Symptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.
Around 70% of cancer survivors report difficulties with memory and concentration after undergoing chemotherapy – this is conversationally referred to as “Chemobrain,” which is described as a mental clouding or fogginess, during and after cancer treatment.
Chemobrain refers to the cognitive impairment that can occur after cancer treatment. It’s not limited to people who undergo chemotherapy (surgery and radiation can also contribute), but it’s more noticeable if one has undergone chemotherapy.
Doctors used to dismiss patients who complained of brain fog after cancer treatment. It’s still unclear exactly how many patients among the 15-million-plus cancer survivors are affected.
Cancer is Not a Singular Experience, It’s Plural!
Whether it is adult cancer or Childhood Cancer, no matter how much it feels as if we are going through it alone, nothing could be further from the truth!
When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t only affect that specific individual, it affects many, and this is never truer than when it is a child that has been diagnosed with cancer.
The child is not the only one going through everything that this horrible disease causes – the parents, siblings, other family members and friends of the child and parents also experience it.
This article was written by JANE BIEHL, PH.D. who has been a cancer survivor since 2010.
While this is written by an adult about adult cancer, it is just as pertinent to those who suffer from Childhood Cancer and also their Families who go through tremendous stress…
We deal with parents of Children with Cancer daily, and we see the fear, the doubt, the strength, the helplessness, the determination, the sadness, and all the other emotions that they experience throughout the months and years that their child fights this beast Cancer.
These Onco Parents are strong, and the fortitude that our Little Fighters display is also staggering, but one cannot hide or push down the emotions forever….
Parents and Children with Cancer need to allow themselves to express their emotions when they get too much or they stand that chance of being totally overwhelmed with a disease that devastates everything in its path!
According to a recent study that appeared in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, survivors of Childhood Cancer are more than twice as likely as the general population to have high blood pressure (hypertension) as adults.
Improvements in treatment have dramatically increased survival rates from paediatric cancers, with about 83% of children surviving at least five years and many becoming long-term survivors.
However, many suffer long-term side effects. “High blood pressure is an important modifiable risk factor that increases the risk of heart problems in everyone. Research has shown that high blood pressure can have an even greater negative impact on survivors of childhood cancer who were treated with cardiotoxic therapies such as anthracyclines or chest radiation,” said author Todd M. Gibson from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Cancer can never really be “cured” – one just goes into “remission” because the cancer can come back at any time, and when it does it is generally a far worse strain.
Cancer Survivors live their lives knowing that they have this “time-bomb” inside of them that may go off again at any time, and that there is absolutely nothing that they can do about it – one just lives with the constant fear of recurrence.
New research by Mayo Clinic’s Tim Kottke and his team, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology Research, may hold some hope though.
The new research was a collaborative effort among scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, and the University of Surrey in Guildford — all of which are in the United Kingdom — and researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.
Ryan Hamner is a four-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, a musician and a writer. In 2011, he wrote and recorded, “Where Hope Lives” for the American Cancer Society and the song for survivors, “Survivors Survive” used in 2015 for #WorldCancerDay.
Currently, he operates his website for those affected by cancer, 2surviveonline.com and drinks a ridiculous amount of coffee per day.
Ryan wrote the following interesting article recently about How food can trigger memories and emotions.
Food, how it tastes and trying everything possible to eat nutritionally whilst undergoing cancer treatments is an important subject for anyone who has gone through the fight with cancer, so we thought we would share his post with you….
Treatments for childhood cancers have improved to the point that 5-year survival rates are over 80 %.
However, one group has failed to benefit from these improvements, namely children who die so soon after diagnosis that they are not able to receive treatment, or who receive treatment so late in the course of their disease that it is destined to fail.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology explores this challenging population, finding that death within a month of diagnosis is more likely in very young children and those from minority racial and ethnic groups even independent of low socioeconomic status.
The study uses a large national database to find that the rate of deaths within one month of diagnosis has been previously under-reported in clinical trial data, with early deaths from some paediatric cancer subtypes up to four times as common as had been implied by clinical trial reports.
Those who have survived cancer are often left with a different appreciation of life, even children who have not yet lived much of theirs.
Survivors can also, however, become very anxious about their health; about whether the cancer will return; about the visits to the doctor for the next how many ever years, and then when the regular visits stop.
Another problem is that unless you have had cancer or have cared for someone who has survived cancer, there is NO WAY you can understand what a cancer Survivor goes through for the rest of their life! Most people seem to think that having cancer is a temporary situation and that once you are through the treatments it means that you are cured and life should just continue as per normal – this is FAR from the truth!
Cancer is in effect a revolving door, and at any moment a scan could land a Survivor right back in the territory of Active Cancer Treatment
“What good does it do to treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?”
This is the question Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, said he asks himself repeatedly, during a speech he recently gave at Wits University regarding why health is not simply a matter of access to medical care.
Sir Michael is an expert in health and inequality, and says that as societies around the world become more unequal, the gap between levels of health widens.
“Social injustice is the biggest threat to global health and a radical change in society is needed if we really want people to live long healthy lives,” he added
The Professor, who has conducted research on health inequalities in communities across the world, compared a boy growing up in the affluent suburb of Greater Roland Park in Baltimore, United States to one growing up in the Upton Druid Heights neighbourhood in Baltimore’s inner city.
Even though they grew up a mere few kilometres apart, according to Marmot the boy from Roland Park can expect to live to the age of 83 whereas the one living in the inner city, will likely die 20 years earlier at the age of 63.
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the American Cancer Society and published in the journal Cancer, the high ever-rising cost of cancer treatment is affecting prescription drug adherence.
The study, which used data from the National Health Interview Survey, found that patients with cancer were far more likely to stop taking their medication or switch it for financial reasons than patients with other diseases.
Rising deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance and tiered drug formularies all contribute to the increasing percentage of cancer care cost that patients must now pay for out of pocket. This can affect survivors’ overall wellbeing, lead to poorer treatment choices, have a negative effect on outcomes and cause higher medical expenses down the line, according to the study.
“I would encourage patients to discuss their financial concerns with their care providers when making treatment decisions,” said Xuesong Han, Ph.D., strategic director, Health Policy and Healthcare Delivery Research at the American Cancer Society, and author on the study.