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Mind, Body and Side Effects

Cancer and Anxiety: Wasted Time and Energy

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to situations with a perceived threat. As anyone with a cancer diagnosis knows, nothing threatens the balance of your day-to-day life more than cancer. Patients may struggle at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, waiting for test results or even after treatment ends when they’re faced with fears about recurrence.

Striving for Solutions

Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or has a loved one with cancer understands the number of concerns it raises. Hearing “it’s cancer” brings forth big-picture worries about life and death, how to pay for treatment, telling family or friends and whether you’ll be healthy in the future. Then there are day-to-day concerns like how to get to treatment, coping with side effects and how to cook meals when you feel unwell. It’s a lot to deal with. Social workers understand and are here to help you get through it.

Depression and Cancer

Up to half of cancer patients experience some form of emotional distress related to their cancer diagnosis or treatment, says Michelle Riba, M.D., M.S., director of the PsychOncology Program at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. That can come in the form of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Future Families

Cancer treatment can impact fertility in women and men. However, many young cancer patients are not yet thinking about starting a family or are focused on treatment and getting well. As the rate of younger patients who survive cancer increases, studies show they often regret not having more information on steps to preserve their fertility. We sat down with two key members of Michigan Medicine’s Fertility Preservation Program: Molly Moravek, M.D., MPH, the medical director; and Erin Ellman, LMSW, fertility preservation coordinator.

Food Myths Debunked

Every time you turn on the news, browse the web or reach for a magazine, there is a new study about what foods are good (or bad) for your health. Many are focused on foods that prevent cancer, cause cancer or fuel cancer. It is easy to become confused. Striving for the perfect anti-cancer diet can be stressful. We say SIMPLIFY. Fueling your body during cancer treatment is crucial, but not complex. And, no single food is going to dramatically change your path to wellness

How to Cope with the Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy treats cancer by using high energy to kill tumor cells. Many people who get radiation therapy have skin changes and some fatigue. Side effects vary from person to person; depend on the radiation dose, and the part of the body being treated. Some patients have no side effects at all, while others have quite a few. There is no way to predict who will have side effects.

Easing Stress Using Guided Imagery

We’re offering 5 different strategies you can use to reclaim a sense of control when you feel overwhelmed with emotions or anxiety. These strategies are shown by research to be effective and, just as importantly, the patients we serve in the Rogel Cancer Center tell us these tips help.

Men and Lymphedema

There’s a stereotype that only women with breast cancer develop lymphedema, but that’s not true. The lymphatic system is not significantly different between men and women. There’s no difference between men with lymphedema and women with lymphedema. So, any cancer-related treatment that removes of blocks lymph nodes can cause lymphedema. The only cancer treatment that only men need to be concerned about is for prostate cancer.

How to Maintain Weight During Cancer Treatment

It’s important to include enough carbohydrates, protein and fat in your meals to maintain weight during treatments because too much weight loss can actually slow down/delay treatment. But, side effects of treatment, including loss of appetite, can make it challenging to eat enough food to get the calories your body needs.

Joint Pain: Is it Just the Weather?

Too often people blame the winter weather and extreme temperatures for their new or increased joint pain and inflammation, also called arthralgia. If these same people are patients being treated with chemotherapy, the pain could be related to treatment. Joint pain can be debilitating, and can cause a decrease in daily functioning and quality of life.