by Diane Townsend, MSW, Department of Social Service, Adult Sites McGill University Health Centre
Now that your treatment has ended, you may find yourself flooded with a range of emotions from relief and joy to guilt, fear and anxiety. You may experience all these feelings at the same time. This is normal as each individual’s experience is unique to them. Life after cancer involves many physical and emotional changes as you adjust to a “new normal” way of life. You may find that different things are more important to you now as your priorities may have changed after having cancer. Some people may wish to return to their jobs soon after completing treatment in order to feel that they are resuming the way of life they had before the cancer diagnosis. Others may wish to not return to work right away, preferring to take some time to rest and reflect on how they wish to spend their time. Family, friends and colleagues may not understand that you will likely not be able to immediately “bounce back” to former routines and activities, as you may continue to experience fatigue and temporary cognitive changes during your recovery.
by Dina Szynkarsky, MSW
Department of Social Service, Adult Sites
McGill University Health Centre
In 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that by 2020, cancer rates could continue to increase by 50% to 15 million new cases. Research (Davis, 2009) has indicated that the assistance of a multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, psychologists, and physiotherapists is necessary for patients to have the best chances of coping well with diagnosis and treatment as well. Equally important is the support that patients receive in the phase called “life after cancer”.
by Jonathan Klein, MD
There`s a lot of information out there.
As an opening statement, especially written for a website that seeks to facilitate deep thought about an intense topic like cancer, that sentence is quite banal. But it’s a thought that crossed my mind the other night while perusing Twitter, cycling through various hits that came up when I searched for “cancer.”
I am a resident and I feel constantly bombarded with information. I just began my first ever resident-level rotation in my specialty of choice – radiation oncology – and often just don`t know where to begin. There is so much to learn and not enough time to learn it. I knew residency would be like this, but experiencing the situation first-hand can be overwhelming.
by Jonathan Klein, MD
Doctors save lives, but they can sometimes be insufferable know-it-alls who bully nurses and do not listen to patients. Medical schools have traditionally done little to screen out such flawed applicants or to train them to behave better, but that is changing.
Above is the provocative introduction from a July 10th New York Times article discussing a supposedly new trend championed at Virginia Tech Carilion, the newest medical school in the USA, which has eschewed the traditional sit-down medical school admissions interviews in favour of multiple mini interviews (MMI). This format uses fast-paced, often ethically-based questions to assess candidates on their interpersonal and communications skills.
Cancer Rehabilitation – An Introduction
By Julie Silver, MD
Here at the Cancer Knowledge Network, we are excited to bring you information about cancer rehabilitation. Cancer rehabilitation is an important part of the oncology care continuum. This is an area of medicine that has dedicated healthcare professionals such as board certified physicians (called physiatrists) and licensed allied healthcare providers (e.g., physical/occupational/speech therapists, nurses, etc.). Mental health professionals are also key members of the “rehabilitation team”. Frequently, others may be included as well (e.g., yoga instructors, massage therapists, orthotists, etc.).
Ideally, cancer rehabilitation services should be offered to survivors when they have problems functioning. Indeed, the rehabilitation professional’s code is “focus on function.” Medically speaking, this means intervening when individuals are suffering from problems such as weakness, fatigue, pain, lymphedema, difficulty speaking or swallowing, decreased attention or memory, and a host of other issues. Rehabilitation medicine interventions can significantly help survivors with a broad range of problems that they may be experiencing due to cancer and/or cancer treatments. The goal is always to help them function at a higher level—with as little pain, fatigue and disability as possible—regardless of what type of cancer they have or had.
Cancer rehabilitation interventions have been studied fairly extensively, and Cancer Knowledge Network will be highlighting what is often called “evidence-based” medicine. Part of insuring that cancer survivors receive the best possible care is to understand the research that has been done to date in the field of cancer rehabilitation. The next step is applying this research to clinical practice in order to help cancer survivors have the best quality of life possible.
The Oncofertility Consortium is happy to announce a new collaboration with the Cancer Knowledge Network. The Consortium was established to expand the reproductive future of cancer survivors whose disease or treatment may impair future fertility. This interdisciplinary, global cooperative of researchers, health care providers, and patients investigates barriers to fertility after cancer and overcomes these hurdles. It also facilitates information flow between stakeholders within the cancer community. Our partnership with the Cancer Knowledge Network will provide our readers cutting edge information on the advanced fertility preservation techniques available to cancer patients, oncofertility resources for the health care community, and new research in the field.