By Lola Baltzell
People often ask me: How do you manage to live with metastatic breast cancer? One of the most important strategies for me has been building a support network.
My diagnosis of breast cancer that had already spread to my bones came out of the blue. I had a normal mammogram 13 months earlier, and no known risk factors. So when I heard the news in August 2008, my first impulse was to reach out for support. Read more
When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, your first reaction may be, “How can I help?” However, answering that question may be difficult. Some friends may be public about their health, and about what they need, while others may be more private.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help cancer patients is to give blood. There is a constant need for donations, but especially so in the summer when people are on vacation and unable to donate. One pint of blood can save up to two lives, and one platelet donation can save up to three. Read more
The dirt roads in northern Rwanda now lead to a cancer center where patients can receive care for a disease that was, until now, considered a death sentence there. The Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence, which was dedicated on July 18, has allowed Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center to extend a helping hand in this tiny, densely populated country in Africa.
Dr. Larry Shulman, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Chelsea Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Jeff Gordon, and Dr. Paul Farmer
As recently as a decade ago, a visit to the hospital sometimes meant entering meant entering a cold, synthetic setting. But the tide is changing. A growing body of research indicates that creating what’s commonly called a “healing environment” – with features such as calming music, garden areas, artwork, and access to natural light – can lead to better patient outcomes. Read more
In celebration of Living Proof week, Insight honors cancer survivors with daily posts about survivorship.
To look at 9-year-old baseball player and Lego champion Charlie Rider, you’d never guess he’d had cancer for nearly half his life. Read more
For most people, a cancer diagnosis brings the daily routine of life to a grinding halt, at least temporarily. But after the initial shock wears off, many patients strive to resume their everyday activities, including vacation or travel plans.
Being treated for cancer doesn’t necessarily mean cancelling your summer vacation. Many people travel during and after cancer treatment. But it can require a little planning. Read more
Watch and wait. That’s often one of the new terms added to your vocabulary when you’re diagnosed with cancer. Or maybe it’s wait and watch. Or active monitoring. Whatever it’s called, sometimes it’s the term used when there’s nothing to do to treat your particular cancer but wait.
That’s a hard thing to do, most doctors will tell you. The natural reaction to a cancer diagnosis is a desire to do something, anything. Melt it. Burn it. Radiate it. Drug it. Remove it. Attack it. Just get the cancer out of you. Read more
For people with cancer, deciding how, and what, to tell others about the diagnosis can be a challenge. How do you tell your loved ones, or your employer, that you have cancer?
For parents, there’s another degree of difficulty: What do you say to your children? How much will they understand, and what’s the best approach?
Susan Englander, LICSW, a social worker at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who specializes in working with young adult patients — many of whom have children — offers these tips to parents with cancer on how to talk to their kids and help them through the process. Read more
Rebecca Byrne had waited years for a doctor to tell her, “You’re pregnant.” She never imagined that just a few months after she first heard those words, she would hear four more: “You have breast cancer.”
Byrne still tears up when telling the story, but smiles when her 20-month-old daughter, Emelia, leaps into her lap. Emelia is the happy outcome of a painful period of Byrne’s life, when the joys of pending and early motherhood were shadowed by chemotherapy treatments, hair loss, radiation, and uncertainty. Read more