- With Mayo Clinic medical oncologist
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.read biographyclose window
Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.Timothy Moynihan, M.D.
"As a practicing medical oncologist, I meet with patients and families every day to help manage their course through this disease called cancer. This experience provides unique insight into the needs of cancer patients, their families and loved ones and brings into sharp focus the need for reliable information to be readily available in terms that can be easily understood." — Dr. Timothy Moynihan
Dr. Timothy Moynihan believes that providing consumers with accurate, timely information on the broad, complex topic of cancer is the biggest challenge facing medical websites. As the guiding force behind our cancer content, he makes sure Mayo Clinic meets the test.
Dr. Moynihan, born in Las Vegas, N.M., and raised in Denver, is a consultant in medical oncology at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn. He's board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hospice and palliative care medicine.
He did his medical oncology training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and then went on to the University of Minnesota and St. Paul Regions Medical Center for seven years before moving to Mayo Clinic in 1999. Dr. Moynihan is medical director of the Mayo Clinic hospice.
Dr. Moynihan serves as the education chair for the Department of Oncology and the fellowship program director. Four times he has been selected as Teacher of the Year in medical oncology and elected to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame.
Past honors include distinguished clinical teacher at the University of Minnesota Medical School, best internist at the Medical College of Wisconsin and recipient of the Upjohn Achievement Award for Excellence in Medicine. Dr. Moynihan serves on several national committees for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
"The Internet provides a ready source of information on a wide range of topics of interest to those affected by cancer," Dr. Moynihan says. "The difficulty is trying to decide which sites provide reputable information and which information is relevant to each individual patient. The long history and tradition of excellence associated with Mayo Clinic assures you that information provided will be reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive."
Risk factors (1)
- Cellphones and cancer: What's the risk?
Tests and diagnosis (3)
- Tumor vs. cyst: What's the difference?
- Small cell, large cell cancer: What this means
- Atypical cells: Are they cancer?
Treatments and drugs (6)
- Chemotherapy and sex: Is sexual activity OK during treatment?
- Ginger for nausea: Does it work?
- Magic mouthwash: Effective for chemotherapy mouth sores?
- see all in Treatments and drugs
Alternative medicine (2)
- High-dose vitamin C: Can it kill cancer cells?
- Curcumin: Can it slow cancer growth?
Atypical cells: Are they cancer?
Do atypical cells usually mean cancer?
from Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
Atypical cells are cells that appear abnormal under a microscope, but they aren't necessarily cancerous. The presence of atypical cells is sometimes referred to as "dysplasia." Many factors can make normal cells appear atypical, including inflammation and infection. Even normal aging can make cells appear abnormal.
Atypical cells can change back to normal cells if the underlying cause is removed or resolved. This can happen spontaneously. Or it can be the result of a specific treatment.
Atypical cells don't necessarily mean you have cancer. However, it's still important to make sure there's no cancer present or that a cancer isn't just starting to develop.
If your doctor identifies atypical cells, close follow-up is essential. In some cases, your doctor may simply monitor the atypical cells to make sure they don't become more abnormal. Other tests or scans may be useful, depending on your specific circumstances. In other cases, your doctor may recommend a particular treatment to try to reverse the process that's causing the atypical cells. And sometimes, your doctor may need to obtain a sample of tissue — such as a biopsy — to make sure you don't have cancer or another serious condition.Next question
Chemotherapy and sex: Is sexual activity OK during treatment?
- Holschneider CH, et al. Cervical cytology: Interpretation of results. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.
- The Pap test. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq085.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120810T1445222600. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.
- Hoffman R, et al. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06715-0..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06715-0&uniqId=230100505-56. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 4, 2012.