Happy 25th anniversary, Cancer Center! One long-term patient describes how his cancer was cured.


Clark Charnetski looks back on his cancer, part of our Happy 25th anniversary series at the Cancer Center.

Name: Clark Charnetski

Birthdate: Jan. 17, 1942

Diagnosis: Bladder Cancer

U-M Doctor: James Montie, M.D.

Age at diagnosis: 54

In the spring of 1996, Clark Charnetski had a backache. Initially suspecting a urinary problem, an X-ray with dyes found a tumor. Within a few hours, he had an appointment with James Montie, M.D., who diagnosed bladder cancer. That summer, Charnetski underwent chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor before surgery.

“Chemo at the time was very difficult,” he says. “I was really sick, especially Continue reading

Now you know: Cancer AnswerLine™ nurses offer a wealth of resources

Cancer AnswerLine™ nurses provide a wealth of information to cancer patientsI am frequently asked by friends and co-workers what we nurses do at the Cancer AnswerLine™. My brief answer is that we provide our callers with information and resources to help navigate the world of cancer. Hearing the word cancer is scary and can be made worse by feeling alone, helpless or not knowing where to turn for help. That is where we come in!

There are a variety of organizations devoted to helping cancer patients and their families, with information, medication support, lodging, respite care, transportation assistance, etc. An Continue reading

Volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3

ACS prevention study3What if there was something you could do to prevent someone you love from hearing the words “you have cancer”? If you have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer), THERE IS! Consider volunteering for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3.

If you have access to the U-M campus, including University Hospital, you can make an appointment for one of three enrollment sessions:

October 30, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., University Hospital Cafeteria

October 31, 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., North Campus Research Complex on Plymouth Road Continue reading

Celebrating 25 years as an NCI-designated cancer center

It started with notes on a napkin

Max Wicha, M.D., director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center

Max Wicha, M.D., director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center is celebrating 25 years as an NCI-designated cancer center. Max Wicha, M.D., the center’s founding director, reflects on the Cancer Center’s past and present in a guest post to Medicine That Speaks, a health care blog from the CEO of the University of Michigan Health System, Ora H. Pescovitz, M.D.

Read Dr. Wicha’s remarks, including how doodles on a napkin started the journey which resulted in the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center of today, one of the national leaders in research and patient care.

You can also read more about our accomplishments over the past 25 years at this commemorative timeline that starts in September 1988 when the National Cancer Institute awarded U-M a cancer center designation. This designation is given to cancer centers at universities and cancer research centers in the United States that are developing and translating scientific knowledge from promising laboratory discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients.

Do you have a story or reminiscence about patient care or research over the years at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center? Feel free to share below. Continue reading

Sharing grief for hope and healing

U-M candle lighting event remembers those who have died from cancer

grief and lossLosing a loved one is painful and difficult, but sharing grief can bring hope and healing. On this special evening, families can share their grief in a celebration of lives lost to cancer or a blood disorder.

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center will hold its annual Candle Lighting for Hope and Remembrance on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013. The ceremony is designed to celebrate the lives of those who have died and bring hope to their families and loved ones. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m., with resources and refreshments available beginning at 6 p.m., all under the front entrance canopy of the Cancer Center, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor. Continue reading

Things to say or do when you need more support

Donna Murphy, L.M.S.W., C.C.L.S.

Donna Murphy, L.M.S.W., C.C.L.S.

Communicating with friends, family and loved ones is hard enough when you aren’t sick, but add a cancer diagnosis to the mix and oftentimes people simply don’t know what to say. We sat down with Donna Murphy, co-director of the PsychOncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, to talk about the issues cancer patients face when friends and family fall short as you face your illness and need more support from them.

Q. Why is it so hard for people to be there when someone they love has cancer?

I don’t think it’s human nature for people to turn away. However, many people show support in ways that aren’t face to face or in words. Some of this comes from fear of being a bother, saying the wrong thing or making someone cry. Or, they might be better at housecleaning, weeding or picking up kids from activities. These are all acts of caring and support.

Examining the expectations you have of others is a good thing. That way, you can state your needs or wishes and have help getting them met.

Q. What are some of the difficult issues facing friends and families of a person with cancer? Continue reading