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


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 Welcomes New CEO, Patricia Goldsmith

May 2, 2014

As CancerCare celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding, we are pleased to welcome oncology leader Patricia Goldsmith as the new Chief Executive Officer.

“As CancerCare marks seven decades of helping the cancer community, we are thrilled to have found an exceptional leader in Patricia Goldsmith,” said CancerCare National Board of Trustees President Susan Smirnoff. “Patricia is a dynamic oncology visionary with an outstanding record of achievement, and we look forward to expanding CancerCare’s service offerings under her leadership.”

Patricia brings more than 20 years of nonprofit management and strategic planning experience to her new role, and has a proven track record of success in hospital and physician academic organizations, as well as nongovernmental health care organizations. She previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 25 of the world’s leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education. In this role, she was responsible for overall operations and provided oversight for a multitude of programs and national initiatives.

Prior to joining NCCN, she was Vice President for Institutional Development, Public Affairs and Marketing at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, the only Florida-based National Cancer Institute-Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“CancerCare is a remarkable organization that does so much good for so many,” said incoming CEO Patricia Goldsmith. “As the leading social service organization in cancer, CancerCare is well-positioned to support the coming changes in our health care system directly relating to the psychosocial and financial effects of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. I have admired the organization for many years and am honored to have been chosen to become the next CEO. I look forward to working with the talented staff and Board of Trustees to achieve even greater success in the coming decade.”


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.


Resources for Women Coping With Cervical Cancer

January 9, 2014

January is observed as Cervical Health Awareness Month, and it was started as a way to recognize the need for awareness of HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical cancer.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease and a major cause of cervical cancer. However, HPV can be prevented with the HPV vaccine, and cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care.

CancerCare’s professional oncology social workers can help you learn about ways to cope with or prevent cervical cancer, and can locate resources (including screening programs) in your community. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program also provides helpful information, including a state-by-state directory of free or low-cost mammogram and Pap test screening programs.

CancerCare is offering an upcoming 15-week online support group for women diagnosed with a gynecologic and/or reproductive cancer who are currently receiving treatment. In this group led by an oncology social worker, patients give support to each other and share resources and information.

To join this group, you will need to complete our online registration process. After joining this password-protected group, you can read and post messages 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The group will continue accepting members after the February 1 start date.

CancerCare’s free services also include individual counseling from professional oncology social workers and financial assistance. To speak with a professional oncology social worker, call 800-813-HOPE (4673).

Visit http://www.nccc-online.org/ to learn more about Cervical Health Awareness Month.

Brian Tomlinson, MPA, BSW Joins CancerCare as Chief Program and Communications Officer

November 12, 2013

CancerCare is thrilled to announce that Brian Tomlinson, MPA, BSW joins the organization today as Chief Program and Communications Officer. Brian, who began his career as a social worker, is a highly respected national advocate for cancer patients and their families.

“I am excited to be joining such a remarkable organization with 70 years of history,” he shares. “I look forward to working with the dedicated CancerCare team to expand national awareness and to continue to carry out the incredible mission of helping people cope with the emotional and practical challenges of a cancer diagnosis.”

In his new role, Brian will lead CancerCare’s educational and patient assistance programs, as well as public affairs, brand management and communications.  Most recently, Brian served as Chief Program Officer at the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF).

“We are delighted to welcome Brian to the organization,” says CancerCare National Board of Trustees President Susan Smirnoff. “His extensive knowledge and experience in oncology social services, education and program development perfectly align with our core mission and values. We’re excited to have such an outstanding addition to the leadership team as we plan for the future of CancerCare.” 

Brian holds a masters degree in nonprofit management and public administration from Baruch College School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Science in social work from Long Island University. He is a member of several professional societies including the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, the American Association for Cancer Education, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Oncology Social Workers.

Get the Facts on Lung Cancer Awareness and Prevention

October 28, 2013

According to a new study on lung cancer awareness, nearly a quarter of people in the 21 countries surveyed admitted they could not name any symptoms of the diagnosis.

Dr. Matthew Peters, chair of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, said: “Patients are often diagnosed with lung cancer at a very late stage when treatment is no longer an option. If we can get patients diagnosed earlier, we can treat them and save lives. That is why being aware of the symptoms is so important.”

The groundbreaking study’s results will be presented at the IASLC 15th World Conference on Lung Cancer, held this year in Sydney, Australia. CancerCare National Lung Cancer Program Coordinator Win Boerckel, LCSW-R, MSW, MBA will be in attendance at the conference.

“It’s heartening to learn about the ever-increasing activity to find new drugs for the treatment of lung cancer and to be able to bring that news back to CancerCare’s lung cancer clients,” Win shares.  “Each new development provides patients and caregivers with a new measure of hope in overcoming this dreaded disease.”

CancerCare provides a comprehensive network of services for people coping with any type and stage of lung cancer, including our upcoming Connect Education Workshop, Advances in the Treatment of Lung Cancer. Listen in live over the telephone or online as leading experts, including Win, answer your questions.

The workshop will take place Tuesday, November 19 at 1:30 p.m. EST. Participation is free, and pre-registration is required.

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

CancerCare’s 11th Annual Lung Cancer Walk for Hope will take place Sunday, November 3rd at the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Woodbury, NY. All proceeds from the event support CancerCare’s free services for people coping with lung cancer.

Watch a video about the Lung Cancer Walk for Hope:

Whether you walk, volunteer or donate, your participation will make all the difference to someone facing lung cancer. Learn more and register.

Phi Beta Kappa “Back to School” Drive Collects Donated School Supplies for Children and Teens Affected by Cancer

October 25, 2013

CancerCare was honored to participate in the New York City chapter of Phi Beta Kappa’s 1st Annual Back to School Special Networking Event as a recipient of donated school supplies for children and teens affected by cancer. The event was a tremendous success, with each attending member of the national academic honor society bringing with them supplies for children and teens going back to school.

CancerCare helps anyone affected by any type or stage of cancer. Learn more about our specialized services for children and teens.

[CancerCare Team Pictured L to R: Oncology Social Worker Angelique Caba, LCSW, Director of Education and Training Carolyn Messner, DSW, LCSW-R, Sarah Quinlan, Dawn Zador and Program Division Director Rosalie Canosa, LCSW-R]


New Resource for People Coping With Metastatic Breast Cancer

October 22, 2013

Fifteen leading advocacy organizations and cancer charities, including CancerCare, have joined together to form the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance, with the vision of transforming and improving the lives of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer. 

The alliance aims to unify the efforts of its members and to increase awareness and education while advancing research and policy – efforts for metastatic breast cancer that have the potential to extend life, enhance quality of life and ultimately find a cure. Learn more about the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance at http://www.MBCAlliance.org/.

CancerCare provides a comprehensive network of services for people coping with metastatic breast cancer, including our recent Connect Education Workshop, Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Listen to the workshop as a free podcast.

CancerCare’s services also include free support groups for people coping with metastatic breast cancer, available over the telephone and online. We also currently offer an online support group for people facing any type of breast cancer.

Learn more about our free services for people affected by breast cancer, including counseling, publications and breast prosthesis clinics and other community programs for people living in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut.