Cancer Blog

Here's our collection of cancer-related stories. We sift through a variety of stories and share the issues that we think matter to cancer patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and survivors. Learn about current events in the cancer community, human interest stories, and promising technology and treatment advances. Tell us what you think in the Comments section at the bottom of each post.

Note: The information contained in this service is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in the service is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment of any illness, condition or disease.



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A Thankful Thanksgiving

by: cancercompass

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, it might be difficult to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving. However, this is actually the perfect time to step back and remember that despite the difficult experiences you may be going through right now, there are always things to be thankful for.

A recent article on the Huffington Post highlighted five things to be thankful for this holiday season, but I’m guessing that if you put your mind to it, you can come up with more. Whether it is being thankful for the caregiver who has stood by your side or acknowledging a nurse who truly listens, there are always many reasons to be thankful, all the time.

The holiday season can often be a stressful time for everyone – with or without a cancer diagnosis. However, you have the perfect excuse to sit back, relax and let everyone else stress about the little things, because there are more important things to think about.

There is scientific evidence that says relaxation and stress-management can be helpful when going through cancer treatment. Therefore, use the upcoming holidays as a way to get in touch with yourself, and find ways to relax. Focus on the positive, and think of all of the wonderful reasons to be thankful.

Here are some suggestions to get your started on your list of things to be thankful for. Let us know if we missed anything!

Friends and Family – Near and far, it’s always a blessing to have friends and family around you, during Thanksgiving and beyond.

That You’re in Treatment – Going through cancer treatment can be really tough at times, but take comfort in the fact that you are actively fighting the disease. Chemotherapy and radiation may sometimes seem like the enemy, but for many, these treatments are vital.

Doctors and Nurses – Find your favorite nurse and let him/her know this holiday season how they have touched you during your fight.

Holiday Activities – You’re probably going to get a lot of holiday invitations, which might be overwhelming. However, it’s nice to be invited places, and it can also be great to have something fun to look forward to in the near future.

The Holiday Spirit – All around you, people are starting to get into the holiday spirit; they’re laughing more, acting friendlier and letting the holiday cheer envelope them. Try to do the same, and be thankful for the focus on good tidings and positive energy this time of year.

These are just a few things to be thankful for, and I’m sure you can come up with many, many more. Happy Thanksgiving!!



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When Quitting is a Good Thing: The Great American Smokeout

by: cancercompass

As November glides by and the holidays approach, don’t forget to pause for a moment in observance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Also, today marks the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, from the American Cancer Society (ACS), which means today is the perfect day to get the facts about lung cancer. 

The Great American Smokeout on November 15 is marked by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

According to the ACS, lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second-most common cancer in both men and women. Overall, lung cancer accounts for about 14 percent of all new cancers. In 2012, ACS reports that an estimated 226,160 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed, 116,470 men and 109,690 women.

Many assume that lung cancer only affects smokers, but this is far from the truth. Anyone can be diagnosed with lung cancer, from heavy smokers to people who have never been around cigarettes in their lives.

While lung cancer can strike anyone, it is important to note that smoking does in fact increase your risk of developing lung cancer. That’s why ACS has been hosting this important Smokeout event for over 35 years.

Other risk factors for lung cancer include:

•    Secondhand Smoke
•    Age – About 2 out of 3 lung cancers are diagnosed in people over age 65, and most people are older than 45. The average age at diagnosis is 71.
•    Exposure to Asbestos or Other Pollutants
•    Exposure to Radon
•    Genetics & Family History – Genetics may predispose certain people to lung cancer. Individuals with an immediate family member who has or had lung cancer (and who does not or did not smoke) may be more prone to developing the disease.

Never Too Late to Quit

If you currently smoke, it is never too late to quit. In fact, ACS reports that as early as two weeks after quitting smoking, your lung function improves. Quitting smoking can also be beneficial if you have already been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Of course, quitting is by no means an easy task, and many seek help to begin the process. If you are a smoker, try to honor this day by taking time to learn a little bit more about the Great American Smokout. You can also take a look at this helpful guide to quit smoking, or just explore your options. You don’t have to quit smoking today, but today is a good time to consider taking that important step for your health, and for the health of your family and loved ones. 

While the Great American Smokeout is focused strictly on helping people quit smoking, Lung Cancer Awareness Month is about a whole lot more. November is the perfect time to honor our friends and loved ones who are currently dealing with lung cancer, as well as those who have already lost their battle. Take a moment to reach out to those who are living with lung cancer right now, and let them know how much you admire their fight. Remind them that there is always hope, and that you’ll be there every step of the way.

Or, check out some other great ways to get involved this month, from sharing your story to shining a light on the lung cancer vigil.



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Happy Movember!

by: cancercompass

Have you noticed something different going on since the month of November began? Perhaps the men in your life have stopped shaving and have opted to grow something new above their lip? If so, it’s not laziness (well, for some it might be), it’s actually in honor of Movember.

During the month of November, men throughout the United States - and even throughout the world - have started growing moustaches in order to raise awareness and funds in honor of men’s health. Specifically, Movember brings attention to prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

The idea is to register at and start off the month of November with a clean shave. Then, participating men can chuck their razors out the window and let the facial hair grow until December 1. At that point, the men can opt to keep their new ‘do or shave it all off.  As annoying as this may be for the women in their lives, it is important to stand by your prickly men for this important cause.

While some men raise funds and seek out sponsorships, you can certainly support Movember by just growing out those whiskers, or encouraging the men in your life to do the same. When someone asks if you lost your razor, just say: “Nope, I’m growing a moustache in honor of Men’s Health.” You can even take it a step further by providing some of these important facts below, courtesy of

  • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
  • In 2012, 242,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and more than 28,000 men will die of prostate cancer.
  • Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35. In 2012, 8,590 men will be diagnosed with the disease and 360 will die.
  • While not as common, men can get breast cancer. About 2,140 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among men and about 450 men will die from the disease in 2012.
  • More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the US.
  • 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women.

So if you see a man walking down the street rocking a killer moustache, take a moment to stop him and thank him for his efforts this Movember.

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