Managing hot flashes in cancer

hot flashes and cancerHot flashes are annoying and bothersome. They interrupt activities of daily living, and depending on their severity and frequency, can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. In cancer patients, they can affect both men and women undergoing cancer treatment.

Hot flashes are described as an intense heat sensation that involves flushing and sweating of the face and trunk. They can affect 34% – 80% of breast and prostate cancer patients. Continue reading

The coconut craze: join or resist?

coconutIn the past few years, coconuts have taken on the status of “superfood.” Just search online and you will end up with a laundry list of diseases that can be treated with various coconut products. Coconut water is touted as a natural energy drink, better than any sports drink. Coconut milk has become a new favorite for people looking for a dairy replacement. And olive oil is being passed over for coconut oil in cooking. Should you join the coconut band wagon? Continue reading

Co-caregiving when cancer strikes twice

John and Madeline Poster

John and Madeline Poster

In the restaurant, John and Madeline Poster are relaxed and having fun bantering about French fries as they eat specialty burgers for lunch. Married for 45 years, the pair has shared many life experiences, including cancer and caregiving. In fact, co-caregiving has helped them learn to enjoy the present, while still looking confidently to the future.

In the 1990s, Madeline underwent a double mastectomy and preventive hysterectomy. When breast cancer returned nearly nine years later, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy followed. John was Continue reading

Thyroid cancer, rare but treatable

thyroid cancerWho knew that a little gland in your neck, shaped like a butterfly, could cause so many problems including, potentially, thyroid cancer? The thyroid gland is responsible for many functions in the body by releasing thyroid hormones into your bloodstream. It affects almost every cell in your body. The gland’s main function is to control metabolism, but it can also affect hair and skin growth, mood, body temperature regulation, or how cold or hot you get.

When something goes wrong, like cancer, it can wreak havoc with your body systems, and you might begin to notice some changes. Thyroid cancer is a malignant growth, or tumor, in the thyroid gland. It is a rare cancer, about 2% of all cancers, but it is the most common cancer of the Continue reading

From peer pressure to peer support

Easing the burden of hereditary colorectal cancer

colorectal cancer

Members of the Myers family share a hereditary high risk for colorectal cancer.

Learning to fit in and conform with other children is a rite of passage for most of us, but when someone is living with a genetic disorder and the life-long threat of cancer, those formative years can be fairly tough. Just ask Kevin Myers. He has an inherited genetic disorder that results in a very high risk for colorectal cancer. It is called familial adenomatous polyposis, or FAP.

“I was seven or eight years old when I became aware that my dad’s mom and brother had died from this cancer, and my dad was frequently having pre-cancerous polyps scraped out of his Continue reading

Picture perfect – imaging and cancer diagnostics

imaging and cancer diagnosticsRecently I accompanied a family member, newly diagnosed with breast cancer, for a lymphatic mapping appointment in nuclear medicine. Lymphatic mapping is an important tool for imaging and cancer diagnostics; it helps identify the sentinel node before a patient has a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Her mother was at the appointment too.

As we traveled through the halls on B1 at the University of Michigan, she read all the different areas for patient appointments. Interventional radiology, PET Scan, CT Scan, and MRI were among the signs she pointed out to me. She couldn’t believe Continue reading