Body image matters for cancer patients

cancer patient

Patient Sherry Hansen with her daughter Allie.

Cancer treatment is hard on your body and, in some cases, changes are permanent. Sometimes cancer patients become so focused on getting rid of their cancer, they don’t bring up body image issues with their oncologists. In writing Body Image Matters, a patient story in Thrive, I learned they should.

Sherry Hansen is a breast cancer survivor, 14 years and counting. She had surgery to remove her breast, but didn’t have time to think about reconstructive surgery at the time of her diagnosis. She had a 3-year-old daughter to take care of. Sherry described to me in detail the way she felt the first time she looked in the mirror when her bandages were removed. No one had prepared her for the change in her body. No one was there when she saw it for the first time.

This should never happen to a patient and, were Sherry diagnosed at the U-M Cancer Center, perhaps her emotional response would have been different. By the time she came to U-M, depression had set in. She’s doing great now, but it was a long road to recovery. Continue reading

When a hospital-based fitness studio works best

hospital-based fitness studio

Trilby Taylor Kinzey

When retired academic librarian Trilby Taylor Kinzey moved from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, Michigan, nine years ago to live close to one of her daughters, she looked for a fitness studio to help keep her healthy. She found U-M’s Transitions Studio and never left.

mCancerPartner: What originally brought you to U-M’s Transitions Studio?

Kinzey: I was involved in a hospital-based exercise program in New Jersey and I loved it. It helped me lose weight and kept me healthy. I wanted a non-commercial exercise program, something that wasn’t a chain or a Continue reading

Multivitamin supplements and cancer: is there a role?

Multivitamin supplements and cancerIt is well known that the appropriate intake of vitamins and minerals is essential to overall health. This is likely the driving force behind the 49% of U.S. adults who are taking at least one dietary supplement. Most people assume that multivitamin supplements are harmless, since they are perceived as natural. But a recent review of the research, which has been well represented in the media, has actually shown that there can be harm with nutrition supplement use in healthy populations.

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which bases its recommendations on the Continue reading

Maize and Blue Go Pink raises $100K+ for breast cancer research

Go Pink2The second annual Maize and Blue Go Pink event was held at the Somerset Collection on Thursday, Aug. 21. The event, in partnership with The Forbes Company, owners of the Somerset Collection, was attended by more than 200 guests and raised over $100,000 to support breast cancer research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The evening began with a VIP reception that included a fashion-focused live auction co-emceed by WDIV Channel 4’s Ashlee Baracy and Neiman Marcus style adviser Ken Dewey.  Throughout the evening, dueling pianos greeted guests as they entered Somerset Collection’s south wing for a progressive culinary and wine experience while they shopped.

Continue reading

Is chronic breast cancer pain “all in your head?”

chronic breast cancer painmCancerPartner sat down recently with Daniel J. Clauw, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Division of Rheumatology and director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, to discuss new research findings about chronic breast cancer pain.

mCancerPartner: Sometimes breast cancer patients feel their physician is suggesting that their pain is “all in their head.” What would you say to that?

Dr. Clauw: Pain is very real. It’s “all in your head” only in the sense that we’re finding many of the triggers for pain actually begin Continue reading

U-M Radiation Oncology’s partnerships bring radiation therapy closer to home

radiation therapyRadiation therapy is often a treatment option for those diagnosed with cancer. Traveling to receive radiation treatment five times a week for six to eight weeks is not always easy or feasible for some patients. Luckily, the University of Michigan’s Radiation Oncology Department has collaborated with community hospitals to help provide this type of treatment closer to home.

The Radiation Oncology Network is a group of seven centers in Michigan that partner with the U-M Radiation Oncology Department to create a network of facilities Continue reading