May 2016 - Life Credit Company

Spero App Provides An Online Community for Cancer Patients

“Despite incredible support from family and friends, I still felt alone, with nobody to turn to for answers.” That was the motive that inspired cancer survivor Rowan to launch Spero for Cancer. Spero is a mobile community that offers online help for cancer patients, as well as survivors and supporters. The effort is founded in the idea that a sense of community — with people who are facing, or who have faced, the same things as you — is a powerful tool in the fight against cancer. Making Connections With Other Cancer Patients Socializing is central to Spero’s mission. When you register, you’re able to input information about the type of cancer you have or had, your age and location, and the system then connects you with others with similar characteristics. Through Spero’s direct-messaging capability, users can reach out to one another and share stories, offer advice or even talk about non-cancer topics for a respite from their illness. Cancer can be an isolating disease; even with loving family and friends, patients may feel like no one truly understands the daily effects of the disease. That’s where Spero succeeds: It allows patients to make real connections with people who have experienced the same diagnosis, symptoms, fears and worries and, ideally, the same triumph over the disease. Getting Information  In addition to establishing connections among people whose lives have been touched by cancer, Spero gives patients and their supporters valuable access to information about the disease. Spero offers a robust blog section, which touches on a wide range of cancer-related topics. For instance, there are medical-focused blogs, such as one...

Music Therapy Can Help Provide Relief for Cancer Patients

Music’s impact on our society is vast, and varied. It inspires and energizes crowds, from sports fans to concertgoers. It tells stories in ways that language cannot. And it unifies people across cultures, communicating messages where words are not needed. It also can be an individual source of comfort, an idea that has taken hold for people facing cancer. Singing in a choir, even for just one hour a week, can provide help for cancer patients — on social, emotional and even physical levels, according to new research. Tenovus Cancer Care and Royal College of Music and Imperial College in Wales teamed up to explore a choir’s impact on people dealing with cancer, either directly or through relatives. Investigators tested saliva samples from choir performers for a stress hormone, and found that stress levels were down after singers performed. In addition to negatively impacting one’s outlook, stress has been proven to suppress the immune system, researchers said. While stress relief can’t actually cure a disease, it can certainly alleviate the symptoms and get patients on the right track to health. That’s a lesson Huntsman Cancer Institute is already putting into practice. Beth Hardy is a music therapist at HCI. There, she creates individualized music plans for each patient; she writes songs with some, plays music for others and incorporates it into therapy plans for others. The impact is noticeable. Music’s relaxation power is evident when patients drift off to sleep during sessions. Focusing on a musical activity also distracts patients from the pain they’re experiencing, which can decrease their need for some medications and improve their mood. Hardy has...

“Hello My Name Is Cancer” is the Adult Coloring Resource For Cancer Patients

We can all recall the masterpieces we colored as children: The colors may not have always been inside the lines, and the finished products weren’t always frame-worthy, but it was a relaxing activity that allowed us to explore our creative sides! Recently, adults have been enticed to revisit their carefree childhood days with the rising trend of coloring books geared toward adults. Big-box retailers, bookstores and online sites are selling the books en masse; Crayola even just recently launched its own line of adult coloring books, paired with special crayons and pencils. According to CNN, adult coloring is “all the rage” right now. The trend is not just a money grab, however; there are real benefits to the phenomenon — including for people facing cancer. Just ask patients at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. The facility has started passing out coloring books to patients seeking chemotherapy and other treatments. The center is treating coloring like a standard resource for cancer patients, situating coloring books and art supplies alongside its collection of movies and games traditionally offered to help patients relax during their visits. According to Kathleen Lorain, who leads the center’s art programs, the center has found coloring to be effective at reducing stress. Lorain explained to NewsMedical that creative activities like coloring activate the right side of the brain; on the contrary, stress and worry stimulate the left side. That change allows the left side to “quiet” down, alleviating anxiety, which is common among cancer patients. “Because they’re occupied with thoughts such as ‘what color do I use?’ and ‘how should I color this part?,’ their right brain...