Welcome to the June 2017 issue of CONQUER: the patient voice. Your oncology navigator has provided you a copy of this patient journal so that you become empowered with even more information. (You can also subscribe to get future issues for free by completing and mailing the postcard on the front cover.) Let me give you a quick overview of what this issue contains. It certainly provides some information for everyone!
There are several patient stories and survivorship stories—hear from patients who have dealt with or are currently dealing with prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, neuroendocrine tumor, lung cancer, as well as life after cancer.
Although a diagnosis of cancer becomes a priority once identified, many patients today have additional illnesses and disorders to deal with, some of which can affect their cancer treatment. Learn about the needs and approach to treatment of patients with cancer who also happen to have diabetes, a chronic disease with serious health complications. There is also a special article that addresses the supportive needs of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) patient population.
Genetics is an ever-changing area in the science of cancer, and although you may have been screened or even genetically tested in the past, there are new tests developing every day. Learn about some of the latest new genetic tests. These may apply to your clinical situation, which would warrant talking to your doctors and possibly getting tested again.
Cervical cancer diagnosis and treatment has made incredible strides in recent years, and now is finally one of the few truly preventable cancers. Read about these current advances and learn about the importance of vaccinating our children, boys and girls, to prevent them from getting cervical cancer or head and neck cancer as adults.
We would be remiss if we didn’t include information for family caregivers. Caregivers get drafted to become a caregiver, usually overnight, and without preparation. They are busy trying to balance many more responsibilities than ever before. Caregiver fatigue is real. Read about the importance of taking care of yourself, as a caregiver, and not letting your own physical and mental health be put on hold.
Finally, patients with cancer often want to find “treatments” that they can do for themselves, so they may embark on alternative medicine, complementary medicine, or integrative medicine. But what are the differences between these various types of approaches, and what is safe to do? Read an article that is designed to help answer that important question, and remember, never start any treatments, including over-the-counter options, or things you read about online, without discussing it with your doctor first. You would be surprised that quite often what sounds safe may not be that at all, especially when used together with the treatments you are receiving for your cancer.
So as promised, there is a lot of information for you and your loved ones to read and ideas to learn from. We hope that this educational information prompts discussions with your families, as well as with your oncology providers. Enjoy reading, and be well!