Tag Archive for LifeWithCancer

The Power of Listening to Cancer Patients

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By Melissa Cochran, MS, NP

For my cancer patients, a stem cell transplant is a life-changing event. They cannot work outside the home for a full year; visits to Dana-Farber are about the only excursions allowed. No more trips to the grocery store or dinners at a favorite restaurant.

In our clinic, we have a solid team in place – physicians, nurses, social workers, and nurse practitioners like myself – working together to support and anticipate each cancer patient’s needs along the way. As you can imagine, significant physical and emotional issues can arise for our patients. Read more

Five Questions to Ask A Cancer Patient

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by Michael Buller

Whenever I’ve met people with cancer, I’ve been at a loss for what to say and which questions to ask.

Now, as a cancer patient, I realize the irony. Read more

Mental Fog, Chemotherapy Side Effect, Is Real and Often Treatable

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Not long ago, doctors were often skeptical when cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy complained that they were mentally foggy; unable to plan a week’s worth of meals or organize their finances as they could before. Patients called this side effect “chemobrain” and were frustrated by the lack of recognition – or suggested remedies – from their physicians. Read more

Better Coverage for Oral Chemo: Why It Matters

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When Gov. Deval Patrick signed an oral chemotherapy parity bill into law on January 5, Massachusetts joined more than 20 states requiring health plans to cover oral cancer pills at a rate no less favorable than standard intravenous (IV) chemotherapy. The new law tells insurers that they cannot require higher patient costs for oral chemotherapy, and it helps ensure that all forms of chemotherapy are accessible and affordable to Massachusetts cancer patients. Read more

Exercise During Cancer: Getting Started

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by Nancy Campbell, MS

“How soon can I start exercising after I start cancer treatment?” It’s a question I hear often from patients who visit me for a fitness consult or class at Dana-Farber.

My answer? “As soon as possible.”

While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise offers key benefits for cancer patients – even those undergoing difficult treatments. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to give yourself an extra boost during and after cancer treatment. Read more

Full Circle: The Journey from Patient to Caregiver

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by Sara Dickison Taylor

You wouldn’t be able to tell just by meeting them, but high-school student Molly Callahan and Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center nurse Lindsay Roache, RN, have a few things in common: They’ve survived cancer, and they’re committed to helping others. Read more

Let’s Talk Turkey: Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

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As we approach the Thanksgiving meal, Dana-Farber nutritionists offer some easy tips for enjoying the holiday without packing on pounds.

The average Thanksgiving dinner contains at least 3,000 calories. When you add in snacks, appetizers, and drinks throughout the day, you may end up consuming approximately 4,500 calories (two to three times what you may normally eat). Although this is only one meal, excess calories from a holiday season are unhealthy in the long run, as obesity is a risk factor for cancer. Read more

Connecting Online With Someone in Your Shoes

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“Stay positive, I know it helps.”

“What steps would you suggest I take to support my dad through all of this?”

“I am a new member of this group.”

These conversations are occurring online, at any time of day, in a community most people would not want to join: A group of cancer patients. Read more

Being Grateful in the Face of Cancer

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By Lola Baltzell

I have been a metastatic breast cancer patient at Dana-Farber for over four years now. “Metastatic” means the cancer has spread beyond the breast. I have an amazing team of providers, especially my oncologist Ann Partridge and nurse practitioner Anne Kelly. Read more

When a Celebrity Has Breast Cancer

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by Erica Mayer, MD, MPH 

In 1974, when First Lady Betty Ford announced that she had undergone a mastectomy for breast cancer, it was a turning point in people’s willingness to talk about the disease. Prior to that, discussing cancer of any type, even with one’s family or friends, was often taboo. The First Lady’s openness about her cancer helped create a space in which women felt more comfortable talking about their experience – and about being screened for the disease.

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