MARISA S. BENINCASA, MBA LOYALTY MANAGER
STEVE WHITE, LCSW MIND-BODY THERAPIST
AT CANCER TREATMENT CENTERS OF AMERICA[R] (CTCA)
A cancer diagnosis is life changing, and making treatment decisions can be overwhelming. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America[R] (CTCA) patients and caregivers connect through a dynamic network dubbed Cancer Fighters[R].
"We are a community of people fighting cancer by nurturing, engaging and empowering one another. We share our stories, give courage and support, and inspire, help and celebrate life with one another," says Marisa S. Benincasa, MBA, Loyalty Manager, who oversees the Cancer Fighters program at CTCA[R].
Founded in 1990 by a group of CTCA patients, Cancer Fighters taps into the experience, knowledge and inspiration of cancer patients and caregivers across the country. The program also supports patients, caregivers and their families with resources and opportunities to find peer support.
Caregivers are those individuals helping family members or a friend through cancer treatment. "Caregiving may mean helping with daily activities such as going to the doctor or making meals. It could also mean coordinating services and care. Or it may be giving emotional and spiritual support," according to Steve White, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mind-Body Therapist at CTCA. His fluency in Spanish also gives him a special connection to Hispanic cancer patients.
"We work with patients to decrease stress, whether it is brought on by the cancer or other events in their lives," he says. "We usually work one-on-one with patients or we work with them alongside a caregiver."
In the case of some Hispanic families, White says there is a tendency for families to encourage the cancer patient to stay in bed. "But we try to impress upon families that it is better for cancer patients to get up and walk around," he says.
Both White and Benincasa point out that whether you're younger or older, you may find yourself in a new role as caregiver. You may not have been an active part of someone's life before, but perhaps now that they are a cancer patient, the way you support them is more active. It may be in a way in which you haven't had much experience, or in a way that feels more intense than before. Even though caregiving may feel new to you now, White says many caregivers and family members learn more as they go through their loved one's experience. CTCA therapists report that some of the more common situations facing...