Traveling while undergoing cancer treatment

Baird traveling with cancer

The summer travel season is upon us, and many are planning vacation time to beaches, or the mountains, or destinations beyond with family and friends. If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, it’s no different; you need time to recharge from the day-to-day stresses of life, and especially your medical condition. When undergoing cancer treatment, there are a few extra precautions and considerations for the traveler, but that shouldn’t stop you from traveling or enjoying a vacation away from home. Careful planning can ensure you have a great – yet safe – experience.

First, get the OK from your medical team before making any travel plans. You’ll want to talk about the location, how you plan to get there, and how close you’ll be to a medical facility in the event of an emergency. Depending on your condition, proximity of a treatment center may factor in on your vacation destination. It’s important to include family members or other travel companions in these conversations so they can be informed and feel comfortable about traveling with you.

Secondly, consider how you’re going to get there. Some people with cancer may not be able to travel by plane because of the changes in oxygen levels and air pressure that occur during the flight. Changes in air pressure can sometimes cause swelling in your extremities, which could be problematic for a person with cancer. Also, sitting for long periods of time can put anyone at risk for a blood clot, but it’s even more of a concern for someone with cancer. Also, if you’re receiving chemotherapy, your immune system is compromised, making traveling through airports and sitting in crowded planes a risky endeavor.

If you are well enough to travel by plane, there are a few things to keep in mind. Some forms of radiation used for radiological exams and treatment may trigger airport radiation detectors. Some chemicals used may linger in the body for up to 3 months. If you plan to fly after such an exam or treatment, ask your doctor for a letter that identifies the procedure, the type and amount of radioactive material used, the date of the procedure, and the likely duration of detectable radioactivity. Be sure to carry this letter with you when you travel.

When booking your flight – plan ahead so that you can have seats with extra legroom if you need it, or ensure that your travel companion can be seated next to you. Also, notify the airline in advance if you think you may need oxygen.

Research your destination and locate a cancer center, and emergency center far ahead of time, just in case something goes wrong. If those aren’t available, (if you’re on a cruise, for example), notify the staff where you’re staying of your condition to help facilitate their cooperation in the event of an emergency.

Check your insurance policy to see if treatment away from your normal care center is included. You may want to consider a short-term travelers policy for additional piece of mind.

Make sure you have written documentation for on your condition, treatment regimen, and medications, and keep it with you. This is also important if you have an IV port or other internal device so you have documents to show security screeners. You also might consider getting a medical alert bracelet. If you require syringes for medication or portable oxygen tanks, you may need a note or form signed by your doctor for these items to be allowed on a plane.

When planning, keep in mind that certain destinations require vaccinations prior to entry. Speak with your physician about whether or not this is something your body will tolerate with other medications you are on, or with a weakened immune system.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, take it easy and enjoy the moment. Don’t overdo sightseeing or shopping excursions and listen to your body when it’s telling you it needs rest. Relax – and enjoy!

Why you shouldn’t ignore vascular issues

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People often ignore or brush off certain symptoms as “minor” when it comes to their health. Many times, vascular issues are indicative of a larger problem, or more serious illness. Here are some issues that you should definitely speak to your physician about.

Leg pain: Pains that start in your legs with walking or other exertion could be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD), which often goes hand-in-hand with coronary artery disease.

Varicose veins: Varicose veins are not just an unsightly cosmetic annoyance, but also an indication that the veins in your legs are not working the way they should. Untreated varicose veins can lead to more serious issues including blood clots, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

There are more than 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body, providing the network for the flow of oxygen and nutrients required by the body for good health. VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute has the latest in technology and techniques to diagnose and treat vascular disease. If we uncover signs of vascular disease, our experts can develop a custom treatment plan for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: Cleveland Clinic, VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute

Vascular disease runs in my family. What are some things I can do to stay healthy?

 

Vascular disease is the general term for conditions that affect the blood vessels, including heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease.

Vascular disease is not limited to older adults; it can strike anyone at any age, at any time. If there is a family history of vascular disease, patients should be especially diligent to stay healthy.

You can improve your overall health and risk of developing vascular disease by following these health guidelines.

  • Don’t smoke. And if you do smoke, stop immediately. This also goes for other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, pipes and smokeless tobacco
  • Adopt healthy eating habits, including plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Avoid excess sugar, sodium, fat and red meat
  • Get regular exercise, at least 30 minutes, four to six times per week
  • Reduce stress, through exercise, meditation or other efforts
  • If you are a diabetic, keep your blood sugar levels under control
  • Take medications if you need them to help lower your cholesterol and lower your blood pressure
  • Get regular checkups from your doctor, and make sure your doctor knows of your family history

 

 

Sources:          Vascular Cures, MedicineNet.com

 

Why would someone need a vascular ultrasound?

Vascular ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method used in vascular screening to evaluate your blood circulation. A vascular ultrasound may also be called a duplex study since it combines traditional ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound.

  • Traditional ultrasound uses sound waves that bounce off blood vessels to create pictures.
  • Doppler ultrasound records sound waves reflecting off moving objects, such as blood, to measure their speed and other aspects of how they flow.

Ultrasound is noninvasive, meaning the vascular screening exam does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia. Ultrasound imaging uses a small transducer or probe, and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Since different tissues of the body, such as muscle, bone, and blood vessels have different densities, they show up differently on the image.

Your physician may recommend that you have this vascular screening exam to evaluate the blood flow to specific organs in your body. Vascular ultrasound can be used to evaluate:

  • Blockages to blood flow, such as clots
  • Stenosis or narrowing of vessels, which may be caused by plaque or emboli
  • Tumors, congenital vascular malformations or aneurysms
  • Blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body
  • Confirm that a blood vessel graft or bypass is working properly
  • Source and severity of varicose veins

Ultrasounds are generally quick and virtually pain-free. The technologists at the VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute are highly skilled and certified to perform vascular screening ultrasound exams. They work in close collaboration with our physicians to provide the most accurate and useful imaging possible to help diagnose and treat your condition.

 

VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute – The History

VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute was made possible by the generous donation of Jane B. Baird Hyde, who passed on the building and land to VCU Health in memory of her late husband, Charles L. Baird Jr., M.D. This resulted in the opening of VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute in October 2011.

Virginia Heart Institute (1972-2010)

Virginia Heart Institute was established in 1972, by Charles L. Baird, Jr. MD, to prove that outpatient coronary arteriography is a safe method to find high-risk coronary disease early. Patients could then receive the care and education needed to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction at the first signs of heart disease.

Charles Lewis Baird Jr., M.D. (1931-2008)

“I did what I came to do.” ~Dr. Baird

Charles Lewis BairdDr. Charles Lewis Baird, Jr., MD was a pioneering cardiologist and the founder and director of the Virginia Heart Institute, previously located in the building that now houses VCU Health’s Baird Vascular Institute.

Baird’s lifelong mission was to help people. He was ahead of the game in cardiac care and his “outside of the box” approaches helped develop care so many would not have to wait a year for a cardiac catheterization to find blockages.

Baird’s frustration with the standards of care – developed in the 1960s – motivated him to find new ways to diagnose cardiac disease early so that they can medically manage and promote lifestyle changes for a healthier heart. This approach helped patients remain stable and in many cases avoided angioplasty or surgery.

Baird then opened the Virginia Heart Institute — the first licensed outpatient hospital and the first freestanding cardiac catheterization laboratory in the U.S. right here in Richmond, VA. He modified the cardiac catheterization procedure, taking it from a three-day procedure to a short three-hours. Taking this technique nationwide would save billions of dollars and more importantly, countless lives.

This pioneer passed away in 2008 and on his deathbed, Baird told a local minister that he did what he came to do before departing this life.

Baird’s connection to VCU Health

Born in Richmond, Va., in 1931, Baird graduated from the University of Richmond and went on to attend the Medical College of Virginia (now the VCU Health), graduating in 1957 with his medical degree. After completing his internship and residency at MCV, Baird completed a cardiovascular fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and went on to serve in the U.S. Army and as the director of medical education at Watts Hospital in Durham, N.C. In 1965, Baird was invited to become a member of the faculty of the Department of Cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia, where he was instrumental in starting the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. Even after leaving VCU in 1972 to found the Virginia Heart Institute, Baird maintained very close relations with the physicians at the medical center, specifically in the departments of Cardiology and Radiology.

How is Baird Vascular Institute affiliated with VCU Health?

Every day, there’s a new discovery at VCU Health. Whether it’s a patient who undergoes a new, life-saving procedure or a clinical researcher who finds promise in a new cancer treatment, exciting medical advances are taking place. As the only academic medical center in the region, VCU Health is on the forefront of health care, providing patients with the most progressive treatments and medical technology available.

For the third time, VCU Health has been ranked a #1 hospital in Virginia and the Richmond metro area by U.S.News & World Report®. Thanks to the dedication, compassion and expertise of its more than 11,000 team members — from doctors, nurses and resident medical staff to support personnel and administrators — the medical center also enjoys consistently high patient satisfaction ratings.

The interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons of VCU Health teamed up to create a unique and exciting service for patients in Central Virginia. By combining the experience and expertise of these two areas, these skilled physicians offer the very best in vascular care for the Greater Richmond area at Baird Vascular Institute. Our state-of-the-art facility offers customized vascular care tailored to the individual needs of each patient — set in a warm and friendly environment located conveniently just off Interstate I-195.

VCU Health at Baird Vascular Institute is unique in that it combines the very best expertise and knowledge of a prominent academic medical center with the convenience of an outpatient clinic. Designed to be patient friendly and easily accessible, the Baird Vascular Institute provides patients with a comfortable setting for the diagnosis and treatment of many vascular conditions.

How does Image Guided Tendon Treatment work?

Image guided tendon treatment is a minimally invasive method to identify and remove pain generating scar tissue from tendons which can occur due to various musculoskeletal conditions such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, jumper’s knee, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis. The doctor uses ultrasound imaging, just like the kind used to see babies in the womb, to visualize and identify the specific location of the damaged tendon tissue.

Once the source of your tendon pain is identified, your doctor numbs the area with a local anesthetic, allowing you to stay awake the entire time. Many people say after the numbing process—which feels like a bee sting—they felt only a slight pressure during the procedure (if they felt anything at all). Your doctor then uses gentle ultrasonic energy designed to safely breakdown and remove the damaged tissue. Because the incision is so small and the ultrasonic energy precisely treats only the damaged tendon tissue, the surrounding healthy tissue is left unharmed.

When the procedure is completed, the doctor applies a small adhesive bandage – no stitches are required. Because you are awake during the procedure, many people are able to drive home immediately following the procedure.

With image guided tendon treatment, recovery is rapid and many people are back to normal life within 6 weeks or less. Because the surrounding healthy tissue is not disturbed, and no stitches or general anesthesia is required, there is minimal downtime and less discomfort compared to open surgery.

To learn more, visit http://relievemyfoot.com/.

Source: http://www.tenexfastprocedure.com

http://www.tenexhealth.com/explore-tenex-health/how-does-it-work

Is there anything you can do to prevent varicose veins?

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Varicose veins are an unsightly and sometimes painful condition that appear as we age or after a pregnancy. Other times, they appear in individuals who have a genetic predisposition for them, or individuals who stand for long periods of time during their day. They occur when the walls of the vein become stretched and less flexible and allow a backflow of blood that accumulates and becomes swollen and then externally visible.

Unfortunately, there are no guaranteed ways to prevent varicose veins. You can, however, work on improving your circulation and muscle tone to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins or getting additional ones. The following things will help:

  •    Exercising
  •    Watching your weight
  •    Eating a high-fiber, low-salt diet
  •    Avoiding high heels and tight clothing
  •    Elevating your legs
  •    Changing your sitting or standing position regularly

If you suffer from swelling or pain in your legs from varicose veins, or just don’t like the appearance, the VCU Baird Vascular Institute can help. Varicose veins are not just unsightly, but painful and, if left untreated, can progress to become serious health problems.

VCU Baird Vascular Institute vascular specialists are experts in evaluating and treating varicose veins. Our interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons work hand-in-hand to treat patients with varicose veins using the latest technology available, with treatment tailored to your specific needs.

 

 

Sources:

What is Image Guided Tendon Treatment? Can it help with my mobility?

Image guided tendon treatment relies on ultrasound technology to identify, breakdown and remove pain-causing damaged tendon tissue. The surrounding healthy tissue is not disturbed and the treatment stimulates healing. The technology used (Tenex Health TX), is an FDA cleared device that can be used in a nonsurgical setting.

If you’ve had to give up your everyday activities along with your favorite ones, image guided tendon treatment has the ability to get you back to what you love and need to do in 6 weeks or less. With no stitches or general anesthesia, this treatment offers minimal downtime for a rapid return to normal life.

PlantarfaciitisThe process requires only local anesthetic to numb the area. You do not need general anesthesia (to be put to sleep) as you would in traditional open surgery. When the procedure is completed, only a small adhesive bandage is used. No sutures or stitches are generally needed.

You should not feel any pain during the treatment, only a slight pressure if anything. After the treatment during your recovery, you may feel sore in the treated area for a short period of time. Most patients use over-the-counter medication for any discomfort.

Typically, the treatment takes 20 minutes or less to complete. This includes the time to clean your skin before the treatment to placing a small adhesive bandage over the micro incision upon completion. Unlike traditional open surgery recoveries that may take up to 6 months or longer, the image guided tendon treatment recovery period is expected to be 6 weeks or less for a return to your normal activities.

The specialists at VCU Baird Institute are excited to offer this advanced technology technique to our patients. If you have already explored multiple treatments such as rest, ice and cortisone injections to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, you may be ready for the next step in your treatment. Give us a call at (804) 828-2600 to discuss whether it’s right for you.

Learn more at http://www.tenexhealth.com or http://www.Relievemyfoot.com

5 Reasons You Should Choose VCU Baird Institute

Baird Institute

1. We offer the very best expertise and knowledge of a prominent academic medical center, with a neighborhood feel. 

Backed by the expertise of VCU Medical Center, as well as access to their full array of services, the VCU Baird Vascular Institute is the only academically based vascular center in Central Virginia.

The VCU Baird Vascular Institute relies on a unique team of interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons with state-of-the-art technology, to maintain our high standards of excellent care. We offer our patients a full suite of both traditional exams and new, cutting-edge procedures, to diagnose their problems quickly and efficiently, and to provide therapeutic interventions, if needed. Our patients receive the highest level of treatment from our experienced team of advanced radiologists and vascular surgeons.

2. We have the latest in technology and techniques to diagnose and treat vascular disease.

Vascular ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method used in vascular screening to evaluate your blood circulation. A vascular ultrasound may also be called a duplex study since it combines traditional ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound. The screening exam does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia. Ultrasound imaging uses a small transducer or probe, and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin.

Using image-guided techniques, our interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons are able to diagnose and treat almost any vascular condition not related to the heart or brain.

3. We are easy to get to, with convenient parking

You no longer need to travel all the way downtown to take advantage of VCU’s world-class medical services. Easy to reach from almost any area of town, we are located just off Interstate 195 in the near West End at 205 N. Hamilton Street. BVI brings the expertise of VCU Medical Center to a convenient neighborhood setting.

4. We offer a variety of services under one roof.

Our patients have easy access to the full array of expert vascular screening and treatment services offered by the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.

Services include: vein care, port placement, dialysis access management, IVC/SVC filter placements, vascular ultrasound and peripheral vascular physiologic tests (PVRs, ABIs), vascular screenings, diagnosis and treatment, and diagnosis and treatment for narrowing of arteries in the legs, arms and other areas of the body.

5. We work hand in hand with your referring physician.

We stay in constant contact with our patient referring physicians to help ensure appropriate care. We have a team comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, technologists and administrative staff that are dedicated to the health of our patients and being responsive to our referring physicians. Our onsite manager is responsible to keep things running smoothly, and serves as a point of contact for any questions or issues that may arise.