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    • The Power of Being Patient Active

      By Rachel Koonse, LMFT With so much uncertainty this year, it feels as though much is out of our control. We have adjusted our lives, and then readjusted, to acclimate to the ever-changing status of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country. And yet, while so much is out of our control, we do have some agency to pursue medical services that maximize our health and well-being. Unfortunately, due to legitimate concerns about safety, healthcare shutdowns, and continually present uncertainties, many of us have deferred these potentially lifesaving medical services. Growing research is illustrating that cancer screening appointments have significantly decreased in 2020. This is due to a number of factors, including guidance from the American Society of Clinical Oncology at the beginning of the pandemic to postpone routine screenings to “conserve health system resources and reduce patient contact with health screening facilities.” What’s more, many patients are compelled to weigh an internal cost benefit analysis: does it do more harm to enter a medical clinic for a screening appointment and risk exposure to COVID-19, or does it do more harm to delay preventive care? In a recent study published by the Oncology Journal, it was found that routine cancer screenings for breast cancer decreased by 89.2% and that, by May of 2020, colorectal cancer screenings decreased by 84.5%. Ultimately, delays in screening appointments have resulted in almost 50% fewer cancer diagnoses this year. What this means is that, in 2021, we may see a significant surge in cancer diagnoses. And not only will we see an increase in diagnoses, we will also see more late stage diagnoses as undetected cancer is like a “ticking time bomb” according to Debra Patt, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President of Policy and Strategic Initiatives at Texas Oncology. Those with later stage diagnoses tend to have poorer outcomes, meaning that we may see more cancer-related deaths in the next year. Some models predict that we will see 34,000 cancer-related deaths in 2021 and an 11.9% increase in death rates from the disease. These projections are alarming, bleak, and extremely disconcerting. And yet, we do not have to be complacent: we have agency to take steps in our lives, and compel others to take steps to change these outcomes. 1. Routine cancer screening is vitally important. If you have deferred screenings, or needed to cancel a screening due to the pandemic, contact your healthcare providers to talk about the best option for rescheduling those appointments. Additional resources on how to resume delayed screenings can be found through “Back on the Books” – a list of tools from the Prevent Cancer Foundation on how to reschedule your cancer screenings. 2. Many screenings can be done in the comfort of your own home. For example, stool tests can be completed at home for colon cancer screening. 3. Research your medical clinic’s coronavirus safety precautions. The CDC has issued guidelines for healthcare facilities to ensure that day-to-day clinic operations are conducted safely. Knowing what your medical clinic is doing to promote safety may give you more peace of mind going in for a screening appointment. 4. Don’t discount telemedicine! Telehealth is a great option to meet with your provider in an entirely socially-distanced manner! Additionally, some screenings can be conducted virtually, including visual analysis for skin cancer screening. 5. Educate. Educate your loved ones about the importance of screening. Encourage them to contact their healthcare team to discuss their options for screening appointments during this time. Also, turn to resources like the Community Oncology Alliance for accurate and up to date information. In this year of uncertainties, make some things a certainty: collaborate with your medical team to ensure that you have critical medical appointments on the books. CSCP embodies a “Patient Active” model, meaning that we empower our participants to pursue health and well-being in the manner that is best for them. Part of being Patient Active is remaining informed so that you are equipped to make important decisions about your health. We hope that this post will compel you to be Patient Active, prioritize your health in the new year, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. References: Back on the Books - Prevent Cancer Foundation. Prevent Cancer Foundation. (2020). Retrieved 22 December 2020, from Boyles, S. (2020). Covid-19: Pandemic Causing Deadly Delays in Cancer Diagnosis | Physician's Weekly. Retrieved 22 December 2020, from Cancer care and screenings must remain a priority during COVID-19. MD Anderson Cancer Center. (2020). Retrieved 22 December 2020, from Cancer Screening During the COVID-19 Pandemic | Cancer Tests and Coronavirus. (2020). Retrieved 22 December 2020, from Crist, C. (2020). Cancer Screening Delays May Cause Spike in Deaths. WebMD. Retrieved 22 December 2020, from Forster, V. (2020). Cancer Diagnoses Drop Almost 50% During Coronavirus Pandemic. Forbes. Retrieved 22 December 2020, from New Study Finds COVID-19 Substantially Reduced Cancer Screenings, Diagnosis, and Treatments in 2020. (2020). Retrieved 22 December 2020, from 20 in,to%20-33%25%29%2C%20and%20lung%20%28-58%25%20to%20-47%25%29%2C%20 respectively. Pruthi, MD, S. (2020). Routine cancer screening during the pandemic. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 22 December 2020, from Vose, J. (2020). Delay in Cancer Screening and Diagnosis During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Is the Cost?. Cancer Network. Retrieved 22 December 2020, from

    • Recognizing Disparities Among Women Facing Breast Cancer

      By Rachel Koonse, LMFT and Miranda Johnson October 22, 2020 The month of October marks an international monthly campaign to raise awareness around breast cancer. In recognition of this awareness month, this blog post will focus on the impact that cancer disparities have on communities of color and particularly on women facing breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer diagnoses, with 1 in 8 women getting a diagnosis within their lifetime. Due to tremendous advances in treatment and diagnosis, the five year survival rate for breast cancer (including all stages and subtypes) is 90%. It is encouraging to know that this diagnosis continues to receive the awareness that it deserves, and that these advancements have resulted in positive change in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer. In any discussion of cancer, it is important to acknowledge the impact of cancer health disparities. Cancer disparities occur when “certain groups … bear a disproportionate burden of cancer compared with other groups.” The National Cancer Institute (NCI) defines these disparities as “differences in cancer measures such as incidence (new cases), prevalence (all existing cases), mortality (deaths), morbidity (cancer-related health complications), survivorship, including quality of life after cancer treatment, burden of cancer or related health conditions, screening rates, and stage at diagnosis.” In looking at breast cancer prevalence, white women have the highest incidence rates at 13%. However, looking deeper at breast cancer statistics reveals unnerving disparities. For example, a recent study found that black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Latina women were diagnosed with later stage cancers compared to their white counterparts. This is of particular importance when considering the fact that survival rates decrease with later stage diagnoses. The study also found that women of color are two to four times more likely to have no insurance compared to white women. Perhaps the most concerning statistic of all: mortality rates are 40% higher among black women versus white women. An article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information titled “Assessing the Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Breast Cancer Mortality in the United States” attributes “this high mortality rate … to lack of medical coverage, barriers to early detection and screening, more advanced stage of disease at diagnosis among minorities, and unequal access to improvements in cancer treatment.” Cancer health disparities intersect with so many other inequitable aspects of living in our society, including educational, housing, and income disparities, among others. As such, advocating within your community for more equitable access to education, housing, mental health services, and other necessary resources is a piece of addressing health disparities. Cancer Support Community also has a Cancer Policy Institute that “ensure[s] that the voices of cancer patients and their loved ones play a central role in federal and state legislative, regulatory, and executive policy making.” You can become involved in the CPI’s Grassroots Network by clicking here. You might also consider supporting the following organizations that help to increase research and awareness around health disparities, and push for policy change: American Hospital Association, Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion Collaborations, FamiliesUSA, National Quality Forum, Prevention Institute, The Cross Cultural Health Care Program, and The Urban Institute. Here at Cancer Support Community Pasadena, we are committed to supporting everyone who is affected by the very real and painful impacts of cancer health disparities. Whether you are facing cancer yourself or are a survivor or a loved one of someone with cancer, we invite you to fill out a New Member Form and begin the process of learning more about the different programming that we offer here. Within this virtual world, we are able to provide a space for you where you can talk about the impact that cancer has had upon your life. You also have the opportunity to be surrounded by other people in our community that provide solidarity and understanding. Works Cited Cancer Disparities, National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from cancer/understanding/disparities. Davis, E. (2020, January 9). Racial Disparities Possible in Breast Cancer Diagnosis. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from Miller June 02, K., & =, =. (2020, June 02). Why People of Privilege Need to Fight Hardest for Health Equity. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from Roy, MD, MPH, L. (2020, October 14). Black Women And Breast Cancer: Mary J. Blige EmPOWERs Survival. Retrieved October 22, 2020, from Yedjou, C., Tchounwou, P., Payton, M., Miele, L., Fonseca, D., Lowe, L., and Alo, R. (2017, May 5). Assessing the Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Breast Cancer Mortality in the United States. Retrieved from

    • A Pasadena Local who Became a Legend

      By Rachel Koonse, LMFT, Program Director October 7, 2020 When Eddie Van Halen’s family moved from the Netherlands to Pasadena, CA in 1962, Eddie couldn’t speak English. Living in a new place where the extent of his family’s possessions were “$50 and a piano,” Eddie began playing piano and demonstrated precocious talent. Eddie and his brother, Alex, dove headfirst into their musical studies and picked up the guitar and drums, respectively. By the fourth grade, they founded their first band, The Broken Combs, and they performed during lunch at Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena. Fast forward several years and countless shows at local bars and clubs, Van Halen garnered a significant fan base in Southern California. In 1977, the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth (another Pasadena local) scored a record deal with Warner Brothers. Following the debut of their first album, Van Halen, Eddie became a giant in the music world. The band went on to sell 80 million albums worldwide. Four of their studio albums reached US No. 1 and Van Halen was voted greatest guitarist of all time in a Guitar World magazine reader poll. Eddie was diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2001, and later needed to have part of his tongue surgically removed. He kept his diagnosis private and waited until 2011 to publicly share his diagnosis on his website. This first diagnosis was successfully treated, but Eddie was unfortunately diagnosed with throat cancer a few years later. Despite these devastating diagnoses, Eddie continued to have a lucrative career and meaningful relationships with his family for several years. Notably, he fostered his son, Wolfie’s, love for music, and Wolfie went on to become a bassist and played professionally with his dad. After 10 years of living with throat cancer, Eddie Van Halen died in the arms of his family on October 6, 2020. In addition to his legendary status in the musical world, Eddie Van Halen also leaves behind a legacy of dignity amidst chronic illness. He remained an involved father and family man and continued his life’s work as a musician, leaving an indelible mark on music history. To quote Van Halen, the cancer experience “can be a very unique and private matter to deal with.” To that end, CSCP prioritizes member privacy, knowing that our groups, classes, and workshops are safe because they remain confidential. Van Halen had an incredible support system of friends and family, and lived his days fully until his last. CSCP strives to be a piece of each member’s support system, and takes a page from Eddie’s book in fostering an environment that encourages all of us to live our lives humbly and fully. Works Cited 2020. Eddie Van Halen. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 October 2020]. Miller, K., 2020. Eddie Van Halen Thought His Tongue Cancer Was Caused From Putting Guitar Picks In His Mouth. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 October 2020]. Sweeting, A., 2020. Eddie Van Halen Obituary. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 7 October 2020].

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    • CSCP | Free Cancer Support in Pasadena

      Support, education, and hope... for people with cancer and their loved ones Getting Started Designed specifically for people with cancer Referring Partners So that no one faces cancer alone Volunteer at CSCP Virtual Program Calendar Groups, Classes and Workshops Fundraising Events Fundraising Events Support our Mission Donate to our work Show More "I consider Cancer Support Community Pasadena to be the biggest blessing in my life when I got my cancer diagnosis." CSCP Member Our Mission Our Goal, Vision & Commitment Our Calendar CSCP's Programs Give Find Ways To Give

    • CSCP | Professional Advisory Network

      Professional Advisory Network Arash Asher, MD Physical & Rehabilitative Medicine @ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Afsaneh Barzi, MD Medical Oncology @ USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Alique Bedikian, Psy.D. Registered Psychologist @ Rose City Center and Glendale YWCA Dorcas Doja Chi, MD Medical Oncology (Breast) @ UCLA Health William Dale, MD, PhD Department of Supportive Care Medicine @ City of Hope Janice L. DaVolio, MD, FAAD Dermatology @ Huntington Dermatology Group Reina Haque, PhD Senior Research Scientist @ Kaiser Permanente Research Dawn M. Hills, MD ,FACS Surgical Oncology Gino K. In, MD, MPH Medical Oncology @ USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Mitch Kamrava. MD Radiation Oncology @ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Kevin Kelly, M.D. Medical Director @ Breast Ultrasound Center Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD Medical Oncology @ USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Stephen J. Lee, MD Gynecologic Oncology @ City of Hope Bernard S. Lewinsky, MD Radiation Oncology @ Los Angeles Radiation Oncology Center Matthew Loscalzo, LCSW Supportive Care Medicine @ City of Hope Joanne Mortimer, MD Medical Oncology @ City of Hope Nima Naghshineh, MD, MSc Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery @ Privet MD Maria Nelson, MD Surgical Oncology @ USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Amy Polverini, MD Breast Surgery @ City of Hope South Pas / Huntington Hospital Candice Rosen, RN Health Counseling, Private Practice Steven T. Rosen, MD Hematology/Oncology @ City of Hope R. Fernando Roth, MD, FACC, FACP Cardiology @ Huntington Hospital / Foothill Cardiology Jaroslava Salman, MD Psychiatry @ City of Hope Amaliya Santiago, ND Integrative Natural Medical Clinic Gordon Sasaki, MD Plastic Surgery @ Sasaki Innovessence SkinCare Jan-Kees van der Gaag, LCSW Clinical Social Work @ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Tina Wang, MD Medical Oncology @ City of Hope Ruth C. Williamson, MD Radiation Oncology @ Huntington Hospital Sharon Yee, MD Oncology - Hematology @ Shapiro, Stafford, & Yee

    • CSCP | Give Online Today

      Do you know someone who is living with cancer? We do. In 2021, will directly serve over 1000 people facing cancer – patients, their families (including children) and caregivers, those bereaved, and survivors. A cancer diagnosis is devastating; our members are scared, anxious and overwhelmed. Feelings of shock and bewilderment often consume these individuals who don’t know where to begin the days following their diagnosis. That’s where Cancer Support Community Pasadena comes in to help. Cancer Support Community Pasadena , we have opened our doors and our arms to these brave individuals to offer them: For 31 years ​ A community of support to help reduce fear and anxiety and reduce feelings of being alone An education to empower our members, so that they can make informed decisions about their treatment, nutrition and well-being A positive and uplifting environment to restore hope during this trying time ​ With the recent changes in healthcare, more and more individuals are really in need of our free services. It costs CSCP $750 to serve one member who spends an average of 14 hours with us at approximately $54/hour. And we rely solely on private donations like yours to fund everything that we do. When we work together, we can help more families face cancer with courage, knowing they are never alone. This is the heart of what we do at a time when our members need it most. Will you help us by making a gift today? Please give today to show these families you care, and thank you for your support of Cancer Support Community Pasadena!

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76 East Del Mar Blvd, Suite 215 Pasadena, CA 91105


Phone: 626-796-1083

EIN: 95-4201985

Cancer Support Helpline: 888-793-9355

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