Category Archives: Cancer raises many questions

Do superfoods prevent cancer? Five myths around cancer dispelled

Miracle cures, conspiracies and complete fabrication are rife around cancer. From superfoods and shark cartilage to big pharma schemes, Nic Fleming unpacks five myths around its cause, prevention and cure

Watch out for deodorants. Avoid power lines. And bras. Make sure you get your goji berries. And don’t forget the shark cartilage pills. Having to deal with misinformed advice like this is unfortunately all too common for people with cancer.

There is plenty of accurate and useful information for patients – and those close to them – on the internet. Sadly, there are also a lot of half-truths, exaggeration and nonsense.

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Source: gad

How can I be there for someone with cancer? Questions friends and family wish they’d asked – video

What is my role? How can I help? How is this going to affect us? And who can I ask? The friends and family of cancer patients share what they wish they’d known from the start.

Cancer Research UK offers a cancer helpline, where expert information nurses answer questions about cancer in confidence, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, on 0808 800 4040; plus an interactive community discussion forum, Cancer Chat; a dedicated About Cancer section of the website, providing clear information about cancer, its treatment and implications; and a cancer clinical trial database – so no question you have about cancer goes unanswered

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Source: gad

'The treatment affects one body, but not just one person’: meet the cancer nurses

CRUK nurses Karen Turner and Martin Ledwick work in different fields, but their responsibility remains the same: to be supportive and informative figures in the lives of cancer patients and their families

Karen Turner, senior research nurse
Karen Turner has seen many changes since she started training as a nurse more than 20 years ago. But one thing, she says, hasn’t changed: cancer is an illness that affects everything. “The treatment affects one body, but not just the one person,” says Turner. “The whole family can be affected.”

As a senior research nurse in the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) clinical trials unit in Birmingham, Turner balances patient care and support with the practical elements involved in running complex clinical trials, as well as working to promote trial awareness on a national scale. As a public and patient-facing “voice” of clinical trial research, she naturally needs to keep up to date with the latest information, but also with how best to explain it.

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Source: gad

How do I support a friend with cancer?

Knowing how to be there for a friend with cancer can be incredibly challenging. You may not know what to say, but the worst thing you can do is say nothing, explains Nic Fleming

“One particular friend has been unbelievably amazing,” says Sarah. “She has a high-powered job and two small children, yet she found time to ring me nearly every day of the six weeks between my diagnosis and my surgery. That meant a lot to me.”

Sarah (not her real name), a teacher and mother-of-two, spotted a lump while on holiday but was not too concerned when she went to get it checked out in September. She describes the moment her doctor told her she had cancer as “like being hit by a ton of bricks”.

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Source: gad

What do I need to know about cancer clinical trials?

They’re vital to developing new cancer treatments, but clinical trials can appear hard to access and confusing for patients. David Cox explains everything from the types of trial to what they could entail

Clinical trials for cancer are crucial to improving patient care; they explore whether new treatments are safe and whether they can benefit patients in terms of extending their lives, improving their quality of life, or even offering a cure.

However, there are often a number of misconceptions about trials. “There’s a tendency for people to think that they’re being used as a guinea pig or that they’re offered a clinical trial as a last resort,” says Anne Croudass, lead research nurse at Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

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Source: gad

The cancer forum moderator: ‘We talk about books, music and hair loss’

People come to Cancer Research UK’s discussion forum to seek comfort and advice, but the online community also needs compassionate monitoring and mediation. Meet Lucie Hinton, moderator of Cancer Chat

Lucie Hinton is very aware of how sensitive her job is. As a forum moderator with Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Chat, she is one of a six-person team in charge of keeping the online forum safe, legal and supportive, 365 days a year.

“I love the relationships you build up, but you have to be constantly aware of why people are using the forum – for information and support,” she says. “The range of people is so wide, and so too are the cancers that are impacting on their lives or that of someone close to them. There is no such thing as a standard day. That makes it constantly interesting and challenging.”

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Source: gad

How do I tell my children about cancer?

Telling children about cancer takes bravery, honesty and patience, at a time when we might not be feeling very strong ourselves. Annalisa Barbieri speaks to experts in child psychology and cancer support about when and how to have the discussion

Our natural instinct is to protect our children, to make things better for them. Telling them a loved one has cancer contradicts all of this. At a time when you yourself are trying to come to terms with something huge and life-changing – maybe it’s your partner or parent who has cancer, maybe it’s you – you will need to break down the news into bite-size, not-so-scary chunks for the children in your life. And then be there to support them.

Related: Why isn’t my doctor putting me forward for new cancer treatments?

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Source: gad

Why isn’t my doctor putting me forward for new cancer treatments?

When research breakthroughs hit the news, it can be frustrating for people with cancer if their treatment doesn’t keep pace. But there are many reasons doctors might opt for a more cautious approach, says David Cox

The field of cancer treatment has seen many exciting breakthroughs in recent years, most notably immunotherapy, which has emerged as the new treatment of choice for advanced metastatic melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. In particular, some patients who received immunotherapy drugs such as ipilimumab through clinical trials are still in remission more than a decade later. In addition, a number of targeted drugs such as olaparib, which has been shown to extend life in advanced ovarian cancer patients with a particular genetic mutation, have become newly available.

As a result, many cancer patients are understandably perplexed when their doctor says they cannot prescribe these new medicines for them – but there are a few reasons for this.

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Source: gad

Questions about cancer: what I wish I’d asked – video

Cancer raises many questions – some we don’t know how, or who, to ask. From breaking the news to managing the side effects, patients reflect on what they wish they’d asked.

Cancer Research UK offers a cancer helpline, where expert information nurses answer questions about cancer in confidence, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, on 0808 800 4040; plus an interactive community discussion forum, Cancer Chat; a dedicated About Cancer section of the website, providing clear information about cancer, its treatment and implications; and a cancer clinical trial database – so no question you have about cancer goes unanswered

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Source: gad