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!!!


It’s My Birthday!

It’s My Birthday!

Hi Wellness Readers:

Today is my birthday and it’s -10 degrees outside. My birthday lunch plans were rescheduled due to the extreme cold. Does this bother me? No, because I’ve learned that birthdays come and go but my life experiences will last forever. For instance . . .

Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and given a six percent chance of survival. As dreadful as that sounds, I survived. The past 12 years have been a blessing to me and I will never take these years of life for granted. I’ve learned more about myself and this world than I ever dreamed. My greatest blessing was that I had the resilience to survive and see my wedding day! I am grateful for this miracle.

Yes, my wedding day is a miracle. I lived long enough to watch as our Minnesota governor sign the “Love is the law” legislation on May 14, 2013, making marriage legal for same sex partners. My wife, Rita, was at my side while I went through surgeries after surgeries, chemotherapy, two near death experiences — all to heal from cancer. And she is still by my side as life entertains and baffles us.

I’m grateful for this birthday today to remind me of all the people and things I hold dear. I’m a fortunate woman with a blistering past, but today I am whole and healed. Thank you Divine Spirit for all the good people in my life and the immense love that I feel every day.

I didn’t give up because I believe in love, truth, healing, and hope.

NEVER GIVE UP! EVER!!!

Finding an Answer to Cancer

Finding an Answer to Cancer

This past Saturday, August 19th I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Forest Lake Relay For Life event. My wife Rita and I have been Relay volunteers for 10 years since my diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer — twice! This is an event near and dear to my heart because my mother, many relatives, and friends have fought cancer battles — many have died and many more are still alive today. There’s still no cure(s) for the over 200 types of cancer. Jaelynn Parenteau (first photo) was our guest survivor speaker. She’s 17 years old and has been on a cancer journey for one year now. It breaks my heart that someone so young has to deal with cancer. She’s a super courageous survivor and I was honored to introduce her at the Survivor Celebration (second photo).

Our five teams raised $56,000 this year!

Typical me, I tried to find a survivor poem to share at the Survivor Celebration, but unable to find one, I wrote a poem instead. I’d like to share it with you and all the cancer survivors who are faced with cancer.

I Survived

Cancer came at me like a monster, and I shook with anger and fear.
I didn’t know where I was headed, but I knew my death was near.

I prayed to the Heavens to heal me, and the sky sent me a beam.
I knew I’d strive to walk again, and reach my cherished dream.

But the journey was difficult, and took away my breath.
I was taught how to live, but knew nothing of fighting death.

My body was weak, my mind a mess, my spirit took a dive.
You helped me confront my fears, and made me feel alive.

I’m proud to be called a survivor, and glad the worst is gone.
Healing is a miracle, like the sunset and early dawn.

Say a prayer for those who walk this day, arm-in-arm with cancer.
Show us how to fight for life, and help us find the answer.

Alexis Acker-Halbur
August 16, 2017
__________________________________________

If you are fighting a cancer battle, please remember that you have the strength and courage to fight this monster. It’s difficult to want to keep living after all the surgeries, radiation treatments, and chemo sessions, but your desire to live is stronger than cancer. My motto is “Never Give Up” and I believe this should be every cancer survivor’s motto as well.

Let me know what you think about my poem.

Alex Acker-Halbur

Don’t Be Fooled: It’s Not Health Care — It’s Death Care

Don’t Be Fooled: It’s Not Health Care — It’s Death Care

Have you read the June 2017 AARP article? Find Out Who Voted For The Health Care Bill: AARP opposes act it calls an “age tax” on Older Americans. If you missed it, it was a stunning article that affects ALL the baby boomers. Here’s what it said:

“The U.S. House of Representatives on May 4 passed the American Health Care Act by a razor-thin margin: 217 to 213. It includes an “age tax” that AARP says would add as much as $13,000 to the cost of insurance for those 50 to 64, and would discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer and diabetes. What’s more, we believe it would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage and put Medicare in worse financial shape.”

This isn’t health care — this is death care! Especially for people like me who have diabetes and cancer. I want to thank the 217 representatives who’ve voted for my death! That’s right folks, those Republican representatives who you voted in last year are calling the shots and they want those of us with diabetes and cancer to ill-afford treatment and medications and, ultimately, die. They’re playing “God” with our health care and I can think of no greater sin than taking the lives of others. Doesn’t world history hold numerous stories of the destruction of humans by the millions? Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? I’ve tried to stay out of politics in this blog but, day after day, I’m inundated with news like this that really frightens me. I know many people with diabetes and cancer, some are close friends, and all are at-risk because of our current legislation.

DO YOU CARE THAT THIS IS HAPPENING? If so, I really want to know how you’re really feeling about this American Death Care Act? 

Don’t be fooled into thinking this type of health care is great because it isn’t health care at all — history calls it GENOCIDE — the systematic killing of, or a program intended to destroy those of us who are sick and ill!

Bless us all!

Never Give Up!

Furthering the Fact: The Correlation Between Stress & Illness

Furthering the Fact: The Correlation Between Stress & Illness

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you may have come up with an opinion about my health status: Gee Alex, your DNA sucks! And though I’m very willing to agree, I just received new information that puts more light on the influence of stress on my illnesses versus my DNA.

I recently went through oncology genetic testing because of my two journeys with Stage IV colon cancer and my family history of cancer. Genetic analysts have found that in the Comprehensive Cancer Panel, I have NEGATIVE cancer genes! So, if I don’t have the genes how did I get cancer?

As I’ve said for years, the cause of my poor health: years of stress from unresolved trauma! This is great news for me personally, but as an advocate for resolving trauma, this news is exceptional. What it translates to is when you decide to resolve past trauma, you not only strengthen your immune system but you will also reduce your risks of inflammation and, possibly, even cancer.

As I’ve said a million times, stress can kill, but now you can take control of your life by dealing with, and coping from, trauma. You can improve your health starting today!

I’m going to celebrate my “negative” news today!!! What news have you received that you’d like to celebrate today.

Here are some suggestions on how to celebrate:

  1. Have a healthy dinner at your favorite restaurant.
  2. Do a “Happy” dance in your kitchen.
  3. Hug your spouse.
  4. Go for a quiet walk in the park.
  5. Say a prayer of “thanks.”
  6. Never Give Up!!!
  7. Never Give Up!!!
  8. Never Give Up!!!

Color your world today!