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Fertility options for women with cancer

women fertilityAs many as 15% of all couples have difficulty becoming pregnant or meet the definition for infertility, but for those undergoing treatment for cancer the number can be even higher. This post discusses fertility options for women with cancer. Men, you haven’t been left out, my September blog discussed your fertility options, so you haven’t been left out.

For women who are undergoing cancer treatments, experts recommend they wait at least one year after treatment ends to have a fertility evaluation. This time is needed to allow the body to recover and readjust to Continue reading

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TAVR patient gets back to enjoying life

Marilyn Reeve TAVR 320x320

TAVR patient Marilyn Reeve

Marilyn Reeve’s heart issues started with quadruple bypass surgery at age 59. Ten years later, she began having trouble walking short distances, needing to stop often to catch her breath. The diagnosis was aortic valve stenosis. Due to her health history, open-heart surgery was out of the question, according to her doctor. “She recommended I go to the University of Michigan to see if there was anything they could do for me,” Marilyn says.

Fortunately, Marilyn was a candidate for Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), a procedure for those who cannot tolerate open-heart surgery. Marilyn’s TAVR procedure was a success. “I had my procedure on a Friday and was home on Monday. It’s marvelous what they can do,” she says.

Today, at age 70, Marilyn is back to doing all her own yard work as well as other physical things she couldn’t have done two years ago. She credits the entire U-M TAVR team with helping her get her health back. “U-M is the best hospital ever,” she says. Continue reading

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Two courageous stories of breast cancer and survival

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman’s life is about 1 in 8 (12%). The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2014 are:

  • About 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 62,570 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 40,000 women will die from breast cancer.

Our patients are our heroes

Here at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, our corridors are filled with patients and their loved ones. Each one is a hero. Here are the stories of two of our patients:

A Shockingly Simple Way: When Flora Migyanka was diagnosed in 2012, she learned how quickly life is brought into perspective by a breast cancer diagnosis. Flora shares her story:

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What can history teach us about Ebola?

A U-M medical historian offers lessons from past outbreaks to put today’s news in perspective

Ellis Island screening

Today’s airport Ebola screenings are a long way off from the medical exams at Ellis Island 100 years ago

The constant stream of news about Ebola right now is enough to scare anyone.

Whether it’s the epidemic in West Africa, the isolated cases in the U.S. and Europe, the impact on travelers, or the search for new treatments and vaccines, the headlines just keep coming at us.

But a U-M doctor and medical historian says it’s time to step back, and get some perspective on the situation.

After all, says Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., we’ve all been here before, and history teaches us a great deal about how societies respond to epidemics and handle the fears associated with them. Markel directs the U-M Center for the History of Medicine, and is a professor in the U-M Medical School, School of Public Health and Department of History.

Q: The scary headlines come at us constantly. How concerned should the average American be?

A: You should pay attention, certainly, but, at this point in time, there’s no need to get into the frenzy about Ebola in the United States. We all need to take a breath and do a reality check.

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Heart of a Hunter: Easy things to do to protect the heart

Excitement and physical exertion of hunting can be intense

In just a few weeks, Michigan’s regular firearm season begins and tens of thousands of #1BlogImageV2.fw
camouflaged hunters will head for the woods and shorelines.

For some hunters, heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests can be brought on by the strenuous exercise and dramatic bursts of activity that hunting can bring.

Fortunately, hunters can take steps now to protect themselves from heart dangers later this fall – and to make sure they’ll know what to do if a fellow hunter goes down.

Some of the easiest things to do right away include:

  • Getting a pre-hunt medical checkup, with special attention to the heart for those who have had heart problems in the past
  • Starting a daily walking routine or other exercise regimen in the weeks before hitting the woods
  • Learning CPR and first aid

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Tricia Kachin’s gift of healing

Tricia Kachin was the child of a typical modern day American family, complete with a mom, dad, siblings, a step-mom and a step-dad. At the time of her Hodgkin Lymphoma diagnosis in 2010, the blended family still felt the repercussions of divorce, remarriage and the passing of her father, Ray. All the “Kachins” pulled together during Tricia’s journey with cancer and emerged strong – Kachin Strong, as Tricia described her family.

“Trish and I rekindled our friendship during her treatment. We learned through her illness to redefine ‘family’ because we were united in making her well. Unification and healing were two of her many gifts to us,” step-mom Michele Mitchell remembers.

Initially hopeful for recovery, Tricia soon learned her recovery was in doubt. She refused to accept this prognosis and for nearly four years, she was tested, scanned and biopsied. She even had her stem cells extracted at the University of Michigan in hopes of a bone marrow transplant at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

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