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Real Pink

Author: Susan G. Komen

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Real Pink, a podcast by Susan G. Komen, is taking real conversations about breast cancer from the doctor's office to your living room. Hosted by Adam Walker, episodes feature candid conversations with survivors, researchers, physicians, and more. Find answers to your toughest questions and clear, actionable steps to live a better life, longer. At Real Pink, compassionate storytelling meets real inspiration and real support.
285 Episodes
Happy Pride Month, ya’ll! If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, finding culturally responsive, affirming health care in general can be challenging. But when you add a breast cancer diagnosis or even finding a provider who understands the importance of screening for this community because of unique risks, it becomes even more daunting. Our guest today is Dr. Chandler Cortina, a breast surgical oncologist and clinical outcomes researcher with the Cancer Center – Froedtert (pronounced FRAY dirt) Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin Health System. As an openly gay man himself and an oncology provider, he has a passion for ensuring safe breast health spaces exist for members of the LGBTQ+ community and that outcomes are similar to that of their cisgender/heterosexual peers.
Molecular imaging tests can offer comprehensive views of breast cancers, especially for locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, and can help paint a clearer picture of the extent and characteristics of the cancer. This can then give doctors the ability to help guide treatment and evaluate response to treatment. Joining us on today’s show is Dr. David Mankoff, Vice Chair of Research, Radiology and the Matthew J. Wilson Professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and Associate Director of Education and Training at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. Dr. Mankoff is going to help us understand the complexities of breast cancer tumors, what these molecular imaging tests are looking for and who should be getting them.
This week, nearly 300 Susan G. Komen Center for Public Policy Advocates from across the country are coming together to call on federal lawmakers to help us bring an end to breast cancer. Joining me today are two of those advocates who will be in DC to talk about their experience as public policy advocates and share how you too can join in on using your voice and echoing our message on Capitol Hill.
This is Real Talk, a podcast conversation where we’re digging deep into breast cancer and the realities patients and survivors face every day. We’re talking openly and honestly about just how difficult breast cancer can be, from being diagnosed to selecting the right treatment plan, to living day to day with metastatic breast cancer, and life after treatment ends. In today’s episode, we’re learning how a BRCA2 gene mutation has affected a family–both directly and indirectly. It is my pleasure to welcome Nikki, her mom, Anita, and her sister, Kim, to the conversation. Nikki is a three-time cancer survivor, and the only one in your family who has had cancer. Nikki was diagnosed the first time with uterine cancer at the age of 31, and six years later, diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent genetic testing. That’s when she learned she had inherited a BRCA2 genetic mutation, increasing the risk of cancers.
The risk of getting breast cancer increases as you get older, but breast cancer can happen at any age. Today’s guest is Abby. Abby was diagnosed with Stage 3 luminal B invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer at the young age of 31 with no prior family history. She is mom of a 2-year-old, a DIYer and spends time trying to live a more simple, happy life.
This is Real Talk, a new podcast series where we’re going to break down the stigmas and feelings of embarrassment and talk openly and honestly about just how difficult breast cancer can be – from diagnosis, to treatment, to living with metastatic breast cancer, to life after treatment ends.  A breast cancer diagnosis can be life altering for women and men at any age. But imagine learning you have breast cancer while you’re pregnant. Today’s guests were both diagnosed with breast cancer during their pregnancy. They’re going to share about the range of emotions they experienced, their fears, their worries for their health and their babies’ health as they went through treatment, and how they are doing today.
It is common for people diagnosed with breast cancer to experience depression, anxiety, fear, and mental and emotional distress. Today’s guest was undergoing twice yearly screenings for breast cancer because her mother and aunt had previously been diagnosed. She was scheduled to leave 5 days later for a vacation, but then, Alecia Robinson was called back for additional screenings and diagnosed with stage 1A invasive ductal carcinoma ER, PR-positive, HER2-positive breast cancer. She is here today to share the mental anguish that can come with a breast cancer diagnosis, particularly in some of the unknown and “waiting” moments, and how she has been best been able to cope and move forward.
Breast cancer affects everyone differently, but It is common for people diagnosed with breast cancer to experience depression, anxiety and mental or emotional distress. The support of family, friends, and others can help as you go through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Here today to help us navigate the toll that a breast cancer diagnosis can have on your mental and sexual health are two experts from City of Hope Chicago – Behavorial Health Therapist, Alexandria Callahan, and Sexual Health/Intimacy Nurse, Cindy Ingram.
Listen to the latest episode of Real Pink to hear Marianne Alexander share how she stays strong in spirit and maintains positivity while living with metastatic breast cancer at the young age of 35.
Tune into the latest episode of Real Pink to hear breast cancer advocate, Michelle Benjamin, and licensed professional oncology counselor and breast cancer survivor, Dr. Chalice Rhodes, delve into the importance of cultural connections, the power of advocacy, and the necessity of prioritizing mental health during a breast cancer diagnosis.
This is Real Talk, a podcast conversation where we’re digging deep into breast cancer and the realities patients and survivors face every day. We’re talking openly and honestly about just how difficult breast cancer can be, from being diagnosed to selecting the right treatment plan, to living day to day with metastatic breast cancer, and life after treatment ends. In today’s episode, we’re encouraging everyone to take a break. A breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and life thereafter can be exhausting. All the appointments and procedures and follow-ups and bills, on top of the emotional and physical challenges of cancer, is overwhelming. Sam Lazar Rivello is a Stage 2b breast cancer survivor who learned how to accept help and support from others during her diagnosis and treatment. Through the outpouring of love from those around her, she could focus on overcoming cancer. Esther Tambe and her sister Alicia co-founded Fight Thru Flights, an organization that provides free wellness retreats and travel experiences for Black women living with breast cancer. Their goal is to improve the wellness and mental health of Black women who are impacted by this disease.
No two breast cancers are the same, and researchers have come a long way in understanding what makes each breast tumor unique. This is the entire premise behind personalized medicine. By looking at a tumor’s biomarkers, doctors can tailor their patient’s treatment to best fight their unique tumor. On today’s show, we’ll be discussing biomarkers that doctors look for in breast tumors and how they use them to design a treatment plan. We’ll also hear about a new twist on an old biomarker, the estrogen receptor, and how it’s being put into clinical practice. Joining us today to share her expertise is Dr. Virginia Kaklamani, M.D. Dr. Kaklamani is a professor of medicine and leader of the Breast Cancer Program at UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.
We still have a long way to go to conquer breast cancer, but we have made some big advances that are saving lives and making a difference. A new modeling study has recently published that the mortality rate for U.S. women with breast cancer decreased an estimated 58 percent between 1975 and 2019. Joining us on today’s show is Jennifer Caswell-Jin, MD who is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Standford Medicine, a former Komen grantee specializing in breast cancer care and research and a lead author on the study that published these findings. Dr. Caswell-Jin will help us understand why the mortality rate has gone down, the barriers that exist in getting the rate down further and what the future of breast cancer advancement looks like from her perspective.
March is Women’s History Month so it’s fitting that we talk about how Susan G. Komen started off making history and continues to make history as an organization dedicated to achieving health equity. At its inception in 1982, Komen started as a health equity organization dedicated to supporting women, at a time when even saying the word “breast” was taboo and women’s health was simply not centered. Since then, Komen has doubled down on its health equity focus and works to advance and ultimately achieve health equity for historically marginalized or underrepresented communities. Joining us today is Cati Diamond Stone, vice president of community health at Komen to talk about Komen’s origin story and how that work continues today.
1 in 5 women who have had breast cancer surgery and treatment are at risk for developing a potentially detrimental side effect of breast cancer – breast cancer related lymphedema— a condition in which lymphatic fluid gets trapped in lymph vessels and causes chronic arm swelling leading to reduced quality of life for many. We are thrilled to be joined today by two guests to help educate us on this topic: Dr. Steven Chen, a practicing surgeon, Chief Medical Officer at Impedimed, and past president of American Society of Breast Surgeons and Kathy Lahr, a patient advocate who will be sharing her personal experience with breast cancer related lymphedema.
Starting treatment for breast cancer can be overwhelming and you might feel scared or alone. Often, hearing from people who have been diagnosed themselves can help provide a sense of safety and support. Tune into the latest episode of Real Pink to hear fitness trainer Amanda Butler share some inspiration and advice about what helped her get through treatment.
Tune into the latest episode of Real Pink to hear Anna Horvat do some myth busting around breast cancer risk to shed light on factors that ARE and ARE NOT scientifically proven to increase you breast cancer risk so you can feel empowered to make important breast care decisions and take charge of your health.
Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age, at later stages and with more aggressive types of breast cancer than white women. This makes knowing your family health history crucial and potentially lifesaving. Ricki Fairley, a 12 - year late stage breast cancer survivor, is joining us on the show today to talk about the importance of normalizing conversations around breast cancer, particularly for younger women.
Sometimes on our show, we hear stories of women who make career changes after they receive a breast cancer diagnosis, some of them finding that they want to chase passions, give back to others, or perhaps simply realign their priorities. It is less often, however, that we are joined by women who have devoted their entire careers to the field of breast cancer and then suddenly find themselves as the patient. We are lucky enough to be joined today by Tammy Handley, National Senior Manager of Clinical Operations for Women’s Health at FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas Corporation, and breast cancer survivor, to hear her story and what it is like when your career passion turns personal.
In today’s episode, we’ll hear from two women whose lives have been changed by breast cancer, and the ways they are soaring to new heights as Black women. Donna Dennis is a former track and field star and known as one of the greatest female sprinters in the nation. She qualified as an alternate for the 1984 Olympics in the 200. Donna was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 53. Donna didn’t know Black women could get breast cancer because she didn’t know anyone who had it and she never saw women who looked like her at the cancer center where she was getting chemotherapy. Donna’s diagnosis has inspired her to speak to young, Black female athletes and educate them on their health. As an athlete, her body was always different, and she didn’t know much about her breast health. Nia Gilliam is a pilot for United Airlines and ambassador for Black women in flying. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2022 and opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Both expanders in her breasts leaked and caused infections, which meant additional surgeries for Nia. She was able to have new tissue expanders added and completed reconstruction surgery in November of 2023. But due to all the complications and a traumatic recovery, she has not yet returned to the air. Nia is an avid advocate for Black women in aviation and started a nonprofit to encourage more young, Black women to pursue careers in flying.