Radio Interview with Dr. Robert Miller about Cervical Cancer

Handel Radio – WSO Dr. Miller Cervical Cancer 2.11.11

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February 24, 2011 at 10:56 am

JUST A COUPLE OF KIDS (DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER) IN LOVE…

Local cancer survivor shares her love story while her oncologist
offers advice to couples battling cancer together

(February 11, 2011) Pinellas Park, Fla. — Some are tragic, some are triumphant but every love story is worth hearing and worth telling. Whether you’ve experienced it first-hand or have only heard the tales, here is a couple who endured love and strength, even after being changed forever by cancer.

Two years ago, 76-year-old Fred Kries took on a supportive role for the third time. Not the kind of role you see in the movies, however. This support was for his wife, Donna, a speech pathologist, who was ironically diagnosed with tongue cancer for the third time since 1997. Donna’s cancer came back rapidly, requiring multiple surgeries on her tongue, jaw and surrounding tissue, followed by extensive care to help in her recovery.

Through it all, Kries stood by his wife and has been her primary caretaker during her battle with cancer, putting her bed in his office and caring for her around the clock. He, along with her doctors at Wellspring Oncology in Pinellas Park, has helped her make the difficult decisions about her health. And, above all, he does what he can to be an encouragement and overall support for his wife.

Fred and Donna are enduring a challenge faced by many couples today – the challenge of battling cancer together. “Cancer not only affects those diagnosed, but also the partners who love and care for them,” says Robert Miller, M.D., radiation oncologist at Wellspring Oncology. “Thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer every day, and thousands more step into a new supportive role.”

However, there is no handbook to guide those in taking on this supportive position, leaving many spouses feeling frustrated and confused. “For many people living with cancer, support from their spouse is extremely important in helping them battle the disease,” says Miller. “Often, however, partners feel unsure of the best way to offer that support. They know that they want to support their spouse, but they just aren’t quite sure how to go about it.”

How, then, does one face this role head-on and help the one they love most in their fight against cancer? Miller offers some advice to help spouses provide the support their partners need.

Communication Is Key
One of the best ways to offer support to your partner is through communication. Discuss what you are both thinking and feeling on a regular basis, and allow your spouse to talk for as long as he or she needs. Also, encourage your partner to express their true feelings, both good and bad. Understanding your spouse’s thoughts and emotions is key to supporting them.

“It’s so important that a couple communicate with one another during such a difficult time,” says Miller. “In order to effectively support your partner, you have to know what he or she needs from you. There’s no better way to find out than to ask.”

Miller also reminds supporting partners that these needs may change often. For those living with cancer, emotions and the needs that come with them can differ from one day to the next, so being in tune with those is essential to providing the best support you can.

Let Them Decide
During this journey, your spouse may have to make some difficult decisions regarding his or her health. Be supportive of these decisions, even if they aren’t the ones you may have made. While the two of you are on this journey together, it’s important to remember that it’s your partner who is living with the disease. Offer your input and discuss your fears, but allow your spouse to decide what he or she thinks is the best choice.

Don’t Forget Yourself
The best way to make sure you have the physical and emotional ability to continue caring for the one you love is by keeping yourself healthy. When your partner is living with cancer, it can be difficult to focus on your own needs. However, it’s important to remember self care, as well. Taking a moment away will not only allow you time to focus on yourself, it will also make you a better caregiver for your spouse.

“It’s common to spend less time on yourself when you’re caring for a spouse with cancer,” says Miller, “but if you don’t take care of yourself, it will be much more difficult to care for your partner. Taking time for yourself will be beneficial for both of you.”

So spend a little time on yourself. Take short breaks and do something active, like going for a walk or spending an hour at the gym, and try to maintain a healthy diet, as well. Exercise and eating well may seem like the least of your worries, but it’s important for the well-being of both you and your spouse.

Remember Your Relationship
Even though you’ve taken on this new supportive role, it’s important to remember that you are also a spouse. While your partner may need a caregiver, he or she also needs that relationship that was there before the cancer diagnosis. “It’s easy to get caught up in the caregiver role, but don’t forget to also be a spouse,” says Miller. “Even during such a difficult time, couples should still continue being couples.”

So spend some time together focusing on one another, not cancer. If your partner is feeling well enough, go out for a date night. Or if your spouse isn’t feeling up to a night out, just enjoy time with one another at home. No matter how you go about it, spend time together as a couple and continue to be a spouse to your partner.

Living with cancer can be one of the most difficult times a couple can face. However, as a partner, you have the ability to give the support, love and encouragement that your spouse needs the most to battle this disease.

About WellSpring Oncology: Doctors Robert Miller, Zucel Solc and Frank Franzese opened the doors of WellSpring Oncology in spring of 2008 to provide high-end treatment in a more personal and caring environment. The doctors at WellSpring Oncology have been practicing innovative radiation therapy since the 1970’s and developed the center to ensure patients have access to the latest technology available in the treatment of cancer. The doctors of WellSpring Oncology are all board-certified in radiation oncology and received their training at the top centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California San Francisco.

WellSpring Oncology is located at 6600 Sixty Sixth Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida. For more information, contact WellSpring Oncology at (727) 343-0600 or visit them online at http://www.wellspringoncology.org.
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February 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm

A QUIET CANCER

Local oncologists encourage women to get screened for cervical cancer for National Cervical Health Awareness Month

Pinellas Park, Fla. — If you were told that you could prevent a certain type of cancer, wouldn’t you take every step to do so? Cervical cancer is one of the most common reproductive cancers in females, but women can take steps to greatly reduce their risk of developing it. In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, local oncologists make efforts to encourage women to take charge of their health and get screened for this largely preventable cancer.

“Many cervical cancer cases could be prevented, or at least caught early, if all women received proper screening for this disease,” says Robert Miller, M.D., oncologist at Wellspring Oncology in Pinellas Park. “Simply visiting your gynecologist once a year can greatly reduce a woman’s risk.”

Though cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States, cases have dropped significantly over the past 50 years. This sharp decrease is largely due to the development of better medical screening for women.  Still, this year approximately 12,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Nearly one-third of these women will not survive this disease.

Am I At Risk?

“Cervical cancer doesn’t discriminate,” says Miller. “All women of all ages are at risk for developing the disease. However, there are certain factors that can increase a woman’s risk.”

The most common cause of cervical cancer is the human papilloma virus, or HPV. This virus is passed from one person to another through sexual contact and can infect the cervix. However, for most women, HPV will go away on its own without ever causing cervical cancer. Only a very small amount of women infected with HPV will develop cancer of the cervix.

While HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, it is not the only factor that can increase a woman’s risk. Other known risk factors for cervical cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Extended use of birth control pills
  • Giving birth to three or more children
  • Multiple sexual partners or sexual activity at a young age
  • HIV or other immune system disorders
  • Irregular screening history

The best ways to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer is through regular pap tests to screen for precancerous cervical cells and by following-up with your doctor, should the test come back abnormal. Also, always practice safe sex by using a condom, don’t smoke and consider an HPV vaccine to protect yourself against the virus.

A Quiet Cancer

Generally there are no symptoms associated with earlier stages of cervical cancer. Some of the first signs of more advanced cancer include irregular vaginal bleeding, heavier or longer-lasting menstrual periods and abnormal vaginal discharge. As the cancer progresses, the patient may experience painful urination, fatigue, weight loss, a dull backache or swelling of the legs.

“Early stages of cervical cancer very rarely involve any pain or symptoms,” says Miller. “Even the symptoms a woman may experience from more advanced stages are often thought to be something less serious. It is a very quiet cancer.”

“However, cervical cancer is also highly treatable when found early,” Miller continues. “Depending on the best treatment for the patient, whether radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, early stages can be treated and result in a long survival rate and good quality of life. This is why regular screening to catch it in the earlier stages is so important.”

About WellSpring Oncology: Doctors Robert Miller, Zucel Solc and Frank Franzese opened the doors of WellSpring Oncology in spring of 2008 to provide high-end treatment in a more personal and caring environment.  The doctors at WellSpring Oncology have been practicing innovative radiation therapy since the 1970’s and developed the center to ensure patients have access to the latest technology available in the treatment of cancer.  The doctors of WellSpring Oncology are all board-certified in radiation oncology and received their training at the top centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California San Francisco.

WellSpring Oncology is located at 6600 Sixty Sixth Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida.  For more information, contact WellSpring Oncology at (727) 343-0600 or visit them online at www.wellspringoncology.org.

January 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Bucks for Butts – Calling all smokers, including our chief in command

Cash-in for quitting your bad habit this month during National Lung Cancer Awareness Month at WellSpring Oncology

Pinellas Park, Fla. (November 17, 2010) – It’s National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and a local group of physicians from the WellSpring Oncology are taking an aggressive stand to help smokers kick the bad habit. With the launch of the second annual “Bucks for Butts” campaign, every smoker who relinquishes a box of opened cigarettes in November gets a $5 gift card* to Publix. They are calling all smokers to take the challenge to quit – everyone including President Obama – to raise awareness on the importance of quitting.

Here’s how it works: They take a petition, in the form of their signature testimony, on the Bucks for Butts “I Quit” poster board, which sits next to an oversized “Butts Basket” for disposal. (*For the first fifty participants). At the end of the month, all the participants will be entered in a raffle to win a grand prize and a winner announced. If the winner has successfully abstained from smoking until the end of the month, he/she is eligible to win. If not, the selection moves to the next candidate from the raffle pool. Participants may be contacted throughout the month to confirm their commitment to quit smoking.

“We’re very passionate about this. We want to create as much awareness as we can for this lethal disease, says WellSpring oncologist, Dr. Robert Miller. “It seems like a simple cancer to prevent but we understand it’s not, which is why we want to offer a reward to those who want to quit cold turkey before Thanksgiving!”

Last year’s Grand Quitter winner, Christopher Smith of Pinellas Park, Fla., turned in his pack of cigarettes in order to kick the smoking habit he’d had since he was 16 years old. Though he tried to quit once before, he returned to smoking after going through a difficult time. Last year, however, he remained smoke-free and was rewarded for his dedication. Smith walked away with $75 in gift cards that could be used for groceries, gas and dining at restaurants.

Wellspring hopes their message will reach as many people as possible, including President Barack Obama, and convince them to quit. “If influential leaders take a stand and make a healthy change, it will show others that quitting can be done,” says Dr. Miller.

In the U.S., approximately 23.1 percent of men and 18.3 percent of women are smokers. Each year, lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., causing one in every three cancer fatalities.

Partnering with the American Lung Association and the Lung Cancer Alliance, Dr. Robert Miller, Dr. Frank Franzese and Dr. Zucel Solc join the fight against the number one cause of lung cancer (87 percent of cases) – smoking. Because lung cancer is cunningly undetected with little to no symptoms, the disease can advance by the time the victim realizes they have it. An average of 430 people die every day from lung cancer.

CyberKnife treats lung cancerCigarette smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer-causing). “Risks such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, respiratory issues, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, infertility in women and low birth-weight babies in childbirth can all be prevented by quitting smoking,” says Dr. Solc.

Despite the harsh truth behind cigarette smoking and lung cancer, WellSpring Oncology is the first cancer center in Pinellas County to offer high-end radiosurgery options to the area with CyberKnife.

CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery is a medical procedure that utilizes very accurately targeted doses of radiation to precisely treat cancer. CyberKnife uses noninvasive image-guided localization, proving to be an effective alternative to surgery or conventional radiation for treating many small tumors. Radiosurgery for lung cancer may control up to 97 percent of lung cancers.

“It’s precise, it’s painless and it delivers large killing doses of radiation,” says Dr. Franzese. Multiple beams of high energy radiation are delivered from multiple points outside of the body and converge precisely at the tumor or lesion inside the body. It irradiates only the tumor and protects surrounding healthy tissue.

“The beauty of CyberKnife is that it can treat lesions which may be considered ‘inoperable’ or ‘untreatable,‘ giving patients new hope,” says Dr. Franzese.

When Smokers Quit – What Are the Benefits Over Time?
20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.
15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.
Source: American Cancer Society

About WellSpring Oncology: Doctors Robert Miller, Zucel Solc and Frank Franzese opened the doors of WellSpring Oncology in spring of 2008 to provide high-end treatment in a more personal and caring environment. The doctors at WellSpring Oncology have been practicing innovative radiation therapy since the 1970’s and developed the center to ensure patients have access to the latest technology available in the treatment of cancer. The doctors of WellSpring Oncology are all board-certified in radiation oncology and received their training at the top centers in the country, including MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan Kettering and the University of California San Francisco.

WellSpring Oncology is located at 6600 Sixty Sixth Street North in Pinellas Park, Florida. For more information, contact WellSpring Oncology at (727) 343-0600 or visit them online at http://www.wellspringoncology.org.

November 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Uncovering Your Health Risks

Dr. Robert Miller talks about uncovering your health risks with Health Behavior News. (more…)

September 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

Dr. Robert Miller on Studio 10 for Prostate Cancer Awareness and Catch for a Cure

WellSpring Oncology presents the 2010 Catch for A Cure local Celebrity Softball Game! It will be held on Saturday, September 25th at Woodlawn Field in St. Petersburg. The event is FREE and features food, a celebrity softball match-up, a dunk tank, games and much more! The fun goes from 10 am – 2 pm, so make a day of it, and help support the Prostate Cancer Foundation and WellSpring Giving Tree. Check out the video on Studio 10!

September 16, 2010 at 8:35 am

Catch for a Cure – Studio 10 Interview

WellSpring Oncology appeared on WTSP’s Studio 10 to talk about the upcoming 2010 Catch for A Cure local Celebrity Softball Game! It will be held on Saturday, September 25th at Woodlawn Field in St. Petersburg. The event is FREE and features food, a celebrity softball match-up, a dunk tank, games and much more! The fun goes from 10 am – 2 pm, so make a day of it, and help support the Prostate Cancer Foundation and WellSpring Giving Tree. Watch Interview

September 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm

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