Neelima Chintapalli, MD

Why is early detection so important when it comes to cancer?

When it comes to cancer, the sooner we can treat it, the better. Recognizing possible warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action leads to early diagnosis. This is why annual screenings, knowing any changes in your body, and seeing your primary care physician are so important to your health. Early diagnosis is particularly relevant for cancers of the breast, cervix, mouth, larynx, colon and rectum, and skin. At the CHRISTUS Cancer Treatment Center, our physicians, advanced practice providers and every member of the Oncology team follows the most up-to-date and accurate screening guidelines to help diagnose and treat our patients.

What are different cancer treatment options?

Most people immediately think of chemotherapy when they think of cancer treatment. While chemo is often a part of cancer treatment, there are many other methods of treating cancer including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and numerous targeted therapies. It is really important to remember that no single treatment will work for all types of cancer. We use the latest therapies and techniques to not only diagnose and treat cancer, but more importantly we work to treat the person – a patient’s quality of life throughout treatment is vital. Oncology has advanced tremendously in my career. It is exciting to see how far we have come with chemo, radiation and other forms of treatment in certain cancers. I get excited about how clinical trials have changed the face of oncology. We are able to more effectively treat cancers that would have been terminal just a few years ago. Our patients are living longer because patients over the years have been open to these clinical trials.

How Can I Support a Friend or Family Member with Cancer?

A cancer diagnosis can have a major impact on every individual in a family, as well as on friends and even coworkers. Families may also experience stress from the financial burden cancer can cause due to one parent having to take time away from work or increased medical expenses. It is important for families to work together as a unit to ensure the cancer patient’s caregiving needs are met and that each person within the family also is taking care of themselves. Communication and flexibility are the keys to success, and the best ways to help the patient feel supported.

I also recommend support groups to my patients. At CHRISTUS, we have two support groups. One is open to cancer patients, caregivers, family members, friends, or anyone in the community affected by cancer. The other is a monthly breast cancer support group, and we have seen how much this group means to these women. All cancer patients need a support system that will help them cope with their cancer journey.

Sponsored by CHRISTUS Oncology.