The Ocular Tumor Support Group

After several successful meetings throughout the close of 2017, The Ocular Tumor Support Group is back in session! Do you have feelings of loss, stress, anxiety, and/or depression? To be sure, these are all possible experiences people have as they begin to adjust and live with a cancer diagnosis — but why endure it alone? Psychologists have long-attested to the mental health benefits of group therapy, where there exists a nurturing environment to share and perhaps ease one’s stress. The path towards recovery is paved not only with physical well-being, but also emotional well-being. And so, The Eye Cancer Foundation sponsors periodic group therapy sessions for those patients in need of an emotional outlet for their pain.

Karen Campbell, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, will continue to facilitate these sessions. With her 24+ year experience working with medical patients, she offers a wealth of knowledge in how to handle stress, such as mental and physical exercises. Attendee’s of past Ocular Tumor Support Group sessions have expressed gratitude for her work and her enduring tips and advice that have helped them outside of every meeting.

These support sessions are open to all ocular tumor patients, regardless of where you receive your care and how far along in treatment you are. Whether you are currently undergoing treatment or are 10 years out of treatment, we welcome you!

The next meeting will take place within the next few months Friday at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, 310 East 14th Street in New York City. Stay tuned for the latest update on when that date will be.

If you are considering attending this session, or for more information, please contact Karen Campbell at campbelllcsw@gmail.com or 646-229-9908.

We hope to see you there!


The NYECC Support Group’s Next Meeting! Attend In-Person or via Phone!

After two successful meetings where eye cancer patients and survivors shared their feelings in a welcoming, comfortable environment, The New York Eye Cancer Center Support Group, sponsored by The Eye Cancer Foundation, will meet for a third time on November 17, 2017 at 1:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time. This meeting, like its previous ones, will be held at The New York Eye Cancer Center’s conference room located at 115 East 61st Street, New York City, 100065.

Are you halfway across the country? In Texas, California? Are you unable to make it due to working hours, or even that dreaded New York City traffic? Because many potential visitors have expressed their desire to attend but are unable to make it due to any travel inconveniences, we would gladly like to inform anyone that these meetings may be attended via phone call! Regardless of where you are located, the NYECC Support Group wants your voice to be heard! Simply call Karen Campbell, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who helps facilitate these meetings, and mention that you would like to attend via phone.

You can find Karen’s biography below:

“I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and have been practicing in the field for 24 years. In addition to my private psychotherapy practice, most recently, I was in the Director of Vision Rehabilitation Services at the Lighthouse Guild. I started up the Social Work Department at Lighthouse International in 2010 and, as part of that, developed and faciliated the Department’s Support Group program. I also have a background in medical social work, including oncology, having worked at NYU/Langone. I have found support groups to be a valuable way for people to manage their medical challenges and address issues such as family adjustment, depression, anxiety and loss. Although I work primarily with individuals and couples in my private practice, I really enjoy working with groups!”

As we’ve mentioned previously in our regular updates regarding this support group, stress and anxiety are normal experiences for anyone enduring an eye cancer diagnosis. And although it is normal, there are ways to combat these feelings by having a solid support system. For some, these support systems are crucial in order to find one’s bearings and coming to terms with “a new normal”, both of which are important in overall quality of life.

 

Please consider downloading our flyer for November’s meeting here. We hope to meet you there! And to stay updated on all upcoming sessions, please keep our website, eyecancer.com in your bookmarks!


The NYECC Support Group Therapy: A Recap!

The New York Eye Cancer Center Support Group, sponsored by the Eye Cancer Foundation, met for the second time on October 13, 2017. Members in attendance were in varying stages of their treatment and recovery, ranging from a few months to over a decade! Karen Campbell, a licensed clinical social worker with years of experience in oncology and vision loss, led the group in their discussion.

Group members shared the struggles of living with cancer and what their “new normal” is like, such as the need for ongoing scans and check-ups. Anxiety and depression around loss of control, feelings of isolation, and worries about the future were common themes, as was the need for ongoing support. Techniques for coping with these experiences and stressors were discussed and Karen lead the group in a guided imagery relaxation exercise that members found helpful.

Dr. Finger’s associate, Dr. Olszewski, was also in attendance and said, “Mental health is such an important part of overall well-being and quality of life, especially after a life changing diagnosis, such as ocular melanoma. We saw the perfect opportunity to introduce holistic care to the practice by starting this support group. Thanks to the support of the Eye Cancer Foundation, we are working hard to provide monthly group meetings for patients with this diagnosis. Karen Campbell is a natural fit for steering the meeting, given her experience in dealing with patients with both cancer and vision loss.

It was my pleasure to attend our second group session. Although I do not have a personal history ocular melanoma, I shared my experiences as a provider in this practice. I also have family members with cancer diagnoses and shared my feelings and point of view as a member of their support systems. I found Karen’s guided breathing exercises particularly enlightening; I felt an immediate wave of calm wash over me as she spoke, which stayed with me, even after I left the meeting. I truly believe that many of our patients would benefit from attending these group sessions.”

Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement regarding the date, time, and place of the next NYECC Support Group session.


New Details Regarding the NYECC Support Group!

As you may have read in our blog the week prior, The New York Eye Cancer Center is pleased to announce that we, with the support of The Eye Cancer Foundation, are hosting periodic group therapy sessions for our patients. Life after diagnosis and treatment of an ocular melanoma can cause stress and anxiety. Although it’s normal to feel this way, many people do find that having a solid support system is crucial in finding their bearings and coming to terms with “a new normal”, both of which are important in overall quality of life.

Friends and family can be excellent support systems, but there can also be a benefit to sharing your feelings with other patients who have had very similar experiences. The New York Eye Cancer Center Support Group is seeking to provide you with this emotional outlet. Our support group is facilitated by wonderful licensed clinical social worker, Karen Campbell.

You can find Karen’s short biography below:

“I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and have been practicing in the field for 24 years. In addition to my private psychotherapy practice, most recently, I was in the Director of Vision Rehabilitation Services at the Lighthouse Guild. I started up the Social Work Department at Lighthouse International in 2010 and, as part of that, developed and faciliated the Department’s Support Group program. I also have a background in medical social work, including oncology, having worked at NYU/Langone. I have found support groups to be a valuable way for people to manage their medical challenges and address issues such as family adjustment, depression, anxiety and loss. Although I work primarily with individuals and couples in my private practice, I really enjoy working with groups!”

Karen brings to the practice her years of experience in counseling patients with both cancer and vision loss, making her a perfect fit for the NYECC family.

You can meet her and other patients at our next group therapy session at the NYECC on Friday, October 13, 2017 at 1:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time.

We hope to see you there!

And to stay updated on all upcoming sessions, please keep our website, eyecancer.com in your bookmarks!


A New Support Group for Eye Cancer Patients is Available!

Stress and anxiety following treatment for choroidal melanoma have been well recognized among patients and studied among doctors. In fact, The NIH-funded Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study reported on 209 patients with medium-sized melanoma treated with either brachytherapy or enucleation. In this sub-study, their goal was to compare the quality of life between treatment groups using questionnaires.

After questioning patients, researchers found that those undergoing radiation therapy had better quality of life outcomes related to their vision, such as driving, near activities, and binocular vision. After three to five years post-treatment, this benefit did decline, paralleling a decline in vision for the brachytherapy-treatment group (this, of course, predates the advent of vision-sparing anti-VEGF therapy).

However, in the scientific article published for the study, researchers state that “certain patients treated with brachytherapy, particularly those with pre-existing symptoms of anxiety, may suffer from increased risk of anxiety as compared with patients treated with enucleation during follow-up (Archives of Ophthalmology).”

At The New York Eye Cancer Center, we are currently participating in a study evaluating patient reported outcomes after plaque brachytherapy for choroidal melanoma. The more we understand a patient’s reception of plaque brachytherapy and the effect their treatment has had on their lives, the more we can specialize our care for each individual. We strive to offer compassion and understand what our patients are going through on a personal and psychological level. In an effort to help patients deal with their stress and anxiety, The New York Eye Cancer Center has begun to host a support group specifically for eye cancer patients and survivors. Please join Karen Campbell, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), who will facilitate this group. Sponsored by The Eye Cancer Foundation, this group therapy session will be held on Friday, October 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm at The New York Eye Cancer Center. Join us to have your voice heard among peers who understand what you are going through!

For your convenience, please consider downloading this flyer for the Support Group that contains all necessary information. We will host more sessions in the future, so in order to stay tuned for announcements on upcoming dates, please check back on eyecancer.com regularly!

 


Patient Stories

"Very well treated by Dr. Finger. He explained everything I needed to know about my issue with detail and attention, putting me at ease and giving me confidence to handle this problem for the rest of my life.”
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