Posts tagged ‘supportive care’


Each day is special for cancer survivors (w/VIDEO)

July 16, 2014 | by

The best measure of success in the fight against cancer is in lives saved and families intact, in extra days made special simply because they exist.

Yuman Fong, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgery at City of Hope, understands what precedes that special awareness. When cancer strikes, one minute a person may feel healthy and young, he says, and in the next, they’re wondering how many years they have left.

In those situations, expertise matters. Commitment to research, knowledge of new therapies, unrelenting dedication to quality and improvement all play a role in the best possible cancer care. City of Hope has those factors. But the best measure of cancer care is cancer outcomes – and City of Hope has those, too.

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Parents can boost academic performance of childhood cancer survivors

July 10, 2014 | by

Survival rates for childhood cancer have improved tremendously over the past few decades, but postcancer care hasn’t always kept up. More children than ever are now coping with long-term complications and side effects caused by their disease and treatment — one of those being learning difficulties.

City of Hope research shows parent intervention may help childhood cancer survivors improve their performance in school.

City of Hope research shows parent intervention may help childhood cancer survivors improve their performance in school.

A new study, published last month in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and led by City of Hope researchers, suggests that parents can reduce the impact of cancer and cancer treatment on their children’s academic performance.

“It is possible to improve the child’s adaptive functioning in his or her daily life,” said lead author and neuropsychologist Sunita Patel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Population Sciences and Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope. “For the educational realm, parents can facilitate this by helping the child establish good study strategies and to teach the child that learning requires active engagement and effort.”

For the study, researchers analyzed the academic performance of childhood cancer survivors who had cancer treatment affecting their central nervous system. This group of survivors tends to experience long-term cognitive side effects, making it harder for them to retain information in school.

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Musicians On Call brings healing power of music to patients

June 27, 2014 | by
Singer Gavin DeGraw meets patient Robert Hughes at the launch of the Musicians On Call Jason Pollack Bedside Performance Program. Photo credit: Andy Featherston

Musician Gavin DeGraw meets patient Robert Hughes at the launch of the Musicians On Call Jason Pollack Bedside Performance Program. Photo credit: Andy Featherston

Music makes a difference – in patient mood and in patient healing. To that end, patient care at City of Hope now has a special new program called the Musicians On Call Jason Pollack Bedside Performance Program, which brings live, in-room performances to patients undergoing treatment or unable to leave their hospital beds.

As a comprehensive cancer center committed to treating the whole patient, City of Hope understands that music can lift the human spirit and enhance treatment programs. Studies have shown that live music soothes hospital patients by lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety. For cancer patients in need of an emotional boost, soothing music or an upbeat singalong can be especially powerful. » Continue Reading


Healthcare Decisions Day: ‘Advance directive’ is how you say ‘my way’

April 11, 2014 | by

Few decisions are more important than those involving health care, and few decisions can have such lasting impact, not only on oneself but on relatives and loved ones.

advance directives for health care

Advance directives for health care let you make your wishes known, while you’re able to do so. If you haven’t done so already, National Healthcare Decisions Day is the perfect time to do it.

Those choices, especially, should be made in advance – carefully, deliberately, free of pain and stress, and with much weighing of values and priorities. That’s the purpose of National Healthcare Decisions Day, to help people make those decisions while they’re still able to do so and then to make their wishes, or directives, known.

The alternative is, ultimately, to force distraught loved ones and well-meaning health care workers to guess at what the incapacitated you would have wanted. They don’t always get it right.

So on Wednesday, April 16, observe National Healthcare Decisions Day by assessing your values, deciding on the kind of care that you want and choosing your own way. That means creating your own advance care directives. » Continue Reading


Talking about advance directives needn’t be hard. Make it a game

April 10, 2014 | by

Using a card game to make decisions about health care, especially as those decisions relate to the end of life, would seem to be a poor idea. It isn’t.

advance directives

The GoWish Game can help family members talk about what’s important to them at the end of life.

The GoWish Game makes those overwhelming, but all-important decisions not just easy, but natural. On each card of the 36-card deck is listed what seriously ill, even dying, people often say are most important to them.

Some samples:

  • To have my family prepared for my death
  • To remember personal accomplishments
  • To say goodbye to important people in my life
  • To maintain my dignity
  • To have my family with me
  • To know how my body will change
  • To prevent arguments by making sure my family knows what I want
  • To pray
  • To die at home
  • To not be connected to machines
  • To be mentally aware

Dawn Gross, M.D., Ph.D., the Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope, is a fan of the game and, more specifically, the conversations it creates among family members. » Continue Reading


Meet our doctors: Dawn Gross on supportive care and palliative care

March 22, 2014 | by

A cancer diagnosis and its treatment can be overwhelming. It’s normal for patients to experience burdensome physical symptoms and psychological distress, both from their disease and from the cancer treatment. Sometimes these symptoms require specialized care in addition to primary cancer treatment.

Dawn Gross of City of Hope

Dawn Gross says supportive care can provide patients with a better quality of, and happier, life.

Dawn Gross, M.D., Ph.D., the Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine and chair of City’s of Hope’s Department of Supportive Care Medicine, explains that medical treatment isn’t just about a cancer directed therapy. It’s also about the total care of body, mind and spirit. The inclusion of supportive and palliative care in cancer treatment can provide patients not only with a better quality of life, but also a happier one, she says.

What is supportive and palliative care medicine?

Supportive medicine is another name often used to encompass palliative care medicine. Supportive medicine is aggressive care focused on comfort, and is designed to support patients and their families experiencing a life-altering illness. It is intended to be delivered simultaneously with all other forms of medical care. By discovering what people wish, we can deliver the care they want. In order to achieve this, we must first focus on alleviating all forms of suffering, including physical, mental and spiritual distress. This then allows for patient and family goals of care to be explored and supported. » Continue Reading


Yoga eases fatigue for breast cancer patients undergoing radiation

March 11, 2014 | by

Women undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer should try yoga. That’s the take-home message of a new study linking yoga to a greater sense of well-being and better regulation of stress hormones among female breast cancer patients.

Yoga for cancer patients

Yoga improves well-being and reduces fatigue among female breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy, a new study has found.

The study, published online March 3 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was conducted by researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and adds to increasing evidence that exercise benefits cancer patients.

“This study supports that the more you do, the better off you are,” said City of Hope’s Joanne Mortimer, M.D., providing expert commentary on the study to HealthDay. Mortimer is director of Women’s Cancers Programs.

To measure the impact of yoga, researchers assigned women undergoing radiation therapy to one of three groups. One group practiced yoga for up to three times a week, one group did stretching exercises for up to three times a week and one group did neither. Participants in each group shared with researchers their feelings of fatigue and how that impacted their quality of life, as well as their levels of depression and sleep disturbances. They also gave saliva samples so researchers could measure their levels of cortisol, considered an indicator of stress.   » Continue Reading


Tip for parents of children with cancer: ‘Be the parent’ (VIDEO)

February 27, 2014 | by

Parenting a child isn’t easy. Parenting a child with cancer can be infinitely more difficult. But parents can’t give up on their basic responsibilities to raise a child properly.

In this video, Jeanelle Folbrecht, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of psychology in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope, offers parents of young cancer patients some perspective. “You still have to be the parent. This is still a developing person,” she says. “You need to be engaged in that development.”

Folbrecht adds: “That will create for your child a sense of safety that things aren’t so bad that all of a sudden I don’t get parented and I get everything I want in the world.”

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Read the Wolfrank family’s advice to parents of children with cancer.


What to say? What to do? Helping parents of cancer patients (VIDEOs)

February 20, 2014 | by

A friend’s child has been hospitalized for cancer treatment. You want to visit, but don’t know what to say. You want to help, but don’t know what to do. City of Hope has some advice.

In this video series, Jeanelle Folbrecht, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of psychology in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope, explains what to say – and not say – to parents of young cancer patients; provides some do’s and don’ts when visiting a child in the hospital; and stresses the need to stay engaged with the family, even after treatment. » Continue Reading


New Year’s resolutions: Tips on how to quit smoking

December 30, 2013 | by
Smoking Tips

Quitting smoking may be hard, but it’s not impossible. City of Hope smoking-cessation experts offer tips on how to kick the habit for good.

The new year is fast approaching, and with nearly 70 percent of adult smokers wanting to kick the habit, many people are likely to make the resolution to give up cigarettes for good in 2014.

That’s great — tobacco is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States and over half of smokers reaching middle age will die of a smoking-related illness. Further, it’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking is beneficial at any age, and smokers who quit before age 35 have mortality rates similar to people who never smoked, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But quitting is easier said than done. Many smokers try to quit multiple times before succeeding, and less than 5 percent are able to quit cold turkey.

That’s not to say quitting is impossible. Just ask Brian Tiep, M.D., director of pulmonary rehabilitation and smoking cessation at City of Hope, and Rachel Dunham, M.S.N., nurse practitioner for smoking cessation and lung cancer screening.

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