Cancer Care

Welcome to Cancer Care, a publication made available by the Upstate Cancer Center. Within its pages are stories about people who have been touched by cancer, along with input from the experts at Upstate.

Scroll below, and click on links to any issue to view a full electronic version.

Have you got a story idea? Want a free subscription, or extra copies for your office? Contact us at or by calling 315-464-4836.

Spring 2020

Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 10.42.44 AMThis issue of Cancer Care magazine features an important story about “Cancer of Unknown Primary,” one of the most devastating cancer diagnoses, and what you should do if you can’t tell where a tumor started. It also features an Upstate nurse practitioner and his personal story about a rare cancer — and an Upstate researcher who shares some lessons she learned after a lung cancer diagnosis.

Thanks for reading Cancer Care.


Fall 2019

Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 4.44.51 PM.pngMany of the stories in the fall 2019 issue of Cancer Care magazine relate to lung cancer. This year marks the 20th anniversary of multidisciplinary care in Upstate’s Thoracic Oncology Program, a style of care that has been shown to significantly boost a patient’s survival. Read all about that, along with stories about lung cancer screening, two promising lung cancer research projects underway at Upstate, a handy chart on who qualifies for lung cancer screening, and a look at how to quit smoking successfully. Rick Shattell (on our cover, left) shares his story.

We also have stories about a young man whose non-Hodgkin lymphoma is in remission thanks to immunotherapy, a woman who has survived ovarian cancer, and a woman who is able to receive radiation close to her home in Oneida.

Summer 2019

Screen Shot 2019-08-26 at 8.53.46 AM.pngThe cover of Cancer Care’s Summer 2019 issue features a childhood cancer survivor, Dan Kosick. Read about his story inside, along with the story of a woman who has survived for 15 years with stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

We’ve also got a new tool to show you that uses a blue light to detect and treat bladder cancer. A psychiatrist shares advice for coping with a difficult diagnosis. And we take an in-depth look at five breast cancer research projects underway at Upstate Medical University that are funded by the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund.


Spring 2019

Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 2.22.16 PMUpstate chief nursing officer Nancy Page shares her cancer story in the Spring 2019 issue of Upstate’s Cancer Care magazine. She had many options for where to receive her care, and after careful consideration, she chose Upstate. She explains why.

Also in this issue, learn how a surgeon goes about reconstructing face, how a pathologist explains pathology reports, and how cancer drew four caregivers into careers taking care of people with cancer.

Meet a Marine who has battled medullary thyroid and neck cancer. And read about a team of Upstate researchers who tackled the question: If you are older than 65 and diagnosed with breast cancer, will chemotherapy extend your life?

This issue also contains six surprising cancer risk factors, advice from a mom whose child survived cancer, and a tasty vegetable lasagna recipe — along with a list of oncology camps that attract children from Central New York.

Thanks for reading Cancer Care.

Winter 2019

cancercarewinter2019Welcome to the Winter 2019 issue of Upstate’s Cancer Care magazine, with Mijung Lee, MD, on the cover. In this issue, you’ll read about a study that explores whether losing weight can prevent recurrence of breast cancer.

Readers will meet patients who share their stories about leukemia, prostate cancer and breast cancer, and hear what a radiation oncologist wants patients to know about their treatment.

This issue contains advice for how to get proper sleep, to eat when you aren’t hungry and  to deal with depression. You’ll also read about dogs that are teaching us about lymphoma — and five reasons kids need the HPV vaccine.

Thanks for reading.

Summer 2018

2018summercancercareRead about immunotherapy in the summer 2018 issue of Upstate’s Cancer Care magazine. We feature a patient story, along with some expert description of the potential for immunotherapy.

Readers will also learn about a recent study that convinced cancer doctors that not all women with breast cancer require chemotherapy as part of their treatment. Also, a colorectal surgeon and a gastroenterologist team up to tell you what you need to know about caring for your colon.

Cruciferous vegetables are good for the colon. They make for good nutrition in general. This issue offers four tasty recipes.

Academic medical centers such as Upstate Medical University frequently host guest lecturers. On our back cover we share some information that came from a recent visitor about CTCs, circulating tumor cells.

Thank you for your interest in Cancer Care magazine.

Spring 2018

cancercarespring2018In this issue of Upstate’s Cancer Care magazine, you’ll meet robotic surgery experts, caregivers devoted to the Breast Cancer High Risk program, and a medical oncologist who guides patients through treatment that takes aim at certain genetic changes. You’ll read about the pediatric oncologists taking care of a 5-year-old with a cancer that began growing in her cells before she was born, and a surgeon whose patient considers him the “magic man.”

One story showcases a new option for people with liver cancer: a radiologist who uses microwave ablation to destroy cancer cells. Another story explains five reasons you need a team of experts for esophageal or gastric cancers. And another tells about a motivated young medical student who teamed up with Upstate’s chief of neurosurgery to study whether a high-fat, low-carb diet can help people undergoing radiation treatment for fast-growing cancerous brain tumors.

Also make sure to read about how a growing number of cancer patients are benefitting from molecular diagnostics, and how Upstate assembled a team of experts in clinical genetics and molecular diagnostics.

Thanks for taking time to read Cancer Care.

Winter 2018


Chris Atwood of Moravia is on the Winter 2018 cover of Cancer Care. He’s got an inspiring story to share, about a cancer that developed after his kidney transplant.

Also in this issue, you will also find stories about radiation therapy — including 14 unique ways that Upstate helps patients, and a close-up look at the new TrueBeam Radiotherapy System and how it was installed.

If you or someone you love are dealing with lung cancer, our experts give a comprehensive overview of the many treatment options. We also share advice from ethicists about how to choose the right health care proxy. And, you’ll learn about a ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ program for teens with cancer.

Thanks for reading.

Fall 2017

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverAlf Jacques is on the cover of the fall 2017 Cancer Care, sharing his experience with kidney cancer — and the advice not to ignore symptoms. This issue also takes a look at breast cancer, with two survivors sharing their stories. Breast surgeon Lisa Lai, MD, discusses how the future of breast cancer management will likely involve less surgery.

On page 12, you’ll meet the Upstate scientist who discovered a gene that causes prostate cancer. Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD, explains his continuing research and efforts to differentiate which prostate cancers will be aggressive and which will lie dormant.

And on page 15, you’ll read how a youngster from the village of Walton, N.Y., is honoring her papa.

Thanks for reading.

Summer 2017

This issue of Cancer Care magazine includes the amazing story of a daughter, and then her mother, who survived lung cancer. You’ll find Darlene Barbato and Amy Scullion on our cover. A woman with a rare bladder cancer and a young boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia also share their stories in this issue.

If you or someone you love has to have blood drawn, be sure to read the advice on page 10 for ways to improve the experience. On page 11, meet the new cancer doctor specializing in genetics. And don’t forget, Upstate has many scientists working on cancer answers. Juntao Luo, PhD, and Rinki Agarwal, MD, tell about their research into a new way to treat ovarian cancer, starting on page 12.

Thanks for reading.

Spring 2017


Even if you are not new to Central New York, the advice offered by Andrea Scheibel and her father, Bob Verdoorn may be helpful if you ever need a specialty doctor. Find their suggestions on page 5 of the spring 2017 Cancer Care magazine.

This issue also explains how medical appointments are learning opportunities (page 2), why prostate cancer screening recommendations change (page 19) and how “positive” is not always a good thing (page 20.) Pages 11 to 13 are devoted to the experts from several scientific fields who are working together to accelerate the fight against brain cancer.

You’ll meet three women affected by breast cancer, and the surgeons who have helped them through mastectomy and reconstruction, on page 6; a medical student who has become a patient, on page 9; and on page 23,  a nurse who traveled to Ethiopia on her vacation to help establish a cancer center. 

Thanks for reading.

cawinter17coverWinter 2017

Our winter 2017 cover features teenager, Breonna Popluhar, a junior at Oneida High School who has learned to live with brain cancer.

Hers is one of several patient stories in this issue of Cancer Care magazine. Readers will also meet a gentleman from Vernon who is outsmarting multiple myleoma, a woman from Carthage whose lung cancer is at bay, a man from rural Chenango County who underwent successful treatment for prostate cancer, and a pediatric cancer nurse who battled cancer as a child. If you were treated at the Upstate Cancer Center and would like to share your story, contact editor Amber Smith at 315-464-4822 or

Many experts contributed to stories in this issue which explain staging, address whether chemotherapy or surgery should happen first in breast cancer, and offer advice on which websites provide reliable cancer information. You’ll also find interesting stories about kidney tumor and a rare blood cancer research taking place at Upstate.

Thanks for reading.

Fall 2016

ccimageOn the cover of the fall 2016 issue of Cancer Care is Gail Brehm, who shares her story about a team approach to treating pancreatic cancer. Hers is one example of the way a patient may navigate through a cancer diagnosis. We have an easy-to-follow chart explaining that navigation starting on page 10. Another story comes from a breast cancer survivor who now preaches the value of mammograms.

In addition, this issue includes a brief look at some of the cancer research underway at Upstate. We also have experts who explain what you need to know about lung cancer’s impact on other diseases, and whether it’s sensible and safe (it is) for head and neck cancer patients to have a port installed at the same time a feeding tube is installed. You’ll probably want to save page 15, where we pulled together the advice from several Upstate authorities on the best ways to cope with mouth sores.

Thanks for reading.

cancercaresummerWelcome to Cancer Care magazine’s summer 2016 issue. Medical student Ogochukwu Ezeoke, smiling from our cover, aspires to a career in cancer research, and like many scientists she’s intrigued with the idea of using a patient’s immune system to fight disease. In this issue, read about the research she’s doing on racial and ethnic disparities in clinical trials, and the research William Kerr, PhD, is doing to make the immune system better at killing cancer. (Kerr is collaborating with scientists in France on a Fulbright Scholarship.)

Other Upstate scientists featured in Cancer Care include Andrzej Krol, PhD, a professor of radiology who is working to create a better noninvasive diagnostic tool for early liver cancer detection, and radiologist Ernest Scalzetti, MD, who contributes to the effort to quantify information from medical images that can guide medical care.

This issue also features stories from a variety of patients, including one of Upstate’s oldest living pediatric brain tumor survivors, a man with follicular lymphoma, and an 11-year-old girl with Ewing sarcoma. Read about the special bell patients may ring when they finish treatment or reach a milestone.

Upstate experts also share information about the best way for breast cancer survivors to protect their bone health, whether kidney biopsies are always necessary and an important new risk factor for prostate cancer. They also address whether aspirin can protect against colorectal cancer, and they dispel dietary myths about sugar and soy.

If you have story suggestions, contact editor Amber Smith at Thanks for reading.


spring16cancerThe spring 2016 issue of Cancer Care magazine features Dorette Thompson on the cover, and inside she shares a bit of wisdom for anyone dealing with cancer or a serious health concern. This issue also contains patient stories about bone marrow transplant, gamma knife treatment and lung cancer.

For a glimpse behind the scenes, at a weekly meeting where individual patients’ care is discussed among experts, read the story on page 7.

Have you ever heard of  a nurse navigator? You’ll want to read page 11.

You’ll learn about prostate cancer, the situation of ‘liver mets’ when cancer spreads, and how a particular protein may hold clues to solving kidney cancer. And, our registered dietitian nutritionist, Maria Erdman shares information about the value of plant-based diets.


cancercarewinter16Donna Colton is on the cover of the winter 2016 issue of Cancer Care magazine with her guitar. The performer from Manlius shares her experience with an unusual form of cancer, adenocarcinoma of the sweat glands. This issue also contains a story from a woman with lung cancer, along with a look at hepatobiliary cancers, the HPV vaccine, and melanomas.

Researchers at Upstate Medical University explain why attention is turning to proteins in the quest to cure cancer. The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund awarded grants to five projects this fall, each of which is described in Cancer Care. There is also an explanation of how cancer produces estrogen within a tumor — and much more. Read the winter 2016 issue of Cancer Care magazine, and share any story ideas with editor Amber Smith at



The fall 2015 issue of Cancer Care magazine features Jack Edgerton on the cover. He’s a cancer survivor and a volunteer at the Upstate Cancer Center, and he shares his story starting on page 5. Readers will also meet a preschooler who underwent an intricate operation to remove a kidney tumor, and a woman who survived breast cancer. (If you’ve got a story to share, please let us know by emailing editor Amber Smith at

On other pages of this issue, you’ll learn about why some cancer programs open themselves up to assessment, the value of palliative care and the ways in which a dietitian can be of help to someone with cancer. We’ve also got an explanation of the staging and grading of prostate cancers, plus a look at zinc — a possible element of future cancer treatment.

Remember, subscriptions to Cancer Care are free. Complete this online subscription request or send an email to with “Cancer Care” in the subject line and your mailing address in the body of the message.


Layout 1Emily Breclaw is on the cover of the summer issue of Cancer Care, at the pool where she trains with her swim team. Read how Hodgkin lymphoma has changed her body and her mind. This issue includes stories from a family whose toddler has a neuroblastoma and a from a breast cancer survivor who had her ovaries removed to avoid ovarian cancer.

You will also read about cancer research taking place at Upstate, in laboratories lead by Leszek Kotula, MD, PhD, and Wenyi Feng, PhD.  And, a variety of experts share advice on the value of second opinions, the dangers of electronic cigarettes and how to select the proper sunscreen.


cancercarewinter2015Our winter issue of Cancer Care features on its cover Heather Gangemi, a young woman who remains vigilant with her health in adulthood because of her  cancer diagnosis in childhood.

Also in this issue, readers will get a look at the new neurosurgical suite, which allows patients to undergo magnetic resonance imaging before surgeons close incisions. We will introduce you to two patients who wrote books about their cancer experiences, and a man whose elevated PSA mystery was solved at Upstate.

Our experts tackle questions on the risks of oral cancer, avoiding nausea, getting a good night’s rest, and deciding on the appropriate treatment for advanced lung cancer.

For a free subscription to Cancer Care, send an email to with “Cancer Care” in the subject line. Provide your name and mailing address.


cancercarefall2014The fall 2014 issue of Cancer Care magazine features the remarkable story of how a surgeon removed a bladder wracked by cancer and replaced it with one he built from a portion of the patient’s own intestine. Readers will also meet a cancer survivor who has developed a career in cancer research, and they will read about promising research involving 10 scientists from Upstate Medical University. This issue features a spread about cancers that may be acquired on the job, and a look at the dangers of hepatitis C, along with breast reconstruction options for women after mastectomy.

In addition, find advice about how to avoid constipation, what to do about hair loss and six reasons to say no to e-cigarettes.


Zach Ellingson on the cover of the new Cancer Care magazine.

Zach Ellingson on the cover of the new Cancer Care magazine.

Cancer Care is provided by the Upstate Cancer Center, part of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. The premiere issue of the magazine was available for the public previews of the new building in the summer of 2014. Its cover features Zach Ellingson, an 8-year-old patient of Karol Kerr, MD, who has battled acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common type of cancer in childhood.

Also included is an in-depth look at the design and building of the new Upstate Cancer Center and the art inside and outside of the facility, plus information and expertise from a variety of caregivers. There are stories about the best surgery for kidney cancer, a clinical trial for lung cancer and a look at how tumors are targeted with precision using the new Vero. You will also find an energy-boosting recipe, advice on growing a healing garden, what to do about dry mouth, how to help a loved one consume enough calories — plus three ways advocacy can help end cancer.

For a free subscription to Cancer Care, send your name and address to with “cancer care” in the subject line.

Upstate Medical University is an academic medical center with four colleges, a robust biomedical research enterprise and an extensive clinical health care system that includes Upstate University Hospital’s downtown and community campuses, the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and many outpatient facilities throughout Central New York — in addition to the Upstate Cancer Center.


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