The holidays can be stressful, even without cancer’s added challenges. COVID-19 and other health concerns can raise stress levels even further. Wendy Hall, LCSW, offers these ways to cope.

*Keep things simple. The side effects from cancer and its treatment can ramp up your fatigue and lower your immunity, so focus on just one or two traditions that are special to you. If you are social distancing from friends and family, consider modifying some traditions, like visiting online rather than in person. Some websites can also let you post audio and video greetings for loved ones to enjoy.

Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening can reduce lung cancer deaths by up to 20% compared to standard chest X-rays, by detecting tumors at early stages when they are more likely to be curable. But lung cancer screening rates are low across the US at 6%, and even lower in Florida at 3%. Florida is 40th in the nation in lung cancer screening. COVID-19 decreased that testing even further, especially in high-risk populations that include racial and ethnic minorities.

“I found a lump in my breast.” We hear this line most often concerning breast cancer detection, but breast cancer can exhibit other signs, too. Some may be due to benign causes, but see your doctor if these signs persist or worsen.

Prostate cancers tend to grow slowly. Some tumors never become a problem, but this is not always the case. One monitoring tool is a blood test for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA.

C are for cancer patients extends well beyond the oncology team. This is why oncology navigation deals with every aspect of a cancer survivor’s health care, which can include one’s primary care physician and any specialists treating other medical conditions. Cancer treatment affects not only cancer survivors and their loved ones. It affects their entire healthcare team.

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Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute