Monthly Archives: November 2011

Why Everyone Deserves Palliative Care

By Terri Ades, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCN

As an advanced practice oncology nurse, I’ve been asked many interesting questions about cancer at cocktail parties. While I’ve never been asked about palliative care, my sense is that more people should be asking about it.  Opinion surveys indicate that the public does not understand palliative care.  So what?  Well, if the public doesn’t understand it, then when they or a family member need it, they may be missing out on care they should be receiving.   

Palliative care is care given by specialized health professionals to improve the quality of life of individuals and families who face a serious illness. Palliative care addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social needs of a person from the time of a diagnosis to the end of life.  It is the care that occurs to relieve symptoms (like pain, nausea, and fatigue) when someone is undergoing therapy to cure their  cancer, or to address their emotional suffering when they are told their cancer has progressed, or the social suffering they experience with limited income and health insurance, or their spiritual suffering when they have lost hope.   [more]

Not the Same as Hospice

Is it the same as hospice care?… Continue reading →

Here Come the Dissolvables

By Thomas J. Glynn, PhD


No, “The Dissolvables” are not a Saturday morning TV cartoon show – they are the tobacco industry’s latest attempt to maintain, and even expand, the number of tobacco users in the U.S., at a time when fewer people are smoking cigarettes.

“Dissolvables,” as they have become collectively known, are products made of compressed tobacco and are available in a variety of forms, including sticks, pellets, and strips (think the Listerine breath strip). They dissolve in the user’s mouth, delivering nicotine, as well as thousands of other chemicals and substances. Examples of these products are below.  [more]


While the concept of dissolvable tobacco is not entirely new – Star Scientific tobacco company first developed dissolvable tobacco pellets a decade ago – they have not been marketed aggressively until recently, when both RJ Reynolds (RJR) and Philip Morris (PM) tobacco companies began producing the sticks, pellets, and strips for test audiences in several states.

Marketing Plans

It is unclear what RJR and PM’s marketing plans are for these products. Some tobacco users will likely see them as a way of getting nicotine when they are unable to smoke (on airplanes, in theaters, etc.), and others may see them as a way of weaning themselves off cigarettes entirely.… Continue reading →

Crisis, Opportunity, Communication

By Greta Greer, MSW, LCSW

In my last blog, I provided general tips for communicating with someone diagnosed with cancer. In this blog, I talk about the added importance of good, open communication when you are caring for a loved one with cancer.

When it comes to being a cancer caregiver, I’ve found that caregivers often have the same questions and concerns as the person with cancer. Is he [am I] going to die? What if I can’t handle this?  Where’s the money coming from for treatment? Is the cancer his [my] fault? I told her to go [I know I should have gone]…to the doctor… stop smoking… lose weight…get a colonoscopy, mammogram, Pap smear…use sunscreen!  I’m so angry…scared…overwhelmed. Is cancer contagious?  However, both those with cancer and those who care about them may not share these concerns with one another. Why is that? [more]

You may be afraid that expressing your fears, saying the words out loud, can actually make them come true. You might try to shield your loved one from your feelings and concerns. However, failure to deal with them can affect good communication…and relationships.

The closer you are to someone with cancer, the greater the impact will be on you personally.… Continue reading →

Jump on the ‘bran wagon’ for better health

By Colleen Doyle, MS, RD

It may be time to jump on the “bran wagon,” if you’re not already on it.


In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers report that eating a high fiber diet reduces the risk of dying at an early age from a variety of causes, including heart disease, respiratory and infectious diseases, and among men, cancer.


During a 9-year study looking at diet and health, more than half a million AARP members between the ages of 50 and 71 completed a survey about their eating habits. Those who reported eating the most fiber (about 30 grams a day for men, and 26 grams a day for women) were 22% less likely to die from any cause during the study compared to those consuming the least amount (about 13 grams for men and 11 grams for women). [more]


Compared with men in the low fiber group, men in the high fiber group had a 24% – 56% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and infectious and respiratory diseases. Women consuming the highest amount of fiber had a 34%-59% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and infectious and respiratory diseases compared to women consuming the lowest amount, but there was no difference in cancer death rates.… Continue reading →