by David Palma, MD, PhD
I’m a radiation oncologist, a type of doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer. Radiation is a very useful treatment – in many cases, it’s part of a treatment package aimed at curing a cancer. But even when a cancer cannot be cured, radiation can be useful to improve symptoms related to the cancer, like pain or shortness of breath.
by Khevin Barnes, Living with Cancer
My breast cancer diagnosis came about in a rather typical fashion. After my mammogram, needle biopsy and ultra sound, all of which happened within a week of my primary care physician examining the small bump under my left breast, I awaited the news that could potentially alter the course of my life.
by Lisa Bonchek Adams, Cancer Survivor
Perhaps the most common question I get asked by email is, “Someone I know has been diagnosed with cancer. What can I do?” Today I offer one suggestion. I believe this would make a wonderful gift for someone who has just been diagnosed and is a necessity if you are the patient.
by Timothy W. Buckland
As we transition from adolescence to young adulthood, much of who we are is solidified. We begin to think for ourselves, learn from our experiences and in turn, produce the people we become. Along with this personal development, we also mature on a social level. We begin looking for emotional and romantic relationships which complement this personal change. So what happens to these relationships when there is a crisis or more specifically a cancer diagnosis?
by Megan Simpson, Living with Cancer
When you’re slapped across the face with the famous last words “You Have Cancer”, it changes your life forever. The floodgates open letting fear and anxiety fill every crevice, pulling down your walls. Every day normal tasks are cloaked in a dark, foggy filth. Common conversation can make your ears bleed and the tears seep out. A rollercoaster of emotion, some say, to put it lightly.
You really have no idea what it’s like unless you’ve gone through it. No made-for-TV-movie or sappy hospital commercial has ever successfully told the tale. But as brain-twisting, heart-wrenching, gut-jolting as it may be, it is only human to find our own unique way to cope…in any given situation. I am realizing more and more every day, that some of my strange behaviours are, in fact, actually my own methods of coping.
by Terri Wingham
Two years ago, the words, “you have cancer” changed my life forever. At the age of 30, fighting cancer was physically draining and emotionally exhausting. But, no one prepared me for how hard it would be to pick up the pieces of my pre-cancer life and move forward after treatment ended.
When I walked out of the hospital after my final surgery in January of 2011, a nurse told me how to dress my wounds, but no one told me how to cope with the challenging emotions I faced on my way to survivorship. Well-meaning friends and family talked endlessly about how excited I must be for treatment to be over. But I didn’t feel excited.
Like many of the 12+ million cancer survivors in North America, I felt trapped in a post-treatment void. I had lost my sense of belonging to my pre-cancer world, my connection to myself and to my friends and family, and my sense of certainty about life. The support during my diagnosis and treatment faded, and I was left alone with my fears of recurrence, my worries about how returning to a stressful job could increase my risk of developing a secondary cancer, and my sense of loss over my breasts and my carefree past.