Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Laughing at Brain Tumors—and How to Stop It

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

brain-tumor-treatmentby Leigh Ann Otte

“It’s not a tumuh!” Why is that such a memorable phrase? It remains part of our lexicon over 20 years after Arnold Schwarzenegger cried it out in Kindergarten Cop.

Maybe it sticks with us because it hits on a quiet fear. It gives a welcome catharsis.

Brain tumor. Have you ever wondered, “What if?”

Well, here’s a little reassurance: We have less than a 1-percent chance of developing a malignant brain tumor during our lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Sen. Ted Kennedy was one of the unfortunate few. He had what’s called a glioblastoma, and as the nation found out, it’s incurable. However, life expectancy can be extended further than it could even a few years ago.

In this week’s featured article, you’ll learn how malignant brain tumors are treated and what the future looks like. Things are getting better. Maybe one day, “It’s not a tumuh” won’t be so funny—because it won’t be so worrisome.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a professional health writer. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

In Memory of Dr. Montauk: Compassionate, Passionate Family Doctor

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Q. They say laughter is the best medicine. What movie or television show makes you laugh out loud?

A. Harold and Maude. It not only makes me laugh out loud at many of life’s absurdities, but it helps reaffirm why we go on in spite of them.

Susan Louisa Montauk, My Family Doctor magazine, fall 2006.

The world lost a good doctor last Monday. And the My Family Doctor team lost a respected colleague. Susan Louisa Montauk, M.D. passed away from rectal cancer. She was 61.

Susan, a family doctor, was one of my go-to writers for our former magazine. I knew she’d deliver a well-written, upbeat, trustworthy article. She was so good that we invited her to be on the magazine’s editorial board. Thankfully for us, she accepted. Susan knew her stuff, and she was wonderful to work with.

In Cincinnati, OH, where she practiced, Susan was known as a compassionate, passionate physician. Early this year, the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote about her:


How Long Is too Long to Wait to See the Doctor?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

A while back, a doctor’s office told me I’d have to wait a month to see the physician. A month? Ack! What if I had something progressive, like cancer? “If only she’d caught it early …” went through my mind. I found another doctor. Ended up, I was fine, but what if …

Ever wondered how long is too long to wait to see the doc? We asked a dermatologist, Brooke Jackson, to write on this topic—specifically in regards to potential melanomas, which can be fast-growing and deadly. In the article, “4 Tips to Get a Doctors Appointment Sooner,” Dr. Jackson says a month is, in fact, too long to wait for a melanoma. She gives four tips on how to get a doctor’s appointment more quickly.

You could also opt for your family doctor instead. Our publisher, James Hubbard, M.D., makes that point in a sidebar. Your family doctor may be able to tackle the problem and see you sooner.

Get your free mini-med school: our health e-newsletter!

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of and a freelance writer.

This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Should Medical Marijuana Be Legal? Experts Debate, on National Pot Smoking Day.

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

by Leigh Ann Otte

Today, 4/20, is National Pot Smoking Day. Yeah, it’s unofficial. But around the country, people will be smoking marijuana at 4:20 p.m.

So we thought this would be the perfect moment to examine a different side of this illegal drug: the medical one.


The FDA and Tobacco: Questions about the landmark regulation bill

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Last week Congress passed a bill that gave the FDA regulating authority over tobacco.The president is sure to sign it.It is supposed to be a blow to the tobacco industry and their advertising efforts.No more flavored tobacco or “light cigarette” claims.

But I have a few questions: (more…)

What is inflammation?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Inflammation used to be easy to detect.  There was redness, pain and swelling.  Nowadays it’s not as easy.  It has been implicated as a major culprit in chronic diseases such as heart, cancer and stroke.  Read our newly posted article on why this is so, how to detect and treat it.

Alcohol increases your risk of cancer: Confusing studies; what to do

Friday, February 27th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Well, here we go.  Many recent studies, including one I referenced Wednesday, have lauded drinking alcohol for its heart and stroke benefits.  Now comes a large British study saying, “not so fast.”  Any alcohol at all may increase risk of cancer.

The study was done in women, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t apply to men, also.  (more…)

X-ray radiation can add up, along with risk: When not to ask for an X-ray

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Have you ever had an X-ray?  Probably so.  What would modern medicine be without them?  I can’t count the times I’ve seen a kid with a hurt wrist thinking it was a sprain but I ordered an X-ray just in case and surprise, surprise.  There’s a little fracture.

But sometimes we might depend on them a little too much.  (more…)

Is radon dangerous? How do you know if you have radon in your home?

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

I just assumed everyone knew what radon gas was and why it is bad for you.  Recently I was talking to a very smart, educated woman. I forget the context of the conversation, but she told me she had never heard of radon or that it can cause cancer.  Viola, blog post idea.  So here goes.

For starters, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind cigarettes.


Quit smoking as your New Year’s resolution? Make it your priority.

Monday, December 29th, 2008

by  James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Healthy Lung.  Courtesy of American Lung Association

I used to make New Year’s resolutions when I was very, very young.  They were bold and visionary.  I never kept them and forgot what they were by January 2.  Since my late teens, when people would ask me if had made a resolution, I would tell them something like sweat less, age a year or some other nonsense.

Maybe I should compromise and make one good resolution that I try my best to keep.  Something specific and doable.   Any ideas for me? (keep it civil now)  What is your resolution?

If you smoke, may I suggest to stop by the end of 2009?  Many patients I advise to stop smoking give me a frustrated look that implies easier said than done.  I know.  But what if you make it the one thing you resolve to do, your number one priority for 2009?

Here is one incentive.  Dr. Norman Edleman of the American Lung Association says half of smokers die of lung disease.  Have you ever seen anyone with chronic lung disease?  Most of you can imagine cancer, but there are other more long term diseases that slowly destroy your lungs to the point you become constantly short of breath and nothing (including oxygen) relieves you.  Fully half.  I know most of you think you will not be in that half.  Maybe, if you are lucky (sarcasm goes here), you may die of one of the many other associated cancers, or heart disease.

Here are some tips to help you stop.


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