Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. accounting for one of every four deaths and exceeded only by heart disease. In 2008, there will be about 1,437,180 new cancer cases. Of those, about 565,650 Americans are expected to die of cancer–more than 1,500 people a day. The effects of cancer reverberate through our society, affecting families, communities, and costing billions of dollars each year. The National Institutes of Health estimate overall costs of cancer in 2007 at $219.2 billion. With such staggering numbers, medical and health professionals recognize the need for an aggressive approach to this terrible disease. With the efforts of organizations including the American Cancer Society and research hospitals and institutes, science and medicine is gaining in the battle against cancer. Treatment options have become increasingly effective and more is being learned about cause and prevention. The first-ever vaccine to prevent cancer is now available for cervical cancer, and gives hope to others who are suffering that a cure is within reach.

In Louisiana, research, prevention and treatment options are available. Hospitals like Oschner and Tulane Medical Center provide state-of-the-art testing, diagnosis and treatment options and the American Cancer Society offers programs, research and assistance. Support groups such as Reach to Recovery breast cancer support program and the Man to Man prostate cancer support groups allow those suffering a place to learn and listen. Individuals can also do their part in preventing cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices, getting regular screenings for early detection, and understanding the advances available for treatment. Here are some organizations in Louisiana that have joined in the fight against cancer.

EDUCATION

Fighting Cancer on all fronts, the American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. The American Cancer Society’s research program annually invests $130 million. They have funded 42 Nobel Prize winners early in their careers and have been instrumental in many breakthroughs, including a cure for childhood leukemia with combination chemotherapy, the discovery of cancer-causing oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, the use of Pap smears and mammography in cancer detection, Lumpectomy and radiation for treatment of breast cancer, the PSA test for prostate cancer, 5-FU chemotherapy for colon cancer and more. With this commitment to research, the American Cancer Society has helped cancer survival rates climb. In 1946, only one in four cancer patients lived at least five years beyond their initial diagnosis; now, almost 60 percent live longer than five years. This year, the American Cancer Society of Louisiana invests in two new research grants of $1.4 million for Shile Huang, Ph.D., of Louisiana State University in Shreveport and Yan Dong, Ph.D., of Tulane University in New Orleans. Additionally, the American Cancer Society offers support groups to ensure no one goes through cancer alone, along with education for early detection and prevention, and assistance programs.
    For more information visit www.cancer.org or call (800) ACS-2345 and speak with a trained cancer information specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to providing support and health guidance to all of its members with cancer, who have had cancer and those at risk. The group understands the challenges that their members and their families face, and has a variety of benefit plans and resources to assist them.
    
The Blue Cross Web site, www.bcbsla.com, has Preventive Health Guidelines which provides a wealth of information on ways to avoid many dangerous conditions for every age group. The Web site and many member newsletters also provide many resources for the most up-to-date information. Most Blue Cross policies also cover certain preventive screenings for several types of cancer with first-dollar coverage. The Medical Management department offers many health management services to help its members live a quality life.
    
Blue Cross has long been a dedicated community partner in the fight against cancer. They have given more than $130,000 this year alone to various cancer support organizations throughout the state of Louisiana with thousands more to go. These organizations handle a wide variety of services from research to family support.
    
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has been a symbol of quality and stability in Louisiana for 75 years and they’re committed to the health of Louisianans for many years to come.

TREATMENT

At The Ochsner Cancer Institute, a team of dedicated and caring health professionals utilize the latest technology to ensure quality care for cancer patients. By blending a clinic practice with the hospital specialists, Ochsner is able to diagnose and treat all cancers through a multi-disciplinary team of experts, including surgeons, pathologists, oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists and specialists. Furthermore, an electronic medical records system allows physician’s simultaneous access to patient information from the New Orleans-based Jefferson Highway hospital, at Ochsner’s neighborhood health centers or at one of Ochsner’s many regional hospitals. This system enables faster, more informed diagnosis and treatment. For early detection, Ochsner provides the most advanced screening technologies such as advanced digital breast imaging, Breast MRI and diagnostic ultrasound. The 64-slice CT and PET/CT scans help identify even the smallest malignancies; IGRT technology targets and treats the cancers along with chemotherapy, while sub-specialized pathologists focus on detecting early cancerous cells in tissue and blood samples. Following cancer treatment, Ochsner offers support groups and American Cancer Society programs. Patient protocols are based on NCCN Guidelines and Ochsner uses an electronic system for patient tracking and care, helping patients get healthy and stay cancer-free. Ochsner offers free cancer screenings to the public on a regular basis. Call (504) 842-3708 or visit www.ochsner.org to learn more.

The Tulane Cancer Center provides cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation with an emphasis on convenience for patients and a team approach to comprehensive cancer care.  In the coming months, Tulane Cancer Center will undergo a major expansion. The capacity of its radiation oncology services will double following the purchase of a second state-of-the-art Varian Trilogy linear accelerator, which will upgrade the program’s image-guided radiation therapy capability. Additionally, the infusion center will increase its capacity by 50 percent, going from 14 to 21 chairs. Tulane Medical Center is also building a brand new 26-bed, high-tech inpatient oncology unit that will house stem cell transplant, leukemia and other oncology patients, and the stem cell transplant laboratory is doubling in size. Tulane Cancer Center’s outpatient clinical facility will expand to 25,000-square-feet, with the addition of a second nurses’ station and several new exam rooms, while continuing to offer a minor procedures area, a patient resource library, cancer counseling, and an office of clinical research, in addition to radiation oncology and infusion services. Expanding to offer more patients the advantages of leading-edge academic cancer care, the Tulane Cancer Center provides each patient the very best course of action in a modern environment of convenience and compassion.
    To learn more visit www.tulanecancer.org or call (504) 988-6300.

Accredited with Commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the only program in Louisiana in 2007 to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award the Cancer Center of Thibodaux Regional is a free-standing facility in Thibodaux that uses leading edge technology to detect and treat cancer utilizing the most up-to-date in CT, MRI and PET scans. With success rates that match or exceed national averages, the Cancer Center of Thibodaux Regional provides patients with a team of physicians and medical professionals, from Radiation Oncologists for radiation therapy and treatment, to Medical Oncologists for chemotherapy and surgeons who treat cancer. The Center’s Radiation Oncology Department is equipped with Trilogy, the latest state-of-the-art technology, which provides Image Guided Radiation – IGRT, Intensity Modulated Radiation – IMRT as well as SRS – Stereotactic Radiosurgery. The Center also provides Prostate Seed Implants or Prostate Brachytherapy as well as robotic prostatectomy. Staffed by compassionate, experienced professionals who work to treat the patient and then provide the best in aftercare services, including Home Health Services and Lymphedema Management for Breast Cancer Patients, the Cancer Center of Thibodaux Regional has been providing quality cancer care for more than 13 years.
    To find out more about health fairs, screenings, or cancer care options, call (985) 493-4700 or visit www.thibodaux.com.

East Jefferson General Hospital, located in Metairie is an affiliate of M. D. Anderson Physicians Network, giving it access to the latest, evidence-based treatment protocols and processes, developed by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the nation’s leader in cancer care.

    With more than 100 detailed regimens for the diagnosis and treatment of almost every type and stage of cancer, affiliation gives EJGH the tools necessary to provide a broad range of cancer services to the residents of Southeastern Louisiana. And patients remain close to important support systems, such as family, friends and primary physicians. EJGH credentialed physicians also provide access to the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, when appropriate.
    
The Radiology Department at East Jefferson General Hospital is among the most advanced in the country. East Jefferson has a unique technological combination that is matched by only five hospitals in America. The ability to locate and identify cancer at its earliest, most treatable stage gives patients more hope in their fight against cancer.
    
In addition to outstanding technology and physicians, the cancer care navigator program at EJGH guides you and your family during every step of your cancer journey. For more information, go to www.ejgh.org/cancercare.

Each year, thousands of children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer. At The LaNasa-Greco Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital, competent professionals work to treat all types of malignancies and blood disorders in children, including leukemias, solid tumors, brain tumors, soft tissue and other types of cancer. Using the most up-to-date technologies including Cobe Spectra for harvesting stem cells, CT scans, PET scans, MRI chemotherapy, specialized blood products and mini infusers for chemotherapy, Children’s Hospital employs a multi-disciplinary approach to treat its pediatric patients. Children’s Hospital has on-site psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers to assist patients and their families with the financial and psychological struggles that often come with diagnosis. A state-of-the-art HIPA filtration system with positive pressure allows bone marrow transplant patients to leave their rooms, interacting with other kids and participating in fun activities. Children’s Hospital also has bone marrow transplant coordinators, pharmacists, dieticians, laboratory technologists, and physical, occupational, speech and hearing, music and recreation and child life therapists, who follow patients in recovery to ensure continued health after successful treatment.
    To learn more visit www.chnola.org.

For women, Tulane’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Department has expert clinical physicians and access to some of the best resources in the area and the ability to refer issues to other Tulane Physicians in every specialty. The mission of the Gynecological Cancer service at Tulane University is to provide total comprehensive care for women with preinvasive or invasive gynecological malignancies in an environment that is compassionate, conducive to learning for patients, their families and physicians, and that fosters research in order to improve the current knowledge in the cause and treatment of cancer. The Tulane Ob/Gyn department provides radical, reconstructive, conservative and minimally invasive surgery, as well as management of chemotherapy for gynecological cancers. Together with their radiation oncology colleagues, they provide radiation therapy with state-of-the-art equipment. Active involvement in clinical trials keeps Tulane at the forefront of cancer research and provides access to treatment options otherwise unavailable to patients. In addition, Tulane Ob/Gyn physicians collaborate closely with Tulane scientists to develop new treatments for cancer. Tulane’s multi-disciplinary approach offers patients the finest in gynecological cancer care. As a member of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium the Department provides cancer tissue for basic cancer research related to gynecological malignancies. For more information, call the Tulane Center for Women’s Health  at (504) 780-4560 or the Tulane Cancer Center at (504) 988-6060, or visitwww.som.tulane.edu/departments/ob-gyn/WomensCenter.html.

For those diagnosed with tumors of the brain and spine, Culicchia Neurological Clinic combines patient excellence and medical expertise. Dr. Ivo Tremont is the region’s only neuro-oncologist. He works closely with neurosurgeon Frank Culicchia, M.D. to formulate a treatment plan for brain tumors. As part of a team that diagnoses and manages both primary and metastic brain tumors, Dr. Tremont can evaluate patients to either rule out cancer or diagnose a cancer that may present with stroke-like or migraine-like symptoms. Doctors then work to create a treatment plan, using the most sophisticated technologies like CyberKnife. CyberKnife’s robotic arm focuses only on the cancer tissue and attacks malignant and benign tumors from more than 1,200 different angles. No incisions. No pain. CyberKnife synchronizes itself with the patient to compensate for any slight movements during treatment. It is the one of the few radiosurgical devices that allows treatment of both intracranial and extra-cranial lesions anywhere in the body. With close-to-home convenience, the medical team at Culicchia Neurological Clinic is part of the process, from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and aftercare. Culicchia Neurological Clinic has two offices to serve patients one is at
1111 Medical Center Blvd., Suite S-750, Marrero. The other is at 3434 Prytania St., Suite 230 New Orleans. For appointments call (504) 340-6976 or visit www.culicchianeuro.com for more information.

SERVICES

Dealing with cancer encompasses more than just medical procedures. “People diagnosed with cancer have special health care needs that, thankfully, can be addressed by a host of medical products,” says Sheila Bond, R.N. and co-owner of Total Health Solutions. Total Health Solutions offers products to help with the effects of the disease and its treatment. For women, there are wigs, hats, and sleep caps to help deal with hair loss, along with post-surgical garments, mastectomy bras and breast forms, lymphedema garments to reduce swelling, and special skin care products to address the effects of radiation and chemotherapy. Total Health Solution also carries ostomy, wound care, and urological supplies, along with washable and disposable briefs and pads for instances of incontinence. For impaired mobility, Total Health Solutions offers canes, walkers, lightweight wheelchairs, power wheelchairs and scooters. There are also products to assist with bathroom safety. “Helping families learn about products that will best meet their needs is what we specialize in,” says Bond, and many products may be covered by health insurance. Those suffering with cancer can find comfort and compassion at Total Health Solutions. Their Metairie store has a huge storeroom with hundreds of products, and a separate Caring for Women Boutique with private fitting rooms and female staff.
    Total Health Solutions is located at  3211 North Causeway in Metairie. Call (504) 834-8114 for more information or visit www.TotalHealthSolutionsHME.com.

As early detection is the key to cure, Dr. Penelope Treece performs Breast and Aesthetic Surgery in her private practice, Southern Aesthetics, in Metairie. She is on staff at Lakeside, Oschner Baptist, Meadowcreast, Doctors Same Day Surgery, and Jefferson Ambulatory, to name a few. Dr. Treece completed her residency at Louisiana State University Department of Surgery where she published research on the development of a new technique for breast reconstruction. Her practice scope focuses on the “breast trinity;” that is, putting together the three components necessary for complete breast health: exam, mammogram and ultrasound.  “Breast care is scattered at best,” says Dr. Treece. “You go to one doctor for an exam, another for a mammogram, and most women don’t even get an ultrasound although her mammogram may state the breasts are dense, which is really saying that the mammogram isn’t adequate to see into the tissues. The doctor who examines you doesn’t usually see your mammogram and the doctor who reads your mammogram doesn’t usually examine you. Then if you do need an ultrasound, another doctor comes into play. Is there any other part of the body we treat in such a haphazard manner?” At Dr. Treece’s office, all three components are put together and if you do need a biopsy, it can usually be done right in the office. In addition, there is new gene testing, for women of all ages and not just those with a family history, which can be done to help with surgical decisions. “Women should be informed of the issues and ask to be referred to a doctor who concentrates on breast disease and surgery to assure the most comprehensive care.”
    Southern Aesthetics is located at 3815 Hessmer St. in Metairie. Call (504) 779-7749 for more information.

Westbank Plastic Surgery performs cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery and microsurgery. They perform breast reconstruction surgery, including DIEP flaps and removal for those who have had full or partial mastectomies. Additionally, Westbank Plastic Surgery performs removal and reconstruction surgery for skin cancers. With a caring staff, Westbank Plastic surgery works to provide moral support for all its patients. They offer regular follow up care to ensure best results. Early treatment of cancer provides a better prognosis, and feeling good about one’s appearance helps those with cancer to return to their normal lives after diagnosis.
    Westbank Plastic Surgery is located at 1111 Medical Center Blvd., Ste. South 640 in Marrero. For more information or to make an appointment, call (504) 349-6460. Their Web site, soon to be available, is www.westbankplasticsurgery.com.

TOTAL WELLNESS
The treatment for cancer sometimes has side effect on the heart. Therefore, good cardiac care must be coordinated with cancer care.

The Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute encompasses leading clinical, educational and research programs for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The clinical program offers a broad and comprehensive array of cardiovascular services including advanced interventional cardiology, arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation management, heart failure and cardiac transplantation, cardiac surgery and peripheral vascular disease management. Cutting-edge diagnostic imaging capabilities, including 64-slice CT angiography, allow for the early detection and prevention of cardiovascular disease and its complications. Tulane University Hospital and Clinic is the only accredited Chest Pain Center in the state of Louisiana.
    
Together with the School of Public Health, the Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute has for more than 40 years been the site of the world-renowned Bogalusa heart study, a population-based longitudinal study of cardiac risk factors under the direction of Dr. Gerald Berenson. The Institute, under the director of Dr. Patrick Delafontaine, is the recipient of two large National Institute of Health grants, worth about three-quarters of a million dollars annually, to conduct cardiovascular research for the next five years.
    
For an appointment at either our Metairie clinic or downtown clinic, dial (504) 988-5800 or (800) 588-5800. Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute is committed and here to serve.

Cardiovascular Institute of the South (CIS) is one of the nation’s most respected groups of cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and thoracic surgeons, representing nearly every specialty in heart and vascular medicine. While most leading medical centers are located in a single facility within a large city, CIS and its staff of more than 500 dedicated CIS team members and nearly 40 physicians bring comprehensive cardiovascular care close to home by serving patients in 10 locations throughout south Louisiana, great for those who need to stay in a single location for treatment. CIS offers a comprehensive heart and vascular program that includes specialized medical professionals trained in nuclear cardiology, electrophysiology, prevention services and lipid management, as well as interventional cardiovascular procedures and cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. CIS is a world-leader in treating peripheral vascular disease. CIS physicians serve as clinical investigators for many new and innovative medical devices and often share their knowledge by lecturing around the country about the latest methods of treating both cardiac and peripheral vascular disease. For more information, visit www.cardio.com