skip to main content

Spring, 2012

Advocates for detox claim our bodies are continually bombarded with toxins from our food and the environment, such as pesticides, food additives, pollution and cigarette smoke. They claim these toxins build up in our bodies and cause a variety of health problems. In fact, there is no reliable evidence that our bodies are fatigued through normal digestion or that the body retains toxins that are dangerous to our health.

Edward Rosario had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and, between the chemotherapy and the disease itself, his nausea became almost too much to bear. For many cancer patients, nausea is an unwelcome side effect of dealing with the disease and treatment. Although it can be difficult to find relief, there are several ways to combat an unsettled stomach.

Constipation is one symptom that can often lead to nausea and is very common in our Rogel Cancer Center patients. Some causes of constipation are the medications used to treat cancer (such as vincristine and thalidomide), pain medications, some medications used to treat depression or to help with sleep, not drinking enough water or other fluids, inability to exercise, or tumor involvement.

When one's health -- or life -- is at stake, do appearances really matter? According to Claire Weiner, L.M.S.W., a social worker in the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center's PsychOncology Program, that's one of the first questions many patients -- male and female -- wrestle with. Weiner and the other members of the PsychOncology team are quick to remind patients that it's normal -- not vain -- to be concerned about how we look.

As more cancer treatments can be done in an outpatient clinic, rather than requiring overnight hospital stays, the next step in care is to bring more services right to patients' homes. Often, patients or their families are asked to handle connecting or disconnecting catheters or pumps, changing dressings and administering injections themselves.

Once cancer treatment ends, many patients report a lingering sense of guilt -- for the demands the disease placed on their families, for behaviors that they believe (mistakenly or not) may have caused the cancer, or even just simply for having survived when others didn't.