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Cancer Knowledge Network

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Tag Archives: cancer narratives

A Journey Toward Healing

Power of Words


Together with Sharon Bray – teacher and author of two books on writing and health – CKN welcomes you to our new Writing Series where Sharon helps readers tap into the healing power of writing during difficult times.  As Sharon puts it, “Your stories matter. You are your stories. Our stories shape us and act as the lens through which we see the world. It’s through story that we make sense of our lives, reclaim our voices, and learn our words can touch others’ hearts.”  Follow along with this bi-monthly series with Sharon and please send us your stories….they matter to us.

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Writing Through Cancer: The Legacy of Our Stories

by Sharon A. Bray, Ed.D.


Three months after his diagnosis, my father died of lung cancer.  Despite a lifelong addiction to cigarettes, a hacking cough that awakened us every morning, he dodged our pleas to see a doctor, and our attempts to help him break his habit.  He suspected, I’m certain, what the doctor might find.  By the time he sat down with an oncologist in 1992, he heard the verdict he feared most:   a death sentence.

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Cancer Narratives: Mothers of the 8th Floor at Sick Kids


Using scientific research as a springboard for discussion, CKN is distilling this research into practical narratives that will improve the quality of life for patients and offer deeper understanding and connection for physicians.  Please join this Doctor-Patient conversation about parenting children with cancer.


by Susan McKechnie, CKN Childhood Cancer Section Co-Editor

When your child has cancer there is no ‘how to’ manual filled with answers to the many, many questions and concerns a parent has as they carry their family through the ups and downs of care and treatment. The available resources such as the many doctors, nurses and other professionals who are part of your child’s medical care team, will happily answer as best they can but are often not readily available or do not have the same day-to-day insight as another parent travelling the same path.  Families who have children with cancer have a unique perspective on the everyday challenges faced by parents and can often offer ‘real-life’ advice.

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Cancer Narratives: Truth be told—perspectives on openness


Many dreams come true and some have silver linings. I live for my dreams and a pocketful of gold.

— Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

In the field of oncology, the timing and nature of difficult discussions can prove ponderous for physicians and patients alike. Barriers to speaking truthfully might be perceived, particularly when the patient is young. The two essays that follow demonstrate the different perspectives of a young man with cancer and his palliative care doctor. The writing process has afforded the authors valuable lessons in honest communication and the richness of discourse after open disclosure. There has been realization of the opportunity for truth and hope to coexist in the young despite the challenge of incurable illness.

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The Power of Presence: Listening to Children and Teens with Cancer

 TrishaPaulHoldingBookby Trisha Paul, Aspiring Pediatric Oncologist

“I don’t think that I have ever really spoken about my cancer this much.”  Andy, fifteen-year-old male

In a dimly lit hospital room, a fifteen-year-old adolescent paused his video games. Andy closed his eyes and told me about how it all started with a bloody nose that would not stop. He shared with me the simplicities and the intimacies of his life, speaking as if he were reliving each memory he recounted. After an hour went by and our conversation drew to a close, Andy told me candidly that he did not think he had ever really spoken about his cancer that much.

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Why We Need More Stories by Children and Teens with Cancer

TrishaPaulBookCoverby Trisha Paul, Aspiring Pediatric Oncologist


Think about the last time you heard or saw something about disease or illness. Maybe a TV commercial for a prescription drug or a casual conversation about your neighbor’s persistent cough.


Now consider how many of these stories are about cancer. Chances are that quite a few of them are. After all, stories about cancer are among the most prominent narratives of illness, such as Susan G. Komen’s breast cancer campaign. One type of cancer, however, often appears to be overlooked.

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