For most patients at the Rogel Cancer Center, their treatment plan was determined in part by the results on a pathology report. Pathologists are a crucial part of every patient’s health care team, but their work usually happens behind the scenes in a laboratory setting. Michigan Medicine pathologists now have a larger, state-of-the-art space to study, understand, track and decode each patient’s biopsy so a precise diagnosis can be made and treatment can begin.
Harry Robins, now 71, got the shock of his life in July 2014 when he learned about the surgery he needed to treat the squamous cell tongue cancer that showed signs of spreading. The surgery was way more invasive than he expected, involved removing a third of his tongue and required months of intensive rehabilitation to recover. He and his wife believe they made it through this trying time only with the help of the care team.
When cancer treatment takes the pleasure out of eating food, we turn to the importance of fueling our bodies during a time it needs it most. Different types of food provide different nutrients our bodies need. For example, protein is an essential nutrient for healing tissue and maintaining the immune system, as well as for tissue growth. It helps you maintain muscle mass, a factor that leads to healing more quickly. Adding calories from carbohydrates and fat gives you strength to power through treatment and ensures that protein is best used by the body.
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.
Marty Schultz, 65, spent two years dealing with fatigue and sinus drainage before a local otolaryngologist took a biopsy. The Pinconning resident was diagnosed with low grade olfactory neuroblastoma, a rare cancer of the sinuses. He was referred to Erin McKean, M.D., MBA, the division chief of rhinology and skull base surgery at Michigan Medicine. Schultz was not amused but, as someone who relies on humor, found himself making jokes with his brother, Joe, who accompanied him to his initial visit. McKean didn’t miss a beat and joked right back.
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.
Anxiety is a common and understandable experience for cancer patients. Your oncology provider, primary care physician or a psychiatric provider could prescribe anxiety medication, in addition to behavioral approaches. Most anxiety medications do not directly interact with cancer treatments, but may cause additional side effects. A Rogel Cancer Center pharmacist explains what you need to know.