Katie Couric: Cancer Caregivers May Feel Alone, But You're Not


The legendary broadcast journalist Katie Couric sat down with CURE® to discuss her advocacy work with Stand Up To Cancer and the “With Love, Me” campaign and why they are so special to her.

After losing both her husband and her sister to cancer, Katie Couric has become a passionate advocate working to increase awareness and improve treatment of the disease.

The legendary broadcast journalist sat down with CURE® to discuss what makes Stand Up To Cancer and Merck’s “With Love, Me” campaign so special and the invaluable resources they provide to the cancer community.

“There’s something that lifts when you are able to connect with somebody who has been in your shoes,” said Couric. “No matter how hard they try, friends and family members who don’t know what it’s like can’t really connect with you in that profound way.”

Couric stresses the importance of developing a network to support you whether it’s you or a loved one battling cancer. “The most important message I would give to (patients with cancer) and to caregivers is that you may feel alone, but you’re not alone,” added Couric.

“There are so many people who have walked this walk or who are walking this walk who you can connect with, who you can learn from, who you can share with, who you can vent to.”

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For patients with cancer, the ongoing chemotherapy shortage may cause some anxiety as they wonder how they will receive their drugs. However, measuring drugs “down to the minutiae of the milligrams” helped patients receive the drugs they needed, said Alison Tray. Tray is an advanced oncology certified nurse practitioner and current vice president of ambulatory operations at Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey.  If patients are concerned about getting their cancer drugs, Tray noted that having “an open conversation” between patients and providers is key.  “As a provider and a nurse myself, having that conversation, that reassurance and sharing the information is a two-way conversation,” she said. “So just knowing that we're taking care of you, we're going to make sure that you receive the care that you need is the key takeaway.” In June 2023, many patients were unable to receive certain chemotherapy drugs, such as carboplatin and cisplatin because of an ongoing shortage. By October 2023, experts saw an improvement, although the “ongoing crisis” remained.  READ MORE: Patients With Lung Cancer Face Unmet Needs During Drug Shortages “We’re really proud of the work that we could do and achieve that through a critical drug shortage,” Tray said. “None of our patients missed a dose of chemotherapy and we were able to provide that for them.” Tray sat down with CURE® during the 49th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress to discuss the ongoing chemo shortage and how patients and care teams approached these challenges. Transcript: Particularly at Hartford HealthCare, when we established this infrastructure, our goal was to make sure that every patient would get the treatment that they need and require, utilizing the data that we have from ASCO guidelines to ensure that we're getting the optimal high-quality standard of care in a timely fashion that we didn't have to delay therapies. So, we were able to do that by going down to the minutiae of the milligrams on hand, particularly when we had a lot of critical drug shortages. So it was really creating that process to really ensure that every patient would get the treatment that they needed. For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.
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