New 2019 Cancer Survey

New 2019 Cancer Survey

First Survivor Views Survey Highlights Barriers to Addressing Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Washington, D.C. – Barriers to accessing appropriate therapies to address the physical and psychological side effects of cancer treatment continue to persist for patients and survivors, according to survey results from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

Survivor Views, an initiative launched by ACS CAN in January, established a national cohort of cancer patients and survivors to complete a series of six individual surveys focusing on a range of public policy issues important to the cancer patient and survivor community. The results of the first survey, which are being released today, focus on patient experiences treating the symptoms and side effects of their cancer and access to supportive or palliative care services.

The survey found patients and survivors experience a wide range of symptoms and side effects as a result of their cancer care. While effective treatments exist for several of these physical and psychological side effects, the survey results indicate many patients and survivors are not accessing them for a variety of reasons.  Fifty-five percent of respondents reported physical limitations or difficulties completing tasks as a result of their cancer care, but only 26 percent reported being referred to physical, occupational or speech therapy by their health care provider. Similarly, 51% of patients reported anxiety or depression as a result of their cancer while only 10% reported being referred to a mental health provider for additional therapy.

Many survivors also reported adverse symptoms or pain well after their active treatment concluded. Of survey respondents who reported pain or other symptoms during treatment, two-thirds noted the symptoms resulting from their cancer or treatment continued well after active treatment concluded.

“Too many cancer patients and survivors are not receiving the appropriate treatments and therapies that would alleviate the side effects of their cancer care,” said Lisa Lacasse, ACS CAN president. “At a time when our health care system is facing incredible pressure to evolve, it’s clear that our approach to health care must become more holistic and provide patients with better coordinated options to alleviate the physical and psychological side effects of a cancer diagnosis. This coordinated, patient-centered care must continue well into survivorship as patients continue to live with the lasting side effects of their cancer and its treatment.”

Barriers to accessing prescription drug treatments to alleviate pain that often accompanies cancer treatment were also apparent in the survey results. Over half of cancer patients or survivors participating in the survey who have been prescribed opioids in the last 12 months voiced concern about their future ability to access appropriate pain medications. More than 40 percent of these respondents had already experienced barriers to accessing pain treatment.  Respondents reported these barriers had direct adverse impacts on their lives, including inability to work or participate in family or social events, setbacks in their ongoing cancer treatment, and the need for additional emergency care to treat uncontrolled pain.

Survivor Views is providing ACS CAN with timely, firsthand information that will drive our advocacy efforts forward, giving cancer survivors a voice in the issues directly affecting their lives,” Lacasse said. “The release of the first survey results focusing on patient experiences with treating pain and other side effects associated with a cancer diagnosis provides valuable insight into the shortcomings patients face in trying to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis and highlights that symptoms can extend months and years after treatment concludes.”

I found these survey results to be right on. Too many cancer survivors continue to deal with pain and side effects years after treatment. Now there’s proof! Thank you ACA for doing this enlightening survey!

Never Give Up!!!


I felt I had to tell the truth!

I felt I had to tell the truth!

In a recent article in TIME magazine, Lyz Lenz wrote a brilliant article “Shouting Into the Void: How many personal stories must women share to convince others of their humanity?” I am moved by this article, so I want to share some of it with you, and then a few comments from me.

“Women have long been compelled to share their most private moments in order to convince others of their humanity.”

“As more men, including the President of the United States, have been publicly accused of assault and misconduct, and more states have passed laws that restrict our abilities to make decisions about our own health care, women have been repeatedly reminded of this country’s disregard for our bodily autonomy [independence] and indifference to the reality of our lives.”

I came out publicly years ago stating that I was sexually, physically, and emotionally abused by my father. I’m not the only one in our family, but I’ve chosen to let these siblings tell their own stories, yet, I needed to let go of this painful secret because it was causing my health and wellness to disintegrate. Yes, I became ill time after time because my mind, body, and spirit were overwhelmingly stressed due to the memories of my father and his abuse.

How many women must come forth and tell their stories until the world acknowledges that women are often abused and degraded every day by men? And it is not just in the U.S., women are harshly treated all over the globe. With online media, stories and stories of abuse are appearing daily, yet it does not seem like action is being taken to keep women safe.

I want to be safe in this life, and that means I do not want men to assume “I like” being abused and raped, because I do not!

“The President, who been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women, still sits in the White House, still overseeing a political system, still nominating judges to lifetime roles, stripping away our control over our own bodies. He’s denied all allegations, and the nation, by and large, has shrugged them off too.”

When powerful, rich men decide women are equal humans, we can get the dark secrets out in the open without feeling ashamed and start healing.

Thank you, Lyz Lenz, for your superb but sad article. Never Give Up, Lyz!!!


Do Something!

Do Something!

I haven’t written a post for quite some time. I admit that this year has me on edge with all the mass shootings, political divide, immigration crisis, and unemployment. Did I miss anything?

Even though I’m an advocate for HOPE, I must say that 2019 has really been a trial for me. Every time news knocks me down, I try to get back up. With the multitude of chaos in our lives, getting up is slower and slower. Do you feel the same?

I refuse to give in to fear. Fear does nothing except cause more fear. Once it begins, it’s like a live fuse already burning toward the end. Can it be stopped?

Yes, but the answer is complex and so many of us want the simple way out. THERE IS NO SIMPLE WAY OUT! We have to go through the flames of fear.

Fear slithers around our bodies, captures our minds, and floods our spirits with darkness. Fear creates stress, stress causes illness, and illness leads to death. How do we stop this dangerous spiral?

We refuse to listen to fear! We find the truth and shed light on the lies. Fear cannot exist when the truth is always told and the light is always on. No one has the power to make us fear – not our bodies and, certainly, not our country!

Stress from Fear Is Like a Three-legged Stool

The healthy connection between the body, mind, and spirit is often pictured as a three-legged stool. If stress takes one leg, the entire stool collapses. The same works for the other legs. Remove one part and your health suffers. Total balance of your body, mind, and spirit results in true healing of fear and stress.

Keep your body, mind, and spirit strong against fear and stress. This way, you’ll understand that fear is fickle and your special connection can release the stress.

How do you handle fear and stress? I would greatly appreciate your answers to this question.

Remember: Never Give Up!

We the People

We the People

We the People . . .

did not ask men to violate the bodies of women, nor did we ask men to create laws to punish us for our beliefs and constitution-given rights.

We the People . . .

are human beings with minds, bodies, and beating hearts. The laws of this nation need to validate gender equality, and void male domination over females in every area of a woman’s life.

We the People . . .

means, as women, we deserve identical respect as men and must never be treated as subservient.

We the People . . .

are wives, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, children, friends, aunts, partners and spouses, regardless of what genes we possess and do not have, or what status we have attained or not.

We the People . . .

are women who have been traumatized for centuries by men who seek the power to dominate and rule our lives with pain, punishment, and suffering.

We the People . . .

are millions of women who want to be heard.

Men, why aren’t you listening?

______________________________

I recently wrote this piece out of frustration for the way the rights of women are being violated. I may be frustrated, but I’ll NEVER GIVE UP! Are you bothered by the latest news on women rights? Let me know.

Law vs. Justice

Law vs. Justice

I am a curious writer – one who wants to know how the world works. As I wrote my manuscript, The Bear: In the Middle of Between, I loomed over the court room scene where my main character fights for justice from all the damage that has been done to her. The most amazing truth came to light as I focused on this scene. Claudia, my main character, finds out the hard way that law and justice are two very different principles. The majority of cases in our law system stem on whether a particular law has been violated or not. If the law is broken then a sentence is delivered. If the law is not broken, an acquittal occurs.

Astonishingly, Claudia and I found out that justice is not a part of our legal system. Justice is a quality or a sense of entitlement for a loss – such as life, property, or reputation. No justice can be served to the person who kills an innocent woman or man. The perpetrator will be sentenced to prison because he violated the law that prohibits killing. Whether or not I agree with the verdict, or feel that it is fair, the fact remains that the judge/jury decides if a law has been broken. Justice from a broken law depends on our expectations.

In the recent conviction of Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who was found guilty of third-degree murder of Justine Damond, people cried for justice in the killing of an innocent woman. Noor was found guilty because he broke a law, not because Justine was a remarkable woman. As author Richard Greelis wrote in a recent StarTribune editorial, “There is no justice when an innocent life is taken. Whatever sentence the judge comes up with will be considered just by some and a miscarriage of justice by others.” I believe Mr. Greelis’ description is accurate. BUT, we ask, what about our sorrows and sufferings? By our legal system, the only mandate that matters is if a law has been broken.

So, what do we do now with fighting for justice? Should we fight at all? As a principle, justice must prevail, at least in our hearts. Without a sense of justice, our lives would be distraught, and our beliefs would be forever in flux.

When I think of justice, I think about all the individuals, who for decades were sexually abused at the hands of Catholic priests. Or, all the children who are sexually abused by parents. What is justice like for these victims? For us? For me? Priests and parents break the law but few are incarcerated. The Catholic Church settles lawsuits with money not prison terms – as if money can return a child’s innocence or lost years. Money is not the cure for such savage disregard for children. Perpetrators must be penalized and sent to prison because the law is broken. Period.

My goal is to help abused children, who are now adults, find our own sense of justice where our lives are filled with exceptional quality and love.

Never. Give. Up. On. Justice.