How to Prevent and Manage Lymphedema

Following radiation treatment or surgery to remove lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy), patients can develop lymphedema, a condition that involves abnormal swelling, usually in the arms or the legs, due to an accumulation of lymphatic fluids. This fluid buildup is caused by blockage or removal of lymph nodes or lymph vessels. Lymphedema is often associated with breast cancer patients, but can result from treatment of other cancers, such as melanoma, prostate, or advanced gynecological cancer. In addition to discomfort, lymphedema can also lead to infection, as the fluid buildup can increase bacteria growth. Pay attention to signs of infection, including pain, heat, …

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Ask the Expert: Questions and Answers About Breast Cancer Treatment

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Harold Burstein, MD, PhD, and Erica Mayer, MD, MPH recently partnered with CancerConnect to answer questions about breast cancer therapies. Burstein and Mayer are breast oncologists in the Center for Breast Oncology at Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers.   Q: What medications are helpful for depression after breast cancer treatment and while taking tamoxifen?

New Research Shows Progress in Breast Cancer Treatment

The 36th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, which ran from Dec. 10-14, brought news of significant advances against a disease that strikes more than 230,000 women and 2,000 men in the United States each year. The more than 1,000 research papers presented by thousands of scientists and physicians ranged from laboratory explorations of the basic biology of the disease to studies that may change the treatment for patients with a variety of breast cancer subtypes. Here are summaries of the findings of several high-profile studies:

Cancer Diagnosis Leads to Nursing Career

By Maggie Loucks, NP-C When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 28, during my last semester of graduate school, I remember thinking that this had to mean something. I needed to turn an unfortunate situation into something positive, so I decided to pursue oncology nursing where I felt I could make a difference. 

ABC’s Amy Robach Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at Age 40

One month after undergoing a mammogram live on “Good Morning America,” ABC reporter Amy Robach announced Monday she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy later this week. At 40-years old, Robach is among a population of younger women with breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases in the United States occur in women age 40 and younger.

Infographic: Breast Cancer and Genetics

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, but only 5-10 percent of breast cancer cases are hereditary. Of those cases, roughly 20-25 percent are linked to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes (BRCA stands for BReast CAncer susceptibility). View the infographic below for more on the genetics of breast cancer.

Targeting Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Breast cancer may develop in one part of the body, but it’s not just one disease. In fact, oncologists think of breast cancer as at least three different types of diseases. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) describes breast cancer cells that do not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors. It makes up approximately 15 percent of all breast cancers and is typically more aggressive than the other two types, estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer. “It may be the smallest group, but TNBC still represents thousands of women with breast cancer, so it is a very important group for …

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Foods to Keep in Your Diet Before and After a Mastectomy

During cancer treatment, a nutritious and well-rounded diet can help you cope with side effects of chemotherapy, maintain energy and support the immune system. If you are preparing for a mastectomy or other major surgery, a healthy diet will also provide nutrients to help optimize healing time. Most patients who undergo a mastectomy can return to regular eating habits two weeks after the surgery, but nutritionists recommend a healthy diet to be ideally implemented before the procedure to help you heal and set up long-term healthy eating habits. There are several foods we suggest make it to your plate both …

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Four Lessons from a Cancer Caregiver

By Patrick Palmer In June 2001, my wife, Angela Palmer, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer while we were living in Tucson, Arizona. This was a huge shock. She had annual mammograms and never had any indications of disease. She had a lumpectomy and completed about 50 percent of her chemotherapy protocol before we moved to the northeast where our family was located. We arrived in Boston in December 2001, bought a house and became engaged with a tremendous Dana-Farber team including Wendy Chen, MD, MPH, medical oncologist and Jennifer Bellon, MD, radiation oncologist. Angela immediately resumed her therapy …

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