Cancer Awareness Calendar 2021

January

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Blood Donor Month


February

National Cancer Prevention Month

Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month

World Cancer Day (February 4, 2021)

National Donor Day (February 14, 2021)

Rare Disease Day (February 28, 2021)


March

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

International Women’s Day (March 8, 2021)

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Day (March 3, 2021)

Kidney Cancer Awareness Month

Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month

Anal Cancer Awareness Day (March 21, 2021)


April

National Cancer Control Month

Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

Minority Cancer Awareness Month

Minority Health Month

National Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness Week (April 11-17, 2021)

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

World Health Day (April 7, 2021)


May

Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

Brain Tumor Awareness Month

Cancer Research Month

Clinical Trial Awareness Week

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Melanoma Monday (May 3, 2021)

Women’s Check-up Day (May 10, 2021)

Women’s Health Week (May 9−15, 2021)

Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month


June

Cancer Survivors Month

Cancer Survivors Day (June 6, 2021)

Men’s Health Week (June 14−20, 2021)


July

UV Safety Awareness Month

Sarcoma and Bone Cancer Awareness Month


 August

Summer Sun Safety Month

World Lung Cancer Day (August 1, 2021)


September

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Uterine Cancer Awareness Month

Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

Blood Cancer Awareness Month

MPN Awareness Day (September 9, 2021)

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day (September 21, 2021)

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month


October

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Mammography Day (October 15, 2021)

Liver Cancer Awareness Month


November

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

National Family Caregiver Month

Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Month

Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Awareness Day (November 10, 2021)

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month

INSIST! Lung Cancer | Resource Guide

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Should You Have Prostate Cancer Genetic Testing?

Should You Have Prostate Cancer Genetic Testing? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Should you ask for prostate cancer genetic testing? Dr. Nima Sharifi discusses prostate cancer genetics and shares his perspective on how testing can help ensure the best care for a patient.

Dr. Nima Sharifi is Director of the Genitourinary (GU) Malignancies Research Center at the Cleveland Clinic. Learn more here.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: How Do Genetic Test Results Impact Your Options?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: How Do Genetic Test Results Impact Your Options?

Targeted Prostate Cancer Therapies vs. Chemotherapy: What’s the Difference?

Prostate Cancer Staging: What Patients Should Know

 


Transcript:

Dr. Sharifi:

I think it’s okay when you’re speaking with your physician to say that you’re concerned about the genetics of prostate cancer. You can ask about personalized medicine treatment options, and whether genetic testing would make a difference for treatments.

 

And you can also bring up the concern about family members, and that there may be an inherited or heritable component of cancer that could be passed down, for example, from one generation to the next and that could be shared among siblings. I think there’s nothing wrong with bringing that up. And I would suggest that if that’s a concern, that a man does bring that up with their physician.                                   

 

So, it turns out that there are certain germline mutations that can predispose to several different types of cancers.

 

For example, these BRCA mutations can predispose to developing prostate and perhaps more aggressive prostate cancer, but they can also predispose to developing breast cancer. So, if you look, for example, at members of a family who are related, you may see that certain cancers may develop in multiple family members. So, if you see that that – If you look at your family history and you see that that is the case, then you may want to think about genetic testing and perhaps to see a genetic counselor to talk about getting tested.

The Warrior in Me Saved My Life

After experiencing increasing fatigue over the course of several years, I started to miss gatherings with friends and family and got to the point of taking one day off a month from work to sleep all day. This was unlike me as I was always very involved with professional and volunteer activities and had a very full schedule including parenting my young son with my spouse. After a lingering cold evolved into bronchitis, I began to explore what was wrong with the assistance of my primary care provider (PCP). I had mild persistent anemia, but nothing to warrant the degree of extreme fatigue that I was experiencing. She (my PCP) was very tolerant of my various Google-induced ideas, graciously accepting some to follow up with tests and others to set aside. 

After eleven months, a test showed that I had elevated M-proteins and my PCP sent me to a hematologist/oncologist who after greeting me reviewed several years’ worth of labs and then turned to tell me to come back in six months. She did not examine me. She did not ask me about my symptoms. She prepared to usher exit the room. I felt that I could not leave her office without her understanding how significantly the fatigue was impacting my daily life. This is when the inner warrior in me said NO! I did not move from my chair. I told her, “Nope. Now is the time that I need to tell you about my symptoms.” (Now this was somewhat uncomfortable for me because I have been well-trained to be polite and professional with doctors, but I had had enough. My New York elbows were coming out!) 

I read from a list that I had prepared detailing what I had been able to do prior to feeling unwell and what I could do now. As I went down the list for several minutes, she looked at her watch in a disgruntled manner, finally asking me “What do you want?” I told her that I wanted to feel well. I did not feel well and believed that something was wrong. I wanted her to do more tests. She agreed and also sent me out to schedule an appointment in six months. One week later at 8 AM as I was on my way out to work, SHE called me to tell me that she had scheduled a bone marrow biopsy (BMB) for the next day. I cleared my calendar. The BMB results confirmed that I had stage 2 Myeloma with more than 80 percent involvement in my bone marrow. My husband and I learned of this on the day before Thanksgiving. We were both in shock. We had so much to learn and at that point had no idea how much this diagnosis was going to change our lives. 

After a quick success of additional tests scheduled STAT, I started chemotherapy within two weeks. Getting a diagnosis took A LOT of persistence and determination when specialists minimized what I knew about my body — that something significant was wrong. And it was. Today is five years to the day of that diagnosis and I still wonder whether I would be diagnosed today if I had not INSISTED upon further testing. To her credit, the oncologist/hematologist did eventually acknowledge that I was right to press her to do more tests and that it was through my self-advocacy that I achieved a diagnosis.

What I would hope that others would take away from this story is how essential it is to be aware of your own body and to keep advocating (again and again) for yourself with doctors even when your symptoms are minimized. I was trained to advocate for others as a social worker, but it took intentional work to give myself permission to say no to doctors at first politely and then later not so politely to demand additional testing until an outcome was achieved that explained my health issues. Be persistent. You know more about your symptoms than anyone else. Do not stop until you find out what is going on with your body.

Network Manager Program Role Description 

Who are Network Managers?

Patient Empowerment Network’s (PEN) mission is to fortify cancer patients and care partners with the knowledge and tools to boost their confidence, put them in control of their healthcare journey, and assist them with receiving the best, most personalized care available to ensure they have the best possible outcome.

PEN is a virtual community that supports patients through every step of their cancer journey. Their website, free webinars, and programs educate, then ACTIVATE cancer patients to become co-decision makers with their doctors; by knowing to ask the right questions, at the right time, empowered patients achieve better health outcomes

Established March of 2020, the Patient Empowerment Network Manager Program is made up of highly passionate empowerment ambassadors volunteering from around the country, engaging with PENs network of cancer patients and families in the digital space and serving as a direct conduit of empowerment across a growing list of therapeutic areas including CLL, AML, MPN, Lung cancer, Myeloma, Thyroid cancer, Kidney cancer and more.

Purpose:

This strong team of compassionate volunteer Network Managers does not give medical advice, instead, they help health communities adapt to the realities of living with a serious illness. PEN Network Managers pay it forward as the communities’ human bridge to survivorship as they understand first-hand the anxieties and uncertainties that come with a cancer diagnosis.

Network Managers create broader awareness of PEN’s resources within the cancer community through patient support groups, social media, expert interviews, conferences, and authored publications. Our Network Managers represent the eyes and ears around their specific network, growing and engaging with the network.  

Responsibilities:

Through various mediums, social media platforms, and content formats such as PEN’s Activity Guides, network managers develop specific messages, seek out resources, and contribute to amplifying the needs of specific health communities via guidance of an established editorial calendar. The time commitment for this role is 2-4 hours a month. Bi-weekly meetings occur at a scheduled time for Network Managers to share updates on activities and best practices for the benefit of others. Lastly, a biannual virtual network manager meeting occurs to bring all teams together for an opportunity to brainstorm on strengths and weaknesses.

Location:

  • Completely remote, you can work from anywhere! 
    • Utilize computer and webcam 

Support:

Full support received from Network Manager Coordinator, Nykema Mpama, and Executive Director, Andrea Conners.


Interested in becoming a Network Manager? Contact us at jobs@powerfulpatients.org

Protected: Network Manager Onboarding Guide

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Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips.

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips. from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Could you be better prepared for your prostate cancer appointment? Prostate cancer specialist, Dr. Alicia Morgans explains what pre-appointment tasks and helpful tools can help ensure patients get the most out of their appointments.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With A Specialist

How Does Prostate Cancer Staging Affect Treatment Approaches?

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

There’s not really a question that I think is missed in most appointments when I talk to men with prostate cancer, but there are many men who have a burning question, whatever it may be, and they forget to ask it when we’re in that clinical encounter.

And the advice I would have is it’s really important if you think of it as a question that’s really important to you or even just a fleeting thought, to consider keeping a notebook where you can write it down to remember what that question is. Because if you bring the notebook, even that fleeting thought that you may never think of again is something that you’ve got written down, and you can open that notebook, and you can say, “Hey, I thought this may be a silly question, but what do you think?” And I’m sure that your doctor will answer it.

Questions about “How long do I have?” or “What can I expect?” or “How is this going to end?” or “Where is this going to go?” – these are sometimes questions that are really hard to answer. But even those questions, if that’s what you’re thinking about all the time, are going to be important to at least discuss with your doctor, whether you get a concrete answer or not. That may be an ongoing conversation that you have. But if you trust your doctor, you’ll be able to ask whatever it is that you need and not feel like it’s a silly question, because there really isn’t a silly question.

My best recommendation for patients to think about as they’re preparing for their physician visit is to get an advocate; get somebody to come in with you. And if that individual can’t come in with you, perhaps that individual can be on a cell phone or on FaceTime or engaged in that visit in some way, either in person or virtually.

And to take notes or to ask for things to be printed out that explain what you discussed at your visit, because it is very challenging to take in everything that is discussed in those physician visits and memorize everything when there’s really so much going on in many cases. So, having another set of eyes and ears and having a notebook piece of paper or a printout that really catalogs what was discussed can be really, really helpful in preparing for a visit.

And the other thing is to maybe always end with “Is there anything that I didn’t ask that I should?” or “Is there anything else that I need to know?” And sometimes that will prompt the doctor to say, “Yeah, I got through this whole thing, but I meant to mention this, and I forgot.” So, always leaving that door open in case there’s anything else the doctor needs to mention, and sometimes they just need a little prompt at the end. But I think the advocate’s probably the most important part.

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With a Specialist

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With a Specialist from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

As prostate cancer treatment options continue to expand, it’s important to partner with a physician who is up-to-date on the latest developments. Dr. Alicia Morgans explains why patients should consider seeking a specialist and obtaining a second opinion.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Over the last few years, prostate cancer treatment has been incredibly complicated. And I think I and many in the prostate cancer community would absolutely recommend that men with prostate cancer seek out a prostate cancer specialist to make sure that he has access to someone to get advice and medical recommendations that are going to be the most up-to-date.

It’s incredible to me that in the last few years there have actually been multiple new medications that have been approved, even some as recently as about a month and a half ago. And this landscape that we have to try to take care of men and help them live longer and feel better is constantly changing and hopefully broadening as we find more ways to take care of men with prostate cancer.

And the people that know that best are going to be specialists. And they include medical oncologists, urologists, and radiation oncologists, as well as some palliative care doctors who can really help with being specialists in pain control, constipation, appetite issues, energy issues. So, having a team of specialists is really critical. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to see that specialist for every single appointment that you have for treating your prostate cancer, because many men in the United States who have prostate cancer don’t live very close to a large center where there might be a prostate cancer specialist.

Many men that I take care of actually live several hours away and come to see me once every six months or once a year or if they need advice because something has changed about their cancer. And that is completely okay, and actually, really, I think, a nice way to balance the convenience of having care close to home while still making sure that you have access to someone who is actively engaged in participating in the work to advance therapeutics and other ways of caring for prostate cancer.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re hurting feelings or potentially even offending your doctor if you say that you want to see someone else to get a second opinion or just to get another bit of advice about your cancer. But I think, and I think most doctors think, that at the end of the day part of dealing with cancer is making sure that you have the right treatment for the disease.

But part of taking care of people with cancer and dealing with cancer if you are the patient is making sure that your mind is at peace, that you have tried everything, and looked in every corner to find what you need to get the help that you really do deserve. And I think as we care for men with prostate cancer, we physicians know that we may have the answers for most but not all men, or we may not necessarily have an area of specialty in the particular issue that that man needs help with.

And so, we’re always open – I think I am. And I’m sure most doctors are, too – encouraging people, in fact, to seek second opinions if that’s what they need to either feel like they have access to the treatments that they need or to put their minds at ease. Because it really is the combination of physical care and emotional and mental care that is necessary to heal yourself while you are taking care of yourself with prostate cancer.

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

The actions that a patient takes following their prostate cancer diagnosis could have an impact on their care and treatment options. Expert Dr. Alicia Morgans recommends these three key steps post-diagnosis.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

 

Seeking Optimal Prostate Cancer Care? The Importance of Partnering With A Specialist

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

From my perspective, three key steps that a man with prostate cancer would take as he’s getting that first diagnosis would start with getting an advocate – getting someone who can be the extra eyes and ears that you need when you go to a visit or read something that doesn’t quite make sense.

I think this is especially important for doctor visits, where so much information may be put in your lap that it can be really hard for the individual who has prostate cancer to take everything in. And sometimes, having someone who can either take notes or can just be there to listen and to recall things can be really helpful.

The second thing would be to make sure you find a doctor who you can trust. And this sounds really simple, but sometimes can take trying a couple different doctors to really find the one who you feel that you can connect with and who you feel will be able to listen to the questions that you have. Because your questions are valid, and I’m sure that there is a doctor out there who can help answer those questions no matter what they are.

 From my perspective, the third thing that individuals should really make sure that they have is a source of information that they feel they can trust. For many men, this is an online source. But it’s real important to recognize that there is a lot of false information, and there’s a lot of information that’s really not necessarily from your perspective as a man with prostate cancer, but perhaps from someone else’s perspective – still truth, but not necessarily your truth.

So, some of the best sources of information can be from advocacy groups or from medical organizations. Because these are usually going to be vetted by physicians or by groups of patients who really try to present both broad perspectives as well as correct information that will be trustworthy as you move through the journey of prostate cancer.

Spotting False Claims: Tips for Identifying Prostate Cancer Misinformation

Spotting False Claims: Tips for Identifying Prostate Cancer Misinformation from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

While there are many helpful online resources to guide patients in a positive direction, false claims and advertisements about prostate cancer can add confusion. Dr. Alicia Morgans provides insight into how to identify misinformation.

Dr. Alicia Morgans is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

See more from The Pro-Active Prostate Cancer Patient Toolkit

Related Resources

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis <new link>
Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips <new link>
Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU? <new link>
 

 

Are You Prepared for Your Prostate Cancer Appointment? Expert Tips

Three Key Steps to Take Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Prostate Cancer Treatment Decisions: Which Path is Best for YOU?

 


Transcript:

Dr. Alicia Morgans:

Some clues that may demonstrate that something is going to be riddled maybe with false claims or false promises would be if there are advertisements for medications that can cure prostate cancer on the computer.

Those medications are probably not real. And if they are, then they should be things that your doctor probably knows about. And so, I would certainly talk to your doctor about any supplements, any special nutrition or shakes or different things that make those claims. Because unfortunately, at this point, we in the medical community do not know of any herbs or spices that could cure prostate cancer. Certainly, there are things that people can take that may be useful and as long as they don’t interfere with the medicines that we’re using, or interact with them in a dangerous way, most doctors are completely okay with people taking them.

But anything that’s charging a lot of money and making really incredible claims is probably, unfortunately, just preying on people who are clearly vulnerable. And you need to be very careful that you’re not giving money away to things that are not real.

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