive treatment that you might not get anywhere else.

Pros and cons of clinical trials

Just like any other form of treatment, clinical trials have pros and cons you should weigh before you make your decision. Your health is very important, so making sure the pros outweigh the cons is your best chance at getting the results you want.

Clinical trials offer a lot of hope to those who are dealing with difficult types of cancer. Some of the benefits of these trials include:

  • You get the newest, most advanced treatments
  • Our team follows you very closely
  • You’ll be the first to benefit if it’s effective
  • Your results can help others in the future

The chance to get to try a new treatment with promising results may draw you toward a clinical trial, but unfortunately there are cons to consider as well. Some of the negative aspects of clinical trials include:

  • The side effects could be worse than what you have
  • You might not see any results
  • You usually have to undergo more testing than normal
  • You may incur additional expenses with a trial
  • Your insurance may not cover the trial

Sometimes, the original treatment yields better results, but that’s why the trials are in place. You should always weigh your options with our team before making a decision.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and haven’t had success with your treatment, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to schedule an appointment with one of our amazing doctors today.


June 24, 2021 Cancer Treatment

Strange symptoms that come out of nowhere are scary, especially when you think of all the conditions it could signal. However, you most likely aren’t ready when the doctor tells you it’s cancer. Along with being stunned, you’re wondering where you go from here.

At Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, our staff is ready to help you with the next steps in your treatment. Our team consists of board-certified oncologists and hematologists who specialize in many types of cancer and help you start the targeted treatment you need.

Common symptoms of cancer

Cancer isn’t something you probably worry about on a normal basis; however, there’s always a risk, especially if you have a family history. And there are many different types of cancers that can affect just about any part of your body.

While some types of cancer seem to come out of the blue, others may fester for a while. The tricky part is, many other less severe conditions may also cause similar symptoms. It’s important to understand changes to your body, and some common symptoms of cancer, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Skin changes
  • Fevers without cause
  • Unexplained bleeding

You also want to be on the lookout for other symptoms such as cuts or sores on your skin that don’t seem to be getting better. In addition, if you’ve had a cough for a while, or feel like there’s a frog in your throat that doesn’t seem to go away, you want to let our doctors know.

Of course, many of these symptoms could be due to something minor, but if you experience any change in your health, it’s best to let our doctors know as soon as possible, in case it’s a sign of cancer. The earlier the diagnosis, the better your chances of beating the disease.

What to do first after being diagnosed

When our doctors tell you it’s cancer, a thousand things probably run through your mind. You might find it hard to believe, or already feel grief in knowing there’s really something wrong. Although cancer isn’t what you want to hear, knowing how to proceed helps you get treatment faster, increasing your chances of survival. Here are a few things to do after your diagnosis:

1. Stay calm

Although this step seems impossible, it’s very important to keep your mind straight. Panicking only allows fear to take over, which leads to anxiety and possibly depression. Keeping yourself calm allows you to take in the diagnosis and begin figuring out a game plan.

2. Form a care team

This is a very important step, as it not only involves your doctors, but also family and social workers who provide necessary support. These people on your team are the ones who are going to stick with you throughout your cancer journey, so making sure you have a good group of people is vital.

3. Discuss treatment options

Whether your treatment starts out easy or is aggressive, discussing your options helps you to decide on something that works for you. Chemotherapy and radiation may be scary, but knowing there’s something out there to help you beat this terrible disease can be reassuring.

4. Learn about your cancer

The best thing you can do is research the type of cancer you’ve been diagnosed with. This helps you understand not only the treatments you’ll be given, but also what to expect each step of the way. You may also find support groups for your specific cancer, which helps you through the dark times during treatment.

5. Take care of yourself

After you take it all in, make sure you remember to care for yourself. There are a million thoughts going through your head, but getting lost in everything isn’t good for your health. Remember to take time during the day to eat, get enough sleep, and give yourself an opportunity to grieve if you need it.

So what next?

After your initial diagnosis, a lot is going to happen. Our team of oncologists and hematologists help you form an initial treatment plan. This plan may involve many things, including medications, diet changes, and chemotherapy.

It’s important during this time to make sure you’re not only taking care of your physical health, but your mental health as well. A cancer diagnosis can take a toll on you, especially in the first few months. Keep your support team close, and ask for help when you need it.

Some cancers are harder to fight than others, and our expert team of doctors treat you and your specific disease with all of the latest technologies.

If you need help navigating a cancer diagnosis, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to schedule an appointment.


May 24, 2021 Educational

There are a lot of things that cause you to feel tired and weak; some are medical conditions, while others are lifestyle habits. One of the more common causes of fatigue is a blood disorder known as anemia. This disorder causes the tissues in your body to be deprived of oxygen, leading to multiple symptoms.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team specializes in many different types of blood disorders, including anemia. Our team is led by both board-certified oncologists and hematologists, who help you identify anemia and get you the treatment you need to feel yourself again.

What is anemia?

Anemia is a blood disorder caused by a low number of red blood cells, cells that carry oxygen to the tissues throughout your body. There are many different types of anemia, each with a different cause. However, a low red blood cell count is the main cause of this disorder.

When our doctors test you for anemia, they’re looking at a certain blood test called a hemoglobin and hematocrit test. Hemoglobin is a protein within your red blood cells that carries oxygen to all of the tissues in your body. If your hemoglobin is low, it means your tissues aren’t getting a good supply of oxygen. Hematocrit measures cells in a volume of blood.

It’s hard to determine if anemia is the reason you’re feeling lousy; however, there are symptoms that usually come with this disorder, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness

The symptoms you experience depend on several factors, including the severity of your anemia, and how long you’ve had it. Sometimes with mild cases, you won’t experience any symptoms at all.

Types of anemia

Although the symptoms of this condition are usually very similar, there are more than 400 different types of anemia. The type you hear about the most is due to a deficiency in iron. This type is detrimental to hemoglobin production.

The different types are split up into three categories, which include anemia due to blood loss, anemia from the destruction of red blood cells, and anemia due to decreased red blood cell production. Some of the common types of anemia include:

  • Aplastic
  • Sickle cell
  • Vitamin-deficient
  • Hemolytic

Each different type of this disorder has a different cause, but the end result is oxygen deprivation to your tissues from decreased red blood cells.

Risk factors to be aware of

There are many different risk factors for anemia, and understanding them can help you avoid this problem in some cases. Women have a higher instance of anemia due to heavy menstrual cycles or during pregnancy. Certain diets and medical conditions also come with a higher risk of developing anemia. Some of these medical conditions include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid disorder

Anemia may also be a problem if you suffer from any type of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis. Stomach ulcers also may lead to anemia, as well as prolonged use of medications like aspirin.

Although just about anyone can develop anemia, there are certain groups of people who are at higher risk. As stated before, women are more likely to suffer from anemia due to bleeding during menstruation and childbirth. Others who are also at an increased risk include:

  • Those over 65
  • Infants
  • Children up to 2 years
  • People on blood thinners

Of course, just because you fit into these categories doesn’t mean you’ll end up with anemia. However, if your risk is greater, it’s best to be followed regularly by one of our doctors to ensure early treatment, if necessary.

Treating your anemia

Treatment for anemia focuses on treating any underlying conditions that are causing your anemia. For example, if you have iron deficiency anemia, our team orders testing to see if you’re losing blood from somewhere.

On the other hand, if your anemia is caused by a nutritional deficit, our doctors recommend changing your diet. If that doesn’t work, our team prescribes dietary supplements to give your body the nutrients it needs.

We offer many other treatments, including blood transfusions and a hormone called erythropoietin that helps your body produce more blood cells. Bone marrow transplants are another possibility if other options don’t work.

If you’re experiencing symptoms and are worried they’re due to anemia, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to make an appointment.


April 18, 2021 Educational

There are many blood disorders out there, all of which affect your body very differently. Hemophilia is just one of these blood disorders, and it’s a very scary diagnosis if you don’t know much about it or what to expect. You may have heard things about it through the grapevine, but how do you know what’s true and what’s not?

At Hunterdon Oncology Hematology, our skilled team of doctors are experts in the care of blood disorders, and they can help you figure out a treatment plan after you’ve been diagnosed.

What is hemophilia?

Hemophilia is a disorder of the blood that results in impaired clotting. It’s usually an inherited problem, meaning someone else in your family had the same disorder. Hemophilia is under the broad umbrella of blood disorders, but its symptoms and treatment are unique to this specific problem.

Hemophilia is caused by a mutation in your genes that affects the production of clotting factors. This either means that your clotting proteins are completely missing, or they’re not working the way they should. This leads to bleeding that’s usually spontaneous, along with prolonged bleeding after an injury.

Your blood has proteins called clotting factors that allow your blood to coagulate, so you don’t bleed significantly with a minor injury. However, if you have hemophilia, your blood is deficient in either factor 8 or factor 9. These factors are vital to the ability of your blood to clot, so it leads to increased bleeding. Severity of your disorder depends on the level of these factors in your blood.

Weeding out the myths

Much like any other disorder or disease, hemophilia comes with its own misconceptions, most of which are completely false. However, if you don’t know how to pick out the myths, this disorder can seem very scary. Here are a few of the common myths associated with hemophilia, and the facts that disprove them:

Myth: Hemophilia only affects males

FACT: Although this disorder is traditionally a disease that affects boys more than girls, it doesn’t mean girls can’t have it. In fact, there are many women and girls who suffer from hemophilia, or who carry the gene for the disorder.

Myth: Hemophilia disorders are all the same

FACT: Hemophilia has two main types — either a deficiency in factor 8 or factor 9. The severity of your disorder greatly depends on which type you have. For example, if you have severe hemophilia, your clotting factors could be nearly non-existent, meaning you’re bleeding even where you can’t see it. However, in less severe cases, you might not have any symptoms until you suffer an injury.

Myth: You’ll bleed to death from a cut

FACT: This is simply not true. Hemophilia doesn’t make you bleed any quicker than someone who doesn’t have it, though you’ll definitely bleed longer than someone without the disorder. Routine care for cuts such as pressure and bandages is usually all you’ll need for a minor cut or injury.

Myth: You can’t have a normal life

FACT: You might think you can’t do the same things as everyone else if you’re dealing with hemophilia; however, this isn’t true at all. You’ll still be able to enjoy most activities such as playing sports or traveling. By working with our team of doctors, you’ll understand how to do your favorite things while still keeping yourself safe.

The truth is, although hemophilia is a scary diagnosis, you’re still able to live a normal life. Our doctors offer not only a plethora of knowledge about this disorder, but also treatment options to cut down on bleeding episodes. Treatment usually involves replacing the missing clotting factor in your blood, either prophylactically or when you end up with a cut or injury that causes bleeding.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hemophilia and would like to learn more about it, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461 to make an appointment.


March 14, 2021 Prevention

Breast cancer is a very common type of cancer that affects both women and men — but that doesn’t make it any less scary. This type of cancer can strike at any time, which leaves you feeling vulnerable. However, there are steps you can take to detect early signs of the disease.

At Hunterdon Oncology Hematology, we help you not only understand your specific type of cancer, but all of your treatment options as well. Our board-certified team of oncology and hematology specialists also assists you with breast cancer detection through self breast exams.

Why self exams are important

Self breast exams are the number one way you can stay on top of your breast health — and detect changes as early as possible. Although your doctor usually performs these exams once a year, that isn’t enough to stay ahead of cancer.

So how often should you be performing a breast exam? The simple answer is every month. The best time to do this is after your menstrual cycle, because your breast tissue won’t be swollen and sensitive.

If you no longer have a menstrual cycle, your periods are very sporadic, or you’re a man, you can simply pick the same day every month to do your exam. To make it easy, either pick the first day of each month, or a number that’s special to you so you don’t forget.

How to perform a breast exam

A self breast exam involves you visually inspecting your breasts, as well as feeling each breast for any abnormalities. To perform the visual part of your exam, you’ll want to be in front of a mirror, topless and without a bra. Stand with your hands down at your side, and look for:

  • Changes in size
  • Changes in shape
  • Symmetry
  • Dimpling or puckering
  • Inverted nipples

You’ll also want to put your hands on your hips, as well as raise your arms over your head to check for any of the above changes. In addition, make sure to lift each breast and inspect the underside for any abnormalities.

Once you’ve performed the visual exam, manually check your breasts with your fingers for any lumps or changes in your breast tissue. You can do this either in the shower or by lying down on a bed or sofa.

Lying down helps you more easily feel for changes because it allows your breast tissue to flatten out, making a lump more discernible. In the shower, it’s also easier to do a breast exam, because your fingers glide more easily over your breast tissue when you’re lathered with soap and water.

Make sure you manually examine each breast completely. Not only does this help you detect any changes, but it also makes you familiar with how each breast feels, so that each month potential abnormalities are easier to find.

Tips to help you with a self exam

Although self breast exams aren’t necessarily difficult, there are some tips you should learn to make the whole experience a lot easier. Tips that help you detect changes in your breast tissue include:

Use the pads of your fingers

The pads of your fingers are pretty sensitive, making them ideal for finding lumps in your breasts. Use your index, middle, and ring fingers to do your manual exam. If you don’t have good feeling in your finger pads, you can also use your palm or back of those three fingers.

Change your level of pressure

Using different levels of pressure allows you to feel the different depths of your breast tissue. Use a lighter touch to feel the top layer of tissue, and use a heavier touch to feel the tissue closer to your chest wall.

Try not to rush

Self exams only take a couple of minutes, and rushing to get the exam done could lead to missed breast tissue changes. Take your time to do it properly.

Use a pattern

Following a certain pattern during your self exam makes your monthly routine go much more smoothly. It also helps you make sure you check every inch of your breast tissue. You could start at your nipple and move outward, or you could begin at your collarbone and work down.

If, during your exam, you notice any abnormal changes in your breast tissue, contact our office as soon as possible to schedule a consultation. Although lumps don’t always mean cancer, it’s best to rule it out rather than wait too long.

If you need more information or have been diagnosed with breast cancer, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-264-1798 to make an appointment. You can also reach out to us by using our online booking tool.


February 10, 2021 Cancer Treatment

Fighting cancer is a full-time job all in itself, and the treatments can be harsh and physically draining. You’ve probably heard about chemotherapy and radiation therapy as treatment options at your appointments, but have you ever heard of immunotherapy?

At Hunterdon Oncology Hematology, our goal is to help you fight off cancer with the most up-to-date treatments. Our esteemed team of doctors specializes in many forms of cancer treatment, including immunotherapy, which fights your cancer with your own immune system.

What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight off cancer cells in your body. The term immunotherapy encompasses several forms of treatment that essentially boost your immune response to better find and kill cancer cells.

Your immune system is made up of white blood cells, along with tissues and organs within your lymphatic system. One purpose of your immune system is to seek out and kill abnormal cells within your body that could potentially turn into cancer.

The problem with cancer cells is that they’re able to avoid your immune response in a number of different ways. One way is by changing their genetic code to be less visible to your immune system.

Cancer cells are also able to alter cells around your tumor, which makes it harder for your immune cells to find and attack them. They’re very good at disguising themselves.

Types of immunotherapy treatments

Our team offers many different forms of immunotherapy. Each one has a specialized way of helping your immune system attack the cancer cells that are making you sick. Some of the types of therapy we offer include:

Immune checkpoint inhibitors

There are checkpoints in your immune system to make sure you don’t constantly have an exaggerated immune response when you don’t need it. Immune checkpoint inhibitors block those checkpoints to allow your immune cells to overwhelm the cancer.

T-cell transfer therapy

This therapy is also known as adoptive immunotherapy or immune cell therapy. With this type of treatment, one of our doctors extracts the immune cells located within your tumor. In the lab, the best immune cells are separated from the rest and altered to make them attack cancer cells more aggressively. The lab grows a large amount of these T-cells, and then infuses them back into your body to fight off your cancer.

Immune system modulators

This type of immunotherapy increases your body’s own immune response to enhance the fight against your cancer cells. Essentially, this helps your immune system to not only seek out your cancer cells, but also to attack and kill them in large quantities.

Monoclonal antibodies

These antibodies are formulated in a lab and are made to detect specific parts of the cancer cells. In addition, antibodies can transport drugs and radioactive therapy to the cancerous tumor.

Treatment vaccines

These vaccines help to protect your body against diseases that cause cancer. The vaccine stimulates your immune system to protect your body and cells from being taken over by cancer cells.

The type of therapy that our doctors suggest depends on treatments you’ve already tried, along with the type and stage of cancer that you have.

Cancers immunotherapy can help treat

Immunotherapy is a very versatile treatment, meaning it can be used for a lot of different types of cancer. Of course, it may not be right for everyone, so discussing the treatment with one of our doctors is essential to finding out if it’s right for you. Some of the cancers that this type of treatment can help include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colon cancer

Immunotherapy doesn’t stop there; in fact, the list of cancers it can be used to treat goes on well beyond the above list. Like many other cancer therapies, though, it can have side effects. If our doctors are suggesting this type of treatment, it usually means that they believe the benefits considerably outweigh the side effects of the treatment.

If you think immunotherapy may be what you’ve been searching for, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-264-1798 to schedule a consultation. You can also reach out to us by using our online booking tool.


January 15, 2021 Prevention

Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States, responsible for 104,610 new cases this year. It can be treatable if you know what to look for and detect it early. And even though it’s not fully preventable, there are steps you can take to lower your risk.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, we aim to keep you as healthy as possible while treating many types of cancer along the way. Our skilled team of oncologists and hematologists specialize in the most up-and-coming cancer treatments, to help you get your life back on track.

Risk factors for colon cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease that can attack at any age. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps to decrease your risk, you can’t change things like your family history, genetics, and age. Risk factors you can change include:

  • Obesity
  • Low-fiber, high-fat diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol

The above risks could eventually lead to gene mutations, setting you up for a tumor in your intestine. Many times, tumors start from a polyp in the lining of your colon. At some point, the cells in the polyp start to divide uncontrollably, becoming cancer cells.

These polyps can be found during routine colonoscopy screenings, and removed before they turn into colon cancer. That’s why the CDC recommends regular screenings for men and women from age 50 to age 75.

Symptoms to look out for

In the early stages of colon cancer, you might not have any symptoms. This definitely makes it hard for anyone to figure out that something’s wrong. However, as the cancer progresses, symptoms become more apparent. Symptoms in the earlier stages of colon cancer include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Bloody stools

You may also notice a change in your bowel movements, including narrow stools or different colored stools than normal. As the disease progresses, your symptoms become more apparent. Late stage symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

Changes in your stool at this stage last longer than a few weeks, and you might also feel as though your bowels don’t empty the whole way. Getting help as soon as you notice problems helps to increase the likelihood that treatment is successful.

5 tips to reduce your risk

Cancer definitely isn’t something that can be entirely prevented. However, you can make lifestyle changes that greatly decrease your chances of getting certain cancers, including colon cancer. The following are five steps you can take to reduce your risk:

1. Stop smoking

Smoking negatively impacts your health because of the toxins within the smoke. It can weaken your immune system, making it more difficult to ward off cancer cells. If you smoke, you’re more likely to develop colon cancer than someone who doesn’t. Quitting decreases your risk. If you need help quitting, reach out to our team, and we can help.

2. Get regular exercise

Along with its other added benefits of staying lean and fit, just 30 minutes a day of exercise can decrease your chances of developing colon cancer.

3. Eat healthy

According to the American Cancer Society, eating healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables reduces your risk of colon cancer. You should limit red meat intake, like beef and lamb, along with processed meats. A healthy diet paired with exercise is an easy step to take to ward off colon cancer.

4. Limit alcohol

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, alcohol is a carcinogen. Their studies show that overconsumption of alcoholic beverages increases your risk of developing colon cancer. On average, if you’re a man you should have no more than two drinks per day; a woman should only have one drink per day.

5. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing colon cancer by 30%. This is due to the increased fat content in your body. A sedentary lifestyle leads to excess pounds, so getting active and modifying your diet will help cut your risk significantly.

One of the most important steps you can take to limit your risk for this disease is to get screened regularly. Our doctors will discuss with you how often you need to be screened, depending on if you’re at an average risk or a higher risk. Screening is the first line of defense, as it allows our team to find early signs of cancer and eliminate the problem.

If you’re interested in learning more about reducing your risk for colon cancer, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-264-1798 to schedule a consultation. You can also reach out to us by using our online booking tool.

About HHO

Hunterdon Hematology Oncology is a community oncology group, dedicated to fighting cancer in this community and across the region. Our Doctors, Physician’s Assistants and Nurses work tirelessly. They fight hard so that you can win.


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