Category Archives: Blog

Lymphedema–What Is It?

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Photo credit: A Taghian

If you are facing surgery for breast cancer or another condition such as melanoma of the arm or leg, you might be at risk for a condition called lymphedema. When swelling, or edema, involves the body’s lymphatic system, fluid gets trapped and can’t drain. I have seen many patients suffer from this condition which, once it sets in, is something a person has to deal with for life.

What is lymphedema?

The human body contains an intricate roadway of vessels (more…)

DO’s and DON’Ts: Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping

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As grocery stores have become bigger—offering everything from breakfast cereal to printer cartridges– they have also become a bit overwhelming. When shopping for food, simpler is better. And simpler is usually healthier as well. Here are some tips for healthy grocery shopping:

DO:spinach
Stick to the perimeter of the store for the bulk of your purchases. That’s where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy and breads. (more…)

Is Abnormal Breast Tissue Something To Worry About?

Doctor showing patient test resultsIf you’ve ever had a breast tissue biopsy and have been told by your doctor that you have “abnormal breast tissue” or you hear the term “atypical hyperplasia”, you might want to consider having another discussion. Atypical hyperplasia (AH) refers to a classification of breast tissue cells which resemble those of a tumor, and which are found in one percent of breast biopsies performed in the U.S. each year. And, while it isn’t necessarily something to worry about, it definitely should not be ignored. Although doctors have long considered women with this type of  breast tissue to face an above-average risk of breast cancer, new findings indicate (more…)

Good News for Coffee Lovers

DrinkingClose up of Large Coffee Mug more than four cups of coffee a day may do more than just make you jittery. It may actually do you good. Research data has shown that high levels of caffeinated coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk for (more…)

Is a Vaccine Against Breast Cancer Remotely Possible?

Medical ampoules and syringeMaybe. Recent studies have shown that a new breast cancer vaccine is safe to administer to people.

The studied vaccine essentially causes an increase in the body’s immune cells that attack mammaglobin-A (a breast cancer-related toxin also known as MAM-A). A research team (more…)

The Cold, Not-So-Hard Truth about Exercising With Breast Implants

Running athlete in winterAs we soldier through winter days and frigid temperatures, those of us with breast implants know only too well that keeping toasty is no small task. And, if you participate in sports or exercise throughout the season, the challenge can be even greater. The solution (more…)

Can You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

champagneIf you’re the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions every December 31st, then there’s one you should add to the list: keeping them. Once the holiday parties are over and the year comes to a close, many view the rebooting of the calendar as an opportunity to start anew and take a hard look at habits they should change. This may mean committing to broader, open-ended resolutions such as: “I’ll spend less money”, or “I’ll call my mother more often.” But for a large percentage of people, New Year’s resolutions involve changes to improve health. More often than not, they will focus on losing weight, exercising more, or buying a gym membership. (more…)

Distracted Driving is Dangerous

The other day, I saw a woman driving her car holding a cigarette with one hand and a cell phone to her ear with the other. All while a dog was sitting on her lap. To many, this may sound extreme and trigger the reaction “is she crazy?” but this sort of scenario is becoming much more commonplace than you might think. Or that it should. (more…)

Need a Holiday Gift for a Breast Cancer Patient?

Do you need the perfect holiday gift for a friend or loved one facing cancer surgery? You want to show caring for your friend and sensitivity toward the challenge she faces. A BFFLBag® is a thoughtful, helpful, uplifting and comforting gift!

Watch this video from a patient thrilled with the Breast BFFLBag® she received from the Cancer Spa Day at New York’s Manhattan JCC.

 

Spinach: The True Superfood

spinachKale may be getting all the attention lately, but in my opinion spinach is the tried and true superfood. Ranked as one of the healthiest vegetables, and for good reason, this bright leafy green, which is one of my favorites, is a nutritional powerhouse packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and an abundance of disease-preventing phytochemicals. (more…)

Cancer and the Holidays

Caring for a loved one with cancer is particularly challenging during the holidays. Here are some common-sense tips to help you navigate the next six weeks with grace, joy and peace. (We first published this two years ago, and it was so popular we decided to do an update.) 

ThanksgivingTurkeyHolidays and special occasions are meant to be joyful times that create lasting memories. Many people enjoy reuniting with family and friends to celebrate traditions during these times. However, for the person who is caring for a loved one with cancer, it can be challenging to balance caregiving responsibilities while preparing for family get-togethers, parties, and other events. By planning ahead and using the tips discussed here, caregivers and their loved ones can find ways to get the most out of these special times.  (more…)

Ebola Is in the News, but the Flu is Just around the Corner

Ebola has been the lead story in the news lately, and our hearts go out both to those who are bravely battling the virus and to the heroic health care workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way to care for them. Earlier this month the Center for Disease Control (CDC ), in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), estimated that over 10,000 people in West Africa have contracted Ebola since the epidemic began early this year, and almost half of them have died. Thankfully, there is news that new cases of the virus in Liberia have declined. (more…)

Did You Know? 31 Facts About Breasts

31FactsimageLast year during Breast Cancer Awareness month, our list of 31 Facts About Breasts was a big hit.

Here it is again, with some updates for 2014.

Enjoy!

Now That You’ve Finished Treatment, Take the Lead and…Follow(-Up)!

Doctor with female patientOne of my favorite patients is a lovely Bostonian transplant to New York, a woman who has been cured of her early stage breast cancer but who worries about her health—from her lipid levels to her not-so perfect bladder suspension 30 years ago. When she comes in (more…)

What To Expect When You’re Having a Mastectomy

GuideToMastectomyAre you, or is someone close to you, having a mastectomy in the near future?

We developed The BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy to help women and their families through diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

It remains one of the most popular pages on the BFFL Co website.

Please pass this valuable link along to your friends and family members!

 

 

Cravings: Not Just for Expectant Moms

picklesWe get mail on a variety of topics from our loyal Best Friends For Life community. Particularly fascinating, however, have been your reports about cravings.

Though cravings are most often associated with pregnant women (the old “pickles and ice cream” cliché), many people undergoing treatment for cancer and other conditions also experience the seemingly insatiable need to consume a particular food or drink. (more…)

Cancer Clouds Forming? Look for the Silver Lining

Masthead logoI have always been fascinated by the symbol of a Masthead—a strong female figure, head held high, chest thrust forward, perched at the bow of a ship to guide her fellow sailors through an unfamiliar and stormy sea as they speed toward their destination. The symbol is powerful yet non-threatening. It’s aggressive, but in a positive way. (more…)

Will Colonoscopy Soon Be Obsolete?

The mere mention of the world “colonoscopy” sends me into a cold sweat. I have had only one of these screening tests used to find abnormalities inside the colon, and it’s going to take an awful lot to get me to submit to another one in five years.

The test itself is a breeze. The gastroenterologist inserts a tiny tube carrying a microscopic camera through the anal opening and sends it along the entire length of the colon, looking for inflammation, polyps, tumors or other problems that might indicate colorectal cancers and other diseases. (more…)

Breast Cancer: A Family Affair

motherdaughter2Should women under 40 worry about breast cancer?

The National Cancer Institute puts the risk of developing breast cancer earlier than age 40 at less than 2 percent. For certain women with genetic predispositions, however, like those who test positive for a BRCA gene mutation, the risk is much higher. (more…)

3D Mammography Allows Earlier Detection of Smaller Breast Tumors

Over the past couple of years there have been some significant developments in the area of breast cancer screening.

One of the new terms we hear quite frequently is “3D Mammography.” Many women are wondering what it is, and whether or not it’s better than its two-dimensional predecessor. (more…)

Why is this Cancer Patient Smiling?

Over the past year I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Massachusetts General Hospital BOTSOGO program, a collaboration with the government of Botswana to launch a cancer treatment center in the southern African nation. Dr Memory Bvochora, who runs the only radiation therapy facility in Botswana, treats both uninsured (“public”) and insured (“private”) patients who need radiation therapy for their cancer. (more…)