Cancer Connections Treats Mind, Body and Spirit

Northwestern Medicine
Cancer Care/Oncology July 19, 2012
When Joni Alvarez developed stomach pains, headaches and noticed that she was extremely tired most of the time, she assumed it was due to work, stress, or a lack of exercise.  The diagnosis of cervical cancer caught her completely by surprise. “I’m still shocked at how quickly cancer happened to me,” Alvarez says.  “It was only four months from the onset of my symptoms, to receiving my diagnosis, to the completion of my treatment.”

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center logoAlvarez, who was diagnosed and treated at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in 2005, says that although she had to move quickly to prevent the disease from spreading, there was never a moment when she didn’t feel comfortable with and confidence in the treatment plan. When Alvarez finished her treatment seven years ago, she suddenly had a new set of questions and concerns. She learned that the financial, emotional and physical issues of cancer treatment can be overwhelming at times and found the Lurie Cancer Center could help her manage those challenges.

She is an active participant in many of the Lurie Cancer Center programs, including Cancer Connections—which is being offered again this Saturday, July 21st on the 3rd floor of Prentice Women’s Hospital. At Cancer Connections, patients and caregivers are able to experience the benefits of massage therapy, and learn about tools, techniques, and services they can use during and after cancer treatment. Workshops led by Lurie Cancer Center clinicians and Supportive Oncology team members include:
  • Active Days & Restful Nights: Managing Cancer-Related Fatigue & Insomnia
  • Breakthroughs & Challenges in Cancer Pain Management
  • Growth, Resilience & Renewal: The Cancer Experience
  • Navigating Health Insurance
  • Creating Family-Friendly Meals from the Farmer's Market
  • Hope, Happiness & Positive Thinking: Finding What Works for You

Alvarez says that in addition to learning new things at each Cancer Connections, which is offered quarterly, she values the chance to ask questions and interact with other cancer survivors in such a relaxed and positive setting.  “Cancer is always somewhere in the back of my mind, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and that I’m still learning and growing,” said Alvarez. “Now I focus more on the quality of my live as a cancer survivor than the fact that I survived cancer!”

To find out more information, please visit the website.
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