The Truth about Turmeric, Spices & Cancer

There seem to be a lot of talk online and through word of mouth about how different spices can “kill cancer.” Specifically, turmeric gets named a lot and I have clients who will take turmeric capsules expecting some kind of magic to happen. (Read more)

photo of an assortment of spices lying on a surface and in small bowls

Wandering The Woods For A Breast Cancer Treatment

Hoping to spur development of new agents, in 1955 the National Cancer Institute launched the Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center. Five years later, the NCI started an ambitious program to look outside the lab, in the natural world, for anticancer compounds. (A juniper bush and a flowering periwinkle already looked like they might be useful in developing medicines to fight cancer.) The NCI hired botanists to collect plants from across the United States and outside the country. Samples were bagged and sent back to labs that tested the specimens to see if they affected cancer cells. Scientists suspected that the natural world contained cancer-fighting compounds, but they had few leads, so the NCI botanists collected samples randomly, hoping to get a hit. Some 30,000 plant samples were screened between 1960 and 1981. One looked particularly promising. It was collected by a Harvard-trained botanist named Arthur Barclay. (Read more)

photo of a branch of yew needles

Facing Cancer with Courage

Many aspects of yoga practice are helpful for patients dealing with the physical and emotional toll of cancer treatments. Moving through postures helps restore physical functioning and well-being. But many cancer survivors and yoga teachers say the single most important practice can be pranayama, which can relax the body, still the mind, and help people connect with their spirit.

“Using the breath as a tool to release tension and anxiety is unknown to many people,” says Faith Isaacs, a therapist and yoga teacher who helped establish a yoga program for cancer patients at Valley Hope Hospital’s Center for Complementary Therapies in Ridgewood, New Jersey. “When you walk into the chemotherapy room, you can feel how strained and anxious people are—many of them are holding their breath.” One of the reasons for pranayama’s effectiveness is its sheer adaptability: Breathing practices can be done anywhere, anytime—in hospital beds, in treatment rooms, and during long, anxious periods of waiting for test results, doctor’s appointments, and surgical procedures—by people in all stages of illness or health. (Read more)

2/21 Support group meeting

This week’s support meeting turned out to be about beginnings. We had two women attend for the first time, both with the same kind of breast cancer and both at the very early stages of diagnosis and treatment planning. They were able to talk not only with another woman who is about halfway through her treatment for this cancer, but with another member who is about to have her final surgery in her reconstruction after treatment.

Continue reading “2/21 Support group meeting”

When Living With Serious Illness, What is Considered Courageous?

Every person living with a serious illness will respond uniquely to their diagnoses. The trope, “Don’t let cancer define you,” potentially prevents individuals from discovering new parts of themselves: aspects of their identity that could help them evolve to become someone they never thought was possible.

On New Year’s Eve, when the clock struck midnight to start the new decade, I made a resolution to listen and respond to my values. While I have no idea where that will lead me, moving forward in this manner may be the most courageous act I can do for myself. (Read more)

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about mastectomy

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

Good recovery from a mastectomy is more complicated than just sitting and waiting for some incisions to heal. This sheet covers those needs with tips on how to manage them.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about mastectomy

4th Angel Mentoring Program

The Cleveland Clinic 4th Angel Mentoring Program is an innovative, interactive approach to cancer support in which patients and caregivers are matched with trained volunteer mentors with similar age and cancer experiences. The program is a national, free service that emphasizes one-on-one contact to best empower caregivers and patients with knowledge, awareness, hope and a helping hand.

Mardi Gras Dance Party for Cancer Club Members

The Anchorage Young Cancer Coalition is holding a dance event for cancer club members “just because it’s fun and music is healing.”

Thursday, February 25th from5:30-8:30pm
The Castle on O’Malley (1520 O’Malley Rd)

Please join this dance party hosted by Alaska Ballroom Instructors free for cancer club members, families and caregivers. There will be a waltz and mambo lesson, open dancing, refreshments and fun. To RSVP call or text to 907-351-6008 or