Latest Expert and Personal blog posts
The basics of Colorectal Cancer
Written by Mike Williams
Smart Talk Tuesday, March 24, 2015
One in twenty people will develop colon cancer at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, colon cancer has the second-highest cancer death rate in Pennsylvania. The good news is that there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk.
Family history makes a difference but so do diet, physical activity, and smoking and alcohol use.
Many people may feel nervous about having invasive preventative tests, but with the right lifestyle habits and regular screenings, colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and doctors all over our local region are encouraging their patients to get screened for colon cancer.
On this episode of Smart Talk, physicians Dr. Ray Hohl, director of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, and Dr. Walter Koltun, chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, will discuss the causes, risk factors, symptoms, treatments and what we're learning about colon cancer.
Dr. Walter Koltun and Dr. Ray Holh
Feeling alive again
Mike Rose was always too nervous to try scuba diving. Despite the fact that his wife loved the underwater adventure, the thought of diving into the unknown terrified Mike – that is, until he encountered something more terrifying than his own fear.
What you can learn from Angelina’s choice
Written by Randall Oyer, MD
Angelina Jolie’s revelation that she had both breasts removed to prevent breast cancer is focusing attention on genetic testing and the choices patients face when they get the result. What does the news mean for you?
My story: Male breast cancer
Written by Thomas Sword
Hello. My name is Thomas and I am a 55 year old male who required a bi-literal mastectomy approximately 5 years ago. I was on Tamoxifen, went through chemotherapy, severe depression, post traumatic stress, issues with body image, post-mastectomy pain syndrome and chemo-brain where I was becoming so forgetful that I first thought I had acquired Alzheimer's.
Honoring the life of Bette Martin
We want to take this opportunity to remember the beautiful life and spirit of a very special person that we were so fortunate to have gotten to know throughout this project. Her name is Bette Martin, and she passed away after her long battle with cancer.
You can read Bette’s obituary here.
Bette was enthusiastic about the mission of Facing Cancer Together from the beginning, and openly shared her story in the hopes that others would find some courage to face their own situation with hope.
She helped to illustrate the fear that a person really faces when they hear the words: “You have cancer,” and the inner struggle that a person experiences when you're faced with a new perspective on how to live.
She wrote in her blog titled, "How now shall I live?":
"My relationship with God has been strengthened and continues to grow. I think that the timing of events since the diagnosis has confirmed God’s presence in my life. Evidence of divine intervention has been instrumental in clarifying my trust in God’s love and concern for me. There is much more growth needed in this area of my life. I thank the Creator every morning that I open my eyes and see the light of another day, allowing for the development of a deeper relationship with Him."
She taught us to explore what’s out there, like alternative therapies for mind and body healing, and to tap into our spirituality for strength and guidance.
We thankBette for her honesty, courage, and partnership.
She will be deeply missed but her story will live on in the countless people that she touched throughout her life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bette's family and friends.
-The Facing Cancer Together team
Letters to Sam
Written by Anita Cherry
“I have been a very lucky woman to live a creative life as a painter, art teacher, and to write a book,” says Anita Cherry, a resident of York, PA.
Anita also describes herself as a “cancer traveler,” who has been able to move beyond the pain of overcoming the darkness of ovarian cancer, infertility, and recurring thyroid cancer in her life.
Her book, “Letters to Sam,” is the product of thirty years of writing. She says, “The pages went into a private drawer. Before my last surgery four years ago, I went to this drawer, took all of the writing out, and pitched them. After the surgery I wrote the distilled version of all of those pages.”
Writing “Letters to Sam,” not only helped Anita to process her own journey, but it has made her look outside herself and see that her words have helped others face their own fears.
- “To be able to reach deep within your sprit and reveal the truth is an amazing ability. Anita truly takes flight and comes face to face with her fears. She is free. A great read.” -Annie
The chapters in her book are moments and feelings that others can relate to. The words let them know that they are not facing their fears alone. Anita says, “It made me feel beautiful inside, and it was a validation that I was a worthwhile person to myself. Nothing creatively had ever set me so free. This book is what I am most proud of.”
A description of the book:
A poetic telling to her adopted daughter of the author's reflections on early-adulthood ovarian cancer, infertility, and recurring thyroid cancer, and of moving beyond the pain to celebrate life and growth.
Anita has generously shared her book (.pdf file), with our community… Because, we truly are in this together.
Click on the book cover to read her inspiring journey and we invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, praise in the comments below.
Enjoy, “Letters to Sam” by Anita Cherry:
We’re in this together… many thanks, Anita, for your moving words.
Reader reviews: "Letters To Sam" This is a poetic journey which maps the triumph of the mind and the spirit of the extraordinary author,Anita Cherry, as she faces life as a cancer traveller.Her sensitivity and sweetness light the way with an upbeat and powerful strength of will which produces a shared bond of joy and hope in the reader. I recommend this book highly and believe it will one day be find its way to the Oprah Show. -Roslyn
Another reader shared in a handwritten note to Anita:
Telemedicine: Improving efficiency and outcomes
Written by Safa P. Farzin, MD
Telemedicine is a new option to improve efficiency and outcomes for services when time or availability to reach a patient is important. It is a system that works between two computers to allow a physician and patient to see and talk to each other without being in the same location, much like video chat.
Cancer is the epidemic of modern times. Unlike other diseases that have plagued people throughout history like tuberculosis and polio, we haven’t yet discovered a vaccine against it. One of the most common manifestations of this disease is breast cancer, which affects not only one in eight women, but also thousands of men in the United States.
Mastectomy post-op awareness
After Linda Fischer discovered a lump in 2003, she got it checked out and doctors confirmed her worst fear: that she had breast cancer. “My whole world just changed,” Linda says. “I just collapsed and thought ‘I can’t believe this.’ It all came so fast and I didn’t have time to think… I went into this shock.”
- Diana’s Dreamers: Determined to Defeat Breast Cancer
Five years ago on October 21, Diana Denenberg Durand died after an incredible 18 year heroic battle against breast cancer. During that time she faced and DEFEATED the cancer as it re-occurred - at first in a breast, then six years later her other breast, then her bones, next to her liver, and finally in her brain.
- Diana’s Dreamers: Determined to Defeat Breast Cancer