Cancer and Financial Toxicity: 6 Tactics

Posted March 20th, 2017

My friend, upon turning 40, had a mammogram. Suspicious areas showed up in both breasts, which precipitated an ultrasound, two biopsies and additional mammography. All to the tune of $4,000. Although no cancer was detected, my friend needs to return every six months for images. “High risk,” they said. “We need to watch this closely,” they said. Here’s the […]


22 Ways to Support Your Newly-Diagnosed Friend

Posted March 6th, 2017

Over the past few years, a number of people have asked about best ways to support a newly-diagnosed-with-cancer friend, neighbor, or family member. Or how to support a close friend who just learned a loved one had cancer. Keeping in mind that every cancer patient will be at a different place in terms of diagnosis, long-term prognosis, and state […]


Stupid Cancer

Posted February 6th, 2017

On a snowy day last week, mom-in-law Ivalene checked into the emergency room – quite yellow. In the process of correcting her outrageous skin color, pancreatic cancer was discovered. From her hospital bed, mom-in-law has been reminiscing. One of the stories she loves to tell is how she met her husband, Jack, when he was home on leave from the Marines and how […]


Why Cancer Patients Should Write a Life Review Letter

Posted January 23rd, 2017

The title of a New York Times piece written by a palliative physician, Dr. VJ Periyakoil—“Writing a ‘Last Letter’ When You’re Healthy”—caught my eye. Dr. Periyakoil tells the story of one of his patients, a Marine combat veteran, who, when he learned he was dying, expressed his regrets and his love for his wife and pride in […]


Bob Riter

When Your Partner is in Denial About Cancer

Posted January 18th, 2017

I recently spoke with a woman who was stressed because her husband has cancer and he seemed to be in denial over the seriousness of his situation. What was especially upsetting to her was that he didn’t want to address any end of life issues like drafting a will. I’ve been mulling this over ever […]


What a Cancer Warrior Looks Like

Posted January 16th, 2017

My friend, Michelle, is a cancer fighter. Although she doesn’t have cancer – nor do her husband or any close family members at present – she is, nevertheless, a fierce passionate dazzling cancer-kicking warrior. Michelle approached us, back when I was on staff at St. Charles Cancer Center, with an idea: What about a weekly walking class for cancer […]


Bob Riter

A Field Guide to Family Members of Cancer Patients

Posted January 6th, 2017

There are a variety of styles that spouses and other close family members adopt to help a family member with cancer. Here are several negative styles that I’ve observed through the years as well as the style that is most likely to be helpful. Combatants are always looking to pick a fight, often with doctors […]


Despite Cancer: Thoughts on Outward Focus in this New Year

Posted January 5th, 2017

Hubby and I were anticipating hiking a new trail with friends. Four-in-One Cone in the Sisters (Oregon) Wilderness with views of seven distinct massive rock-solid peaks. As we began our climb, we found ourselves in the clouds. Dense. Gray. No mountain views in sight. Worse, I couldn’t seem to get warm; I was focused too much on the damp coldness. A week later, Hubby and I hiked the […]


Bob Riter

Value Your Own Story

Posted November 29th, 2016

I recently spoke with a group in Binghamton, NY about coping with and communicating about cancer. One attendee suggested that I add the importance of valuing our individual cancer stories. What a terrific idea. Each person who’s been through cancer (either as a patient or a caretaker) has a unique story. For many of us, […]


Karen Arnold-Korzeniowski, BSN, RN

Cancer Free(dom)

Posted September 23rd, 2016

Over the past couple of months, I have been treated for basal cell carcinoma on my face. While having a MOHS procedure on the first lesion, the surgeon noted a spot on my chin that he said he wanted to biopsy when I had my second surgery done. I couldn’t remember a time not having […]