No One Should Have To Face Breast Cancer Alone
Knowing exactly what to do after a breast cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming. But the good news is that you dont have to face all the questions and decisions alone.
You can count on us to help you through it all with a personalized treatment plan and an integrated team of specialists to take care of you at every step of your breast cancer journey.
With award-winning cancer centers and clinics in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, were here for you and your family.
If youve been referred to an oncologist or surgeon, and have yet to schedule an appointment, choose a location and then give us a call.
What Are The Potential Side Effects Of This Treatment
Many people who undergo radiation therapy for breast cancer have some breast pain and skin irritation. The affected skin may eventually become red and swollen like a sunburn. These conditions typically begin within a few weeks of starting treatment and go away on their own within six months after treatment ends. For some patients, these symptoms may not occur until several months or years after treatment. Other common side effects include fatigue, especially in the later weeks of treatment and for some time afterward, and firmness or shrinkage of the breast. Women who have had radiation therapy to the lymph nodes in the underarm area may develop lymphedema, a condition in which fluid collects in the arm, causing it to swell.
Questions To Ask The Medical Oncologist
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How Can I Ease The Side Effects
The patient’s care team may offer various supportive cancer care techniques to help ease the side effects associated with radiation therapy for breast cancer. Pain management and oncology rehabilitation may help with skin pain and soreness and lymphedema management. Naturopathic support, nutrition therapy, oncology rehabilitation and mind-body medicine may help relieve fatigue.
Questions To Ask An Oncologist About Breast Cancer
If you think you have breast cancer, it us always good to ask an oncologist regarding the same so that there are no confusions and proper treatment is obtained at the right time. Mentioned below are 12 questions you can ask an oncologist online. In fact, the questions are from various phases of the disease.
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If I Have Chemotherapy Will I Need To Take Other Medications Like Trastuzumab
If your breast cancer is HER2-positive, its recommended that you take trastuzumab for one year, Dr. Abraham says. This ensures that the HER2 growth receptor on any remaining cancer cells stays shut off. Trastuzumab is not chemotherapy. The hair you lost during chemotherapy will regrow and your energy level will improve while youre taking trastuzumab.
What Can I Do Or Not Do During Cancer Treatment
The goal with breast cancer treatment today is to help people continue to live their normal lives throughout treatment. That said, its important to find out about any caveats. Your doctor will provide you with diet and exercise guidelines, says Dr. Johnson, as well as activities to avoid such as smoking and drinking excessive alcohol. Cancer doctors often use more than one treatment for breast cancer, so even if you know someone who has already gone through breast cancer treatment, your experience and what you are supposed to do and avoid during your treatment may be unique to you.
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What Is Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Considered a rare disease, inflammatory breast cancer typically forms in the soft tissues, blocking lymph vessels in the breast skin. That’s why the breast often becomes firm, tender, itchy, red and warm, from the increase in blood flow and a build-up of white blood cells. IBC differs from other forms of breast cancer, especially in symptoms, prognosis and treatment.
The term inflammatory is not meant to reflect what’s happening inside the breast, only in how the breast appears. When an infection or injury causes the breasts to become inflamed, they often become tender, swollen, red and itchy, but the underlying cause is not inflammation.
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Questions To Ask The Radiation Oncologist
Confirm Your Treatment Plan Next Steps
Is chemotherapy an option before surgery? Will you do a lumpectomy? Or a partial or double mastectomy?
Whether were talking about surgery, therapy or some combination of both, there are many ways to treat breast cancer. And thats why we team up with you to help make sure were creating a treatment plan that works best for your situation.
Once you and your care team have decided on an initial treatment plan, your nurse navigator will help coordinate your next steps and more resources if needed. If you have additional questions, concerns or just need some extra TLC, youll find all the support you need.
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What Will My Treatment Cost
Thinking about money could be the last thing on your mind if you were just diagnosed with cancer. Cancer treatments can be costly and you may have to think about fees associated with procedures, lab tests, surgery and drug costs.
Many patients have a lot of out of pocket expenses, so its important to have a frank discussion about copays, facility fees and even parking, says Dr. Kamath. Those can really add up.
If the doctor doesnt know the answer, ask to talk to a social worker or financial counselor. They may be able to find financial assistance programs or other resources.
Financial side effects of cancer care are real and common, says Dr. Kamath. No one should feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help.
Questions To Ask About Advanced Cancer Decision
Will palliative care continue even if I stop cancer treatment?
Where can I receive palliative care?
How often will I need to see a doctor?
What is hospice care? How is hospice care different than palliative care?
Am I at the point where I should consider hospice care? If not, will you tell me when I am?
Where can I receive hospice care, and how can I manage its costs?
Do I need to choose a health care proxy to make medical decisions for me when I cannot?
What legal documents should I have in place that explain what medical treatment I want or do not want? A living will? CPR or do-not-resuscitate orders? A Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form?
Are there resources you recommend to help me put my legal, financial, and business affairs in order?
What services are available to help me and my family with the emotional and spiritual aspects of death and dying?
The next section in this guide is Additional Resources. It offers more resources on this website that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.
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Can Diet Exercise And Other Lifestyle Choices Help In My Recovery
Earlier in the article, we mentioned multiple causes of cancer. Hence, a healthy lifestyle is crucial to reducing the risk of cancer development and recurrence.
Studies have found a consistent link between physical activity and a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality rate.
Studies also found that breast cancer survivors whose eating patterns include more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, chicken, and fish tend to live long. In comparison, those who eat more refined sugars, fats, red meats, and processed meats have a shorter lifespan. It may be due to cancer or the development of other illnesses such as stroke or heart attack.
The links between diets, exercise, lifestyle choices, cancer progression, and recurrence are not bound. However, the health benefits could help you improve your quality of life, physical functioning, and fatigue symptoms. Seek advice from your doctor in detail about what she has to say about a proactive lifestyle.
What Is The Goal Of Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy for breast cancer is typically given after a lumpectomy and sometimes after a mastectomy to decrease the risk of local cancer recurrence. The treatments typically start several weeks after surgery so the area has time to heal. Radiation therapy may be used:
- As a primary treatment to destroy breast cancer cells
- Before another treatment to shrink a breast tumor
- After another treatment to stop the growth of any remaining cancer cells
- In combination with other treatments to stop cancer cell growth
- To relieve symptoms of advanced breast cancer
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Can Men Get Breast Cancer
Yes, its possible for men to get breast cancer. Anyone with breast tissue is capable of developing breast cancer. However, its less common, with about one out of every 100 breast cancer cases in the United States developing in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Breast cancer in men is most often a type known as invasive ductal carcinoma , which begins in one of the breast ducts and spreads to other areas of the breast.
Fiercely Focused On What Matters The Most
Two years after her stage two triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis, Rebekah is cancer-free but not without side effects.
I still have some inflammation in my joints, Rebekah said. Its in the process of improving but has not been completely resolved yet. I have some digestive issues as well. But honestly, I dont even talk about that much because I just feel so grateful to God to be alive. There are still those things, but those things are so small. Being alive and being given all these days is such a gift. Im just grateful.
Rebekah continues to see Dr. Mardones every six months for follow-up care.
Is cancer good? No. I wouldnt want anyone to experience this, Rebekah said. But my experience is that God can bring good out of the worst of suffering. Ive always been a pretty focused person. Theres just a resolution in my soul. I want to be fiercely focused on what matters the most. And the things that matter for eternity and what matters here is sharing the hope and the truth found in Jesus Christ and loving people well. As a working mom, life is full and life is busy, but I genuinely feel so grateful for all those moments that I think its easy for all of us me included to take for granted. When you go through something like cancer, you become crystal clear and keenly aware that every moment is a grace from God. Its a gift. And I hope that my life demonstrates that.
When Will I Be Done With Treatment
The answer depends on your breast cancer stage, says Dr. Johnson. With early-stage breast cancer, you are receiving curative therapy, which has a treatment end point, he explains. In metastatic cancer, your treatment is indefinite, as the goal is to manage, rather than cure, the disease. Additionally, it helps put your treatment schedule into perspective, both in terms of order of treatmentssurgery vs. chemotherapy vs. radiation vs. endocrine therapyas well as the length of each treatment modality, he explains. Knowing what your cancer treatment timeline looks like will better prepare you for the road ahead.
Should I Get A Second Opinion
A second opinion may confirm the original diagnosis and treatment plan, provide more details about the type and stage of the breast cancer, raise additional treatment options not considered, or lead to a recommendation for a different course of action. A second opinion may also help patients feel more confident in their treatment decisions and help them find a doctor they feel comfortable with.
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Consult With A Breast Cancer Specialist At Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we welcome patients with all types and stages of breast cancer to visit our Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program. Our team includes medical oncologists , radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists and highly experienced social workers and supportive care providers who can answer any questions you might have.
If youre ready to talk with a breast cancer specialist, you can do so at Moffitt with or without a physicians referral. Call or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment.
Where Can I Find More Information
Breast cancer treatment is complex, and it is important to get the information that you need to understand options and how treatments may affect you, says Catherine Alfano, Ph.D., associate director at the Institute of Health System Science at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY. The internet can be a black hole of misleading and sometimes bad information, so it is important to seek information from trusted sources. In addition to talking with your oncology team, Alfano recommends checking the National Cancer Institute , the American Cancer Society , and the American Society of Clinical Oncology .
Is My Cancer Invasive Or Noninvasive
A tumor is an abnormal growth that may be benign or malignant. Benign breast tumors are not life-threatening and do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant breast tumors are cancers that impact the patient’s health and may spread to other parts of the body. A malignant tumor that grows into surrounding tissue is considered invasive. Invasive tumors are more likely to spread to other parts of the body than non-invasive tumors. Non-invasive breast cancer cells remain in a particular area of the breast without spreading to surrounding tissue, lobules or ducts.
The Rmcc Breakfast Club
Rebekah did not let the rough patches overshadow the community and relationships she found at RMCC.
I received treatment during the COVID period, Rebekah said. Other people couldnt go to appointments with you. There was a group of us who received radiation together, and we called ourselves the breakfast club. The RMCC staff and nurses let us turn the waiting room into a morning get-together. It really became a bond. We were able to laugh and have joy in the midst of it and encourage one another in the community. It was really a gift. On our last days of chemo or radiation, the nurses and staff celebrated with all of us. There are no words to say how much that means.
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Questions To Ask Oncologist About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common kind of cancer with which women suffer all over the globe. However, when diagnosed and treated at the right time, breast cancer is completely curable. Innumerable women have undergone treatment for breast cancer and are leading absolutely normal lives. Breast cancer awareness programs are being propagated everywhere so that women are conscious of the disease and take proper precautions and steps. Getting the right kinds of tests done at regular intervals is also important so that the problem can be diagnosed right in the beginning for a complete cure. You can ask an oncologist online about breast cancer and other issues related to the same.
Questions To Ask Your Oncologist About Breast Cancer
So, youve been diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course, youre shaken and you want to know more about what happens next and how youll fight back. But because this is all so new to you, how do you know what to even ask your doctor?
Start here with these six questions that every woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer should ask their oncologist, according to David A. Riseberg, MD, chief of medical oncology and hematology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore:
1. What is my stage, and what does that mean?
Breast cancer stages are used to determine the extent of your cancer, or how much it has grown and spread.
The stage of your cancer is associated with how advanced the disease is, and that can be correlated with prognosis, risk of recurrence, and risk of death, Riseberg says.
Knowing more about the chance that the cancer will come back and how much benefit youre likely to get from each treatment can be helpful in deciding on a plan with your care team.
2. What do I need to know about hormones and HER2 receptors?
The receptors are important, both in assisting with discussions about prognosis and in providing insight into how aggressive the cancer is, as well as specific treatment options. Some women are hormone receptor-positive, and some women are HER2 receptor-positive, Riseberg says.
3. What are my surgical options?
4. Would a genomic test be helpful in deciding about the need for chemotherapy?
5. Are there any clinical trials available for me?
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