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If you have cancer or know someone with cancer they may want to learn about our current clinical trial. This new national trial is changing the way cancer research is done.

MUSC is taking enrollment in this national study called NCI MATCH, offering  another tool in the cancer arsenal. It gives a different opportunity to cancer patients who have tried at least one line of standard therapy or for whom no standard therapy exists.Illustration of basket study

The study doesn’t focus on the type of cancer a patient has but rather on the mutations and what drugs have been shown to treat that mutation, possibly halting a tumor’s growth.

You can read more about this unique study in our news article MUSC part of innovative national cancer trial.

Guest Post by:

Richard Mahieu, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Health Sports Medicine


Physical activity is something we hear is an important aspect of a healthy life, and the research strongly supports this point. Unfortunately, one of the risks of an active lifestyle is injury. Whether it is an injury that happens quickly because of an accident or one that occurs over time because of of age or overuse, injury often forces us to put physical activity on the back burner. The good news is that with some internet browsing and a little ingenuity, most injuries will not stop you from maintaining your active lifestyle.

Recently I took a trip to Georgia for work and one of the first things I came across was a 4 mile long clay running path. Initially, I was very excited because the track was close to where I was staying. Unfortunately, after utilizing the track for nearly two weeks, I began to develop shin splints. After taking a week off from running, I was fed up with the lack of cardio in my life, so I began to bike or swim in place of the running. This routine continued for about six weeks until I was comfortable enough to attempt the impact of running again. I slowly progressed into greater distances and intensity until I was back to where I wanted to be.

I use this personal story as an example of getting around an injury to maintain physical activity. Similar activities can be used for injuries like minor ankle sprains, runner’s knee or stress fractures. The same thought process can be used for injuries to other body parts. I had a soldier a few years ago who suffered a sprained wrist after a fall. The soldier was adamant about continuing a workout routine that included many forms of pushups. Unfortunately, with the wrist sprain, pushups were extremely painful. We put our heads together and found that if using pushup bars or performing pushups on fists did not result in pain or discomfort. The soldier was ecstatic to be able to resume a regimen and to heal at the same time.

I have had athletes doing core calisthenics while wearing a boot or an elbow immobilizer. If they cannot use their foot, I have them use their arms and core. If they cannot use their arm, then they will be activating their legs and core. If they have abdominal injuries, then we can work on their extremities. There are many fun and effective exercises to do while protecting and recovering from injuries. Just make sure you review these activities with your physician before trying something too demanding!


Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death for both men and women. If you are between the ages of 55-77 and have a 30 pack-year* history of smoking – even if you’ve quit – don’t take a chance. Safe, low-dose spiral CT (LDCT) scans have proven to reduce lung cancer deaths by twenty percent. Early detection can add years to your life and improve the quality of life for you and your loved ones.

Is Lung Cancer Screening Right for Me?

If you have all of these risk factors, you should consider being screened:

• 55–77 years old and

• * 30 pack-year history of smoking (this means 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years, etc.) and

• Are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years

Not everyone who meets the initial criteria will be eligible for screening. Our team will help guide you as to whether screening can benefit you or not.

Does Lung Cancer Screening Make a Difference?

The National Lung Screening Trial has shown that screening current or former heavy smokers with LDCT decreases their risk of dying from lung cancer. During the research study, 53,454 current and former smokers were randomly assigned to be screened once a year for 3 years with low-dose CT or chest X-ray.

Based on the research, if a group of 1000 people were screened once a year for 3 years, 3 fewer people in 1000 would die of lung cancer after 6 years. This means that, instead of 21 people, 18 people per 1000 would die of lung cancer.

Scheduling an Appointment

Your doctor may refer you for lung cancer screening, or you may refer yourself by calling 843-792-1178.

The MUSC Health Lung Cancer Screening Coordinator will walk you through the evaluation process, which includes smoking cessation counseling if you are still smoking. We may also be able to direct you to clinical trials that are appropriate for your concerns or your condition.

Screening Cost

Talk with the Lung Cancer Screening Coordinator about potential costs for lung cancer screening. Medicare and most private insurance plans offer coverage for those who qualify.


You can choose from three different MUSC Health locations for your LDCT scan and clinical consultation:

Downtown Charleston
Rutledge Tower
135 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 128, Charleston, SC 29425

Mount Pleasant
MUSC Health East Cooper
1600 Midtown Avenue, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

North Charleston
MUSC Health North Charleston
8992 University Boulevard, North Charleston, SC 29406

Smoking Cessation

Regardless of your decision about screening, avoiding cigarettes is the most important thing you can do to lower your chance of dying from a variety of diseases, not just lung cancer. Quitting smoking helps with emphysema and heart and vascular diseases as well.

If you are still smoking and need help quitting, talk with your MUSC Health care team, call our MUSC Tobacco Treatment Program at 843-792-9101, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Guest Post by:
Brittany Darling, MS, ATC
Athletic Trainer
MUSC Sports Medicine

The first week of September - high school football is in full swing, college football has just begun, and the NFL is taking off this weekend. Over the past few years the sport of football has become practically synonymous with the dreaded word “concussion.” The media is in a frenzy about whether it is even safe to play this classic, beloved sport. As an athletic trainer, I hear the term “he just got his bell rung” from coaches, parents, and other players more often than I would like. I hear the arguments exclaiming that, back in the day, all you had to do was be able to declare that you see the two fingers being held up in front of your face, and you’re good to go! With advances in medicine and technology, the medical field is bringing light to the nature and side effects of concussions, and it is not a pretty story. The good news is, there are many steps that can be taken to prevent the occurrence of a concussion.

The most important form of prevention is education. Without knowing how a concussion can occur or what a concussion feels like, it is difficult to know if you, indeed, have a concussion or not. The difficult part is that a concussion is not like a broken bone; you cannot get an x-ray and say definitively yes or no, you have a concussion, like you can with a fracture. Concussion diagnosis is primarily subjective, based upon reports from the patient about how they are feeling or what might have happened. Symptoms include a headache, nausea, dizziness, double vision, sensitivity to light or noise, and feeling off balance. More severe symptoms may include vomiting, memory loss, or loss of consciousness (blacking out). Sometimes this can be difficult for a younger individual to differentiate, but I have found that to err on the side of caution will always produce the best possible outcome. As a coach, parent, or player, if a significant hit to the head is witnessed, either from head to head, head to ground, or even whiplash, then that athlete should be removed from play and evaluated by the athletic trainer or team physician.Football block

Teaching the correct tackling techniques can be extremely helpful in preventing concussions. Many football players, especially those more inexperienced, will put their head down and lead into a tackle with just their head. Some will even purposefully do this, known as a “helmet to helmet” hit. This is incorrect and very dangerous! The head should be up, and the tackle should be made by wrapping arms around the other player. Referees have recently become more aware and have been helping to eradicate this type of tackling. Learning to land when being tackled is also a useful technique to practice, and can prevent many other injuries as well. Always be sure that all equipment, especially the helmet, is fitting appropriately and doing its job to protect you.

Many institutions are now utilizing baseline testing, which performs a cognitive evaluation of the athlete and can be used post-concussion to compare results and ensure that the individual is ready to return to play. This is not used on its own, but in combination with a variety of other diagnostic tools such as the SCAT3, symptom check, and balance error scoring system (BESS). If diagnosed with a concussion, it is important to seek appropriate medical help from a physician, specifically a concussion specialist who has experiencing managing these types of injuries. It is absolutely possible to return to playing football after suffering a concussion, however it is important to follow the return to play protocol provided by your school’s athletic trainer and to be certain of full recovery. With efforts to educate parents, players, and coaches, simple modifications can be applied to make the sport of football safer while still enjoyable.

Guest Post by:

Michael J. Barr, PT, DPT, MSR
Sports Medicine Manager
MUSC Health Sports Medicine

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games concluded its two-week run in Rio de Janeiro Sunday night and now it is time to reflect on the games and amazing athletes we have grown to admire and support over that time. Despite controversies that started and ended these games – from the political and financial instability of Brazil, concerns over the Zika virus, to the Russian doping scandal and ending with Ryan Lochte – we still enjoyed amazing feats of athleticism and achievements from the likes of Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, and many others that will go down in history. Unfortunately, there are not just the highs with athletic events, but also lows, especially when serious injuries occur. One such injury at this year’s games brings us to one of the greatest moments of Olympic sportsmanship on record, truly reflecting the Olympic values of “excellence, friendship and respect.”

With approximately 2,000 meters left in the women’s 5,000 meter race, New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin tripped and – at the same time – pulled down Abbey D’Agostino of the United States. D’Agostino quickly got back to her feet, but instead of continuing on with the race, she stopped and helped Hamblin back up to her feet. Both athletes helped and encouraged each other and were able to finish the race together. They were both granted spots in the finals, but D’Agonstino was injured in the fall. She had suffered the “unhappy triad,” tearing her ACL, MCL and medial meniscus. D’Agostino was not able to continue and compete in the finals.

There were over 11,500 athletes competing in 306 events in 28 different sports; with this extreme number of athletes, competing at such a high level of intensity, injuries are inevitable. Here are just a few of the more serious ones to highlight:

  • French gymnast, Samir Ait Said suffered what looked to be a compound tibia/fibula fracture during a pommel horse landing
  • Australian wrestler, Talgat Llyaso suffered an elbow dislocation during a match
  • Australian javelin thrower, Kim Mickle dislocated her right shoulder during a qualifying throw
  • Armenian weightlifter, Andranik Karapetyan dislocated his elbow when  attempting a clean and jerk lift with 429 lbs

As these athletes all have a LONG road to recovery, I am sure their dedication to training and competition will carry them through their rehabilitation. The above injuries were traumatic, but even the day to day strains, sprains and soreness can limit one’s ability to compete. You constantly hear athletes talking about 5 staples to their day to day recovery/regeneration: rest, hydration, nutrition, cryotherapy (ice and heat) and muscle management/stretching. Taking care of their bodies every day is the only way to compete at this level. We all hear about the “fad treatments”: cupping, kinesio tape, dry needling, hot stones, and many others. There is a time and place for all types of treatments, but do these simply to achieve a placebo effect or are they truly rooted in evidenced based practice? That is definitely a question for another article, but no matter what other treatments they are receiving, these athletes and all athletes no matter their age or competitive level, need to focus on the 5 staples for recovery: Rest, Hydration, Nutrition, Cryotherapy, and Muscle Management/Stretching.


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