Health Matters Blog

The Cardiologist as ‘Life Consultant’

Published May 11, 2012

Mark Burke, MD The Cardiologist as ‘Life Consultant’ By R. Mark Burke, MD, FACC Following is part one of a two-part column about heart disease prevention and treatment. Although the work of a cardiologist is centered on the heart beating in the chest, it turns out that an essential piece of that work centers on the figurative heart, as well. There’s a great deal that happens around the heart which has nothing directly to do with the pumping of blood to our brain and vital organs, but which has an enormous amount to do with our overall well-being and the health of our hearts. In the end, it’s all interrelated, in the way of the old song ‘Dem Bon...

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Breast MRI: The Role of Advanced Technology in Detection of Breast Cancer

Published May 4, 2012

Breast MRI: The Role of Advanced Technology in Detection of Breast Cancer By Marcy Rushford You may be asking what the big deal is about Breast MRI? Isn’t mammography or ultrasound enough? For some patients, the answer is yes, mammography is enough. Mammography is still considered the “gold standard” to screen for breast cancer. That means it is the best method we have to find breast cancer, often finding cancers years before they can be felt. But mammography is not foolproof. [caption id="attachment_4905" align="alignright" width="300"] Marcy Rushford[/caption] So your doctor may recommend an ultrasound. Often, ultrasound ...

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Genetic Risk Assessment

Published April 27, 2012

Agnes Mikijaniec Genetic Risk Assessment by Agnes Mikijaniec There have been great strides in the field of cancer genetics this past decade. It is now considered the standard of care in community and comprehensive cancer programs. However many individuals who would be appropriate for genetic risk assessment are not being tested. Barriers include distance to regional cancer programs, lack of insurance and lack of knowledge. City of Hope (COH) Cancer Center, a regional cancer in California and leader in cancer genetics, is working to improve outreach and access to genetic counseling. COH has received a National Cancer Institute grant to provide cancer genet...

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Lessons Learned from Surviving Prostate Cancer

Published April 20, 2012

Josh Hart Lessons Learned from Surviving Prostate Cancer By Josh Hart When I was first told I had prostate cancer, the first thing I did was swear. Just once. Then I asked myself what am I going to do about it? I can’t whine about it. I’ve got it. Let’s get rid of it. [caption id="attachment_4641" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Josh Hart"][/caption] The story of my cancer survival began in my thirties, when my mother recommended I start getting screened for prostate cancer. She had battled cancer and also worked in a healthcare-related field. So I took her advice to heart and began getting my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) lev...

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Gratitude for Volunteers

Published April 13, 2012

Gratitude for Volunteers By JoAnne Rogers National Volunteer Week (April 15-21 this year) was established in 1974 to recognize those who, as President Obama proclaimed in 2011, are “the lifeblood of our schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community groups.” The 110 people who volunteered at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital logged an astounding 19,500 hours of service last year, and every minute of it made a difference in how patients receive care here. [caption id="attachment_4545" align="alignright" width="229"] JoAnne Rogers[/caption] Many of our volunteers come to us after accessing hospital service...

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Putting a Face to Cancer

Published April 3, 2012

Walter C. Wagenknecht, MD Putting a Face to Cancer By Walter Wagenknecht, MD Long ago, there were politicians who advocated spending large sums of money on medical research, specifically with the goal of waging and winning “the war against cancer.” That appealed to many of us, especially the many whose lives had been touched directly or through family and friends by this all too common scourge. Perhaps a better analogy might be to compare the fight against cancer to a police action rather than a military engagement, in which civilian law enforcers try to round up those members of our own community who refuse to live by the rules and thereby protect the majo...

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Breast Cancer Risk Assessment

Published March 30, 2012

Joseph Rosen, MD BREAST CANCER RISK ASSESSMENT By Dr. Joseph Rosen [caption id="attachment_543" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Joseph Rosen, MD"][/caption] One of the advantages of caring for women with breast disease for over 30 years is the perspective one gains by seeing how things evolve over a time. I don’t think there are too many fields changing as quickly as breast disease management. Because it’s such a big problem there has been much grassroots support. This has resulted in a lot of time and resources directed into research, generating a huge amount of information in a short time. When I was in training, all women who came to us ...

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Top Questions About Colon Cancer Screening & Colonoscopy

Published March 22, 2012

Jeffry Potash, MD Top Questions About Colon Cancer Screening & Colonoscopy by Jeffry Potash March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, creating an opportunity to educate the community about the dangers, prevention and treatment of colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third most common cancer. In Vermont, there are about 330 new cases per year and 24 of them are from Windham County. 1. Can colon cancer be prevented? What is a polyp? [caption id="attachment_538" align="alignright" width="200"] Jeffry Potash, MD[/caption] Yes, to a significant degree. Colon cancer is unique because it begins as a benign tumor called a “polyp”. By removing polyps, w...

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Varicose Veins

Published March 15, 2012

Gregory R. Gadowski, MD, FACS Varicose Veins by Dr. Greg Gadowski Varicose veins are a very prevalent condition that no one really talks about as an illness. People who have not experienced them may think they are purely a cosmetic eyesore, but they are, in fact, a component of a condition called venous disease. Patients who have it know the pain and discomfort varicose veins cause in their legs. [caption id="attachment_505" align="alignright" width="200"] Gregory R. Gadowski, MD[/caption] Our legs contain a relatively complicated system of veins which rely on little valves to circulate blood back up to the heart after it has been brought down by the arteries. T...

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Taking the Mystery Out of Anesthesia

Published March 9, 2012

Taking the Mystery Out of Anesthesia By Dr. Ithiel Fuller For many patients who are about to undergo surgery, something that frequently causes the most anxiety is the anesthesia that makes surgery possible. Fear of the unknown is very powerful, and anesthesia is very mysterious. Popular culture is full of portrayals of worst-case scenarios designed for thrills in medical dramas, but fears also stem from the fact that we don’t have a firm scientific understanding of what exactly consciousness is. This makes it hard to explain how consciousness can be suspended in a controlled way, which is part of what anesthesiologists do every day. ...

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