Category Archives: mission

Navigating Through the Wilderness – Coping During the Holidays

As the holiday season gets into full swing we need to remember that cancer patients/ survivors and cancer caregivers need extra patience and care during this time of year.

If you are a current cancer patient or are a cancer survivor, having cancer any day of the year is never easy, but everything seems to get magnified during the holidays. If you need some tips on how to help you through the next few weeks, please visit http://bit.ly/2OWv8Od

For our caregivers the holidays also present their own set of joys and challenges. Caregivers get little time off and with the hustle & bustle of the holidays even the little things in life get stressful. If you are currently caregiving for someone this holiday season and need some tips to make things a bit easier, read this: http://bit.ly/2OZe2Q9

And then for all of us, but especially our caregivers who have given so much of themselves caring for their loved ones there is coping with the grief of lost loved ones during the holidays as we remember those we have lost. For some help coping with grief during the holidays, here are some references: http://bit.ly/2AbKnOa and http://bit.ly/2PK2xkD

For both cancer patients/ survivors and cancer caregivers, the American Cancer Society offers support in Second Life as well as in our first lives.

Inworld we have the ACS Cancer Survivors Network group for all cancer patients and survivors. And we have the ACS Cancer Caregivers Network group for all current and former caregivers. If you would like more information about either group or to join, please contact:
Sandie Slate (Sandie Loxingly)
secondlife:///app/agent/98932850-957c-49de-af85-fd19738ced21/about

There is also 24/7 support available from the American Cancer Society via phone at 1-800-227-2345 or by visiting cancer.org and clicking “live chat”. **

The most important thing to remember every day – and especially during the holidays – that none of us living with cancer in our daily lives is alone.

**For non- US patients/ survivors and caregivers, you are welcome to contact the American Cancer Society via web chat at cancer.org and they will be happy to try to direct you to resources available for you in your home country.

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Mission Monday: Emotions & Breast Cancer

As you go through cancer treatments, many find themselves dealing with additional emotional issues aside from the physical side effects of treatment. These emotional issues can also arise after treatments are finished.

For women dealing with breast cancer, these issues are sometimes amplified even more from the changes to their bodies as a result of treatments.

Finding a good support system to help you through this period on your journey is key to helping navigate these times.

For those breast cancer patients and survivors in Second Life, there is the ACS Cancer Survivors Network inworld. This is a peer to peer support group, connecting people who have fought cancer who will provide support, advice, and encouragement to cancer patients in Second Life who are undergoing treatment and other survivors.

For all breast cancer patients and survivors there is also the Reach To Recovery program available through the American Cancer Society.

The most important thing to keep in mind is you are never alone.

To learn more about Emotions & Breast Cancer visit cancer.org.

 

Fact Friday: Supporting Cancer Patients, Survivors & Caregivers

The mission of the American Cancer Society is to save lives, celebrate lives and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

Thanks to all of those who give, the American Cancer Society is able to help so many in their daily battles against cancer, whether they are cancer patients, survivors or caregivers.

A few of the statistics* from how your donations helped cancer patients and survivors in 2017:

  • Helped more than 33,000 women manage appearance-related side effects of treatment
  • Provided more than 9,000 peer support services to breast cancer patients
  • Provided more than 112,000 special kits of tailored information and resources for newly diagnosed patients
  • Thousands of patients, survivors, and caregivers use our online Cancer Survivors Network

*statistics can be found at cancer.org

Not only do patients, survivors and caregivers have access to the Cancer Survivors Network in their first lives, they also have access to support groups provided by the American Cancer Society within Second Life.

The American Cancer Society offers cancer survivors and caregivers the opportunity to receive and give support through our Hope Haven program.

Hope Haven is one of the best examples of the impact of our fundraising dollars making a real difference in our virtual world. The program exists to offer emotional support to people going through their own personal cancer journey.

The two primary functions of Hope Haven is the cancer survivor support group and the caregiver support group.

Each support group is led by a volunteer who works closely with American Cancer Society staff to:

  • Deliver the type of support that Second Life residents need
  • Reach out across the grid to let Second Life residents know about Hope Haven and offer support to cancer survivors and caregivers, everywhere
  • Work together with RFL & MSABC volunteers so that event opportunities are made available to members of Hope Haven
  • Offer event participants the opportunity to join Hope Haven support groups

For more information about the American Cancer Society and the inworld support groups for cancer patients, survivors and caregiver, please contact, Sandie Slate (Sandie Loxingly), Hope Haven Services Lead.

Visit Hope Haven on the American Cancer Society region here.

 

Springboard Beyond Cancer

Springboard Beyond Cancer is a joint venture between the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society to help you Manage Cancer- Your Way.

Take control of your health and manage the challenges of cancer through self-management. Self-management is all of the actions you take to deal with problems and prevent new ones.

  • Learn to advocate for yourself and navigate cancer’s challenges with self-management.
  • Explore the Symptoms section for information on fatigue, nausea, and more physical side-effects of cancer.
  • Understand your rights in the workplace.
  • Understand the importance of taking care of yourself while being there for your loved one.

Create an action deck to collect information related to a cancer topic or treatment.

To learn more, visit Springboard Beyond Cancer today.

Ways To Help Wednesday: The ACS CHANGE Program

The NFL, its clubs, players and the NFL Players Association are proud to support the fight against breast cancer. Our campaign, “A Crucial Catch”, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older. Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, on-field pink ribbon stencils, special game balls and pink coins – all to help raise awareness for this important campaign. All apparel worn at games by players and coaches, along with special game balls and pink coins will be auctioned off at NFL Auction, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE) program.

The American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) Grant Program builds community and system capacity to promote health equity, access and navigation to screening resources within underserved communities.

CHANGE grants serve as a catalyst for partners to implement and sustain interventions to effectively engage and mobilize patients; and implement systems and policies that are essential to increasing access to timely cancer screenings.

The Society has awarded nearly 350 grants since 2011 and grant recipients are making amazing impact! Our grant recipients represent community health centers, community-based organizations, academic medical centers, breast and cervical cancer early detection programs, Indian Health Service health centers and faith-based organizations. Learn more about how these CHANGE grants are impacting communities here.

New in 2017 the NFL and the American Cancer Society have expanded the Crucial Catch program to include early detection and risk reduction efforts for other cancers to increase the impact of the campaign. Read the full press release here.

As part of the campaign, the NFL and ACS launched a new, digital tool, The Defender, which provides the public with free personalized tips to reduce their cancer risk. In the spirit of ‘The Best Defense is a Good Offense,’ people can enter information about their height, weight, exercise regimen and more. The tool will analyze and provides personalized recommendations on what they can do to reduce their risk of getting cancer. The Defender was funded by the NFL and developed by ACS and can be found at TheDefender.cancer.org.

You can take part in the Crucial Catch initiative by bidding on authentic game-worn NFL Crucial Catch products, to learn more or place your bid visit the NFL Crucial Catch page here.

Schools and leagues are also invited to join the fight as part of the Crucial Catch with the Coaches vs. Cancer program. To sign up or learn more, visit here.

 

Mission Monday: Mammograms- Before, During and After Screening

The biggest key to fighting breast cancer is early diagnosis. Along with your monthly self-exam, most women should schedule an annual mammogram.

Breast cancers found during screening exams are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. The size of a breast cancer and how far it has spread are some of the most important factors in predicting the prognosis of a woman with this disease.

For women with an average risk of breast cancer the American Cancer Society recommends this screening schedule:

Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.

Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

All women should understand what to expect when getting a mammogram for breast cancer screening – what the test can and cannot do.

Women who are at high risk for breast cancer based on certain factors should get an MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30. This includes women who:

  • Have a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools that are based mainly on family history (see below)
  • Have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation (based on having had genetic testing)
  • Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, and have not had genetic testing themselves
  • Had radiation therapy to the chest when they were between the ages of 10 and 30 years
  • Have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes

Once you have had your mammogram, what happens next?

Usually following a mammogram you will get a letter with your results within 30 days that everything was normal.

But if doctors find something suspicious, they’ll call you back – usually within just 5 days – to take new pictures or get other tests.

Getting that call can be scary, but a suspicious finding does not mean you have cancer.

A suspicious finding may be just dense breast tissue, a cyst, or even a tumor that isn’t cancer. Other times, the image just isn’t clear and needs to be retaken. Or, if this is your first mammogram, your doctor may want to look at an area more closely simply because there is no previous mammogram to compare it with.

You will likely have another follow-up mammogram, a diagnostic mammogram. You may also have an ultrasound of your breast or possibly an MRI.

Following one of these tests you are likely to be told 1 of the following:

* The suspicious area turned out to be nothing to worry about and you can return to your regular mammogram schedule.

* The area is probably nothing to worry about, but you should have your next mammogram sooner than normal – usually in 4 to 6 months – to make sure it doesn’t change over time.

* Cancer was not ruled out and a biopsy is needed to tell for sure.
– Even if you need a breast biopsy, it still doesn’t mean you have cancer. Most biopsy results are not cancer, but a biopsy is the only way to find out. During the procedure, a small amount of tissue is removed and looked at under a microscope.

If you do have cancer and you are referred to a breast specialist, use these tips to make your appointment as useful as possible:

* Make a list of questions to ask at the appointment. Download a list from the American Cancer Society or call us at 1-800-227-2345.

* Bring a family member or friend with you. They can serve as an extra pair of ears, help you remember things later, and give you support.

* Ask if you can record important conversations.

* Take notes. If someone uses a word you don’t know, ask them to spell it and explain it.

* Ask the doctors or nurses to explain anything you don’t understand.

How can I stay calm while waiting?

Waiting for appointments and the results of tests can be frightening. Many women experience strong emotions including disbelief, anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness during this time. Some things to remember:

* It’s normal to have these feelings.

* Most breast changes are not cancer and are not life-threatening.

* Talking with a loved one or a counselor about your feelings may help.

* Talking with other women who have been through a breast biopsy may help.

* The American Cancer Society is available at 1-800-227-2345 around the clock to answer your questions and provide support.

For more on mammograms and the importance of early detection, visit Cancer.org here.

Learn more about non-cancerous breast conditions here.

Guidelines for what to do if you are called back after a mammogram, visit here.

Fact Friday: FDA Approves Verzenio (Abemaciclib) for Certain Advanced Breast Cancers

As we near the end of this year’s MSABC campaign, We are pleased to inform you that another step has been made toward our end goal!

On September 17, 2017 it was released that the FDA had approved Verzenio (Abemaciclib) for the treatment of certain advanced breast cancers.

To learn more about Verzenio (Abemaciclib) and what types of advanced cancers it can be used for, please see the official release here.

This is why we continue to Make Strides with your support!