Posts tagged ‘Hematology’

2011 Open Enrollment for Medicare

The open enrollment dates for Medicare have changed and are

now from October 15-December 7. This is a switch from the past

enrollment period of November 15-December 15.

It does not seem like this change has been well publicized and the

concern is that Medicare recipients who want to make a switch will be

caught off guard and will miss the new deadline.

Please consider your satisfaction with your current Medicare benefits

and be attentive to the new enrollment deadline. Hopefully a reimder will

be issued soon from the Social Security Administration regarding the

deadline date change.

For more information regarding resources for enrollment for Medicare

contact Phyllis Ruja Tell, MSW at the Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information

and Resource Line at 877-752-2120 or view our self-help resources online.

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October 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR INFORMATION

Long-term issues for breast cancer survivors are often overlooked. Many breast cancer survivors encounter delayed side effects-such as heart problems, nerve damage, osteoporosis, and secondary cancers that can continue or emerge 10-15+ years after treatment ends, according to a survey by Cancer Support Community.

The survey-which was funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure found that many survivors feel that social and emotional issues are some of the hardest side effects to handle. About 90% of survey respondents said they had at least one delayed physical, psychological or social issue that was moderate to severe. Fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and sleep issues were most frequently cited in the survey. Almost 25% of respondents said they experienced depression, which is about twice the national rate.

Although 96% of respondents said they wanted a survivorship plan, just 10% said they received such plans, which summarize the tests and treatments patients have received, side effects to expect, lifestyle changes to make, and where patients should seek follow-up care.

Many cancer centers have launched “survivorship” centers to address this issue, but about 85% of breast cancer patients are treated in community settings that do not have such resources, the Wall Street Journal reports. Beginning next year, the American College of Surgeons plans to require survivorship plans and distress screenings for facilities to receive accreditation.

Beck, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 11, 2011

October 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment

Dream and Wish Fulfillment Resources for Cancer Patients

The following resources fulfill “dreams’ or wishes” of adult cancer patients:

  1. Adult Wish Foundation
  2. The Dream Foundation
  3. First Descents is an adventure/river rafter program in Colorado for people with cancer
  4. The Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation is a national resource providing WOW! experiences for children and families who have a Mom or Dad with late stage, limited life expectancy cancer.”

Jack & Jill Foundation eligibility requirements for all referral candidates:

  1. Late stage limited life expectancy cancer
  2. At least one child age between the ages of three and eighteen. Only one child must meet the age requirement
  3. A life expectancy over two months
  4. Referred by an approved referral agency or treating oncologist.
  5. Referrals must NOT have previously participated in an adult dream, wish or any other similar program.

April 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm 1 comment

Decision Making Resources for Transition from Treatment to Hospice

For cancer patients looking for a resource to help with the decision making process to either continue treatment or go on hospice, please see the following list of resource recommendations.

  1. Prepare a list of questions and meet with your physician. If your physician agrees that it is appropriate to consider hospice, make an appointment to meet with a hospice agency. If possible have family present at both meetings. For a list of referrals to hospice agencies contact the social worker at Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information and Resource Line.
  2. Use the booklet, Hard Choices for Loving People by Hank Dunn which helps with discussing this type of decision. This is a decision making tool that is not cancer specific and has been helpful for many patients.
  3. Read the article called, Do It Your Way by Kathy Gurland in “A Women’s Health” magazine. It focuses on the decision making process and breaks it down from a self empowering standpoint. Although it is not specific to the decisions for stopping cancer treatment or starting hospice care, it could be helpful as a general framework for cancer patients because it includes the comprehensive steps to be considered when making any serious decision.

March 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

Breast Reconstruction

Under certain circumstances, the treatment of breast cancer may require complete removal of the affected breast (a mastectomy), or rarely, both breasts (bilateral mastectomy). If a patient agrees to a mastectomy, she may choose to have breast reconstruction afterwards. This usually is performed by a specialist, a certified plastic surgeon, and sometimes involves more than one operation.

There are various options for breast reconstruction. One option is the placement of an implant. Implants are not permanent and sometimes only last about 10 years and then need to be replaced. If the decision is to have an implant, it is important to discuss with the plastic surgeon the type of implant most suitable for a patient’s particular anatomy, as well as the potential complications and duration of placement. Besides an implant, other options are available involving more complex types of breast reconstruction designed to produce a more “natural” look for certain patients. Abdominal flaps and similar techniques are usually offered to younger individuals who can handle the much more extensive surgery, and for the most part results in more natural-looking breasts. However, not all types of reconstruction are appropriate for everyone, and certain medical factors need to be taken into consideration with regard to recommending the specific type of procedure. Also, it may be advisable to obtain consultations with more than one plastic surgeon.

One of the most complete photo books showing reconstruction is “Reconstructing Aphrodite”.

Another great resource for helping cancer patients learn about their choices for breast reconstructive surgery is Living Beyond Breast Cancer http://www.lbbc.org, which has offered free scheduled educational teleconferences on the topic Breast Reconstruction: Understanding Your Options.

Additional websites for information on reconstruction are:

http://www.breastreconstruction.org

http://www.youngsurvival.org , for young breast cancer patients wanting reconstruction.

http://bidmc.org/YourHealth/BIDMCInteractive/Blogs/LivingwithBreastCancer.aspx? A daily blog about breast cancer research, resources, psychosocial issues, etc.

http://www.breastcancer.org/pictures/reconstruction/

http://www.stopbreastcancer.org , the National Breast Cancer Coalition website. Look at Position Papers to find information about reconstruction.

http://www.dslrf.org/searchresults.asp ,Dr. Susan Love’s website showing some of the photos and stories from the book “Show Me”. Some of the techniques in that book are outdated but considered to be quite informative.

http://www.networkofstrength.org/information/treatment/reconstruction.php

http://www.diepflap.com/?gclid=CPa53NS5-KICFRAN2godBWK5hg ,a link with newer reconstruction techniques although not available everywhere and not everyone is a candidate.

And http://www.breastfree.org offering the “no reconstruction option”; checking out other options is always a good idea.

For additional referrals to information and resources regarding breast reconstruction please contact the social worker, at 877-RLC-2120, http://www.lacancerinfo.org to get the help you need.

February 4, 2011 at 12:16 am 1 comment

Prothesis, A Breast Cancer Resource

A breast cancer diagnosis may require surgery as a treatment option which can mean the loss of one or both breasts. Following a mastectomy or partial mastectomy, the need to make a decision for breast reconstruction and external breast prosthesis is an extremely personal one. Speaking with your physician and other breast cancer survivors can provide helpful information while making a decision. Women consider breast prosthesis, also known as breast forms for several reasons; to gain symmetry when wearing clothing, to protect surgical scars, to keep a bra from shifting under clothing, and to balance posture and shoulder weight. There are several types of breast forms including silicone, non-silicone, partial, attached, fabric and more. If you’re the crafty type homemade bosoms are also a prosthesis option as well. A “mastectomy bra” does not exist and breast prosthesis and bras are sold separately. One reason is that it would not be possible to wash a bra and prosthesis together. It is best to buy both at the same time so they can be fit together.

For those women who choose to get external breast prosthesis following a breast cancer surgery, there are several resources available to help obtain these forms. Private medical insurance, Medi-Cal and Medicare often may cover the cost.

Click here for a listing of resource referrals that provide assistance for getting breast forms.

If you have any questions regarding breast prosthesis or other cancer related questions, please contact me at Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information and Resource Line at 877-752-2120 or online at www.lacancerinfo.org . I’m here to help.

August 6, 2010 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

ASCO Validates Yoga for Cancer Patients

It has long been thought that yoga can help alleviate certain symptoms associated with cancer. Stress, anxiety, and insomnia for starters. The 2010 annual meeting of The American Society of Clinical Oncologists reported on a study involving yoga and breast cancer patients. The study stated that “Yoga as a stress reduction and mind-body intervention is increasingly becoming popular among cancer patients globally”. Therefore, researchers have begun to scientifically determine whether or not the popularity of yoga among cancer patients is merely a trend or actually has some therapeutic validity to treating the disease and its symptoms. Sixty six patients with metastatic breast cancer received yoga or supportive therapy for a period of 12 weeks with the results indicating that yoga was beneficial for reducing stress. More research will be conducted in the future with larger pools of patients to continue to validate the findings.

Long time cancer advocate, Halle Tecco, and yoga enthusiast has long felt that yoga can provide relief to recover from harsh cancer treatment side effects. As a result of her love for yoga and cancer advocacy, she founded Yoga Bear, a non profit organization that provides free yoga classes for cancer patients and survivors. Initially started in 4 studios in San Francisco, Yoga Bear now offers free classes in over 250 studios in 25 states nationwide. Last year, they initiated the Healing Yoga Project which brings yoga into hospitals for cancer patients. For more information visit www.yogabear.org .

In addition to yoga, acupressure can also provide stress relief for cancer patients. Tower Cancer Research Foundation has provided free acupressure classes to patients and their care givers in the past to educate the community about stress relief methods available when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Taught by Eileen Zegar, the acupressure classes focus on pressure points throughout the body that relieve tension and stress in specific areas of and throughout the body. For more information on the benefits of acupressure visit http://www.creativewellbeing.net/acupressure-massage/ .

For more information about cancer resources and information feel free to contact me at Ronnie Lippin Cancer Information and Resource Line at 877-752-2120 or online at www.lacancerinfo.org. There are so many resources available to help you and those you love deal with a cancer diagnosis.

Phyllis Ruja Tell, MSW

July 1, 2010 at 12:54 am Leave a comment

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