When 15-year-old Karina Moreira sat down with Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen in December 2013, the two traded beauty tips, talked fashion, and took turns applying makeup. They spoke in their native Portuguese and laughed with family and friends. The experience, Moreira says, one that she will remember for the rest of her life.
But the two talked about more than just eye shadow and clothes; they also talked about life and Moreira’s battle with bone cancer. Bundchen, who surprised Moreira at home, offered some advice for the young girl: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
For more than five years, Sally Boyd had repeated needle punctures in her arm for blood draws, chemotherapy, and other procedures for multiple myeloma.
“The nurses said I had good veins, so at first it was easy for them to insert the needle,” Boyd recalls. “But as time went on, my arms were bruised and sore.”
One of the most difficult aspects of having cancer is deciding who to tell and when. For young adults who may be attending college, maintaining an active social life, or starting a family, these questions are especially critical.
Karen Fasciano, PsyD, and her colleagues in the Young Adult Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC), addressed these questions and others at the 11th annual Young Adult Cancer Conference last month. Bruce MacDonald, MSW, LICSW, who leads the young adult cancer support group at DF/BWCC, spoke with patients about sharing their diagnoses with three critical groups:
By Tom Ulrich
One of the hot trends in drug discovery could be called drug re-discovery: finding new uses for drugs that have already received FDA approval for a different indication.
It’s an approach that allows researchers and clinicians to rapidly test potential treatments for rare or difficult-to-treat conditions. Because the drug’s safety profile is already known, much of the preclinical and early clinical work that goes into developing a drug can be bypassed.
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:
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:
By Tom Ulrich
Last month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released “Cancer Statistics, 2014,” their annual estimate of new cancers diagnoses and deaths for the year ahead. The report was heavily focused on adult malignancies—not surprisingly, given that the number of adult cancer patients in the nation is orders of magnitudes greater than that of childhood patients—but did hold a few insights into childhood cancers.
Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH, founded the Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) in 1997 to help ensure children who are living with life-threatening diseases like cancer, and their families, enjoy the best quality of life. The program, a part of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and the Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, and Wolfe, were featured recently in The New Yorker. We spoke with her about the benefits of pain and symptom management, and palliative care for pediatric patients.
Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH
Q. What is PACT?
A. PACT is a group of physicians, social workers, and nurse practitioners. We provide an extra layer of support to children with serious illness and their families throughout treatment, ensuring that the child’s quality of life is a top priority for families and medical teams making difficult care decisions.
We make sure we bring attention to the whole patient and family as children are undergoing treatment for their illnesses.
By Jordan Leandre
I don’t remember a lot about my treatment process – after all, I was only about 2 1/2. Here is some stuff that I do remember.
As 2013 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of our favorite Insight posts from the last year. From inspiring patient stories to important research, here is our top 10 list: