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.


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.

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 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