Cancer and COVID-19: Latest Helpful Resources

Coping with Cancer and COVID-19In my most recent post, I shared links to a number of articles and sites that provide information on cancer and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last two weeks, much more information has been published on a variety of sites to help inform those of us who are dealing with cancer in this difficult time.

Here are links to several more resources that seem especially helpful, along with a brief description of what’s covered in each.

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Cancer and Coping With the COVID-19 Crisis: Helpful Resources

Cancer and Coping with the COVID-19 CrisisThese are stressful and uncertain times, as the world races to try to curtail the spread of the coronavirus and to develop a vaccine to prevent it.

While the crisis is overwhelmingly on our minds, cancer isn’t going away. Those currently dealing with cancer have no choice but to continue to deal with it in the best way possible right now.

In this post, I’m sharing links to a number of articles and sites that provide relevant information on cancer and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

Ending Surprise Medical Billing

Ending Surprise Medical BillingI remember how terrifying it was to hear the diagnosis of breast cancer. At the age of 35, I had to face a potentially life-threatening diagnosis, major surgery and chemotherapy after that.

If that wasn’t enough, what if I had woken up after my mastectomy only to discover that I had a bill for thousands of dollars that my insurance wouldn’t cover and I couldn’t pay?

Many women today are facing that very situation. Continue reading

6 Frequently Used Cancer Terms: What Do They Actually Mean?

Understanding frequently used cancer terminologyWhen I read news articles about cancer research, I often find myself annoyed by the confusing way in which terminology about cancer and cancer research in used.

In cancer language, it’s not unusual for the medical or scientific meaning of a word to be different from the way the same word is understood in everyday language.

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Genetic Testing for Cancer Risk: My Experience and What I Learned

On genetic testing for inherited mutations that increase risk for cancer.Earlier this year I made the decision to undergo genetic testing to find out whether I’ve inherited any genetic mutation that could increase my risk for a new breast cancer diagnosis or for other cancers.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was only in my mid-thirties. But that was in 1993 and, for a number of reasons, including having no family history of breast or ovarian cancer, I’ve never had genetic testing before.

Here’s what the experience was like for me and some of the helpful things I learned in the process. Continue reading

Is There a “New Normal” After a Cancer Diagnosis?

Is There a New Normal After a Cancer Diagnosis?What I wanted most of all in the early days after my breast cancer diagnosis was to get back to normal. It felt as if some strange force had taken over my life, and I longed to be back as I was as if none of it had happened.

I remember walking down the street, and thinking that everyone I saw passing by was normal because they didn’t have cancer. I felt different. And my life felt out of control. This thing had happened to me out of the blue. What else could happen now? What I wanted most of all was to get back the familiar feeling of stability, that there was some sense of predictablity about life.

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The Value of Patient Navigation for Cancer Patients

Patient navigators guide patients through the complexities of cancer care.A recent article in the Washington Post was headlined “‘Navigators’ for cancer patients: A nice perk or something more?”

A “nice perk”? It certainly seems like anything that would help to lessen the confusion for patients and help them obtain and adhere to treatment would improve outcomes and help keep costs down too. I took a closer look at the article and especially at the main research study it was reporting on.

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Choosing Complementary Therapies for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer patients are frequent users of complementary therapies as part of their care.Managing the side effects of treatment, whether they’re physical or emotional, is an important issue for just about anyone receiving treatment for cancer.

Complementary therapies increasingly play a role, and breast cancer patients in particular are frequent users of complementary therapies as part of their care.

What information is available to help in selecting complementary therapies that have been shown to be effective?

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Finding Great Support After a Cancer Diagnosis

Finding Great Support After a Cancer DiagnosisI wrote recently about some of the practical lessons that I found myself having to learn rather quickly in dealing with two separate diagnoses of early stage breast cancer. One of those practical life lessons was what a difference it can make when you’re not afraid to reach out for the help and support that you need.

Maybe it’s our culture, maybe it’s an innate tendency for some of us, or maybe it’s a bit of both, but I think we’re often more inclined to try to “work things out” on our own instead of asking for help. I know this is my natural inclination. But sometimes this can be a much harder way to go.

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Cancer and Life Lessons

Dealing with cancer can force us to learn valuable life lessons.Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards. ~Anonymous

It’s fascinating to read the stories of people who’ve had to deal with cancer and how they’ve been affected by the experience. Some come to reassess what’s important in their lives and set off in exciting new directions.  And others learn how to adapt to changed capabilities while continuing to do what is important to them and brings joy to their lives.

As I was reading a few of those stories recently, I found myself reflecting back on my own experience with cancer, and whether it has changed me in any way.

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