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:
Stem cell transplantation (sometimes called bone marrow transplants) is a treatment for certain forms of cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, as well as other diseases. But before a patient can receive a transplant, stem cells must be collected from a donor (an allogeneic donation) or from the patient (an autologous transplant). Read more
Each year, Dana-Farber patients join clinicians, staff, and the Boston Red Sox to share their stories of inspiration and their belief in the research advances at Dana-Farber during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon at Fenway Park.
This year, nearly 100 patients, including Rayquan Fregeau, who used art and resources from the Betty Ann Blum and Marjorie Blum Pediatric Resource Room to cope with his diagnosis; Debbie Whitmore, a mother of five who hopes for a cure for future generations; and Jack Robinson, who compiled a joke book to help other children during their treatment, shared their experiences battling cancer. Stephen Hodi, MD, Ursula Matulonis, MD, and other clinicians discussed the research and treatment strides donors help make possible.
Watch this video of highlights from the 36-hour event, which raised more than $3.5 million to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber:
By Catherine MacLean
“Why is this coming up now?”
“It’s been 10 years. I should be over this already.”
“Why is this happening to me? All of the other survivors I know seem fine.”
These thoughts preoccupied me during the transition from high school to college. It had been 10 years since my successful bone marrow transplant for aplastic anemia and my health was excellent. Read more
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. We asked Lisa Diller, MD, chief medical officer at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, to answer these important questions.
What signs might lead a child’s pediatrician to suspect cancer?
Cancer is very diverse, and diagnosis is further complicated because many signs and symptoms—like fever, bruising and headaches—are normal in healthy children.
Jack Robinson is a special kid.
Diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 11, he tackled treatment if not with a smile on his face, then with a joke on his lips… or more accurately, on paper. The Massachusetts resident compiled and edited a joke book called, “Make ‘em Laugh” to help himself, and other kids who were sick. It was drafted from hundreds of jokes, riddles, and drawings submitted by Robinson and other kids cared for in the Jimmy Fund Clinic and the inpatient oncology floors at Boston Children’s Hospital.