Archive for the ‘Breast Cancer’ Category

Mexican Food Diet Prevents Breast Cancer

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Americans have been bombarded with information about diets from around the world and why they make indigenous people healthy. Asian diets, for example include lots of fish, whole grain rice, and green tea, and those who reside in some Asian countries seem to age much better than Americans and live longer. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to help keep people thinner, healthier, and at a lower risk for heart disease by eating lots of tomatoes, salad greens, seafood, vegetables, oily dressings, and drinking wine. And even the high-fat diet of the French seems to have its benefits from healthy cheeses and wines and the limitations put on the consumption of food. Now we can add a new beneficial diet to this list: the Mexican food diet.

Researchers noted that the rate of breast cancer in Hispanic women is much lower than that of non-Hispanic women, even in women who were obese (which increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer). So they conducted a study called the Four-Corners Breast Cancer Study that looked at four types of diets. There is the Western diet, which is the one that most Americans are on. It’s full of high-fat foods, sugars, refined grains, sauces, fast food, and processed products; the Prudent diet, which consists of limiting dairy and eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; the Mediterranean diet mentioned above; “The Dieter Diet”, which is the avoidance of high-fat dairy products, use of low-fat products, diet drinks, and sugar substitutes; and finally the Native Mexican Diet, which consists of Mexican cheeses, soups, meat dishes, fruit juice, legumes, and tomato sauces.

The researchers discovered that women on the Mexican diet experienced a lower rate of breast cancer than women on the other diets, and rate was highest in women on the Western and Prudent diets. They weren’t entirely sure why this diet was better, but believe that some native Mexican foods may contain protective phyotochemicals.

Whatever the reason this diet works, it definitely doesn’t mean you should start eating at Taco Bell or your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant every day. Native Mexican cooking doesn’t involve using tons of cheese, cream sauces, and processed products like flour tortillas like many Tex-Mex meals do. So if you want to get some of the benefits of this diet, focus on using corn tortillas, organic tomato salsas, homemade bean and bean soups, fresh peppers, vegetables, and fruits. Of course not every native Mexican dish is going to be healthy, but it seems many Americans are very wrong in their belief that the food our neighbors produce falls far below the standards of our own, and we can actually learn a lot from them when it comes to making healthy, non-processed meals.


Breast Cancer: Will Chemo Cause Weight Gain?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Oftentimes, women facing chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer will worry about gaining weight. Weight changes will likely occur during chemo; some women may lose weight while others gain. The weight fluctuations are usually quite mild, so they aren’t threatening to your health.

Some forms of chemo may directly affect a woman’s weight, while other forms may indirectly influence weight fluctuations. Weight fluctuations are considered to be normal; therefore, knowing in advance that you may gain or lose a few pounds should not be a big stressor for you. You have enough to do by staying strong and healthy while taking chemotherapy treatments.

Why do you have weight fluctuations during chemo?

If you are losing weight, it may be due to eating less. When you feel bad, you might not always feel like eating. However, it is important to get some nourishment when you feel you can tolerate food. Sometimes drinking supplemental drinks like Ensure or Glucerna may help to keep from losing weight.

Weight gain can be due to not being active enough. When you don’t feel good, you might not exercise as much as you might if you weren’t taking chemotherapy.

Some of the medications taken while being treated for cancer tend to slow down metabolism, which will cause weight gain. Steroids tend to cause weight gain; they increase the amount of adipose (fatty) tissues on the body. With steroid use, you will usually gain weight in the face, stomach, shoulder and back areas.

If you tend to gain weight with steroid use, you will likely lose the weight once the steroids are discontinued.

It’s also possible that fluid retention is a cause for weight fluctuations.

There are numerous cancer centers located in several areas of Atlanta, including Emory Cancer Institute, Piedmont Cancer Center, and St. Joseph’s Cancer Center. Your health care team understands your concerns about the side effects associated with chemotherapy. They will do all they can to support your mind, body and spirit health. Women in Atlanta, just like women everywhere, worry about the possible side effects of chemotherapy. Fluctuations in weight shouldn’t have to be one of those worries.


You Are Not Alone… Breast Cancer Support Groups Online

Friday, August 15th, 2014

It is said that a person dealing with a catastrophic health issue has a better chance of recovery with a positive attitude. When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, so many things will go through that person’s mind. There are many new fears, many unknowns, and they may feel they have nowhere to turn. Some people will turn those fears inside and internalize the stress, but it has been shown that support groups can often help in many ways. There are several forms of support groups, in person, group therapies, telephone consultations, and online groups. This article will take a look at some online support groups. Nobody should have to go through this alone.

1. Susan G. Komen – This is a fairly well-known name relating to breast cancer. On this website there is a plethora of information. This website has information to help you better understand breast cancer, facts and statistics, early detection screening information, diagnosis, treatments, and so much more. It is well worth a look at this website. It also has information about ongoing research and grants. This website is not only for the patient but also for family and friends of the patient to show them how to be a good support for the patient.

2. The Cancer Support Community – This website offers information about cancer, ways to get involved, information for family and friends, and ongoing research. There is also a registry that you can go on and share your experience with breast cancer or just read about other people’s experiences. They also have a support helpline at 888-793-9355. You can also click a link to create your own webpage to share with other cancer victims.

3. Association of Cancer Online Resources – This website is a link to many different types of cancer support groups to include breast cancer. ACOR is a collection of communities online that provides accurate and supportive information for the patient. It is free to sign up. This special community reaches out to family members, care givers, and friends to educate them on the specific cancer that the patient is dealing with. It shares other patient experiences, research and treatment options. You can look through a list of their online communities to find the specific cancer. It will then bring you to a link to register for that community. It also shows you have many people have become member of that specific group.

4. Cancer Care – This website offers counseling, support groups, education, and financial assistance. You can search by the diagnosis type or a specific topic of choice. There is a section where other patients have shared their stories. They also offer a book that you can order called “A Helping Hand” which is a resource guide for people with cancer. People can also donate to help make a difference in the lives of people suffering with cancer. There are also professional oncology social workers available to talk to free of charge.

5. Abcd After Breast Cancer Diagnosis – This website is made up of trained volunteers who have themselves experienced breast cancer and now in turn want to help somebody else to get through the difficult times and answer any questions that may come up. Sometimes it’s easier to hear things from someone who has already experienced it themselves. The website has links to get support, give support, information about breast cancer, and information for health care providers. There is a telephone helpline available 800-977-4121, or you can click on the link to email them directly. They will match you up with a mentor who has gone through their breast cancer support training program. Their services are strictly confidential.

Women Facing Breast Cancer Surgery Are Not Offered Reconstructive Options

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Approximately 180,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. According to a new study released by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, only about a third of women facing breast cancer talk to their surgeons about options for breast reconstruction before their initial surgery. The study revealed that women who did discuss reconstruction options prior to their initial surgery more likely to have a mastectomy, or removal of the entire breast, than women who did not discuss reconstruction.

The results of the study are significant to developing treatment protocol for women facing breast surgery. Women should not only be informed that their options for surgery may include lumpectomy, mastectomy and mastectomy with reconstruction, but they should be informed of these options early in the decision-making process. If women do not receive the information they need, they should seek referrals to specialists and take a proactive approach to their healthcare.

The benefit of having breast reconstruction performed immediately after a mastectomy is that it leads to a better looking outcome physically. In addition, immediate breast reconstruction following a mastectomy is also psychologically beneficial to the patient. Thus, breast reconstruction immediately following a mastectomy compared to delayed reconstruction leads to a better overall outcome for the patient.

In a press release issued by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, study author Amy Alderman, M.D., M.P.H, said, “The surgical decision making for breast cancer is really centered on patient preference. Long-term outcomes are the same regardless of whether a woman is treated with a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. But that choice could have significant impact on a woman’s quality of life, sexuality and body image. It’s important for women to understand all of their surgical options – including breast reconstruction – so they can make the best choice for themselves.”

To gather data for this study, researchers contacted 1,178 breast cancer patients in the Detroit and Los Angeles metropolitan areas who had undergone surgery for breast cancer. These patients were asked both whether they had discussed breast reconstruction with their surgeons prior to their surgery and whether knowing about reconstruction options affect their decision to receive a mastectomy.

In analyzing the date, the researchers determined that age and level of education played a role in whether women discussed reconstruction options with their surgeon. Younger, more educated women were more likely to discuss breast reconstruction with their surgeons than other demographic groups.

Further, researchers found that the discussion about breast reconstruction significantly affected a woman’s decision about the type of treatment she underwent. Women who were advised about the options for breast reconstruction were four times more likely to choose a mastectomy than women who were unaware of the options for breast reconstruction.

According to Alderman, “To many women, breast reconstruction is a symbol of hope that they can get past this cancer diagnosis. Reconstruction is not necessarily the right option for every woman and not everyone is going to choose reconstruction, but I think it’s important that every woman is informed of what the benefits of reconstruction can be for their physical and emotional well being.”

“Patients need to be educated consumers of their health care. If a physician does not bring up an option, the patient needs to ask. She needs to either ask the physician to provide the information or ask for a referral to a specialist who can provide the information. Women need to be proactive about their health care,” Alderman says.


Cancer, “Understanding the impact of breast reconstruction on the surgical decision-making process for breast cancer,” Amy Alderman, Sarah T. Hawley, Jennifer Waljee, Monica Morrow, and Steven J. Katz, published online Dec. 21, 2007; print issue date: Feb. 1, 2008.

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, “Most breast cancer surgeons don’t talk to patients about reconstruction options, U-M study finds,” Nicole Fawcett.

Which Top Breast Cancer Drug is Right for You?

Friday, August 15th, 2014

I am a woman stalked by breast cancer. What woman isn’t? My mother and grandmother, friends and family, family of friends: all faced the frightening diagnosis of breast cancer. Some fought bravely, but succumbed to the disease in the end. Others fought breast cancer and survived thanks to aggressive treatment and the help of breast cancer drugs.

Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is terrifying. Your medical doctor will explain the breast cancer treatments available to you, and probably run down the list of recommended breast cancer drugs for your particular case. Trying to make rational decisions about your breast cancer treatment can be extremely confusing and complicated at the best of times, but when you have just received a diagnosis of breast cancer, the task verges on impossible.

I am not a medical doctor, but you do not have to be one to see why. It might sound corny, but it is true: every woman’s breast cancer is different. It is impossible to know ahead of time which type of breast cancer treatment and which breast cancer drugs will be most effective until, at the minimum, your particular type of cancer is identified by testing.

Regardless of whether you decide to treat your breast cancer with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of treatments, your can expect to be prescribed an anti-cancer drug to further your fight against breast cancer. First, however, your doctor will want to analyze the cancerous cells in your body to see if they respond to estrogen. If they do, you will most likely be prescribed a type of breast cancer drug called a selective estrogen-receptor modulator, or SERM.

Breast Cancer Drugs: What are selective estrogen-receptor modulators?

Whether or not you are likely to be prescribed a selective estrogen-receptor modulator, or SERM, depends on how your particular tumor behaves in the presence of estrogen.

Is your breast cancer ER-positive? According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, three out of every four women diagnosed with breast cancer have tumors that are receptive to estrogen (ER-positive) making it the most common type of breast cancer. Because such tumors do respond to estrogen, hormone therapy treatments are among the most common type of breast cancer drugs prescribed.

Hormone therapy for the treatment of breast cancer is based on this premise: because the hormone estrogen encourages an ER-positive tumor to grow, suppressing estrogen levels in a breast cancer patient will discourage it. It’s sort of like cutting off a hyperactive child’s supply of sugary soft drinks and candy so that, hopefully, he will calm down and play nice.

Unlike sugary soft drinks, however, women naturally make estrogen. That is why we need hormone therapy drugs like SERMs to fight breast cancer and prevent it from coming back after treatment. Some woman who have a high risk of breast cancer but have not yet contracted the disease are also prescribed hormone therapy breast cancer drugs to hopefully prevent breast cancer from occurring at all.

Tamoxifen vs. raloxifine: which SERM is right for you?

As with anything to do with medications in general and breast cancer drugs in particular, you should consult with your doctor and pharmacist prior to taking or deciding to take any type of pharmaceutical. However, there are some factors to consider when deciding which top breast cancer drug is best for you.

The most commonly prescribed breast cancer drug for estrogen receptive tumors is tamoxifen. Tamoxifen has been used for over thirty years, and can be prescribed for women both before and after menopause. Serious side effects include an increased risk of blood clots (including deep vein thrombosis), strokes, uterine cancer and cataracts.

Less serious, although seriously annoying, side effects of tamoxifen are hot flashes, irregular periods, fatigue, nausea, mood swings, vaginal discharge issues, rashes and itching, particularly around the vagina. In other words, it’s pretty much like menopause, which is not surprising when you consider that the whole point of the SERM type of breast cancer drugs is to mess with your estrogen levels.

Tamoxifen is taken orally, once a day, and should not be taken longer than five years. Recent research, in fact, has shown that it is beneficial to switch to another type of breast cancer drug after two or three years. Another study has recently shown that women taking the SERM tamoxifen reduced their chances of another ER-positive breast cancer tumor occurring, but increased their chance of developing ER-negative breast cancer, which is more difficult to treat.

Raloxifene is another common type of breast cancer drug. Like tamoxifen, raloxifene is a selective estrogen-receptor modulator. Unlike tamoxifen, however, raloxifene should only be prescribed for post-menopausal women. Raloxifene is only useful in preventing or preventing the recurrence of breast cancer: it has not been shown to be a useful anti-cancer drug when it comes to fighting already present breast cancer.

Women who take raloxifene have a lower risk of blood clots, uterine cancer and cataracts than those women who are taking tamoxifen as a breast cancer drug.

The Oncologist
The New York Times
Health Central
Science Daily