Cancer Fighters Thrive


Cancer Fighters Thrive is a quarterly print and online magazine bringing readers practical, innovative and inspirational information about cancer treatment and survivorship.

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SPECIAL FEATURE BIOPSY STAGE BENIGN Building a Cancer Vocabulary m metastasis ? If iar language that can make you feel even less in control. Understanding cancer terminology, however, is actually an aspect of treatment that you can control: By build- 10 cancer fighters thrive | winter 2013 CANCER CELL ONCO LOGIST you are or have been a cancer patient yourself, you are all too familiar with the feeling, as breast cancer survivor Colleen Logan Hofmeister puts it, of being "blindsided" by the experience. For many patients and their loved ones, this feeling of being overwhelmed by the news of a diagnosis and consequent treatment plan is exacerbated by strange terminology—unfamil- ? Knowing key terms can help you feel more in control of a diagnosis. By Mia James ing a cancer vocabulary, you will better understand the details of the diagnosis and your treatment plan and become an empowered member of your care team. According to Andrea Goodwin, RN, Care Manager at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Newnan, Georgia, "'Cancer vocabulary' refers to the terms that the nurses, doctors and providers use to discuss the treatment plan and diagnosis." Some of these words may be entirely new to you, such as complicated drug names or obscure types of cancer. Other words may sound familiar but have a new meaning in the context of cancer. "Stage," for example, is a word you know, but you may not have previously used it to describe how much cancer is in the body (tumor size and whether it has spread from the original site to other parts of the body). "Cancer stage" was a particularly important term for Colleen of Long Island, New York, who was diagnosed with stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer. "All I knew about stage IV cancer was that there was no stage V," she says. As a mother of two who wanted to see her children graduate from high school and college, this knowledge alone was "sobering," she says, especially without a broader vocabulary to help her also Photos by Karen Shell

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