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Common Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    I have Stage 1 triple negative breast cancer. I have had my lifetime dose of adriamycin and was put on a regimen of Cytoxin and Taxotere. I had a moderately severe reaction to these drugs in my second treatment. What do I do next?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Sorry to hear about your reaction. When I was on the "cocktail" of Taxotere. My Onc prescribed steroid pills to take the night before and the morning of my chemo. Then of course....steroids and Benadryl via IV. She told me this was due to so many women having a reaction to the Taxotere. Was this...

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      Sorry to hear about your reaction. When I was on the "cocktail" of Taxotere. My Onc prescribed steroid pills to take the night before and the morning of my chemo. Then of course....steroids and Benadryl via IV. She told me this was due to so many women having a reaction to the Taxotere. Was this done by your Onc? If you are not able to tolerate those two drugs...not to worry. There are more chemo drugs used. I completed my rounds of Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and Taxotere and then had my surgery. Afterwards due to extensive lymph node involvement I am on chemo again using the drugs Carboplatin and Gemcitabine. These two chemo drugs are used for later stages of breast cancer as well as lung and ovaian cancer. Talk to your Onc about your different options. Best wishes and prayers to you in your fight!

      Comment
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am stage 1 and will soon be on cytoxin and taxotere as well. What kind of reaction did you have? Did you lose any hair or has it thinned?

      2 comments
  • Surf  Momma Profile

    How long does it take to be comfortable after a mastectomy? Are implants comfortable? Expanders sure aren't!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Nicole Bernard Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I'm 27 years old and had a bilateral mastectomy as well. I just had my expanders replaced with silicone gel implants on September 1 and immediately felt relief while sleeping. I too am side/stomach sleeper and the expanders filled to capacity were rock solid large softballs sitting on my chest...

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      I'm 27 years old and had a bilateral mastectomy as well. I just had my expanders replaced with silicone gel implants on September 1 and immediately felt relief while sleeping. I too am side/stomach sleeper and the expanders filled to capacity were rock solid large softballs sitting on my chest making it impossible for me to get a good nights sleep. I just recently tried sleeping on my stomach (while wearing a compression bra) and felt very comfortable. When I'm able to go without the compression bra, I think I may be slightly nervous but know it's a world of difference then the expanders. It's funny, someone recently said they heard that when someone has an augmentation their breasts are slightly firmer... my response is I wouldn't know. I can only compare the implants to the expanders and "knocking on wood" nothing can be that hard. The implants feel real to me in comparison, that's for sure!

      Comment
    • rosa ramentol Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      After my mastectomy it felt like I was wearing an iron bra. It took me about 2 months after the surgery to sleep comfortably. I don't have my implants in yet but I don't find my expanders too uncomfortable.

      4 comments
  • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile

    What is the difference between the grades and stages of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My...

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      Tracy,
      Arrrgh... by the time you have completed your treatment, you will be an expert! So sorry it has to be an expert in breast cancer treatment. Have you heard what type of breast cancer you have yet? As several have said.... Stage is the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. My stage was was a 2B..... (a 2.3cm with 1 positive lymph node.) The grade is how agressive the cells are.... grade 1-relatively non-agressive, grade 2 - middle of the road. grade 3 more aggressive cells. Within the grade, there can be varying degrees of aggressiveness. You will also have a report on your cancer's sensitivety to hormones. It will be ER+ or - PR + or - and HER2 + or -
      Breast cancer is very individual to each person. You can have the same type of breast cancer as the next woman and that is where the similarities end. Your cells are unique to you. Your treatment will be developed because of the cells seen at your biopsy. You will wonder why your treatment is different from mine but it is because our breast cancer may be completely different on a cell level. It's confusing for sure. Each woman reaction to their treatments are all different too. Just as Jo says... bring every single itty bitty question to your interview. Best too, if you bring a friend who can either take really great notes or bring some kind of recorder with you. You are given a lot of information and you won't necessarily remember it all. We are always here for you as you go through your treatment. Hang in there.... there's a wonderful bunch of "sister's" out here to help. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
    • Tracy Lewis Norman Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      i have grade 3 breast cancer but i dont understand that, im scared it is growing everywhere else. what does that mean?

      11 comments
  • Saana Malik Profile

    Are you able to have sex while getting chemo and/or radiation treatments?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I found during treatment that sex became more important than ever to me as some days it was the only way to feel good and I really enjoyed the closeness it gave us at a time that was very scary. I didn't feel attractive after surgery or without hair, but my husband embraced all these changes and...

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      I found during treatment that sex became more important than ever to me as some days it was the only way to feel good and I really enjoyed the closeness it gave us at a time that was very scary. I didn't feel attractive after surgery or without hair, but my husband embraced all these changes and made me feel beautiful at my lowest moments. After my lumpectomy, I was afraid at how my breast would look and how I would cope with this disfiguration. Sometimes at night when I was having a hard time, he would just reach over and hold my hand and i was amazed at how he was there for me when i was struggling. Cancer brought our sex life alive again. I was thrust into early menopause due to chemo and my oncologist prescribed the estring for lubrication. That has worked extremely well for me. It took a couple of weeks to get used to, but now I find it very comfortable and don't even know it's there. It turned out all the worries and insecurities I had about my body were erased with love from my husband.

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      I agree with Marianne the only other advise I would give is to talk with your gyn as far as what are your options for birth control. They usually advise you not to get pregnant while going through breast cancer treatment. Some women also do egg retrieval prior to chemo depending on the chemo...

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      I agree with Marianne the only other advise I would give is to talk with your gyn as far as what are your options for birth control. They usually advise you not to get pregnant while going through breast cancer treatment. Some women also do egg retrieval prior to chemo depending on the chemo drugs used sometimes it makes it hard to conceive after chemo.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am going to University of California San Francisco to add Dr. Rugo to my breast cancer team. I am stage 4 and have tried 4 types of chemo with little to no success. Does anyone see Dr. Rugo or know anything about UCSF? I am in Idaho.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 4 Patient
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Tamara Davidson Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Wow I wish we could talk ,, I don't want no more chemo ,,,I know. It can't cure cancer,,,wish I could get to California

      1 comment
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am going to get my second opinion from him in next couple of weeks... My email is mpeoney@aol.com..

      5 comments
  • Karen G Profile

    I am going in for my Oncoplasty surgery tomorrow. Please pray for me and wish me clear margins. This is my third surgery and my last try to keep my breast. If this doesn't work I will need a Mastectomy.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 6 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      God bless and praying for you

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Surgery isn't easy but God willing you will go through this surgery and be much healthier in the end. You are in all of our prayers. Take care, jayme

      Comment
  • Patricia Carnell Profile

    Are there topical treatments to help with the burn from radiation. I was just diagnosed with Stage 0 dcis and had lumpectomy on Friday last week, surgeon is supposed to set up radiation with an oncologist soon

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi Patricia, my radiologist gave me Aquaphor. I didn't need it until my second week. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. I'm very fair but tolerated my 16 shots pretty well. Make a list of questions and don't be afraid to ask. Be sure to point out any concerns with your skin to the rad-techs....

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      Hi Patricia, my radiologist gave me Aquaphor. I didn't need it until my second week. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. I'm very fair but tolerated my 16 shots pretty well. Make a list of questions and don't be afraid to ask. Be sure to point out any concerns with your skin to the rad-techs. They'll help you when you need to see the radiologist . Mine were fabulous . My chest became an open book for all to read and I wanted it read WELL. :-D

      Comment
    • Doreen Finley Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Can I please just say that I don't even have my full diagnosis or really any understanding of what's going on yet. I'm overwhelmed and scared. I know my breast cancer has spread to several areas. This week I began radiation on lesions of my brain. I believe they are still getting tests...

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      Can I please just say that I don't even have my full diagnosis or really any understanding of what's going on yet. I'm overwhelmed and scared. I know my breast cancer has spread to several areas. This week I began radiation on lesions of my brain. I believe they are still getting tests results and planning treatment. However, my radiation techs and nurses have been amazing. They told me of this app. I signed up and browsed questions and FOUND answers. You are all wonderful and I cannot believe how much better I feel in 2 days. Should have dr appt Monday. Already have my list of questions. Today I'm going out o get some creams that were suggested. Just wanted to share my gratitude already Thank you - dor

      Comment
  • misty wilbanks Profile

    Will it increase my chances for breast cancer coming back if i have a lumpectomy or will it decrease if i have mastectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Becky card swerdloff  Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      it will not decrease or increase your cancer from what I have read, cancer cells float around everywhere and if you get mastectomy and new ones, they will have to remove everything when if it comes back. My theory is keep what you have until you have to really let go

      Comment
    • Becky card swerdloff  Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      there is no right answer. Some women take the brac test and have their breast removed in fear of getting cancer. Unfortunately, I learned that even if you have your breasts removed you can get breast cancer. Remember cancer is in each one of us. Whether hormones, change of llfe body changes,...

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      there is no right answer. Some women take the brac test and have their breast removed in fear of getting cancer. Unfortunately, I learned that even if you have your breasts removed you can get breast cancer. Remember cancer is in each one of us. Whether hormones, change of llfe body changes, food, plastic, stress can trigger cancer. If there are cancer cells floating on your chest bone, you will still get breast cancer. Some suggest a super diet, less stress, prayer and hormone regulation will help. I was told by Dr. Cox in tampa that my type of lumpectomy breast cancer should not reoccur for at least 10 years. I am not taking any tamoxifin or other cancer preventative drugs. If I have 10 years left, I want to be drug free.

      11 comments
  • Lisa Doheny Profile

    Has anyone been on taxotere& cytoxan for chemo? I'm also taking steroid pills the day before, the day of, and the day after. Is this normal? Is this what makes you gain weight? Do I need the steroids? Very nervous, I start chemo tomorrow.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Lisa,
      Try to think of the chemo as your path to getting back to a normal life and wiping out that nasty BC. You have a lot of company with your mix of chemo., and the combination of drugs is pretty common. Even though we may have diagnosis that sound the same, there are always differences in...

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      Hi Lisa,
      Try to think of the chemo as your path to getting back to a normal life and wiping out that nasty BC. You have a lot of company with your mix of chemo., and the combination of drugs is pretty common. Even though we may have diagnosis that sound the same, there are always differences in many components of individual cells. The steroids are used as a preventative to some reactions to the chemotherapy drugs. Steroids can cause weight gain but so will lack of normal exercise. You aren't on the steroids all that much. You only take them around and during your treatment. Did your oncologist have a port placed for the delivery of your treatments?
      I can only tell you of my experiences with chemotherapy. I started losing my hair about 2 weeks after the first treatment. I never had nausea but the first few days after my treatments, I felt very tired kind of like the flu. After about the 4th or 5th day, there was a big turn-around and I was back to normal. I was taking a different combination of drugs than you, but my taste changed. Before chemo, I LOVED coffee and chocolate. During chemo, I craved greens! I used to consume bags of spinach and salads. After chemo, back to the coffee and chocolate. I lost a little bit of weight.
      The time I spend in the place where the chemo is given was like a little party room. Much laughing, talking, and eating with the other patients. I loved the people and had a great time.... no kidding!
      I would take something to read, MP3, or other electronic thingy, or a crossword puzzle... anything that you enjoy. I always slept through part of my treatment which lasted about 1.5 to 2 hours. I ALWAYS asked questions and I think you should bring a list of things you want to ask for tomorrow. Be your own best advocate. If something doesn't seem right, speak up! Be polite, but be sure and check when that inner voice says "Something doesn't seem right." I always dealt with the entire breast cancer thing with a whole lot of humor. It seemed to take the place of my fear. Hang in there.... you will be ok. Tomorrow will be one treatment checked off on your road to recovery. BE SURE TO DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS! Take care, and God's blessings, Sharon

      4 comments
    • Kris Shortridge Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had both of those drugs. The steroid you are taking is to help with the nausea. It really worked for me. It kind of makes you wired fir a couple of days though. It did make me put on a little weight. If you feel well enough, walking might help with that. As forth drugs, the taxotere caused some...

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      I had both of those drugs. The steroid you are taking is to help with the nausea. It really worked for me. It kind of makes you wired fir a couple of days though. It did make me put on a little weight. If you feel well enough, walking might help with that. As forth drugs, the taxotere caused some numbness & tingling in my fingers &

      Comment
  • Susan Fox Profile

    What are the permanent effects of chemotherapy? Friends and I have experienced lasting changes in body systems and functions.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2008

      Wow! I just feel like there are so many.
      1. Joint pain and stiffness
      2. Loss of libido
      3. 50 point increase in cholesterol
      4. Severe pain with intercourse.
      5. Sweats - not night sweats. I get hot and sweat more easily now.

      5 comments
    • Mariah Mariah Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2008

      Thanks for sharing. I thought my doctor was just brushing me off when she told me it might be due to the chemo.

      2 comments
  • julie s Profile

    I'm halfway through chemo and as much as I try to stay positive but I'm depressed. Anyone else feel like this? Thinking about asking for an anti depressant, but nervous... Any thoughts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 6 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Julie,
      When I was going through chemo I became horribly depressed. It turns out it was due to one of the additives in my "recipe". PLEASE tell your team ASAP. You might be having trouble with a steroid that is used often in your treatment. Hang in there, you can get help for this and they...

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      Julie,
      When I was going through chemo I became horribly depressed. It turns out it was due to one of the additives in my "recipe". PLEASE tell your team ASAP. You might be having trouble with a steroid that is used often in your treatment. Hang in there, you can get help for this and they can remove it from your recipe if that might be the cause. Hugs to you, take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I take Celexa, which is a non habit forming anti depressant. It helped me soooo much. Good luck!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Just diagnoised with DCIS, stage 0, grade 1. Had a lumpectomy with clean margins. Not sure about radiation treatment. Do I need it?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Joanne Pawling Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was diagnosed dcis, stage 0, grade 2 and 3. Lumpectomy done and also had clear margins. My doctors have recommended radiation, and I began treatments last week. I also began taking Tamoxifen. I wish you well in your decision. my thought was fight it now, and hopefully I will never have to deal...

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      I was diagnosed dcis, stage 0, grade 2 and 3. Lumpectomy done and also had clear margins. My doctors have recommended radiation, and I began treatments last week. I also began taking Tamoxifen. I wish you well in your decision. my thought was fight it now, and hopefully I will never have to deal with this again.

      3 comments
    • Douglas Feil Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      That's a question for your doctor. You should get your doctor's opinion. My mom had the same thing, though, about 5 years ago. I think she opted out of radiation, but again, you have to get some second opinions. I think they (doctors) do radiation after a lumpectomy because they want to make...

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      That's a question for your doctor. You should get your doctor's opinion. My mom had the same thing, though, about 5 years ago. I think she opted out of radiation, but again, you have to get some second opinions. I think they (doctors) do radiation after a lumpectomy because they want to make sure they got all the abnormal cells, so nothing has a chance to spread later.

      Comment
  • carol driver Profile

    Do you need to use a special toothpaste during chemo? And do you have to change your toothbrush more often? Thank you ladies.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 4 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I wasn't told to change anything, but regular toothpaste burned my mouth so I used biotin toothpaste. Felt so much better. I also used a baking soda, salt, water mixture. I rinsed my mouth every time I went to the bathroom & after eating. My mouth got tender, but no sores. Tho sometimes my gumes...

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      I wasn't told to change anything, but regular toothpaste burned my mouth so I used biotin toothpaste. Felt so much better. I also used a baking soda, salt, water mixture. I rinsed my mouth every time I went to the bathroom & after eating. My mouth got tender, but no sores. Tho sometimes my gumes would bleed, but nothing bad. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Mary Navarro Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      No special toothpaste during or after chemo. I was told to brush often because of a risk of mouth sores.

      Comment
  • Cheryl Wornham Profile

    Going for my first mammogram in August after a year out of treatments any suggestions I am still sore I'm scarred that they won't do it. Is there something I should take for the pain?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had excruciating pain with the first mammograms I had a year after my lumpectomy. I have dense breasts which were tender even before breast cancer. I have a small seroma [fluid filled sac] under the surgical scar that causes shooting pain, even with mild jiggling. Then there is the scar itself,...

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      I had excruciating pain with the first mammograms I had a year after my lumpectomy. I have dense breasts which were tender even before breast cancer. I have a small seroma [fluid filled sac] under the surgical scar that causes shooting pain, even with mild jiggling. Then there is the scar itself, which remains tender. My skin can also break if put under pressure. Many women with skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema or even just thin, ageing skin have told me mammograms are much worse for them.

      By the second year, when I came up for second mammogram, I was determined not to tortured like that again - ever. If you are already worried about the pain, then to me that is a good indication you may already have tender breasts and pain issues - so you deserve to have that respected and taken seriously. Many women sail through their post breast cancer surgery mammograms, but I urge you strongly to listen to yourself, listen to your own knowledge of your body and make plans based on actively alleviating your concerns. After all - some people are capable of cutting off a pinned arm with a blunt pocket knife without no pain relief- but it would not be sensible for those of us who know or strongly suspect we could not do that, to live our lives built around the assumption we too are capable of it! You need a plan:

      1. Write to the head partner of Managing partner of the imaging clinic you will attend 6-8 weeks in advance of your mammogram. Clearly state your concerns including any history of pre existing breast tenderness, easy bruising,slow healing, seromas, scar management problems, existing pain post surgery as well as any other problems with pressure or mammogram techniques pre breast cancer. State you are very concerned about pain levels and ask them if they are willing to provide you with EMLA cream to rub on an hour or so before the mammogram. and or an injection of lidocaine before the compression. Ask them to reply to you and get this sorted out well before the mammogram date. I was able to get mine to agree to both.

      2. I also went to the GP and explained the problem - so I got a script for a muscle relaxant [Valium] which I took a few hours before the mammogram. I also had a stronger pain killer called Oxycontin 5mgs left over from surgery recovery period, so half an hour or so before the mammogram, I took one of those as well. The medication meant my muscles were not tensed and I was relaxed from the Valium, and the Oxycontin is an effective pain killer especially for the deeper internal structures. The EMLA cream numbs the skin on the breast. The lidocaine numbs the fatty structures in the breast. It is a multi pronged approach to addressing the different levels of pain from mammograms.

      3. When I arrived at the clinic I had been making this arrangements with, I again raised the issue and the agreed solution with the operator. There is always a risk the operator has not been told or communication systems went awry. She appeared to know about it, but also my impression was she trying to talk me out of accessing pain relief. I made it clear I was not going to be talked out of it, at which point she called her supervisor to oversight the process. He was the one who also gave me the lidocaine injection - which they normally do not do. The compression also seemed to be less intense - not blowing the blood pressure through top of my head like before - so I think my preparation plan meant they were more attuned to being careful. She was also very gentle. I have dense, larger breasts so mammograms often meant many more images taken and a lot of repositioning, which extended the pain. On my third last mammogram the female operator had been so rough, pulling my breasts this way and that, that she actually tore the flesh where the breast met the rib cage.So I was being imaged with blood dripping on to my shoes! I made sure I told the gentler clinic about that experience, so they understood how mistreated I had been with past mammograms, so they knew why I was insistent.

      4. The mammogram at the clinic where I undertook all this preparation was the best I have ever had. So - it worked for me.

      5. You may notice many sporting events, if a great big fit male footballer twists a leg or pulls a muscle, the medics rush on to the field and give them as green tube to breathe on. Ambulances in Australia also carry them and use them at car accidents. These green tubes contain aerosolised pain relief. I have often pondered at the sexism here - big, fit male athletes accustomed to pain get this instant form of pain relief yet women who know in their bones a life saving test like a mammogram will be agony or significantly painful for them, are not offered this cheap, effective and easily available form of pain relief. I genuinely believe women's pain is constantly being under-rated, under-acknowledged and under-treated. Society places less value on women's pain as opposed to men's pain and therefore less resources, less empathy and less interest in alleviating it. It is even more noticeable when the pain relief solutions are so obvious, yet not offered.

      6. I have met women who avoid mammograms because of the pain and the mammographer professions lack of respect or interest in seriously attending to women desire for pain relief. Really, it is sadistic to behave this way. My view is you inhabit your body for 40,50, 60 years. You know far better than anyone else the tenderness levels of your own breast, as well as your own subjective ability to tolerate pain. There is a massive pain tolerance variation in humans, as well as between women. Red heads are well known for being far more susceptible to pain for example. It should be mandatory for every mammogram clinic to have the woman self assess her own pain history/levels on a scale from 1-10. Any women who report pain sensitivity or past history of mammogram pain above say a 6, should AUTOMATICALLY be offered pain relief options - without the condescending attitude, without any put downs and without value judgements.

      I for one am sick of medical staff using the ultra tough, stoic patient as the 'Normal" model on which they base their answers to the questions - does it hurt and do I need pain relief. Doing this is nothing more than lying to patients. The correct response is there is a wide range of responses to the pain from eg., a mammogram, from a zero all the way to someone fainting or screaming. Medical imaging staff obviously need mandatory pain management systems imposed on them and included in all Protocols because frankly, left to their own devices, they can become so calloused by repeat exposure to women's pain, that they simply blank it out or worse still, lie to us so they can get the image and get on to their next job in the least amount of time. Many operators have become highly institutionalised to the point where they deny mammographic pain even exists, or if it does, that it requires any pain relief.

      The only way for us to reclaim our bodies and to blast mammographers out of this state of denial about our mammographic pain is to insist our reality gets taken seriously, and insist that proper pain management systems be agreed to and implemented. To wait till a few minutes before your mammogram to raise this with the mammographers is ineffective. They need time to absorb your statements and for you both to come up with a pain management plan you agree to. Or for you to drop them if they won't and go to a clinic that treats women with dignity.

      I would also be super careful of any responses that dismiss or play down the pain levels. The experience of pain free or low pain mammograms may well be the genuine experience of 85% of those receiving mammograms, however, for the percentage who are bruised for weeks from mammograms, already have had painful mammograms in the past, have awkward surgical scars, breast seromas or other problems like broken skin or just know you have a low tolerance to pain - THAT is their reality. It is just as valid, just as real. Do not let anyone whose experience their own subjective pain thresholds are low ever convince you that if that is how it was for them, that is how it will be for you too.
      Keep in mind - you can also have a dual breast coil MRI instead of a mammogram. It is more expensive, but much, much more accurate than a mammogram. You are not exposed to radiation with an MRI and there is no compression of the breast. The MRI takes longer than the mammograms, and it is noisy, and you may need a contrast dye, but I found all that infinitely better than 99% of the mammograms I had had.

      The very fact that you are expressing this concern about this is already a red flag to me and that you have sound reasons for raising this issue, and there may be reasons not shared with or understood by those who sail easily through their mammograms.
      Sincere best wishes that irrespective of what path you take - that your mammogram is pain free and that you do not became a member of the group who avoid necessary mammograms because of unattended to pain.

      Comment
    • K G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I just had my first mammo and am still sore as well. It wasnt bad. It did hurt a little, but nothing like what I have been through. You could always take tylenol or ibuprofen. Good luck

      2 comments
  • Sheryl Love Profile

    I am post surgery. A lumpectomy and one lymph node removed. What are other doing for shaving and using for deodorant. I read that razors are frowned upon due to the risk of cutting oneself, which can easily cause infection.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 6 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I used Toms deodorant during radiation, making sure to wash it plus any lotions off before each treatment. I don't have any hair growth under my affected arm yet and I finished radiation in May. I got second degree burns under that arm so I guess it destroyed the hair follicles.

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      I must confess that I didn't shave at all for weeks after my mastectomies. My armpits were completely numb and I was nervous about shaving near my lymph node scar. Also, i couldnt raise my arms fully. Once I got a bit of feeling back, I used an electric razor to minimize the chance of a nick. As...

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      I must confess that I didn't shave at all for weeks after my mastectomies. My armpits were completely numb and I was nervous about shaving near my lymph node scar. Also, i couldnt raise my arms fully. Once I got a bit of feeling back, I used an electric razor to minimize the chance of a nick. As far as deodorant, I switched to Tom's of Maine after my DX because of the questions associated with aluminum. Good luck to you!

      Comment
  • Lisa Majka  Profile

    How many types of Breast Cancers are there? I'm also wondering if Inflammatory Breast Cancer is the worst one you can get?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 6 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Any type of breast cancer has the chances of containing aggressive cells. When diagnosed with breast cancer, there is the ability to look at individual cells and grade them for their aggressiveness. So many factors go into staging and grading breast cancer and then the treatment is...

      more

      Any type of breast cancer has the chances of containing aggressive cells. When diagnosed with breast cancer, there is the ability to look at individual cells and grade them for their aggressiveness. So many factors go into staging and grading breast cancer and then the treatment is individualized for the patient. Inflammatory breast cancer has the chances of being one of the more aggressive types but it is also one of the more rare diagnosed.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I just looked this up on several sites... around a 1-5% of breast cancers can be inflammatory or IBC.

      Comment
  • Bethany Greer Profile

    My mother has to do both radiation and chemotherapy for 6 weeks, what can I expect?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Chelita M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Simptoms are different for everyone. During chemo my dr. Recommended to drink ginger ale, it helped me a lot with the nausea and was pretty much the only liquid I could take. Vitamin e helps a lot too, either orally or as an ointment specially during radiation. Take care.

      2 comments
    • Teresa Sewell Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Each person's journey is different. Your mother's oncologist will give you a list of medications and side aftects. These days, each type of cancer has it's own recipe card and the Dr follows that type of treatment. Depending on the reactions to the treatment, this can be altered. I was...

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      Each person's journey is different. Your mother's oncologist will give you a list of medications and side aftects. These days, each type of cancer has it's own recipe card and the Dr follows that type of treatment. Depending on the reactions to the treatment, this can be altered. I was allergic to one of my anti-nausea medications and I got migranes. My Dr changed medicines. Expect nothing after the first dose of chemo. The symptons usually begin after the second treatment. Radiation will follow. The radiation oncologist will set up a treatment regimine specifically designed for your mother. She may get sore and red in the treated area. The staff at the radiation clinic will give her lotion that is best suited for her reaction. Although this is a scary walk for your mother and your family, there is always support within the oncology and radiation clinics. If you or your mother has issues coping, make sure you let her doctors know. Some find support groups are available, but I chose not to attend. A cookbook, Eating Well Thru Cancer, was useful to me as it helped with food selections while I was having some symptoms. Bottom line is, if you have questions or concerns at all thru this process, the doctors and their staff are trained and more than willing to help you thru this phase of your mother's life. Take care and good luck.

      Comment
  • Rea Fielden Profile

    What is the life expectancy of Metastatic Breast Cancer which has metastasized to the spine and bones if left untreated?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 4 Patient
    about 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Rea,
      No one knows how long any of us will live. Even leaving a cancer untreated, no one actually knows. There isn't anything the the "direction book of life" that can be a predictor. I don't like when a doctor presents their guess and says to a patient.... "You have 6 months to live". I think...

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      Rea,
      No one knows how long any of us will live. Even leaving a cancer untreated, no one actually knows. There isn't anything the the "direction book of life" that can be a predictor. I don't like when a doctor presents their guess and says to a patient.... "You have 6 months to live". I think that sets up a negative mind-set in a persons thoughts. Doctor's aren't God, and as far as I am concerned HE is the only one who truly gets to play that role.
      I had a friend who had Stage 4 ILC with nearly all lymph nodes removed were found to be positive (19 out of 21). She quit her treatment but ended up living 5 years after surgery with no further treatment.
      It would be my thought gift to you, not to think of giving up but think of hope and the possibilities for the future.
      It is bad enough to be diagnosed with this creepy disease but we do NOT want to lose another one of our sister's to it. We really need you to keep up the good fight! I truly think of mets as a chronic condition. Hang in there darlin' take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Rea I too am stage IV bc with mets to lungs. The time will come to do or not to do? I have chosen to begin a new journey at this time. We will see where this road will lead me. I always hope that the treatment I receive might help someone else on their journey. No one knows their life...

      more

      Rea I too am stage IV bc with mets to lungs. The time will come to do or not to do? I have chosen to begin a new journey at this time. We will see where this road will lead me. I always hope that the treatment I receive might help someone else on their journey. No one knows their life expectancy with or without cancer. I do know, from family history of cancer that it is not in our hands. I have had family members experience remission and fast growth after treatments have stopped. It is not for us to know. Sending gods blessings and prayers your way to live life to it's fullest one day at a time. Keep us posted.

      Comment
  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    Has anyone had 35 rounds of radiation ? Scared, heard negative things. Please help , any advice would be helpful

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Lori S Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had 33 treatments with no major issues. There was some sunburn like issues, but all was manageable.

      Comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I am almost done with 28 treatments. I also had chemo and this is a breeze compared to that. The only thing is getting there every day which is getting a bit old, but the appointments are quick and easy. I have had no bad side effects aside from a little bit of fatigue very recently. Be sure...

      more

      I am almost done with 28 treatments. I also had chemo and this is a breeze compared to that. The only thing is getting there every day which is getting a bit old, but the appointments are quick and easy. I have had no bad side effects aside from a little bit of fatigue very recently. Be sure to use the cream/ointment they give you for the area and drink lots of water - both things keep the skin hydrated to help minimize the burning effects that the radiation can have. No worries! You'll be fine! :)

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    My mom is starting xeloda today after receiving 10 treatments of radiation.do any of you ladies have any experience with this chemo agent? My mom has metastisized stage 4 breast cancer and is terminal. Will her quality of life be ok on this medicine?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    almost 6 years 3 answers
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I was on it for quite a while. I thought it was a great chemo. Be prepared for hand foot syndrome. Buy some white cotton gloves (any drug store or beauty supply) she will need to sleep w cream using gloves and socks to keep moist. The xeloda cleared the cancer from my liver and shrunk my other...

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      I was on it for quite a while. I thought it was a great chemo. Be prepared for hand foot syndrome. Buy some white cotton gloves (any drug store or beauty supply) she will need to sleep w cream using gloves and socks to keep moist. The xeloda cleared the cancer from my liver and shrunk my other tumors. I am terminal as well a be prepared to change chemos every so often. Good luck and remember this can be treated as a chronic disease for a long while.

      2 comments
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I've read about this chemo drug. It is a pill so she won't have to do the three or four hours doing the IV at the infusian center. Good thoughts and prayers for her journey and contiued strength for you caring for her.

      Comment
  • Christina H Profile

    How much Blueberry Extract should I take daily to help with my Triple Negative Breast Cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    about 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I probably would'nt be taking it at all. My onco also advised not using natural supplements. You should speak to your onco first. Natural products have not been proven to help with any cancer.

      Comment
    • lisa oldham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My oncologist told me to avoid antioxidants and supplements 3 days before and after. In between I maintained the healthiest diet filled with organic veggies in soup, green tea etc. I went for acupuncture to support my organs and combat nausea.

      Comment
  • michelle j Profile

    Getting ready to start chemo this week. Feel like I just accepted the fact that I have breast cancer. Found out today my pet scan came back with liver abnormalities (blood work was normal, though). I feel so scared!

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 6 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Michelle,
      I would not get too worried about it. Scans are SO sensitive they can see the tiniest of flaws in various organs that turn out to be JUST US. I also had something on one of my scans that turned out to just be a oddity of my.... whatever. The fact that you have normal liver tests...

      more

      Michelle,
      I would not get too worried about it. Scans are SO sensitive they can see the tiniest of flaws in various organs that turn out to be JUST US. I also had something on one of my scans that turned out to just be a oddity of my.... whatever. The fact that you have normal liver tests speaks to your liver being healthy. They just have to get baselines. One of the techs I spoke to told me not to worry about these baselines... they are just baselines. I truly think this time where you don't have all the pieces of the puzzle is very scary. It will all level out. Just what you need to hear.... abnormalities.... arrrgh. If your doctor isn't getting jazzed about it then I wouldn't get too upset. Hang in there Michelle. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Francine Williams Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      U will be fine;)Praying that God will lead u through all of this and remember you will have a TESTIMONY at the end of it all!!Good Luck

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Oncotype score: 8 - 2 lymph nodes positive - onco said: 92% of cancer not coming back no chemo, radiation, tamox -WAIT - other onco: nope need chemo and all the rest cancer will still come back at 20%

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    about 6 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Blair Greiner Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I say chemo if nodes were positive

      Comment
    • Lisa Doheny Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      My score was 12 with 1 node positive and I had 4 rounds of chemo & 5 years tamoxifen also with having a double mastectomy. I hope this helps you a little. Good luck to you & sending hugs your way

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I just got my onco type DX result back. My score is 10! The one twist is, I has a micro spot of cancer in my 1 lymph node. Chemo or no chemo? See my oncologist tomorrow. Any advice?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Evelyn Heilbrunn Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Oy, that's a tough one. I've had BC twice, 11 years apart. The first time was a mastectomy and rads, no chemo. The second one, last year, was a mastectomy and chemo. My onco DX was very high so chemo was a no-brainer. However, my nodes were all negative.
      Your onc will give you the best...

      more

      Oy, that's a tough one. I've had BC twice, 11 years apart. The first time was a mastectomy and rads, no chemo. The second one, last year, was a mastectomy and chemo. My onco DX was very high so chemo was a no-brainer. However, my nodes were all negative.
      Your onc will give you the best advice. if you feel at all uncomfortable with that advice, or you want a second pair of eyes, get another opinion.
      I went for aggressive treatment both times. For example, the first time I was told I could get by with a lumpectomy. I went for the mastectomy. The first time, after the mastectomy, they found the cancer was invasive rather than DCIS. Stage 1B. That's why I had the rads.
      The second time It ended up not being as bad as they thought, but I didn't care if they went the extra mile. What I can tell you is getting BC twice is very scary. If there was anything that could be done to decrease my hances of a recurrence, I wanted it done -- especially the second time.
      Best of luck to you!

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I did not have an onco DX and also had a micro amount of cancer in one lymph node. IN MY CASE (this is NOT saying you would have the same thing) it didn't matter what my onco DX would have been as I was slated for chemo due to size of the tumor 2.2cm. There is a lot that goes into treatment...

      more

      I did not have an onco DX and also had a micro amount of cancer in one lymph node. IN MY CASE (this is NOT saying you would have the same thing) it didn't matter what my onco DX would have been as I was slated for chemo due to size of the tumor 2.2cm. There is a lot that goes into treatment plans for each individual woman. Size, grade, stage, age, all factors in. Just as Marianne says.... you oncologist will give you the best advice. If you are still unsure, you can always get a second opinion. My husband and I, and my best friend sat down with the oncologist and went through a computer program for early breast cancer http://www.adjuvantonline.com/index.jsp that is available which shows you odds depending on treatment for your particular cancer. It helped to make a decision much easier. I chose a mastectomy and then had 4 rounds of AC and 5 years of Femara. It gave me the best odds. I thought I was extremely lucky to escape with only 4 rounds of chemo. I was post menopausal and was diagnosed with IDC stage 2-A initially but went to a B when the micro amount of cancer was found in the node. Good luck to you. I am thankful there is much to be done for us facing this scary disease. Take care, and God's blessings, Sharon

      Comment
  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    Is feeling tingling and strangely sporadicly numb, tinged with some pain normal after lumpectomy with SNB? I'm 4 days out of surgery and fingers are tingling as I'm writing this....anything I can do for it? Also, is swelling on the effected side normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • Diane Washington Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Yes I still have those symptoms I been three months out of surgery. It can catch you off guard . But I sure in time everything will catch up with the other body parts.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Morning Carla, Had both, it was annoying but it's due to severed nerves. Still have both but to a lesser degree after 4 months. You will have sharp , piercing pain that will catch you off gaurd but it will eventually subside-also due to cut and damaged nerves. I call them GOTCHA pain. Those were...

      more

      Morning Carla, Had both, it was annoying but it's due to severed nerves. Still have both but to a lesser degree after 4 months. You will have sharp , piercing pain that will catch you off gaurd but it will eventually subside-also due to cut and damaged nerves. I call them GOTCHA pain. Those were really annoying during radiation.Hope you"re feeling better this morning and some of the anxiety is turning loose. I can"t speak to the swelling. Call your doctor and describe it. If you think it is increasing don't wait. Peace of mind is better than money. Do try to walk around to get the lymph sytem to pumping. It is bruised and traumatized and needs a kick start. Hang in there. Everyday away from surgery is a victory. Jo :-D

      5 comments

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