Do You Know Cancer’s Warning Signs?

16087_Healthy-You-Tip-Adam-KotklewiczThrough the years, you tend to develop a working knowledge of the warning signs of many illnesses either from your own experience or through the experience of others. You start sneezing and have a runny nose, you’ll probably think you’re getting a cold or having allergy problems. If you experience chest tightness or a shortness of breath, you know it might mean a heart attack.

Cancer has some classic warning signs as well, but a recent study indicated that many people either don’t know about them or simply choose to ignore them. That study was conducted in England and focused on 1,700 people age 50 and older, asking them if they had experienced certain symptoms in the previous three months. If they responded yes to any of the symptoms, they were asked to list a possible cause and then add if they considered the symptom serious enough to consult a doctor. Read More »

LVHN to Join Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance


LVHN and Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center — the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center — announced today the beginning of a unique collaboration aimed at improving LVHN patients’ access to the latest and most effective cancer treatments and highest caliber cancer care. MSK president and chief executive officer (CEO) Craig Thompson, MD, announced that an agreement has been signed for LVHN to join the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance. The announcement was made in the Cancer Center atrium at LVH–Cedar Crest with numerous physicians and leaders from both organizations in attendance. View highlights from Tuesday’s event in the video on the right.

Established in 2013, the MSK Cancer Alliance is a partnership between Memorial Sloan Kettering and community oncology providers. Its goal is to bring the most current knowledge and advanced cancer care into the community setting. In September 2014, Hartford HealthCare, a multihospital health care system in Connecticut, became MSK’s first alliance member. LVHN will be its second member. Read More »

Is a Clinical Trial Right for You?


You have cancer. In the course of your journey, your doctor suggested that a research study – called a clinical trial – might prove beneficial to you. You likely have questions. What would you be getting yourself into? What sort of chances are you taking? Should you participate? Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) hematologist oncologist Suresh Nair, MD, with LVPG Hematology Oncology–1240 Cedar Crest is here to help you answer these questions.

“Many clinical trials involve treatments that have shown significant promise in being more effective than existing therapies,” Nair says. “Additionally, the risk/benefit analysis in clinical trials is carefully reviewed and monitored, and trials are conducted in phases, each with a different purpose. This is done to ensure low risks and proper procedures at all times.” Read More »

When the Best Cancer Treatment Is No Treatment


Promising new medications recently have been approved for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells that fight infection. Many people who used these medications in clinical trials went into partial or complete remission, or experienced longer periods of time in which the cancer did not progress. Even though these new medications are effective, they may not be the best treatment for every person with CLL.

“For people who have a type of cancer that grows slowly (like CLL or prostate cancer), often the best thing to do is watch and wait,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network hematologist oncologist Harvey Hotchner, MD, with Lehigh Valley Physician Group Hematology Oncology—Alliance Drive. “Active treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation are not always the first recommendation.” Read More »

Check In: What’s Your Risk for Colon-Rectal Cancer?

Check Your Colon-Rectal Risk

Usman Shah, MD

Usman Shah, MD
Hematology oncology
Watch a video to learn more about him.

What do these people have in common?

  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Sharon Osbourne, television personality and wife of heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne
  • Cartoonist Charles Schultz, creator of “Charlie Brown”

Each was diagnosed with colon-rectal cancer. Ginsberg and Osbourne survived their disease. Schultz did not.

“Over the years, colon-rectal cancer has had occasions when it is a ‘talked about’ topic, thanks to well-known people revealing and sharing their illness,” says Usman Shah, MD, hematologist-oncologist with LVPG Hematology Oncology–1240 Cedar Crest. “But it is still a condition people feel awkward discussing or being screened for, and that’s where I say, ‘Let’s talk about this,’ because the disease is worse than momentary embarrassment.” Read More »