New books on cancer, survivorship and relationships to check out

There’s always something new for patients and families in our library, the PERC

Our library, the PERC, is a warm, inviting retreat at the Cancer Center

Our library, the PERC, is a warm, inviting retreat at the Cancer Center

At the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s full service library, the Patient Family Education Resource Center – or PERC – librarians and volunteers are always ready to help. Books, electronic devices (some can be checked out), suggested reading lists and other resources are available to Cancer Center patients, families and caregivers. Not sure what you want? Staff at the PERC can help you figure it out.

Here are just some of the recently purchased books you can find at the PERC: Continue reading

Our digital gift to you: guided imagery for peace and relaxation

Turn off the phone, get comfortable, point and click

guided imagery

Click on our guided imagery pages for 12 free audio downloads of soothing words, sounds and images for relaxation, healing and pain relief.

 

Guided imagery is a gentle but powerful technique that focuses and directs the imagination. It can be just as simple as an athlete’s 10-second reverie, just before leaping off the diving board, imagining how a perfect dive feels when slicing through the water. Or it can be as complex as imagining the busy, focused buzz of thousands of loyal immune cells, scooting out of the thymus gland on a search-and-destroy mission to wipe out unsuspecting cancer cells.

This simple technique to suggest positive mental images, feelings and thoughts can also be a way for you to find freedom from tension and stress. It can provide calm amidst worries, and relief from physical discomfort. Continue reading

Taking some of the stress out of new patient appointments

Our intake coordinators gather your medical records so you don’t have to

Medical records and test results are just some of the things the intake coordinators can get from your doctor’s office ahead of your first Cancer Center appointment. Pictured are just some of the intake coordinators at the Cancer Center who are here to help. From top left:

Medical records and test results are just some of the things the intake coordinators can get from your doctor’s office ahead of your first Cancer Center appointment. Pictured are some of the intake coordinators at the Cancer Center who are here to help. From top left: Amanda Perez, Barbara Ayotte, Christine Fergus, Christine Manners, Christine Nolen, Dianne Hatfield. Row 2: Ileana Chandler, Mary Jane Blaisdell, Nancy Dixson, Rob Bridges, Theresa Jordon.

A cancer diagnosis itself is overwhelming. Usually the next step is to make an appointment with a cancer doctor. But the practical side to making appointments, even second opinion appointments, may seem difficult. The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center staff understands this and tries to make the appointment process as easy as possible on patients, or on family members helping to arrange the appointment. Intake coordinators smooth the way by assembling all the past medical documentation a new patient has that relates to a cancer diagnosis.

There are 30 different clinics at the Cancer Center which focus on specific cancer types. Each clinic has an intake coordinator who is responsible for obtaining medical information for new patients. This helps to relieve some of the stress new patients and their families may experience leading up to that first appointment with a Cancer Center doctor. Continue reading

New microscope offers hope for tumor patients

New technology series

University of Michigan's Dr. Daniel Orringer with the new SRS microscope which promises to make brain tumor and other cancer surgeries safer and more efficient

University of Michigan’s Dr. Daniel Orringer with the new SRS microscope which promises to make brain tumor and other cancer surgeries safer and more efficient

Here at the University of Michigan we are testing a new microscope that will radically change brain tumor surgery—making it safer and more efficient. So far, we have used the microscope on tissues from 89 patients with great success.

Timing and location are important

One of the most difficult things for a brain surgeon is figuring out exactly where a brain tumor starts and stops because brain tumor tissue can be hard to distinguish from the rest of the brain. The new stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscope allows us to see the edges of a tumor in a few seconds instead of waiting the 30-45 minutes it usually takes for a frozen tumor section to be developed.

Right now, we are using the microscope on an experimental basis through grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program. We are using the microscope almost exclusively on neurosurgical cases. I’m also collaborating with Matt Spector, who is a head and neck surgeon, to look at squamous cell carcinoma.  Continue reading

Let’s talk about sex and chemotherapy

Guidelines for safe sex during chemotherapy

sex and chemotherapyIs it safe to have sexual relations with my partner who is undergoing chemotherapy? When is the right time, or the safest time? As a Cancer AnswerLine™ nurse, I get questions like this from callers from time to time.

Sexuality and sex are two very important parts of a relationship, and it is only natural that our patients and partners worry about what the best approach is. And the short answer is: Sexuality is whatever a person desires, as long as it is mutual and safe. Continue reading

How an app is improving breast cancer care

breast cancer app

Jacqueline Tonks enjoys using technology. At age 78, she’s learned from her grandchildren and children, and is a frequent user of Facebook, Skype and texting. So when she heard about a mobile app that could help her manage her breast cancer treatment, she downloaded it.

“The nice thing about this app is that when I turn on my iPhone or iPad, the app appears and reminds me of things to do today. I really like the reminders of what exercises I’m supposed to do, in what order, and how many. It keeps me on track,” Tonks says. Continue reading