- With Mayo Clinic nurse educator
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.read biographyclose window
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.Sheryl M. Ness
Sheryl Ness, R.N., O.C.N., is a nurse educator for the Cancer Education Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She helps inform patients, families and caregivers about services and resources to help them through the cancer journey.
She has a master's degree in nursing from Augsburg College. In addition, she is an assistant professor of oncology at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and is certified as a specialist in oncology nursing. Sheryl has worked for more than 20 years at Mayo Clinic as an educator. She has a keen interest in the importance of the quality of life and concerns of people living with cancer.
- New therapies sought for triple negative breast cancer
Dec. 3, 2013
- How to care for skin during and after radiation
Nov. 9, 2013
- The problem with overtreating thyroid cancers
Nov. 2, 2013
- Hope, resources and support for those living with cancer
Oct. 26, 2013
- Reading helps you forget about your worries and relax
Oct. 19, 2013
Living with cancer blog
Sept. 28, 2013
What's your definition of cancer survivor?
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
Millions of you are living with cancer. By the year 2022, researchers estimate more than 18 million people in the United States alone will be living with cancer. As our population ages, that number may grow.
In 1996, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship pioneered the definition of cancer survivor as being any person diagnosed with cancer, from the time of initial diagnosis until his or her death. They later expanded the definition to include family, friends and caregivers who are touched by a cancer diagnosis in any way.
I've met many of you who don't consider yourselves survivors. People in the midst of treatment and/or dealing with recurrence don't always identify with the term survivor. Others say they don't like the label survivor and instead prefer the term thriver — putting the focus on living as well as possible, without the focus on cancer as a chronic condition.
Recently, I found a new term — previvor — in an article. It refers to people who have survived the risk of cancer due to genetic mutation. We're living in a time when, armed with DNA test results, you can make informed decisions to prevent a diagnosis of cancer.
An example of a previvor might be a woman who has a BRCA mutation and actively manages that risk by increased screening or preventive measures such as bilateral mastectomy or removal of ovaries to prevent breast or ovarian cancer.
As additional genetic mutations are identified that indicate a cancer risk, more people likely will be identified as previvors. Prevention strategies continue to be discovered that will help you take an active role in preventing cancer from occurring.
How do you feel about the terms survivor and previvor? I'd love to hear your perspectives on this topic.blog index Next page