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  • You and Your Team

    Posted 9/17/2014 by hhill
      It matters a lot who your caregivers are, how they interact with one another and with you, and how you feel about those relationships. For women with breast cancer, the team will include a surgeon and a medical oncologist, and may also include a radiation oncologist, a plastic surgeon, a nurse practitioner (or more than one), a chemotherapy nurse, a social worker, and, perhaps, a physical therapist and a nutritionist. That's a lot of people! Read more... Comments (0)
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil and Sex

    Posted 9/16/2014 by hhill

      I just love it when I have a catchy title for the day's entry. Hope you enjoyed this one.

      As many of us know, there are inevitable sexual changes post menopause, and that experience frequently comes sooner to women who have had breast cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and hormonal/endorcrine therapies can throw younger women into premature menopause and keep them there. Therefore, the normal issues around diminished libido and response, vaginal dryness, and vaginal atrophy may make an early appearance.

    Read more... Comments (0)
  • Lumpectomy may be Better than Mastectomy

    Posted 9/15/2014 by hhill
      If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I have written often about the dubious benefit of bilateral vs. single mastectomies for most women. This is a new and nice twist on that topic: a study suggesting that wide excision/lumpectomy may actually provide a small survival benefit over mastectomy for women with early stage ER positive breast cancer. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Diet and Breast Cancer Risk

    Posted 9/14/2014 by hhill
      I have said it a thousand times before, and I will say it a thousand times again. What you ate (or didn't eat) did not cause breast cancer. While we are at it, stress did not cause it either. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Pathological Complete Response and Prognosis

    Posted 9/13/2014 by hhill
      This is a fairly geeky entry that likely will hold enormous interest for some of you and little for most others. To decode the title: "Pathological Complete Response" (pCR) means that no cancer is seen in the specimen/pathologoy report from surgery after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. As you likely know, neoadjuvant chemotherapy is treatment that is given before definitive breast cancer surgery, after only a biopsy. This is the choice when a cancer is especially nasty, and the goal is to start treating it ASAP or when the tumor is large, and the hope is to shrink it so that a lumpectomy, rather than a mastectomy, will be possible. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Depression Often Not Treated

    Posted 9/12/2014 by hhill
      Without giving it much thought, most non-cancer people likely would assume that cancer and depression often go hand in hand.  Those of us who reside in Cancer World likely would dispute or at least not automatically accent that belief. Of course some cancer patients have major depression, but most studies have found that the incidence parallels that in the general population--meaning that the same percentage of cancer patients have major depression as a similar pool of people without cancer. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Sex and Exercise and Antidepressants

    Posted 9/11/2014 by hhill
      Don't you love this triplet: sex and excercise and antidepressants? Standing alone, each one has been the topic of many blog entries, and now there is an opportunity to weave them together. We know that a common side effect of antidepressants is diminished (or extinguished) libido. Since that is also a common side effect or consequence of breast cancer treatment, many women are very reluctant to take these medications for depression. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Avoid the Soy

    Posted 9/9/2014 by hhill
      It is rare for me to go out on a limb with a strongly expressed opinion about something that isn't solid information. In this case, however, it is easy. The benefit or danger (depends whom you ask or what you read) about soy has been debated and confusing. Traditionally, the thought has been that soy, because it is a plant estrogen, might be a bad idea for women with ER positive tumors. More recently, that concern has been rejected and women have been told to avoid soy supplements (meaning large quantities), but not to worry about moderate consumption. That has again been called into question. Read more... Comments (0)
  • PALB2 Mutations and Risk

    Posted 9/8/2014 by hhill
      We are all familiar with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and their impact on a woman's risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. We also all have known that, as science goes forward, it was likely that other genes would be identified that also increase risk of these diseases. I have known a number of women from families with very powerful breast/ovarian cancer histories who have tested negative for the BRCA genes. Those women have been quite convinced, however, that there is something going on in their families that can't yet be identified. Read more... Comments (0)
  • A Novel Program to Help with Weight Loss

    Posted 9/7/2014 by hhill
      Weight is a big concern for many women after breast cancer treatment. We all know that losing weight is more difficult after menopause (bet we all fondly remember the days when we could eat ice cream daily and never gain an ounce), and many of us are catapulted into menopause years, even decades or half decades, before it would have happened naturally. Both chemotherapy and the endocrine/hormonal drugs can cause some weight gain, and the challenege becomes at least keeping one's weight stable. I have long given up on the idea of ever regaining my pre-cancer weight (of course I was 44 then, so that is part of the difficulty), and I pay a lot of attention to exercise and diet to keep it stable. In my world, stable is fine. Read more... Comments (0)
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Boston, MA 02215
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