Posts tagged Support
It’s a grim reality of cancer- some patients will require palliative care.
Palliative care is aimed at relief of an end-of-life patient’s suffering, and may include pain management care or tactics to soothe one’s emotional distress. Palliative care often involves caregiver relief support, too.
“It takes a community to provide care at the end of someone’s life. It’s time to ask ourselves: How can I help? Let’s share the care.” says CBC Chief Correspondent Peter Mansbridge, Honorary Chair of National Hospice Palliative Care Week.
“This year our theme focuses on sharing the care. It’s about making the responsibility of caring for someone with a life-limiting illness a collective effort within your community,” added Sharon Baxter, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association‘s Executive Director. “Together we can all make a difference in the lives of those who are living with a life-limiting illness and those affected by it.”
It’s a good week to get to know the CHPCA and the wonderful work they do to ensure comfortable end-of-life care in Canada. If you or a member of your community is in need of support, please consult the Association’s online directory of Hospice Palliative Care services.
Looking to get involved? The CHPCA has event ideas and resources to help you make an impact in your community. Please contact Linda Truglia, project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-668-2785 ext. 228.
ELLICSR (the Electronic Living Lab for Interdisciplinary Cancer Survivorship Research) is a welcoming environment at the Toronto General Hospital. From the University Health Network website:
The goal of ELLICSR is to improve the cancer experience by exploring novel ways to learn from survivors, to develop new survivorship communities and to study how cancer survivors can be engaged, empowered and active in adopting healthier behaviours that minimize the negative impact of cancer and its treatment. It is a spacious community centre with teaching and self management areas for patients and survivors that include: a full kitchen, a community resource space, consultation rooms and an exercise room.
We are excited to announce that we will be joining organizations such as Prostate Cancer Canada and Rethink Breast Cancer at an event this Thursday. We hope you will join us for our first Community Connections event!
On a serious note – We assess the importance of quality of life during cancer treatment (and end-of-life care)
If your case was deemed terminal, how would you spend your last few days, weeks, or months of life?
This was just one of the difficult questions on a national survey commissioned by the CCAC. Entitled “Weighing Quality of Life in Cancer”, the survey found that an astounding 80% of Canadians were touched by some kind of cancer, either personally or through a friend or relative- and that quality of life during treatment is a top priority.
But what is “quality of life”?
It turns out that “quality of life” is a complex issue that encompasses social, economic and cultural components. For example, one of the top challenges respondents cited was the difficulty of obtaining adequate government benefits and insurance to cover the costs of their treatment. Others found greatest difficulty in finding adequate emotional and psychological support.
On that note, we stand by our assertion that a supported patient is a well-coping patient. Call us at 1-877-50-COLON (26566) to be put in touch with one of our highly trained Cancer Coaches.
We look forward to publishing the full results of our survey soon, but click here to read more in the meantime.
Think back to high school- can you imagine conquering the stress of being a teenager while simultaneously helping a parent conquer cancer? Behind every cancer patient is a family that needs support too, and Hope & Cope in Montreal is looking to serve as many of those family members as possible through workshops like their upcoming Connecting Teens Whose Lives Have Been Touched by Cancer event.
Do you know a patient with a teenage son or daughter in need of a friendly peer environment? The workshop takes place on Friday, July 30th from noon to 4:00 at the Hope & Cope Centre, 4635 chemin de la Cote-Ste-Catherine in Montreal. To register, contact Pauline Orr at 514-340-8222, extension 2591.
Workshop participants will enjoy a free BBQ lunch while meeting and connecting with other teenagers and learning about coping skills and gaining emotional support.
Colorectal cancer patients have access to a number of support groups across Canada, and some may allow family members to participate. In addition, the CCAC Cancer Coach Program can handle calls from family members who have been affected by their loved one’s diagnosis- call 1-877-50-COLON or email email@example.com to be put in touch with a confidential Cancer Coach.
The CCAC wishes to show its support of all support groups and workshops dedicated to supporting cancer patients. Which have helped you and your family cope?
In 2006, rural British Columbian Susan Snow was given mere months to live. Today, she is cancer-free and keeping the promise she made to help others who have been given the diagnosis. “Your journey should leave a trail for others to follow,” she says. Last week ago, Susan opened the Orchard Barn Wellness Centre, a place of support and discussion for patients of all cancers.
The centre, located on her picturesque Erickson, BC cherry farm, houses literature on nutrition, cancer, and general health and wellness, including extensive materials from the CCAC and the BC Cancer Agency. The barn was transformed from a studio for Susan’s artwork to a comfortable, inviting atmosphere where patients can discuss their treatment journeys and receive crucial psychosocial support. “Illness is a mind and body experience, and we hope to gather interest and support from both conventional and non-conventional practitioners. Conquering illness is a balance between these two.”
Susan is also one of the many dedicated members of the CCAC Cancer Coach Program, a network of trained volunteers who work to provide emotional support and help patients navigate the healthcare system. Her wellness centre has now joined the ranks of the many diverse fundraising and support projects being completed by our Cancer Coaches across Canada, including the Kick Butt fundraising run in Winnipeg or the Slo Pitch Tournament for Hope and Awareness in Edmonton.
If you would like to be put in touch with a Cancer Coach, please call us at 1-877-50-COLON or email firstname.lastname@example.org.. All inquiries remain confidential.
Susan invites everyone to send her a message at email@example.com to join their mailing list, and looks forward to announcing the formation of specific support groups in the weeks and months to come. The Orchard Barn Wellness Centre will be a beautiful place to heal!
From May 19th to 21st, the Toronto Mariott Eaton Centre Hotel was flooded with men and women from all over Canada. Many of them survivors, they made the trek in order to spend the packed three-day session learning as much as they could about colorectal cancer and how to administer effective psychosocial support as a member of the CCCAC Cancer Coach Program.
One of the first tasks was to introduce all of the Coaches-in-training. No two cancer cases are alike, and nor were any two Cancer Coaches’ experiences with the disease. While some had lost loved ones, other were survivors themselves, and others still were waiting to reach NED status. The evening ended with Dr. Linda Edgar’s seminar on identifying distressed patients and learning several powerful coping mechanisms.
The training session resumed bright and early on Thursday, with an in-depth anatomy lesson and a review of the pathologies of the colon. This lesson would come in handy later in the day, when the Coaches-in-training attended informative seminars by several key experts in cancer care- Dr. Pierre Major, Medical Oncologist, Dr. Calvin Law, Surgical Oncologist, and Dr. John Kachura, Interventional Radiologist. We covered everything from advancements in colorectal cancer-treating drugs to the basic concept of surgical removal of liver metastases to treatments such as Microspheres and Portal Vein Embolizations.
After a colon-healthy lunch, the group was treated to a panel discussion regarding local initiatives and was inspired by several ideas for reaching out to their communities. Topics presented included the successes of a small but dedicated group demanding better colorectal cancer care in Kingston, methods for community outreach in rural areas, the very succesful C.R.A.N. support group model, and the programs and services offered by cancer support organizations like Willows and Wellspring. The evening was topped off by an inspiring presentation by Dick Feldon, a certified Chi Walking instructor. What an enjoyable, easy-to-learn form of potentially life-prolonging exercise!
The training session continued on Friday with a short presentation on complementary therapies- that is, the various things one can do or take in order to ease the discomfort of treatment or improve quality of life. Did you know that yoga, massage, meditation and reiki therapy can all improve a patient’s quality of life? Of course, the CCAC’s Cancer Coaches will always urge you to discuss any new treatment or exercise with your physician. (Click here to learn more about these therapies.)
No training conference would be complete without a presentation on the year’s clinical research, administered by the CCAC’s Educational/Clinical Specialist. The Coaches received information on the latest developments in colorectal cancer research, in the areas of drugs therapies, surgical procedures, interventional radiology, screening, psychosocial support, nutrition and healthy lifestyles.
By the time the training session wrapped up, our Cancer Coaches were handling mock inquiries with confidence and care. When you contact a Cancer Coach, you are offered an understanding ear and an ally as you navigate the healthcare system.
After the cut, get to know the faces of the CCAC’s Cancer Coach Program- and don’t be afraid to get in touch with one by calling 1-877-50-COLON.
“When it comes to the treatment of your case, be a player, not the puck.”
In other words, become an active member of your cancer care team. When fighting a disease as aggressive as colorectal cancer, the additional distress of navigating the healthcare system and being passed from doctor to doctor can take its toll on your emotional wellbeing. Become a player. Educate yourself so that you can interact with the many brilliant physicians and nurses you’ll meet in the ‘rink’.
The CCAC takes the stance that a well-informed patient is a well-coping patient, and we take pride in directing you to the vital psychosocial assistance and technical background information you may need when facing a diagnosis or when embarking on a new treatment journey.
Just a few ideas:
- Know the language. The CCAC operates a Glossary of Terms that you may find useful, especially when reading medical journal articles or news posted on our site.
- Consult the Physician Questions section of the CCAC site- you’ll find that it’s a valuable resource from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. Arrive at your oncology appointment armed with a list of queries and topics to discuss- questions like how your sexual relations may be affected by a certain treatment, or even whether the doctor would be willing to assist you in seeking a second opinion. No question is to small.
- Reach out to a Cancer Coach. In addition to providing emotional support and being knowledgeable about methods for coping with distress, a CCAC Cancer Coach can direct you to the information you need if you’re overwhelmed by technical terms or the abundance of research on the subject. Many of our Cancer Coaches are themselves survivors of colorectal cancer.
Deep in the heart of NHL playoff season, we were thrilled to hear these words of wisdom from one of our Cancer Coaches! Not only because hockey is our national pastime (and great source of exercise!), but because the analogy captures the concept of teamwork vital to cancer patient care. In your journey with colorectal cancer, your expertise (and faith) in yourself is every bit as important as the input from your surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, interventional radiologist or nurse navigator.
Join the team!
Stress may trigger of bowel disease symptoms, plus tips for reducing stress from the BC Cancer Agency
“Canadian researchers found that among 552 bowel-disease patients they followed for a year, the risk of a symptom flare-up increased when patients were feeling particularly stressed.
The findings, reported in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, lend support to what many people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have believed to be true.
IBD refers to a group of conditions marked by chronic inflammation in the intestines, leading to symptoms like abdominal pain and diarrhea. The major forms are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.” (Amy Norton, Reuters)
Read the full Canada.com article here.
Some evidence suggests that those predisposed to conditions like those listed above have an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer. Managing stress is important for your overall health, including that of your digestive system. Stressed out about an upcoming procedure? Are you experiencing the stress that may come when caring for a loved one? The BC Cancer Agency has published a Managing Stress section of their website where you can learn to reduce stress levels for a more happy, healthy you.
How do you manage your stress?
“The reality is that cancer is a leading cause of
death for young adults, but this fact has not
catalyzed the medical community to focus on
the [young adult] population the way it has rallied to treat
older adults and children with cancer. In 2002,
almost 68,000 people aged 15 to 39 years were
diagnosed with cancer, approximately eight
times more than children under age 15.”
-Closing the Gap: A Strategic Plan. Published by the National Cancer Institute’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Progress Review Group and the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Livestrong Young Adult Alliance.
A ScienceDaily article directed us to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, which found that American colorectal cancer incidence rates were on the rise for those under 50, even though overall incidence rates were decreasing. Why?
If you’re colon-conscious, you may not be shocked at the possible explanations:
The researchers address several possibilities for the rise, including rising rates of obesity, which is a major risk factor for colorectal cancer. Dietary factors may also come into play. The researchers note that between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s, fast-food consumption in the United States increased 5-fold among children and 3-fold among adults. A diet high in fast food is associated with both greater meat consumption and reduced milk consumption. Increased consumption of red and processed meat has been shown to increase risk of cancers of the distal colon and rectum, while milk and calcium consumption have shown a protective effect against the subsites in which the rise in incidence was most prominent. They say it is plausible that the emergence of unfavorable dietary patterns in children and young adults over the past three decades may have contributed to the increase in CRC among young adults observed in the study.
While being 50+ is still the biggest risk factor, the fact remains that colorectal cancer may not be as picky as you think. It wasn’t until recently that I learned how many of my twenty-something acquaintances were already getting screened because they had lost a parent or other close relative to colorectal cancer. It makes me wonder how many more might have some genetic pre-disposition to the disease without knowing it.
We are so fortunate to live in a country where establishing population-based screening for those 50+ is a more attainable goal than ever before. Widespread screening is one of the reasons that colorectal cancer rates are stablizing, and perhaps someday we will lower the age to 40 or even 30+.
In the meantime, taking care of your body in your teens and twenties can and will go a long way to being a healthy adult at 50 years old. We urge you to limit your intake of red meat, processed food and alcohol, while enjoying regular exercise and a diet high in nutritious food. Click here to see the CCAC’s nutrition guidelines.
Click here to read the original journal article: Siegel et al. Increase in Incidence of Colorectal Cancer Among Young Men and Women in the United States.Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2009; 18 (6)
It’s National Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week.
After the cut, read up on just a few of the many organizations focusing on the needs of young adults living with cancer.
We received this message on our Facebook wall. It raises some very important questions surrounding colorectal cancer and the CCAC’s message. Please read on, and join in the discussion.
“I keep hearing how CRC is ‘preventable’. How is it preventable? Eating right? Exercise? Healthy lifestyle? So how come most of the people I know with this disease, myself included have been doing all the right things and still get diagnosed at stage III or IV?? Did we not eat well enough? Did we not exercise enough?… Are we to feel guilty that somehow it’s our own fault? Is this the message that we want to deliver?”
To the poster of this message:
We wish we could easily answer your questions and address your frustrations. Perhaps our messages have inadvertently conflicted with our conviction that no patient should ever feel guilty or embarrassed about receiving a diagnosis. The truth is, when you become a colorectal cancer patient, your past doesn’t matter- what matters is your future. Nobody deserves to be diagnosed with cancer. Everybody deserves the chance to overcome it.
Every day, the CCAC fights to deliver the message that colorectal cancer is Preventable, Treatable and Beatable. But every year, thousands are diagnosed with the disease, and worse yet, thousands will lose their lives. How are we able to maintain hope when the disease is so deadly? What do these three little words mean to us?