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

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

Cancer-fighting nutrition and plant compounds

Phytochemicals and antioxidants are plant-based substances our bodies need

cancer-fighting nutrition

Foods, not dietary supplements, are the best sources for cancer-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants.

Are you curious about where to find cancer-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants like flavonoids and Vitamin E? Do you ever wonder if you should be taking supplements? Want to know how to add more color and variety to your meals to prevent cancer or reduce your risk of cancer coming back? Look no further to learn more about cancer-fighting nutrition! Continue reading

Sofia Merajver: In pursuit of medicine and science

From Buenos Aires to Ann Arbor, reasoning skills foretell a career in medicine

Sofia Merajver

Growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sofia Merajver always knew she wanted to be a doctor and scientist.

 

Many children play at being doctors, but Sofia Merajver actually diagnosed her first patient at the age of five.

On a visit to her beloved Uncle Julio’s home, she found relatives gathered outside his room discussing his medical condition with doctors. Julio was struggling to breathe and close to death. Merajver was an early reader fascinated with the human body.

Having just finished reading an illustrated high school textbook about the respiratory system, she asked her uncle, “Does it hurt when you breathe in or when you breathe out? Does it hurt more at the beginning or the end?” From his responses, she knew that the problem was in his diaphragm. She interrupted the adults’ conversation to share her diagnosis. 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

A meaty debate: Can red meat be part of a healthful diet?

Small amounts of red meat are fine, when part of a plant-based diet

Eat red meat sparingly, avoid processed meat.

The World Health Organization classifies processed meats as carcinogens and says red meat is probably a carcinogen. Our cancer nutritionists recommend eating only small amounts of red meat, and avoiding processed meats.

 

With all the focus on a plant-based diet for overall health and reduction of cancer risk, and recent media hype reporting red and processed meat cause cancer, meat lovers are left to wonder if their favorite foods are still allowed.

The WHO (World Health Organization’s) International Agency for Research on Cancer just released its analysis of the literature to date and concluded red meat and processed meat are likely carcinogenic, or cancer-causing foods. They cited a 17% – 18% increased risk of colorectal cancer with as little as two ounces of processed meat or four of ounces red meat per day. Continue reading