February, 2021 | Maryland Oncology Hematology February 2021 – Maryland Oncology Hematology

What are Complementary Therapies, and What Can They Do for Cancer Patients?

Complementary therapies are products and/or practices that differ from standard medical care provided by your oncologists. These non-traditional methods are in no way meant to replace cancer treatment. They’re called complementary because they are meant to work alongside your cancer treatment in hopes of relieving symptoms and side effects, relieving pain, and improving quality of life.

Complementary therapies typically concentrate on relaxation and reducing stress. Many of these types of therapies may help calm emotions, relieve anxiety, reduce nausea, minimize pain, provide extra energy, and increase overall health and well being.

Many cancer patients feel as though complementary therapies leave them with a little more control over their health as they go through cancer treatment. They also tend to appreciate that complementary therapies do not require additional medicines. When the symptoms and side effects of your cancer treatment are difficult to cope with, these alternative approaches can be supportive in bringing relief. Before adding any complementary therapy to your current treatment, however, it is important to talk with your cancer specialist.

There are many different types of complementary therapy. Be sure to tell your therapist or instructor that you are a cancer patient before you start any complementary therapy. This is important information that could impact what they recommend for you.

Complementary therapies include, but are not limited to:

  • Aromatherapy and Essential Oils: The use of essential oils either by inhalation or topical application. Oils can aid in reducing anxiety, nausea, depression, and pain. Be sure you receive instruction before applying any oils to your skin.
  • Acupuncture: The practice of applying needles, heat, pressure, and other treatments to one or more places on the skin known as acupuncture points. It can be effective for cancer treatment side effects such as nausea and vomiting, pain, and fatigue.
  • Chiropractic: A chiropractor can provide hands-on manipulation of the spine (adjustment) that can help with stresses cancer treatment has put on the musculoskeletal system, which can increase mobility, flexibility, strength, and function. It may also help relieve nausea, fatigue, headaches, and other body pains in the back and neck area.
  • Herbal supplements: May help strengthen the immune system and ease the side effects of cancer treatment. These can interact with medicines being used for cancer treatment and should always be discussed with your cancer care team before using.
  • Massage therapy: A hands-on method of manipulating the soft tissues of the body that can promote relaxation and help with pain, fatigue, immune function.
  • Guided Imagery (Visualization): A technique that focuses and directs the imagination toward a specific goal. Practicing this may be able to reduce feelings of depression and increase feelings of well-being. The University of Michigan provides a free guided imagery audio library.
  • Art or music therapy: Creative arts that promote a better quality of life by aiding in the reduction of depression, anxiety, and pain. It can also be a positive outlet for emotional expression.
  • Yoga: Yoga connects the mind and body through movement and meditation. Yoga can help improve quality of life by relieving both physical and emotional stress.
  • Support groups: Group meetings can help cancer patients cope. Having emotional support can help improve both quality of life and survival.

In most cases, cancer doctors are very supportive of their patients using complementary therapies. This is typically because they have seen people cope better with the cancer and its treatment.

Again, it isn’t recommended that complementary therapies replace cancer treatment. They are simply meant to be used in conjunction with the current cancer treatment. Talking with your cancer specialist can help find the right balance between the complementary therapies and traditional treatments you are receiving for your cancer. Our oncologist at Maryland Oncology Hematology are able to talk you through these complementary cancer therapies, as well as additional methods of therapy that may be best for your cancer care. If you are in Maryland or the Washington D.C. area, you can schedule a consultation by picking the Maryland Oncology Hematology location that’s most convenient to you and calling to make an appointment.



Weather Update 2/19/2021

Check our 2/19/2021 weather update page for practice closures and operating hour changes for tomorrow. All recent updates will be added or changed as offices make decisions. If your office isn’t listed, then no changes have be made yet. Feel free to call your office with any questions regarding appointments. Check this page for updates throughout the evening and tomorrow.

Columbia office will be open normal business hours. 

Capital division which includes Silver Spring White Oak Cancer Center & Laurel will be open normal hours.

Our Southern division which includes Brandywine & Lanham will be open 1 hour late on 2/19/2021

Our Frederick division which included our Frederick & Mt Airy office will open at 10AM 2/19/2021

Rockville Division which includes Rockville – Aquilino Cancer Center, Germantown and Bethesda will be open at 10AM on  2/19/2021


Annapolis will open at 10AM on 2/19/2021 due to the weather.


6 Surprising Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

For American women, breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer after skin cancer. On average, one in eight women and one in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

Thanks to breast cancer awareness initiatives launched by charities including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, most U.S. women and men know that if they, or a loved one, discover a lump in their breast, they should be screened for breast cancer. You may be surprised to learn there’s a type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer, accounting for less than 5% of all cases, that doesn’t develop a lump. Instead, this type of cancer blocks the lymph vessels, causing fluids to back up and generating unusual symptoms including persistent breast itching, nipple discharge, and a mark that looks like an insect bite that doesn’t go away.

Beyond the Lump: Lesser Known Breast Cancer Warning Signs

The more familiar you become with your breasts, the more likely you’ll be to notice changes. While lumps sometimes form deep within breast tissue (meaning in the early stages they can only be detected by a mammogram), other breast cancer red flags occur on the surface of the breast. They’re easily detectable – if you know what to look for. Here are six symptoms to watch for. If you detect one or more, you should be evaluated as soon as possible by a qualified physician.

  1. Warm, red, irritated and/or itchy breasts. These are among the most common early warning signs of inflammatory breast cancer.
  2. Nipple discharge. With the exception of breast milk that may leak from breasts during or after pregnancy, any nipple discharge should be checked by a doctor. Clear or bloody discharge may indicate cancer.
  3. Flat or inverted nipple. If this is unusual for you, have it evaluated by a doctor.
  4. Scaliness. Healthy breast skin is smooth. If yours is scaly or inflamed, that’s a red flag.
  5. Changes in skin texture. If you develop a rash, puckering or dimpling on the breast, that could be a sign of breast cancer. Skin changes related to breast cancer may resemble the rough skin of an orange peel.
  6. Change in breast size or shape. While it’s not uncommon for someone to have one breast that’s larger than the other, any new change in breast size or shape, including swelling or shrinkage, could indicate cancer.
Breast cancer awareness. Woman in pink bra holding a pink ribbon, a reminder of the importance of breast examination in healthcare and medicine, to maintain and sustain a cancer-free, healthy lifestyle.

What’s Normal?

Knowing what breast cancer red flags to watch for is important, but so is knowing about breast changes that may be completely normal. Throughout a women’s menstrual cycle, periodic breast pain, tenderness and heaviness is common. If you experience these feelings in both breasts, and are menstruating or about to begin your cycle, these symptoms are most likely the result of normal, monthly hormonal changes in your body. For more information about what’s normal and what’s not, check the blog about common breast cancer myths.

When in Doubt, Get Checked Out

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you’re having pain at times other than the start of your menstrual cycle, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram. There’s no need to panic. Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist, who will typically examine you and then refer you for a mammogram. Mammograms effectively detect 84% of breast cancers; so when you’re given a clean bill of health you can set your mind at ease. If your mammogram detects a suspicious mass, you may need to be evaluated further. If you do have breast cancer, you can expect a better outcome, because the earlier cancer treatment begins, the better patient outcomes usually are. If you live in Maryland, Washington, D.C. or the surrounding areas and want to be examined by a breast cancer specialist, contact us at Maryland Oncology Hematology.






Weather Update 2/2/2021

Due to weather our Frederick & Mt Airy offices will be opening 10AM on 2/2/2021. If you have questions regarding rescheduling, you can reach our Frederick office at 301-695-6777 and Mt Airy at 301-829-0707.

Mt Airy: https://mdoncology.wpengine.com/locations…/locations/mt-airy/

Frederick: https://mdoncology.wpengine.com/locatio…/locations/frederick/

Due to weather our Columbia office will be opening at 10:00AM with 2Hr delay. If you have questions regarding rescheduling, you can reach our Columbia office at 410-964-2212

Columbia: Columbia | Maryland Oncology Hematology


Due to weather our Rockville, Germantown and Bethesda offices will be opening 2 hr delay on 2/2/2021. If you have questions regarding rescheduling, please call your office at  301-424-6231

Rockville: Rockville – Aquilino Cancer Center | Maryland Oncology Hematology

Bethesda: Bethesda | Maryland Oncology Hematology

Germantown: Germantown | Maryland Oncology Hematology

All other offices are operating as usual.


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