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

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

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