Breast Cancer Survivor!

Maria is a 49 year old single mother of two who was referred to the Bridge Breast Network (BBN) by one of our community partners. She had been experiencing sharp pains in her right breast. As the months passed, the pain grew stronger and she noticed a lumped had developed. Maria was unsure of where to turn for help because she had no insurance.
She received a diagnostic mammogram and biopsy through a grant from Susan G. Komen. It revealed a her mass which was positive for breast cancer. Maria underwent a double mastectomy and was then referred her to the BBN for further treatment. Maria was introduced to her case manager during our Breast Cancer 101 session. Her case manager who assured her the BBN would be there to see her through treatment. One week later Maria meet with the oncologist who explained her breast cancer journey was not over, but just beginning.
Maria endured 12 cycles of vigorous chemotherapy and experienced a variety of side effects including hair loss. One day while in the area, Maria and her daughter stopped by the BBN office with her daughter to show her appreciation and gratitude to the staff for their support during her time of need. Maria was assisted with a where to find a wig and even a breast prosthetics when she was at Bridge Breast Network. She was directed to Dr. Maria Gonzalez at the BBN office who helped her find the perfect wig, Maria. Afterwards, she was measured for a bra and prosthesis. Maria left the office with so much more confidence thanks to our case manager. She called later that week to let us know that she was feeling spiritually and physically better after her visit.
We save lives by providing access to diagnostic and treatment services for breast cancer to low income, uninsured and underinsured individuals. Please, let us know if you know anyone suffering from breast cancer. We are here to help.

Applying for Disability Benefits with Breast Cancer in Texas

Breast cancer its treatments can prevent you from maintaining employment. It may put you out of work for a few weeks, or indefinitely. When your illness is likely to prevent you from working for a year or longer, you can potentially qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Disability benefits can be the financial support you need to get by without employment income.

Social Security Disability Benefit Programs Available

Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration come in two forms. Qualifying medically is the same for both, but each will have its own technical requirements.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – which is for disabled workers who have paid Social Security taxes over their employment history and who have accumulated between 20 and 40 work credits, depending on the age in which you apply. A work credit is a metric that represents how much you actually paid in taxes. Most workers earn the maximum of four work credits per year, so your employment history must typically range from five to ten years to qualify. SSDI recipients in Texas will receive Medicare 24 months after their cancer started.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – which is a support program available to low-income individuals of all ages, including disabled children and adults as well as the elderly. This program has strict income and financial asset limits, but there are no work history requirements to qualify. SSI recipients in Texas will automatically be enrolled in Medicaid.

Meeting the program requirements for SSI and/or SSDI additionally requires you either:

  • meet a Blue Book listed condition

OR

  • qualify through a residual functional capacity (RFC) analysis.

These options are the medical eligibility portion of qualifying for SSD benefits.

Medical Eligibility and Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is among the Social Security Administration (SSA’s) listed disabilities, though usually only those with advanced breast cancer meet the Blue Book specifications. The Blue Book is the SSA’s manual of impairments and is used by disability examiners when they review benefit applications.

The breast cancer listing appears in Section 13.10 of the Blue Book. This listing requires advanced cancer that has spread beyond regional lymph nodes. To meet the listing, your cancer must be:

  • An inflammatory carcinoma with adhesions to the skin, chest wall, or mammary gland internal nodes

OR

  • A carcinoma that has spread, with tumors present in axillary as well as regional lymph nodes, including infraclavicular (below your clavicle) or supraclavicular (above the clavicle) lymph nodes

OR

  • A carcinoma and has returned after initial treatment and is no longer responding to available therapies

Early Stage Breast Cancer and Disability Benefits

Breast cancer in its early stages does not meet the SSA’s Blue Book requirements, but you may still be able to qualify for benefits. The SSA must look at your “activities of daily living” or ADLs and decide if your illness and required treatments make it impossible for you to work for 12 months or longer. This process is known as a residual functional capacity (RFC) analysis. Activities of daily living include your ability to sit, stand, walk, or do other household activities like cooking or cleaning.

Severe reactions to chemotherapy and radiation may cause significant daily limitations and make it impossible for you to complete everyday tasks in your personal life. These same reactions can certainly prevent you from returning to work. If you are so impaired by your cancer and treatments that you cannot work, then you may be granted benefits through an RFC analysis.

Compassionate Allowance and Metastatic Breast Cancer

While the SSA’s Blue Book listing requires particular medical evidence for documenting breast cancer with metastases, it is also important to note that the SSA understands the debilitating nature of advanced breast cancer. As such, metastatic breast cancer is among the medical conditions that qualify for expedited review under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance (CAL) program.

If you have advanced breast cancer and submit an application for benefits, your application is flagged and pushed through the review process quickly. The CAL program also minimized the medical evidence requirements in order to get your medical approval for benefits as fast as possible. You can be approved in as little as 10 days if your breast cancer has metastasized.

Applying for Benefits

The SSI and SSDI programs have separate applications. The SSDI application can be filled out online, but if you’re applying for SSI, you must participate in a personal interview with an SSA representative. SSI interviews are typically conducted at the local office. SSDI applications can be completed at the local office as well, if you choose.

Here are just a few of the SSA branch offices in Texas at which you can submit your SSI or SSDI application:

  • Abilene – 1202 E. South 11th St., Abilene, TX 79602
  • Austin – 1029 Camino La Costa, Austin, TX 78752
  • Dallas – 2530 S. Malcolm X Blvd., Dallas, TX 75226
  • Houston – 16200 Dillard Dr., Houston, TX 77040
  • Lubbock – 5826 16th St., Lubbock, TX 79416
  • Fort Worth – 819 Taylor St., Fort Worth, TX 76102
  • Odessa – 2015 E. 37th St., Odessa, TX 79762
  • San Antonio –  3438 E. Southcross, San Antonio, TX 78223

Deanna Power
Community Outreach Manager
Social Security Disability Help
857-366-7629

Food That Help Fight Cancer. Part Two.

We all know to stay away from things that hurt your body. Things like cigarettes and alcohol. We are here to tell you that cancer can start from your daily habits like your diet. It’s important to put good things in your body like superfoods

and foods that are high in antioxidants! Today, we are going to share those super foods that can keep happy and healthy.

  1. Olive Oil: This oil is high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. It’s an acid that is fatty and can help fight cancel cells.

Oleocanthal, a compound found in the oil, can kill cancer cells in as fast as 30 minutes, according to an article published in the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Oncology.

2. Tea: Especially, green tea. This is another antioxidant. There are many studies that show how this beverage can help fight. “Green tea contains compounds called catechins that may stop the growth of cancer cells and prevent cellular mutation that contribute to cancer growth,” says Mirkin.

3. Garlic: It’s the one food we know that can fight off sickness. We believe it can help those suffering from cancer too!  “Garlic’s active ingredients allicin and the enzyme allinase have strong antioxidant properties,” says Mirkin. It’s shown that those who eat more garlic have a better chance to reduce their risk of cancer.

Food That Helps Fight Cancer! Part One.

We all know to stay away from things that hurt your body. Things like cigarettes and alcohol. We are here to tell you that cancer can start from your daily habits like your diet. It’s important to put good things in your body like superfoods and foods that are high in antioxidants! Today, we are going to share those super foods that can keep happy and healthy.

“New studies have found that eating a plant-based diet, low alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy body weight significantly reduces the risk for breast cancer,” Sarah Mirkin, RD a registered dietician and nutritionist tells Bustle over email. “Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals which protect the body from cancer growth. These foods are also anti-inflammatory, which reduces cancer risk.”

Berries: “Berries are rich in ellagic acid, an antioxidant that destroy cancer causing substances and slow tumor growth,” says DR. Mirkin.

Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are high in antioxidants, and some studies have shown that animals who ate these can reduce breast tumor volume by 60-70 percent.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables:  Vegetables in this family such as broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower can contain glucosinates. This is an ingredient that activates protective enzymes in the body that help fight off cancer.

3. Fruits and vegetables are high in beta-carotene (antioxidant) like sweet potatoes and carrots.

Foods that contain this carotenoid like sweet potatoes and squash have been linked to a lower risk of getting breast cancer as well as a greater likelihood of breast-cancer survival,

4. Fish: Foods that are high in omagas help reduce inflammation in the body.

A study published in Breast Cancer Research found that women who consume high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from fish have a lowered risk of breast cancer, so load up on fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines to receive their benefits

5. Turmeric: This tasteless herb contains another anti-inflammatory, curcumin. It technically inhibits breast cancer growth. Throw it in your lattes, stews, and more!*

*information/studies provided by bustle.com

Managing Breast Cancer During The Holidays

We know everyone loves this time of year because you can spend it with your loved ones. However, the season can go from extremely joyful to stressful for some women and men with breast cancer. It can have to do with a variety of reasons like juggling responsibilities or social outings.

Whenever an individual is going through something as traumatic as a breast cancer diagnosis can change their perspective on priorities during this time of the year. Sometimes they will just need some quiet time and others will want to be around people more. The journey can have serious ups and downs so it’s all about taking it one day at a time.

Our three things we believe everyone should remember whenever diagnosed are acceptance, communication, and flexibility. If you or someone close to you is going through or recently completed treatment, consider these tips for helping through the holidays.

For People with Cancer:

Accept where you are.  Listen to your body. If you are feeling tired then rest. If you are feeling less social than usual know those feelings are fine.  Allow yourself to be where you are emotionally and physically.

However, if you feel you are having trouble coping, let your health care provider know. Seeking help is not a bad thing. It’s important to acknowledge those feelings.

Communicate your needs and feelings. Be open about what you need and what you want the holiday experience to be. There is no right or wrong here.

Keep your calendar open.   It’s okay to have plans in the future, but you won’t know your energy levels until the day of. Accept invitations tentatively.

Be flexible with traditions.  T It’s important to talk to your family about what the holiday season hold. Discuss what is really important to you, but to also take advantage of when your energy levels are high.

We will be discussing exceptions for friends and family next week.

 

Schedule Your North Texas Giving Day Donation Today!

8 Days Of Scheduled Giving

Help Us Reach Our Goal of $20,000

Your support will help save a woman’s life

 

Schedule giving is now open. Support the Bridge Breast Network and help us in our mission of providing diagnostic and treatment services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals living in North Texas. Simply click here to give to The Bridge Breast Network between now and September 19th, and schedule a gift of $25 or more.

 

You can still Get Up & Give on September 20th from 6am – midnight, and every donation of $25 or more will be eligible for bonus funding. Simply click here and select The Bridge Breast Network as the recipient of your donation.

 

Your Donation to The Bridge Breast Network Matters!!!!

Please forward this email to family and friends and show your support for our mission. Every dollar counts in the fight against breast cancer. The Bridge Breast Network is able to leverage every dollar received 10X the amount in medical services. This allows your dollars to go even further.

 

North Texas Giving Day!

Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day is an 18-hour online giving event designed to empower every person to give back to their community by supporting local nonprofits and causes they care about in one easy-to-use platform.

The event helps build awareness and support for nonprofits like nothing else. In 2017, $39 million was raised through more than 137,000 gifts benefiting 2,723 local nonprofit, bringing the nine year total to $195 million for our community. North Texas Giving Day is the largest community-wide giving event in the nation.

In ten years, this online event has transformed from an idea to help raise awareness of nonprofits, to a movement that has ignited a broad culture of community-wide giving. During North Texas Giving Day, everyone has the opportunity to be a philanthropist to build a stronger and more vibrant community.

“The North Texas community is so generous, and the Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day is the perfect day to help our neighbors and invest in our local nonprofits. I’m happy to serve as the inaugural Honorary Chair of North Texas Giving Day. Please join me in supporting your favorite North Texas charities on September 20th.”
                                                                                                                                                           – Laura Bush, Former First Lady

Help Us Reach Our Goal of $20,000

Your support will help save a woman’s life

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 20, 2018 from 6am – midnight. Your donation of $25 or more will be eligible for bonus funding. This will allow your dollars to go even further. The Bridge Breast Network is able to leverage every dollar received 10X the amount in medical services.

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 10

Not available on September 20? No Worries! Schedule your gifts to The Bridge Breast Network between September 10 and September 19.

What to Bring on Your First Day of Chemo!

Health line provided a poll of women living with breast cancer for their tips on what to bring, and what to wear, on your first day of chemotherapy.

If you have tips then please share them with us too!

 

      

 

Thank you healthline for the graphic!

How Yoga Can Help You Through Breast Cancer!

Breast cancer may cause symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, decreased range of motion, and weakness. We suggest that its important to exercise and other therapies like yoga, can ease those symptoms.

“Yoga has many physical and emotional benefits for all cancer patients,” says Ann Marie Turo, OTR/L, yoga instructor in Dana-Farber’s Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, where she teaches chair yoga, Hatha yoga. For breast cancer patients, who might experience lymphedema following surgery or radiation, Turo says yoga can help restore range of motion in the arms and improve strength and mobility. Yoga can also reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can lower heart rate and blood pressure.

“Research has increasingly shown that breast cancer patients who practice yoga experience many benefits, including increased energy, diminished anxiety, and better overall quality of life,” says Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a breast oncologist in Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers and director of the Zakim Center. “The mission of the Zakim Center is to provide patients access to integrative therapies with proven benefits, such as yoga, to help support healing during and after cancer treatment.

“Yoga is a feel good exercise,” adds Turo. “And it’s a tool you can use anywhere – in bed, sitting on a chair, or on a mat.”

Turo recommends easing into a yoga routine, and some of her favorite poses can be done in a chair or at a desk. View the infographic below for a step-by-step guide to stretches that will help increase range of motion and body awareness following breast cancer treatment.

Check the Zakim Center’s program calendar to learn more about Turo’s classes and other group programming at Dana-Farber

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.