There 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.
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The 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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Looking for plans this week? Dine out at the Oshkosh Country Club, located at 11 N. Ripple Rd. this Wednesday, June 5 through Sunday, June 9, and 10 percent of your purchase will be donated to Mercy Health Foundation for cancer care at Mercy Medical Center.
To participate, print this pass and call the Country Club at 920-213-1076 to make your reservation. Once you arrive, present your pass to your server. This is a great way to spend an evening with family or friends – by giving back.
All proceeds will be used for the purchase of a new linear accelerator in the Michael D. Wachtel Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center and the expansion of support services for cancer patients. For Oshkosh Country Club menus and hours of service, go to www.oshkoshcc.com. Make your reservation today!
At your appointment, the genetic counselor will ask you questions about your family’s health history and your medical history. Here is some information that will help the genetic counselor work with you:
• He/She will ask about your own cancer experience, including type(s), part of the body affected and age of diagnosis.
• Have any other members of your family had cancer and what type of cancer did they have? Different types of cancer can run in families. To better understand your cancer family history, you should bring any medical records or pathology reports related to your or your family’s cancers or cancer treatment, if possible.
• What was the age of diagnosis for members of the family with cancer? Generally, the younger a person is when a cancer occurs, the more likely she or he is to have a form of cancer that runs in the family.
• It may be helpful to talk with your family about whether or not anyone has had genetic testing.
Not all predispositions to cancer can be identified by a genetic test. Even if a genetic test is available for a certain type of cancer, genetic testing is not helpful for all individuals.
Approximately one-third of cancer patients seek out complementary and alternative medicine. There are no proven cures for cancer in alternative medicine, but there are therapies that are proven to help with symptoms and side effects. I encourage people to use the best of both worlds — evidence-based treatments within conventional medicine as well as complementary medicine.
The complementary medicine treatments with the best evidence and fewest risks are the mind-body therapies and acupuncture. However, herbal medicines and vitamins should not be used without a physician’s guidance since they can interact with chemotherapy.
There are many types of mind-body therapies including yoga, tai chi, meditation, breathing exercises, guided imagery, relaxation training, prayer, music therapy and hypnosis. Many of these have been shown in clinical studies to help reduce stress and fatigue, improve the immune system, and help with sleep and mood. We offer many classes such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery and diaphragmatic breathing to help people explore these techniques. Read here for a list of fall classes that are offered through Affinity Health System. Continue Reading »