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  • Funding via Crowd Sourcing

    Posted 3/28/2017 by hhill

      It is a real pleasure to share this information. My oncology social work colleague, Christina Bach, at UPenn wrote this and passed it along through our national Listserv. We are all painfully aware of the rising costs of cancer care. Insurance seems to cover less, and there are many other associated expenses that are not relevant at all to insurance. I, too, have talked a few times with patients about the possibility of crowd sourcing to raise money for cancer care, but Ms. Bach put together a really wonderful fact sheet.

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  • Adoption after Cancer

    Posted 3/27/2017 by hhill

      This is a happy topic. One outcome of cancer surgery can be fertility loss. Men are routinely (we hope) referred for sperm-banking before beginning treatment. Sometimes the situation is too urgent for that short delay, and sometimes it does not happen for a variety of other reasons. It is more complicated for women. Yes, it is possible to work with an IVF group and harvest eggs, but that is a big and expensive production that is not always covered by insurance. Additionally it takes a while, and that lost time may be unwise. Finally, although the IVF process has become more sophisticated and there was drugs to use that don't seem to be potentially dangerous (e.g. more estrogen) for women with some cancers, it can still feel a bit dicey.

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  • Beware of GOP Bill and Cancer Coverage

    Posted 3/24/2017 by hhill

      Sometimes politics just cannot be ignored. I realize that today's entry will have a pretty short shelf life of interest, but it seems vital this morning. As everyone knows, the planned House vote for repeal and replace the ACA has been delayed until today. The more details that are coming out, the more alarming the proposed bill seems to be.

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  • Cancer and Sexuality and Men

    Posted 3/23/2017 by hhill

      In keeping this series going a little longer, today's offering is the parallel Cancer Net article re men's issues. We all know that there are many biological and psychological differences between the sexes, and this speaks clearly and helpfully to problems faced by some men who have undergone cancer treatment.

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  • More on Sexuality

    Posted 3/22/2017 by hhill

      Actually today's entry is more specific, but a general title seemed more likely to attract interest. Many women after menopause struggle with the unfortunately-named vaginal atrophy. This describes the thinning of the vaginal wall that can result in less lubrication and more discomfort/pain with intercourse. Women who don't have a cancer history have more options in dealing with this than we do. The cancer catch, once again, is estrogen. Estrogen can play a role in breast cancer and some GYN cancers, and many women post cancer treatment are on estrogen-suppressing drugs (think tamoxifen or the AIs).

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

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About the Blogger

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C is the Manager of Oncology Social Work at BIDMC. For more than thirty years, her daily work at BIDMC has been primarily focused on supporting women with breast cancer. A nationally known writer and speaker, she was the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's first Hatcher Survivorship Professor. In 1993, and again in 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through the standard treatments of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy. These experiences have given her great credibility with her patients and transformed her life's work to her life. Ms. Schnipper lives gratefully with her husband in an ancient farmhouse outside of Boston and spends as much time as possible in a water front cottage on Mt Desert Island. Between them, they have five adult children and seven grandchildren; she claims biological responsibility for two and three of them.