National Cancer Survivors Day

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Breast Cancer Information

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Rebuilding After Breast Cancer

by James H. Boehmler IV, MD

Breast cancer will affect nearly one out of every six women during their lifetime. Although some women can undergo breast-conserving therapy, many women may require or request a mastectomy – surgery that removes all the breast tissue and the nipple. Most women who have had a mastectomy can have breast reconstruction. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 mandates that insurance companies provide coverage for all breast reconstruction surgeries, including symmetry procedures for the other “non-cancer” breast.

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Your Guide to Making Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions

When you are first diagnosed, you may feel as if you will do anything to get rid of the cancer – the sooner the better. Although prompt treatment is important, breast cancer usually is not a medical emergency. It is critical to take time to understand the type of breast cancer you have. Then you can select the treatments that are most likely to benefit you.

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Dealing with a Diagnosis of Advanced Breast Cancer

A diagnosis of advanced breast cancer can evoke many difficult emotions. You may feel angry, shocked, fearful, guilty, paralyzed, depressed, anxious, or all of the above, and more. These are normal reactions. It’s important to allow yourself to experience all of your feelings so you can move forward and take an active role in your treatment. Here are just some of the difficult feelings many women experience when faced with an advanced breast cancer diagnosis, and some important thoughts to keep in mind to help you deal with some of these feelings.

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Do I Still Need Regular Breast Exams

by Vladimir Lange, MD

Even after the most complete treatment for breast cancer, there’s always a chance that cancer will recur. Most recurrences happen two or three years after surgery. The longer you go without a recurrence, the greater are your chances of remaining free of the disease. But you can never say that the cancer has been completely cured.

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Coming to Terms with the Reality of Metastatic Breast Cancer

by Michele Cepeda, RN

Individuals diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer – breast cancer that has spread to different parts of the body, most commonly, bones, the lungs, or the liver – often are faced with lifelong treatments. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer focuses on controlling – not curing – the disease while providing a good quality of life.

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The Latest in Breast Cancer Research

  • Women with Small Node-Negative HER2+ Breast Tumors Appear to Benefit from Adjuvant Trastuzumab
  • Use of Deep-Inspiration Breath Hold Technique Reduces Heart and Lung Exposure to Radiation
  • Three Forms of Partial Breast Irradiation Produce Similar Outcomes
  • Younger Women with DCIS Are More Likely to Have Breast Cancer Return
  • Vitamin D Deficiency Prevalent with Breast Cancer Treatment
  • Ultrasound May Reduce Need for Second Surgeries for Some Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer
  • New Methods of Tumor Analysis May Predict Effectiveness of Chemotherapy

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Coping with the Long-Term Side Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

Treatment for breast cancer may trigger a variety of side effects that typically subside as treatment ends. Unfortunately, some symptoms linger for some individuals, while other effects may begin later. Medical oncologist and epidemiologist Kathy J. Helzlsouer, MD, MHS, says that the best way to cope with any side effect is to be alert and to remember that there are explanations and often treatments for the symptoms you may face.

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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.

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