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July 1, 2022 Educational

When you have cancer, immunotherapy is one of the cutting-edge treatment options you have. There are many different forms of immunotherapy, and each one works to find invasive cancer cells and destroy them. Each form of immunotherapy can help different types of cancer.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our expert team of five oncologists and hematologists offers state-of-the-art treatments for just about every form of cancer. The team is proud to provide immunotherapy as an option for many of our cancer patients who are looking for hope during their fight with cancer.

What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a modern technology that uses your immune system to fight off certain types of cancer and cancer cells. It can either boost the overall health of your immune system or help it work more efficiently.

Immunotherapy has been used to treat various types of cancer. The team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology use this form of therapy to treat cancers such as:

  • Lymphoma
  • Liver cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Bladder cancer

It’s also used for head and neck cancers, along with colon cancer and prostate cancer. While immunotherapy is a very versatile treatment, it’s not for everyone. Our team helps you determine if this is a viable treatment option for your specific condition.

What are the different types of immunotherapy?

There are many forms of immunotherapy, each of which works differently to enhance your immune system’s ability to seek out and destroy cancer cells. The forms of immunotherapy our team offers include:

T-cell transfer therapy

This form of immunotherapy helps your T-cells find and kill cancer cells more easily. Our doctors extract powerful immune cells that are attached to your tumor or cancer cells. They then take them to the lab, and find the strongest T-cells. The team multiplies these cells in the lab, and injects them back into the tumor to destroy it.

Monoclonal antibodies

Antibodies are made by your immune system to find and destroy antigens, or invaders in your body. Monoclonal antibodies are made in a lab, specifically for the antigens that are attached to cancer cells. Once they attach to the cancer antigens, your immune system can find and destroy those cells.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors

Immune checkpoints are in place to keep your immune system from attacking healthy cells when fighting off an invader. However, cancer cells sometimes turn these checkpoints on where they shouldn’t be, allowing the cells to spread.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors are treatments that turn off some of your immune system’s checkpoints, which allows it to seek out the cancer cells and destroy them.

Treatment vaccines

Cancer vaccines are similar to the other vaccines you receive for things like the flu or tetanus, which helps prevent these illnesses. Treatment vaccines use proteins from cancer cells or dead cancer cells to trigger an immune response from your body.

Immune system modulators

This form of immunotherapy basically gives your immune system a large boost. This works, because a strong immune system works better to fight off invaders, such as cancer cells. Examples of immune system modulators or interleukins and interferons.

Each form of immunotherapy works differently on your body to fight off tumors or cancer cells. The specific type of immunotherapy you need depends on your overall health, the type of cancer you have, and what other treatments you’ve tried.

Is everyone a candidate for immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a modern treatment option for those needing new hope in their cancer treatment. However, it’s not made for every case of cancer. You may be considered for immunotherapy if you have:

  • Advanced cancer
  • Exhausted other treatment options
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Biomarkers positive for PD-L1
  • High tumor mutational burden
  • High microsatellite instability

There are a lot of up-and-coming cancer treatments, many of which our team offers to you. If you’re struggling with cancer, the team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology provides expert immunotherapy consults to determine what the best course of treatment is for your type and stage of cancer.

If you’d like to learn more about how immunotherapy can help you, don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.


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May 1, 2022 Educational

Bruising is common when you’ve suffered an injury. It’s essentially broken blood vessels beneath your skin, which leads to bleeding within the tissues. This leaves a blue or purple mark, which is the bruise. However, if you’re noticing bruises and aren’t sure where they came from, it could be a sign of a blood disorder.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team determines if your bruises are cause for concern. Our expert team is made up of five board-certified and experienced oncologists and hematologists. Together, they provide treatment for cancer and blood disorders.

What are blood disorders?

A blood disorder occurs when something prevents your blood cells from doing their assigned jobs. These disorders vary; some cause more bleeding than normal and others cause issues with blood clotting.

Blood disorders are often genetic, meaning you inherit them from a close relative. However, they also occur due to certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, or other diseases. In most instances, people with blood disorders live normal lives while managing the condition.

There are several different types of blood disorders, which are categorized by which part of your blood is affected. Three of the main categories of blood disorders include:

1. White blood cell disorders

If you’re healthy, your body produces billions of white blood cells every day. They’re mainly produced in your bone marrow, and they help fight off infection and disease.

Leukopenia is a blood disorder characterized by extremely low levels of white blood cells. This puts you at a high risk for infection. Leukocytosis involves having too many white blood cells.

2. Red blood cell disorders

Red blood cells are vital, because they transport oxygen throughout your body. With red blood cell disorders, some part of the cell isn’t functioning properly, which can lead to decreased oxygenation in your body. Examples of these blood disorders include sickle cell anemia and thalassemia.

3. Platelet disorders

Platelets are important because they play a huge role in the clotting cascade. This basically means they form clots when you’re injured to stop bleeding. These types of blood disorders aren’t common, but they cause problems with bleeding.

Is easy bruising a cause for concern?

Most bruising shouldn’t send up a red flag that there’s a problem, especially if you remember hitting the area on something. If your bruise seems to get better after a few days and is showing signs of healing, there also isn’t much need to worry.

If you’re noticing quite a few bruises that don’t seem to add up, you shouldn’t dismiss them right away. This is especially true if the bruises are on your face, abdomen, or back. These are unusual areas to get bruised without remembering the cause.

Bruising can happen for a number of reasons, including some blood disorders. The blood disorders that cause this problem include:

Von Willebrand disease

Von Willebrand is a specific protein in your blood that’s essential for clotting. The Von Willebrand protein attaches to platelets and helps them stick to each other to stop bleeding. Without the protein, or if it’s defective, you won’t clot as quickly, which can lead to easy bruising.

Hemophilia

Hemophilia is another blood disorder that’s caused by defective clotting in your blood. This disorder is inherited, and is caused by lower-than-normal levels of either factor VIII clotting factor or factor IX clotting factor.

Thrombocytopenia

This blood disorder happens when you don’t have enough platelets in your blood for clotting. If you have easy bruising that pops up more than usual, thrombocytopenia could be to blame.

When to seek treatment for bruising

Bruises that seem to pop up all over your body with no known cause should be a reason for concern. This is especially true if they don’t seem to be getting better on their own after more than a few days.

The team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology wants to see you if you have any of the following concerns:

  • Bruising continues to come back
  • No improvement in the bruising after a week
  • The bruise is extremely large
  • The bruises are unprovoked
  • Bruises are accompanied by unexplained nosebleeds

The good news is that blood disorders can be managed through a number of therapies and treatments. Our team bases your treatment on the specific type of blood disorder you have.

For clotting disorders, the best treatment is to replace the factors that are missing in your blood. You may need infusions of factor VIII or factor IX for hemophilia, or Desmopressin Acetate for Von Willebrand disease.

If you’re worried about bruising on your body, don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.


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April 1, 2022 Educational

Have you ever wondered where all of the cancer treatments that are available to you came from? All of these treatments were once a clinical trial, which allowed their effectiveness and safety to be determined on a small population. There are constantly new trials going on, and joining one can benefit you in a number of ways.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, the team helps you get the expert treatment you need when you’re suffering from cancer or blood disorders. Leading our team are five highly trained board-certified oncologists and hematologists who are happy to offer the latest clinical trials for a number of disorders.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are basically research studies conducted on humans to determine the efficacy of a treatment or medical device. These studies are the main way researchers determine if a treatment is viable and safe to use in the general population.

However, clinical trials also go through several stages before the treatment is available to everyone. This not only ensures that the treatment is safe, but also that it’s effective for the condition included in the trial.

There are four official phases that every clinical trial needs to go through to become approved by the FDA. The first phase determines the safety and any side effects on a small group of people. The second phase involves more people, and aims to determine the effectiveness of the treatment, along with continuing to assess safety and side effects.

When the trial gets into stage three, it’s made available to a larger group of people, along with other populations. Dosages of a medication are also studied, along with combinations of the trial drug and other treatments. If the FDA determines that the trial has shown positive results, the treatment becomes approved for use.

Phase four happens after the FDA approves the medication or treatment in the trial. The effectiveness of the treatment, along with its safety, are still monitored on a much larger and more diverse population.

When to consider a clinical trial

Being a part of a clinical trial can be scary — but it can also open doors to treatments that could potentially change your life. But when should you consider joining one of these trials?

A good time to consider a clinical trial is when other treatments haven’t worked, and you don’t have other options. A clinical trial can give you the opportunity to try an up-and-coming treatment for your condition.

Sometimes, there aren’t any treatments available for a specific condition. A clinical trial gives you a chance at finding a viable treatment for your condition. It also gives you a chance to take your health into your own hands.

What are the benefits of a clinical trial?

There are a number of benefits when joining a clinical trial, but it’s important to weigh both the pros and cons before getting involved. Our team helps you find clinical trials that pertain to your condition and provide you with all the details to assist you with a decision.

Clinical trials offer many opportunities for a number of different cancer conditions. Some of the main benefits of joining one of these trials include:

Early access to the latest therapies

Clinical trials offer the most up-and-coming treatments that aren’t available to the public yet. If you join a clinical trial, you’ll get to experience the latest therapies and medications that could change the course of your cancer.

You get to help others

When you participate in a clinical trial, you have the opportunity to pave the way for future patients with the same medical problem. You’re a part of groundbreaking research that could provide a cure or effective therapy for others down the road.

More frequent checkups and care

You’re often more closely monitored when you participate in a clinical trial. This is because the research team needs to observe the way the medication or therapy is affecting your condition. This includes more frequent appointments and imaging studies, which can help to put your mind at ease.

Less cost to you

In most cases, you won’t have to pay for the drugs in your clinical trial. The team conducting the trial often covers the cost of the medication or therapy being tested. However, it’s important to remember that there could be other costs involved, such as travel or lodging, that you’ll need to cover.

If you’d like to learn more about participating in a clinical trial, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.


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March 1, 2022 Educational

Clinical trials exist for many different types of medical treatments and products. These trials are a way for doctors and patients to test the most up-to-date and state-of-the-art treatments available for a disease. Cancer clinical trials are a way for you to participate in a study while possibly improving your condition.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team offers a variety of clinical trials for several different types of cancer. Our practice is led by five highly trained oncologists and hematologists. Our physicians are happy to help you get started in a clinical trial specific to your form of cancer if you qualify.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are research studies that involve human participants and are designed to study the effects of treatments on a certain population. The goal of the clinical trial is to evaluate how effective the drug or treatment is on the participants’ specific condition and overall health.

Clinical trials involve volunteers, meaning you sign up on your own to participate. There are often certain criteria you have to meet to be a part of such a trial. These studies are designed to test a number of different interventions in medicine, including:

  • Medical devices
  • Radiology procedures
  • Medications
  • Surgical procedures

Biological procedures and cells are other types of treatments that are involved in clinical trials. Cancer research uses clinical trials to study the outcomes of new treatments on different types of cancer. This helps to determine if a medical treatment has positive outcomes for these individuals.

Why are clinical trials important?

Clinical trials are vital to the improvement of the healthcare system. These trials allow for possible improvements in treatments and therapies for thousands of different diseases, including cancer.

Without clinical trials, medicine wouldn’t be able to move forward, with new and improved treatment options. The trials allow for potential cures, and for an overall improved outcome of millions of patients across the country.

These trials also allow us to see if the benefits of a potential treatment outweigh the side effects or risks. The different phases of clinical trials determine the side effects among a large group of people, to see if the treatment is worth it in the end.

If you’re suffering from a specific type of cancer, a clinical trial could be a way for you to get a new type of treatment when others haven’t helped. It gives you a chance to get the newest treatments available when the trial is focused on your type of cancer.

The different phases of clinical trials

Clinical trials go through several different phases before the treatment can be considered for approval for large-scale use. Each phase uses volunteers to test out the treatment and to determine if it’s safe for use. The four phases that clinical trials go through include:

Phase 1

The first phase of a clinical trial is to ensure first and foremost that the drug or treatment is safe for humans. It allows the researchers to determine a safe dosage for medications, and to learn how the treatment works within your body. This phase also identifies any adverse effects, and only involves a small number of participants.

Phase 2

Once the drug or treatment is determined to be safe, it can move into phase two of the trial. This phase is similar to phase one, but it requires a larger number of participants. This helps to determine the adverse effects on a larger number of people, to determine if the treatment is viable.

Phase 3

After the second phase has been completed, and the treatment is still being considered for widespread use, phase three of the clinical trial begins. In this stage, the drug or treatment is studied on a much larger scale. It involves many more participants, and is conducted in other regions and other countries. This is often the phase that occurs right before the treatment is considered for approval.

Phase 4

This phase occurs after the treatment or drug has been approved for use by a governing body, such as the FDA. Even though it’s been approved for use, there still may be aspects that need to be studied on more people over a longer timeframe. It can involve thousands of participants, and allows for more research into important information that still needs to be learned about the treatment.

At our facility, our team offers a number of different clinical trials if you suffer from conditions such as multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis, and polycythemia vera. Our doctors help you figure out if a clinical trial could help you.

If you’re interested in learning more about clinical trials for your condition, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our expert doctors today.


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February 1, 2022 Educational

Many factors increase your risks for the numerous different types of cancer — but did you know that your oral hygiene is one of them? Head and neck cancers encompass a number of different conditions that affect your nose, mouth, and throat. So it’s no surprise that bad oral habits can increase your risk of these cancers.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team specializes in diagnosing and treating the numerous types of cancer and blood disorders. At the forefront of our team are five expertly trained oncologists and hematologists, who offer state-of-the-art treatments and therapies when you’re suffering from cancer.

Types of head and neck cancers

Head and neck cancers are conditions that affect the mucosal linings in your mouth and throat. Your voice box and sinuses may also be affected. The mucosal linings are often affected by squamous cell carcinomas, which are cancers of that specific cell type.

Less commonly, cancers may affect your salivary glands or the nerves and muscles in your neck. While these types of cancers exist, they’re rare compared to those from squamous cell carcinoma.

Some of the many different kinds of cancers that affect your head and neck include:

  • Lip cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Paranasal sinus cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer

Many of these types of cancer are related to the use of tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption. However, there are other risk factors as well, one of which is poor oral hygiene.

Your oral hygiene can be related to cancer

Believe it or not, your oral hygiene affects more than just your teeth and gums. In fact, bad oral hygiene is related to a number of health conditions, including head and neck cancers. But what exactly is the reason for this?

Poor dental hygiene results in the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. If left untreated by a dental professional, they can contribute to gum disease. Gingivitis and periodontitis are both types of gum disease, with the latter being more severe.

Gum disease leads to pocketing around your teeth that fill with plaque and bacteria, specifically Porphyromonas gingivalis. This bacterium has been found in large amounts within tumors of the head and neck.

But what types of oral hygiene practices put you at a higher risk for cancer? If you have any of the following, your risk of head and neck cancers may be increased:

Lack of regular visits to your dentist also increases your risk of head and neck cancers. This is because you miss out on the screening and cleaning of your gums and teeth. This helps to eliminate the harmful bacteria that can lurk in your gums.

What you can do to decrease your risk

Unfortunately, cancer can’t always be prevented, especially if you have a familial history of it. However, you can change some of the risk factors that make it more likely you’ll end up with head or neck cancers.

Oral hygiene is one of the factors you’re able to control. This means taking your time to properly brush and floss. It also means regular trips to the dentist to make sure you don’t have gum disease or any other problems that could provoke cancer cells to form.

Also, there aren’t any real screening tests for many head and neck cancers, but dentists do check for signs of a problem. During your regular dental visits, most providers check in your oral cavity for signs that might point to suspicious cells or signs of cancer.

Our team of experts helps you understand your risk for head and neck cancers, so you’re able to get ahead of the problem. Along with proper oral hygiene, our doctors get you the treatment you need if you’re at an increased risk for these forms of cancer.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a head or neck cancer, or would like more information, call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our amazing doctors today.


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January 1, 2022 Educational

Iron is an essential nutrient your body needs to function properly. You may know it best for its role in producing hemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen throughout your body. It’s also needed for the overall health of your cells, including your hair and nails. So it’s no surprise that when your iron levels are low, you have a condition known as iron-deficiency anemia.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team specializes in many different conditions, including the various forms of anemia. Our practice is made up of five expert oncologists and hematologists. Our hematologists help you determine if anemia is what’s causing uncomfortable symptoms.

Causes of iron-deficiency anemia

Anemia is a medical condition that happens when you don’t have an adequate amount of healthy red blood cells in your system. While there are many different kinds of anemia, iron-deficiency anemia manifests when you’re lacking the iron to produce hemoglobin.

Hemoglobin is the substance that not only gives your blood its red hue, but also allows your red blood cells to carry and transport oxygen to the other areas in your body. When you’re iron-deficient, it leads to anemia over time.

There are several different reasons you may be deficient in iron. For instance, you might not be getting enough elemental iron in your diet, or you may be losing iron quicker than you can replace it. Other reasons for iron-deficiency anemia include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Loss of blood
  • Problems absorbing iron

Any of these problems can lead to a lack of iron, and, as a result, a lack of hemoglobin. When you don’t have enough oxygen being transported due to anemia, it can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms.

Symptoms you may experience

Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia vary from person-to-person. They also depend on the severity of your condition. They include:

  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Brittle nails
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Cold feet or hands

When you’re suffering from iron-deficiency anemia, you may also experience cardiac symptoms, such as pain in your chest or an abnormally fast heartbeat.

When you’re experiencing any of these signs, there’s a chance it could be iron-deficiency anemia. To prevent further complications and worsening symptoms, it’s vital you see our team as soon as possible so they can begin much-needed treatment.

How is iron-deficiency anemia treated?

Depending on the cause of your iron-deficiency anemia, you may be able to replenish your iron through changes in your diet, or you may need to take medicinal iron. Our team helps you figure out what’s causing your anemia, so you can get the treatment you need.

There are several ways to get more iron into your system to correct anemia, and they include:

Diet

One of the easiest ways you can restore iron in your body is by adding iron-rich foods into your meals. This includes beef and organ meats, along with broccoli, spinach, and legumes. Chicken and some types of fish are also rich in iron.

Oral iron

While over-the-counter supplementation may be your go-to, it’s usually not enough when it comes to iron-deficiency anemia. Our providers may have to prescribe you medicinal iron to get your levels back up to where they should be. The traditional dose for this type of iron is 150-200 milligrams of iron a day until your levels are back to normal.

IV iron

In the case that your iron-deficiency anemia is severe, or you’re unable to tolerate oral iron pills, our team recommends iron by way of IV infusion. There are several forms of IV iron therapy, and our providers help you figure out which is best for you. This is also the method of choice if you have trouble absorbing medications via your gastrointestinal tract.

Blood transfusions

Unfortunately, blood transfusions aren’t able to fully correct your iron deficiency. However, if your anemia is severe enough that you’re experiencing chest pain or you’re currently bleeding, it may be necessary to replace the deficient red blood cells. You’ll see a temporary improvement until our team can address the cause of your anemia.

If you’re concerned you have iron-deficiency anemia, don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our amazing doctors today.


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December 1, 2021 Educational

Your skin is something you don’t always include when you think about your health. However, years of sun damage and wear-and-tear can do a number on your largest organ. In fact, in some cases, it can lead to skin cancer. But did you know that seemingly harmless moles can also contribute to melanoma, a form of skin cancer?

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team of experts helps you determine your risk for melanoma. Leading our team are five oncology and hematology specialists, who not only treat melanoma, but other types of skin cancer as well.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that’s typically caused by overexposure to harmful UV rays from the sun. It’s a very aggressive form of cancer and can be deadly if it’s not found and treated early.

Melanoma gets its name because this type of cancer originates in your melanocytes, cells that make melanin, which gives your skin its pigment. Melanoma is most often found on areas of your skin that are exposed to sunlight, including:

  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Face
  • Back

Sometimes, it can even show up in areas that don’t see a lot of sun, like the bottoms of your feet and your fingernail beds. In rare cases, this type of cancer may also be found in your eyes, nose, or throat.

So are you at risk for melanoma? If you use tanning beds or are regularly exposed to sunlight, you’re at a higher risk for this disease. There are other risk factors as well, some of which include:

  • Fair skin
  • Frequent sunburn
  • Family history
  • Weak immune system

Another risk factor for melanoma is a large number of ordinary-looking moles on your body. If you have more than 50 moles, you’re at a higher risk for developing melanoma.

How moles and skin cancer are linked

Normally, moles on their own aren’t dangerous. Moles are simply a cluster of melanocytes that grow together to form a darker pigmented spot on your skin. Most adults have some moles, which are usually found in areas that get sun exposure.

A normal, noncancerous mole is about the size of a pencil eraser or smaller, and is oval or round in shape. It also has a regular edge and is smooth the whole way around.

So how are moles and melanoma linked? If your moles are regularly shaped, you don’t have much to worry about. However, in some cases, you may have something called a dysplastic nevus, which is basically an irregular-looking mole.

Dysplastic nevi aren’t usually cancerous, but you should keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t change. To avoid finding melanoma too late, be sure to check your moles at least once a month, and look for changes like:

  • Becomes itchy
  • Becomes scaly
  • Changes in size
  • Bleeds or oozes
  • Changes in shape
  • Changes in texture

Moles that become lumpy or hard to the touch are also a concern. If you have any moles that show signs of any of these changes, it’s important to contact our team for an evaluation. The earlier you find these changes, the earlier melanoma can be diagnosed and treated if that’s the case.

When it’s found early, before it has a chance to spread, melanoma is usually curable. The best way to stay ahead of melanoma is to avoid excess UV light exposure and to check your moles regularly to assess for changes.

If you have any moles that you’re worried about, please don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our amazing doctors today.


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November 1, 2021 Educational

While many blood disorders are rare, there are some that are more common than you may think. When you hear blood disorder, you might immediately think of anemia or a clotting problem. Anemia, especially, is a common blood problem, but what about thalassemia?

Our team at Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology specializes in many different types of cancers and blood disorders, like thalassemia. Our team of doctors is made up of expert oncologists and hematologists, all who work to get you the treatment you need for your specific type of problem.

What exactly is thalassemia?

Thalassemia is a type of blood disorder that occurs when your body either doesn’t make enough hemoglobin or makes an inadequate form of hemoglobin. This blood disorder is inherited, meaning it’s passed down through families.

Hemoglobin is an essential protein in your red blood cells, because it has the ability to carry oxygen to all of the tissues and organs in your body. As you can imagine, if you don’t have enough of this protein, your tissues will become starved. There are two types of proteins in hemoglobin:

1. Alpha globin

Thalassemia related to alpha globin happens when there isn’t enough of the alpha globin protein, or the gene related to the alpha globin protein has mutated.

2. Beta globin

Thalassemia related to beta globin occurs when the beta protein has mutated or there isn’t enough of this specific protein.

If you’re born with either form of thalassemia, it could be further split into either thalassemia major or thalassemia minor. In order for you to inherit thalassemia major, both of your parents have the mutated gene, while with thalassemia minor, only one parent needs to carry the gene.

Thalassemia minor usually doesn’t exhibit symptoms, and you may only have smaller-than-normal red blood cells. Thalassemia major, on the other hand, can be more severe, including an enlarged heart.

Symptoms you could experience

The symptoms you experience with thalassemia greatly depend on the severity of your condition. Because thalassemia often leads to anemia, you may experience symptoms when you have moderate-to-severe anemia. If you have a less severe form of thalassemia, you may not have many symptoms at all.

Moderate-to-severe forms of thalassemia can lead to anemia. Because of the lack of hemoglobin and a decreased red blood cell count from anemia, thalassemia can cause several different symptoms in adults and children. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of thalassemia include:

  • Swelling in your abdomen
  • Pale skin
  • Yellow-tinted skin
  • Darker-than-normal urine
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Increased weakness

In children with thalassemia, you may notice they aren’t growing as quickly as they should be. This could lead to bone deformities, especially in facial bones. This happens because the body doesn’t grow as it should.

Serious problems related to untreated thalassemia include an enlarged heart or liver. This could lead to heart failure in some circumstances, if your condition isn’t treated properly. Thalassemia major also increases your risk of infections.

Treatment for thalassemia depends on the type of the disorder you have, and if you have symptoms or not. Mild forms of thalassemia may just require our team to monitor you and your blood over time. If you never get any symptoms, no other treatment may be necessary.

However, if you have a more severe form of the disease, you’ll likely need regular blood transfusions to make sure your body receives enough oxygenated blood. Our team may also recommend you take folate supplements regularly.

If you’re receiving regular blood transfusions, your iron levels may rise higher than they should. In this case, our team implements a therapy known as chelation therapy to get rid of the excess iron.

A bone marrow transplant is another way to treat thalassemia, especially in children. With treatments available, it’s important that you seek medical care from our doctors if you’ve been diagnosed with thalassemia.

If you think you may have a blood disorder, don’t hesitate to call our office in Flemington, New Jersey at 908-788-6461, or schedule an appointment online with one of our amazing doctors today.


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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.


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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.




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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