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

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