FROM OUR EXPERTS
"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...
Can you ever have too much information? When is it NOT in your best interest to have yet another test? The answer to those two questions might very well be “Yes,” and “When you’re scheduled for a breast MRI.” Dr. Richard Bleicher of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, speaking at the annual breast cancer symposium of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, is one oncologist who thinks the MRI might just be an overused test that’s actually hurting more women than it helps. Bleicher noted that women who undergo MRIs start their treatment an average of 3 weeks later than women who forego the test, which has become increasingly popular, especially for younger women, in recent years. And this despite its admitted shortcomings, including a large number of false-positive readings. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a tool for breast-cancer screening, one often used as a follow-up to mammography. Able to...
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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