Remaining in Remission
Monica Knoll is the founder and executive director of Cancer101, a website providing women with information about breast cancer, from diagnosis to treatment to lifestyle changes. She came at the initiative with years of marketing experience. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000.
Question: After receiving successful treatment, what steps can women take to ensure they remain in remission?
Monica Knoll: I think there is a few important things that patients need to do in order to prevent a recurrence. The first thing is to really manage your own follow up appointments. I think there’s a few of us that were surprised that doctors don’t send that little card out in the mail to remind you like a dentist used to do to remind you of those follow up appointments. It’s your responsibility to manage those and you’ve got several doctor’s appointments to follow up depending on the type of treatment.
For me I had to follow up with my surgeon, an oncologist, my radiologist, and for a while, first year, my plastic surgeon. So there were several appointments that I needed to manage and monitor and that is critical that you stay on top of that. They’re not going to call and remind you. It’s-- It doesn’t happen and so it’s your responsibility. I also believe that changing your lifestyle is important.
This is a new lifestyle. You have had cancer. It’s over. You’re done. Your hair starts to grow back and you start to feel better and healthy and your life moves on, but at the end of the day you had cancer and it’s now lifestyle that you need to monitor and manage. That means looking at your diet and eating healthy foods. There’s been a big link to be-- have-- be-- having extra weight and fat in the diet and on your body linking with cancer so being healthy and eating well, exercise and just being very cognizant of how you’re-- you feel on a day-to-day basis, how your body feels, and recognizing any potential symptoms to make that phone call if there’s any concern.
Question: What keeps you motivated?
Monica Knoll: Well, I’ll tell you I definitely treated this cancer a little differently than the first one. I knew to take care of myself. I knew to stay positive. I knew to wait to find out all the information when I went to see my doctors before I panicked, before I went to the web site, so I implemented everything that I-- from experience. I did exactly what I tell everybody else to do. I followed the rules. I called my insurance carrier. I made sure to have all my questions ready and prepared before my doctors’ appointments.
I had all my paperwork and my slides, pathology report. I asked all the questions and had several opinions before we went ahead and made the final decision of the treatment that I would take on so- and even going through the process-- I hate to say it but ovarian cancer I thought oh, I had breast cancer; I know what the surgery is going to be like; I’ve had that; I’ve-- I was-- or I’ve had chemotherapy. Well, it was about ten times harder with the surgery and the chemo.
That was a bit of a surprise but the process remained exactly how I knew to get through it and I was able to stay positive and keep my family from panicking and my friends from panicking, which is unfortunately one of the jobs that sometimes we end up taking on is keeping everybody else calm when your friends and family start to really panic, but I was very lucky. I got again an opportunity to see some wonderful doctors.
I had-- I-- What else? I had my CANCER101 planner and I- just before I was about to go to press to prepare this planner for people with breast cancer I had to stop the process. We were at-- in the middle of editing and about to send it to the printer and I grabbed the prototype and I used it and though it was designed for people with breast cancer it was the organizer component that really got me through the process and was able to keep me calm and focused about my next steps. I had a place to put all my appointments, my notes, my business cards and it really helped my mother who was-- flew in from Chicago to be with me. As a mother, she was just devastated. So I think the planner really kept us both organized and everything. All our notes were in one place so we could share this book together.
Recorded on: June 5, 2008.
Lifestyle changes and care management can keep you cancer-free.
These thought leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs are propelling the kind of future we want to be a part of.
- The tech industry may be dominated by men in terms of numbers, but there are lots of brilliant women in leadership positions that are changing the landscape.
- The women on this list are founders of companies dedicated to teaching girls to code, innovators in the fields of AI, VR, and machine learning, leading tech writers and podcasters, and CEOs of companies like YouTube and Project Include.
- This list is by no means all-encompassing. There are many more influential women in tech that you should seek out and follow.
The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
- A 2020 Michigan State University study examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life.
- This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
- There are several ways you can attempt to stay active and socially connected while battling depression, according to experts.
The study suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rated of depression later on in life.
Credit: asiandelight/Shutterstock<p><a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/msu-tsn093020.php" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">A 2020 Michigan State University study</a> examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life. The results of this study suggested teens who have a larger number of friends in adolescent years may be less likely to suffer from depression later in life. These findings were especially prominent in women.</p><p>This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. This data asks students to select up to 5 male and 5 female friends and indicate how often they felt depressive symptoms. </p><p>MSU Sociology Assistant Professor Molly Copeland and lead author Christina Kamis (Sociology doctoral candidate at Duke University) published the study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior in September. </p><p><strong>Female teenagers may struggle more with depression during their teen years but show fewer depressive symptoms later in life.</strong> </p><p>For female adolescents, popularity can lead to increased depression during their teen years. However, this ultimately may lead to lasting benefits of fewer depressive symptoms later in life. "Adolescence (is) a sensitive period of early life when structural facets of social relationships can have lasting mental health consequences," Copeland wrote, adding that "compared to boys, girls face additional risks from how others view their social position in adolescence."</p><p>Throughout this study, men showed no association between popularity and depressive symptoms, however, they did show benefits from naming more friends. As for why this is, Copeland has a theory: perhaps the expectations on young girls (compared to young boys) as well as the roles that lead to popularity can create a kind of stress and strain felt more prominently by girls than boys. </p><p>While this does create more difficult teen years for young girls, the stress and strain may lead to giving these girls a psychological skillset that benefits them later in life, allowing them to deal with stressful situations more easily.</p><p>The study also suggested that teenagers who have a smaller social circle showed higher rates of depression later on in life. </p><p><strong>Results from both men and women followed a U-shaped trajectory of depressive symptoms.</strong></p><p>The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s. This was particularly more noticeable in women, who showed a steeper decline in symptoms between the ages of 18-26, followed by a more rapid increase in symptoms in their early 30s. </p>
How to stay social while battling depression<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ1MjA3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDMyNDY1N30.e1ULIJ5QYXh4H1SGUPUTJqYBCnX2XWp6InjPRr-2Bdw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C22%2C0%2C22&height=700" id="832fd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b360bb24fb8d6025680bfffb52fd5982" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="depression support group illustration" />
Attending support groups, planning activities with family or even just a weekly phone call to a friend can help alleviate depression.
Credit: Mascha Tace/Shutterstock<p>Although maintaining relationships can help you cope, it can also be one of the most difficult things to do when you're experiencing depression.</p><p>As Dr. Jennifer L. Payne (an assistant professor/co-director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore) <a href="https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/staying-socially-active-with-depression/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">tells Everyday Health</a>: "One of the common symptoms of depression is social isolation." </p><p>Payne goes on to explain that you can "soak up some energy" by simply being around other people, moving around, and staying active.</p><p><strong>Creating a daily schedule and planning activities ensures action. </strong></p><p>While it may be easy to turn down last-minute plans, it's more difficult to cancel plans you've already committed to with friends and family. While it's important not to overwhelm yourself with a packed schedule, creating a minimal daily schedule that involves seeing friends and family or doing activities that you've previously enjoyed can ensure you stay active and often makes you feel more accomplished at the end of each day. </p><p><strong>Support groups and social networking with people who understand. </strong></p><p>While depression can very easily make you feel isolated and alone, surrounding yourself with others who may be struggling with depression as well can help in multiple ways. You will have peer support from people who relate to how you're feeling plus the added benefit of being around people, which can raise your spirits. </p><p><strong>Keeping a journal (and setting goals) can help you feel accomplished. </strong></p><p>Keep a thought journal and detail certain daily or weekly goals (such as a plan to call a friend on Monday or to visit your local coffee shop for a change of scenery on Thursday). These small, achievable goals not only get you out of the house and/or interacting with others, but they also provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction once they are complete. </p><p><strong>Random acts of kindness, such as volunteering, will make you feel good. </strong></p><p><a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/kindness-benefits-james-doty?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1596517476" target="_self">Being kind is good for your health</a> in many different ways. Doing something nice for others can boost your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being. Similar to exercise, kindness, and altruism can also release endorphins, creating a <a href="https://www.quietrev.com/6-science-backed-ways-being-kind-is-good-for-your-health/#:~:text=Kindness%20releases%20feel%2Dgood%20hormones&text=Doing%20nice%20things%20for%20others,as%20a%20%E2%80%9Chelper's%20high.%E2%80%9D" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">temporary sense of euphoria</a> that can help combat depressive symptoms. </p>
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90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.
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