• What to expect at your first mammogram

    Mammograms are a key part of preventive care for women. Starting at an age that is recommended by your physician based on your personal needs, you should have regular mammograms so that your breast tissues can be examined for abnormalities that could indicate breast cancer. If you have never had a mammogram, it’s normal to be a little nervous about what to expect. Here is what you need to know.

    Arriving at the screening facility
    When you arrive for your mammogram, you will be checked in for your appointment. The technician who will be performing your mammogram will ask you some questions about your health to ensure that it’s safe for you to have a mammogram. It’s important to let the technician know if you could be pregnant.

    You will be given a smock that ties in the front to wear. Many women prefer to wear pants or a skirt on the day of their mammogram so that they can easily remove their tops while leaving their bottoms on.

    Getting your mammogram
    When you enter the room in which your mammogram will be taken, your technician will place one of your breasts on a flat plate and position it so that a clear picture can be taken. Another plate will be lowered from above to compress the breast. Some women experience mild discomfort at this point, but as the video explains, the process is over quickly.

    You need to stand every still and hold your breath for a few seconds while the image is taken. Then, the plate will lift, allowing your technician to place your breast in a different position for another photo. This process will be completed on both breasts until the technician has all of the necessary pictures.

    Getting your results
    Your technician will tell you when you can expect to get the results. They will be provided to your physician. You may also get a letter in the mail.

    Your results may say that your breasts are all clear, or they may advise you to have a follow-up mammogram or biopsy to explore a suspected issue further.

    The Breast Care Center at Good Samaritan Hospital provides comprehensive breast health care, including mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsy procedures. For a referral to our breast health team in San Jose, call (888) 724-2362.

  • Testicular cancer: Screenings and symptoms

    When testicular cancer is diagnosed before it has spread to other areas of the body, the prognosis is usually quite favorable. Unfortunately, many men don’t know how to recognize the potential signs of testicular cancer and they may delay seeking medical care. Here at Good Samaritan Hospital, our cancer care team is dedicated to giving our patients the best possible outcome. During Testicular Cancer Awareness Month this April, we encourage men throughout San Jose to become better informed about their risk factors, and the signs and symptoms of testicular cancer.

    Screening for testicular cancer

    Health screenings are intended to find medical problems as early as possible. These exams and tests are performed when patients do not have symptoms. Health screening recommendations differ from one organization to the next, and they are subject to revision. For instance, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine screenings for testicular cancer, but the American Cancer Society does. Consider asking your doctor if you should be screened regularly based on your risk factors. Men may also choose to do regular self-exams. Your doctor can explain how to perform a self-exam.

    Signs and symptoms of testicular cancer

    If you notice any abnormalities of the testes, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Most often, testicular cancer produces a painless lump on a testicle . Other signs and symptoms include the following:

    • Enlargement of one testicle
    • Aching pain in the scrotum or lower belly
    • Early puberty in boys
    • Breast enlargement
    • Breast soreness

    Signs of metastasized cancer

    When cancer has spread beyond its point of origin, it is said to have metastasized. The symptoms of advanced cancer will vary, depending on the specific areas the cancer affects. Here’s a look at some of the possible areas and their associated symptoms:

    • Lungs: Shortness of breath, chest pain
    • Brain: Headaches, confusion
    • Liver: Abdominal pain
    • Abdominal lymph nodes: Low back pain

    Your doctor should know about all of your symptoms, even if they don’t seem to be related to each other.

    For cutting-edge cancer treatment technology, caring specialists and private cancer treatment areas, look no further than the Comprehensive Cancer Care program at Good Samaritan Hospital . Our dedicated Oncology Unit goes above and beyond to give you the care you deserve. Call a nurse in San Jose at (888) 724-2362 or visit us online to read about our exclusive patient amenities, including our health library, massage services, music and guided imagery.

  • What’s the Difference Between Diagnosing and Screening Breast Cancer?

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means that you might consider scheduling a mammogram screening if you are over the age of 40, or visiting your doctor for a clinical breast exam at any age. Breast cancer screening is a critical component in identifying breast cancer early on in its progression, when the cancer is most treatable, though it is important to remember that screening exams do not actually diagnose the cancer itself. This article will walk you through all of the differences between screening and diagnosing breast cancer so that you can manage your breast health wisely at any age.

    Breast cancer screening

    The goal of breast cancer screening is to identify any abnormal lesions that might indicate the presence of cancer in the breast tissue. Clinical breast exams involve feeling the breast tissue for abnormal lumps or nodules, while mammograms take X-ray images of the breasts to spot any lesions that may not be felt through the breast tissue. Positive results on either of these exams do not necessarily mean that cancer is present, but further testing will be ordered to explore the cause of the abnormal results.

    Breast cancer diagnosis

    Diagnosing breast cancer involves testing the abnormal tissue to see the cell structure of the lump or lesion. Typically, this will involve a combination of imaging exams like mammograms and breast MRIs to guide biopsy procedures that will take a sample of the breast tissue for lab testing. If cancer is present, the doctor will then assess the size and growth rate of the cancer to determine the stage of the disease.

    At Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, we provide comprehensive breast cancer care with services ranging from screening to advanced treatment with mastectomy, breast reconstruction, and radiation therapy. To explore more of the services of our Breast Care Center, call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (888) 724-2362.

  • Where to Find Emotional Support During Your Cancer Care

    From the moment you receive a cancer diagnosis, your world may be turned upside down with feelings of anger, confusion, and sadness. As you sort through your options for treatment and discuss your diagnosis with your family, you may benefit from seeking outside support to cope with your feelings and form a more positive outlook for your care. Below, you can see some of the support services that you can access in San Jose to help you through this rough time.

    Cancer CAREPoint

    Cancer CAREPoint is located within the Silicon Valley, and it offers a wealth of local resources for patients facing any type of cancer diagnosis. Through this organization you might connect to support groups or find one-on-one counseling to help you cope with the mental and emotional difficulties of cancer and its treatment. You might also find assistance and educational resources that can help you better understand your diagnosis and plan your treatment effectively.

    Look Good Feel Better

    Keeping a brave face during cancer treatment can be a big challenge, especially as your physical appearance changes with side effects of surgery, chemo, or radiation. Look Good Feel Better aims to promote confidence and beauty in both male and female patients, providing a positive outlet that can address hurdles like low-energy and diminished self-image.

    American Cancer Society

    The American Cancer Society provides extensive resources for patients undergoing treatment as well as cancer survivors and their families. Through the ACS, you might find support groups and helpful information about your treatment, or you may find assistance with transportation to the hospital for your care, outreach from cancer survivors, and participation in clinical trials.

    The Cancer Care Team of Good Samaritan Hospital is sensitive to the emotional needs of our patients and their families, so we will work to provide compassionate care catering to your comfort and personal needs. To connect with our team and begin planning your treatment, give us a call at (888) 724-2362.

  • What You Should Know About Lung Cancer Screening

    Lung cancer is notorious for spreading quickly, so early diagnosis is crucial for good outcomes. Because lung cancer may not cause symptoms before it is in more advanced stages, screening can be an important part of preventative care for some people. Should you consider lung cancer screening at Good Samaritan Hospital , and what should you expect from the process? Here is what you need to know.

    Screening Guidelines

    Unlike some cancer screening tests, like mammograms and colonoscopies, lung cancer screening is not recommends for everyone. Lung cancer screening is limited for a number of reasons, including risks associated with screening. According to the U.S. Preventative Task Force, you should have yearly lung cancer screenings if you have history of heavy smoking, are between 55 and 80, and you currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years. Screening is usually reserved for people who meet all of those criteria, but your doctor can help you decide what the best approach is for you.

    Test Process

    Lung cancer screening is done via CT imaging. For the test, you will lie on a table that slides into a donut-shaped machine that takes images of your lungs. The person reading your images will look for signs of nodules or masses in your chest that could indicate lung cancer. The test is completely painless and takes a few minutes to complete.

    Follow-Up Treatment

    If your doctor identifies any signs of lung cancer, your doctor will discuss the next steps with you. You may need further testing, surgery, chemotherapy, or other cancer treatments. At Good Samaritan Hospital, a multidisciplinary team of experts consults on lung cancer cases.

    Good Samaritan Hospital is committed to changing the future of lung cancer with regular screenings, early diagnosis, and effective treatments. In addition to our oncology program, our San Jose hospital offers comprehensive healthcare for your entire family, including private labor and delivery suites and emergency care. To learn more about lung cancer screening or to find a doctor, call (408) 819-0558.

  • What Is the Benefit of Clinical Trials in Cancer Care?

    After a diagnosis of cancer, patients often find that they have an overwhelming amount of information to sort through. They may wish to learn more about their specific type of cancer, whether surgery is a good choice, and what they might expect from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The importance of clinical trials should not be overlooked, however. Clinical trials are research studies conducted at hospitals, including Good Samaritan Hospital .

    Gaining Access to New Treatments

    One common reason why some patients may hesitate to explore the clinical trials available at their local hospital is the perception that these studies are reserved for people with advanced cancer or cancer that does not respond to any other treatment. But in fact, participants with every stage of cancer are needed. Since clinical trials test new treatments that are not yet available, participating in these studies provides a way for patients to gain access to therapies that may help them.

    Being Closely Monitored

    Cancer patients visit their local hospitals frequently for tests and treatments, and they are all carefully monitored. However, participating in a clinical trial could mean that the patients are monitored even more closely because the researchers need to keep track of the effects of the treatment.

    Evaluating the Effectiveness of New Treatments

    Many cancer patients decide to participate in clinical trials at a community hospital because they wish to help others with cancer by furthering research initiatives. Clinical trials are the last stage in determining whether a new cancer treatment will be approved for use. Clinical trials not only evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications for cancer treatment; they also evaluate new ways of diagnosing cancer, preventing cancer, and managing the side effects of cancer treatment.

    Good Samaritan Hospital of San Jose is a leading test hospital, participating in many clinical trials that may not be available elsewhere in the Bay area. At our hospital, you’ll find compassionate cancer support services and sophisticated treatment options to help you fight back against cancer. For more information about these and other healthcare services, call (408) 819-0558 or visit our hospital on the Web.

  • How to Prepare for Your Radiation Therapy for Cancer Treatment

    If you’re anticipating having radiation therapy at your community hospital, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the treatment. Your cancer care team can explain why radiation therapy is the right treatment for you and what you can expect from each step of the process. At Good Samaritan Hospital, our cancer care specialists are always available to guide patients through the treatment planning process.

    Consider Fertility Preservation

    Many types of cancer and its treatment can adversely affect male and female fertility. Patients may wish to discuss this possibility with their physicians before having any treatment, including radiation therapy. If there is a possibility that fertility will be affected, patients may wish to consider fertility preservation options. For example, the cryopreservation of sperm or eggs can facilitate a future pregnancy despite radiation therapy.

    Identify Possible Side Effects

    Every patient reacts to radiation therapy differently. You may feel better prepared for the side effects that do occur by learning how to handle them in advance. Your oncology team can help you learn about ways of managing side effects such as fatigue, skin irritation, shortness of breath, mouth irritation, and hair loss.

    Undergo the Treatment Planning Process

    Before receiving radiation therapy, you’ll go to your local hospital for a consultation with the radiation oncologist. During this appointment, your team will assess your general health, handle any necessary paperwork, and answer any questions you may have about radiation therapy. You may want to bring along a notepad to jot down notes. Many patients also bring a family member to help them keep track of information. After the consultation, you’ll undergo imaging scans and radiation simulation. During radiation simulation, you’ll find a comfortable position to lie in during treatment and your radiation therapy team will place markings on your body to pinpoint a target for the radiation beam.

    In addition to our state-of-the-art radiation oncology equipment, Good Samaritan Hospital provides support services to guide patients and their families through all phases of cancer care. Our hospital also provides San Jose residents with exceptional emergency care, maternity services, and cardiac care. To speak with a registered nurse at our hospital, call (408) 819-0558.

  • Understanding Palliative Care in Cancer Treatment

    Cancer is a complex disease that typically necessitates a multidisciplinary approach. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you can expect to meet with specialists at your community hospital . Your healthcare team at Good Samaritan Hospital will help you understand your treatment options, including choices for curative treatment and palliative care.

    Goal of Palliative Care

    Curative interventions are those that attempt to cure the disease. Palliative care is different. The goal of palliative care is to help patients feel more comfortable and enjoy a better quality of life, despite the adverse effects of cancer and the side effects of treatment. Palliative care can begin as early as diagnosis and continue throughout the course of treatment. A palliative care plan can be designed to prevent and treat health challenges . It may also address the social, spiritual, and psychological needs of cancer patients.

    Types of Palliative Care

    Palliative care may be delivered in the hospital setting or at home. Hospitals that provide a comprehensive cancer program may have palliative care specialists on staff. These specialists and other healthcare providers can address a wide range of concerns, including the physical challenges of cancer such as fatigue, pain, nausea, and loss of appetite. To help patients cope with these problems, palliative care might involve medications, physical therapy, and nutritional counseling. Another type of palliative care that a community hospital can provide is radiation therapy or chemotherapy to shrink tumors that are causing pain or other symptoms. Palliative care might also involve fulfilling emotional and spiritual needs through counseling, support groups, and mental healthcare.

    Misconceptions about Palliative Care

    Palliative care is often confused with hospice care, likely because they are quite similar. However, hospice programs only provide palliative care. When a patient enters a hospice program, he or she does not pursue curative treatment options any longer, unless the patient chooses to leave the hospice program. In contrast, palliative care is administered alongside curative treatments. Palliative care can also help families cope with the transition from curative treatments to end of life care.

    At Good Samaritan Hospital, it’s our mission to provide patients and their families with the utmost in cancer care. At our community hospital, you’ll find compassionate palliative care, sophisticated treatment options, clinical trials, diagnostic procedures, and extensive support services for families. Residents throughout the San Jose area can reach our hospital at (408) 559-2011.