What do you think is the most commonly asked question of a person who has, or has had, cancer? If you guessed, “How are you?” you got it right.
What to say to someone you care for who has cancer or another debilitating disease:
“Feel free to cry with me, to talk, or not to talk. I’ll take my lead from you.”
Read Jane Brody’s column at the NYTimes.
“Cancer was a piece of cake,” Virginia Harrod says. “It was the lymphedema that almost killed me.”
NPR reports that nine months after Harrod’s mastectomy, her cat scratched her hand. She wasn’t concerned at first, but her doctor “recognized her symptoms as a serious and advancing infection.”
Harrod was in the hospital for eight days, and that’s when she first learned she had lymphedema. Over the next 10 months, she was readmitted twice more with dangerous infections.
Lymphedema (secondary/acquired) is a common complication of breast cancer treatment, but it gets short shrift from doctors when patients are assessing treatment risks. My experience confirms this research finding.
Continue reading “Lymph node transfer is a viable treatment for severe lymphedema”
If you’re a tech geek, you probably read the webcomic xkcd.
If you’re not, you may not have heard of it. The cartoonist, Randall Munroe, made his doodles public in 2005. His tagline for the xkcd: “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”
However, many of his cartoons might be better thought of as infographics. This is one of them.
Continue reading “Did the treatment work?”
The past 4.5 months have both zoomed by like a Ducati on the racetrack and crawled like I-5 at 5 pm when there’s a week night Mariners or Seahawks game.
This exercise – write a post a day for a month – has grounded me in the reality that is breast cancer in ways I did not imagine when I got a wild hair and decided to do this. It’s been challenging in the time commitment, in the search for a nugget to jumpstart 700-1000+ words each evening, in the discipline needed to write when I didn’t feel like writing.
Continue reading “Where do I go from here?”
What is cancer?
More than 150 years ago, Rudolf Virchow described cancer as “pathological cell growth.” However we still have no scientific consensus for the cause of this disease, which Hippocrates (460–370 BC), the father of medicine, is credited with naming the carcinoma.
Continue reading “The metabolic theory of cancer”