Personal Relationships

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Cancer in the Elderly

by Hyman B. Muss, MD

“He’s too old to treat.” I hear it all the time. It’s a sign of age bias as well as not being caught up on the major advances in cancer treatment – including treatment of older people.

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Maintaining and Enhancing Spousal Relationships after a Cancer Diagnosis

by Hoda Badr, PhD

When one partner has cancer, both partners and their relationship are affected. Although cancer is a health crisis that can wreak havoc on any relationship, many marriages survive, and even fl ourish, after cancer. Approaching cancer as “our problem” and finding opportunities to continue to connect as a couple can help to minimize both partners’ emotional distress. It is possible to fight the battle against cancer together and to strengthen your relationship.

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Coping with Cancer - It’s a Family Affair

by Michelle Riba, MD, MS, and Karen Hammelef, MS

Like any chronic medical condition, cancer is a family illness. Everyone is affected in some way. In fact, people with cancer frequently tell us that coping with a cancer diagnosis is worse for their families than it is for themselves. Since each family’s situation is unique, it is impossible to generalize. There are, however, some important points to convey to families when a loved one has cancer.

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Opening a Door

by Rabbi Ed Feinstein

No one is strong enough to handle life alone, much less a life-threatening disease. My isolation way up in the lonely garrets of stubborn masculine self-sufficiency deprived others who wanted and needed to help me. And while I built this edifice of stoic fortitude with its endless network of catwalks and trapdoors, I was blind to the fact that the cancer had spread, metastasizing to my wife and my children, to my family and friends.

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What Cancer Survivors Need

by Julie K. Silver, MD

When I went through the diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer as a 38 year old mother of three young children, I was fortunate to have many offers of help from those who cared about me. People were so helpful, in fact, that I felt I couldn’t possibly ask them to do more than what they were already doing for my family and me. Even if I really needed help with something in particular, I kept my silence.

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Helping Your Family Cope When the Diagnosis Is Cancer

by Tamara Shulman, PhD

Cancer changes your world forever. Shock, anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty are common reactions. You need someone to listen and offer emotional support as you consult with professionals to learn about your particular cancer and treatment choices. Family and loved ones are dramatically affected. While you experience acute physical and emotional stress, your spouse or partner rides the emotional roller coaster alongside you.

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E-mail Etiquette

by Debra Jarvis

I was working as an oncology chaplain when I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. I ended up having a mastectomy and then chemotherapy. I spent six weeks at home after surgery, and I found that, next to stool softeners, e-mail was my best friend. E-mail is very popular these days, so I would like to share a few insights about words, helpful and unhelpful, in e-mail.

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Talking to Your Kids about Cancer

by Fred Wilkinson, LICSW

Cancer. Can there be a more terrifying word to hear? Talking to children about a diagnosis and treatment can be a struggle for many adults, who are often still trying to find the right words for themselves. There are many factors to take into account when talking with children. Among these are the age of the child, the child’s developmental level, and the child’s prior experience with cancer.

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