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  • Aromatase Inhibitors and Hair Loss

    Posted 11/15/2013 by hhill

    Unlike yesterday's "feel good" entry, this is surely a "feel less good" one. Yes, it is definitely better to be healthy and have less hair than the obvious alternative, but the slow thinning of one's hair while on an AI is usually an unpleasant surprise. We are told about the possible "serious" side effects of bone density thinning and various aches and pains, but it is unusual for an oncologist to mention the hair thinning. Compared to baldness from chemotherapy, it is clearly mild, but it is still distessing to gradually realize that your hair is a shadow of its former thicker self. Read more... Comments (0)

  • Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier

    Posted 11/7/2013 by hhill
      If this holds up with further research and testing, it is a really big deal. Finding a way to allow chemotherapy drugs to cross the blood brain barrier and reach the brain has been a goal for decades. As you may know, standard chemotherapy drugs cannot infiltrate this barrier, so they don't reach the brain. Since the brain is a possible site of mets (meaning that the cancer cells are able to cross that barrier), this has been an important and scary problem. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Expert Advice re Triple Negative

    Posted 8/30/2013 by hhill

      First an explanation: I had planned to post this entry tomorrow, but our travel plans have changed, and it clearly is wiser to do so this evening. I realize, as I type this, that it is likely no one will even notice, but I do, and I want to explain on the off chance that anyone is curious. We had hoped to depart for Maine in early to mid afternoon, but things got busy at work, and, by the time we could depart, it clearly would have made no sense. It seems much wiser to get up very early tomorrow morning than to sit in horrible holiday weekend traffic and arrive very late at night.

      So, having said that, the topic of the moment is treatment of triple negative breast cancer. As most of you know, the term refers to breast cancers that are ER negative, PR negative, and her2 negative. This means that none of the known targeted therapies (including hormonal therapies) have any value, but these cancers are especially sensitive to chemotherapy, and many women do just fine.

    Read more... Comments (0)
  • DCIS Again

    Posted 8/29/2013 by hhill
      I do realize that this is one of those topics that either holds great interest or almost no interest to any one woman. However, since DCIS is quite prevalent, I am assuming that at least some readers will be glad to see this additional article. The theme is the same: whether the name of the condition makes a difference in how it is perceived and in the treatment choices woman make. That is, since DCIS (and LCIS) are not " really cancer", is it fair to have the C word be part of their label? Does its inclusion just scare everyone unnecessarily? Read more... Comments (0)
  • Scalp Cooling Safe

    Posted 8/28/2013 by hhill
      For many women, the hair loss associated with chemotherapy is almost the worst (or, sometimes, the very worst) part of the whole experience. This was a major topic of conversation in my group yesterday for women who are currently going through adjuvant chemotherapy. One woman has just lost her hair, and another is anticipating the "fall out" this week. It is awful, always, for everyone. No question about it. Although some women insist that they don't care "too much" and adjust fairly easily, I have never met anyone who wasn't traumatized to a greater or lesser degree by new baldness. Read more... Comments (0)
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