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  • Sexual Health Survey

    Posted 4/24/2014 by hhill
      I am delighted to write about an opportunity to make a difference in our understanding of sexual health challenges for women after breast cancer treatment. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I hae frequently written about this topic, and that there really is little helpful information to share. We know that the physical and psychological blows and changes associated with breast cancer are never sexual enhancements, and we know that many women, many couples, struggle to regain a satisfying and loving intimate relationship. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Eat Whatever You Want

    Posted 4/23/2014 by hhill
      I love reading articles and studies that clearly lay out the fuzzy to non-existant links between diet and cancer. Over the years, so many foods have been recommended as vital to our cancer health. Eat broccoli and blueberries and other "super foods" and you will never get cancer. Or eat almost no fat and the cancer will never return. Or, more dramatically, eat a macrobiotic diet, and you will probably live to be 100 (ok, I am exaggerating there). As it turns out, the more we know, the less connection there seems to be between diet and cancer. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Herbal Supplements are Most Popular CAM

    Posted 4/22/2014 by hhill

      This probably isn't a surprise to anyone, but a recent study suggests both that most people going through cancer treatment use some kind of CAM (complementary/alternative medicine) treatment as well as the standard therapy. It also indicates that herbal supplements are the most popular. That is worrisome to me, as there is the constant question re what exactly is in some of those herbal supplements and might they interact in a negative way with chemotherapy or radiation therapy?

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  • Working Through Cancer

    Posted 4/21/2014 by hhill

      This is another workhorse (sorry, couldn't resist) topic. For many of us, the question about whether we can and should and want to work through treatment is complicated and compelling. Some of us are fortunate to have a choice, meaning that we have supportive work environments and colleagues and benefits that enable us to consider taking time away. Others feel that they have no choice; if they don't work, there is no income. And still others work somewhere that feels impossible while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. 

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  • Thinking about Cancer

    Posted 4/21/2014 by hhill

      First, an apology. I did not write yesterday as the computer access from our cottage was totally impossible. After an hour struggling with the system, I gave up and promised myself, and you, that I would do two today after we got home. Should you be interested (and I can't imagine why you would be), the problem is that the best available internet connection is via satellite, and that is dicey at best and affected by weather. If there are lots of clouds, you can forget it. Then, once a connection is made, I still have to set up the remote access to my hospital computer and then get through two fire walls to access the blog. 

      Today's first offering is about thinking, musing, obsessing about cancer. All of us recall the first days when every thought, every moment, every sentence was about cancer. I remember my long-suffering husband saying one night at dinner: "Do we have to talk about cancer again?" And the answer was "yes", and, because he is a lovely man, he tolerated it. Supported it and me even.

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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.