Infusion pharmacy use of technology to prepare patient care

infusion pharmacyAlong with the rest of the University of Michigan Health System, the infusion pharmacy at the Comprehensive Cancer Center has been using new technology to improve patient care. One new feature takes a picture of your prepared chemotherapy and links with the new barcode medication administration system to:

  • Confirm correct drug selection (right drug for the right patient)
  • Automate dose calculations (right dose)
  • Automate dose labeling to increase efficiency for pharmacy staff (right time)
  • Reduce waste

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Understanding cancer recurrence

An overview of advanced cancer and living with metastatic disease

cancer recurrence

Anne Schott, M.D.

The following interview with Anne Schott, M.D., was first published in the Spring 2014 issue of Thrive.

No matter your diagnosis or treatment status, every person who has been diagnosed with cancer has a common concern: what if my cancer comes back? It’s a large and complicated topic, due to the wide variety of ways cancer works in the body, as well as the unpredictability of the disease.

We spoke with Anne Schott, M.D., associate professor of medical oncology at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, who specializes in breast cancer, to cover some of the basic questions patients ask about their cancer, the possibility of its return and what it means when cancer is metastatic.

Q. What do we mean when we say a person’s cancer is recurrent?

A cancer recurrence means that a person who was thought to be cancer free has cancer again. This can be interpreted in several ways. Continue reading

Two brothers, a room full of doctors, a second chance

tumor board

Aron Bowser, above, and his brother Cory presented a unique set of circumstances to the tumor board.

As the editor of Thrive, I’m always looking for topics to write about that will be helpful to patients. One of aspects of patient care that can be confusing is what we call a “tumor board meeting.” In layman’s terms, a tumor board is a group of doctors and caregivers specializing in your type of cancer. They meet periodically to review and discuss the scans of patients. The goal is to put everyone’s heads together, share information and come up with innovative treatment options.

When I asked around for an interesting tumor board success story to tell in Thrive, I Continue reading

Understanding a tumor board

tumor boardWhen I joined the Cancer Center team as editor of Thrive a few years ago, one of my first questions was, ‘What the heck is a tumor board?’ It was a term I had never heard before and one I figured many patients didn’t know either, at least before their diagnosis.

I quickly learned: a tumor board is a room full of specialists talking about challenging patient cases. I attended a liver tumor board meeting and immediately saw the value of everyone sharing information and offering solutions. Continue reading

Eight ways to take care of yourself and your cancer

take care of yourselfNutrition plays a pivotal role during treatment and recovery of cancer but maintaining a healthy diet can be a challenge. Here are eight ways to take care of yourself and your cancer.

1. Try to have small, frequent and easy-to-eat meals and snacks throughout the day such as yogurt with fruit or banana with nuts/nut butter.

2. If meats are difficult to eat or don’t taste good, try chopped or ground meats mixed with a sauce in a casserole, stew or pot pie. Continue reading

Body image matters for cancer patients

cancer patient

Patient Sherry Hansen with her daughter Allie.

Cancer treatment is hard on your body and, in some cases, changes are permanent. Sometimes cancer patients become so focused on getting rid of their cancer, they don’t bring up body image issues with their oncologists. In writing Body Image Matters, a patient story in Thrive, I learned they should.

Sherry Hansen is a breast cancer survivor, 14 years and counting. She had surgery to remove her breast, but didn’t have time to think about reconstructive surgery at the time of her diagnosis. She had a 3-year-old daughter to take care of. Sherry described to me in detail the way she felt the first time she looked in the mirror when her bandages were removed. No one had prepared her for the change in her body. No one was there when she saw it for the first time.

This should never happen to a patient and, were Sherry diagnosed at the U-M Cancer Center, perhaps her emotional response would have been different. By the time she came to U-M, depression had set in. She’s doing great now, but it was a long road to recovery. Continue reading