Comments From Readers

CURE, Spring 2015, Volume 14, Issue 2

Comments from you, our readers.

In Support of E-Cigarettes

Beth Fand Incollingo’s article, “Amid FDA Regulation Plans, E-Cigarettes are Subject of Debate,” does a disservice to cigarette smokers who are now dealing with cancer by diminishing one of the best cessation options available. I was a 30-year, pack-and-a-half-a-day smoker. I tried to quit numerous times by various methods: cold turkey, nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, laser therapy and Chantix. They didn’t work for me.

When I had to deal with breast cancer, I still couldn’t quit. It is such a helpless feeling walking out of a radiation center and lighting up a cigarette. Two weeks later, I was able to quit with electronic cigarette devices. I am cancer-free and have not smoked in two years, two months and seven days. I don’t know that it is 100 percent safe, but I do believe it is 1,000 percent safer than smoking a cigarette.

If you smoke, please quit with any method that works for you, but don’t exclude electronic cigarettes based on so many misleading articles that have been in the news. Check out the research posted at CASAA. org. Many communities have vape groups (search Facebook) that are a great source of information and support. You don’t have to feel helpless...there is hope!

Help For Those With Melanoma

Darlene DeJesusCordova, Tenn.I am always happy to see stories on our often-forgotten cancer, melanoma. However, in your article, “Outsmarting Melanoma,” I would have liked to see a mention of our Patient Experience Video of six stage 4 melanoma patients. The video can be seen at: http://melanomainternational. org/events-webinar/patient experience- video, or we would be happy to mail a USB drive of the video, free, to those interested.

In addition, your article Lining Up, about online support groups, didn’t mention one of the most important criteria for choosing a group: moderation by experts. Too often — 40% of the time, according to some studies — there is false or misleading information on these sites. Therefore, we have worked hard to provide a safe online haven, melanomaforum.org, that is moderated for accuracy.

Thank you again for bringing melanoma into the spotlight. Our mission is to provide personalized treatment navigation for patients so they can live longer, happier lives.

The Importance of Writing Wills

Catherine M. Poole, President/FounderMelanoma International FoundationWe just lost our young daughter-in-law to triple-negative breast cancer. Not only was the loss horrific, the aftermath made it worse. She died without a will. It has caused terrible complications for settling things. I want to reach out to cancer patients and their doctors nationwide to encourage them to make a will if they don’t have one at the time of diagnosis. It is not an admission of giving up. It should be part of the protocol and stressed that it relieves one additional worry. If only all hospitals and doctors would include this in their discussion with patients, it would be so helpful. Once a point is reached where those involved can’t bear to talk about that missing will, it is too late, and the subsequent problems are enormous.

Our son could not bring himself to ask his wife to hand write and sign a will by the time he realized they were not going to outrun the monster. I would like for that not to happen to any patients or families. It should be part of the counseling that patients get when diagnosed.

"Chemobrain" Deserves a New Name

Jeanne HallerLawrenceville, N.J.I recently saw your online article concerning cognitive problems after chemotherapy.

I’m a writer and artist, as well a person who was treated for stage 3 ovarian cancer with surgery and infusions. I believe that people who have not been treated do not have a clear understanding of, or cannot sympathize with, this serious condition, and I think one of the reasons for that is the “chemobrain” label.

This illness would more accurately be described as a cognitive deficit or other such terminology, and should be referred to in that manner. “Chemobrain” sounds like a bad joke and invites a silly response. In fact, this term makes no sense to me. Imagine a migraine sufferer being referred to as a person with a “headache boo-boo.”

Stephanie J. HammondsBoston, Mass.

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