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Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga Benefits for Cancer Patients

March 30, 2022

By: Jennifer Cashwell, MSN, FNP-BC

With the increasing success of cancer treatments and the ability to return to previous family, social, and work activities, symptom management and quality of life are essential for cancer survivorship. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have consistently shown benefits to cancer patients and survivors. They can decrease unpleasant side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting, reduce stress, increase a feeling of calm, improve mood and sleep quality, and increase mental acuity.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management

Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer

May 7, 2021

If there was a test that could give you more insight into your breast cancer risk, would you take it? Or would having that information add too much worry to your life? Genetic testing for breast cancer can offer very important information about your genetic makeup and its impact on your risk for developing breast cancer – as well as your family’s risk for developing breast and other cancers. However, genetic testing is not for everyone. To find out if it is for you, let's take a look at what genetic testing means, who should get tested, the pros and cons, and how to get started. 

Read More Categories: Breast Cancer, Genetic Testing, Cancer Management

Genetic vs Genomic Testing: What’s the Difference?

April 29, 2021

Although the terms “genetic” and “genomic” are often used interchangeably, they are actually very different. Learning more about the differences between them can help clear up some of the confusion we often see related to hereditary genes linked to developing cancer.

Genetic Testing  

Genetics usually refers to the study of specific, individual genes and whether they are passed from one generation to the next. Cancer researchers have studied hereditary gene mutations (changes) that can play a role in the development of cancer.  

Read More Categories: Genetic Testing, Cancer Management, Cancer Risk

Exercising Before, During and After Cancer Treatments

November 20, 2019

If you have recently received a cancer diagnosis or you’re currently undergoing treatment, it is important that you put focus on taking special care of yourself. This includes eating healthy foods, getting enough rest, and incorporating physical activity into your routine - research strongly suggests that exercise is a wonderful way to care for yourself.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management, Nutrition and Exercise

How to Stay Connected During the Holidays While Coping With Cancer

October 30, 2019

When you have cancer, even the most joyous of holidays can leave you feeling sad. On top of all the physical stresses, the thought of missing out on your traditional get-togethers can make it hard to get into the holiday spirit. You can stay connected however even if you have to stick close to home with these 3 tips:

  1. Use technology
  2. Connect on social media
  3. Exchange letters or care packages

Of course, you should first talk to your cancer care team before the holidays to determine what would be reasonable for you. Sometimes travel isn’t recommended; however, for some, it can be done as long as you have a solid plan in place. Your plans should include what to do if you experience new pain or side effects while traveling.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management

Surviving Cancer Is About More Than the Disease

March 26, 2018

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the immediate concerns are his/her physical well-being, getting into a treatment center, and starting cancer treatment.

Cancer survivors need more than just chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.

One of our licensed social workers here at Virginia Oncology Associates (VOA), Roshonda Poole, says there are many ways in which cancer patients or survivors, their families, and/or their caregivers need support throughout the cancer journey.

Emotional Support

Roshonda says that many cancer patients struggle with the feeling of isolation and that they often believe they are the only one struggling with the impact of the cancer diagnosis. She also says that, “Talking about it with others brings about some mixed emotions. Often, patients do not want to burden their families with the details of their cancer treatment, so having an outlet and someone to talk with can reduce their anxiety.”

Read More Categories: Supportive Care, Cancer Management

Behind Every Great Oncologist Is a Great Oncology Nurse

February 6, 2018

Oncologists get a lot of the limelight in a cancer patient’s care--and for good reason. If you talk with most cancer patients, however, you might be surprised to find out that it’s actually their nurse--not their oncologist--who they have a closer relationship with.

Since doctors must focus their patient time on identifying, treating, and managing the cancer, a nurse can take the time to ask questions about home life, side effects of the cancer treatment, and how to increase a patient’s overall quality of life. This consistent, one-on-one involvement is often why patients share most information with their oncology nurse rather than their oncologist.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management

Making the Most of Your Holidays During Cancer Treatment

December 7, 2017

Even people in perfect health can feel exhausted and overwhelmed during the holiday season; that feeling is often magnified when you’re undergoing cancer treatment. You may not have the stamina to battle Black Friday crowds, deck the halls or entertain as lavishly as you have in years past, and that’s OK. If you’re a cancer patient try not to overexert yourself, but don’t isolate yourself either.  We've put together a few tips for managing the holiday season while undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment.

Read More Categories: Cancer Management