A National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center


Patient Stories



Episode Six: Prostate Cancer, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Support Services

Episode Six: Prostate Cancer, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Support Services

Download Episode Six to your computer or preferred device (mp3, 16.4 MB)
18 minutes. Originally aired on February 9, 2010.
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In 2002, Dick Birnie was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. Soon after, it was discovered that he also had indolent, or slow-growing, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. His doctors began monitoring his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and over the next two years successfully treated him for prostate cancer. Six years later, Dick's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma became aggressive, requiring active treatment. Now, in 2010, Dick is healthy and enjoying his retirement from Dartmouth College, where he was a geology professor.

In this episode, Dick reflects on his eight years of cancer treatment, and notes that Norris Cotton Cancer Center's support services played an important role in his care. Joining Dick and host Jack Heath is Lisa Harbus, Support Group Coordinator at the Cancer Center. Lisa echoes Dick's sentiment, emphasizing that the Cancer Center's treatment approach is to treat the whole human being, not just the disease. This means that in addition to a patient's physical well being, his or her emotional and spiritual needs are also taken into account.

Lisa explains that the Cancer Center offers massage, Reiki, live harp music, an expressive arts program, in-person support groups, telephone-based support groups, classes, and special events for people living with cancer and their loved ones. Dick and his wife, Pietie, still meet with the monthly support groups for both prostate cancer and lymphoma/leukemia.