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UTMC to celebrate cancer survivors with reception June 8

In honor of June being National Cancer Survivor Month, the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo is honoring cancer survivors with a celebration reception Thursday, June 8. 

Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the free program will start at 6:10 p.m. Each cancer survivor can bring a guest. 

“Every year of survivorship is a reason for joy,” said Renee Schick, manager of the UTMC Survivor Shop and cancer survivor. “We believe it is important to celebrate all cancer survivors and their unique experiences, as well as provide continued support and connect them to community resources available as they continue their journey.” 

The celebration will bring together survivors to share their stories and introduce various community services and organizations. The event will feature door prizes and music. Food and beverages will be served. 

Guests also will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Porshia, UTMC’s therapy dog. 

Register by calling 419.383.5243 or email eleanorndanacancercenter@utoledo.edu.

Public invited to skin cancer awareness event at UTMC

One in five Americans will be affected by skin cancer in their lifetime, and ultraviolent radiation from the sun is mainly to blame.

UV damage also can cause wrinkles and blotches or spots on your skin.

In honor of May being Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, the
Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo is hosting a program on skin cancer awareness and treatment.

The free, public event will take place Thursday, May 25, at 6 p.m. at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center on Health Science Campus.

Nina Rettig, a physician assistant with the UTMC Dermatology Department, will
discuss simple steps to prevent skin cancer, how to monitor changes in your skin that might lead to skin cancer, and treatment.

“The good news is that risk of developing skin cancer can be minimized,” Rettig said. “And with awareness and early detection, it can often be cured.”

To register, call 419.383.5243.

Sign up for UT team to make strides toward cancer research

Join thousands of others by taking to the streets Saturday, May 6, for the 11th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk to help the American Cancer Society end the pain and suffering of those with breast cancer.

The 5K walk will take place at the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. Registration will open at 8 a.m. with the walk beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Before the walk, an opening ceremony will take place to help inspire participants to take action as well as to symbolize the uplifting and energizing commitment people have made in making sure that no one has to face breast cancer alone.

“This event is important to the community and the breast cancer survivors and families. Not only does it bring awareness, but the funds generated from this walk benefit research, and free events for patients undergoing treatments, programs on educating the public to prevent it, catch it early and treat it,” said Michelle Giovanoli, manager of radiation oncology at UT Medical Center. “Their goal is to create a world without pain and suffering of breast cancer.”

Last year, more than 5,000 participants raised more than $130,000 for cancer research. The money raised was able to support programs to fight breast cancer in areas such as research, education, advocacy and patient services.

So far this year, 1,600 participants have raised more than $154,000.

Giovanoli serves as a co-chair for the event, but also has a deeper connection to the walk as she herself is a two-year breast cancer survivor.

“My mom and my aunt both were diagnosed and are survivors; my best friend is as well. I am sad to say that my sister-in-law died of the disease when she was in her 40s,” Giovanoli said. “I want people to know they are not forgotten; we walk in support of those who have survived as well as those who have passed from their disease.”

The walk also will honor Renee Schick, manager of Renee’s Survivor Shop in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, as this year’s honorary survivor. She is celebrating 16 years as a breast cancer survivor.

A limited number of T-shirts will be available at the event for $20. Parking will be free at the Town Center at Levis Common. The parking lots on the back side of the mall also will be available for participants.

The University of Toledo has a team called Rocket to a Cure, and people are encouraged to register for it. Rocky and Rocksy also will be in attendance.

The walk is family-friendly, and there is no registration fee to sign up. Participants are encouraged to fundraise or donate, but are not required.

UT Health will sponsor a photo booth for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

To sign up for the event or to donate, click here.

World Lymphedema Day event to provide education, support

There are more than 200,000 cases of lymphedema reported in the U.S. every year, but many women still do not receive proper instruction on how to manage the disease.

“It can be developed at any time,” said Renee Schick, manager of the Renee’s Survivor Shop and breast cancer survivor. “Mine started about six years after my surgery and treatments.”

Lymphedema is a disease that results from the lack of lymphatic drainage, causing swelling of the extremities. The condition is most often caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment.

While the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the disease sometimes go unnoticed, Schick warns of the dangers of letting lymphedema go untreated.

“Lymphedema is a condition that can be managed,” she said. “If it is not managed, it will continue to get worse and could have major complications.”

Lymphedema is a chronic, incurable disease that may even lead to disfigurement if the person affected does not commit to the long-term self-care.

Those who are interested in learning more about the disease and who may be looking for products to help manage the condition are invited to attend the World Lymphedema Day event hosted by Renee’s Survivor Shop.

World Lymphedema Day is Monday, March 6. The event will be open-house style from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Survivor Shop in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center on the UT Health Science Campus.

“Jobst representatives will have a display of new compression products, compression bras, lymphedema bracelets, swell spots and more,” Schick said. “We will have a lymphedema therapist at the event between 2 and 4:30 p.m. to answer questions.”

For more information, contact Schick at renee.schick@utoledo.edu or 419.383.5243.

Pancreatic cancer survivor credits aggressive, unconventional treatment at UT in successful fight

Gerri Musser of Oregon, Ohio, didn’t think she would be around to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with her family.

“I am very lucky to be alive,” Musser, 62, said. “The odds were overwhelmingly against me.”

Dr. Changhu Chen and Gerri Musser posed for a photo in the Edge Radiosurgery Suite in UT Medical Center’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center. Under Chen’s care, Musser received a 10-day, high-dose, targeted radiation treatment for a tumor in her pancreas, liver, stomach and bile duct.

Dr. Changhu Chen and Gerri Musser posed for a photo in the Edge Radiosurgery Suite in UT Medical Center’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center. Under Chen’s care, Musser received a 10-day, high-dose, targeted radiation treatment for a tumor in her pancreas, liver, stomach and bile duct.

The day-care worker and great-grandmother of seven believed she was delivered a death sentence when doctors diagnosed her with pancreatic cancer in August 2015.

“You hear awful stories about how it’s too late when symptoms of pancreatic cancer surface — people died within weeks,” Musser said. “I was at stage IV when they found it. The shocking diagnosis sounded like instantaneous death. They gave me six months to live.”

Musser said her cancer journey started when she couldn’t keep any food down and lost 23 pounds in six weeks. She went to her family physician to find out why she was so sick.

“The ultrasound discovered a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in my pancreas,” Musser said. “I was immediately referred to the Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo to see a specialist.”

Surgical oncologists took her into surgery, but couldn’t remove the tumor because they discovered it also had spread to her liver, stomach and bile duct.

Dr. Changhu Chen, radiation oncologist at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center and professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, said Musser had a less than 5 percent chance of survival.

“After the surgery, I told them three times, ‘I want to live, I want to live, I want to live,’” Musser said. “I will do whatever I have to do.”

The primary tumor in Musser’s pancreas continued to grow despite chemotherapy, so Chen and staff at the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center guided Musser through what Chen calls “unconventional treatment.”

“This is an exceptional case,” Chen said. “She responded so well, you could call it a miracle.”

Musser underwent a 10-day, high-dose, targeted radiation treatment.

“We offered Gerri a 10-day course of high-dose, intensity-modulated radiation therapy using a technology called stereotactic radiosurgery,” Chen said. “Instead of the traditional treatment of low doses on a region of the body for 25 to 30 days, we focused specifically on Gerri’s tumor for 10 minutes a day for 10 days with more than double the dosage using our Edge Radiosurgery Suite. We have had this machine for more than two years and have extensive experience with this fast and safe treatment.”

“It was aggressive treatment, and I’m happy to say it worked,” Musser said. “Dr. Chen dropped an atomic bomb on that big tumor in my pancreas, and the tumor has resolved. I had no side effects. I’m in a remission state and check in with my doctors every other month to make sure it doesn’t come back.”

Chen said Musser’s tumor is the largest for which he has had success using this treatment for pancreatic cancer. This technique is normally used for tumors less than 2 inches in size.

“Pancreatic cancer is a very deadly disease,” Chen said. “There has been no big breakthrough in treatment, no discovery of a method for early detection. I am glad we had good results from a devastating diagnosis in Gerri’s case.”

Chen said the Dana Cancer Center has had many successful treatments for patients with cancers other than pancreatic cancer using expertise and technology in radiation therapy at UT.

Musser, whose hair is growing back, savored every minute celebrating Christmas with her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“I had great doctors, and I’m feeling good about making a fresh start for the New Year,” Musser said. “It’s a long road. I’m not done yet. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. However, I am prepared to fight again because I’d like to see my great-grandchildren grow up.”

Class to teach benefits of essential oils

Plant-based remedies, known as essential oils, are one of nature’s most powerful support tools to help heal the human body naturally, according to Renee Schick, manager of Renee’s Survivor Shop at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, UT’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center and the Center for Health and Successful Living will host a free class about how to use essential oils to strengthen your immune system.

Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the class will start at 6 p.m.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by Monday, Nov. 14, to eleanorndanacancercenter@utoledo.edu or call 419.383.5243.

Schick encouraged anyone who is looking to learn more about his or her health choices to RSVP and attend this class.

“The bottom line to wellness is that each of us every day makes choices that affect our health,” Schick said. “We have opportunities to use oils as an integral part of our health.”

Essential oils will be for sale in the Survivor Shop after the class.

UTH 40 0915 Essential Oils event poster

UT pharmacy students host bowling tournament to support cancer patients

A pair of University of Toledo pharmacy students are on a roll when it comes to fighting cancer.

Jacob Garfield and Ryan Brown teamed up last year to create “Strike Out Cancer,” a bowling tournament to benefit UT Health’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center. Nearly 80 teams participated, raising more than $2,500.

Microsoft Word - 2nd Annual UT STRIKE OUT CANCER flyer (002).doc“We received so much positive feedback after last year’s event and had so much fun, we decided to do it again,” Brown said. “We have room for 360 bowlers and would love to fill all the spots. We are aiming to double our donation to the Dana Cancer Center this year.”

The second annual “UT Strike Out Cancer” bowling tournament will be held Friday, Oct. 28, from 9:30 p.m. to midnight at New Glass Bowl Lanes, 5133 Telegraph Road. The evening also will include a Halloween costume contest, door prizes, a raffle, music, concessions and a cash bar.

The tournament is a 9-Pin No Tap Dutch Doubles format.

“In this style of play, taking down nine pins equals a strike,” Garfield said. “Teams of two bowlers will play alternate shots throughout the game, with the only time one of the pair completes a frame alone is when scoring a strike.”

Teams will play three games with each game adding to the team’s final score. The top team in each division — all male teams, all female teams and co-ed teams — will win a cash prize, Garfield said.

Chris Kosinski, Dana Cancer Center clinic manager, said funds raised from the event support patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

“Patients received integrated supportive therapies, including therapeutic hand massages and guided imagery,” he said. “These techniques help patients manage the physical and emotional stress that cancer treatment can cause. They help to support the patient’s stamina and well-being, and we are grateful for the work Jacob and Ryan have done to raise funds for this type of care.”

Registration is $20 and includes three games and shoe and ball rental. Teams can register here before Tuesday, Oct. 25, or at the event.

Nationally recognized expert to speak at UT lymphedema seminar

The University of Toledo’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center will hold a free seminar to educate cancer patients about the latest lymphedema treatments available and provide advice for managing their symptoms.

“Lymphedema From Head to Toe” will take place Monday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel on Health Science Campus. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Dana Cancer Center. Valet parking is available, and refreshments will be provided.

lymphedema flyerDr. Suzie Ehmann, clinical coordinator of the edema management program at Carolinas HealthCare System, will be the keynote speaker. For more than a decade, Ehmann has dedicated her practice to the evaluation and comprehensive treatment of patients with lymphatic disorders and chronic non-healing wounds.

Lymphedema is painful swelling due to a buildup of lymphatic fluid. It is common in cancer survivors who have had lymph nodes removed or radiation therapy as a part of their treatment plan. This painful condition occurs primarily in the extremities, but also can occur in other areas of the body, such as the face and chest.

“We will review the lymphatic system and how to look for the symptoms of lymphedema,” Ehmann said. “Many patients don’t realize that occasional swelling can be the start of a much bigger problem. If we address lymphedema at this stage, it is much more treatable and improves the quality of life for patients.”

She added, “Often lymphedema is associated with breast cancer, but those who have head and neck cancers or melanoma can also experience lymphedema.”

While there is no one-size-fits all solution, Ehmann said a comprehensive treatment plan that includes skin care, massage, compression and exercise helps improve the quality of life of many lymphedema patients.

“This is a rare opportunity for patients and professionals alike to hear from one of the nation’s leading lymphedema experts,” said Renee Schick, event organizer and manager of UTMC’s Survivor Shop. “Anyone with a condition that can lead to chronic swelling and those who care for lymphedema patients will benefit from her presentation.”

Local therapists and lymphedema product manufacturers also will be on hand to share information with attendees.

“It is my goal to dispel the myths of lymphedema, highlight available treatments, and to connect patients with the network of organizations and care facilities available to them,” Ehmann said.

Due to limited seating and the expected popularity of this event, registration is required.

Call Renee’s Survivor Shop at 419.383.5342 or email eleanorndanacancercenter@utoledo.edu to RSVP.

UT to hold seminar on prostate cancer and urological health

Surgery and radiation therapy for prostate cancer can cause undesirable side effects, including erectile dysfunction and incontinence, but a cancer diagnosis does not mean a man’s quality of life needs to suffer.

A seminar aimed at educating men about available options for prostate cancer and improving their overall urological health will be held Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. at UT Health’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m.

prostate flyer“It is important for men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer to ask about the treatment options that are available to them,” said Dr. Samay Jain, UT Health vice chief of staff and division chief of urologic oncology. “Men with low-risk prostate cancer may be good candidates for active surveillance, which means we monitor him closely, but delay surgery or radiation treatment until it is needed.”

If active treatment cannot be avoided, Jain said there are options to help preserve a man’s quality of life.

“Our surgeons are trained in robotic surgery and other minimally invasive therapies for the cure of prostate cancer to help you get back to living your life with less pain and scarring and reduced risk of side effects,” he said.

Jain encourages men experiencing incontinence or impotence to talk to their doctor about the available treatment options, including medications, therapies and surgical options.

“Shifting Focus: Thinking Beyond Prostate Cancer and Into Survivorship” is part of the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center’s Wellness Information Series. Jain is certified through the American Board of Urology and focuses on urologic oncology, minimally invasive robotic procedures and prostate MRI.

Space is limited, and reservations are required. Email eleanorndanacancer@utoledo.edu or call 419.383.5243.

UT to offer free clinical breast exams at Toledo Pride 2016

The University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living will provide free clinical breast exams Saturday, Aug. 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Toledo Pride Festival in downtown Toledo.

web center for health and successful living“We hope to reach women over the age of 40 who haven’t recently had an exam,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, health education professor and co-director of the Center for Health and Successful Living. “It is important that women be proactive and take the time for preventative health screenings.”

According to the National Cancer Society, breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and confined to the breast, and early detection is an important factor in the prognosis of someone diagnosed with the disease.

The exams are sponsored in cooperation with UT Health’s Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.