Breast Cancer and Lymphedema
by Julie Berrett-Abebe, MSW, LICSW, Corinne Holbrook, MSW,LICSW, Jean OToole, PT, MPH, CLT-LANA, and Tara A Russell, MPH
For breast cancer survivors, a particularly concerning possible side effect is lymphedema. Lymphedema associated with breast cancer commonly presents as a swelling or tightness in the arm, breast, or along the chest. This physical change can have a significant effect on a cancer survivor’s quality of life. Because many women are fearful that they may develop lymphedema, they may alter or avoid activities. In actuality, many breast cancer survivors do not develop lymphedema.
Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer
by Diana Donovan
It is no secret that the battle against breast cancer is ongoing. What is less well known, however, is that thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer are not only surviving for many years following diagnosis, but many are living longer and better lives during treatment. Thanks to more treatment options available today than ever before, doctors and nurses now approach metastatic breast cancer as a chronic condition that can be managed with ongoing therapy.
The Role of Targeted Therapy in Breast Cancer Treatment
by Tejal A. Patel, MD, and Edith A. Perez, MD
Targeted therapies form the mainstay of current treatment for women with breast cancer. Each form of targeted therapy functions by blocking a specific protein or pathway and interfering with the ability of the cancer cell to grow, divide, and metastasize. The four general types of targeted treatments currently used in breast cancer are directed against estrogen, HER2, angiogenesis, and apoptosis.
Microsurgery Offers New Hope for Breast Cancer Survivors with Lymphedema
Women with breast cancer who have lymphedema in their upper arm experienced reduced fluid in the swollen arm by up to 39 percent after undergoing a super-microsurgical technique known as lymphaticovenular bypass, report researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
In 2001, Christine Druther, a HER2 breast cancer survivor, had an explicit vision for a new kind of support group designed specifically for people with HER2 breast cancer. While there are numerous support groups for the many people living with breast cancer, Christine and her husband, Joe, saw a need for a place where women could come to share information, hope, and encouragement about their particular type of cancer. Together, they developed HER2Support.org.
Finding and Fitting a Breast Form
by Constance M. Niclas, MHA, CMF, CF-m
Women with breast cancer face several cosmetic changes that may affect their body image and quality of life, including the loss of one or both breasts. In order to feel better about themselves and their bodies, some women may choose to be fitted with a breast prosthesis. Breast prostheses are breast forms that are put inside a bra to make your breasts look natural and balanced.
Questions & Answers about Breast Cancer TreatmentThere are many ways to treat breast cancer. Your doctor will suggest a special treatment plan for you. Your plan may include one or more of the following treatments:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Monoclonal antibody therapy
What You Need to Know if You Choose Breast Reconstruction
by Karen M. Horton, MD, MSC, FRCSC
Breast reconstruction involves recreating a breast form following cancer. Women facing breast cancer should be reassured that reconstruction of the breast can be a positive experience. Restoration of a breast form and creating symmetry helps to restore a woman’s body image, self-esteem, and sense of femininity and wholeness.