National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day

National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it can be an emotional rollercoaster.  The treatment for the actual cancer may be met, however, there is nothing incorporated into helping the person as a whole.  This includes the psychological aspects of it as part of the treatment in Canada.  National Cancer Wellness Awareness Day, on June 26th, was created to put emphasis on the importance of the psychosocial care as an integral part of treatment as well.

It is reported that the majority of cancer patients start with normal psychological functioning.  Once they are given the diagnosis, they may start to experience fear, worries and other forms of stress that cause significant distress.  Depression and anxiety can quickly set in due to the physical demands on the body, financial stressors, prolonged disability preventing them from working and/or emotional exhaustion.  

Many facilities are working towards treating the person as a whole and not just the cancer.  Cancer Treatment Centers of America  is an excellent example.  When you are treated at their facility, your case is discussed with many different experts to come up with a unique treatment plan.  It is an integrative care model.  Depending on your preferences and needs, your care team might include a dietitian, mind-body therapist, naturopathic provider, spiritual support provider, pain management practitioner along with the Oncologist or Surgeon.  Their philosophy is that treating your body as a whole, focusing on your diet and mental health, are just as important in achieving a successful traditional?treatment.  

For more information about CTCA, please contact Health Vantis for a free assessment.  We are able to get preferential pricing you wouldn’t otherwise get by contacting direct!


Health Vantis


New Sunscreen Guidelines From FDA

Summer is quickly approaching.  It’s a reminder that sunscreen needs to be worn.  Prior to 2019, U.S. FDA guidelines had not been updated in over a decade.  In order to make sunscreen safe and effective, they have recently proposed updated and new regulatory guidelines.

The new guidelines are focused on bringing nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens, that are marketed without FDA approval, to have more up to date information. The FDA’s proposal will focus on the active ingredients, dosage, sun protection factor (SPF) and broad-spectrum requirements.  They have also proposed better labeling to make it easier for the consumer to identify important product information.   

Sunscreens that you purchase from the store are still safe and effective.  With newer scientific advancements,  experts now know much more about sunscreen skin absorption.  With people utilizing it more often, sometimes on a daily basis, more investigation was deemed necessary to ensure continued safety and effectiveness for the consumer.

For details as to what the proposal will focus on, please visit here:

Stay safe this summer and be sure to always wear some form of SPF that protects against UVA & UVB rays!

Health Vantis


Organ Transplants and Medical Tourism

Organ Transplants and Medical Tourism

From time to time we get calls and emails from individuals seeking organ transplants.  The requests not only come from Canadians but individuals from other countries looking to come to Canada or the US for the surgery.  Organ transplant cases are probably the most complex kind we could ever assist in because there are so many variables and factors to account for when making arrangements for such a surgery.

Black Market

For starters, we cannot help someone locate an organ for them.  This is actually illegal in all countries around the world, with the exception of Iran.  Despite these prohibitions, the trafficking of organs is still done globally on what they call the ‘Black Market’.  People are willing to sell their organ(s), such as a kidney, in exchange for money.  It’s pretty evident why this would and should not be allowed.  

Having A Match As A Donor

Some of the calls we’ve gotten are from individuals that have a family member that is a match for them.  In cases like this, we can help, however, the requirements and financial aspects of having it done privately can be quite stringent and cost prohibitive  For someone coming from another country to the US or Canada, certain requirements have to be met prior to a hospital even considering doing the surgery. 

The out of pocket expense to have an organ transplant surgery would start around $100K USD and go up.  The hospital would not only require proof of financial means to pay for the surgery through a verifiable source, but also need proof that the recipient has the financial means or insurance for the follow up care, which is life long, and very expensive.  In addition, they would require proper testing to have been done on the donor such as a physical exam, immunological tests, multiple lab and tissue tests, EKG, chest x-ray, psychological evaluation, urine samples and several others should the surgeon feel they are warranted.  The US & Canada also require a Visa to enter if you are from certain countries.  This would need to be approved in advance as well.

Being A Donor

Unfortunately, waiting for the appropriate organ can take several months to several years.  Not everyone is successful in finding a match.  One thing you can do to help contribute to those in need is to become a donor should you pass away unexpectedly.  The process for registering is very quick, simple and the database is connected nationally. 

There is also living donation should you be interested.  Living donors can give a kidney, bone marrow and partial lung, pancreas, intestine or liver.  This of course, is out of the goodness of your heart as you will not receive any kind of monetary incentive.  Things such as plasma and blood are also considered donations that are always needed.  For information on how you can be a donor, please visit: https://


Health Vantis


Dangers in Medical Travel

Dangers in Medical Travel

In the past few months you might have seen an increase in articles in the media warning about the dangers of Medical Travel to Mexico or Dominican Republic /or against traveling to Mexico or Dominican Republic for medical reasons.  This includes a recent warning from the CDC not to have surgery in a specific region and hospital in Mexico and Dominican Republic.  While there is a cause for concern, the results can be different, if you select a facility based on knowing what to watch out for.   There can be dangers in Medical Travel but if you ask the right questions and verify the given information, those can be avoided.

Dangers To Avoid

  • The facility does not have a US, Canadian or JCI Accreditation 
  • You cannot verify the surgeons credentials and what they are certified to perform in, that they are up to date and what their actual training was in
  • The facility doesn’t publish their infection rate
  • There is no procedure in place if there is an emergency or something goes wrong during the operation 

But It’s Cheaper

While cost is important it should not be your deciding factor.  Many people think, it’s just breast implants or a simple hernia surgery.  They do these every day.  What could go wrong?  If the right standards are not met, A LOT!  Sometimes you get what you pay for and your health should not be compromised to save a few dollars.  

Having a safe, successful surgery should be your number 1 priority.  That can be achieved if you gather all the facts.  This can be incredibly time consuming but well worth the effort.  Hiring a Medical Facilitator that does all of this for you will ensure no detail or question is left unanswered.  It also gives you a guide through the entire process.  If you are in need of such knowledge and expertise, contact Health Vantis today!  

Health Vantis


Private Bunion Removal Surgery

Bunion is a bony deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. The deformity could be due to wearing uncomfortable shoes that are too small or too tight, genetic pre-disposition, or because of the arthritis.  Bunions can be very painful, making walking an unpleasant experience. Your doctor may recommend wearing comfortable, or orthotic shoes, or using splints to correct the positioning of the big toe. If that doesn’t help, surgery may be considered to correct the issue.

The type of surgery will depend on the severity of the deformity. Your doctor will request an Xray of your foot to help diagnose the condition. Many types of surgical procedures exist when it comes to removing the bunion. The type of recommended surgery will depend on the current size of bunion and how it developed.

The wait times for bunion surgery vary depending on the province you reside in. In Nova Scotia, it will take about 466 days to get in for a consult with a surgeon and then additional 359 days to wait for surgery – close to 2.5 years altogether. In Alberta, wait times for foot and ankle surgery are not much better, with most people getting surgery within 46.8 weeks or 327 days.  The wait time to see a specialist is not published.

Health Vantis works with private medical facilities that can accommodate bunionectomy within 2 weeks. The pricing starts at USD $4125. It is a day surgery and does not require overnight stay in a hospital. If you or your loved one are interested in finding out more about private bunion removal surgery, please give us a call toll free at 1 877 344 3544.

Private MRI and Private CT Scan

Private MRI and Private CT Scan Clinics in Canada

Private MRI and private CT Scan clinics in Canada have long been a source for debate.  It is a concept many Canadians are opposed to because the provincial health plans cover the cost should you need one.  The downside to this is the unbelievably long wait list to get one.

What is an acceptable amount of time to wait to have a MRI?  That is all relative to your situation.  If your wait time is causing you intolerable pain, stressors over a potential diagnosis, time off work or your aliment is keeping you from day to day living, considering a private MRI or private CT Scan is a viable option and most likely a good investment.  You will have answers quicker and speed up your wait time in getting to a specialist should your results require one.

Let Health Vantis find a private MRI or private CT Scan clinic closest to you!

Health Vantis


End Of the Year – Top 5 Things To Do Right Now!

It is hard to believe, but the end of the 2018 year is just a month away. Thinking about what to do before its over? Here are our top 5 suggestions to make you a happier and, therefore, healthier person!

Check your spending on supplemental health insurance and health spending account

There may be some physiotherapist, chiropractor or massage therapist money left. Make an appointment to tend to your sore muscles or unaligned bones. Another good one to check is your vision program. Yearly eye exams and a pair of glasses or contacts are usually covered to a certain amount.

Plan a trip!

According to this study planning and anticipating a trip actually bring your happiness levels up. We live in a climate where winters are real, and sometimes just thinking about a nice beach and picturing yourself getting some warm sun gives us the strength to deal with snowstorms and freezing temperatures.

Make time to connect with those that have supported you and made you feel special

Even though we all get so busy before and during the holidays, a morning coffee or a special phone call matter to those that care about you. If you moved around a lot on your life, use Skype to connect and see your friends faces and smiles! It will keep both of you engaged and looking forward to the future – something we sometimes forget to think about when we are facing everyday routines. After all the holiday hustle and bustle is gone you will have something real to lean n – friends and family, your true fans!


Giving up your time for a bigger cause can be very rewarding. You can step outside your usual routine, meet new people and be part of a new organization or simply help your child’s school serve pizza or make classroom materials. Whatever the cause is, stay committed, even if it is an hour a month. Your valuable time contribution can change a person’s life for the better– how great is that?

Celebrate you

Feeling that you do not have time for yourself? Forgot when you were able to relax and stay in bed for an extra hour or took a nice mid-afternoon nap? Do it! Schedule the time in your calendar and treat yourself to the luxury of sleep, pampering or whatever else you have been thinking of these past 6 months. In order to do this successfully a little planning is needed. Your to do list needs to be taken care of and the rest is able to wait till you come out of your You-zone without feeling guilty of taking some time to yourself.


World Mental Health Day Oct 10, 2018

Today is World Mental Health Day.  Worldwide statistics say that 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children experience mental health issues.  In Canada, 1 out of 5 Canadians experience mental health challenges.  One in 5 of those are children, 1 in 10 will have chronic issues, however, only 1 in 3 will actually seek out treatment.

Mental health problems make up 70% of disability costs in the workplace.  According to the Mental Health Commission, this can cost the Canadian economy upwards of $50 billion dollars. Many companies do not provide access to mental health services and create an unapproachable environment to discuss mental health.  This can lead to absenteeism, lack of productivity and high costs for the employer.

Mental health has been a squeaky wheel within the health care system in Canada for a long time.  Under the current guidelines for mental health, many services do not meet the eligibility requirement of what is deemed ‘medically necessary’ creating a gap.  Most psychological services must be paid for out of pocket by the patient, leaving something critical for well-being untreated.    When the burden of cost is left up to the individual, it’s easy to see why their mental health gets shoved aside.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a vow to provide more support with regards to de-stigmatization and increased public spending for mental health but this will be a long and slow process.

How To Have Access To Affordable Treatment

  • Have your General Practitioner treat you or ask them to refer you to a Psychiatrist.  This should be covered by your Provincial Health Care.
  • Ask your employer if there is an employee assistance program. Find out if there are counseling services available to you or if they cover additional costs included with your benefits.
  • Look for mental health organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, and Schizophrenia Society of Ontario.  Services like this can direct people to the right place for treatment.
  • Try the Beacon app.

For Children

Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only national helpline for young people between the ages of 5 and 20. It offers:

  • 24-Hour confidential and anonymous support.
  • Professional counsellors and counseling options.
  • Online resources that provide tips and advice on the challenges that young people face.

Call 1-800-668-6868 to speak with Kids Help Phone. You can download the Always There app.

This information is provided by the Government of Canada.

If you are experiencing feelings of hurting yourself, call 911 or contact one of the crisis centers that are available 24/7.

Health Vantis


Phrenic Nerve Reconstruction

Health Vantis recently visited a facility that addresses one of the less common yet very difficult to treat conditions. It is phrenic nerve damage. We connected with the administration of the medical facility and are now proud to say that we are happy to help those that may need this type of surgery. There are only a few surgeons in the world that are qualified and experienced to perform phrenic nerve reconstruction.

What is phrenic nerve?

Phrenic nerve is not a household name and many people probably have not heard of it. Yet it keeps us alive as we breathe. The nerve controls the diaphragm muscle, which controls the breathing process. It is in charge of voluntary and involuntary breathing, such as during sleep, by transmitting signals from the brain and spinal cord to the esophagus. We breathe without making much effort and it is all due to the phrenic nerve. Its primary function is to carry out our breathing without us having to think about it or tell our body to do so.

Phrenic nerve is a twin nerve. It begins in the brain and continues down to the first few vertebrae of the spine. Then it splits. The two nerves go down through each side of the body. The right side comes in contact with the windpipe and heart while passing the lungs. The left side also comes in close contact with the heart, with both sides eventually ending up in the diaphragm. Because of its location and proximity to both the lungs and the heart, the nerve can be impacted if there are specific conditions in either of these organs. If either of the nerves is damaged and signals between the brain and diaphragm are interrupted, normal breathing may be prevented.

What are the symptoms of phrenic nerve damage?

People with phrenic nerve injury experience difficulty breathing.  Depending on the severity of the injury, they may become winded after climbing a flight of stairs or even tying their shoes. For some, difficulty in breathing while lying down can interfere with sleep, causing insomnia. Symptoms can include lethargy, headaches and blue-tinged lips or fingers.

The most severe impact of phrenic nerve damage is diaphragm paralysis, which prevents the patient from being able to regulate breathing on his or her own.

Why does it get damaged?

The most common causes of phrenic nerve injury are surgical complications and trauma. Phrenic nerve damage may occur after a major operation such as neck dissection for head and neck cancer, lung surgery, coronary bypass surgery, heart valve or other vascular surgery and thymus gland surgery. After the surgery, sometimes scar tissue forms in the neck, which compresses the nerve. Injuries can also result from epidural injections or other types of nerve blocks, as well as chiropractic manipulation of the neck, which can disturb the roots of the spinal nerves.

What can be done?

There has been little hope for individuals suffering from this condition until recently. Treatment options for phrenic nerve injury have been limited to either nonsurgical therapy or diaphragm plication, neither of which attempts to restore normal function to the paralyzed diaphragm.

Advances in nerve decompression and transplant allow reconstructive plastic surgeons to reverse diaphragm paralysis.  The techniques used are derived from the procedures commonly used to treat arm or leg paralysis, which have allowed surgeons to restore function to previously paralyzed muscle groups. The doctor either corrects or transplants the nerve in order to restore function.

The rarity of the condition makes it difficult for patients with a phrenic nerve injury to find treatment.  The condition is often misdiagnosed or viewed as insufficiently severe enough to require corrective surgery.

Patients who have undergone phrenic nerve surgery report improvements in their physical and respiratory function, and a reversal of the sleeping difficulties related to diaphragm paralysis.

If you or a loved one suffers from phrenic nerve injury, it is likely you have been told by your physician that you must learn to live with this deficit. Well, that is simply not true. Contact Health Vantis to get connected to the world-class board certified surgeon who will help you or your loved one.

Who Is To Blame For The Opioid Crisis In Canada?

 The opioid crisis is real and rampant throughout Canada.  With an increase in overdose, how can it not be?  But who is to blame for the opioid crisis?

Opioid addictions are no longer present in just your stereo typical drug abuser on the streets.  It has made it’s way into our homes and no longer discriminates.  Our parents who are prescribed it after surgery, our children taking unused pills out of our medicine cabinets or even our grandparents that are in pain because of a chronic condition.  

Who’s To Blame for Opioid Crisis?

We discussed in our August newsletter that there are many theories such as blaming the drug companies for the marketing of opioids.  Fingers have been pointed in many places.  The truth of the matter is that Canada doesn’t have the proper, consistent tracking of opioid addiction and overdose nationally.  The data and statistics are fragmented and left up to each individual province.  

What we do know is that the rate of prescribing opioids increased by 203% in the years 2000-2010.  This is a staggering number of how much is being distributed.

Could Long Medical Wait Lists Be A Factor?

To date, no one has suggested another possibility for the increase in opioid addiction could be from the sky high wait times.  At least not that we’ve come across.  Opioids are meant to be short-term solutions, not long term ones. Studies have shown an addiction can start within 5 continuous days of taking an opioid.  

If you need a knee replacement, the pain may be unbearable. The doctor might put you on an opioid to manage it.  What happens if you have to wait 9 months before you can have your surgery though?  Nine months is not short-term.  Most people are going to believe that if the doctor put them on a medication, then it is the best treatment.  You can still develop a dependence, even if the opioid was legitimately prescribed by the doctor in an appropriate manner.

If you find yourself in a position of requiring long-term solutions because you are on the wait list for your surgery, reach out to us for other options.  We can provide private health care solutions so you don’t have to endure months of pain or risk creating additional health concerns.

Health Vantis