Paxman Scalp Cooling System
Thanks to funding from Trinity Health Foundation, the Trinity CancerCare Center has become the first center in North Dakota to acquire the Paxman Scalp Cooling System – an optional service for patients who wish to minimize alopecia, or hair loss, from chemotherapy. Preventing hair loss as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment has long been a subject of research and development. It’s estimated that 8% of patients refuse chemotherapy because of concerns about losing their hair. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System is cleared by FDA for use during treatment of patients with solid tumors such as breast, ovarian, colorectal, and bowel cancer. Scalp cooling works by narrowing the blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp and reducing cell division, which decreases the amount of chemotherapy that reaches and interacts with the hair follicles. With less chemotherapy in the follicles, the hair may be less likely to fall out thus helping patients overcome the fear of losing their hair from these types of chemotherapy.
Art Therapy for CancerCare Patients
Art therapy is one of the facets of the Trinity Health CancerCare Center’s Survivorship and Support Group Programs. These programs were created to provide different activities for people with a diagnosis of cancer to improve coping mechanisms; reduce pain, anxiety, stress, or depression.
The Trinity CancerCare Art Therapy program is designed for either those who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer or for those whose cancer is in remission. The intent of the experience is to foster healing through visual means and through the act of painting. The Art Therapy groups are led by Roxi Mathis, a local artist. She is a graduate of MSU with BFA in graphic design. Occasionally the groups work on a joint project. For example, patients and their families were invited to help create a community “garden” by painting a 5” x 7” sunflower. There are 104 sunflower paintings collectively displayed in the CancerCare Center lobby.
Gentle Yoga for CancerCare Patients
Many oncology patients undergo a rigorous treatment regimen that can affect their overall quality of life once completed. Feelings of overwhelming fatigue and weakness can make even the most routine daily tasks seem impossible, leading to increased stress and anxiety. One of the goals of the Trinity CancerCare Survivorship Program is to help get patients back on their feet and on with their lives following oncology treatment. In keeping with the Trinity Health mission of excelling at meeting the needs of the whole person, representatives from Trinity CancerCare Center’s Survivorship Program began offering a gentle yoga class in May 2014. This gentle yoga class, led by two certified yoga instructors, was designed specifically with the oncology patient in mind. Staying within the standard aspects of yoga, but with a gentler approach, patients can learn and complete exercises with a focus on reducing stress, improving flexibility, strength, and improve posture and balance. The response to the class has been very positive. “I have been honored to guide the Survivorship Program gentle yoga class since its inception. The class offers poses to build strength and balance, mindfulness to deal with stress and anxiety and the option to network with others. All of this is without judgment, competition and expectation. Our mantra is listening to our body,” said Nancy Scofield, yoga instructor. Participants are provided a free yoga mat courtesy of the Trinity Health Foundation, and the foundation also provides stipends for the instructors.
Writing Through Cancer
This program allows cancer patients a supportive and creative avenue to write about their cancer experience. This experience can include a wide range of emotions. Coming together to journal creates a bond with other cancer patients offering vital support to the individual’s cancer journey. The classes last five weeks and are under the direction of Conrad Davidson, a cancer survivor and former professor at Minot State University.
We received the following note from one group of participants in the Therapeutic Writing class: “Talking and writing about our experience unleashes an empowering flood of emotions. Sharing our bonds as Cancer Warriors is also exhausting. We appreciate your support of our endeavors. Thank you.”
Look Good Feel Better
Look Good Feel Better is dedicated to improving the quality of life and self-esteem of people undergoing cancer treatment. The patients who participate in the program receive:
• A detailed description and demonstration of a 12-step skin care and makeup program
• Instruction on options relating to hair loss, including wigs, turbans, and scarves
• Nail care
• Helpful suggestions on clothing and ways to use flattering colors and shapes, as well as ways to camouflage areas of concern during cancer treatment
Medical experts recognize the vital role of cancer support programs such as Look Good Feel Better. Indeed, significant data suggests a strong link between women’s participation in these programs and their rates of recovery.
One of the participants in the program stated the following about her experience: “I was able to participate in the Look Good Feel Better program, which was awesome! At a time when you do not have any eye brows, eye lashes, or hair, having someone help with makeup was a real treat.” —DK
Look Good Feel Better is non-medical, and salon and product neutral. Volunteers and program participants do not promote any cosmetic product line or manufacturer.
CancerCare Patient Assistance Fund
In addition to providing direct financial support to those battling cancer, the CancerCare Patient Assistance Fund has also been able to provide patients with in-kind gifts such store gift cards, wigs and compression garments. More than 200 patients benefitted from this fund last year.
Two of the patients who received assistance sent us the following notes:
“Thank you so much for the gift of money and Marketplace Foods Gift Card. So appreciated! Your concern and gifts are so great at spreading good will. Thank you again for your help.” —BH
“Huge thank you for the check that was delivered to me! I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and will be making many trips and missing many days of work. This check will be very helpful during this time.” —JB
Cancer SurvivorShip Banquet
Trinity Health Foundation was pleased to partner with the Trinity CancerCare Center and the Relay for Life Committee by helping to sponsor the Cancer SurvivorShip Banquet held June 8, 2019. This day is an annual celebration of life that is held in hundreds of communities nationwide and around the world. National Cancer Survivors Day provides an opportunity for all people living with a history of cancer to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize those who have supported them along the way. It is also a day to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship. This year’s banquet, which was attended by approximately 120 people, was held in downtown Minot at the Success Depot and catered by Souris River Brewing. “This is always a great day as you get to visit with many survivors and their families to connect and celebrate their survivorship,” says Shane Jordan, director of Trinity’s CancerCare Center.
Fuel the Fight
On October 26, 2018, Trinity Health Foundation teamed up with Dakota Square ARCO and other businesses to “Fuel the Fight” against cancer. This day-long event featured:
• A prize of free gas for one year donated by United Community Bank (given as a $50 gas certificate per week for 52 weeks).
• 15% of Dakota Square ARCO’s sales all day
• Pepsi sales of 24-packs of soda with $1 from each 24-pack sold donated back to the Fuel the Fight campaign
• Silent auction with items donated by the Stereo Shop; I. Keating, Inc.; Trinity Health Foundation; and artist Bill Bren.
Those stopping to fuel up had the opportunity to purchase a hot dog lunch or participate in activities that included a dunk tank, carousel rides, and a bounce house. This event was broadcast live by KHRT radio with TV and radio spots provided by KMOT-TV/West Dakota Fox.
The Fuel the Fight initiative was conceived in the spring of 2018 by Michelle Phillips, Hess Corporation; Candace Brekke, Ackerman-Estvold; and Kaylee Bourquin, First International Bank & Trust. The concept originated as a group project the trio completed as part of the Women’s Leadership Program through the Center for Technology and Business.
Fuel the Fight helps support the fuel voucher program offered to oncology patients receiving care at the Trinity CancerCare Center. These vouchers can be utilized at the Dakota Square ARCO by patients receiving active oncology related treatment for up to $50 in fuel purchases. Patients have access to four $50 vouchers annually for a total assistance of up to $200. “This voucher program continues to be a fantastic financial assistance opportunity for patients,” says Shane Jordan, Director of Trinity CancerCare Center. “Many of these patients are traveling daily to the center, and it is wonderful that through events such as Fuel the Fight we can continue to help them with this specific expense.”