Living with cancer blog

Living with cancer: Welcome to our new blog

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. October 13, 2009

The American Cancer Society (ACS) considers a cancer survivor to be anyone who defines himself or herself this way, from the time of diagnosis throughout the balance of life. ACS estimates there are more than 10 million cancer survivors in the United States alone. This blog is for these survivors, as well as caregivers, friends and families. Please send me suggested topics. My goal is to open discussions and get conversations started — let's chat!

In the past, the word "cancer" was taboo, a word that most individuals didn't feel comfortable saying, let alone talking about. But more than ever before, cancer survivors are playing an active role in their health care team by learning about their diagnosis, treatment options and resources. As many health care professionals say, "As a patient, you're your best advocate."

While nothing will ever diminish the seriousness of cancer, we are fortunate that so many medical researchers, at Mayo Clinic and around the world, have made understanding and reducing the burden of cancer their primary goal. Part of that burden includes concerns that plague survivors long after diagnosis and even "cure." This blog is a place to talk about those concerns, and hopefully help make the journey after diagnosis a bit easier to face. By listening, we speak volumes.

When I hear the words "cancer survivor," a few different thoughts come to mind, reflective of the many survivors that I've had the pleasure of meeting: strength, endurance, resiliency, grace, compassion ... the list goes on. I'm continually amazed by the many people who've been touched by cancer who feel empowered to give back to others — from simply sharing their stories or becoming a patient advocate to leading support groups or mentoring recently-diagnosed cancer patients.

These individuals have powerful and compelling stories to share. This blog can also serve as a forum for this sharing — and inspire us throughout the process. It's limited only by our imagination and willingness to share.

To begin the discussion, I hope you'll consider posting your reflections on what "cancer survivor" means to you.

I look forward to chatting with you, and please consider subscribing to our free Living with Cancer newsletter.

- NBE

Welcome to our new cancer survivorship blog.

We're all touched by cancer, whether personally or through shared experiences with a loved one. Although I don't have cancer, I've worked for numerous years with cancer clinicians, researchers and cancer survivors; and have seen the value in talking about issues, sharing information, and having someone listen to fears and concerns.

I'd like to use my experiences and those of each of you to make this online forum a place to share hope and strength with one another. I hope we'll all find value in sharing our thoughts.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Oct. 13, 2009