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.


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.

“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.

CancerCare Recognizes World Cancer Day

February 4, 2013

February 4 is World Cancer Day, organized annually by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

The focus this year is on dispelling myths and misunderstandings about cancer. For example, some people may automatically assume that a person with lung cancer is a longtime smoker. In fact, thousands of people coping with lung cancer have never smoked.

Learn more about World Cancer Day.

CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can help you find ways to talk about cancer to family, friends and people you may encounter in your everyday life. Call 800-813-HOPE (4673) to speak with a CancerCare social worker.

Free Support Groups for Young Adults

September 14, 2012

Young adults ages 18-39 affected by cancer may find their goals sidelined. A cancer diagnosis may mean putting off the pursuit of a degree, advancing up the career ladder, pursuing a relationship, or starting a family. Being diagnosed at this age can be particularly difficult for young adults who may have previously believed that serious illnesses like cancer happen mainly to older people.

It is important for young adults facing cancer to know that they aren’t alone. The professional oncology social workers at CancerCare can help.

Among CancerCare’s free services for young adults, we offer online and face-to-face support groups where young adults can share their concerns with other young adults and get emotional support. We offer groups for people with cancer and caregivers, and are also currently recruiting participants for a support group for post-treatment survivors to be held at our national office in New York City. All support groups are led by a licensed oncology social worker.

Two young adults who came to CancerCare for support are Jonah and his wife, Kathryn, of Brooklyn, NY. Jonah was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma at age 28. His wife, Kathryn, faced the challenge of caring for Jonah while maintaining her own responsibilities at her job.

CancerCare Clients Jonah and Kathryn

Both Kathryn and Jonah participated in our free support groups, where they shared their concerns and received emotional support from other young adults. For both of them, their support groups helped them find strength and resolve they didn’t know they had. They added that CancerCare equipped them with tools to cope with the challenges of facing cancer.

Read more about Jonah and Kathryn and watch short video clips of them sharing about their experiences.

View all of our free services for young adults coping with cancer, which include counseling, education, and financial assistance.


Free Yoga Workshop at Our NYC Office

August 23, 2012

CancerCare will hold a free yoga workshop at its national office in New York City on Wednesday, September 5 from 1:30-2:30pm. The workshop, “Gentle Yoga,” will be led by a certified yoga instructor and focus on meditative breathing, relaxation, and gentle movement.

Learn more about the workshop.

Relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises can help calm the mind and reduce stress. Some treatment centers have programs to teach people with cancer and caregivers the basics of relaxation or meditation. There are also a number of audio recordings and publications on this subject that provide step-by-step instructions, such as CancerCare’s free fact sheet on relaxation techniques and mind/body practices.

Leading experts in mind/body practices recently answered listeners’ questions during our Connect Education Workshop, “Using Mind/Body Techniques to Cope with the Stress of Survivorship.” Listen to the workshop.

Certified yoga instructor Marian Paglia will lead “Gentle Yoga.”

CancerCare’s “Gentle Yoga” workshop is free, although registration is required. Call 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) or email to register.

Don’t live in the New York City area? CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can help you find a yoga workshop or mind/body program in your community. Call 800-813-HOPE (4673) to speak with a social worker.

Survivorship Series Connect Workshops Featured in NCI Cancer Bulletin

August 22, 2012

The Cancer Survivorship Series: “Living With, Through, and Beyond Cancer,” is highlighted in the National Cancer Institute’s monthly NCI Cancer Bulletin – Community Update – Bringing Science to Cancer Survivors: Workshop Series Reaches Milestone.

For the past decade, this free workshop series has offered cancer survivors, their friends and families, and health care professionals practical information to help them cope with concerns and issues that arise after treatment ends. CancerCare is pleased to have collaborated with the following organizations in offering this Series: National Cancer Institute, LIVESTRONG, American Cancer Society, Intercultural Cancer Council, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship. This Series has been made possible by support from the National Cancer Institute and LIVESTRONG.

More than 10,000 people participated in this year’s series of four workshops, reported workshop co-moderator Dr. Carolyn Messner, director of Education and Training at CancerCare. Each hour-long session drew more than 3,000 callers. “CancerCare’s Connect Workshops can be a vital resource for patients, caregivers, and loved ones who otherwise might not have access to the nation’s top cancer experts,” Dr. Messner says. “We strive to provide the most reliable and helpful information to anyone, anywhere, affected by cancer, and are proud to have our workshops recognized in the NCI Cancer Bulletin.”

NCI, along with LIVESTRONG, originally joined CancerCare in establishing the survivorship series because “it allows us to feature some more cutting-edge science on a platform that has enormous reach,” explained Dr. Julia Rowland, director of NCI’s Office of Cancer Survivorship. “What it does brilliantly is not only features the science but also allows the scientific community to interpret their findings for a lay audience and thereby make them much more accessible to the public.”

The teleconference workshops have drawn participants from more than two dozen countries. “I think the global reach of this program is really impressive and reflects the growing demand for this type of information around the world,” Dr. Rowland continued.

Read the NCI Cancer Bulletin article.

Past workshops can be listened to over the telephone and online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Listen to this year’s Survivorship Series:

·    Part I, Using Mind/Body Techniques to Cope with the Stress of Survivorship

·    Part II, Recapturing Joy and Finding Meaning

·    Part III, Changing Roles and Responsibilities for Caregivers

·    Part IV, Managing Post-Treatment Neuropathy

To view a list of upcoming workshops and register, visit


Online Support Groups for People Coping with Cancer

July 26, 2012

CancerCare’s free online support groups connect you with others in a similar situation, helping you find support no matter where you live. Our online support groups are led by professional oncology social workers and are password-protected. Once members complete our registration process, they can participate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We offer over 20 different support groups targeting specific populations, such as people in treatment for cancer, people who are post-treatment, caregivers, and people who have lost a loved one.

A few support groups that are actively seeking new members include our Brain Tumor Caregiver Support Group, Metastatic Breast Cancer Patient Support Group, and People Who Have Lost A Loved One Support Group.

Even if we don’t currently offer a group for your specific diagnosis, we do offer general groups for men with cancer and women with cancer.

All support groups are completely free of charge, but registration is requiredLearn more.

CancerCare Volunteer Receives National Cancer Survivor Day Award

June 14, 2012

Longtime CancerCare volunteer Robert Clay has been awarded the “National Cancer Survivor Day Award” by Metropolitan Hospital in New York City. The award is bestowed to cancer survivors who volunteer their time to help others in need of support.

“Mr. Clay,” as he is known to us at CancerCare, began volunteering at Metropolitan Hospital 20 years ago. It was there that he was referred to CancerCare, and began volunteering at our national office. Mr. Clay has volunteered his time across all of CancerCare’s departments, but has spent the bulk of his time assisting our education department, which presents free Connect Education Workshops on cancer-related topics.

CancerCare volunteer Robert Clay

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Clay for the invaluable volunteer help he continues to provide us for well over 20 years. His commitment to the work is extraordinary,” says Carolyn Messner, DSW, Director of Education and Training. “CancerCare sincerely thanks Mr. Clay for his dedication to our mission, and we are all very proud of his accomplishments.”

“I’m honored to receive this award from Metropolitan Hospital,” says Mr. Clay, “and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to keep volunteering with CancerCare. My doctors had told me I couldn’t work a 9-5 job [after my treatment], so volunteering with CancerCare is how I’ve stayed active all these years. It feels good to give back.”

New Online Tool Helps Caregivers of People with Cancer

May 31, 2012

Caregivers must often juggle many tasks at once. There are appointments to keep and bills to pay, as well as day-to-day family and work responsibilities. Many times, friends and community members want to help, but are unsure of where to begin.

A new online tool, My Cancer Circle, helps caregivers organize their community of support—completely free of charge. was created by Boehringer Ingelheim in collaboration with CancerCare. 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

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.