Best of Cancerwise 2016: Caregiver stories

Caregivers play a crucial role in our cancer patients’ lives. Often, their love and kindness make the cancer journey more bearable. This past year, many MD Anderson caregivers shared their stories with us. Here are some of the caregiver stories that inspired us in...

Best of Cancerwise 2016: 10 inspiring quotes from our patients and caregivers

When you’re facing cancer, a mantra may help you stay focused and hopeful. And often, the best mantra for your journey comes from someone else who’s been there. This past year, dozens of MD Anderson patients and caregivers shared inspiring mantras and words of wisdom here on our Cancerwise blog. Here are 10 of their most inspiring quotes. We hope you’ll find at least one that speaks to you regardless of where you are on your cancer journey. "Live big and love big. Look for the joys amongst the sadness." — Lauren Richards, Caregiver "I was never promised how or when I would depart this world, but every day I do have the choice to make it a good day." — Dean Hawkins, Survivor "Have fun on the good days, and on the bad days; know there is a better tomorrow." — Nicole Chang, Survivor  "I’m living my life in spite of you, Cancer." — Marisa Suter, Survivor “We try really hard not to stress about what might come because that robs your joy of today. Today, we can choose joy.” — Scott Ferguson, Caregiver “Cherish what’s important to you, and share with others whatever mercy and kindness you are shown.” — Christopher Larkins, Survivor  "Remember what helped you and pay it forward.” — Ivanna Kern, Survivor  “Fight like hell! And keep fighting because the journey doesn’t end — it just changes.” — Jaymee Fiskum, Survivor "Cancer takes your mind and body on a roller coaster ride, and there’s no reason to try and be a hero. If something is wrong, speak up." — Damion Smith, Survivor "We are not alone in this fight...

Best of Cancerwise 2016: Our experts’ most helpful insight

A cancer diagnosis can require you to expand your vocabulary, learn about treatment options and side effects, and ask questions you never thought you’d need to consider. Luckily, our experts can be great resources when it comes to expanding your knowledge. This past year, our doctors shared insight on topics ranging from immunotherapy, clinical trials and stem cell transplants to fertility and cancer. Here are seven recent posts with our experts that our readers found especially helpful. Q&A: Understanding immunotherapy You’ve probably heard of immunotherapy, a new type of treatment that uses the body’s own natural defense system to attack cancer. But what is it, and who should consider it? Learn more in this interview with Dr. Padmanee Sharma, co-leader of MD Anderson’s immunotherapy platform. Understanding neuropsychology and chemobrain At one time, chemobrain was considered temporary or an emotional or stressful reaction to having cancer. Today, through the research of neuropsychologists like Jeffrey Wefel, Ph.D., and Shelli Kesler, Ph.D., we better understand how certain chemotherapy agents actually induce brain damage. Learn about our neuropsychology research and how our neuropsychologists are helping cancer patients. Phase I clinical trials: What you should know Phase I clinical trials are the foundation for how we develop new cancer drugs. And, for many patients, they can offer hope of successful treatment. Learn more about Phase I trials in this interview with David Hong, M.D. Understanding stem cell transplants Stem cell transplants are often the best option to treat leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, as well as bone marrow failure syndromes like myelodysplastic syndrome. Learn about the different types of stem cell transplants and how they work in...

Best of Cancerwise 2016: Cancer patient and survivor stories

This past year, dozens of MD Anderson patients and survivors shared their cancer journeys with us. In the process, they’ve shared their strength, wisdom and, best of all, hope. Here are nine of our most-read patients and survivor stories from...

Pancreatic cancer survivor savors normalcy

Relda Marshall’s only pancreatic cancer symptoms seemed benign to her — stomach pains and belching after eating. Eventually, Relda saw her local doctor in Mount Pleasant, Texas. He prescribed an acid-reducer and ordered bloodwork and an ultrasound. A follow-up CT scan confirmed that she had a two-centimeter tumor on her pancreas. “It was a shock,” Relda says. “I had never been really sick.”  After discussing the diagnosis with her family, she decided to go to MD Anderson. In Feb. 2012, she met with Matthew Katz, M.D., who gave her a definitive diagnosis: pancreatic cancer.  Relda’s pancreatic cancer treatment Katz and Gauri Rajani Varadhachary, M.D., created Relda’s pancreatic cancer treatment plan, which would include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. “Everybody was caring and professional,” Relda says. For two weeks, Relda took an oral chemotherapy drug called Xeloda in the morning and evening, and received radiation in the afternoon. Then, she returned home to recover for four weeks so her pancreas could become firmer for the surgery. On April 5, 2012, Katz completed the surgery, removing the tumor, Relda’s gallbladder, spleen, a third of her stomach and surrounding lymph nodes. He performed a vein reconstruction as well. Because the tumor had integrated itself into Relda’s pancreas, Dr. Katz needed to remove the entire pancreas instead of only a portion of the pancreas. Relda was walking the day after her surgery. After 10 days in the hospital and two more weeks in Houston, she returned home with an order to take Gemcitabine, an intravenous chemotherapy, for four months with a local doctor. But shortly after being discharged, Relda developed jaundice and returned...