Planning Financially For Breast Cancer Treatment
An unexpected cancer diagnosis often comes with a heavy financial burden. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, surgeries, and medications throughout the treatment journey can come as a shock, especially if they turn out to be out-of-pocket expenses. Medical bills can create additional stress in already trying times, so it’s important that patients understand any and all expenses that may arise during breast cancer treatment.
Patients should always contact their insurance company to see what expenses will be covered by insurance and what resources will require funds from elsewhere. Crowdfunding via sites like GoFundMe has become a popular way to cover medical and living expenses throughout the treatment journey, as patients look to the support of their friends, family, and even generous strangers in their community. If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer after receiving a misdiagnosis, compensation from a successful medical malpractice lawsuit can also help ease the financial stress of growing medical bills.
Understanding A Breast Cancer Diagnosis
When being diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s important for patients and their loved ones to take time to process the situation above all else. Although time may be of the essence, it’s important that patients enter their treatment journey with a clear head to ensure that every decision is made with their best interest in mind. Coming to terms with a diagnosis is a critical step in the process.
HER2 refers to the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, a gene that can play a role in breast cancer development. The gene controls how breast cells grow, divide, and repair themselves, making overproduction a potential red flag for breast cancer.
Patients and their families should also bring any questions or concerns to a doctor as soon as possible, especially if they relate to treatment options. A doctor should provide information regarding the type of cancer, the HER2 status, and its stage during the first appointment, so patients and families can begin to make a plan to move forward. Patients should feel comfortable asking questions about where the cancer is located, long-term outlook, and next steps. Having these conversations as quickly as possible and implementing a treatment plan will give the patient the best chance of survival, as diagnoses often worsen when left untreated.
How To Talk To Others About Your Cancer
In general, tell the people close to you how youre feeling. This is sometimes hard to do, but its healthy to let others know about your sadness, anxiety, anger, or other emotional distress. If you dont feel comfortable doing this, you may want to find a support group or a mental health counselor to help you. Your support group or counselor will be there for you at a regular time set aside for you to focus on and talk about your concerns and issues. Some people prefer workshops, peer groups, or religious support.
Find what works for you
Try different things until you find what works for you. When you keep other people involved and informed about your illness, it helps ease your burden. Friends and family can share their strength and concern with you and with each other, which can be helpful for everyone involved.
I could not do this without my support group. Theyre going through this with me and we understand each other in ways that no one else can. My family tries to understand how I feel, but my support group friends know how I feel theyre fighting cancer, too.Lee, age 56
If you or your family normally dont like to talk about certain personal issues, remember that its OK not to open up to everyone. Some people are very careful about who they talk with and what they talk about. This might be a good time, though, for you to start to work on becoming more open with trusted loved ones.
Learn your trigger points
Ask how they feel about it
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Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.
- If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
- If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
- If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
- If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
- If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.
Signs And Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
In its early stages, breast cancer may not cause any symptoms. In many cases, a tumor may be too small to be felt, but an abnormality can still be seen on a mammogram.
If a tumor can be felt, the first sign is usually a new lump in the breast that was not there before. However, not all lumps are cancer.
Each type of breast cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. Many of these symptoms are similar, but some can be different. Symptoms for the most common breast cancers include:
- a breast lump or tissue thickening that feels different than surrounding tissue and has developed recently
- breast pain
- changes to the appearance of the skin on your breasts
- a lump or swelling under your arm
If you have any of these symptoms, it doesnt necessarily mean you have breast cancer. For instance, pain in your breast or a breast lump can be caused by a benign cyst.
Still, if you find a lump in your breast or have other symptoms, you should see your doctor for further examination and testing.
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Things To Know About Her2
The breast cancer treatment journey something nearly one in eight women will experience sometime in their lifetime can be overwhelming and filled with uncertainty. To hear you have breast cancer, or your breast cancer is progressing can be incredibly jarring. Often, one of the first things people want to know about their breast cancer is its stage, meaning how extensive the breast cancer is based on tumor size, its location and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
While stage is certainly important in helping determine how to treat breast cancer, there are a number of other factors patients should consider with their healthcare team. One such consideration is their breast cancer type, which can be determined by the presence of certain proteins or other substances that can lead to the presence of cancer, also known as cancer biomarkers. These biomarkers can provide valuable information about the cancer, including how aggressive it is and whether it may help inform treatment options.
Here are five things to know about human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 , one of the commonly seen breast cancer biomarkers.
1. You too should think about HER2.
2. There are a number of tests available to detect the presence of HER2.
Two of the most common tests to find out if a persons breast cancer is HER2-positive are:
3. Your HER2 status can change.
4. Great strides have been made in research and treatments for HER2-positive breast cancer.
When Will I Get My Results
Your assessment may be done in a one-stop clinic. This is where all tests are carried out during your visit to the clinic.
Some test results may be available later that day, but if you have a core biopsy this will take longer. In some areas, you may be asked to make another appointment to finish your tests or to get your results. If this happens, you may have to wait about a week for your test results.
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Symptoms Of Angiosarcoma Of The Breast
Another rare form of breast cancer, angiosarcoma forms inside the lymph and blood vessels. Only a biopsy may definitively diagnose this type of cancer. Angiosarcoma can cause changes to the skin of your breast, such as the development of purple-colored nodules that resemble a bruise. These nodules, if bumped or scratched, may bleed. Over time, these discolored areas may expand, making your skin appear swollen in that area. You may or may not have breast lumps with angiosarcoma. If you also have lymphedema, which is swelling caused by a buildup of lymphatic fluid, angiosarcoma may occur in the affected arm. Cancer treatment sometimes damages the lymph vessels, which may lead to lymphedema.
One In Seven Men In The United States Will Receive A Prostate Cancer Diagnosis During His Lifetime
May is bladder cancer awareness month, a time of year when the urology care foundation, the world’s leading nonprofit urological. Women have about a 1 in 8 chance of getting breast cancer, but it might surprise you more to learn 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer. Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer worldwide and the sixth most common cancer in the united states. Nathan answers your questions about prostate cancer screening and treatment in a virtual conversation. May is dedicated to spreading awareness about skin cancer, the most common cancer, which affects 1 in 5 americans by the age of 70. 1 in 5 americans will devel. However, as with other types of cancer,. The earlier the detection of prostate cancer, the better the patient’s chance of survival is. One in seven men in the united states will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Before getting a psa test, learn about the possible risks. Should you get screened for prostate cancer? Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the united states and around the world: The answer is different for each.
It may grow slowly and it’s typically treatable prostate cancer awareness month. May is bladder cancer awareness month, a time of year when the urology care foundation, the world’s leading nonprofit urological.
1 in 5 americans will devel. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosed in men. But hearing the words can still be scary.
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You’re Experiencing Abnormal Tenderness Or Pain
You might experience some tenderness around your period, and that’s totally normal. If you’re experiencing persistent or severe pain, though, and you know it’s not due to your menstrual cycle, the American Cancer Society says it should be checked out. Even though breast cancers don’t normally cause pain and tenderness, it’s still a possibility.
How To Break The News
When and how you tell your loved ones is up to you. Many people choose to tell their partner or spouse first, followed by close family members and friends.
You might start off with, This is going to be difficult, but I need to tell you something. Or, if they know youve had tests, you could say that your doctor has found out whats wrong.
If you dont want to give the news in person, you can tell others over the phone, video chat, email, text, or social media. Think about what youre going to say in advance and how youll respond to the reactions and questions they may have, Brown says.
Try not to pressure yourself to put on a happy or 100% confident face. Its OK to be honest about how you feel.
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What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.
At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.
If you still have a breast , youll need to get a mammogram every year. Depending on your treatment, you might need other tests as well, such as yearly pelvic exams or bone density tests.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as well as you can.
Tips On Sharing Your Diagnosis
The following tips may help you better prepare to share your diagnosis:
Tell your boss directly: It is important that your boss hears about the news from you and not through the grapevine. Find a comfortable and private setting to deliver the news. By opening the lines of communication with your supervisor, you may strengthen your relationship and set clear expectations. The Americans with Disabilities Act includes certain provisions designed to protect you if you’ve made your employer aware of your medical condition.
Talk to your HR department: Once your boss knows about your diagnosis, he or she will need to communicate the information to the human resources department. You may want to go directly to your HR representative to learn more about company policies and your employment rights. You may also want to discuss your treatment schedule and options for flexible work arrangements.
Start with a trusted co-worker: Work cultures vary by workplace. By first speaking with a trusted co-worker, you may be better able to assess and plan how to share the news with someone who knows firsthand the culture and people involved.
Accept help: Many people will react by asking, What can I do to help? You may not know how to answer that yet, or what help youll need. When you are ready, let others know how they can help, and be as specific as possible.
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Looking For Breast Cancer Resources
Beckie was overwhelmed. As an educator for Marylands public school system, she knew where to find resources for most topics, but books about talking to kids about breast cancer were hard to find.
This led Beckie to write her own book.
Typing away on her iPhone kept her busy while enduring many hours of treatments and provided a way to get her thoughts out of her head and onto paper. Her book, My Warrior Mommy: Our Cancer Journey was created out of not only her need to process what was happening, but with the intention to help other families in the future.2
The book helps families:
You Have Sore On Your Breast That Won’t Heal
Whether it’s on your breast or on your nipple, a sore that won’t seem to heal is something to pay close attention to. “It may be a sign of Paget’s disease of the breast, a rare form of breast cancer,” says Alvarez. “This disease originates in the nipple. It’s not usually invasive and is most commonly diagnosed in patients in their 70s and 80s.” And for warning signals of other types of serious conditions, check out These Are All of the Cancer Warning Signs Hiding in Plain Sight.
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Breast Cancer Survivor Writes Childrens Book To Help Others
One morning in November 2014, just after her 40th birthday, Beckie Gladfelter felt a lump in her breast. She scheduled an appointment with her doctor and was concerned, but not alarmed she had no family history of breast cancer and hadnt even had her first mammogram yet.
However, a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy confirmed that Beckie would become one of the one in eight women in the United States to be diagnosed with breast cancer that year.1
She was shocked. Her mind filled with so many thoughts. How should she tell her family? How serious is this cancer? Would it take her life?
Beckies kids were in second grade, kindergarten, and preschool at the time. How should she tell the kids?
How Do You Feel About It
You most likely will have many different emotions as you learn more about your diagnosis and begin to learn about treatment options. Its normal to wonder, Why me? or to feel sad, angry, or afraid. Physical and chemical changes from the treatment or the cancer itself can also affect your emotions. The first step is to admit to yourself how you feel. Its OK to let yourself feel the way you do.
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Get The Straight Story On Sick Leave
Once you have told your boss that you have breast cancer, it is time to ask some questions and take notes.
- Your boss should know who is the best person to contact in the Human Resources office.
- You can ask for a copy of the Sick Leave Policy and instructions on how to use the Sick Leave Pool if your employer has one.
- Be sure to ask how to apply for FMLA hours in case you need them.
- Your employer may require some certification about your medical condition – ask what forms of certification will be needed.
- If finances might become a problem, ask if there are any Employee Assistance Programs available to you.
- Find out if there is a cancer support group in your company and how you can get connected with it.
- If you’ve decided not to work through cancer treatment, ask if you can keep your employer’s insurance benefits through the COBRA program.