Good night, sleep tight: how to manage sleep-wake disturbances

sleep-awake disturbancesWe’ve all been there. It’s the middle of the night, and you can’t sleep. You keep thinking how tired you’re going to be tomorrow if you don’t nod off soon. This can be especially true for those undergoing treatment for cancer. Sleep-wake disturbances have been reported in 30% – 75% of people with cancer.

Getting adequate rest is crucial for quality of life, and it’s essential for healing and immune system function. Let’s face it, when you aren’t getting adequate rest, it can make the best of people irritable. Continue reading

Your stomach will thank you: how to eat after major abdominal surgery

AbdomSurgIf you are having major abdominal surgery including gynecologic, urologic or colorectal surgery, you may have some issues with eating afterward. Problems with digestion can arise due to the inflammatory response to intestinal manipulation and trauma during surgery. This may lead to more gas production when eating, which can be painful if you are unable to pass it or at the very least embarrassing if you can. In addition, some people can become nauseous or have diarrhea shortly after meals. This is just a sign that your stomach is feeling stressed with the burden of your meal and temporary adjustments will need to be made to ease that burden. Continue reading

Bone up for bone health in the New Year

BonehealthIt’s the new year and there are many reasons why people make getting fit a New Year’s Resolution. For cancer patients though starting and keeping this resolution is beneficial since bones are important organs in our bodies that need special attention during and after cancer treatment.

Many side effects of treatment can induce bone loss, cause thinning of the bones (osteopenia) and increase the risk of fractures. There is also a connection between cancer-related bone disease and death. Keeping your bones strong and healthy is more than just a good idea. It can also be a lifesaver.

What cancer treatments affect bone health?

• Hormone therapy, such as aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer or androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer Continue reading

Manage your precious time and energy by reducing information overload

reducing information overloadThere are many great New Year’s resolutions: eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking, volunteer to help others, manage debt, etc., but how about reducing information overload? If the time you spent online looking for information could be streamlined, you’d have more time and energy to work on improving your health and well-being or the well-being of others! Try these tips below to manage your precious time and energy.

Manage online time

For many people, the internet is the first place they go to when looking for information on cancer. To use your time wisely and find reputable information on cancer, follow these tips:

  • Choose your search engine: Find a few reliable search engines, and learn how to use their options to find the data you need. You can even make a search engine site your home page, for fast access to your favorite navigational tool.
  • Use smart searches: Narrow your search by using terms specific to the information you’re seeking. For example, if you’re looking for a clinical trial, there are clinical trials for cancer/diseases, drugs and interventions/treatments. A narrow search would look like this: “Clinical trial for Ewing Sarcoma”. Most search engines offer tips. Read these to make the most of your time online.
  • Use bookmarks: Use the bookmark feature of Internet Explorer and other Web browsers to create your “personal library” of the information you use frequently.

Continue reading

Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to work we go: work and cancer

work and cancerI am often asked questions by newly diagnosed cancer patients about work and cancer. Some ask about working while receiving treatment, while others wonder about returning to work after treatment. This really depends on the type of treatment you get, the kind of cancer, your overall health and the kind of work you do. You may need to shorten your workdays and adjust your schedule. Some people are able work during or after cancer treatment without changing their work schedule.

Cancer and Careers and Harris Interactive conducted a survey to better understand the current needs of working people with cancer. The survey found that the majority of cancer survivors and people with cancer are eager to continue working, but need support to balance their health and work demands. Findings from the survey help to clarify the importance of supporting survivors in their workplaces:

  • Top three reasons to continue working after a diagnosis:
    • Feeling well enough (69%)
    • Wanting to keep things as normal as possible (48%)
    • Wanting to feel productive (38%)
  • 45% of surveyed cancer survivors took no time off following their diagnosis
  • 79% of surveyed cancer survivors said that cancer recovery is aided by the routine nature of work.

Continue reading

Two more great places to volunteer:

American Cancer Society of Southeast Michigan and the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor

volunteerTwo of the largest cancer support volunteer groups in Ann Arbor are the American Cancer Society and the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor, both of which offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities—from one-time events to short- and long-term programs.

The American Cancer Society of Southeast Michigan is part of the national ACS, which has more than five million volunteers. “We are very much a volunteer group and organization. Most of our programs are run by volunteers, and the Continue reading