Cancer is the uncontrolled clonal multiplication of damaged, malfunctioning cells.

The name for the type of cancer a person has is determined by where the cancer originated. For example, if a person first has cancer in a breast, and this cancer then spreads to the liver, it is considered breast cancer and not liver cancer. Whereas if the cancer had started in the liver, it would be categorized as liver cancer.

Frequently cancer does indeed spread, as cancer cells travel through the blood and lymph systems and establish themselves elsewhere in the body. When cancer spreads beyond where it first developed, it is said to have metastasized. So for instance, colon cancer that spreads to the bones, or anywhere else in the body outside the colon, is metastatic colon cancer.

There are over 200 types of cancer. Broadly speaking, they fall into five categories. (Remember, the categorization is based on where the cancer started, not where it is currently. Each of these types of cancers can be found in other areas of the body.)

  • Carcinoma: Cancer of the skin or of internal tissues that line or cover bodily organs.
  • Central nervous system cancer: Cancer of the brain or spinal cord.
  • Leukemia: Cancer of the bone marrow or other blood-forming tissue.
  • Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancer of the cells of the immune system.
  • Sarcoma: Cancer of the bones, blood vessels, cartilage, fat, muscles, or other supportive tissue.

In the United States, the most common cancer is skin cancer, followed by lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer, all of which are in the carcinoma category. In fact, about 80% of cancer cases are carcinoma.

In order to diagnose cancer, as well as to further differentiate which type of cancer it is, where it originated, whether it has metastasized, the size and number of cancerous tumors, the tumor grade (the degree to which the cancerous cells have deviated from the normal functioning of healthy cells), what treatment is appropriate, etc., medical science has many tools and methods available.

Your physician may use any or all of the following to learn more about your condition:

  • Your medical history.
  • Your symptoms.
  • Complete blood counts and other blood studies.
  • Your genetic makeup.
  • Imaging studies, including X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, radionuclide scans, ultrasound, and endoscopies.
  • Biopsies (removal and examination of tissue samples).

Some biopsies, such as for the brain, may require surgery to obtain the necessary tissue. It can occasionally happen in such cases that the biopsy process doubles as treatment, if the surgeon is able to remove all the cancerous material when performing the biopsy.

The tissue sample obtained for the biopsy is not simply examined to determine whether or not cancer is present in it. If cancer is discovered, sophisticated molecular tests are then done on the cancer cells themselves, tests that can provide much valuable information about what we’re facing.

Cancer may be treated in many ways, either singly or in combination. The most common cancer treatments are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

The appropriate treatment may also be palliative, meaning it is not possible to attempt a cure through any of the above means, but there are still things that can be done to reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and preserve comfort and dignity.

There are many excellent sources of information available if you wish to learn more about cancer. For example, among the most valuable cancer websites are:

Ask us and we’ll be happy to suggest additional resources.

In effect you yourself provide part of the treatment for your cancer through the attitudes you adopt, how and what you communicate, and how you behave. A patient who is highly stressed, pessimistic, depressed or lacking a good support structure is more likely to forget a doctor’s recommendation, cut corners on treatment, refrain from communicating something medically important to their doctor, experience fatigue and a loss of will to continue the fight, etc. Whereas if you are able to maintain a positive attitude and put yourself in an emotionally supportive environment with the help of family, friends, and maybe a support group, you give yourself your best chance for treatment success.

When a person is diagnosed with cancer the patient as well as their family and friends are affected. A cancer
diagnosis can be among the hardest things to deal with in life for all those involved. Everyone copes with difficult life challenges differently. A person’s age, life experiences, and established patterns of how they usually deal with tough situations can determine how they react to something as potentially stressful as a cancer diagnosis.

Many cancer patients and their families may experience the following feelings:

  • Anger.
  • Anxiety.
  • Denial.
  • Guilt.
  • Loss of control.
  • Sadness.

Having cancer affects many aspects of one’s life. Some cancer patients find themselves facing:

  • Lifestyle changes.
  • Body image issues.
  • Changes in their physical appearance.
  • Changes in physical function.
  • Changes in relationships.

Fear of disability or recurrence or death.
Being honest with those around you is usually best. Initially you may not wish to speak about your cancer. Some individuals worry how others will react. Please remember that those close to you will know something is wrong even if you do not say anything. Patients have usually found it beneficial to:

Tell your loved ones, including the children, that you have cancer.

  • Give them the name of your specific type of cancer.
  • Tell them that they cannot “catch” cancer.
  • Keep life as normal as possible.
  • Share and listen to each other’s needs.

Let them know that their roles and responsibilities in the family may change.
If you feel you need help dealing with the psychological, emotional, and social aspects of your cancer, please
speak to us about your concerns. Also there are resources listed in the back of this guide that may help you.

Support Groups and Education

Beaumont Royal Oak Cancer Resource Center

3577 West 13 Mile Road
Royal Oak, MI 48072

Support group meetings and a wide range of information related to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation.

Breast Cancer Support Group

Alice Gustafson Center at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital
44405 Woodward Avenue
Pontiac, MI 48341

Meets the third Thursday of each month, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Registration is preferred, drop-ins are welcome.

Breast Cancer Survivor Group

6770 Dixie Highway, Suite 106
Clarkston, MI 48346

Meets the second Tuesday of each month except July and August, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit
3517 Rochester Road
Royal Oak, MI 48073

A social and emotional support program for men, women, teens and children living with cancer, their families and friends in a nonresidential, home-like setting. Hosts multiple support groups, including Parenting with Cancer for parents who have a child diagnosed with cancer, and Rack Pack for adults in their 20s and 30s with breast cancer.

Kids Kicking Cancer

Alice Gustafson Center at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital
44405 Woodward Avenue
Pontiac, MI 48341
248-858-3149 or 313-557-0021, ext. 19

Provides instruction in the martial arts for children with cancer and their brothers and sisters. Meets every Tuesday, 4:30 PM-5:30 PM for children 4 to 6, 5:30 PM-6:30 PM for children over 6.

Complementary Medicine

We generally prefer the term “complementary medicine” to “alternative medicine” in that the latter implies you are using it in addition to—rather than instead of—the best science-based medical treatment. If you are considering any unconventional treatment, we urge you to discuss it with your doctor to make sure it is not something that would conflict with your current treatment, or harm you in any other way.


Acupuncture is a technique in which very thin needles are inserted through the skin to treat a variety of conditions. Clinical studies have found it may help treat nausea caused by chemotherapy. More information about acupuncture can be found at Locally it is available from:

Dr. Brenda Donaldson
Royal Oak: 248-551-0456
Troy: 248-964-9111

Practice is targeted towards the treatment of cancer patients, patients with musculoskeletal disorders and patients in chronic pain.

Integrative Medicine at Beaumont
44250 Dequindre Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48314

Offers community acupuncture, which is acupuncture therapy performed within an open group of people. Tuesday evenings 7:00 PM-9:00 PM.

Acupuncture Health Care Associates
7001 Orchard Lake Rd Ste 120


Holistic Cancer Counseling

Holistic cancer counseling is intended to enhance the function of your immune system by holistically addressing all areas of your life, improving the beneficial effects of treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy. Follow up appointments may include: visualization and imagery training, nutritional guidance, and development of tools to assist you in healing, acupuncture to support your system during treatment, hypnosis or Yuen therapy. Locally it is available from:

Henry Ford Medical Center—Novi
40000 W. 8 Mile Road
Northville, MI 48167 248-380-6201


Naturopathic Physicians

Naturopathic doctors are the general practitioners of complementary medicine. They are trained in conventional pathology and diagnosis, as well as a number of therapies that support the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Such therapies include nutrition, homeopathy, herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbs, diet), lifestyle counseling, and mind-body medicine. Locally it is available from:

Dr. Jen Greene
Integrative Medicine
Rose Cancer Center
3577 W. 13 Mile Road, Suite 304
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Acupuncture Health Care Associates
7001 Orchard Lake Road, Suite 120


Oncology Massage

Oncology massage refers to massage tailored to the needs of individuals with cancer. This specialized practice requires therapists to be fully educated in and pay close attention to the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of clients in all stages of cancer: diagnosis, treatment, recovery, survivor, or terminal. Training in oncology massage covers appropriate bodywork modalities for cancer clients, includes precautions for radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, and covers physiology and pathology. Locally it is available from:

Center for Health Improvement
39750 Grand River Avenue
Novi, MI 48375

Gail Evo
248-551-9990 or 248-964-9200


Reiki Therapy

Reiki is a therapeutic practice done through light touch and is an easy addition to most medical treatments to help patients handle the stress of cancer treatment. Locally it is available from:

Center for Health Improvement
39750 Grand River Avenue
Novi, MI 48375

Gail Evo
248-551-9990 or 248-964-9200


T’ai Chi

T’ai chi is a Chinese exercise system that uses slow, smooth body movements to achieve a state of relaxation of both body and mind. Locally it is available from:

Center for Health Improvement
39750 Grand River Avenue Novi, MI 48375



Yoga can help relieve some symptoms of cancer and can lead to increased relaxation and physical fitness. In studies of women with breast cancer, yoga has been shown to reduce fatigue and improve quality of sleep, physical vitality, and overall quality of life. It is available locally from:

Center for Health Improvement
39750 Grand River Avenue
Novi, MI 48375

Gail Evo
248-551-9990 or 248-964-9200

Gilda’s Club at Botsford
Botsford Cancer Center
27900 Grand River Avenue
Farmington Hills, MI 48336

Tuesday 4:30 PM-5:30 PM yoga workshop. No previous yoga experience is required, and the instructor can help modify moves for varying physical capacities. All men and women impacted by cancer are welcome. There is no charge.

Rose Cancer Center
3577 W. 13 Mile Road
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Yoga is offered for a drop-in rate of $10 per class, every Monday, 12:00 PM-1:00 PM, and Thursday 11:00 AM-12:00 PM.

Exercise and Nutrition

Exercise Classes

Beaumont Cancer Survivorship and Wellness Program

Offers supervised exercise programs, individual wellness, and physical therapy.

Beaumont Sterling Heights Medical Center
Rehabilitation & Dialysis Center
44300 Dequindre Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48314

Botsford Center for Health Improvement

Offers numerous group and individual exercise and wellness programs.

39705 Grand River Avenue
Novi, MI 48375

Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapy Education Program (ExCITE)

This is a two week program for those with a history of cancer (i.e., before, during, or after treatment) who receive approval from their physician. The object is to enable maintenance of a structured and individualized exercise program with goals of: maintaining or improving functional capacity; mitigating adverse short-term side effects of cancer treatments (e.g., fatigue, nausea); learning about the benefits of exercise during and after cancer care and the proper exercises to perform; and reducing the risk of other long-term health problems associated with cancer and its treatments, such as cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and bone/muscle loss.

Henry Ford Health System


Beaumont Royal Oak Cancer Resource Center

Beaumont Troy Cancer Resource Center

Botsford Cancer Center

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital Food & Nutritional Services

Wigs, Hats, Turbans, and Mastectomy Products

Oakland County

Alternative Hair Care Center
2245 Ortonville Road
Ortonville, MI 48462


Antonino Salon & Spa
191 Townsend Street
Birmingham, MI 48009


Changez Salon
3210 Crooks Road
Royal Oak, MI 48073


Denny’s Hair Studio
6780 Highland Road
Waterford, MI 48327


Hair Team Salon
32732 Grand River Avenue
Farmington, MI 48336

Les Cheveux
33255 Woodward Avenue
Birmingham, MI 48009


Prideaux’s Salon
1103 North Campbell Road
Royal Oak, MI 48067


Shear Pointe Medical Hair Restoration Center
1971 East 14 Mile Road
Birmingham, MI 48009

Susan’s Special Needs
24052 Woodward Avenue
Pleasant Ridge, MI 48069


Todd’s Room
259 Pierce Street
Birmingham, MI 48009


The Ultimate Image
7091 Orchard Lake Road, Suite 250
West Bloomfield, MI 48322


Wayne County

Féké Wigs and Breast Prostheses
213 West Main Street, Suite 8-9
Brighton, MI 48116


The Front Room
32788 5 Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48154


Hana Wig
32596 Warren Road
Westland, MI 48185


Hair By Heck, Inc.
15791 Penn Drive
Livonia, MI 48154


Jean’s Boutique and Wigs
20733 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236


Joyce’s Salon & Day Spa
17912 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe, MI 48230


Main Street Hair Company
772 South Main Street
Plymouth, MI 48170


Margo’s of Northville
141 East Cody Street
Northville, MI 48167


Soho Twelve Oaks
27500 Novi Road
Novi, MI 48377


Wendy’s Wigs
29465 5 Mile Road
Livonia, MI 48154


Macomb County

Faces Etc
23750 Gratiot Avenue
Eastpointe, MI 48021


House of Beauty
27911 Harper Avenue
St. Clair Shores, MI 48081


Soho Lakeside
14000 Lakeside Circle
Sterling Heights, MI 48313


A Woman’s Image
43205 Garfield Road
Clinton Township, MI 48038

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