Living With Cancer: Collateral Damage

“When I was invited to attend a prostate cancer group called ‘Us Too’ in my town, its members were meeting in a private room in our public library. About eight men, some accompanied by their wives, had great difficulty communicating their discomfort about urine leaks and diapers. They wanted to know what strategies my gynecological cancer group used to talk about sexual issues. To alleviate their daily problems, the participants needed professional help that I could not furnish.

“Sexual dysfunction and incontinence in prostate cancer survivors underscore a quandary that shadows oncology. As we all realize, procedures that prolong lives also impair them. Yet cancer patients who must forfeit quality of life to gain quantity of life rarely receive adequate warning before treatment or guidance afterward.”


Easing Cancer's Effects through Focus on Relationships

“Cancer patients look to oncology specialists for highly skilled treatment. Yet others may affect their disease experiences – their partners, wives, husbands or close family members.

“In recent years, there has been growing recognition that close relationships are important to fostering good cancer care. Treating the whole patient transcends beyond physical medicine to address cancer’s psychosocial impact as well, including stresses on partnerships and families.

“Psychologist Sharon L. Manne, associate director for population science at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, studies cancer’s effect on relationships, especially couples. Her work explores emotional and psychological needs, ways to increase communication and methods of strengthening intimacy between partners.

” ‘Most people don’t expect to ever be diagnosed with cancer. Coping is important,’ Manne says. In her work, she has found that developing more relationship support and intimacy reduces stress and facilitates well-being. ‘As a research center, our goal is to improve quality of life for patients and families.’ “


Worse Anxiety/Depression Symptoms in Patients Adopting ‘Helper’ Role in Breast Cancer Internet Support Group

“In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lepore et al found that patients assigned a helper role in a breast cancer Internet support group had worse anxiety/depression symptoms after completion of the intervention than those not assigned a helper role…

“In the study, 183 women diagnosed in the past 36 months with nonmetastatic breast cancer who reported elevated anxiety or depression were randomly assigned to a standard Internet support group condition (n = 95) or an enhanced prosocial condition (n = 88). Both conditions included professionally facilitated live 90-minute weekly chat sessions for 6 weeks and access to a discussion board…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Despite the successful manipulation of supportive behaviors, the [prosocial Internet support group] did not produce better mental health outcomes in distressed survivors of breast cancer relative to [a standard Internet support group]. The prosocial manipulation may have inadvertently constrained women from expressing their needs openly, and thus, they may not have had their needs fully met in the group.’ ”


Three-Quarters of Depressed Cancer Patients do not Receive Treatment for Depression; New Approach Could Transform Care

“Three papers published in The Lancet Psychiatry, The Lancet, and The Lancet Oncology reveal that around three-quarters of cancer patients who have major depression are not currently receiving treatment for depression, and that a new integrated treatment program is strikingly more effective at reducing depression and improving quality of life than current care.

“An analysis of data from more than 21,000 patients attending cancer clinics in Scotland, UK, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that major depression is substantially more common in cancer patients than in the general population. Major depression was most common in patients with lung cancer (13%) and lowest in those with genitourinary cancer (6%). Moreover, nearly three quarters (73%) of depressed cancer patients were not receiving treatment.

“To address the problem of inadequate treatment the SMaRT Oncology-2 randomised trial, published in The Lancet, evaluated the effectiveness of a new treatment program called ‘Depression Care for People with Cancer’ (DCPC). DCPC is delivered by a team of specially trained cancer nurses and psychiatrists, working in collaboration with the patient’s cancer team and general practitioner, and is given as part of cancer care. It is a systematic treatment program that includes both antidepressants and psychological therapy.”


Support Team Aiding Caregivers of Cancer Patients Shows Success, Researchers Report

“Many caregivers of terminal cancer patients suffer depression and report regret and guilt from feeling they could have done more to eliminate side effects and relieve the pain. So researchers devised and tested an intervention that quickly integrates a cancer support team to guide caregivers and their patients through difficult end-of-life treatment and decisions.”


Preventive Counseling Program Helps Children of Cancer Patients

“A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family, and a significant number of children of cancer patients may be at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. A new analysis published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, suggests that family dysfunction may increase a child’s risk of experiencing such problems after learning of a parent’s illness.

“Approximately 21% of all newly diagnosed cancer patients are between the ages of 25 and 54 years, and many may have dependent children living with them at home. While most children and adolescents cope well with a parent’s illness, some can become highly distressed or develop psychosocial issues. Therefore, it is important to know which factors may affect a children’s adjustment to a parent’s cancer diagnosis and to develop specific screening tools and healthcare programs for children who may go on to experience problems.”


What Cancer Costs You Later: $4,000 a Year

“Having cancer is bad enough. And the lifetime consequences have been well-documented — a higher risk of other cancers, heart disease and general weakness from the treatment.

“Now a new federal study shows there’s a financial burden too — on average, $4,000 a year for men and $3,000 for women over and above what people who haven’t had cancer spend.

“And that’s just direct medical costs. Cancer survivors also have thousands in lost productivity, from having to cut work hours or even quit their jobs, the report finds.”


What Cancer Costs You Later: $4,000 a Year

“Having cancer is bad enough. And the lifetime consequences have been well-documented — a higher risk of other cancers, heart disease and general weakness from the treatment.

“Now a new federal study shows there’s a financial burden too — on average, $4,000 a year for men and $3,000 for women over and above what people who haven’t had cancer spend.

“And that’s just direct medical costs. Cancer survivors also have thousands in lost productivity, from having to cut work hours or even quit their jobs, the report finds.”


What Cancer Costs You Later: $4,000 a Year

“Having cancer is bad enough. And the lifetime consequences have been well-documented — a higher risk of other cancers, heart disease and general weakness from the treatment.

“Now a new federal study shows there’s a financial burden too — on average, $4,000 a year for men and $3,000 for women over and above what people who haven’t had cancer spend.

“And that’s just direct medical costs. Cancer survivors also have thousands in lost productivity, from having to cut work hours or even quit their jobs, the report finds.”