Helping Cancer Patients in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

As a result of Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath, it is vital that the needs of cancer patients and their displaced loved ones are addressed immediately, said the American Cancer Society (ACS).

The National Cancer Information Center (NCIC) – 800-ACS-2345 or 1-866-228-4327 for TTY stands ready 24 hours a day to refer callers to community resources and to triage cancer patients to oncology nurses when appropriate, said the agency. The Society’s website, cancer.org, has compiled a comprehensive list of resources to help survivors deal with all aspects of the storm’s aftermath. Staff and volunteers based in the Gulf Region are on the ground in the affected areas to serve the needs of evacuees, including connecting patients to treatment.

The American Medical Association (AMA) offers a variety of lists to choose a cancer doctor for those who need one. Another resource is the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

As the thousands of people affected by Hurricane Katrina try to rebuild their lives those who are also coping with cancer face special challenges. Staff were able to find a treatment center in Shreveport, LA for a three-year-old boy with leukemia who had been evacuated to the city from New Orleans and needed to continue therapy.

A childhood cancer specialist in Baton Rouge asked the agency to help locate a 15-year-old boy with late-stage disease who was about to begin treatment when the hurricane hit. An ovarian cancer survivor from New Orleans ended up in Baton Rouge without her prescriptions for the medications she needs to control symptoms related to her recent treatment.

Those being treated for cancer should be aware that they may be at risk for depression. It is also important for a person with cancer to remain as physically active as possible, according to the Society.

The American Cancer Society will be taking nominations for the prestigious Lane Adams Award through Nov. 1st.

Cancer death rates have been declining since the 1990s according to the agency. Screening and prevention have played a role.

A new study suggests that doctor-patient dialogue is essential for patients to quit smoking.

More than 85 percent of Americans consider themselves at least somewhat knowledgeable about cancer yet a substantial number of people still believe common myths about the disease and its treatment.

Colon cancer survivors whose activities equal an hour-long walk daily may be less likely to have their cancer return and less likely to die than survivors who get little exercise, according to the Society.

Some 250,000 people from the Gulf Coast have made their way to Texas since the hurricane hit.

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