Category Archives: Breast Cancer

Breast cancer and related issues.

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…)

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…)

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.

 

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!

 

 

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…)

The Importance of Exercise During Breast Cancer Treatment

Women receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer have a lot to do. They must arrange doctor visits, eat a healthy diet, take vitamins, drink enough water, and arrange time off from work.

One activity that is often overlooked, however, is exercise. Maintaining a healthy level of physical activity after breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation should be a serious topic of discussion between doctor and patient for all women diagnosed or undergoing treatment. I encourage my radiation oncology patients to keep up their exercise regimens as long as they have the energy and their skin is intact. (more…)

Lucky Seven: Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

number7This year, almost 240,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and close to 40,000 will die of the disease. One out of every eight women will develop the disease in her lifetime.

Pretty scary statistics, but it also means that seven out of every eight women won’t get breast cancer. (more…)

What To Expect: The BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy

AngelinaJolieHollywood star Angelina Jolie was a brave inspiration to all of those women dealing with a BRCA mutation or family history when she announced the startling news of her prophylactic double mastectomy. Most recently “Good Morning America” correspondent Amy Robach announced to viewers that she, too, would soon undergo a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. Due to advances in screening and genetic counseling/testing, women have options and information to help them make decisions. When pre-emptive or diagnosed early, women have a much better chance to be cured or avoid the disease.

While making the decision or told you need to have surgery is the biggest step, women still need help in preparing and recovering from these new surgeries.

We at BFFL Co are pleased to share with you The BFFL Co Guide to Mastectomy, an (more…)

Breast Cancer and Baseball

tommyjohnWhen 31-year-old LA Dodgers pitcher Tommy John developed a sore arm in 1973, his pitching career appeared to be over.   His UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) had become stretched, frayed, and torn due to the extreme repetitive stress of the pitching motion – pretty much a death knell for a big league pitcher’s career.

Frank Jobe, the Dodgers team physician, had been working on an idea. He felt that he could try to replace the damaged ligament with a tendon taken from somewhere else on John’s body. He would drill holes in the (more…)

Clinical Trials: What You Should Know

ChemoA clinical trial is a research study that evaluates a new treatment. In many cases, the new treatment has already shown the potential of being an improvement over the current standard treatment. In these cases, clinical trials are testing to see how much better the new treatment works compared to the old one. Clinical trials help doctors and pharmaceutical companies develop and research new treatment procedures and drugs.  (more…)

Preparing for Chemotherapy

planning-before-chemotherapy-articlePatients often ask me what they can expect when a treatment plan is presented to them. It  can be so overwhelming that they forget to ask the “little” questions that end up keep them awake at night.

A good night’s sleep is often key to helping us deal with a difficult situation with a fresh perspective, clear head, and feeling of confidence. Yet when we are facing something like cancer treatment, sleep is an elusive goal.

(more…)

I’ll Have What She’s Having: Navigating Breast Cancer Treatment Options

Now that bilateral mastectomy is part of the vernacular (thank you, Angelina Jolie!) we have become all too familiar with the concept of breast cancer, surgery and motivations for action. It all sounds pretty simple, right? You get diagnosed, you go for surgery. You have radiation. Yet, the truth is, women at high risk or the recently diagnosed are bombarded with options, and it can all be very confusing. And although it’s tempting to hear what a celebrity or friend is doing and conclude that you should do the same, every woman’s diagnosis, risk and health profile is unique. What’s right for one could be completely wrong for another, even when symptoms, age, and other factors seem the same. (more…)

Boob Jobs and Breast Cancer

BMJcover5-25-13A couple of weeks ago, I got together for lunch with a bright and fashionable friend who had recently battled breast cancer.  As we caught up on family, jobs and recent news, I mentioned an article that I had just read in the British Medical Journal about a meta-analysis (large study comparing and contrasting several research studies on the same topic) that found a correlation between breast augmentation (cosmetic implants) and breast cancer.  My friend’s jaw dropped. “I never told you this,” she confided, “but my cancer was hidden under my breast implant.  They would have never found it, except for the fact that I kept insisting my implant had moved.” (more…)

Skin Care Tips for Radiation Patients

showerheadHere are some practical skin care tips for optimal healing and comfort while undergoing radiation treatment:

  1. Take a warm, tepid shower, rather than a HOT shower before going for treatment, and skip any lotions or preparations until after treatment. Avoid long baths or soaking, because your skin is too fragile and sensitive.
  2. If you need to bathe, however, skip the bubbles—suds are created by a chemical called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which can strip away natural oils.
  3. No exfoliation- keep everything mild and non-abrasive.
  4. Wear soft clothing that doesn’t chafe or irritate skin. Natural fibers in soft fabric constructions that are sympathetic to the skin are best. (more…)

Top Ten Tips for Being an Effective Cancer Caregiver

cancercaregiverPeople caring for loved ones with cancer face a unique set of challenges that can take a physical, emotional and financial toll. Here’s a checklist to help you stay upbeat, healthy and organized while performing your selfless duties:

1. Maintain your own health.

Keep up your regular medical and dental appointments– mammogram, dental appointment, yearly physical, etc. Exercise every day. Make nutrition a priority – don’t skip meals. If you smoke, quit. Get enough sleep. Remember that you are the healthy (or healthier) one. (more…)

New Drug Shows Promise For Metastatic Breast Cancer

ctalogoA new generation of cancer drugs has been showing promise for patients with metastatic breast cancer, according to a report published in Chemotherapy Advisor.  PI3 kinase inhibitor GDC-0032, which sounds like something from a futuristic movie, will soon be part of the arsenal of drugs to treat ER+/PR+ metastatic breast cancer (disease that has spread from the primary site.) About 40% of hormone receptor–positive breast cancers have PI3 kinase alpha mutations.  GDC-0032 has been shown in preclinical studies to be active against this mutation. This is really great news because to-date there are no drugs available that target this critically important component of cancer cells.

The new drug is taken in pill form and the few side effects seem to be manageable.  Ask your medical oncologist to consider this if you or a loved might be a candidate.

Click here for the full article.

 

Preparing for Chemo: Tests, Tips and What to Expect

chemopills250Chemotherapy refers to medications and other active chemical agents administered to kill some types of abnormal or cancerous cells.

Patients can undergo chemotherapy at a hospital, clinic, physician’s office or even at home in a series of cycles or continuously for several weeks or months. Cycles of treatment refer to repeated rounds of chemo with breaks in between. The breaks allow normal cells to recover, and are timed to kill cancer cells in their natural cell cycle. (more…)

Do These Breasts Make Me Look Hot? The Cold Truth about Implants

By Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, M.D., M.P.H.

Do these breasts make me look hot? Because, quite honestly, they make me feel cold. Freezing, in fact.

Ever since I had prophylactic mastectomies and immediate breast reconstruction surgery with implants several years ago, I shiver all winter long. Nobody told me that the implants would make me cold.  (My physicians, who all happened to be men, had never been told of the problem.)  My standard indoor attire consists of multiple layers – a tank top, long-sleeved tee, and cozy sweater-knit hoodie. When I go outside in any temperature under 40 degrees, I wear a fleece or fur vest over a down-filled jacket. (more…)