MRF Blog

What is Truth?

October 7, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

 

The call came, as they often do, at night.  This time it was a mother who has a teenage daughter battling melanoma.  The family had seen three or four different doctors, each of whom gave different advice on what treatment to pursue.  Now it was decision time, and they had to listen to one person’s advice and ignore that of three other people.  What to do?

The Power of Two

September 30, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

 

When a doctor tells a patient they have cancer, they take great pains to explain the situation.  The better docs will use lay-language and talk about treatment plans and next steps.  More often than not, however, it is a wasted conversation.  A patient hears “you have cancer” then everything else is a blur.  The physician might as well be reciting a Shakespearean sonnet in Swahili for all the good it does.

In Isolation

September 9, 2011 | Categories: Types of Melanoma

I have been thinking lately about how melanoma can isolate people. 

Any life changing event does this to some degree.  Have a baby, win the lottery, lose a job, lose a parent.  It all can isolate. Even though we seldom walk these paths alone, we are, nevertheless, irrevocably changed by the journey, and changed in ways that make us different from people around us.

An Epidemic?

September 2, 2011 | Categories: Causes

The American Academy of Dermatology just had their summer meeting and one of the speakers, Dr. Darrell Rigel, grabbed my attention with some alarming comments.

One More Question

September 2, 2011 | Categories: Treatment

I have written a couple of times about questions patients ask when first diagnosed with cancer:  “Am I going to die?”  “How did this happen?”

Another question I hear emerges later.  It comes after the diagnosis, treatments, surgery and the scans that show no evidence of disease (NED):  “Will the cancer come back?”

Once you are diagnosed with cancer, it becomes part of your permanent landscape and fear of recurrence simply comes with the territory. 

The Second Question

August 22, 2011 | Categories: Prevention

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they have a lot of questions.  The first question, as I mentioned recently, is this:  “Am I going to die?” 

But another common question follows after that.  “How did this happen?”

Cancer patients often feel regret.  What if I had quit smoking?  What if my diet had been healthier?  What if I had gotten my mammogram sooner?  Guilt and regret, while understandable (and, to some extent, unavoidable) are not productive in walking the cancer journey.

What's Next: 

The First Question

August 9, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories

Over the years I have had the privilege to know many, many people fighting cancer.  Young and old, male and female.  We tend to think cancer ennobles someone—makes them more than they were, somehow heroic simply by virtue of their suffering.  That is not the reality, though.  Cancer patients are just like you and me.  They may be full of hope or be mad as hell at their situation.    They are ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, and doing so the very best they can.

What's Next: 
Learn More About Melanoma

Melanoma Patient Profile

August 2, 2011 | Categories: Patient Stories

What does a melanoma patient look like?  She looks like Diane, who posts on MPIP.org as “Dian in Spokane.”  Diane was first diagnosed years ago, and fought her melanoma with a vengeance.  She lived disease free for years, but has since had an recurrence.  But melanoma is what Diane has, it is not what she is

What's Next: 

Learn More About Melanoma

Making a Difference

July 15, 2011 | Categories: Prevention

Thanks to "guest blogger" Mary Mendoza for the following.  Mary is National Director of Volunteer Services for MRF.

Practice What you Preach

June 27, 2011 | Categories: Prevention

Part of what makes my work for the Melanoma Research Foundation is my family history of melanoma.  Both my mother and her twin brother were diagnosed with early stage melanoma when they were about the age I am now.  This means I am at higher risk than the ordinary person—perhaps by a factor of 8.

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