"Will I die?" That's the first question that occurs to most people when they find out they have breast cancer. The answer is, "Of course you will die, but probably not for a long time." There is an excellent survival rate for breast cancer these days. Most women live to be old ladies.
"Will it hurt?" That's the second question. The answer this time is "yes."
Pain is a part of medical treatment. Depending on the type of treatments you have, the pain may be range from uncomfortable to severe, but many strategies can minimize it.
Pain is a very subjective experience. Each person experiences it her own way. My own measuring stick for pain is how it compares to my hysterectomy. Nothing in breast cancer treatment has been nearly so bad. But I'm sure some of you will tell me about how your hysterectomy was easy compared to a recent procedure you had for breast cancer.
Women who have given bir...
Our annual meeting is this weekend, so I hope to have some good news regarding breast cancer treatment in future posts. I also have a backlog of questions that I will answer from readers – please keep those coming. More importantly, I wanted to make sure you knew about two disconcerting bits of cancer news , which have made their way to the lay press. The first news item is that the National Institute of Health, and the National Cancer Institute (the largest branch of the NIH) had a decline in their funding in 2007. This decline in research power was called “extremely discouraging” by Dr Allen Lichter, the president of our professional organization. A bit of an understatement. The NCI funds cooperative group clinical research trials that you probably have access to at your oncologist's office. For example, the clinical trials that showed giving herceptin adjuvantly can increase cure rate by 40% was available to our patients through this NCI funding mechanism...
You’ve been through every drug the oncologist has in his or her bag of tricks, yet nothing has managed to quell those debilitating side effects—of chemo, radiation, or hormone therapy.
Have you considered complementary therapy? Acupuncture is steadily gaining ground as an effective treatment for breast cancer side effects. Read our acupuncture FAQs, and see if it might be right for you.
Q. I’ve heard that acupuncture might help me with the nausea I’m feeling from chemo. Could you tell me what it is? A. Acupuncture is a common practice in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), where it’s been used for thousands of years to alleviate allergies, anxiety, migraine headaches, depression, and other chronic conditions. Researchers have found that, for some women with breast cancer, it helps reduce fatigue, hot flashes, nausea and vomiting from chemo, and pain. The traditional theory behind acupuncture is that vital energy flows ...
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