7 Things You Might Not Know About Delayed Breast Reconstruction!

1. Majority of survivors are good candidates.

Everyone situation is different, but patients who are interested in reconstruction typically a candidate.

2. Quality of life can improve from breast reconstruction.

“Perhaps nobody ever told you about plastic surgery and you’ve been walking around feeling less feminine or less whole. For patients like this, breast reconstruction can be life-changing,” says Sacks, Director of Oncological Reconstruction in the Department ofPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Breast reconstruction can greatly improve a woman’s sense of wholeness and well-being. It can help the pain and chest tightness associated with radiation treatment.

3. Prognosis can be cumbersome.

Protheses can become extremely heavy and hard to fit with clothing. Breast reconstruction can be a great solution to restoring your confidence and create a natural feel.

4. You don’t have to live with scars.

Reconstruction surgery over the last decade has greatly improved like reducing the number of imperfections, indentations, and appearance of scars.

5. Waiting is OK.

In many cases,  your reconstruction will look good if you do it during surgery or if you wait until after.

Even if you were counseled against breast reconstruction at the time of your treatment, advances in reconstructive techniques may qualify you for the procedure.

6. Pick what fits you. 

Talk with your surgeon because they can work with you and create a customized treatment plan for you. There are options you can always choose from like breaking up the reconstruction into less and shorter ones or one long surgery.  Additionally, you can select reconstruction using implants made of saline or silicone.

7. It’s covered by insurance.

Health care costs are always a concern for all patients. For breast reconstruction, it doesn’t have to be. Reconstruction and all post-mastectomy procedures are required to be covered by the law.

How To Cope With Fatigue During Radiation Therapy.

 When you are prescribed radiation therapy as your cancer treatment, your doctor will provide you with a list of possible side effects. Symptoms you may feel are things like diarrhea, hair loss, nausea and what people feel the most after radiation is fatigue. Those going through radiation therapy do experience it more frequently and often very chronically.

After a week or so after first radiation therapy you begin to feel some of these symptoms:
  • Feeling tired or lethargic throughout the day
  • Reduced energy
  • Reduced motivation
  • Reduced concentration

For example, walking from the parking lot to your office may take longer. Fatigue can be extremely frustrating because you are not quite sleepy, but you will have very little energy. Everyone handles fatigue differently so keep in mind through out your weeks of treatment it can vary. Your fatigue may increase over time as you undergo more radiation therapy treatments.

5 Tips to Help Cope with Fatigue

Here are 5 things you can do to help cope with the fatigue.

There are many things you can do to help cope with cancer fatigue:

1. Ask others for help.  It’s completely okay to ask for help whenever you need it and be sure to accept the help whenever its given! Pushing yourself when you are already exhausted can cause more damage.

2. Sleep. It’s very important to get enough sleep and if you are having restless nights then try to nap less during the day.

3. Rest. It’s very important for  you to listen to your body and to rest whenever you need to.

4. Hydration.  Many people forget that dehydration is huge cause of fatigue. Be sure to drink enough water through out the day and eat lots of fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Big tip: If you are feel sick then be sure to drink room temperature water. Avoid caffeinated drinks.

5. Exercise when can. Studies have shown those suffering from cancer can get more energy whenever they can exercise. Remember, it doesn’t have to be intense! Exercise can be a short walk, swimming or yoga.

Many patients do not understand the severity of fatigue and do not discuss it with their doctors. There can be underlying medical reasons for fatigue so be sure to address any symptoms you are feeling.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. A person may find out they have breast cancer after a routine mammogram.

Some warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

What Is a Normal Breast?

No breast is typical. What is normal for you may not be normal for another woman. Most women say their breasts feel lumpy or uneven. The way your breasts look and feel can be affected by getting your period, having children, losing or gaining weight, and taking certain medications. Breasts also tend to change as you age. For more information, see the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Changes and Conditions.

What Do Lumps in My Breast Mean?

Many conditions can cause lumps in the breast, including cancer. But most breast lumps are caused by other medical conditions. The two most common causes of breast lumps are fibrocystic breast condition and cysts. Fibrocystic condition causes noncancerous changes in the breast that can make them lumpy, tender, and sore. Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast.*

 

*All information provide by the CDC.

10 ways to handle stress and shock when diagnosed with breast cancer!

“The effects of a diagnosis are understandably significant. It is important to balance the mind and the body for optimum recovery. Below are10 steps to focus the mind and deactivate your body’s stress response.

  1. Learn the skill of mindfulness: Train your mind to focus on the present rather than the potential bleak months ahead. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
  2. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude: Compile a list of all to be grateful for and review each day.
  3. Laughter is the best medicine: Laughter brings the mind into the present-watch movies, meet friends.
  4. Take a breath: Take slow deep breaths- this can quickly de-stress an anxious mind.
  5. Visualize: Find the quiet place, visualize yourself back in full health. The subconscious mind will help support the healing process.
  6. Let it all out: Emotions need to expressed- shout, stamp your feet, or even find a new hobby. It’s important a way to move forward.
  7. Stand Tall: Your posture impacts your mental health. Standing tall triggers pride in your body.
  8. Where focus goes energy flows: Are you spending all the time thinking about your diagnosis or planning your recovery?
  9. Mind what you say: being positive and optimistic plays enormous role in recovery- use language to reflect that.
  10. Get out more: Connecting with friends and family in social setting helps the body to release oxytocin that in turn increases feelings of happiness and closeness.”*

 

*Thank you TheMindCoach.ie for the helpful tips.

FDA Approves Lynparza to Treat BRCA-mutated Metastatic Breast Cancer!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lynparza (olaparib) for a difficult-to-treat form of metastatic breast cancer.

Patients with BRCA-mutated, HER2-negative breast cancer who have previously been treated with chemotherapy are now approved to be treated with Lynparza.

The FDA’s approval is based on data showing that Lynparza — developed by AstraZeneca working together with Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) — prolonged the time patients lived without their cancer progressing, compared to standard-of-care chemotherapy.

“This additional approval for Lynparza represents an important advance for women with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer with a germline BRCA mutation, which is a difficult-to-treat cancer,” Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of Global Clinical Development, and chief medical officer at Merck, said in a press release.

Lynparza was initially approved by the FDA for the treatment of BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer in December 2014. In August 2017, the regulatory agency extended its approval to include the maintenance treatment of recurrent ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer.

Lynparza is a PARP inhibitor, which acts to block DNA repair processes. The PARP enzyme is particularly important for DNA repair in people with BRCA mutations, and blocking it prevents the survival of tumors.

“This new approval for Lynparza makes it the first and only PARP inhibitor approved in metastatic breast cancer, and the only PARP inhibitor approved beyond ovarian cancer,” said Dave Fredrickson, executive vice president, head of the Oncology Business Unit at AstraZeneca.

“This is significant for breast cancer patients, as the identification of BRCA status, in addition to hormone receptor and HER2 status, becomes a potentially critical step in the management of their disease,” he said.

Breast cancer patients’ eligibility for the treatment will be evaluated using a companion diagnostic — a test that is specific for a treatment — developed by Myriad Genetics.

The approval rests on data from the Phase 3 OlympiAD trial (NCT02000622), which compared Lynparza to chemotherapies Xeloda (capecitabine), Navelbine (vinorelbine), and Halaven (eribulin).

Patients included in the trial were either triple negative — meaning that in addition to a lack of HER2, their cancer did not produce estrogen receptors (ER) or progesterone receptors (PR) — or were positive for hormone receptor (HR).

All patients were previously treated with chemotherapy. HR-positive patients had received at least one course of hormonal treatment or were ineligible for such treatment.

Data showed that among the 205 patients treated with Lynparza, the therapy reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 42 percent compared to chemotherapy. Lynparza also triggered a response in more patients than chemo — 52 percent responded to the treatment, compared to only 23 percent in the chemotherapy group.

Among those who responded, 7.8 percent had a complete eradication of their cancer. However, such a complete remission was seen in only 1.5 percent of patients treated with chemotherapy.

By the time the FDA started reviewing Lynparza data, researchers had published their Phase 3 trial findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Patients diagnosed with BRCA-related metastatic breast cancer are often younger than other breast cancer patients, and their disease is often much more aggressive and difficult to treat,” said Susan M. Domchek, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

“While there is currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer, today’s approval offers a new, targeted option that may help to delay disease progression for these patients,” added Domchek, who is a national leader on the OlympiAD trials.-Breast Cancer News 

Effective New Year’s Resolution!

A new year is always a great time to “start over” and resolve to find ways to do better. But how does having cancer, or a loved one with cancer, impact how we look at the New Year?


We’ve put together the top five resolutions for you or a loved one who may be battling cancer.

  1. Exercise– We know this is everyone’s number one resolution in the new year, but for cancer patients its a little bit different. If your doctors approve then try to do what you can! Try to keep moving.
  2. Eat Well-This may seem like a no brainer, but after the holidays it can be difficult. Our emotions can get the best of us too so it can make it difficult to avoid those sugary or fatty foods. However, try to eat as many fruit and veggies as you can.
  3. Visit somewhere you want to go-No one ever said because you have cancer you cannot go anywhere. If your doctor approves then by all means go see the world!
  4. Get support- Family and friends are great support pillars; however, it may be valuable to talk to others who are going through the same things you are.
  5. Manage your fear of recurrence-The New Year is a great time for change, and that includes how you think about cancer. Talk to your health care provider to find out your risk of recurrence and remember that risks are based on averages and don’t necessarily apply to you.

How to handle cancer during the holiday days.

It’s officially November and the holiday’s will be here before you know it. While the holidays are such a wonderful time of the year, it can create stress for anyone suffering from breast cancer. We’ve found some tips that can help.

Don’t be afraid to see friends, family, or co-workers over the holidays. We don’t encourage anyone celebrate the holidays alone during this time so always accept invitations from others if you have enough energy.

Change your holiday traditions that makes the most of your energy levels. Change up your usual traditions so you relieve yourself from some of the pressures of entertaining. For example, consider having a pot luck with family members.

Talk to your doctor about upcoming events. Be sure you tell your doctors about what events you want to attend. Also, it’s good to inform your health care members about your events because they may be able to be flexible about your appointments.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Let your feelings out and talk to your loved ones. It will help you cope during the holidays.

Celebrate strengths you and your loved ones have developed. Many people who face the day to day challenges of breast cancer discover strengths and courage they didn’t know they had. Build on your strengths during the holidays.

5 Best Ways to Support a BFF Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

  1. Food: Remember, whenever going through breast cancer their appetite can be affected. Often, large heavy meals will seem unappealing. Try to provide your friend with smaller meals or mini meals. Try to think about hummus, veggies, cheese, and crackers.
  2. Maid: There is no shame in buying your friend a cleaning service. It will be one less thing they have to worry about.
  3. Yard: Here is another item that can be checked off their list if you can provide a moving service!
  4. Support Group: She may be shy to go to a support group alone so go with her!
  5. Fundraiser: If your friend is having a hard time paying bills then try starting a fundraiser for her!
  6. Mammogram: Show your support by getting a mammogram!

Breast Self-Awareness is not just checking your breast for a lump.

Breast Self-Awareness is not just checking your breast for a lump. It’s…

Know Your Risk

Your doctor has new tools to help identify women at high risk for breast cancer. Identify your risk factors for breast cancer and discuss them with your doctor:

  • Increasing age
  • Having a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer
  • Having a breast biopsy showing abnormal cells
  • Beginning your first period before age 12
  • Having a first child after age 30 or not ever having children

Get Screened

Have a yearly mammogram beginning at age 40. If you are under age 40 and have a family history of breast cancer or other concerns, discuss when to begin screening with your doctor

Know What is Normal For You

Know how your breasts normally look and feel. Examine your breasts monthly and report any changes to your doctor.

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Limit menopausal hormone use
  • Breastfeed, if you can
  • See your doctor yearly for a clinical breast examination

Contract Bridge Breast Network for more information

TEL (214) 821-3820

TEL (877) 258-1396

www.bridgebreast.org

North Texas Giving Day!

 

6am – Midnight, Thursday, September 14

Please join us in building a “bridge” of hope by donating $25 or more to The Bridge Breast Network during North Texas Giving Day on September 14, 2017 and your donation will be eligible for bonus funding. This will allow your dollars to go even further. For every dollar received in donations, The Bridge Breast Network is able to receive 10X the amount in medical services.

Follow These 3 Easy Steps to Donate:  

1.     Go to http://www.northtexasgivingday.org and serach for The Bridge Breast Network.

2.     Make a donation of $25 or more!

3.     Tell your friend using hashtag #NTxGivingDay

Let’s Make This Our Biggest Giving Day Yet!!!

Please forward this Email to Family and Friends and show your support for our mission. Every dollar counts in the fight against breast cancer.

P.S. – SCHEDULED GIVING OPENS SEPTEMBER 7

Not avaliable on September 14? No worries! Schedule your gifts to The Bridge Breast Network between September 7 and September 13.