Valuable Insights For Survivors of Childhood Cancers That Affect Vision

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By Team CancerForward

Little is known about the long-term health of survivors of childhood cancers that affect vision, but two new studies provide valuable insights that could impact patient care and follow-up. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Retinoblastoma is the most common eye tumor of young children and may affect either one or both eyes. Perhaps the best known long term survivor is the late, beloved actor Peter Falk, whose cancerous eye was surgically removed when he was three years old. Survival rates are excellent in the United States, and patients are expected to live for many years after finishing cancer therapy. Previous reports on treatment-related complications in survivors of retinoblastoma have been limited by small numbers of participants or have focused exclusively on specific problems, such as eye/vision problems or new cancers. To provide a more comprehensive report, a team led by Danielle Novetsky Friedman, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, assessed the long-term medical problems of 470 adult retinoblastoma survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study who were diagnosed between 1932 and 1994 and were followed for an average of 42 years. Survivors were compared with 2377 unaffected individuals of similar age, sex, and race.

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We Remember Ellen Stovall, Visionary Cancer Survivorship Advocate

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Ellen Stovall, one of the most respected and knowledgeable cancer survivorship advocates in the United States died yesterday. The cause of death was a heart attack brought on by cardiac complications related to her cancer treatments.

From 1992 to 2008 Ellen was President and CEO of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), the oldest survivor-led organization advocating for quality health care for all Americans. A 45-year survivor of three bouts with cancer, she was Senior Health Policy Advisor to NCCS at the time of her death. She worked tirelessly on behalf of cancer patients, advocating for comprehensive written care plans that reflect the continuum of cancer care, including treatment summaries and follow-up care plans.

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You’re Not Alone: Still at Work After Your Cancer Diagnosis

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by Team CancerForward

Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, especially when it’s advanced cancer. But many patients opt to remain gainfully employed. A new study suggests at least one-third of metastatic patients will continue to try and work.

Patients have various reasons for keeping their jobs, from staying busy to generating ongoing income for health costs,
a new study found. Many of patients cite mental health reasons when explaining why they want to keep working.
But sometimes these patients are kept from work by
severe symptoms.

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Ten Keys For Healthy Cancer Survivorship

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Compiled by Team CancerForward

Here’s our quick share of an expert’s 10 keys for healthy cancer survivorship.
 
 
See what Dr. Ruben Mesa is thinking:

10. Learn about your disease. These are complicated diseases. They’re all different. They affect us differently. Learn what you can.

9. Making friends with others facing a similar challenge. Being part of a community can be helpful.

8. Be your own best advocate. It’s important to realize many decisions are not absolutes — your input into those decisions is essential for having the best care you can.

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Yoga May Help Men Deal with Erectile Dysfunction, Other Side Effects of Prostate Cancer

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By Team CancerForward

Yoga may benefit men who are undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, according to a small study conducted by Dr. Neha Vapiwala, an associate professor in the radiation oncology department of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Many such patients experience side effects, including fatigue, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence and a decline in their quality of life. The new study included 27 men who attended 75-minute yoga classes twice a week. These patients saw their quality of life and side effects remain stable throughout their radiation treatment.

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CDC Addresses Challenges Facing American Cancer Survivors

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By Team CancerForward

The number of cancer survivors — people who live  after a cancer diagnosis — is expected to grow substantially over the next few decades as the U.S. population ages and as early detection methods and treatments continue to improve. Updates on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is helping Americans meet the challenges of cancer survivorship were published online this week and will appear in the December issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The journal supplement includes 12 articles on research, surveillance, education campaigns, and partnerships that improve the experiences of survivors, their families, friends, and caregivers.

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American Cancer Society Shifts Its Mammogram Guidelines; What Do Survivors Think?

Editor’s Note: The author, age 60, began undergoing annual mammograms at age 35. At age 45, she detected a lump during a breast self-exam just after having a routine, annual mammogram. A repeat mammogram ordered by her doctor confirmed a diagnosis of Stage II breast cancer.

By Beth Sanders Moore

The American Cancer Society (ACS) aimed for clarity with revised breast screening guidelines released this week; but, many oncologists and breast health advocates believe most women will still be confused about their care.

The new guidelines recommend that women at average risk of breast cancer should start getting mammograms at age 45, and get them annually until age 55, when they should be screened every other year. Plus, women can skip routine breast checks.
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Breast Cancer Survivors: Are You Thinking Pink or Feeling Blue?

By Beth Sanders Moore on October 6, 2015 10:00 am | | Leave a comment
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Editorial Note: The author was a National Director of Development at Susan G. Komen® when it first introduced pink ribbon breast health awareness in 1991. She was diagnosed with and treated for Stage II breast cancer in 2001.

By Beth Sanders Moore

I recently read an article written by a highly-respected national journalist. It was her take on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which as most of us know is observed in October each year. The piece was yet another voice added to the mounting criticism that Pinktober is the new and more commercialized October. With now hundreds of companies using breast cancer awareness as a “safe” marketing tool, the writer notes that washing the calendar in pink and selling it like a carnival barker is a growing distraction to many. But, there’s more to her story than the overselling of #ThinkPink. Who is among the distracted and why?

Those working in labs each day likely appreciate the October movement because it does generate money that goes to genuine research to try to find the closest thing there is to a cure. Sure, not every dollar ends up in clinical studies, but plenty does. Highlighting awareness educates higher-risk populations about their ability to lower the risk of breast cancer diagnosis in their communities and in their families. There are evolving takeaways about breast cancer among men, our LGBT friends, and millennials. Shades of the pink October light have brought them into a more saturated discussion of breast cancer – from prevention through survivorship.
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Rise in Use of Survivorship Clinics Linked To Fewer Visits to ER

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by Beth Sanders Moore

Word comes from Toronto today that specialized clinics for childhood cancer survivors may help reduce the odds those patients will need emergency medical care as adults. Researchers followed almost 4,000 adult survivors of childhood cancers in Ontario for two decades. Compared with survivors who never used survivorship clinics, patients who went to a clinic at least once were 19% less likely to visit an emergency room.

With the five-year survival rate for childhood cancer now exceeding 80 percent, researchers and clinicians are becoming much more focused on what is described as the “quality of the cure.” Survivorship clinics are a path to a higher quality of life, post treatment. They’re typically designed to offer cancer survivors an added support system in addition to treatment they might receive from a primary care physician or an oncologist.
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The Legacy of Jimmy Carter, Not Just Any Old Presidential Cancer Survivor

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by Beth Sanders Moore

When a current or former President of the United States has a major health problem, it is international news. And when a former president at age 89 is diagnosed with cancer, we stop what we’re doing. The news temporarily shocks our world. Especially when that former president is Jimmy Carter.

In May, President Carter’s doctors discovered a spot on his liver. When attempting to remove the lump surgically, they discovered that it was a melanoma that had probably spread from previously undiagnosed skin melanoma. As a routing part of the evaluation, the physicians performed a brain MRI, which showed four unsuspected metastatic deposits there. Mr. Carter began radiation treatments to his brain and received a new immunotherapy drug, pembrolizumab.

When he first learned of the melanoma in his brain, the former president said he thought he “had just a few weeks left.” But he remained in good spirits. “I didn’t go into an attitude of much despair or anger or anything like that,” he said. “I was just completely at ease.”
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