Author Archives: Jean

Take a Look

During my weekly research for blog content I often come across sites that are worth taking a look at because of the services or information they are offering. What follows are three such sites:

The HERS Breast Cancer Foundation – established in 1998 with a mission of empowering women affected by breast cancer, supporting their well-being with post-surgical products and educational services, regardless of financial status.
Take a Look…
The Breast Cancer Society – directly assists families of those diagnosed with breast cancer to help them survive the ordeal. The Breast Cancer Society provides direct financial grants to individuals. Additionally, the organization operates …


Traveling with your Medications

Whether you are in active treatment, or on medications following active treatment, or need medications for health problems unrelated to breast cancer, traveling can be a challenge if you need to go through security checkpoints.
Should you choose to put your prescription medications in the luggage that you check in at the airport or cruise terminal, you risk of being separated from needed medications due to lost luggage.
Delayed delivery of your luggage can sometimes happen on cruise ships due to the sheer volume of luggage to be delivered to ship’s cabins.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests these …


Breast Cancer Advances and Women Over 65

A study out of MD Anderson, published in the Nov. 7, 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, finds that patients 65 and older are not seeing the same decline in death rates from breast cancer as younger patients.
The study found significant shifts in breast cancer mortality over time. In 1980-84, women aged 75 and older had the lowest 10-year risk of breast cancer death (24 percent) while the risk ranged from 29 percent to 31 percent for those younger than 75. However, by 1995-97, the 10-year risk of breast cancer death was 17.3 percent for women 75 and …


The Road Less Traveled

Many of us travel a similar road once diagnosed with breast cancer…surgery, chemo, radiation and all that goes with it. Eventually we reach the end of active treatment.  For some of us the road has a different course… more aggressive  treatment, harder choices to make and active treatment that continues indefinitely.
For women diagnosed with rare and very aggressive cancers, women who test positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation, women diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant and women whose first diagnosis is metastatic breast cancer, the  road is long and sometimes unending.
Women diagnosed with Paget’s Disease of the Nipple, …


Personal Quality of Life Issues as a Breast Cancer Survivor

If you have a supportive family, close friends and/or a long-term marriage or relationship with a loving partner, this can ease the transition from patient to survivor and all the adjustments that go with it.
For those of us who get breast cancer later in life, survivor adjustments to things that impact on our personal quality of life may include lingering side effects from treatment, which fade with time, side effects from hormone therapy (if we are er-positive) such as hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, vaginal dryness and bone pain.
There is relief for hot flashes, mood swings, bone pain and …


Breast Cancer, Medical Bills and Health Insurance

Life after breast cancer may hold concerns and issues that impact on your quality of life. Two main issues are…medical bills and health insurance.
Life for some survivors includes finding ways to pay off medical expenses related to treatment, expenses not entirely covered by their insurance plans Unfortunately they will be doing so for some time to come. Most private insurance plans have co-pays that can be substantial when you have surgery, chemo and/or radiation.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with the medical bills impacting on your life following treatment from Laura Riley, ESQ, in her post of 7/29/2011 on the …


The #1 Fear in Survival…Recurrence

You’ve had your last chemo or radiation treatment and the medical oncologist and /or the radiation oncologist  says, “See you in three months.” Even the surgeon doesn’t want to see you for three months. At first it is exhilarating…three whole months with no treatments, no one examining you, testing you, questioning you.
Then it hits you that you are on your own with no one looking after you, checking to see that you are okay, making sure that you are healing well, and reassuring you that your cancer is gone. For many of us that is when a new fear set …


After Active Treatment…Then What?

After completing active treatment your treatment journey may not be over.
Depending on the results of the path report there may still be other treatments or medication regimens that your oncologist recommends to prevent a recurrence.
If your cancer was estrogen-fed (ER positive) your oncologist will want you to take hormone therapy(orally) daily for five years. It is important that you understand why you are taking this medication; how it is intended to work in your body; what you can anticipate as side effects and what actions and/or medications you can take to reduce the discomfort of any sided effects you may …


Navigating Chemotherapy

While the planning tips for getting through radiation are also appropriate for getting through chemotherapy, there are more things to prepare for when getting ready to begin chemotherapy.
From a treatment perspective, your biggest concern will be managing the symptoms you experience following each treatment. From a personal care perspective, you will want to be prepared for the possible loss of hair, not only on your head but your eye lashes and eyebrows. You will also want to prepare your family and friends, husband and children for the potential changes in your personal appearance, energy level,  attitude, moods, ability to participate …


Navigating Radiation Treatment

Once you know your radiation treatment schedule, it is time to develop a plan that will get you through the duration of your 6+ weeks of Monday through Friday treatments of External Beam Radiation.
Practical Considerations:

Get your home and work responsibilities streamlined. Don’t plan any major projects for the 6+ weeks in treatment.

Speak with those family members, friends and neighbors with whom you are comfortable sharing about your cancer and your upcoming radiation treatment. Accept offers of help with things like grocery shopping, laundry, errands, meal prep and child care, if you have young children. Most people want to help and …