Heidi Woodward Sheffield looks back on the past two-and-a-half years of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and reconstruction with relief. She is cancer-free and feels fortunate to have had a sense of rebirth throughout the process. In retrospect, she shares her best bets on coping, accepting help and support systems.
The Nature of Cancer
Many factors determine the cause of cancer, including a person's health history, lifestyle, exposure to elements in the environment and how an individual’s DNA responds to all of it. Justin Colacino, Ph.D., a research assistant professor at the U-M School of Public Health provides his insights.
Diagnosis, Pause, Decision
It's only natural when you hear the word cancer to want to spring into action to get rid of it. It's also natural to think about people you know who've had cancer and the decisions they made to treat it. You're afraid. You have families and friends to think about. You need to decide on your treatment . . . but not so fast.
Laws of Survivorship
All cancer patients look forward to the day when they are done with treatment and firmly a survivor. But for many, the experience of cancer -- both emotionally and physically -- lingers long after treatment ends.
When Cancer Comes Back
Jennifer Kelley was unprepared for the rare diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma at age 52, especially since it was her third experience with cancer in a mere 30 months. She had the cancerous lump under her arm surgically removed and followed up with five cycles of chemotherapy as a precaution. Because Kelley's cancer had spread into a lymph node, he explained the cancer was categorized as stage 4 and expected to return.
Body Image Matters
Body image can play a major role in cancer treatment and should be addressed as early as possible. For Sherry Hanson, a single mom of a 3-year-old, she was completely unprepared for the changes in her body's appearance. With the help of the U-M Comprehesive Cancer Center's PsychOncology Program, Sherry adjusted to her body's changes and is now at ease with herself.
Finding Hope in Hopelessness
One Cancer Center patient's story of treatment success when advances in care led to a new option for patients with metastatic stomach cancer: Patient Randy Hillard is happier than he's ever been after a new treatment option led to no evidence of stomach cancer for months, then years.
Time to Heal
After Sean Dush finished the treatment for his ALL, he had a decision to make. His treatment protocol for ALL included maintenance therapy for three years to give him the best chance of being cured. But with long-term treatment comes long-term side effects.
A Quarter Century of Care
When the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center received its formal designation from the National Cancer Institute in fall 1988, cancer affected more than 1.3 million people in the United States annually. Director Max Wicha, M.D., stressed the importance of taking research developments from the labs and applying them to patient care in the clinics.