What is the risk of my DCIS coming back?

Women with breast cancer are quite often concerned about the risk of their cancer coming back, also called a recurrence.  In this short video Dr. Rick Baehner, Senior Director of Pathology at Genomic Health, talks about what DCIS breast cancer patients can expect in terms of percentages.

The TuTu Project

If you have not yet seen Bob Carey and his TuTu Project calendars, you need to click here to get a sneak peek at the 2015 calendar.  Bob’s wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer and he set up to raise awareness in a unique way.  His passion for bringing laughter and understanding to the world about breast cancer is refreshing!

Mother Sings a Precious Song to Her Dying Daughter

Incredible strength and love this mother has for her daughter! (Keep a hanky handy)

Want a second opinion?

Many cancer patients feel a sense of urgency immediately after getting their diagnosis and want to jump immediately into a treatment program.  In some cases they may be compelling medical reasons for getting started right away, but in most cases there is time to do some research, make sure your diagnosis is correct, and time to get a second opinion if you want one.

Second opinions can offer several benefits, including:

  1. Confirmation of your diagnosis and treatment plan and possibly present new, additional or other treatments that you have not yet considered.
  2. The potential to offer a completely different plan of treatment that may be better suited to your type of cancer, personal or financial needs.
  3. Offer you, and your family, the opportunity to ask questions that you may not have thought of before.
  4. Giving you an opportunity to visit another treatment facility to see if you are more comfortable with the location, staff and services that are offered.

Many patients are shy or even embarrassed about asking their doctor to help them obtain a second opinion.  Honestly, it’s your health, so if you want one, you SHOULD get one!  Your insurance company may even require that you get one.  So, here are some options to consider:

  1. Ask your current physician or surgeon for a referral for a second opinion.
  2. Contact your local American Cancer Society and ask for a referral to a high quality, accredited facility in your area.
  3. Visit the Commission on Cancer (CoC) website and search for an accredited cancer center near you.  Click here to visit the CoC website and learn more about what an accredited program offers to patients and families.

Before heading off for your second opinion you will want to gather your medical records together including:  operative report(s), pathology report(s), imaging studies(s) which may include printed reports as well as a digital copy of the studies on a CD-RM; laboratory (blood tests, tumor marker studies, hormone studies, etc); copies of your physician consultation, progress notes, treatment plans, etc.  And, if you have already had treatment, there are usually summaries or records documenting how you were treated and with what drugs, devices or doses.

You have a right to ask for a second opinion, so don’t be shy about taking charge of your own care and getting the medical care you deserve!


Colorectal cancer incidence rising in younger people

Colorectal cancer, the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, is increasing in the younger population.  While overall rates for people in their 50’s has declined by about 3 percent per year in men and 2.3 percent per year in women, the American Cancer Society reports rates in people ages 18 to 49 are increasing by as much as 2.1 per cent each year.    

While much of the research still focuses on colorectal cancer in the older population, scientists and physicians are launching more wide-scaled research on young people to better understand new patterns of the disease. 

To read the entire article, click here


What is awe-inspiring in your life?

Without a doubt cancer patients and their families are dealing with the stresses and emotional strain of their illness.  Even after treatment and returning to a more normal lifestyle there can still be the challenge of coping with illness.  It is during these moments where we tend to miss those awe-inpiring moments that can relieve the stress and help to steady the nerves. 

Recently I read a blog post by Maria Shriver, titled “Awestruck.”  Her words are powerful and will encourage you to take a few moments to find those awe-inspiring moments in your life that make it worthwhile and rewarding. 

Click here to read the entire post.


Chemobrain – what is it?

For over a decade cancer patients have complained of difficulty with concentration and memory during chemotherapy treatments.  Some survivors even experienced it well after their treatment had ended.    Other complaints included persistent fatigue, depression, difficulty with multitasking, and poor sleep. 

While cancer treatments have resulted in longer intervals of disease-free survival after treatment has ended, the number of survivors who want, or need, to quickly return to their pre-diagnosis routines and lifestyle is increasing.  The transition back into a normal lifestyle is complicated by the post-treatment effects as a result of toxic and prolonged treatment from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or biotherapy. 

Chemobrain, also called brain fog, impairs the survivors executive functioning (making decisions, keeping track of things, multitasking, etc), information processing speed (where the brain is working but the survivor feels like they are in slow motion), language or speech recognition (when the survivor cannot remember the right words to use), and attention span and memory recall (they are easily distracted).

Click here to read the entire article.


Mammography rates better for migrant women

Use of mammography for breast cancer screening has improved among foreign-born women living in the United States.  However, these women are still less likely to have undergone screening than native-born American women as reported by the Fourth AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities held in September, 2011.  Inadequate or lack of access to health insurance and a regular family doctor or healthcare service is felt to influence this lower percentage rate of use according to research conducted at Pennsylvania State University.

To read the entire post, click here.

Robin Conyers – motivates us to keep fighting cancer

Robin ConyersSusan G. Komen Chicagoland Survivor loses battle to breast cancer, but her strength and impact motivates us to keep fighting everyday to find the cures.

Cancer cells crave sugar

In 1931 Otto Warburg, a German physiologist and physician, conducted an important study on cancer cells that is helping scientists today to understand the effects of cancer on the human body.  Warburg was one of the century’s leading biochemists and was won the Nobel Prize in 1931 for his work.

Warburg discovered the main biochemical cause of cancer, or what distinguishes a cancer cell from a normal, healthy cell, which was that cancer metabolizes much differently than normal cells.  Normal cells require oxygen and cancer cells do not thrive with oxygen.  In fact, cancer cells metabolize through a process of fermentation which requires sugar.  Cancer cells have a metabolism that is about 8 times greater than that of the metabolism of normal cells, hence the cells divide and grow much faster.   This discovery, called the Warburg Effect, is one of the primary factors used in position emission testing, or PET imaging studies.

To read the entire article click here.