Coping with cancer at the holidays

holidays and cancerThe holiday season brings joy and cheer to many, but what if you are dealing with cancer or recently lost a loved one? This time can also bring on pain and sadness.

It can sometimes feel wrong to be down when everyone around is sharing stories of happiness and pleasure. Expect to have some emotional pain. When the feelings come, let them. Talk about your feelings and let people know if you are having a tough day. This will allow others to support you better. Accept a few invitations to be close with family or friends. Choose the ones that sound most appealing to you at Continue reading

Fatigue busters for cancer-related fatigue

cancer-related fatigueWe all experience fatigue, but cancer-related fatigue can be particularly distressing as it oftentimes is not relieved with sleep and rest. Approximately 80% – 100% of patients with cancer experience fatigue, and it’s the most common side effect experienced by cancer patients.

With the holidays upon us, it’s the season for socializing and spending time with family and friends. With it can come a flurry of activity that can wear out the most energetic of individuals. Finding a balance is especially important for those with a diagnosis of cancer. Continue reading

Nutrition therapy for myelodysplastic syndrome and aplastic anemia

aplastic anemia myelodysplastic syndrome While diet has been associated with some cancers as a potential trigger, this is not the case with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, and aplastic anemia. However, a balanced diet is important to maintaining health and well-being and this is especially vital during treatment. By giving your body the fuel it needs, you can help to minimize treatment side-effects and fatigue.

Follow the steps outlined below to maximize your health before, during and after treatment.

Try to eat enough food to maintain your weight during treatment and don’t be surprised if the amount of food you need is increased. If nausea or diarrhea hit you during treatment, eating smaller, more frequent meals that are lower in fiber to ease digestion. Discuss taking a general multivitamin with minerals with your oncologist or dietitian, to ensure you are meeting all your nutrient needs. If you are not having any side effects, eat a variety of minimally processed foods that focus on non-starchy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Try to include non-meat alternatives on occasion such as beans and nuts. Limit sugary beverages and focus on water for hydration instead. Continue reading

Searching on hopeful quotes cancer

hopeful quotes cancerThey are inspirational, uplifting, hopeful and sometimes they’re even funny. They are the heartening collection of quotes and sayings found on our cancer center’s website. And, if you’ve ever Googled the phrase ‘hopeful quotes cancer’ then you’ve probably noticed that our page comes out at the top of the list, ahead of 410,000 other results! It is the most popular page on our website, scoring more than a million hits in the last few years. Continue reading

Understanding cancer recurrence

An overview of advanced cancer and living with metastatic disease

cancer recurrence

Anne Schott, M.D.

The following interview with Anne Schott, M.D., was first published in the Spring 2014 issue of Thrive.

No matter your diagnosis or treatment status, every person who has been diagnosed with cancer has a common concern: what if my cancer comes back? It’s a large and complicated topic, due to the wide variety of ways cancer works in the body, as well as the unpredictability of the disease.

We spoke with Anne Schott, M.D., associate professor of medical oncology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, who specializes in breast cancer, to cover some of the basic questions patients ask about their cancer, the possibility of its return and what it means when cancer is metastatic.

Q. What do we mean when we say a person’s cancer is recurrent?

A cancer recurrence means that a person who was thought to be cancer free has cancer again. This can be interpreted in several ways. Continue reading

When cancer comes back

cancer recurrence

Jennifer Kelley

As the editor of Thrive, I always love when the patients I meet have taken advantage of some of the support services the Cancer Center offers, such as guided imagery for stress relief, coordinating rides through the Practical Assistance Center or starting the Fitness Walking Program to combat fatigue. Rarely do I meet a patient like Jennifer Kelley, who actively seeks out support services and sees them as opportunities.

Take art therapy, for instance. She saw a flyer three years ago and continues to participate in monthly sessions with art therapist Margaret Nowak.

“I needed something to help me through the difficult time after my treatment ended,” says Kelley, who received a stage 4 diagnosis and expects her cancer to return at some point. “Depending on the project, sometimes cancer comes into the discussion. A lot of people feel less stressed. Some even feel less pain. I think creativity must release endorphins that make us feel good.”

Kelley has also participated in guided imagery, a support group for women living with advanced cancer and the new Life Images of Today and Tomorrow photography program. Continue reading