Archive for January 2017

Living With Recurrent or Metastatic Breast Cancer

http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/types/recur_metast/living_metast

Having cancer come back or spread can be very upsetting for you, your family, and other loved ones. In this section, you can read about ways to live with metastatic breast cancer, manage feelings, get support, and talk to family and friends.

Expert Quote

“One of the real values of a support group, especially professionally facilitated support groups, is that it creates a safe place to express emotions and that you’re with others who understand what you’re going through.”

–Mitch Golant, Ph.D.

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Cancer Fabulous Diaries: My Mastectomy

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/cancer-fabulous-diaries-my-mastectomy/

Date: April 24

I’m feeling: Not too shabby

Yesterday morning, after four hours of sleep, I woke up, showered and checked in at the Miseracordia Hospital at 7:15 am. I was feeling great. When the nurses told me that they were ready to bring me to the operating room I got a little teary-eyed, but soon enough I was cracking jokes with the lovely nurse who cracked them back at me all the way down to the operating room. Sabrina followed behind, snapping picture after picture like the paparazzi, except I wasn’t famous, just her big sister.

In the surgery room, the anaesthetist was gentle. I woke up, what felt like two minutes later, in a groggy faze with my whole family standing before me. It was already 9 pm! I experienced a few dizzy spells that were quickly fixed by the drugs my nurse gave me. Thankfully, mom stayed overnight to make sure I was ok and to help me go to the bathroom.

I woke up feeling fantastic and was discharged at 10 am. Taking a shower that night was interesting. I undressed and looked at my naked body. In the mirror, a robot stared back at me. Drains and tubes stuck out of my body, and an array of gauze, bandages and dressings lay on the counter before me. The left side of my chest, where my breast was taken, was sunken and bruised, in its place a thunderbolt scar zigzagging across my chest. I had Googled enough pictures of mastectomies to not be weirded out by my own body. Showering took twice as long as normal.

I have to empty the JP drains and I can’t wait to get them out. I don’t find them that disgusting, although I am lugging around miniature cannon balls of my own blood as it is suctioned from tubes extending from my body. It’s more of an inconvenience than anything.

The pain is t…

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Cancer Fabulous Diaries: My Mastectomy

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/cancer-fabulous-diaries-my-mastectomy/

Date: April 24

I’m feeling: Not too shabby

Yesterday morning, after four hours of sleep, I woke up, showered and checked in at the Miseracordia Hospital at 7:15 am. I was feeling great. When the nurses told me that they were ready to bring me to the operating room I got a little teary-eyed, but soon enough I was cracking jokes with the lovely nurse who cracked them back at me all the way down to the operating room. Sabrina followed behind, snapping picture after picture like the paparazzi, except I wasn’t famous, just her big sister.

In the surgery room, the anaesthetist was gentle. I woke up, what felt like two minutes later, in a groggy faze with my whole family standing before me. It was already 9 pm! I experienced a few dizzy spells that were quickly fixed by the drugs my nurse gave me. Thankfully, mom stayed overnight to make sure I was ok and to help me go to the bathroom.

I woke up feeling fantastic and was discharged at 10 am. Taking a shower that night was interesting. I undressed and looked at my naked body. In the mirror, a robot stared back at me. Drains and tubes stuck out of my body, and an array of gauze, bandages and dressings lay on the counter before me. The left side of my chest, where my breast was taken, was sunken and bruised, in its place a thunderbolt scar zigzagging across my chest. I had Googled enough pictures of mastectomies to not be weirded out by my own body. Showering took twice as long as normal.

I have to empty the JP drains and I can’t wait to get them out. I don’t find them that disgusting, although I am lugging around miniature cannon balls of my own blood as it is suctioned from tubes extending from my body. It’s more of an inconvenience than anything.

The pain is tolerable. There’s just a slight tightness in my chest and my armpit (where the lymph nodes were taken) looks a bit strange. However, in time I should be good as new. Now I pray for good news when th… Read More

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Does Eating Grilled Meat Affect Survival?

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/does-eating-grilled-meat-affect-survival

A small study seems to suggest that eating a lot of grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat may decrease survival after breast cancer. Still, there are questions about the study.

The research was published in the Jan. 5, 2017 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Read “Grilled, Barbecued, and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer.”

When meat is cooked at high temperatures until well-done, a group of chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) forms. The longer and hotter the cooking, the more HCAs form, especially in the blackened parts of the meat. The National Cancer Institute has identified 17 HCAs that may increase the risk of cancer. Another group of chemicals — polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) — form in smoke produced when fat burns or drips on hot grill coals. PAHs have been linked to breast cancer.

In this study, the researchers interviewed 1,508 women who lived in Long Island, NY, who had been diagnosed with DCIS or early-stage breast cancer between Aug. 1, 1996 and July 31, 1997. About 73% of the women were 50 or older when they were diagnosed. The women were interviewed within 3 months of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers asked the women about the types of food they ate, including:

  • grilled/barbecued beef, lamb, and pork
  • smoked beef, lamb, and pork, such as bacon or ham
  • grilled/barbecued poultry and fish
  • smoked poultry and fish, such as smoked turkey or lox

The women were asked about how much of these foods they ate in each decade of their lives. The researchers also asked the women to tell them when during the year — spring, summer, winter, or fall — they ate the most grilled, smoked, or barbecued meat.

Five years later, the researchers asked the women similar questi…

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Older Women Report Better Cosmetic Results With Lumpectomy and Brachytherapy

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/older-women-happier-w-lx-and-brachytherapy

A woman who’s been diagnosed with early-stage breast has a number of treatment options, including:

  • lumpectomy followed by whole-breast radiation
  • lumpectomy followed by brachytherapy
  • lumpectomy alone (or followed by hormonal therapy, if the cancer is hormone-receptor-positive)
  • mastectomy with no radiation
  • mastectomy followed by radiation

Brachytherapy is a newer form of radiation therapy and an alternative to whole-breast external beam radiation therapy. Brachytherapy delivers a higher dose of radiation to a smaller area of the breast over a shorter period of time compared to traditional external beam radiation therapy. Brachytherapy is also called accelerated partial breast irradiation.

While several studies have looked at how younger women rate the cosmetic results of their treatment choices, no studies have asked older women about this topic.

A study suggests that women 67 and older diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are more satisfied cosmetically with lumpectomy and brachytherapy compared to other treatment options.

The research, “Patient-reported cosmetic outcomes in older breast cancer survivors: A population-based survey study,” was presented at the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Dec. 9, 2016.

“There’s very little in the literature regarding older patient-reported outcomes — either they were not included in previous studies or were not asked about their cosmetic satisfaction,” said Cameron Swanick, M.D., of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who presented the research. “With our study, we wanted to survey women to better understand their long-term cosmetic satisfaction and compare satisfaction across local therapy strategies.”

Traditional external beam radiation therapy aims cancer-destroying energy at the whole breast or to the area of the breast where the cancer was. The source of the radiation is outside …

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Exercise Helps Ease Aromatase Inhibitor Side Effects

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/exercise-helps-ease-ai-side-effects

Much research has shown that exercise, a healthy diet, and counseling can help women feel better physically and emotionally, both during and after breast cancer treatment.

A study has found that exercise eases some of the side effects that may be caused by aromatase inhibitors, particularly weight gain, which improves body composition.

The research was published online on Dec. 27, 2017 by the journal Obesity. Read the abstract of “The effect of exercise on body composition and bone mineral density in breast cancer survivors taking aromatase inhibitors.”

After surgery, women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer usually take hormonal therapy medicine to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence). Hormonal therapy medicines work in two ways:

  • by lowering the amount of estrogen in the body
  • by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells

There are several types of hormonal therapy medicines. Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), is one of the most well-known. Tamoxifen can be used to treat both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. In the early 2000s, the aromatase inhibitors:

  • Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole)
  • Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane)
  • Femara (chemical name: letrozole)

were shown to be more effective at reducing recurrence risk in postmenopausal women and are now used more often than tamoxifen to treat women who’ve gone through menopause. Aromatase inhibitors usually aren’t used to reduce recurrence risk in premenopausal women.

Hormonal therapy usually is prescribed for 5 to 10 years after surgery.

Still, many women — from about 25% to 40% — who are prescribed hormonal therapy to reduce recurrence risk after surgery either don’t start taking the …

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Cancer is Crap: A Cancer Primer

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/a-cancer-primer/

September 22 2009, 11:42am

A friend of mine recently told me that when I talk about cancer, she gets a little lost in all the medical terminology and references to different kinds of treatments.  It’s a slippery slope, and I can see now that I have slid it. To make amends for my spouting of esoteric mumbo jumbo, herewith, a Cancer Primer:

 

Cancer Strong contender for Most Terrifying Word in the English language; also known as the C-Word, the Darth Vadar of disease, and “the little word with the big stink.”  Meaning: A disease that involves abnormal or uncontrolled cell division.  Basically your good cells get overtaken and/or crowded out by bad cells.  This doesn’t happen because you did something wrong, no matter what anyone including that nasty little voice in your head tries to tell you.

Metastatic Breast Cancer (Also, “mets” in cancer-lingo.) The scary, hairy, foul-breathed boogeyman of breast cancer. It means your breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body. But it is still called “breast cancer” no matter where it goes (bones, organs, lymph nodes…) Imagine you are Turkish, and you visit Newfoundland for some whale watching or, God forbid, turbot-fishing. You are still Turkish.  You are not considered Canadian just because you came to Canada for the fish.  OK, so perhaps this analogy is a bit obscure.  What I’m saying is, it’s not that your breasts have travelled to your liver, but that the invading cells are the offspring of the original trouble-makers. When this happens, they just add the M-Word to the C-Word and voila! Your C-Word gets cranked up a few stages (see “Staging” below.)

Biopsy This is when they physically extract suspicious cells from your body and send them to a lab for questioning under a microscope. They have lots of different kinds of biopsies, some of which are less unpleasant than others, but…

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

Cancer is Crap: A Cancer Primer

https://rethinkbreastcancer.com/a-cancer-primer/

September 22 2009, 11:42am

A friend of mine recently told me that when I talk about cancer, she gets a little lost in all the medical terminology and references to different kinds of treatments.  It’s a slippery slope, and I can see now that I have slid it. To make amends for my spouting of esoteric mumbo jumbo, herewith, a Cancer Primer:

 

Cancer Strong contender for Most Terrifying Word in the English language; also known as the C-Word, the Darth Vadar of disease, and “the little word with the big stink.”  Meaning: A disease that involves abnormal or uncontrolled cell division.  Basically your good cells get overtaken and/or crowded out by bad cells.  This doesn’t happen because you did something wrong, no matter what anyone including that nasty little voice in your head tries to tell you.

Metastatic Breast Cancer (Also, “mets” in cancer-lingo.) The scary, hairy, foul-breathed boogeyman of breast cancer. It means your breast cancer has spread to other parts of your body. But it is still called “breast cancer” no matter where it goes (bones, organs, lymph nodes…) Imagine you are Turkish, and you visit Newfoundland for some whale watching or, God forbid, turbot-fishing. You are still Turkish.  You are not considered Canadian just because you came to Canada for the fish.  OK, so perhaps this analogy is a bit obscure.  What I’m saying is, it’s not that your breasts have travelled to your liver, but that the invading cells are the offspring of the original trouble-makers. When this happens, they just add the M-Word to the C-Word and voila! Your C-Word gets cranked up a few stages (see “Staging” below.)

Biopsy This is when they physically extract suspicious cells from your body and send them to a lab for questioning under a microscope. They have lots of different kinds of biopsies, some of which are less unpleasant than others, but eventually you’ll get an answer. Oh yes, you’ll tal… Read More

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More

The start of 2017

http://www.butdoctorihatepink.com/2017/01/did-you-have-nice-christmas-do-you-even.html

Did you have a nice Christmas?

Do you even remember Christmas?

Seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?  I was going to blog for the holidays, but my son came home from college without his laptop, so I gave him mine. He spent 3 weeks here, which plugged my heart right back in its appropriate socket. It meant I didn’t see my laptop for any of those weeks, but it was an excellent trade-off.  For you… Read More

Full credit to the source URL for this article; please feel free to follow the link through to the full article.

Read More