Author Archives: admin

Create a Vibrant Life With A Functional Medicine Approach

Life Style Intervention

Dr. Linda Jager believes that we all deserve a vibrant life and that we each have the potential to
create this for ourselves. We know that the root cause of many of chronic diseases can be
helped with lifestyle intervention. By that we mean changes in what we eat, how
much we move, and our attitudes and outlook on life.

Dr. Jager uses a Functional Medicine approach to help you achieve your health goals.
Functional Medicine is a systems-oriented approach that engages both the patient and doctor
in a therapeutic partnership. Instead of treating just the symptoms of disease, Functional Medicine addresses the whole person. Many diseases have genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence long term health and disease progression. Most doctors are not adequately trained to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet and exercise to prevent or treat chronic illness. Functional Medicine practitioners are specially trained in these areas.

Principles of Functional Medicine

  • Patient-centered care
  • Health promotion, beyond just the absence of disease
  • Individual, not protocol-driven, treatment plans
  • Integrative, science-based approach to healthcare
  • Attention to internal (mind, body, spirit) factors
  • Attention to external (physical and social environmental) factors
  • Integration with best medical practices

The Vibrant Health Approach

When treating cancer, a Functional Medicine doctor would agree that both radiation and other
conventional approaches are required, but then would also ask what else we can do as a patient-doctor partnership? And, how can we promote the patient’s underlying health issues? MostAmericans diets full of sugar and other unhealthy items, lack exercise, and are under chronic stress. Dr. Jager helps her patients implement changes to have the best chance of healing. A critical part of this type of care is to develop a health plan that the patient will embrace and adhere to.

Science is now proving what we all knew intuitively – that how we live, the quality of our
relationships, the food we eat and how we use our bodies determines much more than our
genes ever will. There are numerous strategies to combat or prevent cancer, including eating
well, exercising regularly, getting sufficient sleep, and controlling stress levels.

Interested?  On Sunday, February 3rd  from 4-5 pm Dr. Jager will be offer a free introduction to her Functional Medicine approach by reviewing the principles and strategies used in Functional Medicine. This class is located at the Genesis West Medical Center in the Borromeo Conference Room. If you cannot make this event,  please call ICS at 563-421-1960 for future dates.   Of, note, Dr. Jager also teaches a six-week lifestyle modification class on Sunday evenings.  The last class for this session is February 10th.  Call ICS for more details.

We look forward to seeing you.

Therapy Options For Nicotine Addiction

Written by Dr. Linda Jager.

Quitting tobacco is the number one way to improve your health.  If you would like help quitting smoking, ICS offers clinical consultations for smoking cessation.

Stopping tobacco use is often described as a journey because it sometimes takes more than one attempt to quit.  It has been reported that over 70% of smokers want to quit, and as many as 50% attempt to quit every year.  Unfortunately, only 5-10% of smokers who try to quit “cold turkey” are successful in the long term because smoking is not just a habit, but an addiction. The addiction is real and difficult to overcome, and even more so without support.

To be successful, it is best to think of it as a stepwise process. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that, unless contraindicated, people who smoke ten or more cigarettes a day will consider the use of a drug therapy in every attempt to quit.

Making it easier to kick the habit:

There are a number of  medications to make quitting easier.  A variety of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are available without a prescription (patches, gums, lozenges).  Other nicotine replacement therapy products (inhalers and nasal spray) require a prescription.  Other helpful prescription medications include Zyban and Chantix, both of which curb your desire for tobacco.  Research shows that patients who use a combination of therapies are the most successful.

Many different support systems are also available–including online, telephone consultation, phone apps, personal counseling, group therapy, acupuncture and hypnosis.

Why is it even more important to stop smoking with a cancer diagnosis?

Continuing to use tobacco during treatment can make treatments difficult to tolerate, increase side effects, and even undermine treatment effectiveness. Cancer patients already have an increased risk of a secondary cancer and smoking further increases this risk.

 Let ICS help you develop a personalized stepwise approach to assist you on your journey to be tobacco free.  Call ICS today to schedule your smoking cessation consultation.

When Smokers Quit:

20-30 minutes Blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal; body temperature of hands and feet increase to normal. Blood flow returns to skin.
8 hours In the blood carbon monoxide drops to normal and oxygen increases to normal
24 Hours Chance of heart attack decreases
48 hours Nerve ending start to regrowing and ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
2 weeks- 3 months Circulation improves, walking is easier and lung function efficiency increases.
1-9 Months Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease
1 year Excess risk of coronary artery disease is half that of a smoker
5 years Lung cancer death rate ( 1 pack per day smoker) decreases almost half. Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker after 5-15 years. Risk of cancer of mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of smoker’s.
10 Years Lung cancer death rate similar to nonsmokers, precancerous cells replaced, risk of cancer of bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
15 years Risk of Coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker.

Mitochondrial Health–The Power House of Your Cells

Today’s post was written by  Iowa Cancer Specialist’s newest physician, Dr. Linda Jager. 

Just the title of this article might scare you off if you have nightmares from you 10th grade biology course where they taught you the parts of the cell. But don’t be afraid, this little
organelle of the cell is central to your health. Mitochondria also called the “power house” of
the cell are the part of the cell that makes your energy. They take oxygen and nutrients from
food and make energy. When mitochondria work well they help reduce fatigue, pain, and
memory problems while supporting muscles and burning excess fat.

Damaged mitochondria can result from eating foods that encourage generalized inflammation
and pain. Mitochondria are damaged by toxins in our environment.
If you were to look at a mitochondria under an electron microscope you would see that it looks
a little like a bacteria, it is bean shaped organelle made up of folded membranes, and it even
has its own DNA. You know how mom’s are always to blame for anything that goes wrong?
Well it may be right when you talk about your mitochondria. For it is from your mom that you inherit your mitochondria.

Mitochondria are in all cells, but cells that need a lot of energy like
muscles, including the heart, and nerves have largest concentrations of mitochondria. Mitochondria need certain things in the diet to stay healthy, since most of their structure is made up of cell membrane. Cell membranes are made up of fat. So to keep thier
power houses happy they need healthy fat.

Healthy Fat:
Is there such a thing as healthy fat? Yes there is!  In particular we need (DHA) Omega 3 fatty acids for healthy mitochondria.

Where can we find these? Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, cod and sardines.

Other healthy fats that are needed are medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Coconut oil is a source of MCTs.

Avocados and advocated oil supply the body with heart healthy monounsaturated fats. The
remarkable avocado had 20 different minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients, and is natural

Extra virgin olive oil: high quality oil rich in polyphenols which are also antioxidants.

What do mitochondria like for fuel?
Ketones over carbohydrates. So a low carbohydrate diet is preferred..
Mitochondria like it when you don’t eat. Fasting and caloric restriction increase the number of
mitochondrial present. It can be as simple as 12 hrs between dinner and breakfast.

What are the essential Nutrients for energy production?
CoQ10 body can make it but decreased production after 50 yrs old and statins interfere with
production.  Alpha lipid acid and acetyl L Carnitine  B vitamins: Riboflavin, B1, B2, B3, niacin, Magnesium

What factors that damage Mitochondria?
Aging, toxic metals, Alcohol, persistent organic pollutants.


Dr. Jager has a diverse medical background in family medicine, wound care, emergency room care, pathology, functional and palliative care. She uses her experience in functional medicine with her patients at ICS.  Functional care is an individualized, science-based approach that addresses the root cause of disease.  It leverages the patient’s genetics, lifestyle, and biochemical components to personalize treatment plans including  lifestyle modifications, stress reduction, and dietary changes  to promote optimal wellness. 

ICS Welcomes Tami Sheldon, ARNP

Iowa Cancer Specialists is proud to announce the addition of Tami Sheldon, ARNP to our staff.

Tami is an undergraduate of Illinois State University with a degree in Exercise Science and Fitness.  She did undergraduate work at Chamberlain University of Cincinnati graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Tami also has a Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati and is a board certified nurse practitioner.

Tami always knew she wanted to be involved in medicine, but it wasn’t until after she received her degree in Exercise Science and Fitness that her interests directed toward nursing.  She has expertise in labor and OB/GYN, and she served on the Open Heart Team  at Trinity Medical Center.  Recently, she worked in pain management intervention, but says her passion has always been for women’s health.

Being more than just another health care worker is important to Tami.  She states she is excited about her new position at ICS as it will give her an opportunity to connect with patients while providing both educational and emotional support.  ICS plans to primarily utilize Tami’s training in OB/GYN health with our ovarian cancer patients, and as a liaison between ICS and the University of Iowa Gyn/Onc department.

Tami was raised in the Quad City area.  She enjoys watching the Chicago Cubs and the Bears with her Navy Veteran husband, Josh.  She has two small children and a greater Swiss mountain dog named Gunner.

Be sure to stop in to Iowa Cancer Specialists to meet Tami.  She looks forward to serving  your health care needs.


Dr. Linda Jager Joins ICS

Iowa Cancer Specialists is happy to welcome Dr. Linda Jager to our team!

Dr. Jager is a graduate of the Indiana School of Medicine.  Her diverse medical background in family medicine, wound care, emergency room care, pathology, functional and palliative care is  an asset at Iowa Cancer Specialists.

At ICS, Dr. Jager will primarily be working with our patients who need palliative/supportive care.  Dr. Jager knows this field well as she formerly was the Palliative Care Director for Genesis Family Medical Center.  Palliative care is for patients who have a chronic illness and to help them manage their pain, symptoms, as well as help improve their quality of life.  Palliative care also helps with advanced care planning and supports patients and families as they face a life changing disease.

Dr. Jager will also use her experience in functional medicine with her patients at ICS.  Functional care is an individualized, science-based approach that addresses the root cause of disease.  It leverages the patient’s genetics, lifestyle, and biochemical components to personalize treatment plans including  lifestyle modifications, stress reduction, and dietary changes to promote optimal wellness.  According to Dr. Jager “watching the body heal is phenomenal.”

In addition, Dr. Jager intends to utilize her skills as a medical educator derived from teaching at Mary Crest College and St. Ambrose University while working with her patients at ICS.  She states that education and teaching is her passion and it is important to her that “patients be heard, and that the truth be spoken. ”

Dr. Jager is originally from Pennsylvania, but has lived in Louisiana and Indiana before settling in the Quad City Area.  She has three children, a daughter and two sons, and enjoys gardening, and playing tennis.  She also loves hiking and spending time in the woods.  A woman of faith, one of her core beliefs is that “you should live to use the gifts God has given you to serve others.”

Dr. Jager is enthusiastic to live out this belief while serving her patients at Iowa Cancer Specialists.


Exciting Changes

We are thrilled to let you know that Iowa Cancer Specialists is moving, and we will be ready to announce our new location soon!

Even though we will have a new office, be assured some things will not change:

  • Same friendly nursing and reception staff that you have come to know and trust.
  • Same knowledgeable in-house billing team.
  • Same convenient medical dispensary.
  • Continued compassionate care by the physician team of Susannah Friemel, MD and Katie Browne, NP-C

We are also welcoming new staff members:

  • Dr. Linda Jager, specializing in palliative care management.
  • Tami Sheldon, NP, specializing in pain management and ovarian cancer.

We look forward to providing you with the same quality care you have come to expect from ICS.


September: Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, part 2

Along with ovarian cancer awareness month, September is also prostate cancer awareness month.  Prostate cancer is a very common cancer that affects the male sex gland which produces seminal fluid and transports the sperm.

Statistics:  It is expected that one in nine men will have a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime.  It is the second leading cause of death in men after lung cancer.  Although it is considered a common cancer, most men with a prostate cancer diagnosis do not die from it and almost three million men in the United States with prostate cancer are still alive.

Who is at risk?  Prostate cancer usually affects older men with age 66 being the average age for a diagnosis.  It is rare for a man to have prostate cancer under the age of 40, but it does happen.  A man’s risk increases rapidly after age 50.

African-American men are also at higher risk as well as men from the Caribbean.

There may be a genetic link to prostate cancer, as it does run in families–especially brothers.  However, family history does not always to play a part.

Also, obese men are more at risk as obese men sometimes have more advanced disease which is harder to treat.

Symptoms:  Typically, prostate cancer has no symptoms in its early stages.  In later stages a man may notice:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Decreased urine stream
  • Pain in pelvis
  • Bone pain
  • Blood in semen
  • Erectile dysfunction

Possible treatment options include:

  • Surveillance
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Brachytherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

How to prevent:  There is no sure-fire way to prevent prostate cancer, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.

  • Eat a healthy diet consisting of lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

As always, talk to your doctor about your risk–especially if you notice any of the above symptoms or have any questions or concerns.

For more information:




September: Ovarian and Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, part 1.

September is ovarian cancer and prostate cancer awareness month.  Today we are focusing on the ladies.

A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78, and her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108.  Ovarian cancer is the number one cause of  death due gynecologic cancers of the female reproductive system.  According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 14,240 women in the United States will die of ovarian cancer this year, a number which has not changed much over the last 50 years and is why early detection is so important.

Unfortunately, there is no accurate screening test for ovarian cancer.  Only rarely does a Pap smear detect ovarian cancer.  Women should have rectal and vaginal pelvic exams every year.

Some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Lack of appetite due to becoming full quickly
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Menstrual changes
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Frequent need to urinate

If  any of the above symptoms persist daily for two weeks, consult your doctor.

Ovarian cancer does have some risk factors which your should discuss with your doctor. These include:

  • Age. Ovarian cancer is most common in women ages 50 to 63 years, but can occur at any age.
  • Family history of ovarian cancer.
  • Inherited gene mutations known as BRCA1 AND BRCA2 along with Lynch syndrome increases risk.
  • History of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Early age or late age of onset of menstruation

If ovarian cancer is suspected, imaging and blood testing will be performed.  However, the only way to definitively diagnose ovarian cancer is with a biopsy.  Again, if you have any of the above symptoms or are at risk for ovarian cancer, see your doctor right away.

For more information:

Seven Steps to Reduce Your Risk for Cancer

Did you know your risk of getting cancer is not based solely on genetics?  That’s good news! We’ve compiled seven everyday steps you can take to proactively reduce your risk of ever getting a cancer diagnosis.

  1.  It’s a cover up!  Protect your skin when outside by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, slathering on lots of sunscreen, and wearing tightly woven fabrics.  Wear dark colored clothing as it blocks UV rays much better than lighter colors.  Also, avoid tanning beds and heat lamps.  If you should notice any new spots on your skin or changes in moles, see your doctor right away!
  2. Kick your tobacco habit to the curb!.  We’ve known about the association of cancer and tobacco for decades.  Smoking not only increases the risk of lung cancer, but cancer of the throat, mouth, larynx, bladder, kidney, pancreas, and cervix.  Chewing tobacco also increases one’s risk of oral and pancreatic cancer.  Tobacco is linked to about 80% off all lung cancer deaths and comprises about 30% of all cancer deaths.
  3. Drink responsibly.  Alcohol increases the risk for many types of cancer including, liver, colon, breast, and esophagus.  It is generally recommended that men consume no more than two drinks per day and that women consume no more than one.  Five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof liquor equals one drink.
  4. Mom was right–eat your vegetables.  Diet has been linked to prostate, breast, and colon cancers as well as other types of cancer.  A diet rich in organic nutrients is thought to reduce this risk.  However, eating right can be confusing.  The American Institute for Cancer research’s (AIRC) new American Plate menu makes eating right simple by recommending  two-thirds of your plate hold fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains with the other one-third consist of lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy
  5. Move your body!   The American Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (the kind that makes you sweat and breathe faster).  Doing so can reduce the risk of breast, colon, prostate, and endometrium cancer.  As an added benefit, exercise can also reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  6. Belly up to the water faucet.   Drinking plenty of water may reduce your risk of bladder cancer by diluting cancer causing agents and flushing them out of your system.  The American Cancer society recommends drinking at least eight glasses of high-quality water a day.  Studies have also shown that filtered tap water is better for you than bottled water as filtered  water reduces carcinogens.  All bottled water is not created equal, and sometimes the quality of bottled water is lower than filtered municipal tap water.   Do not store your water in plastic containers, but instead use stainless steel or glass to avoid chemical contaminants such as BPA that can leach from plastic bottles.
  7. Have your coffee and drink it, too!  A British study in 2010 showed that folks who drank five cups or more of caffeinated coffee decreased their risk of brain cancer by 40% when compared with people who drank the less.  This amount of coffee also reduced the risk cancers of the mouth and pharynx by almost as much.  Caffeinated tea also reduced the risk of these cancers, but not as much as java.

Hopefully, by following these seven steps, you will spend a lifetime being cancer-free.

For more information:

Web MD

American Cancer Society

Mayo Clinic

Harvard Health

Showing Support To A Loved One With Cancer

If your friend or loved one was diagnosed with cancer and you want to be supportive, but are afraid you may say or do the wrong thing,  you are not alone.  To help with the guesswork, we have a few helpful suggestions.

1.  Let your loved one know  you are available for them, and then be available when they call.

2.  Always call and ask permission before you drop by just in case your friend is having a bad day.

3.  Offer to take your friend out to lunch.

4.  Send notes.  Promise to call them, and then keep the promise.

5.  If your friend has kids at home, offer to take the kids for a day to do something fun.  Often times, cancer patients feel a false sense of guilt because they think their family is suffering because of their illness, so doing something with their children can be especially encouraging.

6.  Offer rides to doctor appointments.

7.  Offer to run errands–grocery shop, pick up prescriptions, etc.

8.  Don’t monopolize conversations.  

9.  Don’t tell horror stories of friends with cancer.

10  Don’t give medical advice or tell them to “cheer up.”

11. Don’t say, “I know how you feel.” 

12. Don’t ask their prognosis.  Your friend will volunteer this information on their own when they feel it is appropriate.

13.  Don’t say, “If you need anything, please call .”  Instead, offer to do some of the recommendations listed above.

14.  Don’t visit if you are ill.  Your friend’s immune system may be lower due to chemotherapy.

15.  Do respect your friend’s treatment decisions, just as you would want them to respect yours.

16.  If your loved one snaps at you, don’t take it personally as it could be pain and/or fear talking.

17.  If on a visit your friend cries, let them cry.   Tears are a normal response to what your friend is going through.  Everyone responds to stress in unique ways.  With a cancer diagnosis, your loved one may feel fear about the future, guilt, resentment, or depression.  Often they may confess an anger with God or anger with others.  Sometimes, cancer patients ask “Why me?”.  They may even be in denial about the diagnosis.  Remember, you are not expected to have all the answers and silence is okay.  Pat their hand.  Give them a hug.  Let your friend talk and make eye contact.

18.  Some people have a hard time accepting help and want to be as independent as possible.  If your loved one turns down your offer of support,  don’t take it personally.  Instead send encouraging notes from time to time and, at a later date,  offer again.

19.  Lastly, let your friend know you are rooting for them.  Sometimes just knowing there are people cheering you on is all the support a person fighting cancer needs.


Recommended Reading:

When Someone You Love Has Cancer, by Cecil Murphey

Cancer Etiquette, by Rosanne Kulick

Help Me Live:  20 Things People with Cancer Want You to know, Lori Hope

Things I wish I’d Known, Deborah Cornwall