Archive | October, 2018

Debunking Flu Vaccine Myths

Now is the right time to get a flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sporadic flu activity is already being reported in 42 states across the nation, including South Carolina. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu. But a lot of people choose not to get it, saying it will give them flu symptoms or that it’s not worth it because doesn’t always work against all strains of the flu. In this WLTX news report, Dr. Joshua Prince of Lexington Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, debunks these flu vaccine myths.

One common rumor is that the flu vaccine will give you the flu. Dr. Prince says that’s absolutely false. The flu vaccine provides your immune system with a process to build antibodies that will either prevent you from getting the flu, or help you fight the flu.

Some people may have mild reactions to the flu shot including body aches lasting one or two days. Dr. Prince says that’s much better than getting the flu. The flu will invade your nasal passages, throat and lungs – and the body aches and fever can be devastating, leading to hospitalization or even death.

Another reason some people skip the flu shot is that it’s not always effective against all strains. For example, last year’s flu shot was only about 30% effective. Dr. Prince says the vaccine is still worth it. While a number of influenza viruses do exist, we have the best flu vaccine that experts can make every year. A lot of research goes into preparing the vaccine each year and we should take advantage of it. The effectiveness does vary from year to year, but even if it’s only 10 to 30 percent effective, that’s better than nothing.

Modern Management of Brain Tumors

Dr. Johnathan Engh is a neurosurgical oncologist at Lexington Brain and Spine Institute, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice. He specializes in tumors of the brain and spine. He talked about the latest treatment measures in this WLTX interview.

There are several types of brain tumors, typically divided between primary and metastatic brain tumors. A primary brain tumor grows from the brain itself; a metastatic brain tumor has spread to the brain from another part of the body. Some are malignant, others are benign. Brain surgeries can be complex.

According to Dr. Engh, brain tumors tend to present with headaches, confusion, an unexplained seizure as well as speech, memory and vision problems. Keep in mind the vast majority of headaches are not brain tumors.

Dr. Engh specializes in the most innovative ways to treat brain tumors. That includes minimally-invasive port surgery, a procedure that allows a surgeon to treat deep-seeded tumors while minimizing trauma to surrounding brain tissue.

Awake craniotomy, another innovative technique, maps the brain and allows the patient to participate in the surgery. If the patient is awake for a portion of the procedure, a doctor can ensure that speech and other neurological function is OK while the surgeon works on the tumor. There’s no machine that can do that. Awake brain surgery can maximize a patient’s outcome.

Finally, radiosurgery is a precise application of radiation without an incision and given on an outpatient basis. It can be very effective in shrinking tumors and preventing someone from needing surgery.

Dr. Engh’s expertise helps to allow people in the Midlands to receive world-class cancer care that’s close to home.

Tackling Breast Cancer and Rocking the Runway

Elizabeth Gainey lives in Lexington County with her husband. In the summer of 2017, she was 32 years old and just had a normal physical with her doctor. But a few weeks later, she noticed some unusual changes. At first, doctors thought it was an infection. But testing revealed breast cancer – and a positive result for the “BRCA1” gene – known to increase the risk of breast cancer. Elizabeth shared her story with WLTX this month.

Elizabeth’s did not experience a lump in her breast. Instead, she had redness, swelling and irritation. A biopsy revealed Stage 3 cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation at Lexington Medical Center. Today, she’s finished her cancer treatment and is doing well. Her story emphasizes the importance of knowing your body, recognizing changes and speaking with your doctor promptly when you notice something different.

Elizabeth was one of 10 breast cancer survivors who were models at Women’s Night Out on October 16 – Lexington Medical Center’s annual event that honors breast cancer survivors and their families. Here are some photos of Elizabeth rocking the runway. She makes us proud.

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