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Survivorship Challenges: Aspirus St. Luke's Kicks Off First Lecture in Survivorship Series

Category: Patient Stories
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Deb Viner, St. Luke's licensed psychologist, and Dr. Anne Silva-Benedict, oncologist at St. Luke's Regional Cancer Center, answer questions submitted by the audience.To listen to the entire lecture, click here.

Aspirus St. Luke's kicked off its Understanding Cancer: Survivorship Lecture Series last night with informative lectures from Dr. Anne Silva-Benedict, oncologist at Aspirus St. Luke's Regional Cancer Center, and Deb Viner, Aspirus St. Luke's licensed psychologist. The capacity crowd in Aspirus St. Luke's Hospital auditorium learned about survivorship challenges and specifically, chemotherapy's effects on one's mind and body. The lecture concluded with an interactive question-and-answer session between audience members and the speakers.

Dr. Silva-Benedict said that as cancer treatments have improved, the number of cancer survivors has increased dramatically in recent years. She went on to explain that chemotherapy can have a variety of effects on your body: fatigue, bone density loss and "chemo brain." To manage these long-term and short-term effects of chemotherapy, she advised:

  • Prioritize activities and save your energy for the most important activities.
  • Follow a healthy and high-protein diet.
  • Keep a checklist containing daily reminders.
  • Create a more structured environment that is free of clutter.
  • Begin a weight-bearing exercise routine.

While cancer treatments can leave people feeling physically exhausted, the emotional challenges often are greater and present even bigger challenges for the survivor. Viner emphasized the important role of caregivers in survivorship. She encouraged caregivers to speak openly and honestly with their loved ones about changes in mood or behavior and to be supportive of counseling.

To teach people about cancer and survivorship, Aspirus St. Luke's Regional Cancer Center is hosting a quarterly Understanding Cancer: Survivorship Lecture Series for patients, family members and anyone interested in learning more about cancer and survivorship challenges. The next lecture will be held on September 16, and will focus on Understanding the Legal and Financial Issues of Cancer. Please contact Tina Roberts at 218.249.5468 or to be put on the mailing list to receive more information about the lecture series.