Surgery is part of cancer treatment plans in many cases. While surgery is an important part of treatment, recovery from surgery has a major impact on overall health. Strong for Surgery is a program that focuses on making small changes in health before surgery. Making these changes, even just before surgery, can make a big difference in recovery.
Office of Public Affairs
2000 Circle of Hope,
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
Individuals with familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) have a nearly 100 percent chance of developing colon cancer and often undergo surgery to remove the colon so cancer can’t develop there. A new medication being tested in a clinical trial lead by Jewel Samadder, MD, has shown promising results. The first round of testing shows that in less than six months, half of the patients who received medication saw a nearly 70% regression of polyps. For some, polyps disappeared completely.
P53 – one gene that may hold the key. Humans have two copies, but some people are missing a copy. For individuals with only one working copy of P53, their lifetime risk of cancer is nearly 100 percent. Elephants, after 55 million years of evolution, have 40 copies of the P53 gene. Those extra copies protect elephant’s cells from cancer by eliminating cells that develops any type of mutation that could go on to become cancer.
Eduardo Ayala was 17 years old when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He is fluent in English and Spanish, but his parents speak only Spanish. Eduardo and his family came to HCI from Nevada for his treatments. It is one of the five Mountain West states at the core of HCI’s service area. Cancer has a language all its own and it’s that much harder if English is not your first language. That’s where Guadalupe Tovar, a health educator and patient navigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), comes in. She helps Hispanic families navigate their cancer care.
They call themselves “The Generation to End Cancer.” Sigma Chi fraternity brothers from across the United States sharing one goal – to raise $10 million for cancer research at HCI. For many Sigma Chi brothers, this fight against cancer is personal. Dan Shaver, chairman of the Sigma Chi Philanthropy Committee says, ,”We rarely come across someone whose family isn’t directly or indirectly affected by cancer. I just don’t think we’ll ever rest until we find the cure.” Sigma Chi fraternities raised $1.3 million during the 2015-2016 school year. 29 schools each raised more than $20 thousand dollars and traveled to Salt Lake to be inducted into the 20k club.
At Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), researchers are using the power of Big Data to help prevent cancer. HCI is home of the Utah Population Database (UPDB), a shared data resource that tracks family medical history through many generations. The UPDB is the only database of its kind in the United States and one of few such resources in the world. The UPDB has contributed to important gene discoveries including those for colon cancer (APC), breast cancer (BRCA1), melanoma (p16), and others. Utilizing the UPDB, researchers are able to identify families that have higher than normal rates of certain cancers.
In the United States, someone is diagnosed with a blood-related cancer every three minutes. For many of them, a blood or marrow transplant is the only hope for a cure. More than two-thirds of these patients, however, don’t have a matched marrow donor in the family. Donor registries offer them the best hope for finding a match.
That little phrase, a common conversation starter, takes on new meaning at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). There, a program called Your Story gives cancer patients the chance to reflect on and share their life stories.
You don't smoke. You wear sunscreen. You exercise regularly. But your breakfast usually consists of a donut or store-bought muffin as you run out the door, lunch is something from the vending machine, and dinner is grabbed at the drive-thru. These decisions about what you eat may be doing more harm to your health than you think.
Patients at the Hunstman Cancer Institute are getting a new chance for treatment through art therapy. A new artist in residence program allows cancer patients bring some color back to their lives by expressing themselves through art.
When dealing with cancer treatments and side effects, exercising usually isn’t at the top of a patient’s to-do list. One program at HCI is helping patients understand the importance of physical fitness: Personal Optimism with Exercise Recovery (POWER). Studies show that exercising during and after treatment reduces recurrence rates and improves overall health and survival. At HCI’s Wellness Center, cancer exercise specialists meet with patients to create exercise prescriptions. This consists of an initial visit to look at things like balance, flexibility, range of motion, and strength. Then the patient is walked through their exercise prescription, including what to do both at the Wellness Center and at home, and can participate in fitness classes based on their abilities. Doctors and exercise specialists at HCI hope to help patients not just get through cancer, but take control of their health for years to come.
Melanoma is the most deadly of all skin cancers. If melanoma is found early, it is easier to treat. Researchers at the University of Utah and Texas Tech University have identified a new approach for finding suspicious moles that could be melanoma: mole crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing refers to using crowds of people, often recruited online, to accomplish tasks. An individual performing a skin self-exam can miss about half of melanomas. But with mole crowdsourcing, one example showed if at least 19 out of 100 people think a mole is suspicious, then a doctor should examine it. Researchers are developing a cell phone application that will allow people to take a photo of a mole and have that image evaluated by other users. Learn more in The Scope Radio podcast about mole crowdsourcing, or about our Melanoma Program and the services it offers to diagnose and treat this disease.
With so much information about cancer that is readily available, those impacted by a cancer diagnosis often experience a feeling of information overload. The Cancer Learning Center (CLC) at HCI provides a welcoming environment where patients, families, and the general public can get answers to their questions about cancer. Trained health educators help visitors and callers navigate the potential for information overload and provide current, accurate information about treatment, side effects, and coping strategies. This resource is free for anyone with questions about cancer. Learn more about the G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center and how it began in our 2010 Annual Report, and other Education and Outreach programs at HCI.
Alison Elliot, a nurse, knows her health is important. So when her fiftieth birthday rolled around, she scheduled a mammogram. She was called back for a second appointment, where they performed a biopsy on her breast.
Mindfulness is a way to learn stress reduction and relaxation techniques, restore peace and well-being. For patients at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), a weekly mindfulness group has helped reduce pain and other symptoms at a. The group started as a way to help people learn tools for reducing stress and cope with pain associated with cancer. Dr. Paul Thielking, a psychiatrist at HCI who leads the group, says meditation-based practices have a long history and are becoming a more prevalent form of chronic pain management in treatment centers across the country.
Actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt made headlines when she went public with a decision to have a preventative double mastectomy and later surgery to remove her ovaries as well. Jolie-Pitt made these decisions because test results revealed she has a genetic mutation that significantly raises her risk of breast and ovarian cancer. This drew important attention to understanding inherited cancer risk – part of ongoing genetic research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).
Teamwork is the focus of HCI’s tumor boards, monthly meetings where all the specialists involved in treating a given type of cancer share their expertise to come up with a treatment plan for a patient. This exchange means every patient receives the best care, aiming not only for survival but the highest quality of life possible. Dan HedlundTogether a team of doctors, social workers, and investigative researchers create a plan to treat an individual’s cancer with a combination of therapies. Learn how one patient, Dan Hedlund, is now cancer-free after undergoing treatment through HCI’s sarcoma multidisciplinary team.
No one plans on having a medical emergency, but if one happens, an advance directive outlines your plans and wishes for medical care. It tells your doctor and your family what decisions to make on your behalf, if you are unable to speak for yourself. An advance directive is also called a living will. Even if you’re young and healthy, you can prepare for unforeseeable events with an advance directive. The forms for an advance directive vary by state, but most follow the same basic format. Learn more about advance directives and Utah advance health care directive forms and instructions from the University of Utah’s Center on Aging.
Chemotherapy, radiation, and medication are what many patients expect as normal parts of their cancer treatment plan. In addition to these conventional therapies, patients at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) are feeling the benefits of music therapy and other mind-body practices as a way to relax, manage cancer-related stress and pain, and connect with emotions. Just as cancer treatment plans are unique to each patient, so is music therapy. Beth Hardy, HCI’s music therapist, says a session can include playing live music, writing songs with patients, and using music as a relaxation tool. Music therapy can also help family members of cancer patients deal with stress. Beth says having music in the room can help families process the emotions they’re going through.
The Huntsman 140 is a fundraising road cycling event on Saturday, June 18 in Salt Lake City, Utah. All funds raised through this one-day event go to Huntsman Cancer Foundation (HCF) to support cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI). Each rider is encouraged to fundraise $500 to support cancer research at HCI. This ride is ideal for cyclists of all levels--from avid riders taking on the 140-mile challenge to newer pedalers enjoying the rolling 25-mile course. The variety of courses include 25-, 50-, 75-, and 140-mile routes.
Our media relations representatives are here to help reporters Monday-Friday, 7:30 am-5 pm.
Public Affairs Manager
Public Relations Associate
After-hours calls: Reporters calling before or after business hours on an urgent matter can page the University of Utah Health on-call media relations representative at 801-581-7387 and press 1.