SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER

oat cell cancerI just had a high school friend diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the lung. This particular kind of cancer is also known as oat-cell carcinoma. He had no signs or warnings other than he developed a large nodule in the neck and went to an ENT specialist. The ENT physician aspirated some fluid and found it to be non-differentiated carcinoma. The next step brought him to an oncologist for a PET scan which luckily revealed it was not found elsewhere in the body. Apparently there was just a small spot in the lung that traveled to the lymph system. Cancer of the lung is really quite common and it is the number one cause of Continue reading

CT VS. MRI – WHICH ONE IS BETTER?

There seems to be a lot of confusion with CT (computed tomography) versus MRI (magnetic resonance mri machineimaging) testing. What is the difference, what are they used for and which one is better? The machines look quite a bit alike, but what happens inside of them is very different. MRI and CT testing are used for different needs and reasons; both are valuable and both have specific applications; they are not interchangeable and one is not a better test than the other for all things. The decision whether to use Continue reading

ROTATOR CUFF INJURY

rotator cuff tearIt seems as though the older we get, everything starts to fall apart! I know I did not really have many issues until the double nickel era (55) and things just started to happen. One very common problem that occurs with aging is called a rotator cuff injury. It can be an acute or chronic problem that may involve an actual tear in the rotator cuff. Extensive tears may require surgical intervention, transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement. To start with some anatomy, the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache Continue reading

ERYSIPELAS

Erysipelas is a rare type of bacterial infection. Usually this disease only affects the legs or the face, and iserysipelas similar to cellulitis. However, cellulitis may develop on any part of the body and may be infected by many different bacteria. Erysipelas, on the other hand, is normally caused by one bacteria known as streptococcus pyogenes. Before antibiotics, farmers had pigs that would develop the disease and they would die from it. In humans erysipelas is rare, but if one is to contact erysipelas, immediate treatment is needed. If left untreated, it often can damage the heart as well as the joints. When anyone looks at the biography of interesting people from the past or in past family histories, you can find the deaths of many people by erysipelas. Anybody living before the time in which antibiotics were developed Continue reading

NECK PAIN AND INJURY

neck pain Neck pain and neck injuries are quite common – most of us will experience neck pain (cervicalgia) at some point in our lives. Neck pain does not just happen to a particular group of individuals, but can happen to an infant, toddler, teen-ager, young adult, adult or the elderly. A neck injury is any trauma or injury involving the neck. Because it is a relatively exposed and unprotected area of the body, the neck is particularly vulnerable to potentially serious injuries caused by blunt trauma, compression injury, and sudden extreme movement of the head due to hyperextension (severe bending back of the neck) and hyperflexion (severe bending forward of the neck). Nearly all neck pain fades Continue reading

CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is more prevalent than ever. Right now it is estimated that 20 million chronic kidney diseaseAmericans are suffering from some stage of the illness. My father was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease a few years ago and he has shown most of the symptoms that we will explore in this article. Having chronic kidney disease means that for some time your kidneys have not been working the way they were intended to work. Your kidneys job is essentially to filter your blood. They remove waste products and extra fluid along with flushing them out from the body via urine. When your kidneys are sluggish, wastes build up in your blood and make you sick. Some people believe Continue reading

WHAT IS WHIPLASH?

whiplashI was in Denver all week and it seems like people drive SO crazy anymore! Of course I did not see anything quite like I did in LA or New York City, but people were going so fast and switching lanes without using blinkers, tail-gaiting every minute, etc. It is no wonder that rear-end collisions are on the rise. One of the most common injuries when a person is hit with a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes rapid forward movement of the head and neck, is referred to as “whiplash”. The term was first used in 1928 when it described a similar condition that was common in persons involved in train accidents. A “whiplash injury” involves damage to both the bone structures and soft tissue. Most commonly these injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, usually rear-ended Continue reading

THE RAPID-AGING DISEASE

Progeria is a rare genetic condition that causes a child’s body to age progeriavery fast. Most children with this disease do not live past 13 years of age. These children die of atherosclerosis (heart disease). Progeria affects both sexes and all races equally. It affects about 1 in every 4 million births worldwide. It is not inherited or passed down in families. Progeria is actually caused by a mutation in the LMNA gene, which results in an abnormal production of a certain protein. This abnormal protein makes it more likely that the cells of the body will die prematurely. What is odd is that children with progeria look normal at birth, but then at about Continue reading

THYMUS CANCER

I had a friend that died a couple of years ago and he had thymus cancer. It is a really rare cancer and the tumors start from thymic epithelial cells. I was an oncology nurse for 3 ½ years and I had never had a patient with this type of cancer. In fact, these tumors occur at a rate of only 1.5 cases for every million people each year in the US. It should be noted that the thymus is a small organ located just behind the breast bone (sternum) in the front part of the chest. The thymus is a part of the chest known as the mediastinum, the space in the chest between the lungs that also contains the heart, part of the aorta, the esophagus, part of the trachea and many lymph nodes. The thymus sits just in front of and above the heart and is actually Continue reading

DERMATOPHYTOSIS – WHAT IS THIS?

ringwormIt seems as though there have been a lot of people with ringworm these days. Dermatophytosis, also known as ringworm in humans, is a relatively common superficial fungal infection. Dermatophytes are microscopic organisms that live on the dead outer layer of the skin and stays on the outside of the body at all times. There is no actual worm involved and this infection can affect anyone at any time. In recent years, ringworm has increased substantially in humans. This is partially due to the rising number of people with immunocompromised conditions including things like cancer, AIDS and diabetes. This fungus is also more prone to people that live in a warm, humid climate and have direct contact with active lesions on someone else (like a pet).  Further, individuals with eczema, children before the age of puberty and boys seem Continue reading