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Pharmacists Corner

When Symptoms Are Part of Your New Normal

Cancer often creates a new normal for your life. Physical changes can occur as a result of surgery or treatment. Emotional changes may occur too, such as worry about progression or recurrence.

In Times of Change

Many times throughout treatment, a patient's medications may need to be adjusted or changed. It can happen for a variety of reasons, such as unpleasant or intolerable side effects, how your body is responding to the medication or interactions with other medications you take.

The Prescription: Feeling Better

We often think of pharmacists as the people behind the counter who dispense the medication we need, but this is only one part of the role of a pharmacist in cancer care. Pharmacists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center are now also part of each clinic, working day-to-day with your doctors and care team.

Food as Medicine: Pharmacist's Corner

Patients often ask me about using turmeric, also called curcumin, for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian food. It’s also known as curcumin since this is the yellow-colored active component of turmeric. It is used in America to make our mustard yellow.

Cancer Treatment 101

Cancer can be treated with many types of therapy. Think of it as CREST: Chemotherapy, Radiation, Endocrine, Surgery, Targeted.

What to do if you get the flu

To treat flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication. Antiviral medications can make symptoms less severe and shorten the length of time that you are sick with the flu. Three antiviral medications are available to treat the flu, each with slightly different common side effects.

The Future

Vaccines work by providing the body an example of what it should fight. Many vaccines already exist for viruses, bacteria, disease and other foreign substances. If the body becomes infected, the vaccine makes it "remember" to kill the substance. This technique, a very exciting area of research, is being explored for cancer.

Your Home Environment

Whether your cancer treatment is oral or intravenous, some medications may be harmful to those who live with you. Limiting exposure of other people to your pills and body fluids is your best bet to keeping everyone safe, even if the effect would be minimal.

Sticking to the Plan

Shawna Kraft, Pharm.D., explains why it's so important for people undergoing cancer treatment need to take their prescription medication as prescribed.

Cancer and the Flu

The Comprehensive Cancer Center receives many questions about influenza during flu season, especially about how flu can affect treatment and whether patients should get a flu vaccine.