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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, […]

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    8 Truths You Need to Know About Cancer

    On March 26, 2015, we partnered with The National Foundation for Cancer Research, WETA-TV 26 and Kaiser Permenante to host a screening of Ken Burns Presents Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies  followed by an Expert Panel Discussion moderated by yours truly Robyn Stoller of CancerHawk.  Soon we will have footage from the Panel Discussion for you to view.  But in the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of the very important information we learned that night in this post- 8 Truths You Need To Know About Cancer. The statistics are staggering: 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This means that cancer will very likely affect each and every one of us at some point in our lives — whether it is through our own personal diagnosis or through that of someone we love. In light of this, I’d like share eight things that we- as survivors and potential targets of this disease- need to know. #8. We’ve come a long way baby. The idea that cancer is a modern disease is a common misconception. The first known case of cancer actually dates back to 1600BC. Although cancer claims the lives of millions of people each year, researchers are making progress against this disease. We now have cures or effective treatments for some forms of cancer and people are living longer than ever before despite having a cancer diagnosis. #7. Prevention is critical. Let’s face it, if you don’t get cancer […]

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    Financial Aid for Families Touched by Cancer in Michigan

    For nearly a decade, Angels of Hope has been providing financial assistance to families touched by cancer living in Michigan.  Angels of Hope realizes that cancer doesn’t impact just the patient, it impacts the entire family. That’s why they lend support to the entire family- regardless of which person in the family has cancer.    Financial Assistance There is nothing cookie cutter about the financial aid that Angels of Hope provides – grants are tailored to the specific needs of each family.  The grants help families in a variety of areas, but often includes rent or mortgage, auto or home repair, utility payments, grocery and fuel gift cards.   Smiles To give children a break from cancer (whether it is from their own diagnosis or that of a sibling or parent), Angels of Hope provides tickets to sporting events and concerts or grants wishes to meet a famous athlete or movie star.  They do whatever they can to bring a smile to a child’s face….    Annual Holiday Program Angels of Hope provides Christmas and holiday packages to families “in-need” in an attempt to help take away some of the financial impact of the devastating effects of cancer throughout the holiday season.  Academic Assistance Because children touched by cancer can miss a great deal of school, they are often in need of tutoring and assistance to prevent falling behind in school or to maintain their grades. Angels of Hope connects volunteer teacher(s) who can work directly with the teachers of those families in […]

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    Financial Aid for Firefighters with Cancer

    Studies have shown that the risk of being diagnosed with cancer is higher among firefighters than the general population due to the toxins they are exposed to in the line of duty.  Specifically firefighters have an elevated risk for multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate and testicular cancers.  Code 3 for a Cure Foundation provides financial aid and assistance to firefighters across the United States who are battling cancer and facing a financial hardship. Criteria for Financial Aid from Code 3 for a Cure Foundation: Applicants must have been a salaried, paid call, or volunteer firefighter in the United States for a minimum of two years (current status as an active employee or volunteer in the fire service at the time of application is not required); Must be currently battling cancer; Must currently reside in the United States; AND Must be facing a financial hardship. For purposes of this application process, “financial hardship” is defined as: (1) the inability to pay medical, rent, mortgage or utility bills; and/or (2) the inability to afford transportation costs to get to and from medical appointments, including cancer treatments. If you are a current or retired firefighter and have been diagnosed with cancer, connect with Code 3 for a Cure via email at firefighters@c3fac.org or phone (909) 732-8102.  To learn about other organizations that provide financial aid and assistance, please visit our financial assistance page.