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Jul 16, 2019

In most patients’ cancer stories and journeys, cancer didn't start with the diagnosis. First, there are symptoms, pain and probably a visit to the family doctor, Urgent Care or student health center before the diagnosis is made. In this episode, Dr. JYP and studio guest Dr. Robert Israel, an internal medicine physician in Mobile, Alabama, talk about common and uncommon cancer symptoms, early tests, hearing the diagnosis and learning how the trusted family doctor works with a patient's new team of cancer specialists and caregivers. Plus, they discuss the mental distress of a diagnosis, the healthy lifestyle, and how a patient can smoothly transition from treatment back to his or her primary care doctor to live fully in survivorship.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cancer starts with symptoms and is usually diagnosed by a patient's primary care physician, not an oncologist.
  2. A cancer diagnosis is stressful and shocking for the patient and physician.
  3. Know your enemy: A diagnosis is the first step of a treatment plan to address cancer symptoms, discomfort and pain.
  4. Family members can have a hard time managing the stress and anxiety of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis.
  5. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and the use of new support medications have exponentially improved in the last 20 years, making it easier for patients and their recovery.
  6. Cancer is a team effort. Patients have a co-captain role in their treatment with their new team made up of oncologists, primary care doctors, caregivers, trusted advisers, family, long-time friends and friends of the family.
  7. Primary physicians are an important resource for cancer patients and their new cancer treatment team for all aspects of the cancer journey.
  8. A healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise are essential before, during and after a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
  9. Most cancers are manageable, which provides hope for patients.
  10. Beware of second opinions from a cousin, grandparent or Dr. Google.


Dr. Israel's Healthy Eating Tips

  1. Eat your colors: fruits and vegetables.
  2. Remember, real food does not arrive through the window of your car.
  3. If your breakfast cereal changes the color of your milk, change your cereal.


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The Cancering Show is brought to you by USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute at the University of South Alabama. MCI is a cutting-edge cancer research and treatment center built to fight cancer smarter in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. Our researchers and clinicians focus daily on the struggle against cancer, serving a potential catchment population of more than 4.1 million people, with a singular focus of advancing cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention throughout the Gulf Coast and beyond with science, technology and hope.

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