Understanding Palliative Care

July 11, 2014

Did you know that palliative care helps people at any age and any stage of cancer? Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing you with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness like cancer.

The goal of palliative care is to improve quality of life for both you and your family. You can receive it along with your curative treatment. The palliative care team of doctors, nurses, social workers and other specialists will work together with your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.

To get palliative care, ask your doctor for a referral. CancerCare has resources to help you learn more about palliative care and you can also visit Get Palliative Care for additional information.


Coping with Cancer in the Workplace

May 13, 2014

Recent medical advances are allowing more and more people coping with cancer to continue working during and after treatment. The workplace can be a supportive environment for people facing a cancer diagnosis; it can contribute to a sense of normalcy and provide a feeling of community, not to mention financial stability and health insurance benefits.

For many people who want to continue to work during and after treatment, the issue of disclosure looms large in their minds. Some may worry that they will be seen as a liability to their employer and perhaps be terminated from their position if they open up about their diagnosis. Others may fear that they will encounter subtle discrimination.

As an oncology social worker at CancerCare, I encourage clients who decide to tell their employers about their cancer to learn as much as possible about their diagnosis and treatment schedule before discussing it. Presenting a plan of action to their supervisor will not only help people feel more in control of their diagnosis, it may help ease the supervisor’s or coworkers’ concerns about how work will keep moving forward as the patient copes with his or her diagnosis.

Part of returning to work after an illness is immersing oneself back into the identity you had before treatment. I encourage people to take control of conversations that become about their cancer by acknowledging their colleague’s comment and then immediately focusing back to work specific topics. This is called “re-casting” or resetting your professional image.

There are many available resources that can help people coping with cancer in the workplace. CancerCare provides free resources on workplace issuesCancer and Careers is another excellent resource for information about coping with cancer in the workplace.


Our guest blogger is Anna L. Eckhardt, LCSW, coordinator of online services at CancerCare.         



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 Recognizes Oral and Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week

April 16, 2013

The week of April 14-20 is nationally recognized as Oral and Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.

Oral and head and neck cancers account for about 3% to 5% of all cancers in the United States. Thanks to recent treatment advances, many cancers of the head and neck can be cured, especially if they are found early. For this reason, prevention and early detection are especially important to treating oral and head and neck cancer.

The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance maintains a comprehensive listing of cancer screening sites. Visit a screening site this Friday, April 19 for a free head and neck cancer screening. 

CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers understand the challenges people coping with oral and head and neck cancer face. We provide free counseling, support groups, education, financial help and referrals to other resources.

Register for CancerCare’s May 15 Connect Education Workshop, “Progress in the Treatment of Oral and Head and Neck Cancer.” Leading experts will provide an overview of oral and head and neck cancer, discussing topics such as:

• new surgical and chemotherapy options

• clinical trials

• the importance of communicating with your health care team

• speech and swallowing challenges and recommendations

• and nutritional concerns and tips.

Participation is free, though registration is required.  

Learn more about CancerCare’s free services for people coping with oral and head and neck cancer.

Get Help Coping with Lung Cancer

April 8, 2013

People diagnosed with lung cancer face medical, emotional, financial and practical challenges. They may also face a unique stigma, as lung cancer is often associated with smoking.

A lung cancer diagnosis may lead some to ask, “Did you smoke?” It is natural to find such personal questions offensive and react in anger. Consider responding by talking about how lung cancer has many causes besides smoking, including environmental factors. Many people with lung cancer have never smoked, and can be unexpectedly diagnosed. Turning an inconsiderate question into a teachable moment can be a very powerful means of confronting lung cancer stigma. 

CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can help you find ways to talk about lung cancer through individual counseling, and can put you in touch with others in a similar situation through a free support group.

Leading lung cancer experts will answer questions during CancerCare’s May 17 Connect Education Workshop, “Advances in the Treatment of Lung Cancer.” Participation is free, but registration is required.

Learn more and register.

View all of CancerCare’s lung cancer resources.

Latest Treatments Updates from the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

March 18, 2013

Read our publication Latest News in Blood Cancer Research: Highlights from the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, which gives an overview of the cutting-edge research presented at the annual meeting. A number of exciting advances in leukemia treatment were reported, and some of the new developments presented included a fourth effective targeted treatment for people with resistant leukemia.

You may also order free copies through our website.

Lean more about CancerCare’s free, professional support services for people affected by leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Support for Women with Cervical Cancer

January 25, 2013

CancerCare provides free support services for women coping with cervical cancer, including counseling from professional oncology social workers and financial assistance.

Beginning February 4, CancerCare will also offer an online support group for women diagnosed with gynecologic and/or reproductive cancer who are currently receiving treatment. The group will be led by a professional oncology social worker.

“A diagnosis of cervical cancer can leave women feeling uncertain and alone,” says CancerCare women’s cancers program coordinator Allison Nilsen, LMSW. “Joining a support group can be a wonderful way to connect with others in a similar situation, where members can share feelings, ideas and information in a supportive environment.” 

Registration is required to join this support group. After joining this password-protected group, members can read and post messages 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Register for this support group.

Visit CancerCare’s cervical cancer resources page to learn more about our services for women with cervical cancer.

New Lung Cancer Resources

January 11, 2013

People who are coping with lung cancer, or caring for a loved one with lung cancer, may face emotional, physical and practical challenges.

CancerCare’s online resource, www.lungcancer.org, has been updated with a new look and feel. Visit the site to learn more about coping with lung cancer.

CancerCare’s Connect booklet, Progress in the Treatment of Lung Cancer, provides a reader-friendly overview of some of the most promising lung cancer treatment advances.

Top lung cancer experts also provided reliable information during CancerCare’s Connect Education Workshops, “Progress in the Treatment of Lung Cancer and “Progress in the Treatment of Metastatic Lung Cancer.”

The professional oncology social workers at CancerCare help people affected by lung cancer by providing free counseling services. CancerCare also offers online support groups for both patients and caregivers, as well as a face-to-face support group for patients held at CancerCare’s Long Island, NY office. All support groups are led by professional oncology social workers.

Browse all of CancerCare’s free publications on lung cancer and order free copies.

View all of CancerCare’s lung cancer resources.

Help & Hope for People Coping with Breast Cancer

October 2, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and CancerCare’s free, professional services help with the practical and emotional concerns that may arise from being diagnosed. Our breast cancer services include counseling, support groups, educational workshops and publications, and financial assistance.

CancerCare’s newest Connect Booklet, Latest News in Breast Cancer Research, provides an overview of the exciting breast cancer treatments presented at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Order free copies at www.cancercare.org/publications/order.

Leading experts in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer will answer listeners’ questions on Thursday, October 11 during our Connect Education Workshop, “Progress in the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer.” Participation in the workshop is free, though pre-registration is required.

Get Help Managing Myelofibrosis

September 20, 2012

On September 20, 2012, we celebrated the first annual Myelofibrosis Awareness Day. Myelofibrosis (MF) is one of those rare cancers we don’t hear about often—because these patients and their caregivers represent a relatively small group, there are no walks, runs, or rides aimed specifically at supporting them. Although it can be life-threatening, MF is not a cancer with a recognizable name and you may not know — or realize you know — anyone who is affected by it. 

And yet, MF is a cancer that brings with it the myriad of fears, doubts, pain and hope inherent to any cancer diagnosis. It is a chronic and progressive disorder of the blood and bone marrow that can cause an enlarged spleen, imbalance of blood cells and severe symptoms that lead to poor quality of life. Approximately 18,000 people in the U.S. suffer from MF, and those affected—patients, caregivers and practitioners—require support and resources. 

September 20, 2012 marked the first designated Myelofibrosis Awareness Day, the commencement of a platform of ongoing awareness activities and efforts hosted by the MPN Coalition, a group of organizations helping people with myelofibrosis. The theme of the day, Elements of Empowerment, encouraged those affected by MF to become knowledgeable about the disease; be partners in their health care; and find strength in association with other patients. CancerCare has proudly joined the MPN Coalition in raising awareness of a series of online and in-person events and tools designed to help those affected by MF access information and resources to better manage this disease.

These efforts include a new website from the MPN Coalition – www.myelofibrosisawareness.org- an online hub that provides tools for patients and healthcare professionals to understand MF symptoms, resources and treatment options. Available on this site is a list of MF awareness events being hosted by members of the coalition throughout the year. TheEMPOWER Toolkit—Empowering Myelofibrosis Patients With Education & Resources—has also been developed to provide simple steps and resources for local organizations to host MF awareness events. For those affected by MF, the site also includes a Symptoms Management Calendar, a resource available in print and electronic forms, which provides a systematic way for patients to track their symptoms and tips for communicating with their healthcare team.

Join us in recognizing the many people affected by MF and all cancers, whether it is the researchers working for funding and advancing the science; the healthcare providers taking the time to understand the complex and varied treatment options; or the patients and caregivers who struggle to live each day to the fullest despite their diagnosis.

For more information, Empower yourself with knowledge by visiting www.myelofibrosisawareness.org