The post-treatment blahs

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For many people the months following cancer treatment are more difficult than the treatment itself. During treatment, your “job” is to be in treatment. You’re busy with appointments and you see the same doctors and nurses almost every week. At the same time, friends bring you meals, family members take on extra duties, and you’re



Don’t look back

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It is easy to second guess yourself when you have cancer. It can take many forms: I wouldn’t have cancer if I had taken better care of myself. I should have gone to the doctor sooner. I should have chosen “watchful waiting” instead of aggressive treatment. Nearly everyone with cancer wonders if they would be



Adjusting To The New Normal

“The new normal” is a phrase used to describe how life changes for some people who have been through cancer. Here are some examples: A man treated for oral cancer who can no longer taste many foods. A woman treated for breast cancer whose arm is permanently swollen. A man treated for colorectal cancer who



Survivor’s Guilt

People going through cancer treatment at the same time often form their own peer group. They see each other in chemo, in radiation, and in various support groups. The fortunate ones do well, but they often feel guilty when others in their cohort succumb to the disease. Survivor’s guilt is a well-known phenomenon, but it’s



What To Say When Cancer Returns

I recently gave a talk at a conference of radiation therapists about how to support patients undergoing cancer treatment. One attendee said, “I know how to help patients when they come in for treatment for the first time. But I stumble over my words when a patient comes back for treatment because they’ve had a



Donating Blood and Organs

For many people the months following cancer treatment are more difficult than the treatment itself. During treatment, your “job” is to be in treatment. You’re busy with appointments and you see the same doctors and nurses almost every week. At the same time, friends bring you meals, family members take on extra duties, and you’re