Reader responses to the Spring 2012 issue of CURE.
It was refreshing to read Don Vaughan’s “Calming Effect” article about using meditation to ease treatment stress. I have been a cancer survivor for over four years and still experience stress over changes the disease causes in my life. I use a “quick fix” meditation called TS, or “think small.”
When you become aware of being stressed and thinking negatively about your situation, at that moment, stop what you are doing. Take a deep breath, let it out and stare at the smallest object next to you. I mean small, like the head of a pin, a drop of water, the edge of a leaf, one number on a calendar or a single line on a writing tablet. Concentrate only on the perfect features of the object for as long as it takes to clear your mind—usually 10 to 20 seconds. Appreciate it for its own perfection and be thankful for it being next to you, fulfilling its purpose. Hold those feelings while you come back to the real world. You will find your anger and tension has gone away.
Thad Tinder, EdD
When I had my initial diagnosis, I researched the Internet relentlessly. Many of the cancer websites and their descriptions of what to expect scared the heck out of me. And then when I had gone through my chemo and was starting radiation, I came across CURE magazine in the waiting room. What a find—and a lifeline! The one thing that stands out most in all of your articles is hope. We need to believe there is hope that we will survive, and CURE gives us that.
I am sickened to death with the hype against PSA screening (“House Call,” Winter 2011). In October 2011, considering myself a healthy, youthful, active 61-year-old man, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer thanks to regular PSA screenings. It was caught in the early stage, and I was able to choose radiation therapy. Telling men not to get regular PSA screenings would be like telling women not to get regular mammograms.
Kansas City, Mo.
MANAGING EDITOR JON GARINN RESPONDS: In his column, Len Lichtenfeld, MD, detailed the controversy about PSA screening but only recommended that patients have “open, honest discussions with their healthcare professionals before getting the test so they can make more informed choices.”
I just finished reading “Going the Distance” in your last issue. I appreciated the article. I seldom see stories on bladder cancer and it is often an overlooked cancer. I was disappointed, however, that the article did not mention the Indiana pouch diversion. I realize it is the most complicated of the three surgeries, but for me, it was what I wanted and it has served me well.
WRITER HEATHER L. VAN EPPS, PhD, RESPONDS: You’re correct that this is a complicated procedure, and as such, space constraints didn’t allow a thorough description. However, the option of an internal “Indiana” pouch versus the external ileal pouch is an important one and may relieve potential body image issues as well as worries of developing embarrassing leaks.
We were pleasantly surprised to open the latest edition of CURE and see the picture and article of Dr. Oliver Sartor from New Orleans. My husband has been a patient of his since 2004. Dr.Sartor is wonderful, and we also have his cell phone number as the article says. Thank you for sharing a part of him.
Jan (and Jim) Rogers
I wanted to thank you for this informative magazine. My wife and I have spent the last year dealing with treatment for breast cancer. I think our experience is typical of many. Information is difficult to assemble, analyze and figure out what is useful to us. Your magazine is a great resource, but could be even more helpful if past issues or articles were available to be downloaded or searched. Libraries don't carry past issues around here.
Ron & Jan Clark
WEB MANAGING EDITOR ELIZABETH WHITTINGTON RESPONDS: Thank you for the kind words about CURE, Ron and Jan! We do have most issues of CURE archived at Curetoday.com.
I just finished reading "Meet Your Healthcare Team," and was surprised and disappointed to see no mention of the physician assistant who plays a huge role in the care of individuals with cancer.
I've been an oncology PA for 10 years. The role of the the PA in the oncology field is an amazing and rewarding one. We work with patients in a way no other part of the team gets to do. We have the ability to spend more time and interact with the patient and their families. Many times we get to know them better and on a different level than their doctors. We act as patient advocates and often help in the education process that helps the spouse or partner, the children and other loved ones of the patient in a way that is on a level that is more easily understandable.
Beth Enright, PA-C