In honor of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Dr. Gwen Nichols reflects on our vital work to support blood cancer patients and their families.
As Chief Medical Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), I often speak with patients and survivors about adjusting to their new normal after a cancer diagnosis or treatment. But finding a new normal looks very different in a world where a global pandemic has impacted every aspect of cancer care and daily life as we know it. COVID-19 is reshaping cancer care in real-time – magnifying the issues patients face already and leaving them with more questions than answers.
Here at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), we believe no one should go through cancer alone. For more than two decades, LLS Information Specialists – master’s level oncology professionals – have been guiding blood cancer patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals to our trusted education and support. During these trying times, our Information Specialists continue to provide critical one-on-one support, and importantly, answers: from how to navigate changes in health insurance coverage to how to balance caregiving, work, and childcare at home, to how to cope with added distress and more.
What’s more, we’re hearing from patients whose clinical trial has been paused or who are concerned about traveling to their trial site. LLS Clinical Trial Nurse Navigators – registered nurses with expertise in blood cancers – are providing in-depth support, including help with finding options closer to home. We also offer one-on-one nutrition consultations with a registered dietitian to help patients and caregivers stay well-nourished.
The best part is, our help is free! There are so many ways you can find the support you need right from the comfort of your home. Our Information Specialists are ready to help you and your loved ones at 800-955-4572 or by email/chat here. And while your new normal might be anything but, I encourage you to stay on track with your appointments, embrace telemedicine and make time for self-care. Remember, taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do right now.
6 Ways to Find Information and Support
- Join one of our virtual Blood Cancer Conferences. We’ve put together a dream team of experts for our Blood Cancer Conferences. You can find your regional conference here.
- Connect with other patients, survivors, and caregivers who are going through it. Our Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program can put you in touch with a trained peer volunteer who has gone through a similar experience. LLS Community, our online social network, is 15,000+ members strong! Join today to share your experiences, stay informed, and get personalized support from trained LLS staff. We also offer weekly online chats.
- Download our award-winning LLS Health Manager App. Manage your health by tracking your side effects, medication, questions for your doctor, and more.
- Find support for caregivers. Explore these resources to help you take good care of yourself while caring for your loved one.
- Mark International Podcast Day on Wednesday, 9/30. Try giving our podcasts a listen: The Bloodline with LLS for patients and caregivers and Treating Blood Cancers for healthcare professionals.
- Stay organized. Navigating your finances during uncertain times can feel overwhelming; our Cancer and Your Finances booklet and printable worksheets can help. We also offer financial assistance programs.
You can find more free education and support resources by clicking below.