A new website that offers FREE guided meditations has been
created for cancer survivors. Kara (https://thisiskara.com
) features 12
meditations including the four core qualities whose initials give Kara its
name—kindness, awareness, rest and allowing.
The remaining eight tracks are designed to help with specific difficult
emotions or challenges that survivors experience, such as feeling overwhelmed,
afraid or angry; feeling alone or like you are a burden; or being in pain or
Coffee addicts rejoice!! A number of reports in recent
years have suggested coffee consumption may offer some protection against
various types of cancer, including postmenopausal breast cancer, melanoma,
liver cancer, advanced prostate cancer and colon cancer. A recent study looking at coffee consumption in colon cancer
patients provides more evidence of this effect.
studies have demonstrated increased colon cancer recurrence in states of
relatively high blood insulin, including sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and
increased dietary glycemic load.
An important study looking at the
treatment of early stage prostate cancer was published in the New England
Journal of Medicine on Wednesday (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1606220?query=featured_home#t=articleBackground
). The use of prostate-specific antigen
(PSA) testing has dramatically increased the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Close to 181,000 cases of prostate cancer
will be diagnosed in the US in 2016 and over 26,000 men will die of the
disease. But many cases of this cancer
will progress slowly and not lead to death.
were so fortunate to have cancer survivor and CaSfA member, Kathleen M. Howland,
Ph.D., present CaSfA’s
first evening presentation, “Music Therapy: A Powerful Support for Cancer
Treatment and Beyond". Dr. Howland is a true expert in the field of
music therapy. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music therapy,
neuroscience and positive psychology at Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory. She is a certified music therapist and a licensed speech pathologist.
Here's just a few of my notes from the report:
Can Cancer Be Prevented?
“A substantial proportion of cancers could be prevented.”
Tobacco use is a major cause of some cancers.
A CaSfA member recently gave meThe Silver
LiningCompanion Guide: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer
by Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW. While this was written specifically for the
breast cancer survivor, much is relevant to survivors of all cancers. (The companion guide is availablefree to all
). This publication reminded me of a handout I developed a few years ago:
If you are Diagnosed:
Accept feelings-anger, guilt,
Results from a
study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium showed patients with
metastatic, HER2-positive breast cancer
who received a combination antibody/chemotherapy drug in a phase 3 clinical
trial survived longer, on average, than patients receiving other treatments. (http://news.cancerconnect.com/conjugate-drug-extends-survival-in-patients-with-advanced-her2-positive-breast-cancer/
)“The TH3RESA trial
, which enrolled
more than 600 participants in the U.S. and overseas, compared survival times in
patients randomized to treatment with the conjugate drug trastuzumab emtansine
(T-DM1) to those randomized to treatment of their physician’s choice. All
patients had metastatic breast cancer that tested positive for the human
epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) protein – a feature in about 20
percent of all breast cancers – and had previously been treated with
chemotherapy as well as the HER2-targeted drugs trastuzumab and lapatinib. The
investigators found that those in the T-DM1 group lived a median of 22.7 months
vs. 15.8 months for those in the treatment of physician’s choice group – a 44
percent improvement.” In addition,
serious side effects were lower in the TDM-1 group.
American Cancer Society (ACS) released its new breast cancer screening
guidelines, raising the recommended age for beginning annual screening from 40
to 45, and endorsing biennial screenings beginning at age 55. In addition, the
new guidelines suggest physicians should forgo clinical breast exams for women
of any age.
I have an
admittedly biased opinion about these recommendations. My breast cancer was found by a routine
annual screening mammogram. I had a very
low risk of developing breast cancer.
in Situ is diagnosed by examination of the biopsy of breast tumor. The cancer cells are within the milk ducts
and have not invaded the underlying tissue.
It is classified as Stage 0 breast cancer. The incidence of DCIS has increased with the
widespread use of screening mammography and it now accounts for 20-30% of all
newly diagnosed breast cancers.
The treatment of
DCIS has become controversial. Even the
name is a source of controversy. Some
believe it should not be called cancer at all, since it doesn’t involve tissue invasion.
Cancer doesn't just affect the patient. It affects our loved ones too. I recently read two very moving essays by loved ones and caregivers of cancer survivors. Read them: