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The importance of breast self-exams

breast cancer

Early detection is the best weapon we have against breast cancer. Many breast cancers (almost half) are detected by women completing a breast self-exam. When detected early, your chances of surviving breast cancer increase drastically.

Women should start breast self-exams in their twenties, and it should be done monthly. If you are unsure of how to complete the exam you can ask your health care clinician to show you, or you can utilize multiple sites that offer a step-by-step diagram. I recommend breastcancer.org or the American Cancer Society. Many health care organizations offer reminder cards to hang in your shower. These typically have breast exam instructions on them as well.

When completing your exam, take note of the following:

  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple pain or nipple turning inward
  • Nipple discharge
  • A lump in the underarm area
  • Swelling of all the breast (either the entire breast or a specific area)
  • Redness or changes (thickening) to the skin or nipple
  • Open sore or bump, rash
  • Difference in vein pattern over one breast

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Now is “A Time to Heal”

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Regaining health after cancer means adjusting to a new normal, and whether you were diagnosed six months ago or 15 years ago, reaching that goal means something different to everyone. Just as survivors of cardiovascular issues undergo cardiac rehabilitation, you can benefit tremendously from post-cancer rehabilitation.

A Time To Heal (ATTH), a 12-week, holistic program for cancer survivors and their caregivers, aims to help you meet your health and wellness goals and tackle roadblocks along the way. This research-based rehabilitation program is free of charge and focuses on topics such as stress management, smart nutrition and supplementation, and dealing with anxiety. ATTH is open to people diagnosed with any type of cancer from any health care system.

Cancer and its treatment takes more than just a physical toll on survivors and their loved ones. ATTH can help survivors regain physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual health after cancer treatments. Participants will benefit from guided gentle stretching designed to promote flexibility, clearer thinking and physical strength, as well as weekly instruction by experts on health-enhancing topics that can be taken out of the classroom and used to not just survive, but thrive. Continue Reading »

September is now “A Time To Heal” for cancer survivors

atimetoheal

Regaining health after cancer means adjusting to a new normal, and whether you were diagnosed six months ago or 15 years ago, reaching that goal means something different to everyone. Just as survivors of cardiovascular issues undergo cardiac rehabilitation, you can benefit tremendously from post-cancer rehabilitation.

A Time To Heal (ATTH), a 12-week, holistic program for cancer survivors and their caregivers, aims to help you meet your health and wellness goals and tackle roadblocks along the way. This research-based rehabilitation program is free of charge and focuses on topics such as stress management, smart nutrition and supplementation, and dealing with anxiety. ATTH is open to people diagnosed with any type of cancer from any health care system.

Cancer and its treatment takes more than just a physical toll on survivors and their loved ones. ATTH can help survivors regain physical, emotional, intellectual, psychological and spiritual health after cancer treatments. Participants will benefit from guided gentle stretching designed to promote flexibility, clearer thinking and physical strength, as well as weekly instruction by experts on health-enhancing topics that can be taken out of the classroom and used to not just survive, but thrive. Continue Reading »

Navigating cancer care

navigatingcancercare

“You have cancer.” Those three simple words change your life forever. Here at St. Elizabeth Hospital, we hope to make your cancer journey as easy as possible. We do this by working as a multi-disciplinary team that includes your medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, thoracic surgeon, pulmonologist, social worker and patient navigator.

By working as a team we are able to provide the best possible care, with each individual playing a unique role. As a lung cancer nurse navigator, my role includes:

  • Attending doctor appointments with patients and families so that they can attentively listen to and take in all of the information being given. I will take notes and help patients to fully understand all of the medical jargon, test results and treatment options.
  • Checking in with patients at home to make sure all appointments are made and kept, schedules are followed, medications are being taken and questions and concerns are answered.
  • Offering emotional support and encouragement when needed.
  • Arranging help with transportation, insurance and financial issues

The overall role of the nurse navigator is to extend a helping hand to patients who may be feeling overwhelmed. The goal is to guide them through the system, be a resource to patients and let them know what to expect during their treatment. Though a cancer diagnosis changes your life, at St. Elizabeth Hospital it does not mean that you are alone in that change.

The role of a nurse navigator for cancer care

nursenavigator

Cancer can affect many areas of a person’s life; one can be challenged physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and financially. Nurse navigators have an important role in helping patients meet those challenges during their journey through cancer treatment.

The goal of the nurse navigator is to provide support at any given time during treatment. This starts on the day of diagnosis and continues through a patient’s survivorship period. Affinity Health System values the role of a navigator and offers this as a free service.

A nurse navigator helps patients by:

  • Providing education on topics such as pathology, reviewing timelines for consults and treatment, pre- and post-surgery care, or reviewing information that was presented at consultations with providers.
  • Connecting patients to members of the cancer team that provide resources and support, which can include oncology social workers, financial advocates, genetic counselors, dietitians and American Cancer Society representatives, to name a few.
  • Educating patients and families on community resources that are available in their area. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.