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 Lung Cancer: Arlene’s Story

May 27, 2014

Arlene visiting the CancerCare Wig Clinic

During a routine annual check-up with her physician, Arlene C. learned that after 15 years in remission, her lung cancer had returned. “The cancer had come back – an aggressive one. Surgery and chemo. That’s when it all began,” shared Arlene.

Arlene knew that chemo meant she would likely lose her hair and she wanted to prepare herself for the physical change and the accompanying emotions she might experience. Her daughter-in-law mentioned that CancerCare had resources that could help.

After making an appointment at the New York City-based CancerCare Wig Clinic, Arlene and a friend met with an oncology social worker to discuss her treatment and the challenges she was facing. She was also fitted for her new wig and given a care package to help her through the next few months.

“I went to CancerCare and was treated royally,” said Arlene. “I was expecting the hair loss, but it was still a shock to my system. But I didn’t make myself or anyone else nuts over it and, before I turned around, I had hair again.”

Arlene was touched by the care she received and made a donation to the organization and wrote a poem about her experience. “I made a donation in honor of the CancerCare staff who just made my day in many ways with their caring and comfort.”

 

“Daze of Chemo”

By Arlene C.

The doctor called, “We have to talk”

I set the date to learn my fate

Aggressive cancer

Surgery then chemo

The next step was to embark with my children Susan and Mark

Where to go for my chemo?

Mark thought I should be closer to him in Sag Harbor for treatments

But we let that rest and went with the alternative that was best

The calendar was marked for the days, the hours, but not my mind or body

Mark and Susan were with me all the way

I made a promise I couldn’t sway or betray

Where do I begin?

The daze of chemo was upon me

I was never good at acting

But in the end I knew I was going to win a trophy as the best robot

Where do I begin?

My battle began with anxiety, brain loss – especially names

Stomach problems, low blood pressure

All of this caused by the very strong dosage given

However they changed the recipe and I was cooking again

And then the crowing glory

I lost all my hair

Susan bought me a hat

CancerCare gave me a wig

And I amassed some turbans, etc.

Everyday became a chore

Trying to match headwear with outfits

The one good perk was I didn’t have to buy shampoo

Six months later, after two PET scans, I’m clean

Is there anything else to do but thank God and all my friends that prayed for me?

Not done yet

I had my own unveiling

Tossed the turbans, etc. and showed my head off

Everyone loved my new hair do

I truly felt I went from being a robot to queen for a day

 


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.         

 

 


Greenwich 5K Walk/Run for Hope Raises over $40,000 for Anyone Affected by Cancer

May 6, 2014

Top fundraiser Sophie Khanna

Dedicated CancerCare supporters laced up to raise more than $40,000 at the Second Annual Walk/Run for Hope at Greenwich Point in Greenwich, CT on May 4, 2014.

The community-based event brought together friends and families to walk or run in memory of those they have lost to cancer, honor survivors and support those who are currently facing the disease.

Top-fundraiser and advocate Sophie Khanna, age 14 of Greenwich, raised $10,685 for the organization. “I was looking for a run to do and I saw CancerCare,” said Sophie. “My grandma suffered from cancer. Luckily she survived it and I just want to help people around who suffer from cancer.”

CancerCare client and advocate Margie Benefico, of Stamford, began meeting with a CancerCare social worker after she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) six months ago. After learning about the walk, she formed a team of 55 members called ‘The Lymphomaniacs’ and raised $5,410.

“From the first time I called CancerCare, they were very warm and welcoming. They helped me to talk things through – like getting a second opinion and tolerating the chemo. I hope to be involved with CancerCare for many years to come and to help others find the services that they gave to me.”

“CancerCare is there to provide free services to those dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” said Connecticut State Representative, House District 151, Fred Camillo. “I know from personal experience that facing this illness can be overwhelming, but an organization like CancerCare makes certain that you won’t have to do so alone.”

Walkers and runners of all levels and ages participated in the event. Visit www.cancercare.org/walkgreenwich to see the top fundraisers and race results and see the event photos at http://ow.ly/wyfJ4.

“Thank you to all of the dedicated walkers, runners and volunteers who made this year’s Walk/Run for Hope a huge success,” said CancerCare Connecticut Office Regional Director Sandra Tripodi, LCSW, ACSW. “As a native of Greenwich, it gives me great pleasure to be working with local supporters to raise awareness and funds for CancerCare’s free programs and financial assistance to anyone affected by a diagnosis of cancer.”

 


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 info@cancercare.org 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.