Paid sick leave: an important safety net for cancer patients

Sick leave eases financial burden, helps ensure job security

paid sick leaveSome patients with cancer experience a serious financial burden. A new study finds the burden is worse for patients without paid sick leave. In a survey of more than 1,300 patients with stage 3 colorectal cancer, researchers found that only 55% who were employed at the time of diagnosis retained their jobs after treatment. Patients who had paid sick leave were nearly twice as likely to retain their jobs as those without paid sick leave.

In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers found that patients without paid sick leave were more likely to report higher personal financial burden. This includes borrowing money, difficulties making credit card payments, reduced spending for food or clothing, or reduced recreational spending. Continue reading

Hey Sugar – are you Public Enemy No. 1?

Our dietitians explain good sugar versus bad sugar

sugar in processed foodsIs sugar really public enemy number 1? The simple answer is no. But sometime sugar can be bad for us. There are actually “good” sugars and “bad” sugars.

Good sugars are natural sugars (also called complex carbohydrates). They are found in fruits and whole grains. These types of foods not only have sugar, they also have anti-disease nutrients that should be included in a healthy diet.

“Bad” sugar — the sugar we need to be careful of — is the sugar that gets added in cooking and pre-made/packaged foods. And it’s not just in cakes, cookies and soft drinks. Added sugars are also found in tomato sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, cereals, crackers and breads. Continue reading

What are small cell and non-small cell lung cancers?

Non-small cell lung cancer makes up most of the diagnoses

lung cancerWhile lung cancer is less common than cancers of the breast or prostate, it is responsible for nearly a third of all cancer deaths in the United States – 27% according to the American Cancer Society. The stigma of lung cancer being a “smoker’s disease” still persists despite the fact that 20% of deaths from lung cancer occur in those who never smoked. The last few years have been very exciting for lung cancer research. New immune and targeted therapies are available to treat this very deadly cancer.

Surprisingly, lung cancer is not one disease. It is classified into three types based upon the type and location of cell involved: small cell, non-small cell and lung carcinoid tumor. Continue reading

Why is the Cancer Center called comprehensive?

The term comprehensive says a lot about cancer care

comprehensive cancer center

Cancer centers called ‘comprehensive’ by the NCI have an especially broad range of patient care, education and research programs.

Even though it’s a mouthful to say “University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center,” comprehensive is one of the most important words in that name. We say it a lot. In fact, many pages on our website point out that we are designated comprehensive by the National Cancer Institute. It’s a big, important-sounding word, but what does it mean?

When the NCI recognized us as a cancer center in 1988 and designated us comprehensive in 1991, we joined what was then a handful of cancer centers working with the NCI on a special goal: to form a backbone for government-funded programs studying and controlling cancer. Continue reading

Women’s Health Resource Center empowers women throughout their lifespan

women's health resource centerJanuary is cervical cancer awareness month, but instead of writing about a specific disease, I’d like to provide information to women (and men) about the Women’s Health Resource Center. This center is found in the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital and provides women access to educational resources, wellness information and outreach activities.

Its classes are offered throughout Southeast Michigan. This center is staffed by volunteers who assist clients in accessing helpful health and wellness information. They also offer: Continue reading

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