Men with prostate cancer can now find support

All patients - not just U-M patients - can join new support group


A new support group for prostate cancer patients and families starts Wednesday, Oct. 7 in partnership with the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor.


mCancerPartner sat down recently with Ganesh Palapattu, M.D., to discuss a new support group for prostate cancer patients and families that is offered in partnership with the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. Dr. Palapattu is a urologic cancer surgeon and scientist who is co-director of the Cancer Center’s Prostate Cancer program and the High Risk Prostate Cancer Clinic.

mCancerPartner: How can a support group like this benefit prostate cancer patients? Continue reading

Telling others about your cancer diagnosis

cancer diagnosisIf you recently received a cancer diagnosis, you will likely be experiencing a variety of emotions. Chances are you are thinking about how the diagnosis will impact your life and when and how to tell your friends and family. Experts agree there is no right way or time to tell people of your diagnosis – it is an individual choice.

Be sure to take the time to allow yourself to process your feelings and also to think about what you want or need from others. It is perfectly fine not to have all the answers about your diagnosis and treatment, as this can be a very overwhelming time. If you need help initiating the conversation, know that you can reach out to your health care team including the nurse, doctor, social worker, or even a clergy or religious leader. Continue reading

Calling out to breast cancer survivors

A chance for you to help improve breast cancer care

breast cancer survivorsLast year, the Cancer AnswerLine ™ nurses had the opportunity to start working with the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer and Advocacy Committee. When I attended my first meeting with this group, I was pleasantly surprised. I had a pre-conceived notion this would be a group of women working on a smaller scale like hosting bake sales to raise money for breast cancer. Instead, I found that this group of smart women has really made an impact on breast cancer treatment. They are currently looking for new members. Continue reading

Safe handling at home of medications and waste

safe handlingWhether your cancer treatment is oral or intravenous, some medications may be harmful to those who live with you. Limiting exposure of other people to your pills and body fluids is your best bet to keeping everyone safe, even if the effect would be minimal.

Keeping prescription medication away from others sounds simple, but cancer therapy can be complex. Here are some general tips to ensure a safe home environment: Continue reading

Managing hot flashes in cancer

hot flashes and cancerHot flashes are annoying and bothersome. They interrupt activities of daily living, and depending on their severity and frequency, can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. In cancer patients, they can affect both men and women undergoing cancer treatment.

Hot flashes are described as an intense heat sensation that involves flushing and sweating of the face and trunk. They can affect 34% – 80% of breast and prostate cancer patients. Continue reading

Point, click, relax: Guided imagery available online


Clare Casselman, LMSW

The first thing you notice about Claire Casselman is her voice. Always calm, always low. It sounds like navy blue: solid and reassuring, rich and full of depth.

It’s the perfect voice for guided imagery, a technique that combines visualization with breathing exercises to foster relaxation, a sense of empowerment and positive changes for well-being. Casselman, a licensed clinical social worker and case manager in the Cancer Center, developed an online guided imagery library to help patients tap their own internal resources for coping.

“All people, in general, use some form of imagery without being aware of it, whether it’s daydreaming or thinking about dinner and how good it’ll taste,” Casselman said. “It’s a skill we use to help us get through an uncomfortable moment. With guided imagery, we focus on that skill and build an intention into our visualization to help us get to where we want to be emotionally.”

Guided imagery has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, help with chronic pain, enhance sleep, lessen side effects, boost the immune system and improve surgical recovery.

The podcast library features an introduction to the concept of guided imagery as well as seven programs, ranging from “Taking a Walk” to “Healthy Cell Alliance for Treatment.” Some podcasts have specific themes, such as those for caregivers or those seeking pain relief. Although all of the podcasts have been designed for people facing cancer, each recording is broad enough to appeal to people at all stages of life and in all circumstances.

“Our goal is to show people that they are capable of achieving a peaceful calm, of controlling more of the situation and outcomes,” Casselman said. “It’s empowering. Once you’ve learned how to use imagery to clarify your goals, you can think of it as part of your tool kit for coping — whether it’s with cancer or some other challenge.”

Take the next step:

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.