Radiation Oncology takes a patient and family centered approach

patients and families

Child life specialist Kristan Freitag strives to improve the patient experience during radiation therapy.

Patients who receive radiation therapy understand that the process often comes with anxiety. In order to best appreciate the wants and needs of patients and families, the Department of Radiation Oncology formed a Patient and Family Centered Care (PFCC) committee. The goal of the group, which consists of former radiation patients, family members and radiation therapy caregivers, is to offer patients and families the opportunity to reflect on their treatment and recommend potential ways to improve the experience for others. 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

Nutrition for cancer fatigue

For someone with fatigue as a side effect of cancer treatment, it isn’t just about feeling sleepy and wanting to go to bed a little earlier, says Danielle Karsies, a cancer nutritionist at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. It is a bone-weary lack of energy that robs you of the ability to do the things you typically want to do. The following video gives tips on what patients can do to reduce fatigue and improve energy levels.

Take the next step:

  • Learn more from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center about fatigue as a side effect of cancer.
  • Check out this Thrive story on one patient’s experience with cancer-related fatigue.

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.

Advance Directives: documents that can speak for you, when you are unable to

advance directivesIf you have been to a hospital, clinic or doctor’s office in the last few years, chances are you’ve been asked if you have an advance directive or durable power of attorney for health care.

You may even have made a mental note to get that taken care of. You might even have completed an advanced directive in the past but have not reviewed it in years and may want to revise.

An advance directive is a thoughtful – as well as legal – document explaining your wishes in case you can’t speak for yourself about medical treatment you may receive in the future. It’s understandable that people put off thinking about Continue reading

War as a metaphor for cancer can be relieved of duty

Betsy de Parry

Betsy de Parry

Call me a conscientious objector, but I’d like to demilitarize cancer.

Popular culture has long used war as a metaphor to describe the human experience of cancer. We are attacked by an enemy (cancer), unwillingly conscripted, and expected to fight with the help of generals (doctors) and allies (other medical personnel) who counterattack with an arsenal of weapons.

I don’t think so. Cancer begins with a single mistake within our bodies, so why would I want to think of my body as an enemy when, for the most part, it has served me well? I wasn’t about to go to war with myself even when my body made a mistake. Continue reading

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