Archive for May 2018

Day-to-Day Matters

http://www.breastcancer.org/tips

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After the urgency of getting a diagnosis and figuring out a treatment plan, there can still be many things to manage in your daily life. If you are being or have been treated for breast cancer, certain everyday realities may make themselves known: staying organized, paying for treatment, maintaining a job, making lifestyle changes, and managing symptoms and side effects. The Breastcancer.org Day-to-Day Matters section can help you navigate these issues so you can focus on the rest of your life.

In the following pages, you can learn about:

Paying for Your Care
How to manage treatment costs and find assistance programs.
Breast Cancer and Your Job
Ways to manage the emotional, physical, and legal aspects of balancing your job and your treatment.
Managing Your Medical Records
Suggestions about the detailed information you should collect about your treatment and how to organize it.
Staying on Track With Treatment
Why it’s so important to stick to your treatment plan, take the full course of medications, and continue with regular tests and doctors’ visits to keep yourself healthy into the future….

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Lower Your Risk

http://www.breastcancer.org/risk

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Content Spotlight: Breast Cancer Risk Factors

Eating Unhealthy Food

Diet is thought to be at least partly responsible for about 30% to 40% of all cancers. No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer, but some foods can make your body the healthiest it can be and boost your immune system.

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Smoking

Smoking is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women. Research also has shown that there may be link between very heavy second-hand smoke exposure and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

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Most Women Have Multigene Genetic Testing, but Not Until After Surgery

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/most-women-have-genetic-testing-after-surgery

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have a family history of the disease or other factors that put you at high risk of having a genetic mutation, you may be interested in genetic testing.

About 5% to 10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, caused by genetic mutations passed from parent to child. Three of the most well-known genes that can mutate and raise the risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer are BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2. Women who inherit a mutation, or abnormal change, in any of these genes — from their mothers or their fathers — have a much higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer. Men with these mutations have an increased risk of breast cancer, especially if the BRCA2 gene is affected, and possibly of prostate cancer. Many inherited cases of breast cancer have been associated with mutations in these three genes.

In the past, genetic tests used technology called genotyping, which looked for the most common mutations in only the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. As technology has advanced, next generation sequencing now makes it possible for genetic tests to look for many different mutations in a number of genes. Some labs can look for mutations in up to 80 genes.

A study has found that most women now have multigene testing after a breast cancer diagnosis, but this genetic testing is happening later in the treatment plan than testing for only BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Genetic testing later in the care process means the results aren’t being used to help make surgery decisions.

The research was published online on May 10, 2018 by JAMA Oncology. Read the abstract of “Uptake, Results, and Outcomes of Germline Multiple-Gene Sequencing After Diagnosis of Breast Cancer.”

Using information from the SEER d…

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Writing Program Can Help Ease Body Concerns After Treatment

http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/writing-program-can-help-ease-body-concerns

After breast cancer treatments, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other medicines, many women report that they don’t like their bodies and have low self-esteem, depression, and worse quality of life overall.

This is understandable. Breast cancer treatments can leave scars and discoloration, as well as cause hair loss, lymphedema, menopause, vaginal dryness, and other side effects that alter the way a woman lives her life and perceives herself.

To help address body image issues in women who have been treated for breast cancer, researchers developed a program called My Changed Body, a web-based structured writing exercise designed to promote self-appreciation and self-compassion.

A study suggests that the My Changed Body program can help ease distress related to body image and increase self-compassion among women treated for breast cancer.

The research was published online on April 24, 2018 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read the abstract of “Reducing Body Image-Related Distress in Women With Breast Cancer Using a Structured Online Writing Exercise: Results From the My Changed Body Randomized Controlled Trial.”

This Australian study included 304 women who had been diagnosed and treated for stage I to stage III breast cancer and now had no evidence of disease; 98 of the women (32%) also had been diagnosed with lymphedema related to breast cancer. All the women had had at least one negative experience related to her body after being diagnosed, for example, feeling bad about the way she looked without clothes.

Before the study started, the researchers assessed the women’s negative body image distress as well as their body appreciation. The researchers repeated the assessment 1 week after the study ended, 1 month after the study ended, and finally 3 months after the study ended.

The women were ra…

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Mockanaitis's Story

http://www.breastcancer.org/community/acknowledging/genetic-testing/mockanaitis

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What led you to doing the testing? “I was diagnosed during [the] annual mammogram process with a breast malignancy on March 7 [2018]. (Stage I, ~1cm, Grade 1, ER/PR +, HER2-). When reviewing family history of cancer, it was determined that genetic testing would be prudent. Without typing in all the history; multiple uterine and breast cancers, bladder cancer, colon cancer on mother’s side. My father’s sister died from breast cancer and I think his father had prostate cancer.”

What were your results, and what choices have you made based on the findings? “I am both NBN and Lynch Syndrome (MSH6) positive. My doctors were pretty surprised to see two positive results. Apparently this doesn’t happen very often. I have decided on first go to just have lumpectomy, radiation, and tamoxifen treatment. I am also removing my second ovary. I had already had a hysterectomy and one ovary removed due to severe endometriosis issues six years ago. I have scheduled my first colonoscopy at age 47. Urine tested clean, CA125 tested normal, other blood tests were normal.”

Was payment an issue? “Not yet, but I got a denial letter from insurance and have passed that on to the doctor office who has said they will follow up.”

How have you discussed these decisions with your family? “I shared my results with my 7 siblings and let them know that if they wish, they can test for them as well.”

What suggestions would you have for others? “I’m not sure…this is all very new for me.”

— Mockanaitis, tested positive for NBN and MSH6 genetic mutations

Want to share your
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What Is Breast Cancer?

http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/what_is_bc

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. To better understand breast cancer, it helps to understand how any cancer can develop.

Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the “control room” of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.

A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.

Breast Anatomy

Breas…

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