Mercy Medical oncologist to speak on cancer causes, cancer prevention

Want to know more about the causes of cancer and ways to lower your risk?

Mercy Medical Center oncologist Dr. Philip T. Glynn will address this topic in a free talk, “Causes of Cancer and Tools for Prevention,” March 8 at 5:30 p.m. at CHD’s Cancer House of Hope, 1999 Westfield St.

Dr Glynn
ercy Medical Center oncologist Dr. Philip T. Glynn will talk on”Causes of Cancer and Tools for Prevention,” March 8 at 5:30 p.m. at CHD’s Cancer House of Hope, 1999 Westfield St., West Springfield.

“It can be very frightening to be given a cancer diagnosis, but there is good reason for many patients to have hope that they will be successfully treated,” Glynn said.

“There are some 14 million cancer survivors in America today and that is well over three times the number from the 1970s.”

Director of oncology at Mercy, Glynn’s group, Pioneer Valley Oncology and Hematology, at Mercy’s Sister Caritas Cancer Center, provides services to a number of other area hospitals and practices.

He noted that “advances in systemic treatment, such as targeted therapies that act as specific components of the cancer cell, as well as new forms of treatment that stimulate the immune system to recognize the cancer cell as foreign and initiate a response” have broaden treatment options.

In addition, Glynn said “significant improvements in supportive care that we offer for people who are receiving well-known forms of chemotherapy, combined with improvement in both surgical and radiation therapy techniques, have made an immense impact on our ability to deal with cancer.”

“Successful treatment commonly depends on the type of cancer that we are dealing with. Testicular cancer, for example, is very curable, even when it is found in more advanced stages. Pancreatic, on the other hand, is very difficult to cure,” Glynn added.

“Other than the cell type, the extent of disease and the underlying condition of the patient are very important factors that are involved in successful treatment. Clearly, the patient with compromised respiratory or cardiac function or a patient with kidney or liver dysfunction may have a very difficult time obtaining a full course of therapy.”

Glynn said cancer “is caused by altering DNA within a cell.”

“DNA within a cell carries the instructions for the cell to grow and divide. When the DNA package within a cell is mutated, this may lead to the cell’s transformation from normal to malignant,” Glynn said.

“Gene mutations occur frequently. Normally, the cell can recognize and repair these mistakes. The gene mutations that we are born with may lead to a cancer when we have exposure to cancer-provoking agents.”

In terms of risk factors for developing cancer, Glynn said “Inherited gene mutations are an important consideration, but also lifestyle and habits are very important.”

“Stop smoking. Smoking is linked to several types of cancer, not just lung cancer,” said Glynn when asked about ways to lower one’s risk for cancer.

He also advised against “excess sun exposure and skin blistering sunburns” and advocated for “exercise most days of the week, ideally for 30 minutes,” a diet “rich in fruits and vegetables” and only consuming “alcohol in moderation.”

“It is important that patients consult with their physician regarding their overall risk for cancers and what they in particular can do as a routine for prevention and screening,” Glynn added.

A discussion will follow the talk that includes Boston College biology student Mike McKernan. Registration is requested by calling (413) 733-1858.

 

Article by Anne-Gerard Flynn | Special to The Republican Originally appeared on MassLive March 01, 2017.  http://www.masslive.com/living/index.ssf/2017/03/mercy_medical_oncologist_to_speak_on.html#incart_river_home

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