If you are a cancer survivor, fear of cancer recurrence may be one of the hardest things to live with. After you’ve gone through a cancer experience, you may worry in the back of your mind that you’ll hear the phrase “your cancer has returned” one day.
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.
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.
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.
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.