Category Archives: Navigating Breast Cancer

Living with stage IV male breast cancer: Michael Selsman’s story

Michael Selsman with wife Kara and sons Adam and Jacob at Dana-Farber’s annual Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week event
When Michael Selsman came home from his morning jog two years ago, he noticed a lump on his chest. It was strange, because he’d never seen it before, but he figured it was probably just an irritation. A couple of weeks passed, and the lump grew larger. So Michael made an appointment with his doctor. The results were surprising — stage IV breast cancer.
“I was shocked. I’d never heard of men getting breast cancer. It took me a while to even drag …

 

Managing the Holidays When You Have Cancer

By Julie Salinger, LICSW
The holiday season is full of cheer, but it can also be stressful, especially for cancer patients and their family caregivers. In addition to the extra time spent on shopping, cooking, and socializing, family interactions may bring complex dynamics, old grievances, and varying expectations to the forefront. The pressure to be “festive” can make even the healthiest person weary.
Here are some tips for patients and their families for an enjoyable holiday season.
Reinvent your rituals.
Rituals are a central part of the holiday season for many families. But, while they can be comforting, they can also create an unrealistic …

 

Dana-Farber team helps teacher find inner strength during breast cancer fight

Before a diagnosis of breast cancer, a double mastectomy, and months of grueling treatment, fifth-grader teacher and mom Colleen Sullivan “never, ever” would have described herself as strong or envisioned a classroom full of 10-year-olds clapping as she removed her wig. But Colleen’s journey fighting cancer at Dana-Farber has given her a new perspective of herself—and on life.
“Life is a gift,” she says. “I now understand the idea of stopping to smell the roses.”
Colleen was diagnosed after her primary care doctor found a lump during an annual physical. Within days, tests confirmed that she had invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). As …

 

Strange Bedfellows Ivy’s Story

As if divorce, breast cancer and chemo wasn’t enough, Hurricane Sandy blew me out of my cozy oceanfront Long Beach apartment and into my ex husband’s bachelor pad.
On the morning of Monday, October 28, 2012, my eight year old son and I had finished pasting three bats on our windows, trying to get into the Halloween mood. A storm brewing off of the East coast was headed for the Tri -State area. On the Friday before the weekend, they’d cancelled my son’s school preparing for the storm to hit land. By Sunday the camera crews from the networks that descended …

 

How to Eat Better and Fight Cancer with Your Fork

By MacKenzie Kimball
Good nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle and, according to Dana-Farber Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, it can also help in the battle against cancer.
“Good nutrition is really important for supporting a healthy immune system, which helps the healing process, and healthy eating can even help to alleviate side effects or symptoms related to cancer and treatment, such as fatigue, constipation, nausea, and mouth sores,” Kennedy says.
 

Dana-Farber Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
So where should the nutrition novice begin? The produce section. “Maintaining a healthy diet that is rich in plant-based …

 

A Message from Peter- THE CANCER IS BACK

Since today is Memorial Day and we celebrate those who have served our country, I have chosen today to share this message from our friend Peter Devereaux.  Peter served our country and was based at Camp Lejeune. He is one of the many men based at Camp Lejeune who developed male breast cancer.
A Message from Peter- THE CANCER IS BACK
May 2013
My treatment stopped working. My cancer had a chance to grow and get inflamed. We have already started a new treatment and they are hopeful for great results. These are the challenging times when my body is extremely sore with …

 

Summer Sun, Radiation and Chemo

Radiation was a part of my first go round with breast cancer. On my last day of treatment, my radiation oncologist warned against my sitting out in the sun for the first year after completing treatment. Since I am  not a summer person and avoid walking or sitting in direct sunlight, this restriction was no hardship.
Years later, as a patient navigator, I was amazed to hear so many women speak of how they were looking forward covering themselves in sun screen and resting at the beach or near a lake when they completed treatment. So..I thought it might be a …

 

Cancer a Secret Word!

As I mentioned before, growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when someone was sick, they stayed in the hospital for extended periods of time.  It was the norm for the time we grew up in. My mother and father always came home from the hospital no matter how long they were in the hospital for! Extended hospital stays was a stable in our household growing up.
Were we naive for not thinking about our parent’s illness as being terminal? Or were we just children being children and not thinking of a young parent’s mortality? Was it the time we were …

 

Thank you Jean Campbell!

Thank you Jean Campbell for helping us all navigate breast cancer.

For over a year we have had the pleasure of having Jean Campbell from No Boobs About It as a guest blogger on our website Boston Bakes for Breast Cancer.  Jean has been helping  us share information for the many women and men navigating breast cancer.
But now as Jean has become her own non-profit organization her mission still remains the same “sharing information, resources and support on getting through treatment and on with life.”
Jean, a two time breast cancer survivor has dedicated her life since she was diagnosed with breast …

 

Fact or fiction? What’s the truth about breast cancer risk?

Experts at Dana-Farber explain the myths and misconceptions

Wendy Chen, MD, MPH

From the food we eat to the products we use, there are a lot of misconceptions about what may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. There are known factors, like genetics, that are well documented. But what about lifestyle issues like having a nightly cocktail or using deodorant?
So, what is fact and what is fiction? Wendy Chen, MD, MPH, a breast cancer expert at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston says an overabundance of information can be confusing, and it often is incorrect to some degree. She tackles some of …