Friday, November 11, 2011

CAPE WOMEN ONLINE MAGAZINE (CWO) CANCER Q&A

CAPE WOMEN ONLINE MAGAZINE (CWO) CANCER Q&A

Hi Kathy,
I was just diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. I meet with a team of
specialists on Thursday so I won't have any definite answers until
then...but, my OBGYN has said that I should expect lumpectomy and
radiation. I've heard about an internal radiation using seeds put thru
tubes into the cancerous area....it's only five days of treatment vs. five
to seven weeks and a lot less exposure to radiation than the external
type....do you know anything about it?
Cindy in Florida

Dear Cindy,
You sound like you have a wonderful attitude and are busy collecting information to make an acceptable game plan with your team of doctors. Yes, I have heard of “radiation seeds” and they have been used in prostate cancer for quite some time. It is only recently that they have been available for breast cancer treatment. Using radiation seeds is known as Internal Radiation or ("brachytherapy"). It is also referred to as partial-breast radiation. It involves placing small radioactive seeds into catheters inside your breast, where the tumor used to be. The radioactive seeds emit the proper treatment dose of energy to the tumor cavity as well as the surrounding tissue.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new technology for brachytherapy called balloon catheter radiation in 2002. For breast radiation, some methods use a balloon, and others use a device that expands like a balloon, once it is placed inside your breast. These methods of partial-breast radiation are gaining acceptance among oncologists, and may be an option for you. Treatment is given for 5 to 7 days, after which the catheter is removed. Because this method of radiation takes less time than external beam radiation, it is also called accelerated partial breast irradiation.
The goal of treatment with a balloon catheter device such as MammoSite or ClearPath is to radiate breast tissue in and around the tumor cavity in order to destroy any remaining cancer cells, while limiting irradiation to healthy tissues in your lungs, heart, skin, and fat. Balloon catheters are available as single-source (one catheter containing the radiation dose) and multiple-source models (several catheters containing the radiation doses).
I know this was quite a bit of information but I hope it helps answer your questions. Good luck and stay in touch. Cape Women Online and I care.Ask me anything.


Dear Kathy,
When I first rec'd my diagnosis, I freaked out. Now I’m so depressed that I don’t want to go out, see anyone or even talk to them on the phone. Is this normal and will I ever get over this depression. I will be starting treatment soon.
Linda in Tennessee

Dear Linda,
I am sorry you are undergoing such difficulty. What you are experiencing is the perfectly normal swing of emotions associated with any life crisis. Anytime someone receives shocking news the body goes into “fight or flight” mode. You often feel frantic one moment and lethargic the next. Once your psyche settles down, the pendulum of emotion stops its wild swings. You will find middle ground in your emotions. It just takes time and patience with your inner selves. Discuss your depression with your medical team. I was given the drug Atavan during my treatment to deal with anxiety attacks. However, I found that the side effects of extreme grogginess outweighed the positive effects of the drug. I found relief in deep meditation. There are many wonderful free mediation tapes on some online sites like Facebook, and available for purchase in bookstores. This may be a great reason to venture out of the house or if you are not ready to face the world, they can be ordered online. Remember, CWO and I care.Ask me anything.

Dear Kathy,
How long have you been cancer free? I hope your prognosis is good and
that you're currently doing well. I look forward to hearing from you.
Brenda in Bangor Maine

Dear Brenda,
Thank you for asking. I have been free of my first cancer for 12 years and my second cancer for 7. Like many women diagnosed with breast cancer, I am doing great! There are more survivors of cancer today than ever before in the history of medicine. I believe this is a result of two things: medicine has improved and people are integrating it with holistic and spiritual therapies. By addressing the mind, body spirit approach to healing we heal more than just the body. And that is one of the things that makes my prognosis so good.Ask me anything.

Dear Kathy,
I have just had a questionable mammogram. Three needle biopsys were taken and the pathologist said he is “leaning toward” lobular cancer. How can a pathology report “lean toward” something? Is it or isn’t it? I don’t have much confidence in my pathlogist. Did you have this problem and do you have any suggestions?
Chris in Ky

Dear Chris,
I think what I am hearing from your email is a disconnect and lack of confidence in your doctor. Yes, I did also have concerns with my medical team and immediately sought second opinions. Most insurance companies will cover second opinions and some even desire or require them. Any doctor worth having will not only be comfortable with a second opinion but may actually encourage it. I found that one of the most important things concerning any treatment is a trust and feeling of comradely with your medical team. Self-advocating is not easy. However, if you are not going to do it, who is? Good luck and let us know how everything goes. We care.Ask me anything.


Dear Kathy,
I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer and will need a mastectomy. I am alone, no family and no one to help me after my surgery. I have other health issues, too. I don’t think I can take care of myself alone. I need to be in a full care facility but my funds are very limited. The medical facility where my surgery and therapy will take place is more than an hour drive from my house. I don’t think I can get myself there alone. Do you have any suggestions?
Linda

Dear Linda,
I’m sorry you are facing these challenges. Facing cancer is hard enough. The answer to your questions may lie in the Hope Lodges. I don’t know what state you are in but they are located throughout the country. Here is some information on The American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges. http://www5.cancer.org/docroot/subsite/hopelodge/locations.asp
Having to travel out of town for treatment can be difficult. Yet the American Cancer Society has a place where cancer patients and their families can find help and hope when home is far away - an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge.
Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows Hope Lodge guests to focus on the most important thing: getting well.
And a Hope Lodge offers so much more than just free lodging. It provides a nurturing, home-like environment where patients and caregivers can retreat to private rooms or connect with others who are going through many of the same experiences.

Currently, there are 30 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States. Accommodations and eligibility requirements may vary by location, and room availability is first come, first served. To find a Hope Lodge and to learn more about a specific facility, please visit that location's page, or call the American Cancer Society toll free anytime, day or night, at 1-800-ACS-2345
If there is not a Hope Lodge in your area, please call the American Cancer Society at1-800-ACS-2345 for more information. Also you can visit Joe's House for additional lodging resources or enter your zip code on www.cancer.org's Find Local Resources page and select the category Housing.
Good luck to you and know that we care. Ask me anything