Sharing Hope

A Warm Welcome

Gretchen Elsner-Sommer enjoys welcoming people, whether it is into her home in Ann Arbor, her former bed and breakfast in Illinois or the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. At 66, this breast cancer survivor volunteers at the Cancer Center every week hoping to make at least one cancer patient's day a little brighter.

The Right to be Hopeful

If you ask Carolyn C. about her 2005 cancer diagnosis or her recurrences since that time, there's a good chance she'll bring up the "hit by the bus theory." "Nobody is promised tomorrow," says the 51-year-old wife and mother of three sons. "People with cancer happen to be reminded of that more strongly. We can't let our fear of the bus get in the way."

When Cancer Comes Back

Jennifer Kelley was unprepared for the rare diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma at age 52, especially since it was her third experience with cancer in a mere 30 months. She had the cancerous lump under her arm surgically removed and followed up with five cycles of chemotherapy as a precaution. Because Kelley's cancer had spread into a lymph node, he explained the cancer was categorized as stage 4 and expected to return.

Facing the Unknown

Meet Laura Fliss, a successful, busy mother of two facing cancer of unknown primary, also called CUP. What makes CUP unique is that it is advanced to the point where its genetic characteristics are lost, making it impossible to identify where the cancer started. For this reason, it is almost always metastatic and difficult to treat.

A Quarter Century of Care

When the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center received its formal designation from the National Cancer Institute in fall 1988, cancer affected more than 1.3 million people in the United States annually. Director Max Wicha, M.D., stressed the importance of taking research developments from the labs and applying them to patient care in the clinics.

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