DiscoverSisters4Prevention Breast Cancer Resource
Sisters4Prevention Breast Cancer Resource
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Sisters4Prevention Breast Cancer Resource

Author: Judy Fitzgerald

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Since my diagnosis ten years ago, I have been dedicated to researching lifestyle changes and supporting clinical research to achieve the prevention of breast cancer. My goal is to raise awareness of the need for research funding for the primary prevention of women's cancers and to share information to help those facing this journey. My posts are educational and include my journey with bilateral breast cancer and my year of treatment including a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I have been a breast cancer advocate since 2010 and have served on panels at the department of defense breast cancer funding review programs. My website shares all the information I have collected and verified from long term survivors and medical evidence. I am not a medical professional, simply a teacher who hopes to make a difference by sharing information. I presently serve as one of three breast cancer advocates on the pending clinical trial under the direction of Dr. Vincent Tuohy at the Cleveland clinic to prevent the recurrence of triple negative breast cancer, the most lethal form of the disease which is expected to begin in 2021.I am a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD and have lobbied Congress for additional funds for prevention clinical trials for breast and ovarian cancers. Stay tuned...
20 Episodes
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This podcast discusses in detail the challenges of recovering from a mastectomy,  or in my case, mastectomies.  It includes a detailed and honest discussion on issues concerning the care of drains and managing post mastectomy pain from drains and expanders.  Strategies for managing pain and supplies which will help in these most challenging days of recovery are included.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
Of course, although buying organic produce is the best, but when is it ok to buy their less expensive cousins?  How can you know which fruits and vegetables are ok to buy without the added cost of purchasing organic? Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists. These publications rate foods according to which have the highest and lowest pesticide residue to help shoppers determine which foods to buy organic and which are okay to buy conventional. Although ideally every shopper should be able to purchase organic fruits and vegetables, the reality is that organic often costs more. By heeding the EWG’s 2020 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists, health-concerned shoppers can still get the most for their money and minimize their pesticide exposure. Lists change slightly from year to year, so it’s important to recheck each year, and more importantly, take a copy of it with you to the grocery store! Why are pesticides particularly harmful for hormone dependent cancers? Many pesticides cause estrogenic effects or effects that mimic estrogen in the body. The majority of breast cancers are fueled by estrogen so any added estrogen to our diets should be avoided.Research has established a strong link between estrogen activity induced by organochlorine pesticides (containing chlorine), and the risk of developing breast cancer. The results are significant. Patients with very high estrogen levels due to pesticide residues run four times more risk of developing the disease than patients with undetectable or very low levels. So far, 568 chemical products have been identified that affect our hormones. This year’s Dirty Dozen list:1. Strawberries2. Spinach3. Kale4. Nectarines5. Apples6. Grapes7. Peaches8. Cherries9. Pears10. Tomatoes11. Celery12. Potatoes The “Clean Fifteen” 1. Avocados2. Sweet corn3. Pineapple4. Onions5. Papaya6. Sweet peas (frozen)7. Eggplants8. Asparagus9. Cauliflower10. Cantaloupes11. Broccoli12. Mushrooms13. Cabbage14. Honeydew melon15. Kiwifruit © 2020, Environmental Working Group, All Rights Reserved.To summarize, today’s tip is to buy organic…if you can’t always do so, buy the dirty dozen in organic and the clean fifteen from the conventional isle. If organic is not available for the dirty dozen, a compromise is to soak the fruits or vegetables in a sink full of water to which one cup of apple cider vinegar is added.  Let them soak for five minutes then rinse and air dry. This is a natural way to help remove pesticides. Be sure to always rinse thoroughly. To keep a list of the clean 15 and dirty dozen handy, print out the transcript of this podcast.https://www.sisters4prevention.com/post/when-to-buy-organic-the-clean-15-and-the-dirty-dozenSupport the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
Including powerful antioxidants in your diet is key in fighting or preventing cancer.  A great way to start the day is to include berries for breakfast.  Later meals throughout the day including cruciferous vegetables will continue your cancer fighting diet. Cruciferous vegetables are vegetables of the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and similar green leaf vegetables. The family takes its alternative name (Cruciferae, New Latin for "cross-bearing") from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross. When cooked properly they are both delicious and vital cancer fighting tools.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
Studies have shown that deficiencies of Vitamin D3 have been associated with various cancers including breast cancer.  A simple blood test will tell your oncologist if you need to take a vitamin D3 supplement.  Along with vitamin D3,  green tea and it's high level of antioxidants have been found to not only be beneficial for cancer prevention, but for the prevention of heart disease as well.  Adding these two potent anti-cancer and healthy supplements to your diet is an easy way to gain points for prevention.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
The following passage from the American Cancer Society’s Website:“After having breast cancer surgery, some patients have problems with nerve (neuropathic) pain in the chest wall, armpit, and/or arm that doesn’t go away over time. This is called post-mastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS) because it was first noticed in women who had mastectomies, but it can also happen after other types of breast-conserving surgery (such as a lumpectomy). Another similar condition which actually occurs in the breast is a condition known as “Phantom Breast Syndrome” or (PBS). PBS is a condition in which patients have a sensation of residual breast tissue and can include both non-painful sensations as well as phantom breast pain. Patients with PBS may experience pain, discomfort, itching, pins and needles sensations, tingling, pressure, burning, or throbbing. The syndrome can start anytime following surgery, even years later. Incidence statistics vary across different studies, ranging from approximately 30% to as high as 80% of patients after mastectomy. It seriously affects quality of life due to the impact of the physical disability and emotional stress.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
Lauren's Story:It was a bittersweet experience to be diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 37.  The thought of my young children, and what this label will mean to them, overwhelmed me. At the same time, I felt empowered, in a way I had waited to be empowered my entire life.  I knew I had a cause to fight for. I knew there were hurting people, people who did not have the tools to escape the pain of their diagnosis, and because of my diagnosis, I would fully understand what was needed to serve, support and encourage them. As a young mother with metastatic cancer, I can understand the emotional burden that cancer brings into the life of a patient and his/her immediate family. Spouses carry a burden equal to that of the patient, while children analyze every stressful moment filled with fear. http://www.adventuretherapyfoundation.org/about-us/Cancer doesn’t just weaken a body, it takes a significant emotional toll on family members. Adventure Therapy exists to give families impacted by cancer the opportunity to find emotional release in the outdoors. Walls and boundaries are minimized and the vastness of what lies beyond our limitations can be imagined in the wilderness.  Experiencing the mountains offers healing to the body and peace to the soul.This Summer, Lauren will launch RISE an app to provide support to patients facing a cancer diagnosis to connect with others sharing their diagnosis and local resources available that may help them navigate their cancer journey.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
Understanding the detrimental effects of chronic inflammation is important for good health.  Good diet and lifestyle habits are the only way to control this condition.  The dangers of chronic inflammation lead to serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  Reducing inflammation can often reverse and sometimes cure these diseases.  That is why it's so important to understand the condition and work to avoid it.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
This is the first episode in a series where I will encourage you to adopt cancer prevention strategies by incorporating the suggested lifestyle changes in my next 29 posts. The goal of this series is to provide guidance to patients looking for ways to prevent cancer recurrence, but they can also be used to prevent cancer from starting.  Other benefits of adopting these strategies is the prevention of other health issues like heart disease and diabetes. All these diseases are also caused by inflammation.  The first two strategies discussed in this issue are the benefits of drinking alkaline water and adopting an  exercise program including walking.  Stay tuned for the next 29 strategies.  I hope that by adapting a gradually improved  lifestyle,  you can achieve better health and achieve longevity.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
A cancer diagnosis is not only a physical condition, but one of the most difficult psychological challenges one can ever face.  Reducing stress is an essential  part of the healing process. However,  when navigating  treatment, it can at times seem impossible.  This podcast shares thoughts and feelings that are commonly shared in survivor groups that others found helpful.  It discusses that acknowledgment that the journey doesn't end when treatment ends, is so important not only for the patient,  but for their family and friends as well.     Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
This episode analyzes the surgical pathology and confirmation that a double mastectomy was the right decision.  Since no lymph nodes were involved,  an OncotypeDX test is proscribed so no decision on chemotherapy options are known.  Stress levels are at an all time high and ways to cope are explored.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
A complete explanation of the scoring system for the oncotype DX test and it's benefits for early stage, node negative, hormone positive, Her2 negative breast cancer.  The trend towards "individualized oncology" in the past ten years has changed the focus from "one size fits all"  to examining the genomic characteristics of the tumor cells.  Early stage breast cancers treated prior to this diagnostic test were all given chemotherapy.  This test identifies tumors who would not respond to chemotherapy and allows these patients to skip this debilitating treatment and treat their cancer with hormone therapy.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
This session addresses the criteria used to assign breast cancer staging, cell differentiation and biomarkers.  Explanation for each stage and how this relates to prognosis and survival statistics is discussed.  This information is most useful after the tumor is excised and can be microscopically examined.  Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
This podcast explains the difference between DCIS and LCIS/Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors/and HER2 status and treatment decisions.  Understanding differentiation and how this corresponds to the aggressiveness of the cancer.  Why DCIS and LCIS are considered stage zero cancer and why excision of these tumors is important.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
In this Podcast I discuss the days leading up to the mastectomy and detail the hospital stay from admittance to surgery and recovery.  Included are details of my journey with a double skin sparing mastectomy including  immediate reconstruction with expanders.  A nipple sparing was not possible and the reasons for my choices are discussed.  Tips for pain management and items to help recovery are referenced.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
This chapter chronicles past issues with irregular mammograms and the need for a biopsy which thankfully this time was benign.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
My cancer journey begins with an irregular mammogram.  Seeking a second opinion would be the key to saving my life.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
The journey from biopsy to surgery is an extremely stressful and uncertain time.  Deciding between lumpectomy and mastectomy will depend on the clinical pathology resulting from your biopsy, and more information and further tests may be needed before reaching a final decision.  Organizing your surgery team if mastectomy is needed will require coordination between a breast surgeon and plastic surgeon.  Preparing for a mastectomy is not only psychologically challenging, but preparing for the physical challenges will help with the recovery phase following surgery.  Helpful suggestions of items that can help with comfort during recovery is discussed.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
My continual breast issues in previous mammograms result in my first biopsy.  These chapters depict the  events leading up to my breast cancer diagnosis. A benign biopsy ten years earlier becomes an invasive cancer that would threaten my life.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
Sometimes, if surgery is not possible right away or at all, the cancer will be given a clinical stage instead. This is based on the results of a physical exam, biopsy, and imaging tests. The clinical stage is used to help plan treatment. Sometimes, though, the cancer has spread further than the clinical stage estimates, and may not predict the patient’s outlook as accurately as a pathologic stage. This Podcasts discusses how the clinical pathology is used to determine the immediate treatment path and ultimately the path of either lumpectomy or mastectomy.  Details on types of biopsies are explained.  How I reached my decision for a double mastectomy is explianed.Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
This podcast speaks to the confusion and stress that accompanies a diagnosis of breast cancer.  The value of a second opinion is discuss and reasons for considering a breast cancer specialty hospital is reviewed.  The author is a ten year survivor and offers vital information to support those recently facing this devastating disease,Support the show (https://instacart.oloiyb.net/GAg29)
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