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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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? … Read more

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 … Read more

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 provided as a caregiver. Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. Here is a sample of they had to say:

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Four Lessons from a Cancer Caregiver

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.

Patrick and Angela Palmer
Angela and Patrick Palmer

She had a lumpectomy and completed about 50 percent of her chemotherapy protocol before we moved to the northeast where our family was located. We arrived in Boston in December 2001, bought a house and became engaged with a tremendous Dana-Farber team including Wendy Chen, MD, MPH, medical oncologist and Jennifer Bellon, MD, radiation oncologist. Angela immediately resumed her therapy and I became her caregiver.

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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. I don’t have a medical background, and honestly didn’t understand some of the terminology that doctors used during the diagnosis and the treatment. This made me feel helpless. But I wanted to help.  So I discovered other ways I could support my friend.

First and foremost, I tried to keep him positive and make him as comfortable as possible. I brought him the food he liked, watched movies with him, and stayed up late talking with him when he was sad and discouraged. I also tried to bring humor to his day because, as everyone knows, laughter is powerful medicine. I spent as much time with him as I could, depending on his needs and those of his family, and made sure to plan things for the future that he could look forward to. I reassured his wife that I would do anything to help her so his most important source of strength and comfort felt supported, too. And, so he would feel as informed as possible, I researched other patients in similar positions with the same cancer, and shared what I learned about their experiences.

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