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  • CancerNet Resources

    Posted 8/26/2016 by hhill

      Although I often write about and refer you to their materials, you may not have really noticed Cancer Net, the patient information arm of ASCO. Identifying accurate and reliable internet sources of information can be tricky, and this is one of the best. There are certainly others that are specific to one cancer type or general, but there is nothing that is more extensive, user friendly, and helpful.

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  • Has the Cancer Come Back

    Posted 8/25/2016 by hhill
    This is really it: the crux of the whole experience. Is the cancer back? Does that back pain or persistent cough or stomach cramps mean something terrible or is it another "normal" ache or pain?  Having had cancer turns us all into hypochondriacs, and we become very (? too much?) aware of our bodies. If you don't already know it, here is the most important and, usually, comforting thing to remember: Live by the "Two Week Rule". With the obvious exception of things like you think you may be having a heart attack, our doctors generally suggest that we wait for two weeks before calling with a worry. Most things are long gone before two weeks. If the ache or pain or whatever persists for two weeks, go ahead and call--but remind yourself that most things are not cancer!
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  • Workplace Issues

    Posted 8/24/2016 by hhill

      One of the first questions for most people diagnosed with cancer (coming shortly after: "Am I going to die?") is "Will I be able to keep working?". Obviously there is no single answer. That decision depends on the treatment, the demands of the job, the relative support available in the workplace, possible flexibility of schedule, finances. I have known people who worked right through quite rigorous treatments, with a little time off as needed to be here for infusions or appointments, and others who quickly decided that the right choice was time away from work. To some extent, the choice about "time away" is a luxury. If you don't get paid unless you show up, it is more difficult to choose a leave.

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  • What if We had to Choose Who Lives

    Posted 8/23/2016 by hhill

      This is not strictly a cancer question, but it may become one at some point. As a country, we are starting the painful conversation about limited resources and sky-rocketing costs and making painful decisions about care. There are places in the world where not everyone can have dialysis or a 4th line chemotherapy treatment or major cardiac surgery. If you have X amount of money in the total health care budget, do you spend it on immunizations for kids or pre-natal care or leukemia chemotherapy?

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  • Catheters and Ports

    Posted 8/22/2016 by hhill

      This is either completely relevant to your situation or of little interest. However, before you just click off the site, please consider whether it is helpful to have some information about ports and catheters. Even if, blessedly, this is not a current issue, it might come up for you or someone whom you know in the future. Ports and catheters are devices that are surgically implanted to provide a permanent (at least as long as it is there) access to a vein. This means that multiple painful attempts to find/access an arm or hand vein are no longer necessary. For people who are facing a long period of chemotherapy, a port is often a very good option.

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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