Don’t let compassion fatigue rob you of the ability to care

compassion fatigueCompassion fatigue is a physical, mental and emotional drain suffered by those who care for others. Caregivers develop compassion fatigue by internalizing the suffering or trauma of those they care for. While the term compassion fatigue originated in the field of nursing in the early 90s, it applies broadly to anyone who is in a helping profession or is a caregiver.

Anyone can over use their compassion and empathy skills just as athletes can overuse their muscles and need to take a break from competition. Compassion fatigue isn’t the same as burnout, says the American Institute of Stress. Compassion fatigue can take months to years to develop and often the person affected does not immediately realize it. Co-workers or family members may notice some of these common symptoms: Continue reading

What you should know about sarcoma

en Español

sarcomaSarcoma is not a well-known cancer. Unlike breast or prostate cancer, many people have never heard of this cancer until they or someone they know is diagnosed. July is Sarcoma Awareness Month, and the following are some facts about this disease.

  • Sarcoma is rare – it accounts for only 1% of all cancers diagnosed in adults.
  • Sarcoma is more common in children and young adults, accounting for approximately 15% of cancers seen in children.
  • Sarcoma commonly occurs in the extremities like the legs and arms, but can also arise in the abdomen and hips.
  • There are two main types of sarcoma: Bone and soft tissue. Soft tissue is the more common, and it can arise in the muscle, cartilage, fat, tendons and nerves.
  • Soft tissue sarcomas are named according to the tissue from which they arise. There are approximately 50 sub-types of sarcoma.
  • Most people that develop sarcoma don’t have a known risk factor, but risk factors include previous radiation therapy, certain genetic syndromes and exposure to dioxins that are used in herbicides and insecticides.
  • Signs and symptoms include a lump on the body that is usually painless, or abdominal pain that doesn’t go away.
  • There is no regular screening that is done for sarcoma like there is for breast, prostate or colon cancer.

Continue reading

Donating wedding gown preserves warm memories

Brides ProjectEditor’s note: Cancer touches the lives of so many people, whether as patients, or as loved ones and friends. It’s not uncommon to look for ways to give back to the institutions and people who provide cancer care. Here is a touching story about someone who gave from the heart, preserving warm memories in the process. It comes from one of our partners in supportive care, the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor.

There’s a certain helplessness that comes with watching a loved one receive a cancer diagnosis and undergo treatment. No matter how much help we provide, often we wish we could do still more. For Kim Andrus, doing a bit more meant donating her wedding dress to The Brides Project in Ann Arbor, a nonprofit bridal salon operated by the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor.

CSC’s breadth of services and mission appealed to Andrus, who donated her dress as a way to both honor a beloved aunt and avoid merely storing her gown in the basement or attic. Knowing proceeds from the sale of her dress “would go to help people with cancer, like my Aunt Johanna – this touched me in a very personal way. She contributed toward our wedding and did so Continue reading

How genetic testing, precision medicine impact breast cancer treatment choices

Doctor holding X-ray film and woman in pink braAs cancer treatment focuses more and more on precision medicine and as genetic testing becomes more commonly available, what does it mean for patients as they consider their treatment options?

In a commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers suggest that we must improve how genetic information is used to make breast cancer treatment decisions. The paper is authored by Steven Katz, M.D., M.P.H., Monica Morrow, M.D., and Allison Kurian, M.D., from the Cancer Surveillance and Outcomes Research Team, a multidisciplinary group of investigators at the forefront of understanding how women make decisions about breast cancer treatment. mCancerPartner talked with Dr. Katz about these issues. Continue reading

Spiritual care for patients and families, whenever it is needed

spiritual care for patients

Deacon Wayne Charlton, Cancer Center Chaplain

Never are spiritual concerns more present or more urgent than during a serious illness or at the end of life. The University of Michigan Health System’s Department of Spiritual Care chaplains walk that journey with patients and families all day, every day.

“We’re here to meet them wherever they are on their journey. We’re trained and we have the skills to do so in a caring, empathetic way,” says Rev. Lindsay Bona, the clinical coordinator for the Spiritual Care Department.

The chaplains represent a wide variety of religions and faith traditions. If there is not a chaplain of your faith currently on staff, the department has strong connections with local congregations and faith resources, and they can arrange a visit from a religious leader of your choosing.

“No matter what time of the day or night, there’s always someone available,” says Bona.

In addition to providing ritual support such as prayers, communion, anointing, baptism, blessing and reconciliation, they also provide worship services and bereavement consultations. Continue reading

Stop leftover fatigue: cooking healthy for one or two

cooking healthyThere are many life events that may result in having to cook for fewer people than you are used to. If you do not adjust your recipes you could end up eating leftovers three or four times in a row. Others might find themselves eating out more often or choosing more convenience foods as an alternative. But these convenience foods tend to be high in fat, sodium and sugar and don’t typically include enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which have been proven to reduce cancer risk, as well as the risk of other chronic diseases.

Following are tips for easy meals that don’t leave you with days of leftovers or mountains of dishes to clean up.

Supplement with fruits, vegetables and whole grains

When using prepared foods, don’t take them as they are, but add the healthful ingredients that may be missing:

  • Canned soup: Add sautéed vegetables, frozen mixed vegetables, or canned, rinsed beans to increase the anti-cancer rich ingredients.
  • Boxed pasta or pasta sauce: Add sautéed or frozen vegetables to decrease the fat and calories per serving. Add canned beans, chicken or tuna, or frozen, thawed shrimp for added protein without additional effort.
  • Deli items: Add canned tuna and chopped vegetables to pasta salad or add vegetables or beans to other sides such as potato salad, coleslaw or rice dishes.
  • Baked chicken: complement with a salad and baked potato cooked quickly in the microwave. Top with low-fat cheese for a complete meal.
  • Frozen pizza: make it gourmet by adding several different sautéed or roasted vegetables, or canned pineapple.
  • Rice, barley, quinoa or other whole grains: After cooking, add pine nuts, dried fruit, grated or chopped vegetables, seeds or herbs to bring it from average to superb.
  • Canned beans: Just fill a tortilla with drained or fat-free refried beans, vegetables and salsa for an easy, no cook burrito.
  • Salad mix: top with nuts, seeds or hardboiled egg whites, dried or fresh fruit, and chopped or grated vegetables for a meal that packs a protein, nutrient and fiber-rich punch.

Enlist friends

Consider shopping and cooking with friends. A whole cabbage may be too much for you to eat in a week but perfect when split with a friend. Or you can take turns cooking or share leftovers for more variety and less effort.

Consider snacking

A few healthful snacks can substitute for a bigger meal. Focus on whole fruit or cut-up vegetables with nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, or whole grain bread or crackers with hummus dip or peanut butter.

Lastly, don’t discount making bigger batches of foods that will freeze well such as soups, casseroles and breads. These can be frozen in single or double serving portions to use on busy or low-energy days, instead of resorting to takeout or pre-packaged food that is higher in sodium and fat.

Take the next step:

  • Spruce up your menus with these delicious, healthful recipes from our cancer nutritionists.

Continue reading about healthy eating and cancer prevention:


U-M CCC dietitians NEWRegistered dietitians who are specially trained in the field of oncology nutrition provide cancer nutrition services at the Comprehensive Cancer Center. They focus on assessing the individual dietary and nutrition needs of each patient and providing practical, scientifically sound assistance.

 

 

Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.