Here Are Ways To Track Side Effects From Chemo Treatment

Whenever you receive any treatment like chemotherapy, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your potential side effects. It can be difficult to remember what you have experience when some effects include fatigue and fogginess. It’s always best to talk to your doctor to adjust your treatment to ease the side effects. They could add or change the timing of your medications or refer you to other clinicians.

Tracking Made Simple:

We suggest for you to take a daily log of your side effects and their level of severity. Here are some steps to set yourself up for success.

  1. Ask your doctor what side effects you will have and when they will arrive.
  2. List of who to call-It’s important to have these numbers steadily available.
  3. Print online worksheets: The American Cancer Society offers a free printable chemotherapy symptom worksheet that’s as simple to fill out as checking boxes. We suggest writing down these points:
    • All symptoms you’re experiencing
    • The severity of your symptoms
    • What medications you took for the symptoms
    • What you eat and drink
    • How much you sleep at night
  4. Bring your symptoms to every doctor appointment.

Tips for Exercising with Breast Cancer!

We are going to share some ways you can exercise whenever suffering with breast cancer. We suggest low impact exercise and luckily there are different kinds you can do! For example, here are some things you can do:

  • walking
  • yoga
  • Pilates
  • tai chi
  • dancing
  • bed and couch movements

Here’s some exercising tips as you go through treatment. And don’t forget to communicate with your doctor to ensure you’re exercising at the appropriate exertion level for your condition.

1. Feel free to exercise at your own pace.
2. Small movements are perfectly fine.
3. Practice restraint
4. Don’t worry about what others think
5. Remember that exercise has its benefits

The Daisy Wheel App Teaches You How To Perform A Breast-Self Exam In 8 Easy Steps

We have learned more than 50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer find a breast lump during a breast self exam versus a mammogram, a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health reported. This should tell you how important it is to perform breast-self exams frequently. There are many ways to find how to do this and even through apps! Today, we are highlighting the app called  Daisy Wheel. This app offers a variety of educational tips like how to perform a breast-self exam and even reminds you when you should take one!  We love how this app encourages people to do perform more breast-self exams.

Even if you are getting regular mammograms, it’s still important to perform regular exams.  “Data demonstrate[s] that individual U.S. women are almost as likely as healthcare professionals to notice the first signs of breast cancer. Even as women reach the recommended age for mammographic screening, they still frequently self-detect abnormalities that lead to a breast cancer diagnosis,” the study from the Journal of Women’s Health noted.

Download the app to get started and you can still learn the eight step breast-self exam process on The Get In Touch Foundation’s website or by watching this video.

The Get In Touch Foundation offers its Daisy Wheel Program free to school nurses and health educators across the country and around the world.

Know What Is Normal For You!

All breast cancer is not found by just feeling for a lump.  Some breast cancer such as inflammatory is found on the surface of the breast.  Other cancers may be detected due to unusual nipple discharge.  As a breast cancer organization we must make sure we are providing accurate information.  Please review the attached self- breast awareness information.  Let’s share this information noting Bridge Breast Network recommends a women  practices breast self-awareness and not just look for a lump.  Know your body, know your family health history, and know who to call.  The Bridge Breast Network is here to help.

5 Things Cancer Survivors Should Know About Their Mental Health

It’s normal to feel worried, sad, afraid, or even angry after being diagnosed with cancer. Some treatments for cancer also can affect your feelings or make it hard for you to concentrate or remember things.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, now is a good time to understand that mental health care is as important as caring for your physical health during and after cancer treatment.

Chemo Brain Is Real!

You may have heard about “chemo brain.” Chemo brain describes problems with thinking (cognition, memory, attention) that may occur as a result of receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer. These concerns may affect patients during or after cancer treatments. Emotional and mental health problems that survivors may face—such as depression, anxiety, stress, and trouble sleeping—can all contribute to this and make thinking and learning harder. You could have difficulty learning new facts or skills, concentrating, or remembering things during and after treatment.

It’s Important to Talk About It—Even When It’s Hard

You may feel like it’s more difficult to talk about mental health problems, or you may feel uncomfortable talking about your struggles. Maybe it’s because your family members or friends don’t talk about mental health, your cultural beliefs don’t support having mental health discussions, or you feel you should be “strong” or “brave” and keep it to yourself. Nobody is wrong for feeling one way or another, but it’s important to understand that sharing how you’re feeling mentally is just as important as sharing how you feel physically. Talk to your health care provider about how you are feeling emotionally. You may also find that support groups for cancer survivors can be helpful places where you can talk to other people with similar experiences.

Be Patient—Getting Back to “Normal” May Take Time

You may be relieved after your cancer treatment is finished, feel empowered, or have a new set of goals that you are ready to pursue. But you may also worry about life after cancer. It may take time before you are able to do some of the things you did before at work, at home, or in daily life. You may depend on other people for help more than you are used to, and you may worry about money and about your cancer coming back. If you experience these things, be patient about getting back to feeling “normal.” Be open-minded about what your “new normal” looks like—and talk to someone about it.

You Can Do Something About It…

Talk to your health care team about how you feel—not just physically, but also mentally—before, during, and after treatment. They can refer you to health care providers who can help you manage these changes. Talking to experts about ways you can adjust is very important, because mental health problems can get worse if they are ignored.

…And So Can Your Health Care Team

Your care team can assess and monitor changes in your mental health and, when indicated, link you with mental health professionals who can address concerns through talk therapy, relaxation interventions, medication, and referrals to online or in-person groups with people who may have similar experiences as you, so you know you’re not alone in going through this. Your team can also give you tips for things that might improve your mental health, like diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Together, your physical and mental health care teams can help keep you as healthy as possible during this time of uncertainty and change.

By Natasha Buchanan Lunsford, PhD from the CDC website. 

Nutrition Tips During Cancer Treatments!

  1.  Beware Of Changes In Your Weight: Chemo can cause unexpected gains and losses.
  2. Go Big For Breakfast: Hunger hits harder in the morning.
  3. Change It Up: Your taste buds are going to change so experiment with food.
  4. Don’t Dodge Family: You will need family support.
  5. Colors Of The Rainbow: Be sure to fill your plate with colorful veggies and fruits.
  6. Puree: Smoothies and soups are going to be your best friend.
  7. Snack: It’s important to intake as many calories as you can.
  8. Move: It’s important to move when you can. It will boost your appetite as well.

Latest New From Bridge Breast Network!

We made the NEWS!

“Celebration of the Spirit and Soul” (an inspirational, educational breast cancer awareness visual arts exhibit) was held on March 22, 2019 at the African American Museum in Dallas, Texas. This outing resulted in a great occasion for Life Member Pat Carroll, because she reunited with a “dear friend of 40 years ago,” Ms. Jacqueline Stewart! The two worked together at ARCO Oil and Gas back when Club Sister Carroll first made Dallas her home.

Mrs. Stewart received services from the Bridge Breast Network due to having no health insurance. The Bridge Breast Network is a community partner with South Dallas BPW’s “Triple The PINK” Committee. “Triple The PINK” is one of the NANBPWC’s national projects, and Pat Carroll faithfully serves on this committee. Pat was delighted to see her longtime friend whom she met at her very first job in Dallas!”

We are so honored to have been helping so many women with breast cancer. Thank you for your kind words Jacqueline Stewart!

Healthy Eating During Treatment!

Whether you are recovering from surgery, receiving radiation, or chemotherapy, you need to continue to focus on the breast cancer. Eating well during this time has never been more important. Good nutrition will keep you strong, help rebuild tissue, allow your body to handle side effects from treatment, and potentially help fight infection.

We have a variety of patients ask us what constitutes a healthy diet. Well, it consists of a variety of foods including a lot of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and grains. It should give you nutrients to keep you strong while you are being treated. The goal is to eat foods that will help rebuild your tissues and keep your immune system strong. Also, foods high in protein can help tame THE side effects from treatments like chemotherapy.

It’s important to never forget meals and to eat enough calories throughout the day. Items like cottage cheese, eggs, oatmeal, and protein shakes are great options to help keep you full throughout the day. Be sure to eat small portions of food frequently and eat them slowly.

Everyone’s nutritional needs vary so we will work hard to find what’s the best meal plan for you. Eating healthy will make you feel more energetic, maintain a healthy weight, lower your risk of infection, and recover quickly.

Short-Term Side Effects of Breast Cancer Radiation.

We have a variety of patients who will need radiation therapy once they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, we are going to discuss what are some of the short term side effects of radiation therapy.

The most common side effect is the area that receives the radiation therapy will become irritated. The area that will receive the treatment will feel more sensitive and even turn pink/red. The area will feel like a sunburn because it will potentially start to peel, blister, and even itch. Don’t forget the area can become more tender and sore. The irritation can get worse throughout your sessions, but it will get better once all treatments are completed. Another temporary side effect is if you are going to be treated near your underarms then you may loose underarm hair and you might perspire less. Woman tend to feel more fatigued as the weeks go by. However, this will elevate within a few weeks of the last treatment.

Remember, radiation therapy is given daily over weeks so it can be a bit of a time commitment. Therefore, work with your family to get a schedule in place so it doesn’t become stressful.

Here are a few things you can do to make the skin less sensitive during radiation treatment:

  • Don’t shower with hot water
  • Avoid the shower water to hit the treated area directly
  • Use fragrance-free soaps with moisturizers
  • Wear loose-fitting shirts, preferably cotton.
  • Avoid having skin-on-skin contact
  • Wear bras without an underwire
  • Try to keep your arm away from your body
  • Apply 1% hydrocortisone cream thinly over the affected area 3 times a day
  • Use a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher on the treated area
  • Apply sunblock 30 minutes before you leave your home