Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Val Kilmer Admits to Battling Cancer

The 57 year old actor, well known for his successful roles in Batman and Top Gun, had repeatedly denied claims of cancer after friend and colleague, Michael Douglas, spilled the beans in an interview last year.  However, this week, in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Val Kilmer answered a fan’s question about Michael Douglas’s statement saying, “He was probably trying to help me cause press probably asked where I was these days, and I did have a healing of cancer, but my tongue is still swollen altho healing all the time.”

In early 2015, Val Kilmer was allegedly hospitalized for a “bleeding of his throat”.  His rep released a statement saying the actor was being evaluated for a “possible tumor”, but later that month Val Kilmer denied the rep’s statement and told fans on Facebook he had a complication for which he was being treated.


In late 2015 the actor was seen with a tracheostomy tube. These tubes are placed after a tracheotomy, an opening of the windpipe to allow air to get through the lungs, bypassing the throat.  The tube was removed and a month later Val Kilmer posted a picture on Facebook, smiling and looking well.  Again he denied having cancer.


Although not common, The National Cancer Institute estimates 1.1 percent of adults will be diagnosed with pharyngeal cancer within their lifetime.  Erin Moran, the Happy Days actress, recently died from stage 4 throat cancer.  Multiple famous people have battled throat cancer including

Sammy Davis Jr., age 64

Michael Crichton, suspected throat cancer, age 66

President Ulysses S. Grant, suspected throat vs. esophageal cancer, age 63

Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island), age 70

Carl Perkins, age 75

Throat cancer can involve the base of the tongue, the nasopharyx (connecting to the back of the nose), the oropharynx (throat), the tonsils, and/or the hypopharyx behind the  larynx (voice box).  It is often diagnosed in its later stages since early symptoms mimic common medical complaints such as sore throat, hoarseness or a continual need to clear one’s throat.  These symptoms, if not resolving, should be evaluated for throat cancer as well as any weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, inability to swallow, and/or a change in voice.

Smoking, alcohol, and HPV infection have been linked to causing throat cancer. The earlier its diagnosed, the better the prognosis. It can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Michael Douglas states he was treated with chemo and radiation and by 2011 was in remission.  He was very fortunate and early intervention is key.

For more information on throat cancer, read here:


spanish book

Learning Medical Spanish is Easy!!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

Your daily medications and DUI’s – are you at risk?

Image above from

We commonly think of DUI’s, or Driving Under the Influence, a result of drinking alcohol and driving while intoxicated.  However what many people fail to realize is drugs, including prescriptions, could decrease your ability to drive safely, hence putting you at risk for a DUI when alcohol wasn’t even ingested.

A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that more fatal crashes were the result of drug use as opposed to alcohol use.

These findings showed that although alcohol was involved in 37% of fatal crashes, prescriptions and illegal drugs were responsible for 43% of driver- related deaths.

Looking deeper into data available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), they found 36.5 % of drug related fatal car crashes were the result of marijuana use.

Now what about prescription drugs?  California Vehicle Code 23152(e) states, “It is unlawful for a person who is under the influence of any drug to drive a vehicle.”

So what prescription drugs could impair one’s driving?

The obvious ones include the following:

Narcotics such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine…to name a few

Muscle relaxants such as carisprodol, cyclobenzaprine, methocarbamol……

Sleep aids such as zolpidem, eszopiclone….

Anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam, lorazepam, alprazolam, clonazepam…..

However surprisingly, these next groups of medications can also cause sedation:

Cholesterol medications such as statins:  lovastatin, atorvastatin, etc. may cause fatigue and recent studies have found them to cause “excessive tiredness”.

Stomach acid suppressants such as proton pump inhibitors:  omeprazole, lansoprazole have been reported to cause vitamin deficiencies such as B12 and magnesium which in turn can cause fatigue.

Antibiotics that treat many common infections:  Amoxicillin, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin have been known to cause fatigue.

Diuretics for blood pressure and water retention:  hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide cause potassium loss in the urine which may contribute to fatigue

Antihistamines:  anti-allergy medications such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are very sedating, which is why they are used in some over the counter sleep aids.  There are some reports that the younger generation of medications such as Zyrtec can cause drowsiness as well.

Blood pressure medications:  these can include the ACE inhibitors such as captopril, enalapril;  calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine; beta blockers such as metoprolol as well as the diuretic family mentioned previously.

Antidepressants: many antidepressants additionally help with anxiety through their sedating effects such as trazadone, paroxitine, and escitalopram to name a few.

Mood stabilizers, anti-seizure medications, and antipsychotics can cause fatigue as well.

Despite the rarity of these types of cases, the potential is still there for one to not only receive a DUI but injure himself or others if the prescription makes him less alert, i.e. decreases his “sobriety”.  Discuss with your medical provider if you feel drowsy after you take your medication and if there are less sedating options.


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

A huge rise in the use of the name “Daliah” – My apology to those affected

According to use of the name “Daliah” rose exponentially in the latter 2000’s.  Some blame me.  Now hold on.  “Daliah” means bough or tree branch.  It also represents a flower.  That sounds kind of lovely.  Maybe the parents were interested in horticulture.

Yet, in 2016 alone, the name “Daliah” was used over 4,364 times.  Why? Was the radio on when the mother had to pull over to the side of the road to give birth?  Did she have indigestion and worse gas with this pregnancy as opposed to the others?  I have a few of my own theories…..


baby d.jpg


  1. The child grew out of her training BRA by the third grade
  2. The child was born with frazzled, overly processed, BLONDE hair
  3. The child doesn’t stop GIGGLING
  4. As an infant she began TALKING before she learned how soil a diaper
  5. Both the mother and child have a crush on Michael Fassbender
  6. The child likes to eat with her hands
  7. The child can’t spell
  8. The child LOVES red meat
  9. The child adds chocolate to EVERYTHING
  10.  The mother while pregnant suffered from severe constipation, hemorrhoids and irritable bowel syndrome.

Any of the above could have ignited the chain of events that caused one’s parents to choose “Daliah” as a baby name.  For any of you whom have been negatively affected by this, let me wholeheartedly apologize and suggest you consider getting your name changed as soon as possible (before the teeth stain and the upper lip hair surfaces……..)


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician



Posted in Health, news

Did the Utah man who was refused a lung transplant die from an infection that came from weed?

The tragic case of a 20 year old Utah man who was denied a life saving lung transplant due to marijuana in his system might have become ill from the marijuana he was smoking.

Riley Hancey, 20, had smoked marijuana with his friends on Thanksgiving and the next day fell ill with pneumonia.  Three weeks later he was in the Intensive Care Unit on life support unsuccessfully battling a “rare lung infection”. A physician at the hospital, the University of Utah, allegedly refused to give Hancey the lung transplant due to his drug test showing positive for THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

The family found “angels” at the University of Pennsylvania who offered to help their son and Hancey received a double lung transplant March 29th.  Unfortunately, he died earlier this week from complications from the transplant.

The family stated their son rarely smoked pot and had been drug free for up to year before then.

This tragic case reignited the controversy of hopeful transplant recipients being denied organs due to recreational marijuana use.  Marijuana has been found to many times contain contaminants including mold.  One reason for organ denial is the risk of fungal infection that could occur in an a immunosuppressed patient who is being treated to prevent organ rejection.

However, did Riley come down with the “rare lung infection” because of the marijuana he smoked the day before?

This month an investigation of marijuana dispensaries in California found 90 percent of marijuana samples to contain traces of bacteria and/or fungus that shouldn’t be harmful to those with healthy immune systems, but could be dangerous to those who are immunocompromised.  As a result the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation is working to finalize rules and regulations regarding the newly legalized marijuana industry.  Other states are following suit.


Image from Green CulturED

The investigation occurred after a man in northern California died from a rare fungal infection related to his medicinal marijuana.  Dr. Joseph Tuscano of the University of California, Davis Cancer Center observed with two of his young cancer patients, fungal superinfections that occurred after the men used medicinal marijuana for their chemotherapy-induced nausea.  After combining forces with Steep Hill Laboratories in Berkeley, he found “The cannabis was contaminated with many bacteria and fungi, some of which was compatible with the infections that I saw in my patients.”

His colleague, Dr. George Thompson, a fungal expert at UC Davis, said, “Klebsiella, E.coli, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, these are all very serious infections for anybody in the hospital. But particularly in that population, the cancer population. ”

Now, Hancey was in good health prior to his devastating lung infection, playing sports, travelling and working at a ski resort.  So it raises the question of whether his lungs were exposed to a contaminant his body couldn’t fight.   The type of infection that caused his “rare pneumonia” has not been disclosed but the above pathogens listed by Dr. Thompson can all cause “rare pneumonia” unlike streptococcal bacteria and those that commonly cause community acquired pneumonia.

Some researchers suggest users should ingest the marijuana rather than smoking it, as the heat from baking marijuana treats could potentially kill off the microorganisms, that otherwise could have direct contact with the lungs during inhalation.

This is a developing story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician



Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Erin Moran Had Been Battling Stage 4 Throat Cancer – Your Questions Answered

Image above from Disease Pictures

The 56 year old actress was receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatment for throat cancer.

A statement released by her husband, Steve Fleischmann, revealed she had back in 2016 woke up noticing a small amount of blood on her pillow case thinking she had bitten her tongue.  A biopsy later revealed she had squamous cell carcinoma on her left tonsil. The cancer eventually spread not allowing her to eat or drink and she required a feeding tube.  This week she died peacefully at home in bed next to her husband and the coroner revealed the cancer had spread to her spleen and brain.

According to Erin Moran’s costar, Anson Williams who played Potsie, “She kept very quiet”……”We all kept quiet too, out of respect for Erin. She couldn’t speak, but her texts were very [positive].”


What is “Throat Cancer”?

The throat, pharynx, is divided into three parts.

Nasopharynx – above the soft palate, the upper part of the throat behind the nose

Oropharynx – between the soft palate and the epiglottis, the middle part of the throat including the back wall, sides, tonsils and posterior 1/3 (back) of the tongue.

Hypopharynx – the lowest part that leads to the esophagus and larynx (voice box)

Cancer in any of these anatomical sections can be considered “throat cancer”.  Cancer of the larynx (voice box) is called laryngeal cancer and is considered separate from hypopharyngeal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is cancer of the esophagus (gullet) and is considered separate from “throat cancer” as well.

What are the symptoms of throat cancer?

Symptoms of throat cancer include:

Chronic sore throat


Voice changes

Chronic cough

Difficulty swallowing

Painless lump in the neck

Neck Pain

Ear Pain

Weight loss

to name a few.

What are the risk factors?

Risk factors for throat cancer include:

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) – causing rising rates of especially oropharyngeal cancer

Epstein Barr Virus – related to increase risk of nasopharyngeal cancer

Tobacco Use

Alcohol use

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn)

Poor diet, especially lack of fruits and vegetables

How is throat cancer treated?

As one can see by the list of symptoms, throat cancer often gets mistaken for common cold symptoms.  Unfortunately, by the time throat cancer is diagnosed, it has reached a more advanced stage.  Depending on where the cancer is located, various treatments can be instituted including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted drug therapy.

Which famous people battled throat cancer?

Celebrities who succumbed to throat cancer include:

Sammy Davis Jr., age 64

Michael Crichton, suspected throat cancer, age 66

President Ulysses S. Grant, suspected throat vs. esophageal cancer, age 63

Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island), age 70

Carl Perkins, age 75

to name a few.

In 2010, Actor Michael Douglas successfully battled “throat cancer” that originated from a tumor at the base of his tongue.




                                                                                                                                                                                                      Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

“Stealthing” – a Cool Name for Such a Disgusting Act

Image above from Women’s Health


The new disturbing trend of “stealthing” is making medical, criminal and civil experts nervous.

“Stealthing” occurs when men remove their condom in the middle of sex without their partner’s consent.

A study published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, found men will “stealth” to “promote their seed”.  Alexandra Brodsky, a Legal Fellow at the National Women’s Law Center, investigated this practice and found multiple online communities of gay and straight men openly discussing this practice, swapping tips for how to remove a condom during sex unbeknownst to the partner/victim.

This type of assault traumatizes the victims and puts them at risk of unwanted pregnancy and/or dangerous sexually transmitted illnesses.  It violates multiple civil and criminal laws and in Switzerland a man was convicted of rape for “stealthing” during sex.

Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, had been accused of “stealthing” during a sexual encounter in 2010.  To date, no cases have been tried in the United States.

This is a developing story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Happy Day’s Sweetheart, Erin Moran, dies at age 56 of stage 4 cancer

Saturday late afternoon, first responders answered a 911 call of an “unresponsive” Erin Moran.  When they arrived to her home she was deceased.   Originally her cause of death had been speculated as a heroin overdose, but no illegal substances were found on the premises.  Today Harrison County Coroner’s Office reveals the cause of death was from succumbing “to complications of stage 4 cancer”.

The actress, well known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, was 56.

The results of an autopsy are pending but the initial statement reads below:C-MDXttUAAIkeX-


Scott Baio and Erin Moran in ‘Joanie Loves Chachi’ ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

Despite her early years of TV success, her later years were riddled with financial struggles, reports of homelessness as well as depression.

This is a developing story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician