by Dennis Maione, Cancer Survivor, Advocate
I am no stranger to cancer; in fact you might say I know him pretty well. As a carrier of one of the Lynch Syndrome mutations, I have had two encounters with him, one in 1992 and the other in 2007 (yup, 2017 marks 10 years since the last time I personally encountered cancer). And with every year that passes, I have a diminished desire to know him any better. Sure, when I was in the throes of diagnosis and treatment I wanted to know everything about cancer: why I encountered him, how we were going to get rid of him. And when we found out that my son has the same genetic mutation that I do, we wanted to know how to reduce his chances of having an encounter with cancer.
by Karen Ladner Haas, Childhood Cancer Advocate
Going into 2017, I have mixed emotions about cancer. I feel optimistic about my son’s battle with the disease itself, but I am frustrated about the long term side effects of the treatment he endured. It seems that with each passing year, we find out about more long term effects. I know from discussions with other parents, and from our personal experience, that survivors face numerous issues. Long term effects of cancer treatment are a complex problem that can involve or lead to physical, cognitive, and mental health issues. Regular follow-up is necessary, and for many of the issues this means trips to the hospital. These trips can be physically, financially, and emotionally draining.
Sharing the Stories of Cancer
by Sharon Bray, Ed.D.
She’s lived in my memory for sixty years.
Death steals everything except our stories.
These two final lines of Jim Harrison’s poem, “Larson’s Holstein Bull,” tell of a young girl and her death from a bull goring. The poem is short, descriptions lean, but the impact of the final line is profound: “Death steals everything except our stories.”
by Dr. Anne Katz PhD, RN, FAAN
For many of us, each new year brings with it our hopes and dreams for a better world. Working with cancer survivors, many of us wish for more effective treatments, less suffering, and ultimately that the need for our work will cease to exist. That is unlikely to happen in any of our lifetimes, if ever, and certainly not in 2017. Perhaps our dreams and hopes should focus on what each and every one of us can do to spread the word about what everyone can do to prevent cancer.
by Clarissa Schilstra, CKN Editor
As World Cancer Day 2017 approaches, I am grateful to be able to continue to call myself a survivor. So much progress has been made that makes it possible for me to be the healthy, happy young adult I am now. However, World Cancer Day also reminds me how uneven that progress has been. Scientific breakthroughs have led to better and better cancer treatments that gave back life to childhood, teenage, and young adult cancer survivors, like myself. Yet, that progress is hampered by the fact that every child, teenager and young adult successfully brought through treatment must also successfully transition back to normal life after treatment ends. I feel fortunate to have been provided many different forms of support from many different sources that have helped me with my own transitions, but none of that support was standard care. I personally know so many other survivors who are my age but struggling to build a life for themselves due to challenges they face related to the impact of their treatment. The transition back to normal life, no matter the age group, can be incredibly difficult without proper support and guidance.
by Trisha Paul, CKN Advisory Board Member
I could never have anticipated how much the field of oncology would excite me. As a teenager, I chose to volunteer with pediatric oncology patients on a whim. I found myself fascinated, and deeply humbled by the psycho-social challenges that these young patients and their families face. I found my way to medicine, and I wondered whether the medical field of oncology would be similarly intriguing to me.