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A story from the Native American tradition…

by Dianne May, president & CEO

An elder Cherokee chief took his grandchildren into the forest, sat them down and said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. This is a terrible fight and it is a fight between two wolves. One wolf is the wolf of fear, anger, arrogance and greed. The other wolf is the wolf of courage, kindness, humility and love.”

The children were very quiet and listened to their grandfather with both of their ears. He then said to them, “This same fight between the two wolves that is going on inside of me is going on inside of you, and inside every person.” They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked the chief, “Grandfather, which wolf will win the fight?” He replied quietly, “The one you feed.”

CancerCare Connect Workshops

Founded in 1944, CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer, including people with cancer, caregivers, children, loved ones, and the bereaved. CancerCare programs are provided by professional oncology social workers and are completely free of charge. Last year, the organization provided individual help to more than 100,000 people, in addition to the more than 1 million unique visitors to its website: www.cancercare.org.

Through its website, you can gain access to counseling, support groups, publications, financial assistance, therapeutic activities, special events information and Connect Education Workshops. We’d like to draw attention two upcoming workshops:

Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects, Friday, January 21, 2011, 1:30-2:30PM Eastern Time.

Caring for Your Bones When You Have Breast Cancer: What’s New? Friday, February 11, 2011, 1:30-2:30PM Eastern Time.

You can listen to these workshop online or via telephone.

There are two ways to register:

Call 1-800-813-HOPE (4673) or online at www.cancercare.org/connect.

You can also view a full schedule of Connect Workshops at www.cancercare.org/connect.

Program Announcements

We are constantly looking for better ways to meet the needs of our clients and caregivers. Whether you are looking for a group of people with whom to share your cancer and treatment concerns and ask questions, or whether you have been told to exercise and are looking for a program that is helpful but not strenuous, check out what we have to offer.

Also, remember that hours are expanding starting January 10: open Mondays from 9:00AM until 7:00PM. Tuesday-Friday open from 9:00AM until 5:00PM.

Examples of new and revised programs for 2011:

  • Tai Chi ..a 6 weeks movement program…. helps with relaxation and pain management. Starts Wednesday, January 5 at 5:30PM. Call to reserve your spot. Susan Swardenski facilitates.
  • re-Energize! …an exercise program for people of any ability…restarts Tuesday February 1 and meets every Tue & Thursday at 6:00PM. Courtney Berger facilitates.
  • The Whipple Group is changing its name to Pancreas, Gall Bladder, Bile Duct Cancer Support Group. The name better describes who the group is for and expands the number of people eligible. Whipple is the name of a surgical technique often used with these types of cancers, but not everyone with one of these diagnoses actually undergoes the Whipple procedure. Meets 3rd Wednesday at 6:30PM. Amy Solaro-Geraghty facilitates.
  • Reminder of a general cancer support group: Turning Points. Meets 2nd Tuesday monthly at 5:30PM. Peter Albertson facilitates.
  • Caring Touch massage program. Call to schedule an appointment.

All the above groups meet in the Healing Arts Center of Cancer Services, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825.

  • The South Side Group …a NEW general cancer support group…for those people with any kind of cancer ( and their caregivers) who are looking for a support group on the south side of town. Meets at Lutheran Life Villages, 6701 S Anthony Blvd., entrance under the portico. Meets 3rd Wednesday each month, 6:30PM-8:00PM starting January 19. Helen Claire Ferguson facilitates.

Some of our cancer-specific support groups have disbanded, so we encourage individuals interested in attending a support group to try one of our general cancer support groups.

Please call Gail Hamm at 484-9560 or 866-484-9560 if you have any questions about these or other programs offered by Cancer Services or if there are other programs you would like Cancer Services to offer.

Now Offering Tai Chi

Beginning Wednesday, January 5, Cancer Services will offer Tai Chi classes for our clients and caregivers.

What is Tai Chi? Tai Chi is an ancient form of exercise composed of graceful, flowing movements. Participants work from a standing or seated position. There is no floor work required.

What are the benefits of Tai Chi?

Promotes relaxation and inner calm

Increases strength

Helps manage pain and stress

Improves breathing, balance and sleep quality

Join us for Tai Chi each Wednesday for 6 weeks from January 5 through February 9, 2011, 5:30PM-6:30PM.

Class size is limited…please call for reservations: 484-9560 or 866-484-9560.

Cancer Services

Healing Arts Center

6316 Mutual Drive

Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Elizabeth Edwards…She Won

by Dianne May, President & CEO

We’ve all heard by now that Elizabeth Edwards has died. She made it clear to friends and family that she didn’t want it said that “she lost her battle with cancer.” In her words, the battle is about living a good life and she won.

As overwhelming and all-consuming as a cancer diagnosis can be, most people come to the conclusion that they don’t want to be defined by their cancer experience. That’s true of many of the difficult challenges that life brings.

Elizabeth lost her first child in an auto accident when he was a teenager. I heard her in an interview once talking about grief and loss. She was firm in her belief that friends and family should never shy away from talking about someone who has died. Rather she believed that such conversations were not so much a reminder that the loved one had died but rather a reminder that the individual had lived and such memories brought joy.

By all accounts, Elizabeth was a strong and nurturing soul, a force to be reckoned with, and a woman who won her battle by living a good life.

The Holidays Are Here!

What an exciting day at Cancer Services yesterday! The gifts purchased by local organization for our clients through the Christmas Bureau arrived. Boxes and boxes of toys, clothes, food and other items are now being safely stored here until our client families come to get them. And what an exciting day that will be too. No one can dispute that cancer and its related treatments can have a huge financial impact on a family. Many of our clients will struggle to celebrate the holidays this year. This is just one more way that Cancer Services can help.

Last week, the staff decorated the office for the holidays. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Aspirin May Cut Cancer Deaths, But Caution Urged

by The Associated Press

LONDON December 7, 2010, 08:09 am ET

A new report from British scientists suggests that long-term, low-dose aspirin use may modestly reduce the risk of dying of certain cancers, though experts warn the study isn’t strong enough to recommend healthy people start taking a pill that can cause bleeding and other problems.

In a new observational analysis published online Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet, Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford and colleagues looked at eight studies that included more than 25,000 patients and cut the risk of death from certain cancers by 20 percent.

While some experts said the analysis adds to evidence of aspirin’s potential to cut cancer risk, others said it falls short of changing advice to healthy people, and it failed to show the benefits apply equally to women.

The trials mostly compared men who took a daily dose of at least 75 milligrams of aspirin for heart problems to people who took a placebo or another drug. On average, the studies lasted at least four years.

Researchers used national cancer registries to get information on participants after the studies ended, though they weren’t sure how many aspirin takers continued using it or how many people in the comparison groups may have started.

The researchers said that the projected risk after two decades of dying from cancers like lung and prostate would be 20 percent lower in groups who had taken aspirin and 35 percent lower for gastrointestinal cancers like colon cancer. These odds are figured from smaller numbers — there were 326 lung cancer deaths in all, for example.

Only one-third of people in the analysis were women — not enough to calculate any estimates for breast cancer. There appeared to be no benefit to taking more than 75 milligrams daily — roughly the amount in a European dose of baby aspirin and a bit less than the baby aspirin dose in the U.S.

The analysis left out a high-quality experiment that tested aspirin every other day in nearly 40,000 U.S. women. No reduction in cancer risk was seen except for lung cancer deaths in that trial.

No funding was provided for the new Lancet analysis but several of the authors have been paid for work for companies that make aspirin and similar drugs.

Scientists said it would take some time to digest the study results and figure out which people should take aspirin.

Eric Jacobs, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist, called it a “major contribution” and said the study results, in addition to previous research, suggested aspirin’s effects on the risk of dying from several cancers “appear likely.”

Others said the study wasn’t strong enough for doctors to start recommending aspirin.

“I definitely think we wouldn’t want to make any treatment decisions based on this study,” said Dr. Raymond DuBois, a cancer prevention specialist who is provost of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

One concern is that the studies were designed to look at cardiovascular risks, so the groups of people being compared may differ on things that affect cancer risk, such as family history of the disease. DuBois also questioned drawing conclusions about people’s cancer risk beyond the several years they were tracked.

Aspirin has long been recommended for some people with heart problems. But it can have serious side effects, like bleeding in the stomach and intestines, and poses risks in groups like the elderly who are prone to falls.

“Balancing the risks and benefits of aspirin is really important and probably something that needs to be done on an individual basis,” said Ed Yong, Cancer Research U.K.’s head of health evidence and information. He was not linked to the study.

“If anyone is considering aspirin on a regular basis, they should talk to their doctor first,” Yong said. He warned people should not think of aspirin as a guarantee against cancer and other prevention strategies like not smoking and keeping a healthy body weight were essential.

A U.S. health task force specifically recommends against aspirin for people with an average cancer risk.

Gaps

by Dianne May, president & CEO

One of my favorite authors, Louise Penny, recently wrote this: “my books, while clearly and happily [are] murder mysteries [they] are really about duality. The gap between what is said and what is felt. The public face and the inner truth.”

The gap between what is said and what is felt. How often have you felt trapped in that place? Wanting to have an honest and authentic conversation with someone, but worried about how he or she might react. It’s scary to set aside social conventions and expectations in order to share deeply personal thoughts and feelings. What if the listener is uncomfortable? What if I can’t find the words I need?

Maybe you’ve been the person waiting for another to open up and share. You sense there is more to be said, but you don’t want to force your loved one to talk if she is not ready. The truth is she might be waiting for a sign from you that it is okay to share her feelings.

Some people need time to prepare for conversations and some need only the right time or place. Humor might make it easier for him to start a conversation. And a simple question might provide the right opening for her. However we find the way to traverse the gap between our public faces and inner truths, sharing our true feelings with people whom we love and who love us, is a good thing. Is there a gap you want to cross?

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