In these eight-week groups you will have the opportunity to:
- Make peace with the impact of cancer treatment
- Reduce the stress cancer places on relationships
- Overcome the fear of recurrence
- Renew hope and increase resilience
Some cancer screenings can be done yourself at home at essentially no cost or risk. This includes regular self-examination of the breasts, testicles and skin. Home fecal occult blood testing can also be done to screen for colorectal cancer. Additional information on cancer screening and self-examinations can be found on websites such as www.cancer.org or www.webmd.com.
A cancer doctor is very familiar with the anxious and fearful grief that accompanies a diagnosis of cancer. We are less acquainted with the lonely and empty grief that is experienced by those left behind when our patients die. However, when I wear my hospice medical director hat, I am privy to those struggles, and knowing that the loss of someone close is particularly difficult during the holidays, I have chosen to divert from subjects I am more familiar with and rely on the experts at hospice to help me present a meaningful discourse on grief during the holiday season.
For the bereaved, the joyous holidays trigger emotions of great conflict. Every act of preparing for the holidays, once a time of cheer and anticipation, becomes another stabbing reminder of ones loss. The demands of family and friends, always a bit stressful around Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year, now are overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. Traditions, designed to create love and family unity, now seem empty and may even create divisions among the grieving. Even successful celebration may bring on a deep surge of guilt for enjoying the holiday alone. And those who have no physical or emotional reserves left for thanksgiving or joy making, may feel great pressure to “get on with their life, and join in the fun.”
It has been suggested that the key word in grief is “permission.” The bereaved need permission from themselves, and from family and friends, to grieve as long as necessary and in any way that works, remembering that what works may not always be the same. It means permission to only do what you can. A turkey and all the trimmings may just be too much this year. Eating out may be perfect. Having someone else do dinner may be better yet.
Permission may also be needed to change some timeworn traditions. It must be recognized that ...
Here at the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI), we understand that individuals cope in their own unique ways, and that receiving personalized education and support is important in the healing process. For this reason, the SCI is devoted to providing complementary supportive services for newly diagnosed patients, those undergoing treatment, and those who have completed treatment, as well as their caregivers.
The SCI offers programs that promote education, hope, and healing. Many of these programs are offered free of charge, while others are offered on a sliding scale. These integrated care programs include:
Patients often hear that it’s important to find a strong support system during and after treatment; this may include a partner, sibling, parent, child or close friend. These are ...
I recently attended the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) meeting, a consortium of research institutions doing clinical trials on cancer. The conference highlighted how new research will remarkably affect cancer survivorship, quality of life (QOL), integrative care and our ability to predict and provide needed services more accurately and with greater cost effectiveness for cancer survivors. The tools for implementing cancer control are evolving quickly.
Here are some highlights from the meeting:
A palpable neck lump in any patient should raise some concern. In the case of a pediatric patient, the concern may be less, since reactive and infectious nodes in the neck can be fairly common in children. When a child has a bad episode of pharyngitis, tonsillitis (sore throat), or even a bad cold, the lymph nodes of the neck may react and become enlarged. In that type of scenario, your doctor should prescribe appropriate antibiotics to resolve the enlarged lymph nodes and follow up to make sure that the nodes have regressed.
Very few pediatric neck masses will end up being concerning. Besides infectious neck lymph nodes as stated above, some of the other more common causes of pediatric neck mass are congenital cysts. However, none of the pediatric neck masses should be ignored. A neck lump that persists for more than a few days should be looked at by a pediatrician.
In the adult population, a neck mass or lump can be much more concerning. Essentially when an adult patient presents to us with a neck mass, we have to fine the root cause and basically rule out a tumor. Of course, infectious lymph nodes do happen in the adult patients as well, but it is less common. Congenital cysts are also much less common in the adult patient.
The more common causes of a neck mass in the adult patient are ....
“What happens if my insurance won’t pay for all of this treatment?”
“How do I tell my young daughter about my cancer?”
“My spouse is really struggling, but I don’t know how to help him.”
“How will I get to radiation every day if I can’t drive?”
“My friends and family call a lot, but I don’t feel like talking to them”
“I’m scared.” “I’m angry” “I’m sad” “I’m confused”
“What’s a power of attorney…and do I need one?”
“Where can I find out about a support group? ”
“I wish I knew where to turn.”
If you are faced with a diagnosis of cancer, you may be asking similar questions and wondering where to turn for answers. A good place to start is with an oncology social worker. Oncology social workers assist with the non-medical issues that often arise when someone is diagnosed with cancer. We have master’s degrees in social work, and are specially trained to provide counseling and assistance with services that can reduce stress for you and your family through all phases of your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Social work services are available at the Swedish Cancer Institute at our First Hill, Edmonds, and Issaquah campuses, and are provided at no cost to our patients.
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