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    Blood Transfusions And Cancer Patients

    We, as cancer patients and survivors, learn something new almost every day. Many of us don’t realize that cancer patients may need blood transfusions during treatment. You may be wondering, “Why?”

    Why do cancer patients need blood transfusions?
    There are several reasons that patients with cancer may need one or more blood transfusions.

    • Anemia. Anemia can be a symptom of blood cancer. Blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma may crowd out healthy blood-producing cells. Cancer in the spleen or kidney can also cause anemia. Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) cause bone marrow failure so that not enough red cells are produced. Anemia can also be caused by strong chemotherapy or radiation. • Surgery. Some patients lose a considerable amount of blood and need one or more units of blood to replace that blood loss. Surgery patients might just receive red blood cells. • Low antibody counts. Plasma is sometimes given to patients who have extremely low antibody counts. Antibodies fight infections. Other cancer patients may have bleeding issues and receive plasma to help their blood clot. • Low platelet counts. Other cancer patients may suffer extremely low platelet counts. Platelets are fragments of cells that help our blood clot. If a patient’s platelet counts drop extremely low, platelets are given to prevent bleeding that could be dangerous. Platelets may be given before surgery to prevent excessive blood loss. • Declining immune function. A blood cancer patient, even after treatment, might experience a serious decline in immune function. For example, a leukemia patient could contract shingles after treatment and need infusions of gamma globulin to restore their levels of immunoglobulins.

    How extensive is the use of blood transfusions in the treatment of cancer?
    Blood transfusions are an integral part of blood cancer treatments. Roughly 15 percent of the 14+ million units of blood collected annually in the U.S. are utilized for hematology and oncology patients.

    Patients who undergo a stem cell transplant first receive massive chemotherapy to control their cancer disease level; afterward, they receive blood transfusions to replenish their red cells, white cells, and platelets.
    Strong chemotherapy causes low blood cell counts. Blood transfusions relieve the fatigue and shortness of breath caused by anemia. Infusions of blood components (plasma and/or albumin) help restore liver functions in patients whose livers are malfunctioning because of blood cancer.
    Are blood transfusions safe?
    Every pint of donated blood is tested for blood group (O, A, B, or AB) and Rh type. It is also screened for many infectious diseases, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, Zika, and West Nile. Donated blood is also tested for regional infectious disease agents.
    Patients are closely monitored during infusion to prevent adverse reactions. The infusions are given slowly, and patients’ blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate are checked frequently. A few patients experience flu-like symptoms relieved by Tylenol. Severe adverse reactions are infrequent. The FDA reported that there were 44 deaths in patients treated with a blood transfusion in 2017.
    Extra precautions are taken by irradiating blood before the infusion to prevent adverse reactions in patients at risk.
    What is irradiated blood?
    Irradiated blood is treated with gamma rays or the x-ray irradiator to prevent Transfusion Associated Graft-versus-Host Disease (TA-GvHD). The radiation inactivates the lymphocytes in the blood to prevent TA-GvHD.

    Lymphocytes are part of our immune system. In susceptible patients, a non-radiated blood transfusion can trigger a severe adverse reaction, sometimes leading to death. Non-irradiated blood can cause the lymphocytes to attack healthy cells.
    Which cancer patients need irradiated blood?
    TA-GvHD is an uncommon, but serious complication that can occur after a blood transfusion in people who have certain medical conditions:
    • Patients who have received a stem-cell transplant • Certain patients who are undergoing strong chemotherapy • Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients • Patients who have been treated with fludarabine, cladribine, pentostatin, bendamustine or alemtuzumab

    Patients who need to receive irradiated blood transfusions receive an identification card to carry in their wallet in the event of an emergency.
    What can we do to ensure a readily available supply of blood?
    Many cancer patients are eligible to donate blood. Blood cancer survivors are not eligible to donate blood. However, successfully treated patients who have not had a recurrence within 12-months are eligible to donate blood.
    Talk to your friends, relatives, and coworkers about the importance of donating blood. With all of us working together, we can help ensure that there is always an adequate supply of blood when someone experiences a medical emergency.
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    How To Spot A Fake Cancer Cure

    Rumors, misinformation, distorted information, “plain ole quackery,” and shysters can make our lives as cancer patients and survivors more difficult. Fake cures, false hope, and misinformation are dangerous for us because that “fake cure” might dissuade us from choosing treatments that have been proven through clinical trials.

    How can we spot “fake cures?”
    There are several clues to spotting a “fake cure.” Most fake cures pray on the newly-diagnosed or on patients whose cancer has spread — unscrupulous people only provide “false hope” to patients in deep distress.
    • Fake cures won’t be covered by insurance. (NOTE: this is not the same as your insurer not initially approving a treatment recommended by your oncologist.) You’ll be asked to pay upfront with a credit card, cash, or bank transfer. • If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. • Any “cure” that claims to cure all types of cancer. • Any “cure” that claims to be more effective than FDA-approved treatments. • “Personal testimonials” from actors paid for their performance. • Promises like “money-back guarantee.”

    Trusted Treatment Information: What is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)?
    The most trusted source of factual, clinical-trial tested cancer treatment recommendations is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, known as the NCCN. The NCCN is a not-for-profit consortium/alliance of 30 leading cancer treatment centers in the U.S. They look at their treatment successes and issue treatment guidelines for recommended treatment for each kind of cancer by stage and genetic mutation types too. The NCCN Treatment guidelines are the Holy Grail of cancer treatment. Patients can log in and create a free account and download the guidelines for their particular cancer. The guidelines are updated whenever new treatment options are approved through the use of clinical trials and are then approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration).
    The guidelines are extensive and complete. For example, the breast cancer guidelines come in three versions: 1) Non-invasive, 2) Invasive and 3) Metastatic.

    Guidelines can be up to 100 pages. Each cancer type guideline contains:
    • Questions to ask • Illustrations • Dictionary of terms and acronyms • Treatment planning • Treatment options – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and other medicine • Follow-up care recommendations after treatment

    The NCCN.org website contains a resource for patient payment assistance and how to find a clinical trial.
    Why do some patients consider “alternative” and “fake” cures?
    We all know that cancer treatment is scary, but most of us reconcile ourselves to doing what it takes because we want to live.
    However, there is so much fake news out that some people are terrified to have chemotherapy or radiation. They’ve heard, “Cancer doesn’t kill; it’s the chemo.” Disinformation about treatment is abundant and scares patients more than the disease scares them.
    Some patients believe that there is no “hope” when they are diagnosed because Aunt Susie or Uncle Jake died of cancer 30 years ago. So they seek a false promise of a “fake cure” because it brings them temporary hope.

    Some people don’t trust the medical community. They believe the “fake news” that Big Pharma has the cure but won’t provide it because they are making too much money selling their current treatments.
    Ask any WhatNext survivor, and we’ll all tell you that we are still here because of our cancer team using traditional treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
    Other helpful sources to help you spot “fake cures.”
    If you are wondering if something circulating the internet or recommended by a friend is legit or not, here are two reliable websites that contain extensive lists of “fake cures.”

    Please hit the share buttons below and share this post with your social followers!

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    College can be a challenge for all students, financially and emotionally, but this is especially true for students recovering from cancer. Many students battling cancer may feel that there is no point in carrying on with their education, and the crippling costs of college tuition only exacerbates this.

    What we can see is that pursuing a personal goal has a profound impact on a patient’s emotional and psychological recovery. To overcome the financial concerns, there are a wide range of groups that are dedicated to helping cancer survivors so that they can afford college tuition.
    Most scholarships benefitting cancer survivors are privately funded, by charities, trust funds or professional associations. Because of this, the availability of the scholarships and the award amounts can change depending on current funding.
    Here are ten scholarships that cancer survivors and oncology patients can apply for:
    1. Cancer for College

    This organization was founded by Craig Pollard in 1993 and offers a range of annual awards, from $250 to $4000. Both cancer patients and survivors can apply. Because the organization is in California, they give priority to applicants living in the State.
    2. Cancer Survivors Fund

    The Cancer Survivors Fund is a non-profit charity that was created to help survivors of cancer to raise the money needed to finish their college education. Four annual scholarships are granted by the fund. Applicants must be enrolled in college, and either a cancer survivor or be undergoing treatment for cancer to be eligible. To apply, you must submit an essay discussing your experience with cancer, along with a medical history report. The amount awarded varies depending on your personal situation and financial needs.
    3. Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation

    Based in New York, the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation offers peer to peer counselling and financial assistance for breast cancer patients. Every year they award up to eight scholarships of $1,000 maximum to students whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer.
    4. Patient Advocate Foundation Scholarship for Survivors

    “For students who have suffered, or are still suffering, with a life threatening disease, the PAF Scholarship for Survivors may offer some support,” says Robert Gaskell, a teacher at Revieweal and Academized. “To apply, you must be a college student under 25 and submit two letters of recommendation and a full medical history.” For every year that students receive the award, they must complete at least twenty hours of community service. The scholarship is currently set at $3000.

    5. Youth Cancer Survivor College Scholarship

    As one of the biggest advocacy groups in America, the ACS funds the Youth Cancer Survivor College Scholarship. Students under 25 can apply if their cancer diagnosis was before their 21st birthday. The annual award is set at $1,000.
    6. Beyond the Cure Ambassador Scholarship Program

    This program awards scholarships to college students who survived a childhood cancer and can demonstrate the ability to overcome the challenges with motivation and determination. Every year, they award fifty eight scholarships that are chosen via a competitive application process. The award is a $3,500 grant. To apply, students must be under 25, must live in the US, have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and have survived a childhood cancer or anaplastic brain tumor.
    7. Cameron Siemers Foundation for Hope

    The Cameron Siemers Foundation issues Life Grants to students between the ages of 18 and 30 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. They give awards of up to $5,000 that is to be used to fulfil a goal, project or dream. The fund was set up by Cameron Siemers, who was diagnosed with HIV as a child and aims to help students to imagine, apply and create the life that they have dreamed of.
    8. The Ulman Foundation

    At the Ulman Foundation, they have a goal of helping young adults between the age of 15 and 39 to continue with their college education after a cancer diagnosis. The student can be either the cancer patient, or can be the relative of a loved one with cancer. “The key point is that the scholarships are awarded to young adults who have been impacted by cancer in some way,” says Andi Vaughan, an educator at BoomEssays and Top Writing Services. “Applicants must be between the ages of 15-39 when the cancer diagnosis was given. If they are not the cancer patient, then an application can also be made if it is their parent, guardian, sibling or spouse who was diagnosed.” Those who are awarded the scholarship will be given a total of $2,500 over the course of two academic semesters and the fees will be paid directly to the college. They can be used to apply for either undergraduate or graduate programmes. The current intake is being considered, but applications for the 2021-2022 academic year are expected to open later this year.
    9. The Nicki Leach Foundation

    Nicki Leach sadly lost her life to cancer at the age of 19 and this foundation was created to fulfil her primary mission which was “to find a way to help young adults who have cancer.”
    They recognize that approximately 70,000 teenagers and young adults receive a surprise cancer diagnosis every single year and seek to support them. The Foundation’s mission is to raise financial support for research, but also to provide an annual education grant to one young adult per year. This is open to any students with a cancer diagnosis studying at the University of North Florida.

    10. The Izzy Foundation

    Academic scholarships for all childhood cancer sufferers or their siblings are offered by the Izzy Foundation. The scholarships are offered in two different categories: grades K-11 and college and higher education.
    The average grant is $500 per successful applicant and over the past five years they have awarded 88 scholarships totalling $132,000. To apply, the student must be a childhood cancer survivor or their bereaved sibling, with the cancer diagnosis being made before the age of 18. 
    Applicants must supply a letter verifying the cancer diagnosis and they must be a citizen of the United States where they are attending college.
    As an education expert, Beatrix Potter writes advice columns at both Assignment Help and College Assignment Help. In addition to her work writing about education and scholarships, she is also an online tutor at Oxessays Review Website.

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    What To Order At The WhatNext Virtual Cafe?

    Some of you might remember Greg, our patient leader, posting what he was going to eat as his last meal before his laryngectomy. His wife asked him what he wanted as his “Last Meal.” Greg received some great menu ideas.

    So we fast forward to two months later, and eating out at restaurants is no longer an option. Depending on where you live, it’s either mandatory or optional to “shelter-in-place.” Our already stressful life as a cancer patient in active treatment or as a cancer survivor is more stressful now as the world faces the coronavirus pandemic.
    But one day, life will return to “normal.” And we’ll get to be social again and go out to eat together.

    But in the meantime, let’s decide what to order at the WhatNext Virtual Café. We can’t go out; many of us are under order to stay-in-place while most of the rest of us are voluntarily staying-in-place. We, at WhatNext, are a close community — although separated by distance, we are drawn together in our cancer diagnosis. Together, we’ll emotionally support each other throughout this, and we’ll try to destress a bit with fantasies of what our “next meal out” will be when this pandemic is over.
    What’s your “Next Meal Out” going to be?
    Here are some “Next Meal Out menu items garnered from previous posts.
    Steak, baked potato, salad, and pie Rare Prime rib, roasted garlic red potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and cherry pie Manhattan clam chowder and seafood paella with chunks of lobster, shrimp, and crab served with roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted mushrooms, and mashed potatoes Tiramisu AND pannacotta, a glass of wine and chocolates Pastrami & Baby Swiss cheese sandwich, no mustard with lemon gelato, & a glass of costly champagne Steak and cheese sub, French fries and ice cream sundae Pizza

    Steak, baked potato with butter and sour cream, a Caesar salad, and Key Lime pie Barbequed ribs Seafood (lobster, crab, scallops, shrimp) and peach pie Chinese food Fried shrimp, stuffed baked potato, and 14-layer chocolate cake Lasagna and French bread T-bone steak w/ mushrooms Sloppy Joes Bourbon-glazed salmon Clam chowder

    A big tray of Maryland style blue crabs Shrimp & grits Grilled lamb chops, au gratin potatoes, and grilled asparagus Grilled filet at home Pulled pork barbecue Pan-fried shrimp dumplings with Godiva cheesecake and a diet coke with vanilla vodka Steak fajitas and a frozen margarita with lots of salt Lobster mac & cheese Veal Parmesan Grilled steelhead trout

    Did you notice that not one person mentioned chicken? At our house, we eat chicken to lower our consumption of red meat. It looks like our WhatNext community won’t be eating chicken for their first “Next Meal Out.”
    Did you save room for dessert?
    You bet we did. Our “Next Meal Out” is celebratory. It will mean that the coronavirus pandemic is over, and the world can begin to recover and get back to normal.
    Eat the cake! Top your apple pie with ice cream!

    14-layer chocolate cake Coconut custard pie Hot fudge sundae Ice cream, especially chocolate or coffee Black Forest cake Warm brownies with ice cream Cheesecake

    Pound cake with fresh peaches and real whipped cream Pineapple upside-down cake Cherry cobbler with ice cream Key lime pie Banana pudding

    Red velvet cake Tiramisu layer cake Carrot cake Crème Brule Strawberry shortcake

    What will you order from the WhatNext Virtual Sidewalk Café?
    We love our casual dining too. We love that “hole-in-the-wall” BBQ joint out in the middle of nowhere. We have been going to that Friday night fish fry for the last 15 years. And there’s our favorite Mexican food truck.
    Fried catfish po-boys Fish tacos Cheeseburger all the way with a side of onion rings Chicken fingers with honey mustard dipping sauce Burritos, enchiladas, tostadas — anything Mexican, including chips and salsa Fried chicken sandwiches Sub sandwiches Philly steak and cheese Meatloaf and mashed potatoes Pot roast Hot dogs, with or without sauerkraut Breakfast all-day

    Each of us has that favorite place we love to go for a casual bite. My husband and I love to dine outside beside a dock or harbor — ordering two different entrees and sharing. One day, we’ll all be able to do those delightful things again. But, for now, WhatNext dining options are all that we have.
    So WhatNext?
    It is a stressful time for us. But somehow we’ll get through our treatment and this pandemic. But a little dash of dreaming about our “Next Meal Out” might be a good stress reliever for all of us. What else would you like to see on the WhatNext Café menu?

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    Relieve Stress And Anxiety Through Decluttering

    According to numerous studies, clutter is a leading cause of stress, anxiety, and feeling helpless and overwhelmed. When we are in the midst of cancer treatment, we’re fatigued and are often unable to perform routine household chores.

    So now amid the coronavirus pandemic, we’re probably not going to have visitors. If our spouse is working outside the home, they’ll probably be at home too. So it’s an excellent time to tackle some decluttering chores. Many of these ideas are simple things that we can do sitting down while we’re watching TV.
    You might want to invest in a heavy-duty shredder (less than $100) because a shredder will come in handy with some of these decluttering ideas.
    Why does clutter cause stress?
    According to Psychology Today, there are several reasons.
    1. Clutter bombards us with excessive stimulation – the visual and emotional mental clutter of stuff everywhere. 2. Clutter causes guilt because we feel inadequate since we can’t stay organized. 3. Clutter causes embarrassment because we don’t want our visitors to see our mess. 4. Clutter makes it difficult for us to relax because we feel guilty, sitting down when we should be doing something about our clutter. 5. Clutter causes frustration because we can’t find documents or things we need.

    So now we know — instead of being bored to death while we are staying at home, we can begin to feel good amidst the coronavirus stress by doing simple little things that will add up over the next few weeks.
    Let’s get started with Decluttering 101.
    Get started by ensuring that you’ve got some extra boxes and some large garbage bags. If you’re going to tackle old paperwork and financial records, invest in a shredder (order online if you aren’t going out of the house).
    Boxes and plastic bags are essential to this project – shred any document that contains personal information. Donate clothing you no longer wear because someone else may need your size — you can usually drop off your donations without getting out of your car at the Salvation 

    Army or Goodwill.
    Things made of paper: • Old magazines • Old books – you might put them in a box and donate Goodwill or the Salvation Army • Take-out menus • Old mail • Old user manuals for the equipment you no longer have • Old receipts • Old paperwork • Old greeting cards, except for the ones of “extreme” sentimental value • Out-of-date coupons

    Makeup and personal care items: • Old makeup • Old, dried up nail polish • Old perfume • Old makeup brushes • Expired over-the-counter pills and ointments

    Games, puzzles, and movies: • Movies you never watch • Movies that are damaged • Games with missing pieces • Puzzles with missing pieces • Games you never play

    Clothing: • Socks that don’t have a match • Socks with holes • Underwear with holes • Clothes that don’t fit – donate those • Clothes that you haven’t worn in at least a year – except for formal attire • Earrings without a match • Ties with stains • Belts that are too large or too small • Old purses – donate if they are in good condition • Old caps and gloves • Old shoes and sneakers

    Bathroom and bedroom: • Towels with holes – donate to the local animal shelter • Old sheets • Old toothbrushes • Blankets with holes • Threadbare wash clothes and towels • Burned out fragrance candle jars • Almost empty bathroom cleaning products • Old electric blankets that you no longer use

    Kitchen: • Old appliance cords for appliances you no longer own • Almost empty bottles in the refrigerator or pantry • Expired foods, including flour and cake mixes • Restaurant sauce packet and sugar packets • Coffee mugs that are cracked or chipped • Old plastic containers like sour cream containers and whipped topping containers • Glass jars you thought you might need for storage • Beat up pots, pans, and lids • Small electric appliances you never use – donate these

    Storage shed:
    • Tools that won’t hold a charge • Broken lawn and garden tools • Excessive nails, screws, and other fasteners • Lawnmowers and other lawn equipment that can’t be repaired • Old work gloves • Screwdrivers and other metal tools that have excessive rust • Old tarps with tears and holes

    Don’t get overwhelmed!
    Don’t stay glued to your televisions watching coronavirus news. Watching stressful news adds to our already high stress levels as cancer patients and survivors. We know the precautions. There is something about decluttering that helps. It helps us regain control over the chaos that surrounds us — I’ve taken one draw or cabinet at a time and just slowly “nicked” away at the stuff. I’ve sat on the carpet and gone through some photo albums. And at the end of the day, I felt better. I felt more in control because I had focused on a problem that I could solve.
    One day at the time — that’s all that we can do, so we might as well do something that will help us feel better.
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    Say Something Nice

    At times, the stress and anxiety of our cancer treatment might make us a bit “grumpy.” We don’t mean to be that way — we just open our mouth and out comes something that isn’t too nice or kind.

    Especially now, as coronavirus fears are ramping up, we all need a little bit more
    kindness, patience, and compassion


    Compliments to Give. 
    These compliments might be for your spouse or children who are your caregivers. Some of these would be perfect for your chemo nurse, your radiation tech, or the person who accesses your port. Just remember, it’s so nice to be nice.

    Thanks for listening. You’re an extraordinary friend. I appreciate all that you do for me. Being around you makes life so much better. Your smile helps me smile too. I am so fortunate to have you in my life. I’ve never met anyone as compassionate as you. You have such a big heart. Your presence is reassuring to me. I appreciate your friendship more than you know. Your point of view is so helpful to me. You know just how to make my day! You are going to make a real difference in the world. You are a constant reminder to me that people can be good. You are a ray of sunshine. Thank you for always being there for me.

    Compliments We’d Like to Receive. 
    Getting compliments helps us glow from within. Whether we’re in active treatment or are in survivorship, these compliments would be so nice to receive.
    Your positivity is inspiring. Thanks for being you! I love your outlook on life. You set an inspiring example for everyone. I admire the way you handle yourself. The world is a better place with you here. I wish that I was more like you. You are so strong. I’m so proud of you and your progress. Never stop being you. You inspire me in so many ways. On a scale of one to ten, you’re an eleven. You always know how to find the Silver Lining.

    Why are compliments important?
    We, as human beings, all have a deep, inner need to feel wanted and appreciated. We need to think that we are of value to others. So the giving and receiving of compliments
    is critical to our very existence.
    Giving a compliment helps us look around and see what’s right with the world. We recognize the value of our families and friends, and we see the beauty of the world that surrounds us. When we are in the midst of cancer treatment, it’s easy for us to fall into a mental slump. Most of us quickly realize that our chemo nurses are “angels on earth.” We find ourselves giving compliments and giving thanks to them for the simplest acts of kindness. Feeling gratitude helps restore our soul.
    When someone compliments us, that compliment revives our sagging spirits. Our hair may be thinning, or we might be bald — yet when someone compliments us about how our eyes sparkle or they love our red shirt, our spirits soar. We might not feel very pretty or well-dressed, but remember to be gracious when someone compliments us.

    First, hit the share buttons at the bottom of this post and encourage your social friends to share some kind words!

    One of my favorite quotes
    is a question.
    What if you woke up today with only what you thanked God for yesterday? …Max Lucado

    What goes around comes around is an old saying that still rings true today. Giving and receiving compliments helps our world be a better place.
    Join Us At WhatNext, just click the photo below and register for free!

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