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


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.

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.

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.

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,, 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.

Huffington Post Blogger Honored for Coverage of Lung Cancer

November 29, 2011

The Huffington Post blogger Rob Densen is the recipient of the 2011 Global Lung Cancer Coalition Journalism Award, for raising awareness of lung cancer. Densen was honored for his blog entry, “The Last Refrigerator,” in which he reflects on his wife’s Stage IV lung cancer diagnosis, and the lack of funding for lung cancer research.

Excerpted from “The Last Refrigerator:”

My wife has Stage IV lung cancer. Given the arc of the disease and the quality of refrigerator design and construction, it is highly probable that this [refrigerator we purchased] will be her last refrigerator. The question is, are we also on our last washing machine, hairdryer or big screen TV?

It is unbelievably painful — but sobering and highly instructive — to look at lung cancer that way. Diagnosed with lung cancer and you’re not talking decades, but kilowatt hours.”

Lung cancer is often referred to as being a “silent killer” due to lack of awareness and patients’ reluctance to discuss their diagnosis.  It is the least-funded of all major cancers, even though the mortality rate of people diagnosed with lung cancer is higher than most other cancers, and more men and women die of lung cancer than breast and prostate cancer combined.

Densen is founder and CEO of Tiller, Inc., a consulting firm based in New York City that works with major corporations to develop marketing programs for causes such as lung cancer awareness. Densen has devoted much of his blog coverage to raising awareness for lung cancer, urging more research and patient support.

Learn more about Tiller, Inc. and Rob Densen.

CancerCare is a participating member of The Global Lung Cancer Coalition. Visit the coalition’s website to learn more about early detection, treatment and supportive care.

CancerCare offers free, professional support services for anyone affected by a lung cancer diagnosis, including an upcoming Connect Education Workshop on December 14, “Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Coping with the Loss of Strength.”

To learn more about how we help people affected by lung cancer, visit our lung cancer diagnosis page or

[Pictured above: Huff Post Blogger and Tiller, Inc. CEO Rob Densen, with Prevent Cancer Foundation Founder and CEO Carolyn "Bo" Aldige in New York City on November 28, 2011]

More Optimism About Future Treatments for Lung Cancer

November 24, 2011

This year’s Lung Cancer Awareness Month has ushered in a new sense of hopefulness about better treatments in the future for lung cancer.

Continued developments in targeted therapy are leading more oncology researchers to investigate personalized treatments for lung cancer. It’s important to note that lung cancer was one of the first cancers in which targeted therapy was found to help a segment of people dealing with late-stage lung cancer. Today’s newer targeted therapies offer the promise of improved treatment outcomes for many more types of lung cancer. For more information, read CancerCare‘s free publication Progress in the Treatment of Lung Cancer.

Unfortunately, people coping with lung cancer are still saddled with a significant emotional burden arising from the stigma of the diagnosis, which can have a negative impact on the views of even the professionals themselves who treat lung cancer patients. The stigma also exacerbates emotional stress among family members of the lung cancer patient, especially when that person has a smoking history. And, patients themselves often react with guilt and shame to their lung cancer diagnosis which may interfere with their doing all they can to comply with their treatment.

A great deal of work needs to be done to address the social stigma of lung cancer so that the diagnosis, like all other cancers, can finally be acknowledged as a “no fault” medical event for patients. Because the simple fact is, no one deserves lung cancer.

Learn more about CancerCare‘s free, professional support services for lung cancer patients and their loved ones.

Author: Win Boerckel, MSW, MBA, LCSW-R, Director of Social Service, Long Island Office

Lung Cancer Walk for Hope Sets Fundraising Record

November 9, 2011

More than 1,100 friends and supporters came together at the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Woodbury, NY to walk in support of people affected by lung cancer and set a new fundraising record, at CancerCare’s 9th Annual Lung Cancer Walk for Hope on Nov. 6, raising more than $237,000 in support of CancerCare’s free, professional services for people affected by lung cancer.

Lung cancer survivor Phyllis Sobel and her team of fellow survivors, “For Our Heroes,” were honored with the “Anne Koebel Top Fundraiser Award” for raising more than $18,445 in support of our free services.

Team "For Our Heroes"

This year’s Top School Team was Molloy College, made up of 70 Molloy College athletes. Congratulations also to our Top Corporate Team, Team Marks Paneth & Shron, LLP, who raised over $10,000.

Molloy College's Baseball Team

You can still support our walkers through Dec. 31 by making a contribution online at our Walk for Hope site,

View more photos from the Walk on our Facebook page.

To learn more about how we help people affected by lung cancer, visit our lung cancer diagnosis page or

Thanks very much to this year’s generous sponsors, walkers, volunteers, in-kind donors, vendors, friends, and community partners for making this event such a success. See you next year!

Meet Our Walkers: Stories From the Lung Cancer Walk for Hope

November 1, 2011

CancerCare held its 9th Annual Lung Cancer Walk for Hope, at the Town of Oyster Bay Golf Course in Woodbury, New York on Sunday, November 6. Meet some of the extraordinary people who turned out to walk with us and raise funds to support CancerCare‘s free, professional counseling and education services for people affected by lung cancer. Learn more about some of our extraordinary participants–and, make a donation through Dec. 31–who were among the more than 1,100 individuals and 70 teams who made our walk such a success this year. Visit the Walk for Hope website.

Meet some of our walkers:

“In June 2010, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer,” says 15-year-old Amber Veritzan, team captain for Team Marilyn’s Fight. “This diagnosis has changed our lives forever. My mother has been blessed with a great support system of family, friends, and co-workers to help her through her journey. I have decided to walk for CancerCare to raise awareness and funds for the cause and for those who do not have the support system that my mother has.”
Team DeLo captain Cathy Buoniello shares the store of her aunt’s diagnosis: “On June 22, 2010 Aunt Pat sat in her doctor’s office and listened to him give her the worst news she could ever imagine. He told her that she had Stage 4 lung cancer and all she could think was….’how could that be?’ Cancer can hit anyone at any time. I am hoping to make a difference and help those who are affected by [cancer].”

Team DeLo

Madelyn Stein will be out to honor the memory of her aunt, Marcia Pearl, as captain of Team Marcia.
“She started going to CancerCare lung cancer support group meetings during her chemo treatments,” says Stein. “The group helped her on lots of different levels. She spoke often and highly of the organization and of many individuals in the group who helped her get through her ordeal. It was a great comfort to her and she wanted to give back. We hope that if you can’t walk with us, then maybe you can give back to CancerCare, the organization that gave so much to my Aunt Marcia.”

New Study Shows Early Detection of Lung Cancer Saves Lives

July 18, 2011

The results of a new study show how the CT scan is more effective than the X-ray as a screening tool to prevent deaths from lung cancer.

The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) followed current and former smokers who did not have any symptoms of lung cancer. Participants were scanned with either a CT scan or chest X-ray when they entered the study, and then at the end of their first and second years of the study.

Participants were then tracked for up to five years, during which time researchers recorded the deaths of participants from lung cancer. The results showed 20% fewer lung cancer deaths in people who were screened with a low-dose CT scan than with a chest X-ray.

These results are very encouraging, as a major hurdle to treating lung cancer has been diagnosing it early enough to begin effective treatment. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is exploring the most effective way to implement screening guidelines based on these results.

“The news of these results is welcomed by the entire lung cancer community as a major turning point in the way lung cancer can be detected and treated as an early stage disease,” says CancerCare National Lung Cancer Program Coordinator Win Boerckel, LCSW-R.

Read more about the National Lung Screening Trial.

CancerCare created to serve as a source of information and support for people affected by lung cancer. You can also visit CancerCare’s lung cancer diagnosis page on our newly-designed website to learn more about our free, professional support services for people affected by lung cancer.