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Posts Tagged “Cancer Care”

Tracking Cancer Treatment Side Effects May Increase Longevity

Phoenix home care

Learn the benefits of tracking cancer treatment side effects.

Technology continues to amaze us with new developments available seemingly on a daily basis. The latest fascinating technological advance that has caught the eye of our Phoenix home care team at Nightingale Homecare is the ability to track cancer treatment side effects, allowing patients to remain proactive in their care and enhance their overall wellness – and even live longer.

There are several new apps available, with varying levels of engagement required on the part of the user. For instance, the app Breast Cancer Ally includes questions for patients to answer related to the severity of any side effects experienced. Based on answers provided, the app offers solutions for the patient to try, or if symptoms are too severe, advises contacting the person’s doctor.

Dr. Michael Sabel, University of Michigan professor of surgical oncology, who developed the app, explains, “The goal is to intervene early and to keep these patients out of the emergency room.

Another physician, Dr. Ethan Basch, conducted research on cancer patients who either utilized an app to report their side effects or who did not, and discovered that the app users achieved an increase in longevity of as much as five months over the other patients.

A different approach was taken in another new app that requires even less participation from cancer patients to track their symptoms, utilizing a Fitbit to collect information on the patient’s behaviors, such as number of steps taken, calls and texts made, and other details. The information can then be reviewed for any patterns, and ensure steps are taken for more effective symptom management. Dr. Carissa Low, who created the study, believes that, “…there might be changes in behavior that are detectable even before the patient is aware that they’re having more fatigue. So, it might be like an early warning system.”

And the results of the study were astounding; a full 88% accuracy in determining the symptom severity level in cancer patients who simply wore the device.

With all of its amazing benefits, however, technology will never rival the one-on-one care provided by professional home health care experts, like those at Nightingale Homecare. We provide the compassionate, highly skilled, individualized care for those with cancer from diagnosis through treatment and beyond, ensuring that any concerns are addressed immediately with the patient’s physician.

Contact the Phoenix home care professionals at Nightingale Homecare any time to learn more about our specialized cancer care, or any of our other in-home care solutions, by calling (602) 504-1555. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, or to schedule a free in-home consultation at your convenience.

Caring for a Loved One with Cancer

Cancer CareWhen a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, life as we know it can suddenly come to a halt. As difficult as it is for the person receiving the diagnosis, it’s also often challenging and overwhelming for those providing care. Whether your role is providing comfort and emotional support, hands-on assistance with transportation or help around the house, or simply stopping by to visit and lift the person’s spirits, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you’re providing the very best possible care. The Scottsdale home health care team at Nightingale Homecare offers the following suggestions:

  • Develop a team of support. We’re stronger when we work together and trying to provide care for a loved one with cancer is much more effective when family members, friends, and neighbors band together to utilize their individual strengths. Maybe you’re especially talented in cooking, and can prepare healthy meals for the person, while a family member takes care of mowing the lawn and the neighbors take turns driving the cancer patient to her medical treatments. In sharing responsibilities, no one person experiences burnout, and your loved one’s needs can be fully and cheerfully met.
  • Take time to listen. While it may seem as though the person with cancer would welcome the distractions of talking about anything but the cancer itself, the reverse is often true. Ask if she would like to share her feelings about what she’s going through, and if so, devote as much time as needed to simply listen. It’s also human nature to want to try to come up with solutions for our loved ones, but often all the person really needs is the chance to talk and know that she is heard and loved.
  • Arm yourself with education. Learning as much as possible about your loved one’s particular type of cancer will help you better understand what to expect as she works through a treatment plan, and therefore to provide the best possible assistance. For instance, if she’s undergoing a round of chemotherapy, learn what the potential side effects are, and how to help combat them, such as preparing certain types of meals that will be more tolerable, avoiding the use of metal when cooking to combat the metallic aftertaste experienced by some, and more.
  • Keep in mind who the person was pre-cancer. It’s easy to allow a cancer diagnosis to overshadow everything else, but taking time for normal activities and interests can help the person keep a healthier perspective. Spend time together enjoying the same types of pursuits you did before the diagnosis, or create a modified version if needed, such as taking a slower-paced walk together around the neighborhood instead of a high-intensity aerobics workout at the gym.
  • Nightingale Homecare can help! The Scottsdale home health care professionals at Nightingale Homecare are trained and experienced in cancer care, whether the need is for transportation, maintaining a clean home and preparing meals, assisting with bathing and dressing, skilled nursing care, or chronic disease management services. We are available for as much, or as little assistance as needed, to allow family members the opportunity to spend quality time with their loved one.

We’d love to share more cancer care resources with you, or to arrange for an in-home consultation to learn more about the challenges your loved one with cancer is facing and provide solutions to make life easier and more comfortable. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 any time.

Nightingale Home Care Answers Your Top Colorectal Cancer Questions

Colorectal CancerIt’s the screening we all dread – but its ability to save lives should motivate each of us to discuss with our doctors when we turn 50. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with over 95,000 cases predicted to be diagnosed this year. And since as many as 49,000 people will die from the disease, it’s important to understand what we can do to prevent it.

Screening for Colon Cancer

For most adults, the American Cancer Society recommends starting screening at age 50, although those at higher risk for colorectal cancer might need to begin earlier.

Common screening tools for colorectal cancers include:

  • Occult Blood Test: A stool sample is checked for blood, which might be a sign of a polyp or cancer.
  • Stool DNA Test:A stool sample is checked for certain abnormal sections of DNA from cancer or polyp cells.
  • Sigmoidoscopy:A flexible, lighted tube examines the lower colon to check for polyps and cancer.
  • Colonoscopy:A longer, flexible tube is used to look at the entire colon and rectum.
  • Double-Contrast Barium Enema:An x-ray test of the colon and rectum.
  • CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy):This is a type of 3D CT scan of the colon and rectum.

Most physicians don’t continue testing beyond age 75 if the patient has been receiving regular screenings since age 50 and has had consistently negative results.

Risk Factors

Researchers have found the risk factors below may increase a person’s chance of developing colorectal polyps (the precursor to cancer) or colorectal cancer.

Lifestyle Choice Risk Factors You Can Change:

  • Physical Inactivity: Regular exercise can reduce your risk.
  • Smoking History: If you smoke, stop; if you haven’t started, don’t.
  • Heavy Alcohol Use: Consuming more than three alcoholic drinks per day, or more than seven drinks per week, can increase your risk.
  • Obesity: A healthy weight can help prevent a variety of types of cancer.
  • Diet: Diets high in red meat and processed meats and lacking in fruits and vegetables can increase your risk.

Risk Factors You Cannot Change:

  • Age: Over 90% of diagnosed colorectal cancers are in those over age 50.
  • Medical/Family History: Inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and family history all impact a person’s risk of developing colorectoral cancer.
  • Inherited Syndromes: Familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner syndrome, Lynch syndrome, Turcot syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, MUTYH-associated polyposis are risk factors for developing colorectal cancer at a younger age than is usual.
  • Racial/Ethnic Background: People of African American and Jewish descent are at higher risk.

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Cancer symptoms are quite varied and depend on where the cancer is located, where it has spread, and how large the tumor is. More often, there are no symptoms in the early stages, and symptoms develop as the disease progresses and the tumor(s) grow. Those symptoms can include:

  • Changes in bowel regularity: diarrhea or constipation
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Frequent urges to defecate
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Narrow stools
  • Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Anemia

If the cancer spreads, or “metastasizes,” additional symptoms can present in the newly affected area.

Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix is dedicated to helping older adults live the healthiest possible lives, while remaining in the comfort of home. Contact us at 602-504-1555 to learn more about our professional home health care services.

Posted in Blog, Phoenix, Senior Health on January 17th, 2017 · Comments Off on Nightingale Home Care Answers Your Top Colorectal Cancer Questions