“Your self-esteem won’t come from body parts. You need to step away from the mirror every once in a while, and look for another reflection, like the one in the eyes of the people who love you and admire you.” – Stacy London


Positive Self Reflection

My skin is made of ivory,

My lips, soft pink rose petals,

My hair is free like the wind,

That blows through it,

My eyes are as blue as the sky,

My soul is as deep as the ocean,

My heart beats to music,

My language is anything,

But ordinary prose.

©Nicole Corbin

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”- William Shakespeare


The Decision

Love me, hate me,

You’re part of what created me,

Care or stare,

I reflect a love you used to share,

Ready or not here I am,

Do or don’t you give a damn.

©Nicole Corbin

May: Cancer Research Month

May is Cancer Research Month

I wanted to put together a post with a bunch of helpful sites for general information on cancer. I also wanted to include sites for emotional support, financial needs, transportation needs, housing/lodging, children’s services and home health care/hospice.

Cancer- A brief overview

Cancer- A disease in which an abnormal, unregulated growth of cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue. The cells can ultimately spread to vital organs.

Major Cancer Types:

  • Carcinonmas- these are the most common cancers such as breast, lung and colon cancers.  These cancers invade surrounding tissues and organs and can spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
  • Melanomas- these are the most serious types of skin cancer. They initially appear on the surface of the skin as a change in shape, color or feel of a mole.
  • Leukemias- these are more common in children then adults, they account for about 25% of all childhood cancers. They are immature cells arising in bone marrow that should have become functioning white blood cells.
  • Lymphomas- these arise in lymph nodes and other tissues of the body’s immune system. Lymphoid tissues include tonsils, adenoids, spleen, thymus and bone marrow.
  • Sarcomas- these are rare cancers, accounting for about 1% of all cancers.  They grow from cells in bones, cartilage, joints, muscle, fat, nerves, deep skin tissues and blood vessels.

General Sites for information about Cancer:

American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/

American Institute For Cancer Research: http://www.aicr.org/

Association Of Cancer Online Resources: http://www.acor.org/

Cancer.net: http://www.cancer.net/

Cancer Care: http://www.cancercare.org/

Emotional Support:

Cancer Hope Network: http://cancerhopenetwork.org/

Family Caregiver Alliance: https://caregiver.org/

Caregiver Action Network: http://www.caregiveraction.org/

Supersibs!: http://www.alexslemonade.org/campaign/supersibs

Cancer Support Community: http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/

Financial, Transportation and Housing Needs:

Angel Flight: http://www.angelflight.com/

Catholic Charities USA: http://catholiccharitiesusa.org/

Corporate Angel Network: http://www.corpangelnetwork.org/

The Max Foundation: http://www.themaxfoundation.org/

National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses (NAHHH): http://www.nahhh.org/

National Patient Travel Center: http://www.patienttravel.org/

Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA): https://www.pparx.org/

Patient Access Network Foundation (PANF): https://www.panfoundation.org/

Patient Services Inc. (PSI): http://www.patientservicesinc.org/

Ronald McDonald House Charities: http://www.rmhc.org/

United Way Of America: http://www.unitedway.org/

Visting Nurse Associations Of America (VNAA): http://www.vnaa.org/

Children’s Services:

Children’s Cause For Cancer Advocacy (CCCA): http://childrenscause.org/

Children’s Hospice International (CHI): http://www.chionline.org/

Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA): http://cota.org/

CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation: http://curesearch.org/

Kids Konnected: http://kidskonnected.org/

Make-A-Wish Foundation Of America: http://wish.org/  (Also for Adults- Dream Foundation: http://dreamfoundation.org/)

National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS): http://nationalchildrenscancersociety.org/

Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation: http://starlight.org/

Home/Hospice Care:

National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC): http://www.nahc.org/

American Hospice Foundation: http://americanhospice.org/

Hospice Education Institute: http://hospiceworld.org/

Hospice Foundation Of America (HFA): http://hospicefoundation.org/

International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC): http://hospicecare.com/home/

National Association For Home Care and Hospice (NAHC): http://www.nahc.org/

National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization: http://www.nhpco.org/

Also if you haven’t already read the previous posts please take the time out to go read!



May: Brain Tumor Awareness and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention

May is Brain Tumor Awareness and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention MonthBrain Tumor Awarenessskin cancer ribbon

Brain Tumor– An abnormal growth of tissue in the brain.

Skin Cancer– Uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells

Advances in treatment of Melanoma, Oral Cancer, Brain Metastases and Childhood Cancers: http://www.asco.org/press-center/advances-treatment-melanoma-oral-cancer-brain-metastases-and-childhood-cancers

Here is a brief summary of facts about Brain Tumors:

  • Unlike other tumors, brain tumors rarely metastasize (spread) outside of the brain
  • There are over 120 different types of brain tumors
  • A tumor can increase pressure in the brain, shift brain or push it against the skull and/ or invade and damage nerves and healthy brain tissue.

Here is a brief summary of facts about Skin Cancer:

  • Most common form of cancer
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer the the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • 1in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • Most skin cancers are caused from UV rays from the sun.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Tumors:

  • A new seizure in an adult
  • Gradual loss of movement or sensation in arm or leg.
  • Unsteadiness or imbalance, especially if it’s associated with headache.
  • Loss of vision in one or both eyes, especially if the vision lost is more peripheral.
  • Double vision, especially if associated with headaches.
  • Hearing loss with or without dizziness.
  • Speech difficulty of gradual onset.
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer:

  1. Actinic Keratosis:
  • Scaly or crusty growths caused by damage from UV rays from the sun.
  • Growths commonly show up in sun exposed areas, such as the face, bald scalp, lips and the backs of hands.
  • Growths are often elevated, rough in texture and resemble warts
  • Often become red, but some will be tan, pink, red and or flesh toned.
    1. Basil Cell Carcinoma:
  • Looks like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars.

  1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells ( upper layers of skin).
  • Looks like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with central depression or warts.
  • They may crust or bleed.
  1. Dysplastic Nevi ( Atypical Moles):
  • Unusual benign moles that resemble melanoma.

V. Melanoma: Most dangerous form of skin cancer.

  • Often resemble moles, some develop from moles.
  • Majority of melanomas are black or brown but can be skin colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white.
  • ABCDE’s of Melanoma: A– Asymmetry B– Borders- Borders of early melanoma are uneven. C– Color- Variety of color is a warning signal. D– Diameter- Melanomas are usually larger in diameter than an eraser on a pencil. E– Evolving- Any change in size, shape, color, elevation or another trait or any new symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting.
  • Types of Melanoma:
  1. Superficial Spreading Melanoma– Most common type of melanoma. It grows on the top layer of the skin for a fairly long time before penetrating more deeply. It is usually discolored patches with irregular borders. This type usually is diagnosed in younger people.
  2. Lentigo Maligna- Also remains close to the skins surface. Often has a tan, brown or dark brown discoloration. This type is usually diagnosed in the elderly. It is referred to as Lentigo Maligna Melanoma when it becomes more invasive.
  3. Acral Lentiginous Melanoma- Also spreads superficially before penetrating more deeply. Appears as a black or brown discoloration under nails, soles of feet and palms of hands. Most common in African Americans and Asians.
  4. Nodular Melanoma- Usually invasive. Malignancy is recognized when it becomes a bump. It’s usually black but occasionally blue, gray, white, tan, brown, red or skin tone.

Prevention – Skin Cancer:

  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Seek shade especially between the hours of 10 am – 4pm.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up.
  • Apply 1oz of sunscreen to body 30 mins before going outside. Reapply every 2 hrs or immediately after swimming or sweating excessively.
  • Examine skin head to toe every month
  • See physician every year for professional skin examination.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun.

Helpful links for more information:



Also if you haven’t already read the previous posts please take the time out to go read!



April 13th – 19th is National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Week

April 13th – 19th  is National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Week

oralcancer ribbonHeadandNeckcancerribbon

Oral Cancer– Also called Oral Cavity Cancer, is cancer that starts in the mouth.

Head & Neck Cancer– Cancer that starts in the head or neck region ( nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth salivary glands, throat or larynx).

Here is an article about improving the quality of life for people diagnosed with head or neck cancers: EdBookAM201333e230

I have included a small video that shows the treament course of a patient diagnosed with base-of- tongue cancer: John’s Story

Here is a brief summary of facts about Oral Cancer:

  • Some risk factors are smoking, drinking heavily, HPV ( Human Papillomavirus)and prolonged sun exposure.
  • Almost all Oral cancer begins in the flat cells that cover the surfaces of the mouth.

Here is a brief summary of facts about Head and Neck Cancer:

  • Cancer usually begins in the squamous cells that line the moist mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck ( Inside mouth, nose, throat).
  • Risk factors include smoking, heavy drinking, and HPV ( Human Papillomavirus).

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer:

  • Patches inside mouth or on lips
  • A sore in your mouth or on your lips that doesn’t heal
  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding in your mouth
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty wearing dentures
  • A lump in your neck
  • An earache that doesn’t go away
  • Numbness of the lower lip and chin

Signs and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer:

  • A lump or sore throat that doesn’t heal
  • A sore throat that doesn’t go away
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent Headaches
  • Ringing or pain in ears
  • Sinuses that are blocked and do not clear
  • Chronic sinus infections that do not respond to antibiotics
  • Nosebleeds
  • Numbness or paralysis of the muscles in the face

Prevention- Early Detection:

Early detection is key

Doctors recommend self oral exams monthly to help prevent Oral cancer

Doctors recommend a yearly physical examination of the head and neck to help prevent Head & Neck Cancer

Helpful Links for more information:



Also if you haven’t already read the previous posts please take the time out to go read!



April: Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month


Testicular Cancer– When normal cells in one or both testicles change and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumor.

Facts about Testicular Cancer:

  • Most tumors develop in germ cells which make sperm. Hence they are called germ cell tumors
  • Testicular cancer is divided in to two types seminomas and non-seminomas.  Non-seminomas grow more quickly and are more likely to spread.
  • Both types require immediate treatment.
  • It is the most common form of cancer in men ages 15-35 years old.
  • It is one of the most curable cancers if it is detected early.

Improving Treatments for germ cell tumors: http://am.asco.org/improving-treatment-germ-cell-tumors

Risk Factors:

  • Undescended testicles (cryptochordism)
  • Urological birth defects
  • Family History
  • Being a Caucasian male

Signs and Symptoms:

Most common:

  • Lumps, swelling and or pain in scrotum.
  • Usually lumps are painless or mildly uncomfortable so do not wait until it becomes more serious to seek medical attention.
  •  Swelling can happen without a lump being present.
  • Dull ache or pressure in lower abdomen or back.
  • Change of size in testicles.
  • Feeling of heaviness or fullness in the scrotum.
  • Enlargement or tenderness in breasts.

Advanced symptoms:

  • Significant weight loss and/or enlarged abdominal lymph nodes. (Due to growth of tumors)
  • Back pain
  • Chest pain, coughing and difficultly breathing.
  • Coughing up blood ( Due to tumors in the lungs)
  • Enlargement of lymph nodes in abdomen and/or neck.

Prevention:  A monthly self exam for all men over the age of 14. The exam is best performed after a bath or shower as it relaxes the scrotum making it easier to spot abnormalities.

Helpful Links:





Also if you haven’t already read the previous posts please take the time out to go read!



March: National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


Colorectal Cancer– Cancer of the Colon or Rectum

Here is a brief summary of facts about Colorectal Cancer:

  • 3rd most common cancer
  • Most Colorectal cancers develop slowly over many years
  • Colorectal cancer usually starts with colorectal polyps ( Abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum)

Possible Signs and Symptoms:

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Diarrhea, constipation or feeling bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Blood in stool
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Feeling very tired

Prevention- Early Detection:

Regular screening is recommended for both men and women once they reach age 50

Advances in Colorectal Cancer:

ASCO ( American Society of Clinical Onocology)  2014 meeting had a new study that shows that a combination of  chemotherapy and certain targeted therapies have been effective for metastatic colorectal cancer. Targeted therapy works by targeting specific genes, proteins or tissue that contribute to the cancer’s growth and survival. Both treatments in this study have chemotherapy but one has the targeted therapy bevacizumab (Avastin) and the other uses the targeted therapy  cetuximab (Erbitux).

Helpful Links for more information:




Also if you haven’t already read these 2 previous posts please go read them!



Life Lesson : Don’t underestimate the difference you can make.


February 4th was World Cancer Day, so this post is quite a bit late. I believe that it was meant to be that way though.

I have been working on All Cancer Awareness to bring my mother’s vision to light and to help others out who find themselves or loved ones with a diagnosis of cancer. I wanted to give people a place to turn to and give them some helpful first steps with the information I post. I was beginning to think that although I was posting all of this information was I really helping people and making a difference?

A few weeks ago someone I know approached me privately and asked to speak with me. She said she had some personal questions. I honestly didn’t really know what to think but I am grateful that I took the time out to listen.  She told me that her Grandmother was just recently diagnosed with Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and wanted to know if I knew anything about it. She only knew about my Mother having lung cancer but had no knowledge of what I do here on TOAM. I was happy to print out some information for her and she was so grateful when I handed her that paper.

I didn’t think I could be making much of a difference. The truth is I underestimated what a difference I could make to someone.

Don’t underestimate the difference you can make in someone’s life.

“The principle part of faith is patience.”- George MacDonald


Little Girl

These feelings have not changed,

Time has done nothing to ease,

The pain,

It is a mere pastime,

Attempting to fill a void,


At the end of the day,

I am just a little girl,

That wants her Mom.

©Nicole Corbin

November- Pancreatic Cancer and Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Pancreatic Cancer and Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Pancreatic Cancer:

Pancreatic cancer ribbon

Pancreas- Pear shaped gland located in the abdomen between stomach and spine made up of two major components:

Exocrine Component- Made up of ducts and acini (small sacs on the end of the ducts). Makes enzymes (specialized proteins) that are released into the small intestine to help the body digest and breakdown food particularly fats.

Endocrine Component- Made up of specialized cells lumped together in islands in the organ called islets of Langerhans. These cells make specific hormones, most importantly insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar in the blood.

Types of Pancreatic Cancer: There are several types depending on whether the cancer began in the endocrine or exocrine component.

Exocrine Tumors- Most common type. About 95% of people with pancreatic cancer have adenocarcinoma which starts in ducts of the pancreas called ductal adenocarcinoma.

Less Common: If tumor begins in the acini it is called acinar adenocarcinoma. Common diagnosis is called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN)- A tumor that grows within the ducts of the pancreas and makes a thick fluid called mucin. IPMN is not cancerous when it begins but could become cancerous if not treated. Sometimes an IPMN has already become cancer by the time it is diagnosed. Rarer types of exocrine pancreatic cancer include: Acinar cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, colloid carcinoma, giant cell tumor, hepatoid carcinoma, mucinous cystic neoplasms, pancreatoblastoma, serous cystdenoma, signet ring cell carcinoma, solid and pseudopapillary tumors, squamous cell carcinoma and undifferentiated carcinoma.

Endocrine Tumors- Also called islet cell tumors or pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET). Much less common than exocrine tumors (1%).  Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor can be functioning meaning it makes hormones or non-functioning meaning it doesn’t make hormones . A functioning neuroendocrine tumor is named based on the hormone the cells normally make.

Signs and Symptoms:

Not many noticeable symptoms early on. When there are symptoms they are similar to other medical conditions such as ulcers or pancreatitis.

  • Yellow skin and eyes, darkening of the urine, itching, and clay colored stool, which are signs of obstructive jaundice (Blockage of bile ducts)
  • Pain in the upper abdomen or lower back
  • Painful swelling due to a blood clot
  • Burning feeling in stomach or other gastrointestinal discomforts
  • Stomach bloating
  • Floating stools with bad odor and unusual color due to body not digesting fats well
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

Prevention: No established guidelines for prevention. Best approach is to avoid risk factors as much as possible.

Helpful Links:  http://www.pancan.org/


Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer- Usually begins when cells in the lung change and grow uncontrollably forming a mass called a tumor. A lung tumor can begin anywhere in the lung.


Two major types:  Non small cell and small cell.

Non small cell (NSCLC ): comes from epitneliat cells and is the most common type.

Small Cell: begins in the nerve cells or hormone- producing cells  of the lung. The term “small cell” refers to the size and shape of the cancer cells as seen under a microscope.

It is important for doctors to distinguish between the two because they are usually treated in different ways.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain if tumor spreads to the lining  of the lung or other parts of the body near the lungs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Coughing up phlegm or mucus
  • Coughing up blood

Prevention: There is no proven way to completely prevent lung cancer. Quitting smoking lowers the risk.

Helpful Links:  http://lungcanceralliance.org/


Also if you haven’t already please read these previous posts!!






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