Fall/Winter 2014 Issue

Contact us

Talk to Someone or Make an Appointment

Download the .pdf version of Life to Fullest Fall/Winter 2014

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
~ Charles R. Swindoll, founder of Insight for Living

Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of Life to the Fullest, the newsletter from the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) dedicated to cancer survivors, and their family members and care givers. This issue focuses on SCI and community resources that can provide a lifeline for cancer patients and survivors. Each summer, SCI hosts health-education interns who are completing their professional degrees. Three of these interns, Nicole Filbert, Jolyn Hull and Katelyn Shallow, compiled the information and wrote the articles about these valuable resources. We encourage you to save and share this information.

Table of Contents

Support for Your Mind, Body and Spirit

The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) offers many support groups and educational classes at no cost to patients, family members and caregivers.

Support Groups: Support groups offer an opportunity to meet other individuals who are living with and surviving a cancer diagnosis. Trained professionals facilitate SCI cancer support groups. These groups provide a safe and trusting setting in which to share information about cancer, treatments and coping styles, as well as to understand and learn from others, and provide and receive emotional support.

Research shows that support groups can help improve quality of life and even extend the survival time for people with cancer. Individuals who participate in support groups believe they are able to live happier, better lives if they spend time connecting with others. Sharing feelings and familiarities in a safe place can reduce fear, stress and anxiety, and can help encourage a healthier life.

Education Centers and Classes: There are five Cancer Education Centers located at four Swedish campuses — Ballard, Edmonds, First Hill (two centers) and Issaquah. The centers are available to aid in decreasing the stress associated with a cancer diagnosis. In addition to support groups, the centers provide educational classes on nutrition, how to avoid cancer and other topics relevant to patients, families and caregivers. Yoga, meditation and a variety of creative classes are also offered. Additionally, each center has a library of educational materials, including brochures, books, videos and podcasts.

Descriptions of support groups and classes are included in this issue of Life to the Fullest.

For more information about SCI’s Cancer Education Centers, go to www.swedish.org/cancereducation.


Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think.

~ Christopher Robin to Pooh


Financial Support When You Need It Most

Money worries can be a major cause of stress in any person’s life. They can be even more challenging and stressful for people who are seriously ill, such as cancer patients. When you learn you have cancer, you may be worried about the high cost of services and how you will pay for treatment. You have every right to feel this way; however, there are many SCI and community resources that can help reduce these financial worries and may be able to help reduce the costs associated with your cancer care. Support may come in the form of grants, donations or gift baskets.

Following is a list of financial-support resources for cancer patients and their family members. Please keep in mind that there is great demand for some financial assistance programs. You may need to apply, follow up and re-apply in order to secure a grant. If you are eligible for several grants, it may be helpful to apply for all of them at the same time.

In addition to help with the cost of medical care, financial assistance may also include help with related costs, such as transportation, food, lodging and other non-medical expenses. Contact the organizations listed below for more information about their programs and application process.

Resources for All Cancer Patients

Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition provides a website where cancer patients can enter their ZIP code and the resource they are looking for in order to customize their searches for available resources.

Joe’s House offers assistance to cancer patients and their family members who need help with housing and air-travel costs. This organization partners with Best Western, Extended Stay America, Holiday Inn, and many other hotels.

CancerCare is a national nonprofit agency that offers free financial assistance to people with cancer and their loved ones. Financial assistance is in the form of small grants to help cover the costs of certain treatments.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society offers financial aid to patients in significant need who have leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma or multiple myeloma. Visit the society’s website or call 1-800-955-4572 for more information.

Northwest Sarcoma Foundation provides grants up to $500 for individuals being treated for sarcoma. Money can be used for living expenses, or for transportation, prescriptions, lodging needed to seek care, childcare, medical supplies and treatment costs. A social worker must complete the application. Please call 206-386-3228 to speak with an SCI social worker about this grant application.

Resources for Young-Adult Cancer Patients

Young-adult cancer patients can face unique financial challenges. For example, student loans, childcare costs and buying a first house can create additional financial stress. The following resources are dedicated to helping young adults with cancer.

Cancer for College (CFC) began in 1994. Its mission is to provide hope and inspiration to cancer survivors by offering college scholarships. Any cancer survivor who is registered in a qualified university can apply for a CFC scholarship. In 2013, CFC awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships to cancer survivors.

The SAMFund helps young-adult cancer survivors in the United States. SAMFund offers financial assistance and free online support and education. The goal is to help young adults accomplish their personal, professional and academic goals. Since 2005, the SAMFund has awarded $900,000 in grants.

Sy’s Fund provides financial assistance to young adults who are receiving medical care for cancer or other serious ongoing issues related to cancer or cancer treatment. Sy’s Fund provides funding for essential purposes and supportive care, including massage and acupuncture.

National Collegiate Cancer Foundation (NCCF) provides financial assistance to young-adult cancer patients or survivors who are pursuing a college degree. Awards of $1,000 are available to individuals (ages of 18-35) based on need. Applicants must be attending or planning to attend a qualified college.

Crowd Funding

You may find that you are your own best financial advocate. There are many websites that can help you rally support and money. You will probably find that close friends and family are glad to support your fight against cancer.

GoFundMe is one example of a personal online fundraising website that may offer another way to obtain financial assistance. GoFundMe gives individuals an opportunity to share their stories and attract support for their causes. The website also allows users to share their causes directly to Facebook and other social media websites, which helps ensure that all of your friends and family can see and share this important information. The GoFundMe website includes success stories from people who have created personal websites.

SCI Social Work

SCI social workers are available to talk with you about financial assistance programs that you may qualify for. Some programs provide assistance for the costs associated with day-to-day living, transportation and prescriptions. Call an SCI social worker at 206-386-3228 or go to www.swedish.org/cancer-financial to learn more about these resources.


Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.”

~ author Anne Wilson Schaef


Apps Can Make Living With Cancer a Little Easier

Living with cancer isn’t easy. It can be hard to organize doctor’s appointments, medical bills and questions to ask your doctor. There are many applications for mobile digital devices (cell phones, iPads and other tablets) and computers that can help you manage your life during and after treatment.

Apps perform specific functions. They are available through an “app store,” such as the Apple or Google app stores. Some app stores require a login and password. Once in the store, you can search for a specific app, select “install” and download it to your cell phone, computer or tablet. Many apps are free. Some may have a small fee. The following list includes several free apps that can help keep you organized or up to date on valuable information related to cancer or your care.

iChemoDiary is used to record and manage a chemotherapy schedule. You may also record your symptoms, such as nausea, unusual body temperature or lack of appetite. The app also allows you to write notes and questions you want to talk to your doctor about during your next visit.

Available for: iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Android
Download at: iTunes or Google Play Store

Cancer.net Mobile provides doctor-approved cancer information. The app contains guides on 120 different types of cancer, as well as a tool that allows you to write notes and questions you want to ask your doctor. Cancer.net lets you audio record your doctor’s responses to questions, which helps keep all information in one central location.

Available for: iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Android
Download at: iTunes or Google Play Store

My Cancer Manager allows you to rate and track your concerns over time and to report your progress to your health-care team and others you designate. You are able to communicate with others who are also taking care of their emotional and social health as an important part of their cancer treatment. Features include:

  • Tracking common physical and emotional concerns, such as sleep, sadness, worry, work, money, nutrition, etc.
  • Links to articles with helpful hints
  • Personal journal to record thoughts and questions
  • Search to find a Cancer Support Community near you or to connect with a Cancer Support Community Online

Available for: iPad, iPhone, iTouch
Download at: iTunes or Google Play Store

CareZone helps users organize appointments, contacts and medications. With this app you are able to:

  • Access important facts about cancer
  • Track your medications
  • Maintain a journal
  • Share a calendar and to-do lists with friends and family
  • Share photos
  • Send individual voice messages and updates to up to 100 people

Available for: iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Android
Download at: iTunes or Google Play Store

Using one of these apps can help you stay organized and help your provider understand the best course of treatment for you.


Protect Yourself — Look for Reliable Information

Understanding your health status can be difficult. Medical terminology is complicated. There are many resources for medical information — some of them with conflicting information. It can be even more confusing when you research information and have to figure out which online sources are reliable.

The advent of social media (blogs, Twitter and Facebook) has added to the confusion. While they are amazing inventions that have a purpose, they should never be used as a substitute for seeking professional medical attention. While people who share their health information online may mean well, being cautious of accepting this information is crucial to maintain your health.

A good way to ensure that you are getting accurate information is to bring it with you when you meet with your health-care team. Your providers can make sure the information is accurate and relevant.

To help determine if the resource you have found is coming from a trustworthy source, ask yourself:

  • Who is the author? 
  • Is the author a well-known medical expert?
  • What is the author’s purpose? (Educating about a specific topic? Sharing new research? Selling a new medication)
  • How new is the source? Was it published many years ago, so there might be a newer opinion?
  • Another tip is to look for web addresses that end in .gov, .org, and .edu, instead of .com. These websites will not have conflicting interests or sponsors. These sites are typically unbiased and present the most accurate forms of information available.

Communicating and Advocating

Communicating about your cancer diagnosis and treatment, or becoming an advocate for you or for the fight against cancer in general, are personal choices. Sharing your story, joining races or other awareness events, or building teams to help raise funds for a cause can be positive steps and provide an emotional lift — if and when you are ready to do so. Joining a cancer-awareness race or walk can also give you another opportunity to socialize with others who understand what you are going through.

CaringBridge is a nonprofit organization that provides a private online communication tool for patients. Patients choose who can see their web page, which can serve as a central information resource when you don’t feel like talking to a lot of people. You can share as much or as little information as you want. Some patients like to post updates about how their treatment is going. Although individuals cannot donate to your financial support through CaringBridge, the website allows you to link to crowd-funding sites, such as GoFundMe. It also provides an avenue for family and friends to send you messages of encouragement. Watch our podcast about CaringBridge at www.swedish.org/cancercaringbridge.


A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

~ Mahatma Gandhi


You are not alone in your fight against cancer. In addition to your team of expert medical professionals at SCI, there is a wealth of supportive resources at SCI, in your community and online that can help you through your cancer journey.

Patient & Family Education Classes

The Swedish Cancer Institute offers programs for you, your family, friends and caregivers. Classes help you make treatment decisions, manage your symptoms and access complementary programs to help your mind, body and spirit to heal. Registration is required for all classes unless otherwise indicated. For dates, times and locations of the following classes, or to register for a class, call 206-386-2502 or go to www.swedish.org/classes.

ABC - After Breast Cancer: What’s Next?

An eight-week class for women who have completed breast-cancer treatment. This class gives women an opportunity to discuss coping, relationships, fear of recurrence, resilience and hope.

ACT - After Cancer Treatment: What’s Next?

An eight-week class for men and women who have completed treatment for any type of cancer. This class gives them an opportunity to discuss coping, relationships, fear of recurrence, resilience and hope.

Active Women, Healthy Women

From cancer patient to survivor, there is an exercise activity appropriate for you. The class is co-sponsored by Team Survivor Northwest and focuses on stretching, strength training and cardio workouts.

Cooking With Cancer-fighting Foods

Healthy foods can be powerful medicine to help prevent and fight cancer. Registered dietitians will demonstrate a cooking lesson with these foods. 

Don’t Keep Putting It Off

A class for cancer patients and their loved ones to answer questions about end-of-life issues and available resources.

Easy to Prepare Meals for Cancer-related Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom experienced by many people with cancer. It can be a real challenge to prepare healthy food you need when energy is low. Registered dietitians will teach this class about ways to prepare simple and nourishing foods.

Genetic Testing For Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer – Is It Right For You?

In this class, you will learn about who should have genetic testing, implications of testing, insurance issues and different testing options.

Gentle Yoga

Create balance in your body, breath and mind in this therapeutic yoga class.

Is Palliative Care for You?

Learn about Palliative Care and how it can provide relief from symptoms, pain and stressors of serious illness.

Let’s Cook It Right: Fighting Cancer with Food

Learn to make several meals containing nutrients that are especially helpful during and after cancer treatment.

Look Good, Feel Better

This American Cancer Society class is designed for women undergoing cancer treatment. The class focuses on skin care, cosmetics, hair care and hair loss.

Meditation for People with Cancer

A two-part class that focuses on mindfulness meditation.

Moving Beyond Pain – A Pain Management Course

Learn how to manage symptoms of pain through techniques including guided imagery, relaxation and gentle movement.

Music and Wellness

This class will focus on the use of music for relaxation, wellness, pain and anxiety reduction.

Naturopathic Recovery After Conventional Cancer Treatment

Learn natural ways to help your body heal and repair after conventional medical treatment.

Thyroid Disorders & Cancer: Prevention, Screening and Knowing the Warning Signs

This class will present and discuss the risk factors, signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders and cancer.

Treating Prostate Cancer: Is Less More?

Learn about the controversial and confusing recommendations and talk about treatment options for men diagnosed with organ-confined prostate cancer.

Your Tool Box for Quitting Tobacco – How to Quit for Good

Learn from a certified tobacco treatment specialist how nicotine affects the body and why it can be so challenging to quit. Participants will learn how to avoid unpleasant symptoms of quitting and gain real life strategies in successfully quitting tobacco long term.


Cancer Support Groups

The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) offers a variety of support groups that are open to all people in the community. These groups provide an opportunity to meet with others having experiences similar to your own. An experienced support-group facilitator from SCI leads these groups. 

We offer the following support groups for all patients and caregivers, whether the patient is receiving care at Swedish or at another cancer center in the community. Please call 206-386-3228 for more information about cancer support groups at SCI.

Living With Cancer Support Group

  • A group for those living with any type of cancer
  • Swedish First Hill: Meets weekly on Thursdays, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
  • Swedish Issaquah: Meets the second and fourth Monday of the month, from 10-11:30 a.m.
    (Note: For the most current information about the Swedish Issaquah support group, please call Tricia Matteson, oncology social worker, at 425-313-4224.)

Caregivers Support Group

  • A drop-in support group for caregivers
  • Swedish First Hill: Meets weekly on Thursdays, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Gynecological Cancers Support Group

  • A support group for women with any type of gynecological cancer
  • Swedish First Hill: Meets weekly on Tuesdays, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Prostate Cancer Educational Support Group

  • A support group for men with prostate cancer
  • Swedish First Hill: Meets the third Thursday of the month, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
  • Call Leo Ward, prostate cancer survivor, at 425-957-7440, for more information about this support group.

Creative Expression Programs

Expressing yourself through creative outlets has been shown to be an effective coping and healing technique. The Swedish Cancer Institute offers a variety of opportunities for cancer patients, their family members and caregivers to explore their creativity.

Art Therapy: An Approach for Healing

Art therapy is a confidential, supportive and individualized experience for visually and verbally examining health issues through self-ex¬ploration. Experience or confidence in art-making is not necessary. All materials are provided. Ongoing weekly sessions are available by appointment only. Please call 206-215-6178 to make an appointment.

Location: Swedish First Hill — A-Floor West, Cancer Education Center 

Healing Arts Group

Experience the healing benefits of art-making in a supportive setting. These drop-in art-therapy group sessions are open to cancer patients, their family members and caregivers. Experience or confidence in art-making is not necessary. All materials are provided. Questions? Please call 206-215-6178.

Location: Swedish First Hill — True Family Women’s Cancer Center Healing Forum (Arnold Pavilion, 5th Floor)
Day/Time: Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to noon

Knit for Life 

This network of volunteers uses knitting as a healing experience to enhance the lives of cancer patients, their family members and caregivers during treatment and recovery. It provides a supportive environment for beginners and experienced knitters. All materials are provided. Sessions are available at two locations at Swedish First Hill and at Swedish Issaquah. For more information, call 206-386-3200.

Location: Swedish First Hill — True Family Women’s Cancer Center Healing Forum (Arnold Pavilion, 5th floor)
Day/Time: Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to noon

Location: Swedish First Hill — Swedish Cancer Institute (Arnold Pavilion, First-floor Lobby)
Day/Time: Thursdays, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Location: Swedish Issaquah — Medical Office Building, main lobby, in front of fireplace
Day/Time: Mondays, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Location: Swedish Edmonds — Medical Oncology Building, first-floor lobby
Day/Time: Tuesdays, noon to 2 p.m.

Music Therapy

We invite you to experience the use of music for pain reduction, building insight and awareness, and increasing relaxation and wellness. This drop-in support group is open to cancer patients, their family members and to caregivers. Group sessions include a variety of techniques including drumming, songwriting, lyric analysis, and singing. A background in music is not necessary. For more information, please call 206-386-3200

Location: Swedish First Hill – Swedish Cancer Institute (Arnold Pavilion, A-Floor West, Conference Room C)  
Day/Time: Thursdays, Noon – 1 p.m.


Bereavement Support Services

Swedish is pleased it is able to provide a wide range of bereavement support services through its affiliation with Providence Hospice of Seattle. For a current list of grief support services, visit www.providence.org/grief-support-seattle or call 206-320-4000

Newly Bereaved Support Group

  • Grief support and education for people who have had a loss within the last three months 
  • A drop-in, one-time-only group 

Partner/Spouse Loss

  • A monthly drop-in group for adults who have experienced the death of a spouse or partner in the past 15 months

Growing Through Grief

  • A six-week support group for adults coping with the death of a loved one 
  • Registration required 
  • Swedish First Hill: Thursdays, Jan. 9-Feb. 13, 6-8 p.m.

Edmonds Bereavement Support Services

Swedish also offers specific bereavement support services for individuals in the Edmonds area. If you have any questions about the program or would like to register for a group, please contact Bereavement Coordinator Kathy Albin at 425-640-4404 or kathy.albin@swedish.org

The Early Days of Grief

  • This monthly drop-in group is for those who are in the first year of their mourning after the death of a loved one
  • It will provide an overview of grief responses and coping ideas
  • Swedish Edmonds: Auditorium C, Fourth Floor

Ongoing Grief Support Group

  • Offered two times a month, this group does NOT require registration
  • You may attend as often as you wish for up to two years
  • Lynnwood: The Center for Healthy Living

“Journey of Grief” Support Group

  • This six-week support group provides a safe, confidential time and place for people to learn about grief and loss after the death of a loved one
  • Call 425-640-4404 to register and for room locations

Quick Reference
Patient Education and Support Services

Cancer Education Centers

www.swedish.org/cancer/education

The Cancer Education centers at the Swedish Edmonds, First Hill and Issaquah campuses are unique resources that provide patient education to the public free of charge. The centers offer a wide variety of brochures, books, videos and audiotapes about cancer, and an expansive computer database that can be used to search for and print information about specific types of cancer.

Locations:
Swedish Edmonds: 425-673-8319
Swedish First Hill: 206-386-3200
Swedish Issaquah: 425-313-4485

Classes

www.swedish.org/classes

The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) offers programs and classes to assist patients and their families and caregivers making treatment decisions, managing symptoms and accessing complementary programs.

Locations: Classes are offered in multiple locations. Go to www.swedish.org/classes for locations of specific classes.

Class information/registration: 206-386-2502

Counseling, Social Work Services, Support, Financial Counseling

www.swedish.org/counseling-support

The Swedish Cancer Institute offers a variety of support services. Support groups at SCI are led by experienced support group facilitators and are open to anyone in the community. Individual and group counseling sessions are also available at SCI. These sessions help patients and their family members and caregivers cope with treatment, improve communication, manage depression or anxiety, and connect with community agencies and services. They also provide resources for relaxation techniques and stress management.

Locations:
Swedish Edmonds: 425-673-8328
Swedish First Hill: 206-386-3228
Swedish Issaquah: 425-313-4224


Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.

~ Dag Hammarskjold, former Secretary General of the United Nations