From Teacher to Cancer Caregiver – and Coach

“A caregiver and a patient are a team, like a coach and a quarterback,” says caregiver Deb Osborne. “You do a lot of work strategizing together beforehand, and then as the coach you send your quarterback into the action.

What to Say When a Loved One Has Cancer

Empathizing with a cancer patient can be difficult. After all, many people haven’t had the experience of being diagnosed with cancer themselves, so knowing what to say when a loved one tells you about their illness can be tricky. “When someone you love is dealing with something like cancer, there’s a feeling of helplessness,” explains … Continued

Self-Care Tips for Cancer Caregivers

If you are taking care of a loved one with cancer, you are considered a “caregiver.” You may be responsible for navigating your loved one’s medical appointments, taking on increased responsibilities at home, and providing emotional support, all while maintaining your previous responsibilities. This can be a lot to manage, and caregivers often neglect their … Continued

In Sickness and in Health as a Cancer Caregiver

By Deb Osborne On that beautiful day in October, filled with all the excitement life has to offer, I didn’t realize how important those words would become. Caught up in the wonderment of our wedding day, the magnitude of those words did not resonate with me until seven years ago when my husband was diagnosed … Continued

Crane Project Fights Cancer with Creativity and Courage

When the Pfeifer family boarded a plane to Chicago in 2012, 996 paper cranes took flight with them. Nine-year-old Anna Pfeifer had learned a Japanese legend in school: whoever folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted one wish. After learning that her grandfather had stage IV colon cancer, Anna set out to fold 1,000 cranes … Continued

What this Clown is Doing at a Cancer Center Will Make You Smile

Jennifer Polk anticipated a wave of emotions on her first day of breast cancer treatment, but never thought she’d have an urge to laugh – until a woman in polka-dotted pants and a whimsical headband approached her infusion chair. A smile crossed Polk’s face, and broadened as her visitor broke into a serenade of “You … Continued

Support Group Provides Lifeline for Cancer Caregiver

By Bob Ferris I thought I could handle things myself when my wife, Ruth, got cancer – and for a while I did. Six years ago, at age 52, Ruth was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. She has a family history of ovarian and endometrial cancers, and was always good about getting regular screenings, … Continued

Learning About Oncology Nursing from the Inside

By Kaitlin Phelan For eight weeks, Kaitlin Phelan was one of three Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing students who learned about oncology nursing from the inside – observing clinicians at work, talking to care team members about their jobs and careers, and studying a particular area of interest. Phelan, a graduate of … Continued

How to Prepare Your Home for a Stem Cell Transplant Patient

Leaving the hospital is an important milestone for stem cell transplant patients, because it marks the first return home after what can often be an extended recovery. But this homecoming also requires a bit of advance preparation. That’s because stem cell transplants destroy and rebuild the immune system, leaving patients immunocompromised and thus more vulnerable … Continued

How to Care for a Partner with Cancer

By Patrick Steele Elaine needs a caregiver? That’s outrageous. She is a very independent and courageous woman. But as her husband and partner, I had to step into this role when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When Elaine and I first met in 2005, we stayed up late, telling stories. She showed me the … Continued

How to Help Your Child Stay in School During Cancer Treatment

For kindergartners through teenagers, it’s back-to-school time. And while this annual rite of passage is often met with groans, for children undergoing cancer treatment, this can be a welcome change – provided you properly prepare. “School serves as a normalizing experience for kids with cancer, because it’s what their peer group is doing,” says Lisa … Continued

A Better Way to Care for Seriously Ill Children and Their Families

This post originally appeared on WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog.  By Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH How is it that, in this day and age, a talented teenager treated for lymphoma emerges cured but with a life-threatening eating disorder? How is it that, in our nation’s capital, a boy dying at home from neuroblastoma experiences excruciating pain in his final moments? … Continued

How to Help Cancer Patients During the Holidays

The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends, but the season can bring challenges for cancer patients and those who have recently completed treatment. The stresses of cancer may leave them feeling out of touch or overburdened with traditional holiday responsibilities. If someone you know is in, or has recently completed, treatment … Continued

Feedback Friday: How to Support Cancer Patients

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 … Continued

Questions to Ask When Your Child Finishes Cancer Treatment

By Julia Pettengill Our daughter Sophie was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2½, and received two years of care at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. While I felt tremendous joy and relief when she completed treatment, I also found the experience traumatic.

Four Lessons from a Cancer Caregiver

By Patrick Palmer In June 2001, my wife, Angela Palmer, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer while we were living in Tucson, Arizona. This was a huge shock. She had annual mammograms and never had any indications of disease. She had a lumpectomy and completed about 50 percent of her chemotherapy protocol before we … Continued

When It Comes to Cancer, Everyone Can Help

By Jim Donovan In 2002 my good friend died of cancer. He and I were at MIT together as undergraduates, where we shared a lot of great memories and developed a long-lasting friendship. Like most of us who walk with a loved one through a life-threatening disease, I experienced feelings of anger, sadness, and fear. … Continued

10 Ways to Help a Friend With Cancer

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.