CancerCare Recognizes the Importance of Cognitive Behavior Therapy for People Affected by Cancer

March 24, 2014

CancerCare Social Work Staff and Training Instructors

CancerCare‘s staff of oncology social workers recently received in-depth training on the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis. CBT is a therapeutic model that focuses on empowering the client to create coping mechanisms for life stressors and issues that otherwise compromise the quality of life.

“CBT is a model that fits the CancerCare counseling approach and is appropriate for the person with cancer, the caregiver and the bereaved,” said CancerCare Director of Clinical Services William Goeren, LCSW-R, ACSW, BCD.

One featured topic, “Body Image Issues after Cancer Treatment,” explored the multiple factors affecting body image and the outcomes of CBT and mindfulness interventions.

The training was lead by Szilvia Vas, health psychology researcher and member of the British Psychological Society; Andrea Ryder, Macmillan therapist; Ashley Yarwood, Macmillan therapist; and Jeanette McCarthy Macmillan director.

CancerCare provides free services for anyone affected by cancer. View all of CancerCare’s body image resources and learn more about our counseling services.

 


National Social Work Month: “All People Matter”

March 5, 2014

Richard Dickens, LCSW-R meets with a CancerCare client

Happy National Professional Social Work Month! We’re proud of our extraordinary team of professional oncology social workers who continue to help anyone affected by cancer, regardless of cancer type or stage, completely free of charge.

The official theme for Social Work Month in March 2014 is “All People Matter.” Celebrated each March, National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity for social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society.

Each day, our professional oncology social workers strive to provide in-person and telephone counseling to help people manage stress and anxiety. They also lead support groups to help people connect with others and help clients find reliable cancer information and financial resources.

Richard Dickens, LCSW-R is a non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer survivor and has been a CancerCare social worker for over 15 years. “In my work as a social worker, I witness time and again the resiliency of the human spirit. My passion is to help people normalize their experience, try to see their world through their eyes and provide them with hope.”

To speak to one of our professional oncology social workers, call 800-813-HOPE (4673).

 

 


How Technology Is Transforming Cancer Prevention

February 20, 2014

The field of oncology is constantly redefining treatment approaches and options to improve the standard of care for people everywhere. In a field that is rapidly making innovative advances, we are fortunate to stay aware of new discoveries in oncology through modern technology.

February is National Cancer Prevention Month, the perfect time to recognize how developments in oncology, coupled with technology, have impacted the lives of people living with cancer, caregivers and health professionals. A person’s geographic location or financial situation are no longer barriers. Mobile apps and health-focused websites allow instant access to topics such as cancer screenings, research updates and risk factors.

A prime example is simply picking up the telephone and joining one of CancerCare’s Connect Education Workshops. Whether participants listen to a live or archived Connect Education Workshop, they will hear compassionate experts in oncology provide the latest medical advances from the convenience of their own home or office. The comprehensive educational workshops have evolved with technology to include a webcast component, accessible online via podcast, and telephone replay.

CancerCare’s easy-to-read fact sheets and educational booklets, written by experts, can be ordered online, over the phone or viewed on our website. Like all of CancerCare’s services, our workshops, fact sheets and booklets are free of charge. 

In recognition of National Cancer Prevention Month, we encourage you to visit CancerCare’s workshop and publication webpages for up-to-date information from leading experts in oncology. The first and foremost step to cancer prevention is knowledge.

 

Guest blogger Sarah Quinlan is the Senior Education Technical and Marketing Coordinator at CancerCare.


CancerCare Applauds Recent CVS Decision to Ban Tobacco Products

February 10, 2014

CVS Caremark, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, recently announced the decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in their stores by October. The company predicts this change will drastically cut sales by an estimated $2 billion annually, but will further their mission of serving as a health care-focused retailer.

CancerCare is pleased to see CVS taking a stance and setting an example in the pharmacy industry. This decision shines a light on the ramifications of tobacco use and creates a timely world-wide conversation

The announcement comes on the heels of World Health Organization’s release of The World Cancer Report 2014 estimating a dramatic increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. The report emphasizes the importance of cancer screening and avoidance of lifestyle behaviors such as tobacco usage that can increase the risk of being diagnosed with cancer.

“CancerCare works with cancer patients and survivors every day and we know how devastating this disease can be for everyone involved,” said Win Boerckel, CancerCare’s National Lung Cancer Program Coordinator. “While it is important to stress that tobacco use is not the only cause of lung cancer, more than 80 percent of cases are caused by smoking.”

Learn more about how we help people coping with lung cancer.


New Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report Stresses Importance of Comprehensive Patient Care

September 11, 2013

A new report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis, is changing the conversation about cancer patient care.

The report documents how the current health care system fails to adequately address patients’ needs, leading to poorer outcomes and quality of life. It also provides recommendations in six areas for improving patient care:

  • Engaging patients to make more informed choices about their care
  • Having an adequately staffed, trained and coordinated workforce
  • Providing evidence-based care
  • Learning health care information technology (IT)
  • Translating evidence into clinical practice, quality measurement and performance improvement
  • Offering accessible and affordable care

This breakthrough report reaffirms IOM’s recommendation that health care professionals address patients’ “psychosocial” (practical, financial and emotional) concerns, along with medical needs, in order to provide the most comprehensive care.

CancerCare has long been looked to as the leading organization advocating the importance of psychosocial cancer care, and was instrumental in crafting recommendations for the IOM’s landmark 2007 report, “Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs.”

The findings from that report, as well as from this most recent report, illustrate the crucial importance of providing care addressing patients’ myriad needs. CancerCare applauds the IOM for continuing to advocate for comprehensive patient care going beyond simply treating the disease.

Amy J. Berman, Senior Program Officer at the Hartford Foundation and celebrated health care blogger, provides a clear and concise rundown of the report on the Hartford Foundation’s blog, Health AGEenda. Amy also provided testimony, served as a reviewer for the report, and is included in the accompanying IOM video clip, which you can watch below.

 

 


AVONCares Supports CancerCare Financial Assistance for Women Facing Cancer

August 19, 2013

Being told that you have breast cancer or watching as a love one receives this diagnosis can turn your world upside down. Facing important medical decisions and managing difficult emotions can sometimes be overwhelming to everyone involved. But for many families, it is the tremendous financial cost of cancer treatment that presents the greatest challenge.

The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis is oftentimes overlooked and under-discussed. The inability to go to work and provide for one’s family, paired with medical and practical costs, can result in patients feeling lost and unsure of where to turn for help.

Donna came to CancerCare after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and facing a financial crisis. “I was overwhelmed with emotions, questions, concerns, and yes, sometimes fear. Because I was laid off from my job just short of a year before being diagnosed with aggressive stage-II cancer, I had nowhere else to go, since my treatments were overwhelming and left me with no energy to work. CancerCare came through for me, helping me to attend my daily radiation treatments that extended for seven weeks.”

Since 2000, The Avon Foundation for Women has generously supported CancerCare‘s financial assistance services, educational programs and publications for underserved women facing breast cancer. AVONCares, a partnership between CancerCare and the Avon Foundation for Women, provides limited financial assistance to underserved women for homecare, child care and transportation. Over the past 13 years of our partnership, the Avon Foundation has provided more than $20,000,000 to more than 65,000 women from all 50 states.

Remember to reach out for support—medical debt can cause emotional stress, but there are resources available to provide relief. Learn more about CancerCare’s financial assistance services, and view all of our support services for people affected by breast cancer, including counseling, support groups and education.

Support for CancerCare and the Avon Cares program is made possible by funds raised through the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series. For more information, visit www.avonwalk.org.

 


“Ices for Andrea” Gives Back to CancerCare®

August 14, 2013

For the seventh consecutive year, sisters Joann and Diana hosted “Ices for Andrea” to raise funds for CancerCare. The fundraiser was held in memory of their mother Andrea, who died of breast cancer in 2007.

After her passing, Joann and her sons attended weekly counseling sessions at CancerCare. “They gave me the tools to start getting my life back, start parenting again and speak of my mom without being hysterical.”

In an effort to give back to the organization that helped them through their cancer journey, the sisters created “Ices for Andrea” on the first anniversary of their mother’s passing. As a tribute the sisters decided to sell Italian ices, Andrea’s favorite dessert, and donate all proceeds to CancerCare’s free professional services. Thanks to an outpouring of support from their community, this year’s event raised an astounding $10,150 for people affected by cancer.

Counseling for cancer patients, caregivers and loved ones is available over the telephone no matter where you live in the U.S. or in person at our offices in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

CancerCare’s staff of professional oncology social workers provide support, information and resources to help you better cope with cancer. Learn more about our counseling services.


My Cancer Circle: A Support Network for Caregivers

July 20, 2013

Caregivers provide important emotional and physical care for a person with cancer. Their responsibilities may include helping a loved one with daily activities such as getting to the doctor or preparing meals. They may also be tasked with managing finances and paperwork while keeping up with day-to-day family and work responsibilities.

Many times, friends and community members want to help, but are unsure of where to begin.

MyCancerCircle.net is an online tool created by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with CancerCare to help caregivers create their own community of support. The tool allows caregivers to coordinate volunteer activities such as cooking meals or transporting a loved one to appointments. My Cancer Circle also provides a private space where members can offer words of support and encouragement.

To learn more about My Cancer Circle™ or to create a community to support a loved one facing cancer, visit www.MyCancerCircle.net.

Learn how to create a community of support from leading experts by listening to the podcast “My Cancer Circle: A Support Network for Caregivers.”

CancerCare provides free services specifically for caregivers, including support groups (available face to face, over the phone, and online), publications and Connect Education Workshops.

View all of CancerCare’s free services for caregivers. My Cancer Circle is a trademark of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


CancerCare Advocate Provides Hope for others Affected by Cancer

June 1, 2013

Maddy Gold sharing her story at the CancerCare Festival of Hope Gala

After being deeply impacted by cancer at such a young age, 13-year-old Maddy has become a courageous advocate for CancerCare’s free professional services available to anyone affected by cancer.

Maddy began coming to CancerCare for emotional support at the age of six after her mother, Alyssa, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. “It was important for me to be at CancerCare, because if not, I would have let my nerves and feelings get the best of me,” explained Maddy. “My mom started losing her hair and got a wig. At first I didn’t understand why, but CancerCare once again came to the rescue. They explained to me about the medicine in her body and how it made her lose her hair.”

In December 2006, Alyssa passed away. Maddy and her brother continued coming to CancerCare to learn how to cope with their loss and their father joined a weekly bereavement group.

Determined to give back to the organization that helped her family through their most challenging times, Maddy dedicated her Bat Mitzvah project to providing hope to CancerCare clients. “Because of my experience, I know a lot about cancer. I wanted to contribute my time to talking to or working with children,” she said.

She currently volunteers at the CancerCare New Jersey office each week helping to prepare for the annual Healing Hearts Bereavement Camp. One of her passion projects involves creating a memory lane path where the children can add their fondest memories of a lost loved one. She has also raised over $1,500 by selling CancerCare bracelets and collecting donations through her family’s “Hearts of Gold” walking team.

Maddy continues to inspire CancerCare staff and clients each day with her desire to provide others with help and hope in the face of cancer.


Tips for Communicating with Your Health Care Team

May 22, 2013

Talking to your doctor can be difficult, but the relationship you have with your health care team can make a big difference in how well you cope with cancer. Research shows that people who have good communication with their health care team are much more satisfied with their medical care than those who do not. They also tend to better cope with emotional stress and symptoms such as treatment side effects and pain.

Here are some tips for communicating with your health care team:

  • Prepare a list of questions. Write down your questions and concerns about your illness and treatment before your next medical appointment. This way, you won’t forget to ask about something that was important to you.
  • Write down your doctor’s answers. Taking notes will help you remember your doctor’s responses, advice and instructions. If you have a mobile device, you can also use it to take notes so that you can easily review the information at a later time.
  • Bring someone with you to your appointments. The person who accompanies you can serve as a second set of ears. He or she may also be able to think of additional questions to ask your doctor or remember details that you may have forgotten.
  • Ask for a contact. Important questions may come up between appointments. Find out whether there is someone you can talk to if you have an important issue or emergency. If your doctor is unavailable, is there someone else such as a nurse or social worker you can call?

The more you feel you can openly discuss any matters of concern to you, the better you are likely to feel about your care over the long term. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions—always seek the care you need and deserve.

Learn more about communicating with your health care team.

Today’s guest blog was written by William Goeren, MSW, LCSW-R, Director of Clinical Services at CancerCare.