VIGILANCE FOR BRAIN CANCER

Brain cancer is a very serious form of cancer. Recently, Sen. John McCain revealed he has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) – the most aggressive type of brain tumor. GBMs originate in the brain; it does not spread there from another part of the body. The cause is not known. This tumor has no relation to melanoma, the skin cancer for which McCain was treated in the past.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY

Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for cancer. It kills healthy cells along with cancer cells, inflicting damage on the body and seriously compromising the immune system. Chemotherapy also kills most rapidly dividing healthy and cancer cells, but not all the cells are fast growing. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of cancer cells that are slow growing and thus resistant to treatment, do not die. Chemotherapy makes these cells even more numerous as the ratio of highly malignant cells….

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RESTORING DIGNITY AND ’DOS

For many women facing cancer, the most devastating aspect is learning they may lose their hair due to chemotherapy.  “Most women tell me that as soon as they hear the oncologist say, ‘You’re going to lose your hair,’ that’s the last thing they remember hearing,” said Eric Johnson, co-owner, with his wife, Jeletta, of Hair Institute in Lexington. “They can deal with the sickness; they can deal with the treatments; but it’s the hair loss that gets them the most.

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Are you a person with cancer who wants to create a safe, comforting place to express your feelings about dealing with the disease – a place where you can be yourself and find solace? Perhaps you want to write stories about your experience with cancer and how it is affecting you. Do you want to gain deeper insight into who you are and what this illness is about? For any or all of these reasons and more, a journal may be a satisfying and helpful instrument.


In rereading a journal, you will find proof you lived through situations that seemed unbearable. You looked around and wrote down observations. You may feel stronger and wiser when you look back on your former condition and admire the courage of your earlier striving.


Fear can be one of cancer’s worst side effects. For all patients, survivors and caregivers, it is a common companion. Expressive writing can be used to help you overcome your fears, because it uses your imagination – the very thing that generates your fears. By putting your experience in narrative form, you can begin to make sense of it. When you move beyond venting to create a story, either autobiographical or fiction, you incorporate vivid imagery that can bring you closer to your emotions.


Whether you write a story, make a list or simply journal your feelings, this type of writing is a way to manage emotions, cope with the

JOURNALING CAN BE AN IMPORTANT OUTLET WHEN EXPERIENCING CANCER

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines.

more articles by jean jeffers

stressors of mental health issues and physical illness and keep a record of the ups and downs of daily life. It can open you up to a powerful portal for reflection, growth and healing, according to Good Therapy.org.


Research shows there are many benefits to journaling when facing life stresses. Feelings you would most likely bury are brought forward and put on paper. This activity is validating in a myriad of ways and may ease the burden of struggling to manage your feelings on your own.


Journaling can be like talking to a friend or a confidant or having your own ready made therapist available full time, there to listen to you and offer support. Some people maintain they do not have a place to go to express feelings or they do not want to worry friends and family, so their journal is a place where they do not have to put up a brave front. One journaler wrote: “All the possibility of my own death, my disappointment and anger at my own body, my grief over the loss of identity as a ‘healthy person,’ all went into the page.”


Whether you choose to write in a bound book or a notebook or online, journaling can help in your walk with this illness. For more information, check out www.goodtherapy.org.