Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center's Dr. Randy Mudge has been fighting the disease with patients in Battle Creek for 18 years.   Dr. Mudge was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins, to talk about some encouraging news on the cancer front, and also some less than enthusiastic news about Rush Limbaugh's fight ahead.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Last month, a New York Times article shared that the American Cancer Society reported the largest-ever one-year decline (2.2%) in cancer-related deaths in 2016-2017. Dr. Mudge said "From 1991 to 2017, the reduction in cancer mortality was 29%, which translates into 2.9 million lives saved."

Dr. Mudge says the decrease in moralities is due to several factors, starting with healthier lifestyles. We've seen a dramatic reduction in people using tobacco.  Education has gone a long way.   Exercise and diet are weapons against cancer, and he says new technologies has really helped.

The Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center just got a new linear accelerator for treating cancer with radiation. Dr Mudge says the new equipment is mostly due to money raised within the community, and that the machine is the most modern of its kind in Southwest Michigan. "It allows us to target more specific areas in a patient and treat them much more quickly."

General warning signs to be checked for cancer:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained weight loss

Dr. Mudge reminds us that it's best to be proactive and not wait for these warning signs.

  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Make sure you have an annual physical with your regular doctor
  • Have screening tests like colonoscopy, psa, mammagram, etc.

We asked Dr. Mudge about Rush Limbaugh's revelation last week that he has stage four lung cancer.   Mudge said Rush has a huge battle ahead of him.  He said "cancer stages 1,2 and 3 are treatable and curable.  Once we have stage 4 lung cancer, it means the cancer has spread beyond the organ that it started in, to other parts of the body.  Unfortunately,  in those cases the cancer is treatable, and often times we can get it to go into remission, but ultimately we are not able to cure those cancers and the patients end up succumbing to those cancers."

Mudge says typically, because the cancer has spread beyond one location, a localized treatment like radiation is not utilized.   He says you really need a treatment that will treat the cancer throughout the body.  Typically they start with chemotherapy.  He says now there are a lot of targeted therapy smart drugs that can cause less harm to normal tissues. Whether those drugs can be used depends on the outcome of biopsy tests.

For more info on the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center, click here. 

Dr. Randy Mudge is a radiation oncologist at the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center. He is also the Physician in Chief of Bronson's system-wide cancer program.