What to Bring to Chemo

Cancer stuns us, often to the point it is hard to think straight, hard to turn off the thoughts, and especially hard to organize our thoughts (especially once the chemo fog rolls in). Suddenly, we are thrust into the life of a cancer patient - facing tests, appointments, treatment, so much that is new to us, and all at once. Last year, I was at my mother’s side at every step through her diagnosis and treatment for lymphoma, and I’m a lot wiser for the ware. I learned some really useful organizational strategies that were life-saving (both literally and figuratively).

Ovarian Cancer Survival Higher Among BRCA Carriers

Let me start by saying that while I’m a supporter of efforts to raise awareness and cure the cancers that kill women, my first choice is prevention. So, when I learned that I was indeed a BRCA2 carrier, I didn’t pause long before choosing to undergo both prophylactic mastectomies AND a prophylactic oopherectomy (meaning I had both healthy breasts and healthy ovaries removed). Drastic you say?

Persistent Alopecia Leads to Taxotears

“It’s just hair” and “it will grow back.” How many times have those statements been offered up to women who will undergo chemotherapy? Intended or not, they are dodging at best, dismissing at worst a woman’s valid emotions at having to surrender her hair in the name of life. OF COURSE it’s a small price to pay for survival (who doesn’t know that!?), but a price no less. As women facing cancer treatment, we set our eyes on the prize, that being a future that includes life, love, health…. AND the return of our hair.

Chemo Brain - Fact or Fiction?

Mom eats breakfast and moments later doesn’t know whether she’s eaten or not. You might assume such memory loss is to be expected at age 89, but just 2 months ago, when she was also 89, her memory was better than mine. What caused such a rapid decline? She is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for Lymphoma. Could she be suffering from “chemo brain”? When I asked Mom’s doctor about her cognitive changes, the issue was dismissed with a knowing look of “what do you expect at age 89?”. Am I surprised? Unfortunately not.

The NCCN publishes first two patient-friendly clinical practice guidelines

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is an alliance of 21 of the world's leading cancer centers. Their member institutions include MD Anderson, Stanford, Fred Hutchinson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Duke, Dana Farber and several more.

I wanna be the match

The other day in the mail I received my kit from the National Marrow Donor Program. I registered online early last week.

The instructions in the kit were simple enough—you just swab the inside of your cheek with the four enclosed cotton swabs and return them in the mail. There was no indication that I should brush my teeth first, or freshen up in any way, before swabbing my cheek. Once they process my swabs, my tissue type enters the system and the search for a match begins.

Twitter in the OR

For the millions of people on Twitter who have desperately wanted a social media blow-by-blow of a low anterior resection on a patient with colorectal cancer, you're just not going to believe your luck.

On August 10 at 1 PM EST Georgia surgeons at Southern Regional Health System will be making your dreams come true.

Since doctors will be performing the procedure using a new device called the ColonRing, it's easy to get the sense that this is a promotional stunt.

Cancer Reduced by Social Interaction (In Mice)

In a study of mice with cancer tumors, Professor Matthew During of Ohio State University found that mice placed in environments with three times as many other mice as they were usually around, and with more space, hiding places and toys, actually had their tumors go into spontaneous remission.

New Way to Track Potential Clinical Trials

Finding an appropriate clinical trial for patients with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma has become much easier with the TrialCheck® Web site, a clinical trials search service through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) web site.

Is it a Problem? Foreign Trials for Drugs Sold in U.S

Just where was your new drug tested? A new report by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, spells out new concerns about new drugs whose human trials took place in foreign countries where federal auditors could not make sure patients were protected.