National Cancer Survivors Day

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Emotional Well-being

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Defining a word that’s hard to define

by Roger and Kathy Cawthon

How do you define a survivor? We’ve heard responses ranging from “You are a survivor from the instant a tumor begins to form” to “You are a survivor as soon as all of your treatments are over” to “You are a survivor as soon as the tumor is surgically removed.” Our favorite response is that “You become a survivor the moment you learn your diagnosis and make up your mind to fight.”

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Feel Like You’re Losing Hope?
Find Something to Look Forward To

by Dave Balch

During the darkest hours of my wife’s chemotherapy, we received a postcard from a friend who was on vacation in Tahiti. It depicted a string of bungalows stretching out across a beautiful blue-green lagoon, all framed by palm trees. It was dreamy, to say the least, and couldn’t have been any further from where we were at the moment we received it, both physically and emotionally.

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Healing Through Pet Therapy

by Pamela R. Massey, PT, MS, and
Nyla Jacobs, PT, MS

While dogs are being trained to detect melanoma, lung cancer, and many other diseases through smell identification, at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, we have discovered another use for man's best friend - animal assisted therapy. Four years ago, the Rehabilitation Services Department developed a pet therapy program that uses dogs to assist therapist in providing occupational and physical therapy to people with cancer. WAGS (Welcoming Animals Giving Support) has become a favorite and successful therapy program for both inpatients and staff.

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How To Manage Your Emotions,
Especially during Treatment

  • Keep your future goals in mind to keep your spirits up during therapy.
  • When a bad day comes along don’t dwell on it – remember the good days.
  • Try distracting yourself with a book, a hobby or a walk outdoors or have something to look forward to.
  • Rely on family and friends to help you during treatment.
  • Share your feelings with someone outside of your family and friends.
  • Seek trained professional help from counselors.

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