You can have your Thanksgiving feast and eat it, too

Thanksgiving feastThanksgiving brings to mind tables covered with rich foods, desserts and good company. It may also bring worry about derailing your healthy eating plan but you can have your Thanksgiving feast and eat it too – without guilt – if you follow five basic principles.

It’s a holi-DAY not a holi-SEASON!

  1. Start thinking of the holiday as a day, not a season.

No one can be perfect 100% of the time, so try to eat a healthy diet 90% of the time and Continue reading

Improving your cancer care experience

Laura Galunas, nurse manager, 8A acute care oncology unit

Laura Galunas, nurse manager, 8A acute care oncology unit

The Patient and Family Advisory Board was established in 2012 to ensure the delivery of exemplary care that is centered around each patient and family of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Patients, family members, health care providers and members of the community meet regularly to discuss their experiences of what it’s like to be treated for cancer in order to improve the cancer care experience at the Center.

PFAB member Laura Galunas is the nurse manager in the 8A acute care oncology unit at University Hospital.

Why she joined: “It helps me as a health care professional to remember who we’re taking care of and who we’re here for. All patient stories, good and bad, are important to know about. We can learn from them and make improvements.”

Jumpstarting the care process

Galunas and the 8A nursing team spearheaded a two-year project to redesign the way nurses hand off patient care through shift exchange reports.

“Our goal was to move the process into the patient room Continue reading

Tips for seeking complementary therapy providers in your hometown

complementary therapy providersYou’re curious about art therapy, but you live too far away from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center to try a session. Or maybe that group session of guided imagery just won’t fit into your schedule. That’s why we’ve put together tips for finding complementary therapy providers in your hometown.

Complementary therapies — such as art therapy or massage therapy — have been shown to be beneficial to people with cancer. The Society of Integrative Oncology published a report several years ago stating that “Mind-body modalities are recommended as part of a multidisciplinary approach to reduce anxiety, mood disturbance, (and) chronic pain and (to) improve quality of life.” And last week, in newly published guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology, researchers at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, together with colleagues from leading institutions across the country, analyzed which integrative treatments appear to be most effective and safe for patients with breast cancer.

“Complementary therapies can be a powerful tool in helping to maintain a sense of wellbeing during cancer treatment,” said Continue reading

Prostate cancer doesn’t stop couple from enjoying retirement

Woods Brown driviing a boat

Woods Brown pilots his boat around the lake at his northern Michigan home

Woods Brown has stage 4 prostate cancer, which may account for why he gets tired sooner than he used to. Maybe.

“I do wear out faster, but heck I’m 73 years old,” he says. “I can do pretty much what I want. We have a wood burning stove and I have a load of wood I can burn so we keep warm in the winter. I had some trees down from the latest storm so I moved that. We live on a lake and I go fishing.” Continue reading

Cancer and the crystal ball: How long do I have to live?

how long do I have to liveThis is perhaps the hardest question we are asked at the Cancer AnswerLine: “How long do I have to live?” This is not the most pleasant of conversations we encounter, but the nurses at the Cancer AnswerLine don’t dodge this question. Simply, we don’t always have an accurate answer to this important question and cannot provide callers with an exact time frame for life expectancy. Your physician may not be able to answer this question, either – sometimes there is no concrete answer.

When asked this question, we consider the following:

Continue reading

What complementary therapies are helpful for breast cancer?

A woman standing one-legged in a yoga pose

Yoga received an A for improving depression

New guidelines released this week can help people being treated for breast cancer determine what complementary therapies help relieve side effects of treatment or improve quality of life. The evidence-based guidelines were sponsored by the Society for Integrative Oncology.

We talked to Suzanna M. Zick, N.D., M.P.H., associate professor of family medicine and environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan. Dr. Zick was part of the guidelines panel and begins a one-year term this week as president of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

mCancerPartner: Can you explain what you mean by integrative oncology? Continue reading