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What to do after you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer

breast cancerAs a nurse navigator for breast cancer patients, I connect with individuals just minutes after they are diagnosed. This is an emotional time and often I get asked, “What do I do now?”

Below are three suggestions I make to patients after they have been told they have breast cancer:

  • Utilize your Care Team

A lot of the time women turn to the World Wide Web for answers to their cancer questions. Yes, the Internet is a fast and convenient resource for information, but unfortunately, not everything online is reliable.

I encourage families to make a list of their concerns and questions to take to their Care Team.  Having questions ready to ask will help your team provide you with the information you need to feel secure in your treatment options.

Try not to compare breast cancer treatments with other breast cancer survivors. There are more than 15 different types of breast cancer, and each case may be treated differently. Hearing other peoples’ stories of cancer can just create more fear and confusion. Continue Reading »

Breast cancer awareness month at Affinity Health System

PINK-01At Affinity Health System, October is lining up to be a great opportunity to support breast cancer awareness month. From events to fundraisers, we’ve got it all.

Our challenge for you is to tell the women in your life to be proactive about their health. Remind them to get their annual mammogram. If they are too young to get a mammogram, then encourage them to have an annual checkup. We can’t stress the importance of women’s health enough. So link a pinky and make a promise to all of the women in your life to keep up on their health. Here are some ways to do exactly that! Continue Reading »

Friendship, exercise and relaxation for cancer patients

PEACEAre you or someone you know currently in cancer treatment, recently finished treatment or a long-term survivor and need a place to find friendship, encouragement and help for mind, body and spirit? Mercy Medical Center’s PEACE exercise and relaxation program serves people in all stages of their journey with cancer.

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Myths vs. Facts on Breast Cancer

shutterstock_64976767There is a lot of information out there about breast cancer, but not all of it is accurate. Here are some common myths and facts surrounding breast cancer.

Myth #1:  Breast cancer is the number one enemy of women.

Fact:  The number one enemy is NOT breast cancer but the late detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer detected early can usually be successfully treated.

Myth #2:  Finding a lump is the only way to detect breast cancer.

Fact:  Some cancers do not form a lump. A visual exam of the breast can often show symptoms that need to be reported to a health care provider.

Symptoms include:

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Have you looked at acupuncture to assist with nausea from chemotherapy?

shutterstock_138769457The goal of chemotherapy is to destroy fast-growing cancer cells. But in doing so, it can also damage normal, healthy cells that are fast growing, too. Damage to these healthy cells causes side effects. Nausea and vomiting – never enjoyable – can be among the most distressing side effects of chemotherapy. The good thing is that they are common side effects that can be treated with conventional medications as well as with complementary therapies.

Of the complementary therapies for nausea, acupuncture has the best evidence. Many studies have supported the use of acupuncture for nausea from chemotherapy, as well as post-operative nausea.

Typical treatment involves 10-12 needles inserted just under the skin on the legs and arms, including a point on the inner wrist that is especially useful for relieving nausea. The needles are left in for 20-30 minutes.

Most patients experience deep relaxation during the treatment and have a sense of well being after acupuncture. Acupuncture also can help with other side effects related to cancer including fatigue, stress, pain and dry mouth.

Other complementary therapies aren’t as well studied, but are safe. They include:

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