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Who wouldn’t want a concierge, no matter what is going on in their life? So when faced with a serious diagnosis such as cancer, a concierge may be a necessity not a luxury. “The Cancer Concierge,” as stated in the recent issue of CURE magazine, is a free e-book to help patients organize their medical information.

Organizing all the information surrounding the many aspects of a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, complex and time-consuming for both the patient and the caregivers. Realizing that fact, Vital Options International, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit cancer communication, education and advocacy organization, is providing the free ebook, “The Cancer Concierge.”

The ebook was created to honor the founder of Vital Options, Selma Schimmel, who died three years ago. The organizational hints contained in the book are based on many she used herself. Drawing on her experiences as a cancer patient, Schimmel was an advocate for patients, caregivers and the healthcare providers. She launched Vital Options, a cancer communications organization, in 1983, with the mission of generating a global cancer conversation.

“The Cancer Concierge” tag line says that, “We handle the organizing so you can focus on the healing,” and considers organizing as a supportive measure. The e-book is free and completely downloadable at Formats are available in a mobile web app, HTML, ePub and a PDF.

The ebook contains nine simple chapters plus a resource list. Each chapter is about organizing the topic in that section. Chapter one is titled Managing the Impact of the News. The second chapter, What Do I Do First: Important Organizing Tips, has simple, practical suggestions to get your information and resources organized. The ebook suggests starting with hard copies, binders, baskets, etc. saying items can be moved to a digital format easily but initially most find it is easier to communicate with doctors and family with hard copies in front of them.

“Doing this now will go a long way to reduce your stress and put you in control,” claims the e-book.

Chapter three is Set Up your Support Team and suggests taking the time now to list all current daily activities, commitments and responsibilities realizing that many may need to be delegated.

Chapter four, ‘Preparing for Appointments: What’s Best for Me?” has suggested tabs for your “medical binder,” questions to ask your oncologist, what to find out when first diagnosed and what to ask about your cancer treatment.

Chapter five has tips for organizing finances related to a cancer diagnosis, “Managing Insurance and Costs.” Six is “Caregiving and seven is Keeping Your Household Running Successfully.” The tips in these two chapters are worth following for all of us; managing a household on a daily basis is hard enough and when ill these tasks can be daunting.

Chapter eight is Organizing for Surgery. This chapter contains the organizational tips for pre-surgery, before surgery, during surgery and after surgery. It also tells how to obtain your surgery records. The e-book wisely states that organizing before surgery and having a system in place during recovery will lower your anxiety and increase your peace of mind. It will also give your caregivers the clear instructions needed for them to provide support.

The final chapter contains “Important Links that Can Make a Difference.” Topics range from office supplies, organization apps, meditation, grocery lists, to yoga and pet support. The list is constantly being added to.

The Cancer Concierge was highlighted in the Summer 2017 issue of CURE, Cancer Updates, Research & Education. This quarterly magazine is for patients, survivors and their caregivers and is free. CURE magazine, launched in 2002, has become the largest consumer magazine in the United States focused entirely on cancer. CURE has expanded to reflect the entire cancer continuum, including supportive care issues and long-term and late effects. Subscriptions may be obtained at, or by calling 800-210-2873 or request by email to

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute encourages you to talk with your healthcare provider about your specific medical conditions and treatments. The information contained in this article is meant to be helpful and educational but is not a substitute for medical advice. The above information is from and The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute can provide additional information on the above topic. Feel free to visit the Cancer Institute website at, or contact the organization by calling (800) 424-6724.