October is Dental Hygiene Month, which makes sense since most of us consume more candy than usual this month! If you are like me, you avoid buying Halloween candy until the very last moment so you don't end up eating your body weight in miniature chocolate bars!
You may not know this, but dentists are a very important part of your cancer care team. While chemotherapy and radiotherapy commonly cause complications with the mouth, these complications can be a big problem if not taken seriously. In fact, side effects of the mouth and teeth can actually prevent you from getting the full doses of chemotherapy medications on time- possibly decreasing how effective they are.
Check out these tips for great mouth care during cancer treatment:
- Is a Dentist a Part of Your Cancer Care Team?
- FAQs About Mouth Care for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Patient
Halloween is only 18 days away and for some, the race is on to find the best costume. Whether you are just hanging around the house handing out candy to the little goblins, or being a bit of a ghoul yourself, dressing for the season is a fun escape from the day to day!
If you have lost your hair lately as the result of cancer treatment, you may be wondering how to make the most of your shiny new dome! It won't last forever, so why not showcase it this Halloween season?
The holiday season has officially begun in Canada- this weekend is Thanksgiving!
It is particularly timely, especially since we are in the middle of the largest recall of tainted beef in Canadian history, to remind you of the importance of food safety. While you may not be more likely than anybody else to come into contact with food borne bacteria, folks who have a lowered immune system as the result of a blood cancer or the treatment of it can become more sick than the rest of us. Please make sure you review safe cooking and handling techniques to avoid illness this Thanksgiving.
Whether you are Canadian or not, it is never a bad time to take a step back and try to think of something you are thankful for- a supportive family, great friends, an understanding boss, or even just the time you get to spend with a beloved pet. I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, and much more to be thankful for!
As the cooler weather comes upon us so does another foe- influenza. I have recently noticed that the display boards are popping up all over town, advertising the details about where and when you can get this year's flu shot. Even among the regular population, people wonder if they should or shouldn't get the flu shot. "Every time I get it, I get sick!" or "I haven't had the flu in 25 years, why would I get a vaccine for it?" are common responses to the question.
But, if you have a lowered immune system as a result of a blood or marrow cancer, or the treatment of it, you may be especially concerned about the vaccine but even more concerned about getting the illness!
Here is is some information that may help you make your decision:
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Been busy this month? Maybe too busy to check out all the new content on Lymphoma.about.com!
Here's what is new this month:
The World Health Organization has declared September 29 as World Heart Day to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke. While the greatest risk factors for cardiovascular diseases are related to elevated cholesterol, diets low in fruits and vegetables, high blood pressure, physical activity and body mass, certain long term blood and marrow cancer patients may also be at risk.
As part of the treatment for leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma, you may have received therapies that increase the chances that you could experience heart problems in the future. Patients most at risk are those who were treated with:
- Chemotherapy regimens containing a class of drugs called anthracyclines. Examples of anthracycline drugs are daunorubicin, doxorubicin, idarubicin, or epirubicin.
- Chemotherapy regimens that contain drugs from the vinca family like vincristine, vinblastine, or vinorelbine.
- Radiation therapy to the chest or neck area.
Unfortunately, these kinds of therapies are often a necessary element of treating blood and marrow cancers. This may be a heart disease risk factor that you have little control over. But, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk that you do have control over:
- Keep a healthy body weight
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce your stress
- Eat healthy
- Get regular check ups
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This September, thousands of people will wear gold ribbons- the symbol for Childhood Cancer Awareness. Blood and marrow cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma are among the most common in children. But did you know:
- Treatment periods for childhood cancer range from a few months to 2 1/2 years, often shorter than those in adults
- Chemotherapy is the most common form of treatment for childhood cancer
- In most cases, the cause of childhood cancer is unknown
- About 12, 500 kids will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the United States
- Childhood cancers are the most common disease related cause of death in North American children
- One in 330 children in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 20
- Leukemia is the most common cancer diagnosed in children, with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) leading the way. Survival rate for ALL in children is about 95% with a 30% relapse
- The second most common cancer diagnosed in children is lymphoma
- More than 80% of children with cancer will survive
This September, wear your gold ribbon and spread the word about Childhood Cancers!
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September 15 is World Lymphoma Awareness Day- the perfect reason to talk about lymphoma (as if I needed one) and spread the word about this blood cancer!
Did you know that...
- Lymphoma is not one cancer, but actually a group of more than 40 conditions?
- Certain types of lymphoma are among the most curable kinds of cancer?
- Lymphoma was first described by pathologist Thomas Hodgkin more than 175 years ago?
- Lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer in children?
- Treatment of lymphoma may include all the different cancer therapy types- surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, biotherapy and stem cell transplant?
Honour this World Lymphoma Awareness Day by learning more about this group of cancers!
Unfortunately, I have been spending a good deal of my personal time in hospitals as of late. The other day I noted that, despite the Fall weather settling in, the hospital air conditioning was still purring away leaving me with a big bedside chill. And while my loved one was happily munching away on the snacks I brought him, I didn't bring anything for myself and was disappointed by my cafeteria options.
Keep in mind that I have been working in hospitals for almost 20 years- I know what its like in there! Besides, I have actually written articles about what to pack for a hospital stay or campout!! So, learn from my errors and pre-plan for what you may need:
As folks with an interest in blood and marrow cancers, we most often recognize September as Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Awareness Month. But, perhaps you did not know that September is also Pain Awareness Month.
While blood and marrow cancers often do not cause solid tumour masses, there are many reasons why these conditions can be painful. Some causes of pain in the blood cancer patient might include:
- Mouth sores
- Bone and joint pain
- Leukemia cells that infiltrate the liver and spleen
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Central venous catheter (CVCs)
Pain at any level can have a significant impact on your quality of life over time. There are certainly many ways that pain can be treated in the cancer patient, but the first step is having an open conversation with your healthcare team about it.
- Pain Relief for the Blood Cancer Patient
- Talking About Cancer Pain
- Getting the Most Out of Your Pain Medication
- Managing Side Effects From Opioid Pain Medications