CEO Update

As always, this month’s calendar at all clubhouses is packed with interesting presentations and great activities offering something for everyone. We’ll get spring going with the perennial favorite, the 11th Annual Texas Health Dallas Breast Cancer Survivor Retreat that takes place at the Dallas clubhouse on Saturday, March 26th. It’s a day packed with wonderful information, networking, great break out groups, and breakfast and lunch as well! Please RSVP here to save your spot.

WEB-0830The touchy topic of advanced care and final planning is currently taking center stage in health care discussions across the country. We’ve also had many requests for CSC NT to provide this information. So in advance of National Healthcare Decisions Day (April 16) we’ve taken the initiative and will offer presentations and events at all clubhouses that will focus on the subject and provide much needed information and helpful resources. We hope to help educate and engage more people to take control in making these important decisions for themselves. In collaboration with The Final Acts Project, we have fun “bucket list” parties happening in Alliance (March 22) and Plano (March 24th) to get the conversation started. Then we have a wonderfully engaging performance called “The Dead Giveaway” featuring Bernadette Nason, touring artist with the Texas Commission on the Arts, taking place in Dallas (March 23rd). You won’t want to miss these events! These events are open to the public, so invite your friends and RSVP now to or 214-345-8230.

As always, we look forward to seeing you in one of our clubhouses very soon!

Warm regards,


Mirchelle Louis



Open to Options: Helping You Prepare for Your Cancer Treatment Decisions

Cancer Support Community North Texas has a decision support counseling program called Open to Options® that can help you prepare for an appointment in which you will be making a treatment decision. The program is available in English or Spanish for people with any stage of cancer. The service can help you get the most out of your doctor’s visit and help you talk more openly with your health care team about the things that really matter to you in your cancer treatment. In a brief one-hour session, an Open to Options® Specialist can help you develop a personal list of questions and concerns that will help you and your doctor explore your situation and develop the best treatment option for you.

Tips for Treatment Decision-Making
  • Learn about your cancer and treatment options. Try and understand as much as you can about your diagnosis and the possible treatments.
  • Bring someone else along. Bring a family member or friend along to listen along with you, take notes and keep track of the options.
  • Talk about your decision with someone you trust. It can be helpful to talk through your ideas and concerns with family, friends, clergy or health professional. Some people find that support groups are a useful place to gather information and suggestions from others.
  • Consult guidelines or other decision-making tools. The American Society of Clinical Oncology and other cancer organizations publish guidelines and treatment decision-making tools to help doctors and patients understand various treatment. (Always use treatment guidelines and other tools with the help and interpretation of your doctor.)

Watch the Open to Options informational video here.


Want to make an appointment? Call your local clubhouse NOW!

Dallas County: (214) 345-8230

Collin County: (972) 981-7020

Tarrant County: (682) 212-5400


Why Do I Need Support?

Why do I need support?

Whether you are someone with cancer or someone close to you has cancer, it can be very helpful to talk with others in a similar situation who will understand what you are going through. Support from others who understand can help to improve your ability to cope, your ability to feel more into control over your situation and give you a sense of hope.

cancer supportYou may feel that support groups or counseling are not for you – or the idea of speaking with strangers would be uncomfortable. The truth is, even if your friends and family are supportive, they have their own experiences that are unique to them. This is a time when emotional and social support can help you find ways to talk about and understand what you’re going through. Cancer Support Community North Texas can help connect you to a community of support. People who have been affected by cancer often feel anxious, sad angry or even confused about what they are feeling. That’s okay and normal. Part of the challenge is accepting that you need support. You shouldn’t have to feel you have to do this alone. We can help you get connected to support groups, helpful resources, one-on-one counseling, online bulletin boards and other ways to connect with others whether it be face to face, online or over the phone. Find out more about support and networking groups, call your local clubhouse. Dallas County (214) 345-8230 | Collin County (972) 981-7020 | Tarrant County (682) 212-5400]]>

Psychologic Intervention Improves Survival for Breast Cancer Patients

RESEARCH UPDATE: TWC Perspective: Psychologic Intervention Improves Survival for Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial, Cancer, November 17, 2008 This Monday, an important article entitled Psychologic Intervention Improves Survival for Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial by Barbara Andersen and colleagues was published in the prestigious journal Cancer. The article provides evidence that professionally led support groups for breast cancer patients may increase their chance of survival, decrease their risk for recurrence, and decrease their risk of dying from other conditions. Acccording to Mort Lieberman, PhD, Professor Emeritus from UCSF, “this study is the best I’ve seen in the field of cancer and psychosocial interventions. It goes beyond quality of life and symptom reduction like depression. It shows survival benefits and reductions in disease progression from specific forms of support that TWC provides in many of its programs. What is unique in this study is that they have tested a combined intervention that includes, support, healthy lifestyle, stress reduction, and education that yielded significant results.” The study is part of a long-running Stress and Immunity Breast Cancer Project at Ohio State University. Attached is the new Cancer article. Barbara Andersen, Ph.D. has been a leader in the field of psychoneuroimmunology of cancer for over 25 years. She has over 130 publications and her research has been funded continuously since 1983. Currently this includes an NCI grant for the Stress and Immunity Breast Cancer Project, an American Cancer Society grant for studying the bio-behavioral aspects of cancer recurrence, and a Research Career Award (K05) from the NCI. In 2003 she received the Award for Outstanding Contributions in Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association. Mitch and I recently had a chance to talk with Barbara about her work at the 4th Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference: Mapping the New Challenges, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia in June 2008. Below is a Brief Overview of the study’s key findings:

Psychosocial Interventions:

  • A randomized controlled trial among women with regional breast cancer (Stages II and III) found that a 1-year, 26-session, professionally led group intervention was associated with improved survival and reduced risk for recurrence 11 years
  • After a median of 11 years of follow-up (7-13 years), patients who were in the Intervention arm were found to have a reduced risk of breast cancer Their risk for recurrence was reduced by 45%.
The Wellness Community – National 919 18th St. NW, suite 54. Washington, D.C. 20006. (202) 659-9709
  • Patients in the Intervention group had a reduced risk of death from breast Their risk from dying from breast cancer was reduced by 56%.
  • Among patients who died of breast cancer, those who participated in the intervention program lived longer – an average of 1 years for program participants versus 4.8 years for those who were simply assessed.
  • Intervention participants were also less likely to die from causes other than breast cancer, such as heart disease or other For those who died of any cause, participants in the intervention lived an average of 6 years compared to 5 years for those who didn’t.
  • Patients in the intervention arm with the greatest reductions in distress and physical symptoms were also those who practiced progressive muscle relaxation frequently (daily) and those who understood and remembered (daily) that continued stress could adversely affect their health and that it could be controlled/reduced by using the intervention “Moreover, the benefits from these techniques were greatest for patients vulnerable to poor outcomes (ie, those with the highest levels of cancer specific stress) (unpublished data). These data suggest that the relation between patients’ use of particular intervention strategies and their subsequent heath was important.” Pg. 3455

Mind-Body Connection (immunological response):

The authors also explored an important link between immunologic response, stress, behavior and disease progression.
  • Patients with recurrent disease demonstrated higher cortisol (a stress hormone), worse physical functioning, fatigue, and quality of life during this
  • “…in the 17 months before detection, patients who were to develop disease recurrence were found to have significantly higher white blood cell, neutrophil, lymphocyte, and natural killer cell counts compared with Disease Free

TWC VIEWPOINT: Take Home Messages

From TWC’s perspective, these findings continue to provide encouraging evidence for the benefit of TWC’s professionally led support groups, Patient Active Concept, and educational programs including our Frankly Speaking series and Cancer Transitions survivorship intervention. Indeed, there is abundant research that participating in support groups improves quality of life—reducing anxiety, pain and distress. And, psychoeducational programs improve active coping with the illness while improving the doctor patient relationship. In fact, in TWC’s randomized clinical trial with Stanford University, participants in TWC’s Patient Active Support Groups:
  • Made changes in their lives that they thought were important
  • Developed a new attitude towards their illness
  • Better partnered with their physician
  • Better accessed cancer-related information and resources
While it is always important to be cautious about generalizing from studies like these, that require replication and were conducted on a narrowly defined patient population (i.e., breast cancer patients Stages II and II), there are a number of similarities between the Intervention provided in the randomized controlled trial and TWC programs. Some parallels include:
  • TWC provides weekly, professionally-facilitated support
  • TWC’s support groups focus on: stress reduction, active problem solving for common difficulties, identifying supportive family members or friends, proactive communication with the medical team, strategies to increase daily activity (e.g., walking, exercise), improving dietary habits, and finding ways to cope with treatment side
Some differences:
  • The study intervention is structured, so that participants meet on a weekly basis for 4 months and on a monthly basis for 8 months (12 months in total).
  • The intervention is designed for only patients with regional breast cancer, so we have to be cautious in generalizing to heterogeneous groups
Thus, there is congruency between the work of Andersen’s team and the work we do everyday. Of course, more research is needed. However, the question is still open about whether there is a relationship between providing support, reducing stress, becoming Patient Active and important outcomes, such as enhanced immune function, reduced risk for recurrence, and improved survival rates. As such, it continues to be an evermore exciting time to be doing the work we do and to be providing quality support to those affected by cancer.]]>

Frankly Speaking about Cancer

cancer‬? What about managing the cost of care? Our Frankly Speaking series has everything you need! Click HERE to order or download your ‪‎FREE‬ resources today.  

By Topic

Breast Reconstruction

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on Breast Reconstruction

Cancer Treatments

Frankly Speaking About Cancer Treatments and Side Effects Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on New Discoveries Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Cancer Drug Shortages Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Your Immune System & Cancer Treatment


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Support from a Distance Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Ten Tips for Caregivers Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Breast Cancer Caregiver Guide Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Caregiver Guide, Spanish Edition

Clinical Trials

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on New Discoveries Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Your Immune System & Cancer Treatment

Cost of Cancer Care

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Coping with the Cost of Care

Living Healthy

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Living Healthy with Cancer

New Discoveries

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on New Discoveries Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Your Immune System & Cancer Treatment

Side Effect Management

Frankly Speaking About Cancer Treatments and Side Effects  

By Type of Cancer


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Brain Tumors


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Metastatic Breast Cancer Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on Breast Reconstruction Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Breast Cancer Caregiver Guide Tips For Health Care Providers Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Breast Cancer BRCA Fact Sheet Essentials Brochure


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Lynch Syndrome Fact Sheet


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on Liver Cancer


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Lung Cancer Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Your Immune System & Lung Cancer Treatment Lung Cancer Fact Sheet


Framing Life With Lymphoma: Everyday Support Framing Life With Lymphoma: At Diagnosis Framing Life With Lymphoma: During and After Treatment Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Lymphoma


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Metastatic Melanoma Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Your Immune System and Melanoma Treatment Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Melanoma

Metastatic Breast

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Metastatic Breast Cancer Tips For Health Care Providers Metastatic Breast Cancer: Resources and Support Help Prepare for Your Doctor’s Visit: Worksheet for Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients

Multiple Myeloma

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Spotlight on Multiple Myeloma


Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Myelofibrosis


BRCA Fact Sheet Essentials Brochure Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Ovarian Cancer


Skin Cancer

Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma]]>

Laughter Yoga… ha!

Man LaughingLaughter Yoga

Laughter Yoga was developed in 1995 by a cardiologist from Mumbai, India, Dr. Madan Kataria. It has since become a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of Laughter Clubs in over 70 countries. Laughter Yoga is a very joyful and healing experience that anyone can participate in and reap the many physical and mental benefits. Laughter has been scientifically proven to: reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels, suppress the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and release endorphins. Laughter Yoga is being used as therapy to reduce stress in individuals with cancer, Alzheimers, depression, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and many more debilitating diseases. In business Laughter Yoga benefits include increased creativity, mental clarity, increases production, enthusiasm and team building.

Sumer Wassef, our presenter for our Complementary Therapies panel,  is a licensed baccalaureate Social Worker,  licensed professional counselor and a certified laughter yoga leader. She has worked over 20 years providing services to people in crisis. Sumer currently works as a Counselor for the Texas Department of Public Safety. Sumer has a love for laughter and making others laugh in order to reduce stress and improve morale. Sumer was trained in Laughter Yoga by Mandie Navarro, the owner of Universal Laughter Yoga.

Videos Laughter Yoga on BBC News with John Cleese Laughter Yoga on CNN, Medical Research with Dr. Lee Burk, Loma Linda University

Sign up for laughter yoga Saturday, December 12th at the Dallas clubhouse by clicking here.


What is Reiki?

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a safe, effective ancient Japanese Art of Healing.

The meaning of the word REIKI:  REI-KI

REI: describes the universal, total, all-encompassing aspect of energy that surrounds all living things. [non-physical energy]

KI: describes universal physical energy. Life energy in an individual.

This word is used to describe the practice of sending energy for the purpose of creating conscious reconnection between the partial (physical) and universal (non-physical) life energy in an individual.

Reiki is a method used to actuate this conscious reconnection and balancing of physical and non-physical energy within an individual body. Rei and Ki are harmonized on the heart plane and expressed from the heart to bring about a conscious synchronizing and harmonizing of living cells and energy within an individual.

SO REIKI IS:  The ancient Japanese Art of healing.

  • The laying on of hands, for the purposes of healing with life energies.
  • The pulsing electricity and life force energy of the universe, our physical, mental and emotional bodies, our solar system and this earth we live on.
  • Guidance from the highest intelligence of all.
  • Similar to a battery charger, Reiki boosts the electrical/energetic system of the human body.
  • Is not affiliated with any type of religious belief.
  • Heightens the ability for one human being to connect with another through naturally occurring energy channels within the body, in the deepest of ways.
  • The laying on of hands, for the purposes of healing.
  • Healing energy, channeled with the intention of healing one’s self first and then others.
  • A complimentary technique that will enhance any medical treatment. It does not take the place of medical treatments.
  • An energetic healing Art, backed up and profoundly validated by scientists through multiple studies.  


Reiki is no longer considered the Woo Woo world of magic it once was. In the past ten year’s scientists have profoundly validated our understanding of many of the ancient healing Art’s. “Classical physics and Quantum physics” are both necessary to describe the world around us and the ways in which Reiki and healing energy’s work. A phenomenal amount of interesting experiments have been Preformed throughout the ages. Starting in 1642 with Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), through the ages with scientist like Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Max Planck (1858-1947), Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961) Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), in the 1980s, by scientists working independently in Germany and the United States, in 1950’s by Franklin Loer, more recent experiments by the Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto, (see Messages from water by Masaru Emoto.) This bring us to present day science and Quantum Physics. Now that science has woken up to this new understanding, there are thousands of scientist’s exploring the affect the electromagnetic frequencies of prayer / positive thinking and negative thought and the affects they  have on the frequencies of the human Mind and Body. The point is, we now know that human thought and human intent effect electron behavior. Since every chemical and neural process in the human body involves the activity of electrons, we see that our bodily functions are not simple matters of traditional chemistry and classical physics. They are mental, emotional, and spiritual as well. So we now know the “mind-body connection” is through the electrons. So the next time someone tells you Reiki doesn’t work or is silly Woo Woo, you can tell them, it’s simple science, physics and Quantum Physics. You can also say, it’s now been profoundly proven in countless experiments throughout hundreds of years. It’s now accepted as fact by modern day science and Quantum physics.

Reiki is a wonderful way to release, relax, detoxify and heal, emotionally and physically, that brings about peace within the body and mind.



Questions? Email

For information about when Reiki is offered at your clubhouse, download our newsletter here.