Fighting breast cancer was hard. It was also unfair. Linda was only 53, she ran marathons, ate lean meats, enjoyed her vegetables and took a walk every night with her husband. So it was profoundly unfair when a spot was found on her annual screening mammogram. She had a core needle biopsy, which demonstrated a breast cancer. Although the tumor was small, it was high grade. Linda chose to remove her breast and have a mastectomy. And then she took chemotherapy.Read More
A targeted therapy is a therapy targeted to a specific biomarker to kill breast cancer. A targeted therapy can be a monoclonal antibody, or what we used to call a magic or silver bullet, directed against a specific target on a breast cancer cell. Targeted therapies are akin to a sniper with a high-powered rifle, whereas chemotherapy is akin to a hunter with a shotgun. Both can be very effective, but the sniper has a much greater chance of hitting its target and making a kill.Read More Breast Cancer Treatment, Cancer, Cell (biology)
Nicole and her girlfriends went for their annual mammogram. It was always more fun to do it in a group. Although they were all in their young 40s and the government is trying to tell them not to have a mammogram till they turn 50, they listened to the advice of their physicians and have been getting screening mammograms since they turned 40. Nicole’s mammogram had some microcalcifications, small pieces of calcium that are deposited from breast tissue. Most often, fibrocystic breast changes can cause calcium deposits, but on occasion, the calcium can be deposited by cancer. Nicole had a core needle biopsy and was told she had Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. Nicole had breast cancer, or so she thought. Her friend Amber, who knows everything, said that Nicole did not have cancer, that DCIS is a benign growth. Well, does Nicole have cancer? Is DCIS cancer?
Yes. DCIS is cancer. DCIS can recur after excision. DCIS can transform into a malignant tumor. Cure rates are as high as 98%, but 2% still succumb to the disease. Thus, DCIS is cancer, but benign cancer, as opposed to malignant cancer, which can spread throughout the body.Read More Angelina Jolie, Breast cancer, Breast cancer screening, Breast Cancer Treatment, cancer recurrence, DCIS, Mammography
Josephine took her last dose of radiation therapy, got dressed, and walked down the hallway. The staff and other cancer survivors were waiting for her. She strode towards them, feeling like a Cheshire Cat with a smile a mile wide. She enjoyed every step. She enjoyed every congratulation. She enjoyed every good cheer. She grabbed the hammer and rung the bell. She was done. Her journey to beat breast cancer was complete.
Fighting breast cancer takes a lot of energy and determination. Many days just wipe you out and some days you just cry. At the end of the journey, the air is fresh, the sky is blue and the sun is brighter than it ever was.Read More American Cancer Society, Breast cancer, Cancer, cancer recurrence, Chemotherapy, emotional recovery, Mammography
Chemotherapy is a combination of medicines that kill cancer cells by stopping their cellular division (mitosis) and “birthing” of new cancer cells. If cancer cells cannot give birth to new cancer cells, then the cancer itself will die. Chemotherapy is not very specific to cancer cells only, as chemotherapy also kills rapidly dividing healthy cells, which leads to many of the side effects of chemotherapy.Read More Awareness, Breast cancer, Breast Cancer Treatment, Cancer, Chemotherapy
October’s colors warm the heart like no other. As the greens of summer fade to reds and yellows, the air becomes crisp, heralding the coming months of reflection and renewal. October puts to rest the hard work of summer and initiates the inward searching of winter. We clean our lawns, wipe down our decks and gather wood for the fire. We are preparing to say thanks for the past year and to appreciate the many blessings in our lives.
In October, we listen to Moses delivering his final sermon to the Israelites as he prepares to climb Mt. Nebo and return home to God. The final chapters of Torah are read, and we can see Moses disappear up the mountain. We then turn to the beginning and recite the story of creation.Read More American Cancer Society, Awareness, Breast cancer, Cure, emotional recovery, Imelda G. Margulies, Knoxville Tennessee, Real Men Wear Pink
Geraldine got her mammogram every year. Her first grandchild was born six years ago she wasn’t going to miss a second of her grandbaby’s life, although, the baby’s mom, Laura, had something to say about that. Geraldine just knew that her grandbaby was God’s gift to her or raising Laura, her daughter, right. And Geraldine wanted to be there for her daughter and to play with her grandbaby. So she got her mammogram every year.Read More Breast, Breast cancer, Breast cancer screening, Genetics, Mammography, Real Men Wear Pink
Jane is a 36-year-old mother of three just trying to make it through the day. She has children in three different schools, and the constant driving was taking a toll on her. One day, while putting on her seat belt, her left breast hurt. She thought nothing of it as she drove around town from school to ballet to soccer and to the grocery store. Then, one morning, in the shower, she noticed a lump in her breast. No one in her family, not her mother, not her sisters, not her aunts, had breast cancer. Still, she was scared. She called her physician who recommended a mammogram and ultrasound. Jane had breast cancer.Read More American Cancer Society, Angelina Jolie, Awareness, Breast Cancer Treatment, cancer recurrence, Chemotherapy, Ovarian cancer, Surgery
Judy was nearing her 35th birthday. She was excited. Her husband was going to take her to Colorado for an exciting week of rock climbing, river rafting, and fishing. Then, she was sad. She wanted romantic walks in the foothills, expensive dinners with champagne and a night in the honeymoon suite. Men will just never learn.Read More American Cancer Society, Breast cancer, Breast cancer screening, cancer recurrence, emotional recovery, Health, Mammography
Betsy was happy with her body. She was fashionable is a summer dress. She was relaxed in a bathing suit. She was confident in her fall sweater. She was happy, until last week. She got the phone call. Yes, that phone call, the one where the radiologist calls and tells you that you have breast cancer. Betsy was afraid. She was scared.Read More cancer recurrence, emotional recovery, total mastectomy, total skin saving mastectomy