Where Can I Go for Cancer Rehabilitation?
by Michael D. Stubblefield, MD
There are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. This number will increase to an estimated 20 million by the year 2026. Greater than half of these survivors will experience complications of cancer and its treatment, which can profoundly affect their function and quality of life. Moreover, finding rehabilitation services to help improve function and quality of life after cancer can be a challenge for many survivors.
Wings for Life
For cancer survivors, distant travel is sometimes necessary to reach a cancer center or hospital for treatment or a second opinion that is not available in their local communities. Various air transport organizations provide free or reduced-cost flights to assist people who need help. The following is a partial listing of organizations that provide or coordinate flights for cancer survivors and their families.
Guide to Lodging Accommodations
There are several reasons why people with cancer and their families may decide to travel to receive medical care. For cancer survivors and their families, finding accommodations can be a challenge. Many facilities offer lodging for free or for a nominal fee. Each temporary lodging program will have its own rules and criteria to qualify for services.
What about a Support Group?
by Mary C. McCarthy, BSN, RN-BC
Support groups are frequently recommended for people who are facing a change or challenge in life. Groups of people gathering for information, help, and networking is nothing new. A cancer diagnosis often leads a person or a family to find a support group.
Occupational Therapy for Cancer Survivors
by Claudine Campbell, MOT, OTR/L, CLT
Cancer and its treatment can hinder your participation in important and meaningful activities in many different ways. For example, the various side effects of treatment can impede your ability to take a shower every day, prepare meals, or do the laundry. Work responsibilities, leisure interests, social activities, and caring for your children can also become more challenging during cancer treatment and recovery. Can you relate to any of these scenarios? If so, you’re not alone. And there may be something that can help – occupational therapy.
Camp Kesem is by big kids for little kids whose parents have cancer. Anchored in a network of free summer camps, Camp Kesem provides a peer-based support system for children affected by a parent’s cancer. Led by the passionate efforts of college students across the country, Camp Kesem offers what these kids need most – support, courage, empathy, and fun – as they face realities no child should have to face.
Misunderstanding of Palliative Care Prevents People from Getting the Care They Need
Palliative care’s association with end of life has created an “identity problem” that means the majority of people facing a serious illness do not benefit from treatment of the physical and psychological symptoms that occur throughout their disease, according to an article co-authored by palliative care experts at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, the American Cancer Society, and Johns Hopkins University.
Learning to Advocate for Yourself
by Irene Goss-Werner, MSW, LICSW
Communicating your needs when you have cancer may seem straightforward, but for many people, self-advocacy can be daunting. However, once you learn some basic self-advocacy skills, you’ll find that communicating your needs to your medical team, partner, family, friends, or colleagues will allow others to be involved in your care in the ways you want them to be. By using the following purposeful, thoughtful approaches to communication, you’ll be better able to let others know what is and is not helpful, while enabling yourself to set limits and more easily express your concerns.