Comments from you, our readers.
"Chemobrain" an Apt Description
I take exception to the comment from a reader
that the term “chemobrain” sounds like a bad joke.
As a cancer survivor, I like the term; it describes exactly what caused the problem. The term “cognitive deficits” covers a variety of conditions. Chemobrain describes one. I have never had anyone consider chemobrain a “bad joke” nor have a “silly response.” Instead, they know exactly what I am talking about.
Career-Change Article Rang True
I just read your article titled Working Wonders
. I am a stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma survivor. After being a retail manager for 20 years, being diagnosed at the age of 43 and going through six rounds of chemotherapy, a radical modified mastectomy and 33 rounds of radiation, I decided to change career paths. I went back to school and hopefully will graduate in 2016 as a registered nurse.
The stories in that article depicted me exactly, especially the story about Peter Kebbekus. Although I did not lose anyone, I too decided that I would like to go into oncology, specifically pediatric oncology. After I send this email, I will be logging onto the Oncology Nursing News website
to check out other inspirational stories. And this article will be going on my vision board at home.
Thank you so much for your publication! During treatment it gave me something to read, and now it has a different purpose. I read it as education. So thank you for offering it to us cancer patients. I always look forward to the next issue!
ER-Positive and Concerned About Soy
I just read the article The Skinny on Soy
, then re-scanned it, thinking I’d missed something. I hadn’t, and was a bit shocked that a cancer magazine didn’t address this: Articles and products touting soy as possibly lowering the risk of breast cancer or recurrence are somewhat misleading to some of us.
Like many women, I had/have estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Two out of three breast cancer diagnoses are hormone receptor-positive — most of them being estrogen receptor-positive.
Before being diagnosed, I ate tofu instead of meat. When I was diagnosed, I was encouraged to not consume soy. I was told one item with some soy won’t throw me into a ditch, but so many items have soy in them, and they add up.
The article does mention that soy supplements haven’t been proven safe, but doesn’t mention that they may be harmful to individuals who have estrogen receptor- positive cancer, or who just naturally have a high level of their own estrogen. Maybe an article on this subject would be something to consider in the future.
Editor-in-Chief Debu Tripathy responds:
We state that, while soy is a weak estrogen, that alone does not impart a risk (in fact, estrogen replacement without progesterone in healthy post-menopausal women actually lowers the risk of breast cancer). Epidemiological studies actually suggest a protective effect of soy in postmenopausal women. So there is no consensus on the use of soy at this time, and many experts recommend that, if soy is used, it be used in normal dietary amounts and not supplements, which is what we state. We understand that some dieticians and physicians tell their patients to completely avoid soy. However, there is no clear evidence of harm or benefit, since large-scale studies that are designed to directly look at cancer risk or risk of recurrence have not been done.
Opposed to Assisted Suicide
I’m writing in response to the article on Brittany Maynard
. I stand with the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society and many others in opposition to assisted suicide.
Terminal patients need encouragement to make the most of every single day they have left, not cut their time short. One more day could mean seeing one more sunrise, one more birthday, your brother’s graduation or your daughter’s wedding.
Patients don’t need the extra pressure of feeling like they need to spare the medical expenses and just take the suicide pill. Rather, let’s make them as comfortable as possible and love them to their natural end.
Live Life to the End
I am a three-year survivor of inflammatory breast cancer. I have had 16 weeks of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and 30 radiation treatments.
That is just one reason why I regret reading the short piece One Activist’s Legacy
Life is the most precious gift in the world. I know. And so do many other cancer patients who have stared into the face of death; who have prayed without ceasing; who have endured pain, mental anguish and other hardships too numerous to mention.
Do we have a “legacy?” Yes, we do. Some call it courage, or determination, or bravery, or persistence, or hope, or faith, or inner strength, or all of them at once.
Choosing to commit suicide and advocating so-called “death with dignity” does not make Brittany Maynard a “giant,” and I resent the magazine promoting it as such.
I wonder how those with brain cancer felt about the article.
Margaret M. Saindon
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