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Issue Introductions

Turning Knowledge Into Action

Lillie Shockney introduces the June issue, which features articles on misinformation in cancer, the link between alcohol and cancer, sexuality and cancer, and patient stories related to brain cancer, multiple myeloma, melanoma, and more.
June 2022 Vol 8 No 3
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer,
Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Co-Developer of Work Stride—Managing Cancer at Work
Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

Hello everyone and happy summertime! We have finally reached the time to spend more of our days outdoors, gathered with neighbors, family, and friends, and less time cooped up inside. Remember to wear a hat and put on sunblock! Now let me tell you about this issue of CONQUER: the patient voice.

I am only focusing on a few of the articles that appear in this issue, but trust that you will read this issue from cover to cover.

First, hear from the voice of a 16-year-old high school student diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor who has beaten the odds and is living her life with more purpose than ever, and at such a young age. Her message? Don’t ever give up hope. We also provide an article from a doctor about brain cancers.

One article is written by a wife who is serving as the caregiver to her husband, who is dealing with stage IV melanoma. She describes how she is experiencing this disease “with him,” which is certainly true when we are thrust into taking care of someone we love who has been diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Read how she is experiencing his highs and lows, the symptoms and side effects, while remaining steadfast in trying to be upbeat for him as much as she can. The real message, however, is that caregivers have a tough road to hoe and need support themselves during such times that are endured now and will also lie ahead.

A 34-year-old man describes his journey with multiple myeloma and how for a period of time he kept asking the question, “Why me?” and eventually came to realize that the real question should be, “Why not me?” (Statistically, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime.) His new purpose in life? To serve as a patient advocate.

Read about someone’s experience with breast cancer and the things she wasn’t told as a patient. This article made me sad, because, frankly, everything that she writes should have been told to her and not come as a surprise later, which she had to figure out herself. She also has a message for you of the value of building a solid support system around you. Do that, if you haven’t already.

An oncology nurse provides wonderful insight into sexuality and cancer, focusing on the impact it has on men with cancer. Oncologists and surgeons rarely discuss it, which is a shame. It is an important topic and should get airtime to talk it through. Sexual health is part of being a human being, part of normalcy for most, and can become derailed by cancer and its treatments. Learn some likely new information that she shares with you.

A lot of great information is available about cancer and its treatment, but there is probably even more misinformation out there today. How to figure out fact from fiction can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Read the article from a physician who provides tips on how to distinguish reality from fantasy.

Finally, in this issue we also present current research on the link between alcohol and several types of cancer, such as breast, head and neck, and liver cancer.

We hope you find all the articles in this issue of CONQUER magazine helpful and enlightening. Enjoy your summer, make plans for gatherings outdoors with others, and remember, our goal is to provide articles and stories that help you through your challenging times as a patient, caregiver, or survivor. Be well.

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Last modified: June 20, 2022

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