September 29, 2014 |
"What's a brush? What's a comb? What's a bad hair day? Can you please remind me?" Tom Gillin, a bald cancer patient, raps into a mirror with an equally bald doctor at his side. Both are sporting curly blond wigs. "I celebrate my time here," Gillin says later in his music video about life with cancer at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. A 19-year-old who was discharged from the hospital Sept. 12 after five months of care for leukemia, Gillin created a parody rap video to two of Jay Z's songs.
August 9, 2014
ISSUE | HEALTH Nothing by mouth? There is an enormous financial burden placed on cancer patients like me who are receiving oral medications not covered as a medical benefit, as intravenous chemotheraphy would be. Oral chemotherapy is considered a pharmacy benefit, requiring me to pay a percentage of the cost, often $1,500 or more per month. Luckily, I was able to find Patient Services Inc., a nonprofit company that helps individuals with chronic illnesses pay out-of-pocket expenses.
August 8, 2014 |
Katie Hayek had rushed from Philadelphia to New York, and made it to the set just in time to prepare for the day's shooting of The Following. It was February 2013 and Hayek, an aspiring actress, had scored a small role in the television series about an uber-violent, but highly, literate cult. "Too many tanning beds?" the hair and makeup artist asked, noticing the pocked trail of blisters across Hayek's scorched chest. Hayek laughed. "Let me tell you about that tanning bed. " Hayek (pronounced HAY-eck)
August 4, 2014 |
With cancer, the complicated combination of chemotherapy and surgeries plus side effects lead patients to seek alternative medicine more often than people with other afflictions. Sixty-five percent of cancer survivors have used complementary and alternative medicine, a 2011 study in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship found, compared with 52 percent of those who haven't had cancer. Yet these largely unregulated treatments are often unproven and can lead patients down a health-care rabbit hole unless they have guidance.
July 14, 2014 |
The surgeon delivered the bad news on Elizabeth Koniz's lumpectomy: "We didn't get clean margins. " Stunned, she couldn't think of anything else. "The words rang in my head," said Koniz, a 48-year-old admissions coordinator at Temple University School of Medicine. "I had terrible anxiety. I was nervous at medical appointments. I had tremendous trouble sleeping and cried for weeks after the diagnosis. " About a third of cancer patients experience high levels of anxiety - intense distress, although not typically to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder - after getting the diagnosis or during a difficult moment in treatment.
March 11, 2014
T IFFANY WADE, 29, of Cheltenham Township, is CEO of Kissess LLC, a company that makes "F--- CANCER" apparel, with the "C" in "F---" replaced by a breast-cancer-awareness ribbon. Wade, a divorced mother of two daughters and a registered nurse, started the apparel line a year ago, shortly before her hairstylist's mother died of breast cancer. Q: How'd you come up with the idea for the company? A: I've been an RN for 10 years and worked at Hahnemann [University Hospital]
February 17, 2014 |
'I'm pretty lucky," Tony Pace explained, which is not the reaction most people might have when hearing his story. In 2008, Pace battled colon cancer that had spread to his liver and bladder. Surgeons removed half of each organ, and had to rebuild the ureter line on the right side of his kidney. Six months of chemotherapy followed. In 2009 came a liver resection along with removal of his gallbladder. The Clifton Heights man, 53, has been cancer-free ever since. Pace's oncologist calls him an outlier, someone whose reaction to care is so remarkable that it's unexplainable - up until now, anyway.
November 22, 2013 |
SOME OF Mickey Hirsch's family and friends were appalled when he began preparing for his own death, even building his coffin. Mickey was a cancer patient who went from being a husky 220-pounder to a frail 150 pounds in the past year and a half. Tortured by chemotherapy, his once powerful energy drained away. "I do want to live," he told the Daily News' Barbara Laker, who wrote about him in October. "But I'm making the most of my death. I'm putting some meaning into it. I share these experiences so people are not scared to die. " Edmond "Mickey" Hirsch died Tuesday at age 61. He had lived most of his life in Northeast Philadelphia but recently lived in Forked River, N.J. Mickey, who worked in construction most of his life and was until recently doing remodeling jobs with his son, Matt, 26, posted photos of his casket-making on Facebook.
November 4, 2013 |
When Christopher T. Walsh was president of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, cancer patients everywhere were increasingly battling an additional foe. Their weakened immune systems were falling prey to "superbugs" that resisted the best weapons in the arsenal of modern medicine. Walsh, also on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, set out to find what made the bugs tick. Because of his success over the last two decades, which is helping scientists to find new drugs, Walsh is among the nine newest winners of annual awards given by the Franklin Institute.
November 2, 2013 |
If palliative care were a new cancer drug, it would be hailed as a breakthrough, Diane Meier told a crowd at Christiana Hospital on Thursday. Palliative care, which focuses on easing patients' symptoms, supporting families, and discussing patient priorities, not only makes people feel better physically and emotionally, Meier said. It costs less because it keeps people out of hospitals and nursing homes. And, patients live longer. But palliative care is not a new type of chemotherapy, said Meier, an expert in geriatrics and palliative medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and a MacArthur "genius" award winner.