Monthly Archives: June 2014

Debate Over Tobacco in Baseball Heightens

The passing of baseball legend Tony Gwynn has started a much needed debate about smokeless tobacco and its use by baseball players of all ages.

Smokeless tobacco is referred to as dip, snuff or chew and has been banned in dugouts in high school, college, and professional minor league baseball. However, while Major League Baseball (MLB) recognizes the harmful effects, it is not banned. You still see many players use it during games. In 2011, with the urging from public groups such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the MLB opened a Tobacco Cessation Center that offers educational sessions to their players and staff about the dangers. They are hoping to break this long standing tradition associated with baseball.

Dr. Donald Marger, Oral, Head and Neck Cancer expert at First Dayton CyberKnife, explains that “the cancer causing chemicals in smokeless tobacco is no different that in cigarettes and pipes. While they will not contribute to your risk for lung cancer, there is still danger of cancers of the tongue, floor of mouth, throat, gums, cheeks and lips.” Oral, head and neck cancer affects 55,070 newly diagnosed Americans each year with approximately 12,000 deaths. Other health issues include severe dental problems and the terrible staining of the teeth.

Many MLB players and coaches claim to only use dip while in uniform. They say it is simply a habit and a way to relax and pass the time during a game. David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox only puts snuff in his mouth while he is at bat. Others admit it is a terrible addiction that they simply cannot break and they wish they had never started.

“Cancer of the oral cavity, besides being potentially fatal, almost invariably results in marked physical deformity, swallowing problems, difficulty with speech and breathing. The primary treatment is radical surgery followed by radiation therapy”, explains Dr. Marger.

The debate is not whether dip is harmful ‑‑ clearly it is. The debate is whether or not we want our children looking up to their baseball all-stars and emulating their behavior. At the thousands of baseball fields around our country you see t-ballers chewing bubble gum, high schoolers spitting seeds and professionals spitting tobacco. Would it have made a difference to Tony Gwynn or the many other baseball players with these cancers if someone had told them to never start? Does it need to remain a part of America’s most beloved sport?

Get the Most Out of Your Doctor Visits

Most of us are anxious about our doctor visits. Not because we are going to be harmed, but because we are afraid that we will not get the answers that we need. How do you talk to your doctor?

It is important that you are prepared for your doctor visit. Take the time to write down your symptoms. Include when they started, if they have changed, and how they have affected you. This will help you to tell your doctor what is important. Dr. Edward Hughes, a local cancer doctor, says that “Patients need to tell me how these symptoms are affecting their day to day life so that I know how to best help them. Everyone experiences disease differently. My cancer center offers several different types of cancer treatments. I need my patients to be clear and to the point with me so that I can help them choose what treatment is best for them. I not only want to cure their cancer, I want them to maintain a high quality of life.”

Your doctor also needs all the information. If you have had recent testing, bring those results or images with you. Jo Hayes, RN at First Dayton CyberKnife recommends her patients keep a folder with all of their medical records. Even with Electronic Health Records, your doctor’s offices are not all connected. Ask for copies and bring those with you along with a list of your medications and supplements. Jo states, “This is really important to a good visit. I want to hear what you are experiencing. So if I can spend time during our visit talking to you instead of chasing down test results, I can answer more of your questions and better help you.”

Dr. Hughes encourages his patients to ask questions. “I spend about 45-60 minutes the first time that I meet with a patient about their cancer treatments. I want to answer all of their questions. It is easiest when a patient has their questions written down. It helps us all stay on track. These questions aid me in learning what is important to this patient and their quality of life. This helps me develop a cancer treatment plan that is best for them as an individual.”

It is important to find a medical team that you trust and that is concerned about you. You have a choice. ​Choose extraordinary care.

Technology Aides Cancer Fight

“I have cancer growing inside of my lungs. I can’t see it. I can’t touch it. But I know that it is there,” shares John, a computer technologist from West Chester.

John states that the doctors have shown him the medical images of his lungs so that he could see his cancer. “Even though I have seen it in CT scans and MRI’s, it is still hard to believe. I thought that my increased congestion was due to allergies. I work with computers all day long, but now computers are helping to save my life.”

In addition to the advanced medical images that diagnosed John’s cancer, the treatment that he chose is also possible because of the advances in computer technology. Surgery was not an option for John because it would have damaged the healthy tissue and was close to his heart. He chose to have radiation therapy with Dr. Ed Hughes instead.

“The fact that we can now use advanced computer imaging during John’s treatment to actually see inside his lungs; has been the biggest medical breakthrough in my 35 year career”, explains Hughes. The CyberKnife’s computers actually track the motion of John’s breathing so that it can deliver the radiation with sub-millimeter precision to only the cancerous tissue.

“Knowing that the doctors could see inside my lungs and that the CyberKnife was so precise and so accurate, helped me to relax. I work. I support my wife and 3 kids. I was not only afraid for my life, but afraid to take off work to recover”, says John. He was able to have 3 CyberKnife treatments that lasted less than an hour. He was able to keep working and was able to keep up with his active family.

It has been 14 months since his CyberKnife treatments and he is now cancer free.

John shares his enthusiasm, “I have always loved computers. They have fascinated me since I was a teenager and now they have saved my life.”

Dayton Doctor Stands His Ground to Fight For His Patients

Local cancer doctor, Ed Hughes, MD, PhD, feels that his cancer patients have rights. They have a right to the best medical care possible. They have a right to choose a treatment that is best for them. They have a right to superior health care at a reasonable cost. They have the right to treatment done quickly. They have the right to quality of life. They have a right to stay in Dayton for world class medical care.

First Dayton Cancer Care was opened in 2003 because Dr. Hughes believes cancer patients have the right to the best. He is an expert in Radiation Oncology. He uses radiation technology to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. It is virtually painless to the patient. “Radiation therapy is all we do. This is not a side service to us. I have a team of experts. This is our passion,” states Dr. Hughes.

Dayton has some of the most advanced cancer fighting tools in the world thanks to Dr. Hughes. He has been the driving force to bring advances like robotic seed implants for prostate cancer, Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and the CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiation Therapy to our city. He has always been on the forefront of these medical breakthroughs. He was one of the first oncologists in the country to use Stereotactic Radiation Therapy. He makes financial investments, often foregoing profits, because he wants his patients to have world class cancer treatments right here at home. Hughes states, “People ask me all the time, ‘If the CyberKnife is such phenomenal technology then why doesn’t every hospital have one?’ I can honestly tell them that is not a profitable service line. It is simply better medicine. And I believe as a physician, my most important mission is to save lives using every possible tool.”

We asked Dr. Hughes why he chose to leave the hospital and open his own center in today’s challenging health care market. “When I worked at the hospital I was always being told what I could and could not do for my patients. Owning my own practice allows me to care for them as individual people. I can do so much more this way.” For example, First Dayton is the only center in the region to actually pick up patients for their treatments. It is a free car service. Mary of Centerville tells us, “It has been a true blessing to have such fine people drive me to my daily appointments. My kids all work. I don’t know how I would have made it otherwise.”

When you have been told you have cancer, you want answers immediately; so Dr. Hughes will see patients within 1-3 days of their first phone call. Dr. Hughes often spends over an hour with his patients and their family at their initial visit. “I want to learn about this person. I want to present all of the treatment options and help the patient decide what will give them the best chance to beat their cancer. I want to answer all of their questions. I couldn’t spend this much time when I worked at the hospital. People with cancer are scared. Patients want hope.”