Your doctor can’t read your mind

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In the cancer world, patients often differ on what they want to hear from their doctors. Here are some examples: Some patients want to know – in detail – the various pros and cons of every treatment option, while other patients just want to know what the doctor thinks is best. Some patients want to



The Power of a Cancer Support Group

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People with cancer share differently within a cancer support group as compared to how they share with their family and friends. One woman recently told me that when she shares her cancer diagnosis with friends, the friends often say something like, “You’re going to be ok, right?” She went on to say, “In my support



The Look People Give You

A woman recently diagnosed with cancer said to me, “I wish you would tell people not to give me that look.” “What look?” I asked. “The pity puss.” (At first I thought she said “platypus,” which I faintly recalled as being a weird-looking animal, and I wondered why on earth people were making platypus faces



Cancer Sucks Button

I often wear a button that says, “Cancer sucks.” In addition to pretty well summing up the cancer experience, it’s a great conversation starter. Just last month, a man tapped my button as I was waiting in line for coffee in an airport. He nodded sadly and told me that his young daughter was being



Don’t Ask About My Battle

We seem to struggle with language when the topic is cancer. We don’t think twice when cancer is discussed in military terms. In 1971, Richard Nixon declared “war” on cancer in his State of the Union address. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, countless people told me to “fight this thing.” Since I’m still



Telling the Parents

I’ve seen many resources that provide advice on how to tell your children that you have cancer.  But what about the other generation – your parents?  Family relationships are sometimes complicated, so I don’t presume to know what’s best for you and your family, but some guidelines might be helpful. In general, it’s a good



Telling the Kids

If you are diagnosed with cancer when you have young children, you’re faced with what to share with them and how to share it. It is important to realize that cancer affects the entire family and not just the person with cancer. As a member of that family, children have the right to be included.



It’s OK to ask Your Doctor

People often leave their doctor’s offices irritated with themselves for not asking what they wanted to ask. Sometimes they simply forget to ask. (I encourage people to bring a list).  On other occasions, though, people aren’t sure if it’s OK to ask certain questions. Sometimes the questions that people hesitate to ask are the ones