How often do you feel pressure to get a good night’s sleep? We often read news headlines about the health effects of sleep deprivation (perhaps at 3 a.m. when we can’t sleep). For some, feeling like we need “enough” sleep can become internalized and take on a life of its own in our thoughts. This, in turn, certainly does not help induce sleep.
Worry about sleep affects a huge segment of the population, particularly those who have been diagnosed with cancer. While problems sleeping are certainly not unique to those with cancer, the prevalence of insomnia among those diagnosed is estimated at between 30-60% at some point during or after treatment.
Caregivers play a critical role in the treatment, support, and recovery of individuals with cancer, yet often times, their emotional and informational needs get overlooked. Caregivers have such a meaningful role in cancer care, and it is important to recognize and address their needs. These needs vary based on the health of the care-recipient, the physical and emotion needs of the recipient, the resources of and the demands on the caregiver, as well as the family or relationship dynamics.
The Cancer Support Community constantly strives to better understand the experiences of patients and caregivers to best meet their needs. Often we conduct in-depth surveys on specific concerns or cancer diagnoses when we are considering adding or modifying programs. This past spring, we conducted such a survey of individuals (both patients and caregivers) affected by melanoma. We, along with partner organizations, conducted an online survey of 140 individuals diagnosed with melanoma and 64 caregivers assessing experiences, beliefs, attitudes, preferences for information and support.
Clinical trials can offer cancer patients access to the most innovative treatments, high levels of care and hope for a better future. Yet, fewer than 5% of adults with cancer participate in clinical trials. One year ago, the Cancer Support Community (CSC) created an online survey focused on cancer clinical trials with the goal of using the information to design an educational program. Results from this survey highlighting the experiences, beliefs, and preferences of cancer patients as they relate to clinical trials were published in a report that is now available to the public.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important to give particular awareness to the unique experiences and needs of people with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). These are individuals diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, meaning the cancer has spread to more distant parts of their bodies. Metastatic breast cancer has become a disease that often can be managed for a longer period of time through various treatments.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month also includes raising awareness of some of the challenges those with breast cancer routinely face. Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is a lot for anyone to process, emotionally and medically. On top of this, many women undergoing a mastectomy must make decisions about breast reconstruction. For women and their loved ones facing these decisions, obtaining information about reconstruction procedures and outcomes and knowing what the best choices are for themselves is not easy. Many considerations may influence the decisions women ultimately make.
One of the most complex aspects of living with cancer involves talking about cancer with others in our lives., especially when it comes to telling children about a loved one’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. It can be hard to know what to say. What exactly should children be told? What will they understand? What is going through their heads when they hear “cancer” and what are they thinking about everything that comes with it?
It is normal to feel overwhelmed when first diagnosed or beginning treatment, and the last thing you want to deal with is having conversations you may be afraid to have. That said, children often sense that something is amiss, making these conversations inevitable. At the Cancer Support Community, our goal is to help facilitate the conversations by providing background and information to help you know what to say.
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is in full swing, and there is a lot to talk about. Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common type of cancer affecting men in the United States and there are more than 2 million survivors of prostate cancer across the country. Moreover, one in seven men will become diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Prostate health affects all men and their loved ones.
Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. Cancer survivorship is often thought to begin on the day of diagnosis. While the term “survivor” can have different meanings—one thing is clear—the social and emotional needs of people who have ever had cancer are vast. Whether you’re newly diagnosed, in treatment, facing a recurrence or considered cured, cancer survivors have distinct needs, and these needs can change over time.