Archive for Care for adults

Coping With Cancer Through Creative Expression

Share

A cancer diagnosis brings more than physical challenges. Patients and loved ones must also manage the emotional toll that can come with it. Storytelling, through word, pictures or other creative expression, can be an effective way to deal with these emotions and help with the healing process.

Some people look to painting or writing, while others may cope through dance, music, or a tattoo.

We want you to share your story with us. Whether it’s a piece of artwork, a blog post, or a small tattoo on your wrist – show us how you coped with a cancer diagnosis. Submit your images and stories to our “Coping with Cancer Through Creative Expression” gallery

Here are a few patients who have found creative ways to cope with their diagnosis:

Read more

How Cancer Can Affect Sleep

Share

For many cancer patients and survivors, insomnia can be a troublesome side effect of living with cancer. There are many reasons why patients and survivors may have problems with sleep.

Eric Zhou, PhD, a clinical fellow at Dana-Farber and research fellow at Harvard Medical School, explains why insomnia can be linked to cancer and also discusses the best methods for getting some sleep.

Read more

Web Chat: How Integrative Therapies Can Benefit Cancer Patients

Share

Whether it’s yoga, meditation, massage, or nutrition counseling, integrative therapies can offer a wide range of benefits for patients.

David Rosenthal, MD

David Rosenthal, MD

“The whole concept of integrative therapies is about improving the overall quality of life for cancer patients,” says David Rosenthal, MD, medical director of Dana-Farber’s Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. “Integrative and complementary therapies are helpful in all stages of diagnosis, from pre-cancer to survivorship.”

Read more

Colorectal Cancer: Five Things You Need to Know

Share

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the U.S., with about 143,000 new patients diagnosed last year. But thanks to increased awareness about screenings, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for more than 20 years.

Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH

Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH

“For the most part, colorectal cancer is a curable and preventable disease,” says Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, clinical director of the Dana-Farber Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center. “We have very good data that shows screening prevents disease and saves lives.”

With March marking Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, here are the answers to some key questions about the disease:

Read more

New Drugs Bring Optimism to Graft-Versus-Host Disease Treatment

Share

Outcomes are gradually improving for patients who suffer from graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), one of the most serious complications of stem cell transplantation, and researchers are optimistic that further advances may be on the way.

Read more

How to Discuss Difficult Medical Decisions with Your Family

Share

By Bethany-Rose Daubman, MD

As a palliative care physician, part of my job is to help foster communication among family members making difficult health care decisions. This often relates to end-of-life matters, a topic I’ve grown comfortable with. In the department of psychosocial oncology and palliative care at Dana-Farber, my colleagues and I describe health care proxies and power of attorneys, discuss the differences between allowing a loved one a natural death and “pulling the plug,” and use a family’s natural rhythms of communication to guide these conversations.

You’d think my own family would have all of this figured out, but sadly, you’d be wrong.

Read more

Should I Take Vitamins and Supplements During Cancer Treatment?

Share

Getting the nutrients your body needs isn’t always easy, especially when certain treatments, such as chemotherapy, may make food less desirable. Many people consider taking vitamins and supplements to ensure optimal health, but, according to Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, it is important to think about the benefits of “food first.”

Read more

Feedback Friday: How to Support Cancer Patients

Share

Cancer does not have to be a solo journey. Every diagnosis involves doctors, nurses, family members and friends. Sometimes, support from these people can give that extra push to get you through a chemo infusion, or another radiation treatment.

We recently asked our Facebook followers about the best support they’ve received as a patient, or provided as a caregiver. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. Here is a sample of they had to say:

Read more

Brokaw Diagnosis: What is Multiple Myeloma?

Share

NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, 74, revealed this week he has multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. The disease, also known as plasma cell myeloma, will be diagnosed in more than 24,000 Americans this year.

Read more

How to Prevent and Manage Lymphedema

Share

Following radiation treatment or surgery to remove lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy), patients can develop lymphedema, a condition that involves abnormal swelling, usually in the arms or the legs, due to an accumulation of lymphatic fluids. This fluid buildup is caused by blockage or removal of lymph nodes or lymph vessels.

Lymphedema is often associated with breast cancer patients, but can result from treatment of other cancers, such as melanoma, prostate, or advanced gynecological cancer.

In addition to discomfort, lymphedema can also lead to infection, as the fluid buildup can increase bacteria growth. Pay attention to signs of infection, including pain, heat, swelling, rash blistering, redness, and fever. If you notice these symptoms, call your physician immediately.

Below are some ways to prevent infection and manage lymphedema symptoms that arise:

Read more