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Patient tips

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), every patient’s perspective is invaluable. Whether you’re navigating a new diagnosis or survivorship, our family of patients and caregivers is here to walk with you throughout your journey. We share their advice and tips, in their own words.

Seven tips for living with an intermittent catheter

Jennifer B. was diagnosed with stage T2a bladder cancer at age 41, opting for a full bladder removal, followed by reconstructive surgery to create a “neo-bladder” using part of her small intestine. One of the most intimidating parts of her diagnosis and treatment plan included living with an intermittent catheter. Here, Jennifer shares tips she discovered through trial and error, frustration and laughter over time.

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    Five ways to prepare for a mastectomy—emotionally and physically

    In 2015, Beth W. was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. After receiving her initial treatment at another facility, she sought out a second opinion at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), where she eventually embarked on a nine-month treatment journey of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. One question she gets the most from other patients is how to prepare for a mastectomy. Here are the five ways she says she prepared for the procedure—emotionally and physically.


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    My seven must-have items for chemotherapy

    In 2020, Karyn C. was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer. She was treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Phoenix, with 16 rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a bilateral mastectomy and six weeks of daily radiation therapy. Karyn shares what she took with her to make her chemotherapy days as comfortable as possible.

    Breast Cancer

    Five ways I took back my power after a cancer diagnosis

    When Corby N. was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in June 2019, her biggest fear, other than death, was being seen as a victim of cancer. As an elementary school principal, a mother of three, a fighter pilot’s wife, athlete and adventurer, she didn’t want her identity to change. Instead, Corby made the decision to meet cancer treatment head on with positivity, courage and strength. Here, she shares the five ways she embodied the cancer warrior spirit.

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    Seven steps to take when transitioning back to work

    In 2014, Karen R. was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She was treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) with eight rounds of breast cancer chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy and then six weeks of daily radiation therapy. Karen shares what worked for her to help manage the transition back to her career and life.

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    Four things to remember when you hear the words, “You have stage 4 cancer”

    As Cancer Fighters volunteers, Ed and his wife Sandy set a goal to use encouragement, education and empowerment to change others’ initial reaction to the words, “You have cancer.” Now, Ed and Sandy are sharing the four pieces of advice that helped their family navigate a metastatic cancer diagnosis.

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    Five ways I manage cancer-related pain

    In 2008, Chris P. was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. After her diagnosis, she took the traditional pain management route. Although it took the edge off the intense pain, Chris didn’t want to miss out on life because of fatigue. Throughout treatment, she was introduced to some integrative strategies to manage her pain. Although she’s finished with chemotherapy and radiation, Chris still experiences bouts of chronic pancreatitis. She shares the five tools she still uses to manage her pain.

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    Five things I have learned as a caregiver and daughter

    Samantha B. is a caregiver for her father, David, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. He underwent surgeries and other treatments at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Atlanta. Now, Samantha shares some of what she’s learned since her dad's diagnosis and how it may help other caregivers like herself. 

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      Seven nutrition changes I made after gallbladder cancer

      Bernice M. was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer in 2012. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), she overhauled her diet and her exercise regimen. Now, she’s sharing the seven swaps she found most beneficial.

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      Eight ways to prepare for tissue expanders

      In 2020, Karyn C. was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer. She was treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Phoenix, with 16 rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a bilateral mastectomy and six weeks of daily radiation therapy. Here, Karyn shares the eight ways to prepare ahead of time.

      Breast Cancer

      Five pieces of advice I’d give someone newly diagnosed with cancer

      Mark F. was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015 and was treated by local doctors. A year later, he was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and underwent radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). He credits the grace of God and these five tips for helping him navigate his diagnosis and treatment plan.

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      Seven ways I got through a rare cancer diagnosis

      Sherry P. was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 2014. After several therapies from different doctors, she decided to treat at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®(CTCA), Chicago, at the urging of a friend. In January 2017, Sherry had a stem cell transplant with her sister as her donor and stayed at CTCA® Chicago facility for six months while recovering. Sherry shares some important tools and tips that helped her through her cancer journey.

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      10 tips that helped me respond to a prostate cancer diagnosis

      Army veteran Donald W. was diagnosed with stage 2B prostate cancer at 53 years old—just a month after losing his father to the disease. He underwent robotic surgery at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) to remove his prostate. Now, he’s sharing his tips on how to navigate a prostate cancer diagnosis and get the information you need to make decisions about your treatment options.

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      Seven ways I combat ‘chemo brain’

      In 2012, Karen R. was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She was treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) with eight rounds of chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy and then six weeks of daily radiation therapy. Her memory challenges became apparent when her sister would follow up with information given during appointments. The pair would recap the appointment on the drive home, but when they talked later that night, Karen often didn't remember much of what had been discussed earlier. Karen’s care team connected her with CTCA® Speech-Language Pathologist Jennifer Cargile, who helped her manage the symptoms of what she soon learned was commonly known as “chemo brain.” Karen shares what works for her to help manage the memory challenges.

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      Six things I wish I had known as a caretaker

      Loretta S. is a mom of two and wife who lives in Kentucky. In 2017, she became a caretaker for her husband, Rob, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 49. They traveled to Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Chicago, to undergo treatment. Loretta shares what she learned along the way that she feels all caregivers should know.

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      Eight ways to respond to ‘how can I help?’ requests when you have cancer

      Judith L. has received treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) for stage 4 breast cancer. She’s a retired teacher of 30 years and serves on the CTCA® patient advisory council. Judith shares her creative solutions on where loved ones can lend a hand.

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      Six ways to keep your mental health in check during treatment

      Pako W. was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 48th birthday. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Phoenix, she completed a double mastectomy, immunotherapy and then the newly released Kadcyla® treatment (an immunotherapy/chemotherapy combination). Pako is a personal trainer and believes in good nutrition and exercise as part of a treatment plan.

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        Six ways to prepare yourself for chemo

        In 2015, Beth W. was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. After receiving her initial treatment at another facility, she sought out a second opinion at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®(CTCA), where she eventually underwent chemotherapy, radiation and surgery—a nine-month treatment plan. For the past six years, Beth’s scans have shown no evidence of disease, and today, she serves in our Cancer Fighters program, helping other patients through their cancer journey with tips, advice and peer support. One aspect she gets the most questions about is how she dealt with chemotherapy. Here are the six ways she says she prepared for her treatments and the side effects they caused.

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        Six tips that helped me through radiation treatment

        Eric K. was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. He completed radiation treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Phoenix. Any radiation treatment plan can create some hurdles, so Eric is sharing his six tips that helped him during his round of treatments.

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        What now? Five steps you can take after a cancer diagnosis

        In 2008, Chris P. was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She flew to Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Chicago, to receive a second opinion on her treatment options and chose to undergo a rigorous chemotherapy regimen. Since 2012, Chris has completed her chemo and returns to CTCA® Chicago for checkups every six months. The shock of a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, but Chris found ways to keep moving forward. She shares the five steps that helped her process her diagnosis and navigate her cancer journey.

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        Six ways I practiced self-care during breast cancer treatment

        Hearing the words “it’s cancer” came as a complete shock to Jen T.  It wasn’t anything she ever imagined happening to her, especially at the age of 36, with no family history of breast cancer. As someone who likes to be in control (and a mom of two), Jen’s questions felt endless. Her oncologist then explained his job was to make sure his treatment recommendations were effective, but he invited Jen to play her part, too. On the back of a brochure, he wrote down a list of areas she could focus on to help her treatment and recovery. Now, she’s sharing that list—one she still uses to guide her day to day—with others. 

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        Five ways I got back into the swing of things after treatment

        After Eric K. was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, he completed radiation treatment at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Phoenix. Life for him during treatment looked different from his pre-diagnosis routine, and he learned some insights along the way that helped him get through the experience. Eric shares the five steps that helped him adapt to his new life after cancer treatment.

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