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Follow up clinic launches
A new Breast Cancer Care Follow-up Clinic will be open for walk-ins the second Tuesday of every month beginning June 11 at the IU Health Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center West, 2499 W. Cota Dr. Certified lymphedema therapists will provide screenings of limb volume and upper extremity range of motion and strength. For more info, call 812-353-9378 or email the clinic. Learn more about lymphedema and your risk.
New book advises friends of cancer patient
When Cancer Strikes a Friend now is available to answer the questions and offer guidance for those who want to help their friends with cancer. A work 10 years in the making, it covers emotional and practical aspects of supporting friends.
The book is by former resident Bonnie Draeger and is a project of Friends & Cancer, a nonprofit dedicated to creating materials and learning opportunities to prepare and encourage friends to help and support people with cancer.
The book features local contibutors Gena Asher of BreastCancerFYI.org, Janice Ross of the Olcott Center for Cancer Education and Catherine Sherwood-Laughlin, IU health sciences professor who has taught a popular course on cancer. Nationally known health care professionals offer their expertise on topics from learning to communicate to finding your way as a friend. Read more about the project at the Friends & Cancer website.
Nordstrom offers prostheses
We all know Nordstrom for its great shoe department, but breast cancer survivors who need breast prostheses have yet another reason to shop there. Nordstrom's certified prosthesis fitters are specially trained to fit women who have recently undergone a mastectomy, lumpectomy or other reconstructive surgery. The fitters work one-on-one in a private setting in the lingerie department.
In addition to prostheses and bras, the store offers enhancers for those who have had lumpectomies and reconstructive surgery; mastectomy bras; Amoena attachable breast forms; specialty breast forms; and post mastectomy camisoles. It also offers pocketing on the entire collection of bras, which compensates for everything from minimal surgery to radical mastectomy.
Personnel can provide assistance with Medicare claim filing and is a participating provider for some insurance companies.
Find out more at the website. The closest Nordstrom to Bloomington is at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis. Phone is 317-810-9809. Ask for lingerie.
Road to Recovery needs drivers
The American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program to provide cancer patients with transportation needs some volunteers. Are you available?
The program provides drivers for cancer patients who do not have transportation to treatments or medical appointments. Volunteer drivers will be certified by spending about a half hour watching a DVD and filling out an application. The ACS will check driving records and conduct background checks.
If you are interested, contact Terri Jones at Terri.Jones@cancer.org or call (812)376-3148, or toll-free, (800)227-2345.
Do you have a disaster plan?
Hurricanes, nor'easters, earthquakes or perhaps just bad winter storms interrupt cancer treatments and create panic for patients. Cure Magazine presents some advice for patients to prepare for disaster, as well as tips we all can use and linkst to resources.
Learn about survivors' 'Emotional Journey'
If you are a patient, survivor or caregiver, you probably have witnessed the range of emotions breast cancer patients display over the course of treatment and into survivorship. Indiana University researchers, led by Susan Woods, have released a study about just this topic, "The Emotional Journey of Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors Five Years and Beyond," and Breast Cancer: FYI is proud to host the entire study on this website.
In the study, Woods and fellow researchers Nancy T. Ellis and Kathleen R. Gilbert look at nine themes: Changed Sense of Identity, Taking Control, Why?, Fears, Significant Milestones, Mementos, Marriage and Family, Spirituality and Words of Wisdom. One of the more powerful sections, Results, features survivors sharing their reflections on these topics. This section should be a must-read for any health professionals working with survivors, and may be useful to patients just finishing treatment, too.
Get started on the intro page, then follow the links.
From the news pages:
Court rules genes cannot be patented
The Supreme Court ruled June 13 that DNA occurs in nature and companies cannot patent genes found in humans. This is a setback for companies such as Myriad, which developed a genetic test for the BRCA breast cancer genes, but others say the ruling will open up more avenues to testing as well as more paths for researchers to conduct their own explorations into genetic causes for disease. Shortly after the ruling, several universities and labs said they would begin offering testing for BRCA 1 and 2 immediately.Read a recap from the New York Times, and check out this article from Breast Cancer Action.org.
10 years of tamoxifen best?
Two studies have found that taking tamoxifen for 10 years instead of the long-recommended five years may provide extended risk for recurrence, two studies have found. You'll want to read about what this means for the side effects of blood clots and endometrial cancer, which often were cited as reasons for stopping tamoxifen after five years. This report from ASCO also sums up the findings.
Exercise, exercise, exercise...
We hear this time and again: Excercise helps lower risk of breast cancer and risk of recurrence, for a variety of reasons ranging from hormone regulation to obesity. So here's the latest report on a study that bears out all these theories.
Young women should not delay surgery
A study found that young women who waited longer than six weeks to have breast cancer surgery had worse survival than young women who had surgery earlier. This was especially true of underinsured women and minority women. Read more about the study.
Angelina Jolie story sparks awareness
Actress Angelina Jolie's column in the New York Times about her decision to have a double mastectomy in light of her genetic status has put the spotlight on both genetic testing and prophylactic mastectomy. And, the Supreme Court recently heard the case of gene patenting, a controversial case that has broad implications.
Need to catch up on this news? Check out these links to more info:
- Read Angelina Jolie's column.
- Read a follow-up article with comments from doctors and researchers.
- Read a doctor's response in a CNN Opinion piece about the rarity of the breast cancer genes.
- Web MD offers feedback and links to research websites.
- Some experts recommend tamoxifen or raloxifine for women at high risk, even if they have no evidence of breast cancer.
- Read the National Cancer Institute's fact sheet on risk and genetic testing.
- Myriad Genetics owns the patent to test genes, and it developed the testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2.
- Read about the arguments before the Supreme Court on the Myriad patent. The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on the Myriad Genetics case before its term ends in June.
Another study finds basis for chemo brain
After years of complaints of brain fog or cognitive function impairment, women are vindicated by several studies that find a scientific basis for "chemo brain." You can read about the latest one here.
25% skip hormonal therapy
A study suggests that about 25 percent of women who are prescribed hormonal therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence after surgery either don't start taking the medicine or stop taking it early. Why? Mostly because of side effects. Read more here.
Radiotherapy better than axillary dissection
Radiotherapy in breast cancer patients who are node positive may be as effective as axillary dissection, and would reduce the risk of lymphedema, a new study finds. Read the details presented at a recent ASCO conference.
Cure addresses living with metastatic cancer
Around 20 percent of cancer patients diagnosed annually in the U.S. have distant or advanced disease, meaning that their cancer has spread, or "metastasized," to a different site from the original tumor. Read Cure magazine's Living on the Edge: Some Patients with Metastatic Cancer Live Long and Well to learn more.
Radiation raises risk of heart disease only slightly
Radiation as part of breast cancer treatment may increase the risk of heart problems later, but the risk is slight, a new study says. And like previous studies, the benefit of radiation may outweigh the risk to the heart. Read more about the study.
New testing device may predict lymphedema risk
The L-Dex device may enable doctors to predict who will be most likely to develop lymphedema, the arm swelling that often afflicts breast cancer patients and survivors. Check out an article about the procedure.
Experts call for more environmental research
A Congressional committee is calling for more research into the connections between breast cancer and environmental factors. Citing studies that show that breast cancer rates can vary with changing environmental circumstances, the committee recommends more collaboration among researchers and more federal funding. Read more about the report.
FDA approves Kadcyla for advanced cancer
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Kadcyla, a new drug from Genentech, for treatment of advanced breast cancer. It combines the widely used Herceptin with a powerful toxin to more effectively kill cancer cells. It extended the median survival of women with advanced breast cancer by nearly half a year in a clinical trial. Read more at The New York Times.
Neuropathy often side effect from treatments
Neuropathy, the "pins and needles" pain, often occurs during or after certain cancer treatments. Chemotherapy drugs are more often linked to neuropathy, but radiation, surgery and the tumor itself may also damage nerves. Learn more about ways to deal with neuropathy.
Low vitamin D levels linked to high risk
Low serum vitamin D levels in the months preceding diagnosis may predict a high risk of premenopausal breast cancer, according to a report in Cancer Causes and Control. Check out the study at Artemis from Johns Hopkins.
Research, services, consider minority populations
Breast cancer advocates know the importance of looking at the disease beyond the perspective of middle class white women. Here are a couple of updates to expand your thinking:
- In Minnesota, the Pink Shawl Project aims to raise awareness about breast health issues among the Native American population. The program seeks to educate women in Indian country about access to free mammograms, promote programs that increase access to breast health education, and give Native women an opportunity to honor cancer survivors and those who have walked on.
- Hispanic women often need an extra push to get them back to a doctor's office after a possible diagnosis of breast cancer. A new study in the journal Cancer found that assigning a patient navigator to Latinas who have abnormal breast cancer scans improves their health care.
- African American women are less likely to undergo sentinel node biopsy, which, if negative, can avoid the more invasive axillary dissection to find positive lymph nodes, according to research presented at December's San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Not all food-cancer links backed by fact
Studies suggesting that certain foods or supplements may either cause cancer or prevent it are not grounded in good science -- or any science, in some cases, according to a new report suggests. Cure Today posted news about the study, where researchers created a list of 50 random food items, then found studies from the last 35 years that claimed risks or benefits for the majority them. But most of the claims were based on weak evidence.
More research news is available from the Archives page.