Keep up with

HHO News

Category filter:AllAnnouncementsCancer TreatmentEducationalEventsLifestylePressPreventionSuccess Stories
No more posts
BlogImage_47.png?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_46.jpeg?time=1708445335

June 1, 2022 Cancer Treatment

When you’re diagnosed with cancer, there are a number of treatments available. Among the most common treatments is chemotherapy, used for a variety of cancers at many different stages of the disease. Preparing for chemotherapy is vital to getting through these treatments successfully.

At Hunterdon Oncology and Hematology, our team specializes in a variety of cancer treatments, including chemotherapy. Leading our team are five expertly trained oncologists and hematologists, who help you understand your cancer and get you the advanced treatment you need to fight it.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses very strong chemicals to kill cancer cells growing in your body. Many of the drugs used in chemotherapy are considered cytotoxic, which means they target and kill rapidly growing cancer cells.

There are many different drugs used in chemotherapy, some that have been around for a long time, and some that are newer. Chemotherapy can be used as the only form of treatment for your cancer, or it may be combined with other therapies like radiation to give you a better prognosis.

Chemotherapy works systemically — meaning it travels throughout your body, killing any cancer cells that have spread from the primary tumor. This is how chemotherapy differs from other treatments, such as radiation and immunotherapy.

Chemotherapy is delivered in several different ways, including through an IV infusion or in pill form. There are also chemotherapy creams that are applied topically, injections, and wafers that are placed in your body at the tumor site through surgery.

The way you receive chemotherapy is highly dependent on your specific type of cancer.

How to prepare for chemotherapy

Preparing for chemotherapy is half the battle. This form of treatment is daunting, and often leaves your body drained. However, by preparing ahead of time, you’ll be ready for the side effects when they hit, and your experience may be a little better than if you weren’t in the know.

Our team assists you on prep steps to take before you start chemotherapy. Some of the ways you can prepare include:

Bring entertainment

Chemotherapy sessions can be very long — several hours in some cases. Bring a laptop to watch a movie, or cards to play with your companion. This helps to pass the time and takes your focus off of the actual treatment.

See your dentist

Making sure your dental health is in check helps prevent complications from chemotherapy. You should see your dentist within six months of starting chemotherapy to ensure there are no infections in your mouth to worry about.

Pack a bag

Bring a bag along with things such as a blanket, water, and a small snack to help you through long chemo sessions. Bring anything that brings you comfort while you’re receiving the treatment.

Prepare some meals

You may not feel well after your chemotherapy session, so it’s important to meal prep ahead of time. This way, if you’re not feeling well enough to cook, you still have something to eat when you get home.

Pick up any medications

Get your home medications at your pharmacy before you begin your chemo. This ensures that you have all the medications you need available, since you’ll likely be wiped out from your session.

It’s also important that you bring someone along with you if you can. This person not only provides companionship, but also helps with any questions you may have or note taking you need during your chemotherapy session.

Why preparation is important

Your chemotherapy session may be anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on your specific treatment plan. This takes a lot of time out of your day, and you might be tired afterwards.

Getting things in order before your chemotherapy session is important for a number of reasons. Because of the strength of the medications, you may experience a number of side effects that can affect you for a few days, which include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Mouth sores

These side effects don’t last forever, but can continue for the duration of your chemotherapy treatments. Getting prepared for this ahead of time helps you cut down on side effects, and gets your home ready if they do hit, so you’re comfortable.

Side effects aren’t the only reason why preparation is important. If you’re receiving chemotherapy, it’s likely a huge aspect of your treatment plan. Knowing what to expect and understanding the medications gets you mentally prepared to go through the rounds of treatment that you’ll need.

If you’re in need of chemotherapy, our team can help. 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.


BlogImage_45.png?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_44.jpeg?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_43.jpeg?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_37.jpeg?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_35.jpeg?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_34.jpeg?time=1708445335

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.


BlogImage_26.jpeg?time=1708445335

June 9, 2020 Cancer Treatment

Like many people, you may be concerned about your breast health, and how your wellness affects your family, loved ones and friends. We share your concern. As part of a comprehensive breast program, Hunterdon Hematology Oncology (HHO) combines a comfortable, supportive environment with first-rate, comprehensive diagnostic and treatment resources… all conveniently close to home.

A Coordinated Approach to Breast Care

At HHO, we take a coordinated approach to breast care, for both well care and breast cancer care. A highly skilled team of breast specialists from different medical disciplines provides diagnostic testing, treatment, surgery, psychosocial support, education and rehabilitation. This team also collaborates with family practice physicians, gynecologists, radiologists, oncology specialists, plastic surgeons, pathologists and counselors to ensure that the care you receive is the most comprehensive it can be.

Hunterdon Hematology Oncology, a part of the Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center, is a full-time care partner, providing surgery, reconstruction alternatives, radiation and chemotherapy, support and counseling every step of the way. A full-time, dedicated Nurse Coordinator experienced in breast health issues remains in contact with you, keeping you informed about test results. She serves as liaison if further treatment and evaluation are necessary, coordinating appointments in an expeditious manner. She is there to hold your hand every step of the way.

The First Step in Breast Care is Imaging

Before a regimen of care can be formulated, a clear evaluation or diagnosis of the condition of the breast must take place. And this involves imaging – a picture of what is going on within the breast. This can be done at Hunterdon Women’s Imaging.

Breast Imaging Tests

The most commonly used breast imaging tests at this time are mammograms, ultrasound, and breast MRI.

Routine Mammogram

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast. It can detect a breast lump nearly two years before it can be felt. A routine mammogram is the main reason most women are referred to the breast program at HHO. Screening mammograms evaluate breast health in women with no symptoms, and are used for those who seek routine breast evaluation. Diagnostic mammograms are used to diagnose breast disease in women with symptoms of a breast problem: dimpling, or a change in texture of the skin of the breast, a lump, or discharge from the nipple.

Digital Mammogram

Digital mammography is the most advanced technology to date for detecting breast cancer. The digital mammography procedure is essentially the same as standard film mammography, but uses a computer and digital image instead of film. Digital mammograms allow the image to be acquired and displayed immediately, reducing the time that the patient must remain still. This expedited process provides the patient with a more convenient and comfortable mammogram. In addition, a digital image can be enhanced and altered to be seen more clearly and to make a more accurate diagnosis. This image manipulation eliminates the need for a woman to repeat her mammogram if the first image is deemed unusable.

Ultrasound

The majority of lumps and abnormalities turn out to be benign, not cancerous. A way to determine if a lump is a benign cyst is to perform another imaging procedure called an ultrasound. Ultrasound works by sending high frequency sound waves into the breast. These sound waves produce a pattern of echoes that are changed into an image of the inside of the breast. Ultrasound is painless and can distinguish between tumors that are solid and those that are filled with fluid (cysts). It can also help radiologists evaluate lumps that can be felt but cannot be easily seen on a mammogram.

Breast MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast — or breast MRI — is a test used to detect breast cancer and other abnormalities in the breast. A breast MRI captures multiple images of your breast. Breast MRI images are combined, using a computer, to create detailed pictures. A breast MRI usually is performed after you have a biopsy that’s positive for cancer and your doctor needs more information about the extent of the disease. For some people, a breast MRI may be used with mammograms as a screening tool for detecting breast cancer. That group of people includes women with a high risk of breast cancer, who have a very strong family history of breast cancer or carry a hereditary breast cancer gene mutation.

Emerging Imaging Techniques

Newer types of tests are now being developed for breast imaging. Some of these, such as breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography), are already being used in some centers. Other tests are still being studied, and it will take time to see if they are as good as or better than those used today.

Molecular breast imaging (MBI), also known as scintimammography or breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI), is a type of nuclear medicine imaging test for the breast. A radioactive chemical is injected into the blood, and a special camera is used to see into the breast. This test is being studied mainly as a way to follow up breast problems.

Positron emission mammography (PEM) is a newer imaging test of the breast that is very similar to a PET scan. A form of sugar attached to a radioactive particle is injected into the blood to detect cancer cells. A PEM scan may be better able to detect small clusters of cancer cells within the breast.

Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM), also known as contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM), is a newer test in which a contrast dye containing iodine is injected into a vein a few minutes before two sets of mammograms (using different energy levels) are taken. The contrast can help the x-rays show any abnormal areas in the breasts.

Optical imaging tests pass light into the breast and then measure the light that returns or passes through the tissue. The technique does not use radiation and does not require breast compression. Studies going on now are looking at combining optical imaging with other tests like MRI, ultrasound, or 3D mammography to help look for breast cancer.

Electrical impedance imaging (EIT) scans the breast for electrical conductivity. It’s based on the idea that breast cancer cells conduct electricity differently from normal cells. The test passes a very small electrical current through the breast and then detects it on the skin of the breast.

Elastography is a test that can be done as part of an ultrasound exam. It’s based on the idea that breast cancers tend to be firmer and stiffer than the surrounding breast tissue. For this test, the breast is compressed slightly, and the ultrasound can show how firm a suspicious area is.


BlogImage_21.jpeg?time=1708445335

March 11, 2020 Educational

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition where the blood has an insufficient number of red blood cells; it occurs when there is not enough iron in the body to produce them. The body uses iron to make hemoglobin, which is the primary carrier of oxygen within red blood cells. Since red blood cells are the carriers of oxygen throughout the body, not enough oxygen reaches the tissues of the body. This results in the two most common symptoms: tiredness and lethargy (lack of energy). The primary natural sources of iron are meat, dried fruit, and some vegetables.

What Are The Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • tiredness
  • lethargy (lack of energy)
  • shortness of breath (dyspnoea)
  • palpitations (irregular heartbeat)

Less common symptoms include:

  • tinnitus, the perception of a noise in one or both ears, such as a ringing in your ears or in your head
  • a sore tongue
  • headache
  • pica, a desire to eat non-food items, such as ice or clay
  • an altered sense of taste
  • difficulty swallowing
  • feeling itchy

You may notice additional signs of iron deficiency anemia, such as:

  • painful open sores in the corners of your mouth
  • a pale complexion
  • dry, flaking nails
  • spoon-shaped nails
  • an abnormally smooth tongue

What causes iron deficiency anemia?

As mentioned above, iron deficiency is a condition where the body (the blood) does not contain enough iron to effectively convey oxygen to the body’s tissues.

There are several potential causes for this condition.

Blood loss in the gastrointestinal tract.

The most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is bleeding in the stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal tract). There are several causes of gastrointestinal bleeding:

  • Heavy, prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain-killing drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Bleeding stomach or intestinal ulcers. An ulcer is an open sore in the lining of the stomach or intestines, caused when the acid in the stomach eats into and through the stomach or intestinal lining. This can cause significant blood loss, leading to iron deficiency anemia.
  • Cancer. Rarely, gastrointestinal bleeding can be caused by cancer of the stomach or colon.

Causes in women

The most common causes of iron deficiency anemia in women are:

  • Menorrhagia, which is the name for a condition whereby women experience unusually or particularly heavy menstrual bleeding over several consecutive cycles. The heaviness of the bleeding causes the overall blood level to decline, triggering iron deficiency anemia.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body requires extra iron to deliver the required amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Many women experience iron deficiency anemia because of this diversion of blood to the baby.

What complications can arise from iron deficiency anemia?

Generally, most people do not develop any serious complication from their iron deficiency anemia. But some people do, and here are the most common complications:

  • Tired/lethargic: Iron deficiency anemia can make you feel tired, weak and lethargic, making it more difficult to be productive and effective in the workplace. You might feel abnormally sleepy, and find it difficult to exercise normally.
  • Weakened immune system. Severe iron deficiency anemia can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, the flu, and other illnesses, as well as infections.
  • Heart/lung complications. Severe anemia cases are at risk of developing tachycardia, which is an abnormally fast heartbeat, or heart failure, where the heart becomes unable to pump blood at its peak level of effectiveness. It has to work overtime to get the levels of oxygen where they should be.
  • Pregnancy complications. Women with severe iron deficiency anemia who become pregnant increase their risk for developing pregnancy complications during pregnancy and have a higher risk for post-natal depression.



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.




Subscribe


Sign up for the HHO newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news within the practice and the community.



    © HHO 2022. All rights reserved. Designed by DRAW