Healing companionship through fly-fishing for men with cancer

fly-fishing for men with cancer

Jim Vihtelic says this is the the first brown trout he has ever caught — and hopefully not the last.

When James Vihtelic began treatment at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center for bladder cancer in 2003, he joined the program’s Bladder Cancer Support Group (PDF). He participated for several years and still drops in occasionally. Though he didn’t realize it thirteen years ago, Jim was about to become a steadfast advocate of support for men with cancer.

“I enjoyed fly-fishing as boy, but didn’t think of it again until I saw a brochure for a cancer support network for men that involved fly-fishing,” he remembers. Continue reading

My doctor wants me to have brachytherapy – what is it?

brachytherapyPatients sometimes ask me about a radiation treatment called brachytherapy. Brachytherapy radiation is used to treat a variety of cancer types, but is most common in prostate, breast and gynecological cancers (cancers of the uterus, cervix and vagina).

Brachytherapy is sometimes a preferred method of treatment, depending on your physician’s advice, because of its precision. Rather than using a machine such as a linear accelerator outside of the body to direct radiation through healthy tissue to get to the cancerous cells, brachytherapy radiation is implanted inside the body either temporarily or permanently, depending on the type and location of the cancer. Continue reading

Women and sexuality after bladder cancer

women and sexuality after bladder cancerRecovering sexuality after bladder cancer can be difficult for women. In December, Daniela Wittmann, Ph.D., LMSW, CST, and LaShon Day, PA-C, both from the University of Michigan Department of Urology, were the experts featured in a series of four webinars on this topic, sponsored by the Bladder Cancer Awareness Network.

The one-hour webinars are now available for viewing on YouTube for anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of sexuality and intimacy after treatment for bladder cancer: Continue reading

Men and lymphedema: no duct tape needed for self-care

Men are just as likely as women to develop lymphedema after surgery

men and lymphedema

Katherine Konosky finds her male lymphedema patients focus on short term solutions – she takes extra care to educate them about self care, since an important goal is to reduce the severity of future lymphedema episodes.

 

mCancerPartner recently talked about men and lymphedema with Katherine Konosky, OTR/L, MS, CLT-LANA, an occupational therapy clinical specialist in the U-M Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. She is the lead occupational therapist for the Cancer Rehabilitation/Lymphedema Program.  Her team does a monthly lymphedema education class at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center for patients whose cancer surgery involved the arm, chest or back.

mCancerPartner: In your practice, do you treat many men who have lymphedema? Continue reading

Autologous donation: Can I donate my own blood before cancer surgery?

autologous donation
If you are facing surgery as treatment for your cancer, you may need a blood transfusion during the surgery. Sometimes people are nervous about receiving another person’s blood. Any blood transfusion may result in minor side effects including fever, chills or hives. Although there is a possibility of a serious reaction, rarely do these occur. Improved donor screening and blood testing procedures have made the nation’s blood supply safer than it has ever been. But there is often the option of making your own blood donation, called an autologous donation, in advance to use during your surgery. Continue reading

Myeloproliferative neoplasms: A collection of rare blood cancers

Called MPNs for short, they may be caused by an abnormal cancer stem cell

myeloproliferative neoplasms

Each MPN is a different condition, but they are thought to be caused by an abnormal cancer stem cell that may have acquired genetic mutations that make it unable to produce blood cells normally


Myeloproliferative neoplasms, or MPNs, are a group of chronic blood cancers with the potential to rapidly progress to a more advanced stage or to an acute leukemia. Though our understanding of why these cancers occur is still evolving, we believe these MPNs can arise from a common cause: genetic alterations within the stem cell that change the way these blood cells grow and divide. Scientists are unraveling the mysteries of these rare cancers, bringing new hope for patients through research and specialized treatment.

mCancerPartner recently talked to Marie Huong Nguyen, M.D., a hematology/oncology MPN specialist at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Nguyen leads multiple clinical trials at U-M to develop new therapies in MPNs. Dr. Nguyen’s MPN and Systemic Mastocytosis Clinic focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with many different types of MPNs. Continue reading