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Today is Boob Pancake Day


Yes we make jokes about our Mammograms and they actually used to feel like the garage door had closed down on them.  Now it is a must have yearly if you really would like to be a woman who cares about your body.  I am heading to get my yearly mammogram and yes I blog about it to remind women around the world to schedule theirs.  It might just save your life.

I schedule my GYN exam and my yearly physical within the same week of each other each year so that I do not forget.  Then I schedule my Mammogram at my yearly physical to get my referral.  That way once a year my body has been through the microscope and I am finished and do not have to worry for another year.

May 2011 Cancer Again

Have you made your appointment?  Get on the phone.  It may save your life.

 

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Day One: Unlock the Mind


writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

 

Unlocking my mind might be a dangerous thing to do.  Once this twenty-minute exercise is over we might just see how dangerous that was.
The exercise is a very basic idea of just let the ideas flow for twenty-five minutes and keep typing to see what happens.  That sounds so easy until you get going.
You find your mind suddenly going in a thousand different directions.

I sat here looking at my keyboard for inspiration and decided to rather just look at my screen and let my fingers do the talking like my cat does.  It always works for him.
Amazingly enough it does flow better.

To update my readers who have been following my blogs since late November, my hubby did go in and have the Double hernia surgery just before Christmas and was home in time to recuperate for Christmas.  Still not feeling too well we did not do much for New Year’s and just gave him a relaxation and get well time.
We had a lot of follow-up visits to different doctors which were painful for him.  He was a trooper through them all and we were able to get through them.

January 16th he had a portion of his lower lip and inner mouth removed and two weeks later we were informed that it was Stage 3 Melanoma Cancer.

Our lives totally went spinning out of control.

We had several bad snow storms and ice storms and had to reschedule appointments.  March 17th my hubby checked into a facility and began a new phase of his life.
One week later he returned home and our true lives began and we were able to start to face the possibilities that we were going to have to endure in the future.
We both began to attend the Oakwood Free Methodist Church across the street from us and my hubby began to find peace with life.
May came along and we were finally able to see the specialist at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville Tennessee and what a different approach this doctor had.
She marked his face and stood next to my hubby and I and listened to what he had to say.

She then told him that he only had Stage 1 squamosal Cell Cancer and that she would remove it all before he left from his next visit.

This was a true answer from prayers.

Now he has undergone three surgeries for his mouth and lip and has fully recovered from the surgeries.  You can’t tell that he even had a surgery unless he really shows you that he did.

He has been alcohol free since St. Patrick’s Day.  Life has been quite a blessing with a ton of answered prayers.  We would both like to take a moment and thank everyone who has prayed for us during our time since November and has sent us various notes of encouragement and prayer thoughts.

That was a fast twenty five minutes.  Although I did have several interruptions it still did actually flow quite easily.  I was still able to stay focused enough to stay right on topic and not go into three million directions.

Thank you for reading.

Hopefully now that my life is calming down I will also be getting back into my Cooking and Cookbook blogs as well.

Till tomorrow…..

 


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Findings Along The Way Part III


We have been busy through the Easter Holiday Season and Happy Holidays to all of our friends.  If you are celebrating Shabbat I realize that you might not be reading this yet but hope that your Holiday is blessed.

Our blood work did not come back and actually had to be retaken.  They had not ran the actual test for the various types of cancer.

Ultimately, that meant another week of waiting.  Just as we were able to get the results back we were back to the surgeon the same day after a call from our doctor that morning to confirm that there was no Prostate, Pancreatic, liver or kidney either.  What puzzled both doctors what that if he had been diagnosed with stage 3 that it should have not been dormant and should have shown also in one of those tests.

The big day arrived and we went off to Vanderbilt to see the specialist there.  What a great place.
Talk about fast.  We were in to see the doctor before his son could park and catch up to us.
I had left instructions that his son would be joining us so that when he came in they sent him right in with us.

This doctor was thorough and checked the entire site.  She even marked him for surgery.
She listened to his concerns and questions and answered them as well as mine and his sons.
She announced that it was stage 1 and was just in the first layer of skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma, although more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma, is highly treatable. It accounts for about 20 percent of all skin cancers. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as nodules or red, scaly patches of skin, and may be found on sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, lips, and mouth. However, if left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body. This type of skin cancer is usually found in fair-skinned people.

– See more at: http://www.vanderbilthealth.com/includes/healthtopics/article.php?ContentTypeId=85&ContentId=P00724&Category=SearchAZ&SubtopicId=30914&lang=en&section=33113&term=s&searchType=az&fullText=#sthash.QagRMMAa.dpuf

It was not what we had dreaded and we will be going on April 30th to have it removed.

Some other great findings along the way:

Am I At Risk for Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

 

radiation

Being exposed to radiation, such as having it as part of treatment for breast or cervical cancer, can increase your risk for soft tissue sarcoma.

 

There is really no way to know for sure if you’re going to get soft tissue sarcoma. Most people who get this type of cancer have no risk factors. Remember, just because you have one or more risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will get soft tissue sarcoma. In fact, most people do not. You can have all the risk factors and still not get soft tissue sarcoma, or you can have no known risk factors and still get it.

While the majority of people who get soft tissue sarcomas have no known risk factors, certain things can make one person more likely to get a soft tissue sarcoma than another person. These are the known risk factors for soft tissue sarcoma.

People who have had high-dose radiation to treat other cancers, such as breast or cervical cancer, have a slightly higher risk of developing a soft tissue sarcoma. In general, routine X-rays and diagnostic tests do not put people at a higher risk of soft tissue sarcoma.

Chronic lymphedema (where fluid collects in the tissue and causes swelling) after radiation to lymph nodes, or surgical removal of lymph nodes is also a risk factor.

People who have worked with or have been around certain chemicals may be at greater risk of developing soft tissue sarcoma. It is not known for certain, but it is thought that high exposure to herbicides, as well as the chemical dioxin and chlorophenols, may increase the risk.

If someone in your family has certain diseases, you may be more at risk for developing a soft tissue sarcoma. If you have many family members who have had sarcoma or other cancers at a young age, ask your health care provider about genetic testing to see if you are at greater risk for developing a sarcoma. You may have inherited a gene that is defective if anyone in your family had one of these diseases:

  • Neurofibromatosis. This disease runs in families. In this disease, noncancerous tumors form in the nerves under the skin and in other parts of the body. About 5% of people with these tumors get malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (cancer in nerve coverings).
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome. This disease runs in families. It increases a person’s chance of getting breast cancer, brain tumors, leukemias, and sarcomas.
  • Retinoblastoma. This eye cancer, found in children, may run in families. Children who have been cured of this form of eye cancer may be at a slightly greater risk of developing soft tissue sarcomas later in life.

In the past, people believed that injuries to muscles or other tissues made a person more likely to get soft tissue sarcoma. This is not true. Injury is not a risk factor for soft tissue sarcoma.

– See more at: http://www.vanderbilthealth.com/includes/healthtopics/article.php?ContentTypeId=34&ContentId=17556-1&Category=SearchTitle&SubtopicId=30914&lang=en&section=30914&term=removal%20of%20skin%20tissue&searchType=title&fullText=removal%20of%20skin%20tissue&searchLoc=global#sthash.UFebc3LY.dpuf

Melanomas vary greatly in appearance. Some melanomas may show all of the ABCD characteristics, while others may show few or none. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Skin cancer is more common in fair-skinned people, especially those with blond or red hair, who have light-colored eyes. Skin cancer is rare in children. However, no one is safe from skin cancer. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history of melanoma
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Sun exposure. The amount of time spent unprotected in the sun directly affects your risk of skin cancer.
  • Early childhood sunburns. Research has shown that sunburns early in life increase a person’s risk for skin cancer later in life.
  • Many freckles
  • Large or many ordinary moles
  • Dysplastic nevi
  • Male gender
  • An immunosuppressive disorder or weakened immune system (such as in people who have had organ transplants)
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, like arsenic
  • Radiation exposure
  • Smoking
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Certain rare inherited conditions, such as basal cell nevus syndrome (Gorlin syndrome), or xeroderma pigmentosum (XP)

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends the following steps to help reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  • Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
  • Seek the shade when appropriate, especially when the sun’s rays are the strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Regularly use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher on all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Protect children from the sun by using shade, protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, which can reflect the sun’s rays and increase the chances of sunburn.
  • Avoid tanning beds. The UV (ultraviolet) light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. Look at your skin carefully and if you see anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see your doctor.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet (which may include vitamin supplements.) Don’t seek out the sun.

The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of the use of sunscreen on infants younger than 6 months old only if adequate clothing and shade are not available. Parents should still try to avoid sun exposure and dress the infant in lightweight clothing that covers most surface areas of skin. However, parents also may apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to the infant’s face and back of the hands.

Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even under an umbrella. Snow is a particularly good reflector of UV rays.

Finding suspicious moles or skin cancer early is the key to treating skin cancer successfully. A skin self-exam is usually the first step in detecting skin cancer. The following suggested method of self-examination comes from the AAD:

(You will need a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, and a brightly lit room.)

  • Examine your body front and back in mirror, then the right and left sides, with your arms raised. Women should look under their breasts.
  • Bend your elbows, look carefully at your forearms, the back of your upper arms, and the palms of your hands. Check between your fingers and look at your nail beds.
  • Look at backs of your legs and feet, spaces between your toes, your toenail beds, and the soles of your feet.
  • Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror.
  • Check your back, buttocks, and genital area with a hand mirror.
  • Become familiar with your skin and the pattern of your moles, freckles, and other marks.
  • Be alert to changes in the number, size, shape, and color of pigmented areas.
  • Follow the ABCD Chart when examining moles of other pigmented areas and consult your doctor promptly if you notice any changes.

Specific treatment for skin cancer will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history
  • Type of skin cancer
  • Extent and location of the disease
  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the disease
  • Your opinion or preference

There are several kinds of treatments for skin cancer, including the following:

  • Surgery. Surgery is a common treatment for skin cancer. It is used in most treated cases. Some types of skin cancer growths can be removed very easily and require only very minor surgery, while others may require a more extensive surgical procedure. Surgery may include the following procedures:
    • Cryosurgery. Using liquid nitrogen, cryosurgery uses an instrument that sprays the liquid onto the skin, freezing and destroying the tissue.
    • Curettage and electrodesiccation. This common type of surgery involves scraping away skin tissue with a curette (a sharp surgical instrument), followed by cauterizing the wound with an electrosurgical unit.
    • Excision. A scalpel (sharp surgical instrument) may be used to excise (cut away) and remove the growth. The wound is usually stitched or held closed with skin clips.
    • Mohs’ microscopically controlled surgery. This type of surgery involves excising a lesion, layer by layer. Each piece of removed tissue is examined under a microscope. Tissue is progressively removed until no tumor cells are seen. The goal of this type of surgery is to remove all of the malignant cells and as little normal tissue as possible. It is often used with recurring tumors (those that come back after treatment).
  • Laser therapy. Laser surgery uses a narrow beam of light to destroy cancer cells, and is sometimes used with tumors located on the outer layer of skin.
  • Radiation therapy. X-rays are used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy uses a certain type of light and a special chemical to kill cancer cells.
  • Other types of treatment include the following:
    • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
      • Topical chemotherapy. Chemotherapy given as a cream or lotion placed on the skin to kill cancer cells.
      • Systemic chemotherapy. Chemotherapy administered orally or intravenously (IV) for more advanced cancers.
    • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy involves various approaches to boost the body’s own immune system, helping it to attack the cancer. Some types of treatment can be applied on tumors or injected directly into them. Other types are used for more advanced cancers and are given as an injection into the vein (IV)
    • Targeted therapy. Some medicines used to treat advanced skin cancers work by targeting specific parts of the cancer cells. These medicines can often be taken as a pill.

– See more at: http://www.vanderbilthealth.com/includes/healthtopics/article.php?ContentTypeId=85&ContentId=P00724&Category=SearchAZ&SubtopicId=30914&lang=en&section=33113&term=s&searchType=az&fullText=#sthash.QagRMMAa.dpuf

Hope this helps anyone who has been following this blog.

I would love to hear your ideas and findings as well.

Tammye Honey


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Findings Along The Way Part II


It is been a week and still no word on the bloodwork.  It is back, it just has not been read yet.
The test we are specifically waiting for is a PSA test.  http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psa-test/basics/definition/prc-20013324

The PSA test is used primarily to screen for prostate cancer. A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced in the prostate, a small gland that sits below a man’s bladder. PSA is mostly found in semen, which also is produced in the prostate. Small amounts of PSA ordinarily circulate in the blood.

The PSA test can detect high levels of PSA that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. However, many other conditions, such as an enlarged or inflamed prostate, can also increase PSA levels.

There is a lot of conflicting advice about PSA testing. Ultimately, whether you have a PSA test is something you should decide after discussing it with your doctor, considering your risk factors and weighing your personal preferences.

Results of PSA tests are reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). There’s no specific cutoff point between a normal and abnormal PSA level. Your doctor might recommend a prostate biopsy based on results of your PSA test and digital rectal exam, along with other factors.

Variations of the PSA test

Your doctor may use other ways of interpreting PSA results before making decisions about ordering a biopsy to test for cancerous tissue. These other methods are intended to improve the accuracy of the PSA test as a screening tool.

Researchers continue to investigate variations of the PSA test to determine whether they provide a measurable benefit. Variations of the PSA test include:

  • PSA velocity. PSA velocity is the change in PSA levels over time. A rapid rise in PSA may indicate the presence of cancer or an aggressive form of cancer.
  • Percentage of free PSA. PSA circulates in the blood in two forms — either attached to certain blood proteins or unattached (free). If you have a high PSA level but a low percentage of free PSA, it may be more likely that you have prostate cancer. This test is primarily used for men with a PSA level in the borderline range between 4 and 10. It is especially useful when determining the need for re-biopsy rather than in an initial screening state.

Talk to your doctor

Before getting a PSA test, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks. If you decide that a PSA test is right for you, ask your doctor:

  • When you will discuss the results
  • What kinds of recommendations he or she might make if the results are positive
  • How often you should repeat the test if the results are negative

Discussing these issues beforehand may make it easier for you to learn the results of your test and make appropriate decisions afterward.

Prostate cancer is the most common nonskin cancer in men, and it’s the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men after lung cancer. Early detection may be an important tool in getting appropriate and timely treatment.

Men with prostate cancer may have elevated levels of PSA. Many noncancerous conditions also can increase a man’s PSA level. Although the PSA test can detect high levels of PSA in the blood, the test doesn’t provide precise diagnostic information about the condition of the prostate.

The PSA test is only one tool used to screen for early signs of prostate cancer. Another common screening test, usually done in addition to a PSA test, is a digital rectal exam. In this test, your doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to reach the prostate. By feeling or pressing on the prostate, the doctor may be able to judge whether it has abnormal lumps or hard areas.

Neither the PSA test nor the digital rectal exam provides enough information for your doctor to diagnose prostate cancer. Abnormal results in these tests may lead your doctor to recommend a prostate biopsy. During this procedure, samples of tissue are removed for laboratory examination. A diagnosis of cancer is based on the biopsy results.

Other reasons for PSA tests

For men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the PSA test may be used to:

  • Help decide if and when to begin treatment
  • Judge the effectiveness of a treatment
  • Check for recurring cancer

Benefits of the test

A PSA test may help detect prostate cancer at an early stage.  Cancer is easier to treat and is more likely to be cured if it’s diagnosed in its early stages.

But to judge the benefit of the test, it’s important to know if early detection and early treatment will improve treatment outcomes and decrease the number of deaths from prostate cancer.

A key issue is the typical course of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer usually progresses slowly over many years. Therefore, a man may have prostate cancer that never causes symptoms or becomes a medical problem during his lifetime.

Limitations of the test

The limitations of PSA testing include:

  • PSA-raising factors. Besides cancer, other conditions that can raise PSA levels include an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) and an inflamed or infected prostate (prostatitis). Also, PSA levels normally increase with age.
  • PSA-lowering factors. Certain drugs used to treat BPH or urinary conditions may lower PSA levels. Large doses of certain chemotherapy medications can also lower PSA levels.
  • Misleading results. The test doesn’t always provide an accurate result. An elevated PSA level doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. And in some cases, a normal PSA level does not completely rule out prostate cancer.
  • Overdiagnosis. Studies have estimated that between 17 and 50 percent of men with prostate cancer detected by PSA tests have tumors that wouldn’t result in symptoms during their lifetimes. These symptom-free tumors are considered overdiagnoses — identification of cancer not likely to cause poor health or to present a risk to the man’s life.

A number of major professional organizations and government agencies have weighed in on the benefits and risks of PSA testing. The American Cancer Society, the American Urological Association, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force all recognize the controversy surrounding screening with the PSA test and the lack of firm evidence that screening can prevent deaths from prostate cancer. Other points of agreement include:

  • Screening needs to be an individualized decision. All of the organizations recommend that doctors discuss the benefits and risks of PSA testing with men at a certain age or in high-risk groups. Doctors should help men make their own decisions about screening, based on age, risk factors, life expectancy and personal preferences.
  • Older men may not need to be screened. Some organizations recommend that screening isn’t necessary for men age 75 and older or those who aren’t expected to live more than 10 years. The American Cancer Society advises that this decision should be made on an individual basis. It is very important, however, to keep in mind that decisions need to be individualized and not assume that all prostate cancer screening must stop once a man is in his 70s.
  • Men at high risk should discuss screening at an earlier age. Some groups recommend earlier discussions for men in high-risk groups — those with a family history of prostate cancer and African-American men.

The American Cancer Society recommends that doctors provide information about prostate cancer screening to men at average risk starting at age 50, while men at higher risk could benefit from this information at age 40 or 45. The American Urological Association recommends that men consider getting a baseline prostate cancer screening, including a PSA test and DRE, beginning at age 40.

The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends against PSA screening in men under age 40, and it doesn’t recommend screening between ages 40 and 54 for men at average risk. For men ages 55 to 69, the AUA recommends shared decision-making between men and their doctors about when to begin screening. The AUA guidelines state that the greatest benefit of screening appears to be in men ages 55 to 69, and it does not recommend routine screening beyond age 70.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against PSA-based screening for men who do not have symptoms that are highly suspicious for prostate cancer. The USPSTF states that PSA testing in healthy men, regardless of age, offers no net benefit or that the harms outweigh the benefits. This has been a very controversial point of view, and many experts in the field of prostate cancer do not agree with the USPSTF recommendations.

http://www.vanderbilthealth.com/urology/42014

We went with just the blood work for the findings rather than the full biopsy.  While they were screening for this they also ran a screen for pancretic, liver and kidney.

By doing just the bloodwork first it is less evasive and the patient really does not have quite the anxiety that they do with the biopsy.

Hope this was informative.

Part three will be next week of the Melanoma treatment in Nashville and Vanderbilt Hospital. http://www.vanderbilthealth.com/main/maps

Till then eat healthy and appreciate your loved ones.

Tammye Honey


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Findings along the Way Part I


Switch of medications today was quite interesting as taking off from minipress and seroquel combo with ambien to a half of zoloft.  The cocktail mixture did increase his appetite and make him fall to sleep right away but he only slept for a few hours.

Zoloft has kept the appetite which is great and he has gone to bed two hours later.  Time will tell how long he sleeps.  Hopefully all night with no problems or nightmares.   March 4th can’t get here soon enough for the consultation so we know what we are facing and can prepare an accurate plan of attack.

Must ask about H-86 as an alternative instead of chemo if it comes to that.  Although it is experimental could it possibly be less expensive than chemo?  I guess if they will only pay 80% of a mask that he has to have for his CPAP machine and the Machine then goodness knows they would not pay the full shot for anything to do with this either.

During a visit to the Surgeon it was recommended that he be tested for Prostate Cancer with a blood test called PSA.  It tests the area between the two testies since the physical tests that doctors do to the patient can not determine the findings in this area.  We are still waiting to hear the results on the findings.  It has been almost a week.

I have been praying that it will just be a simple procedure of laser and then a plastic surgeon to do corrective surgery following.

God please hear my prayer that the other tests come back good if it be your will.

Saturday Log – He was up early as usual.  Woke me looking for his aspirin and was a tad grouchy but then became very happy after the aspirin kicked in.  Has been in a good mood since.

Sunday Feb- 23 He has a vision (half dreaming) that there are clouds around him with children smiling and his father smiling and looking at him.  He asks me to take his temperature and it shows as a low grade temp.  I wait for an hour and take again.  The thermometer suddenly reads the minimum reading.  No matter what I do to it, I can’t get it to read.

He does not tell me about his dream.  I ask him two different times, trying to stay calm to let me take him to the emergency room and both times he said that he needs a nap.  He suddenly appears in my office with his coat on and states he is ready to go.

We spend from noon till 7PM with a heart monitor and two IV’s later, I get to bring him home.  When we had arrived, his blood pressure was 145/84.  That is really high for him.  His temp was low grade but not as low as my thermometer.  96.7 at the er.  We came home and I prepared Chicken with garlic, stewed tomatoes, spinach and bowtie macaroni so that I could pack a few more vitamins in him.  He did eat.

Monday-  Getting him to eat Special K breakfast bars has been wonderful.  (Great invention) He had the chicken dish for lunch.  Much better mood although he is still tired.  I am exhausted so I am sure he is.

Tuesday-  We have a few errands to run, he is craving Chinese food.  http://www1.beyondmenu.com/20518/clarksville/chopsticks-restaurant–first-order-15–off–clarksville-37042.aspx?r=20518
He does manage to eat a big plate of what I prepare for him and a bowl of wonton soup.  Around midnight he got up and had another plate of food.

Wednesday- He has managed to sleep a little longer than he usually does so this is good.  Quiet day today.  Lots of energy today and has a good appetite.  Spirits are up and down throught the day.  Not sleeping well at night.  He managed to polish off most of the left over Chinese food from Chopsticks.

Thursday – We are up super early to fit our showers in before we head to see the Lung Specialist.  Hubby seems to like this doctor a lot.  He has a very heavy European accent and yet his bed side manner is such that you feel right at home and comfortable with him right away.  It helps that he can tell hubby that he also sleeps with a C-Pac machine and the setting is almost the same as his.
Interesting discussion while in the office today.  Melanoma is the only cancer that can not be traced back to tobacco or it’s use.
We grabbed an open hot roast beef sandwich with veggie at https://www.facebook.com/mosssoutherncooking.  Have never had anything but that sandwich there.  Why change a great thing…
Tonight I made him Shrimp Scampi since that is what he began to think about on the way home from the doctor.  All I could think about was how full I was from lunch.
Tomorrow he was supposed to travel to Nashville for the VA for an appointment but today has really tired him and we will reschedule that appointment since it was not related to the illness to a later date when we are finished with all of the doctor appointments.

We only know it is sun exposure or radiation exposure. We only know that it is stage III but not which stage III.

According to http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-staging here is a brief breakdown on the findings:

Stage IIIA

T1a to T4a, N1a or N2a, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness, but it is not ulcerated. It has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes near the affected skin area, but the nodes are not enlarged and the melanoma is found only when they are viewed under the microscope. There is no distant spread.

Stage IIIB

One of the following applies:

T1b to T4b, N1a or N2a, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness and is ulcerated. It has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes near the affected skin area, but the nodes are not enlarged and the melanoma is found only when they are viewed under the microscope. There is no distant spread.

T1a to T4a, N1b or N2b, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness, but it is not ulcerated. It has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes near the affected skin area. The nodes are enlarged because of the melanoma. There is no distant spread.

T1a to T4a, N2c, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness, but it is not ulcerated. It has spread to small areas of nearby skin or lymphatic channels around the original tumor, but the nodes do not contain melanoma. There is no distant spread.

Stage IIIC

One of the following applies:

T1b to T4b, N1b or N2b, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness and is ulcerated. It has spread to 1 to 3 lymph nodes near the affected skin area. The nodes are enlarged because of the melanoma. There is no distant spread.

T1b to T4b, N2c, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness and is ulcerated. It has spread to small areas of nearby skin or lymphatic channels around the original tumor, but the nodes do not contain melanoma. There is no distant spread.

Any T, N3, M0: The melanoma can be of any thickness and may or may not be ulcerated. It has spread to 4 or more nearby lymph nodes, OR to nearby lymph nodes that are clumped together, OR it has spread to nearby skin or lymphatic channels around the original tumor and to nearby lymph nodes. The nodes are enlarged because of the melanoma. There is no distant spread.

Our next step is to find out which category that he fits into:

  • T stands for tumor (how far it has grown within the skin and other factors). The T category is assigned a number (from 0 to 4) based on the tumor’s thickness (how far down it has grown). It may also be assigned a small letter a or b based on ulceration and mitotic rate, which are explained below.
  • N stands for spread to nearby lymph nodes (bean-sized collections of immune system cells, to which cancers often spread first). The N category is assigned a number (from 0 to 3) based on whether the melanoma cells have spread to lymph nodes or are found in the lymphatic channels connecting the lymph nodes. It may also be assigned a small letter a, b, or c, as described below.
  • The M category is based on whether the melanoma has metastasized (spread) to distant organs, which organs it has reached, and on blood levels of a substance called LDH.

There are 2 types of staging for melanoma:

  • Clinical staging is based on what is found on physical exam, biopsy/removal of the main melanoma, and any imaging tests that are done.
  • Pathologic staging uses all of this information, plus what is found during biopsies of lymph nodes or other organs if they are done.

The pathologic stage (determined after the lymph node biopsy) may actually be higher than the clinical stage (determined before the lymph node biopsy) if the biopsy finds cancer in new areas. Doctors use the pathologic stage if it is available, as it gives a more accurate picture of the extent of the cancer, but in many cases lymph node biopsies are not needed.

They have come a long way with modern medicine and laser sugeries have made a huge difference in the various techniques that are used today.

This we will find out after the March 4th Visit.  

Next week I will start Part II of the findings.

Till then eat healthy, be loving and be kind to those around you.

Tammye Honey