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    2017 College Scholarships If You’ve Been Affected by Cancer

    There are a wide range of organizations and advocacy groups dedicated to helping anyone “affected by cancer” afford a college education.  “Affected by cancer” applies not only to cancer patients and survivors; but it can also include children or siblings of cancer patients and survivors as well as students who have lost a parent to cancer. Visit these sites to see if there is a scholarship opportunity that applies to you… Beyond the Cure (Ambassador Scholarship Program) awards college scholarships to childhood cancer survivors who have demonstrated the ability to overcome the difficult challenges of cancer with determination and motivation. Forty (40) $3,500 scholarships will be awarded each academic year.  Applications are available from January 1-March 31 each calendar year. Cancer for College offers a number of annual scholarships, ranging from $1000 – $5000, for cancer patients and cancer survivors.  The application period opens November 1 and closes January 31 of each year.  California applicants and applicants attending Southern California colleges will receive first consideration for perpetual scholarships. Community college applicants are eligible for the minimum scholarship level.  All remaining applicants will be eligible for other one-time awards.  Scholarship recipients must maintain full-time enrollment at his/her stated university. Cancer Survivors Fund provides college scholarships for young adult cancer survivors.  A selection committee chooses scholarship recipients based on the applicants’ personal hardships, assessing their financial and emotional needs as well as their academic qualifications.  Applications for Fall 2017 semester open on February 6, 2016. FinAid is a comprehensive source of student financial aid information. Click here for a huge listing of scholarship aid available for students affected by cancer.  (BTW, […]

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    When to Buy Organic: 2016 Dirty Dozen & Clean 15

    Many people believe that the pesticides used to grow conventional or non-organic produce may have played a role in their cancer and that removing pesticides from our food may help re-build and strengthen their bodies.  Although there is no definitive research proving either belief, should we avoid buying some or all fruits or vegetables that are conventionally grown?   To help answer this question, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the nation’s leading environmental health research and advocacy organization, created the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.  This guide, which is updated each year, highlights the cleanest and dirtiest conventionally-raised fruits and vegetables. The EWG recommends that if a conventionally grown food tests high for pesticides, buy the organic version instead whenever possible. The 12 most pesticide-laden foods are known as “The Dirty Dozen”. When choosing fruits & veggies included in the Dirty Dozen, the EWG suggests buying these foods as ORGANIC. The 15 least pesticide-laden foods are known as “The Clean 15″. If the fruit or veggie is listed on the Clean 15, it’s ok to buy it as non-organic or conventional.

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      To get the best care possible, many cancer patients need to travel out-of-state for treatments, surgeries and even second opinions. Being away from your family and your routine is not only difficult, it’s expensive. One recent study found that people with cancer were 2.65 times more likely to declare bankruptcy than people without cancer. Fortunately, there is help, even for patients who decide to travel for care. Here are 5 Ways to Reduce Costs When Traveling for Cancer Treatments 1. Dozens of organizations offer free air travel services for cancer patients, many on private jets. After my husband had emergency brain surgery in Texas, I had to figure out a way to get him back home to Maryland. We connected with Corporate Angel Network, as they arrange free travel on corporate jets for cancer patients, bone marrow donors and bone marrow recipients. Most groups who offer free flights require that the patient be ambulatory (able to walk and get into/out of the plane with little or no assistance) and be medically stable as the pilots are not able to provide any medical assistance. For a listing of organizations that provide free air travel to cancer patients, read my article on FREE Flights for Cancer Fighters.   2. Ask the hospital or cancer center (that you’re traveling to) if they have a travel program. Many of the larger hospital centers have Patient Travel Programs whereby they can offer discounts on unrestricted, changeable, non-penalty airfares and change fee waivers on restricted fares from anywhere […]

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    Advice on How to Tell the Kids You Have Cancer

      Telling our children that Alan had cancer was one of the most difficult things Alan and I EVER had to do. At the time, our children were ages 10, 8 and 5. We knew that our older two kids would know enough about cancer to wonder if Daddy was going to die. And our youngest would be smart enough to watch the reactions of his siblings to see if this was something he should worry about. Knowing this dynamic, we decided to do some research and speak to several experts before having “the talk” with our kids. So, how do you really tell your children that one of the most important people in their lives has cancer? Give them the lowdown  This situation has a name and it’s called cancer. Use the word “cancer” when describing your illness. The amount of detail you give and the specific words you use will depend on the age of your children. If you are talking to children of different ages at the same time (which is what we did), speak in terms that the youngest one will understand. You can always have additional conversations with the older children if necessary. Be honest  Although Alan and I were tempted to downplay the seriousness of this situation, we also knew this could damage the trust we had worked so hard to build over the years. Throughout the entire process, we were honest, yet optimistic, which actually brought the kids tremendous comfort. Make no promises or guarantees about the […]

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    If You’ve Been Diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, You Must Read This…

      Know Your Tumor provides eligible pancreatic cancer patients and their oncologists with information about the biology of their tumor. So far, nearly 50 percent of Know Your Tumor reports have highlighted information that may be helpful as patients and their oncologists make treatment decisions. These options include clinical trials and other treatments, which may help improve a patient’s outcome Why is understanding the tumor so helpful? Reports can help determine treatments that might improve a patient’s condition and might not have been considered otherwise. Test results may be used to find appropriate clinical trials. Insights from pancreatic cancer experts – specialists in pancreatic cancer treatment – can help patients and their oncologists make better treatment decisions. Findings contribute to future research and development of new therapies and diagnoses for pancreatic cancer. How does the service work? The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network works with a leading personalized cancer therapy company, Perthera, to coordinate the tumor testing, the expert review and the development of a report containing the test results and potential treatment options for eligible patients. The costs for those portions of Know Your Tumor (Perthera’s services) are covered by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Other related medical costs, including diagnostic testing and biopsy, are billed to the patient’s insurance company. What is personalized medicine? Personalized medicine is a medical practice that identifies specific treatments that may be particularly valuable for a specific patient, or type of tumor, by analyzing the tumor’s biological makeup. Researchers analyze the molecular profile of […]

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    What You Should Know About the 2015-2016 Influenza Season

    Autumn is here.  I love this time of year…. Alan’s birthday, cooler temperatures, crisp air, beautifully colored leaves, and flu shots. Yes, you read that right… now is the time- BEFORE winter arrives (and with it, the flu)– when it’s best to get your flu shot. Regardless of how severe this season’s flu will or will not be, it sucks if you are the one who gets it. What do cancer patients & survivors- whose immune system may be weakened from cancer treatments- need to know about the flu? Doctor’s offices around the country are vaccinating their patients for the upcoming 2015-2016 flu season NOW.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people who have had cancer or who currently have a diagnosis of cancer- as well as their families and close contacts- get vaccinated by the middle to the end of October. Below is important information that every cancer patient & survivor should know about the flu from flu.gov and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Having or surviving cancer does NOT put you at an increased risk for getting the flu. It does, however, put you at an increased risk of complications from the flu virus. Complications include pneumonia, hospitalization and even death. Getting the flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu. But always talk with your medical team prior to getting vaccinated. Under certain circumstances, there may be some cancer patients should not get vaccinated. If you are a cancer patient or survivor, […]