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The #metoo World of Breast Cancer Treatment

Thanks to Janelle Burchfield for giving us permission to share her story.

janelle web

 "You're such a delicate creature. You need to think about all the delicacies of being a woman."
- Random Doctor, after tossing a breast implant at me

So, this was my most recent Me Too moment - navigating the male-centric world of cancer treatment.

I'd kept my diagnosis pretty private for the first couple of months while I processed, letting only those closest to me know. Some women are so brave to share their story, I haven't been one of them. I knew I didn't want this disease to own or define me, and so I’ve taken my time in deciding how to speak about it -and Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all the countless other women sharing their Me Too stories gave me some courage.

Read more: The #metoo World of Breast Cancer Treatment

The Tipping Point

This inspiring post is from our Executive Director's cousin, Jo Gordon, with our thanks.

Jo Gordon Reflections

Several months after my dad died – 13 whiplash years ago – I was driving home from the gym one evening when a Josh Groban song began playing on the radio, Where You Are. Sitting at a red light, the mournful music washed over me. One verse gripped my heart, and squeezed and squeezed: Fly me up to where you are, beyond the distant star I wish upon tonight, to see you smile, if only for awhile to know you’re there, a breath away’s not far to where you are.

I started to cry in a way I hadn’t before – not on hearing the news of dad’s sudden death, not standing at his gravesite on a chilly Johannesburg morning as kaddish was recited, not at the prayer service that evening, not as I waded through his closet, setting aside small treasures and throwing out boxes of boxes and bags of bags; not even that impressive collection of emptiness that he had stored so fastidiously for so long had been my undoing. But this one line in this one song wrung me out.

Read more: The Tipping Point

Research Inspired by Marin Women with Very Low Breast Cancer Risk Could Lead to New Prevention Strategies

pregnant woman

Research that began with the Marin Women’s Study has now been duplicated in the larger California Teachers Study, demonstrating that women who develop hypertension in pregnancy and carry a common gene variant have up to a 90% lower breast cancer risk.

“This research could contribute to understanding the key impact of pregnancy on breast cancer risk, and may help explain why some women are protected while others are not,” said lead researcher Mark Powell, MD, MPH, visiting scientist at the Buck Institute and Director of the Breast Cancer Prevention Project.

Read more: Research Inspired by Marin Women with Very Low Breast Cancer Risk Could Lead to New Prevention...

Waiting: The Hardest Part

Jo Gordon Reflections

Waiting to see if your new pain, out of nowhere, will resolve itself. Waiting for the surgeon’s office to return your distress call. Waiting to hear when you can be squeezed into the jammed CT scan schedule. Waiting to eat because if they can fit you in today, you need to be fasting. Waiting in a room filled with other waiters, all stoically counting minutes until it’s their turn to be stuck, probed, imaged. The longest wait – waiting for results. Waiting for the medical team to decide what happens next. Listening to an internal clock, ticking in a terrible silence. Waiting.

Read more: Waiting: The Hardest Part

Talking About Breast Cancer Risk: It's Complicated!

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My favorite way to mix work and pleasure (or work and health if you prefer) is to walk and talk. I can't exactly do that in a digital medium so I am inviting you to sign up for the Dipsea Hike for Zero Breast Cancer and to read more about putting breast cancer risk information into context so that we can talk about it in a realistic way.

Read more: Talking About Breast Cancer Risk: It's Complicated!

Website Recommendation: EWG.org

ewg logo blog 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.” By providing integrated and detailed information on toxins in a variety of products, EWG encourages readers to advocate for themselves and their health by making educated purchasing decisions. Their staff covers a wide variety of disciplines, including a team of scientists, policy experts, lawyers, communication experts and programmers all focused on reducing our environmental exposures. In the past, they have found that their education efforts have enabled the public to put pressure on companies to remove potentially hazardous chemical ingredients as well as improving their overall practices. Overall, they diligently work to inform the public, provide specific tips to reduce exposure, and influence policy to create a healthier world for us all.

Read more: Website Recommendation: EWG.org

ZBC Teen Volunteer Janessa's Stress Management Tips

Janessa Blog

Reducing stress is a key component in helping manage daily tasks. It doesn’t matter if you are in high school, college, or an adult, it can always be a battle to deal with stress. Specifically, the stress that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis can be the biggest battle of them all.

One of the best things to do is to take your mind off of whatever is bothering you. For example, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, she would attend weekly yoga classes and would go to any seminars offered at the hospital in order to gather information and meet others going through the same battle as her. She felt that attending weekly events really helped her through her treatment and post-treatment stages.

Read more: ZBC Teen Volunteer Janessa's Stress Management Tips

Website Recommendation: BreastCancer.org

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When dealing with breast cancer, and looking to prevent breast cancer, the vast amount of information and the decisions that need to be made can be overwhelming. In 1999, Dr. Marisa Weiss, a renowned breast oncologist, founded breastcancer.org to address these needs. As a non-profit organization, breastcancer.org is dedicated to providing the most reliable, complete, and up-to-date information about breast cancer. It is an excellent resource.  Their mission is to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information about breast health and breast cancer so that they can make the best decisions for their lives. The people behind breastcancer.org bring with them a diverse set of skills and experience, from medical experts, writers, editors, and business development experts, to designers and web producers. A Professional Advisory Board (PAB) reviews all the medical information on the website. The PAB includes over 70 practicing medical professionals from around the world who are leaders in their fields. Breastcancer.org also provides a Spanish translation of its pages on the website.

Read more: Website Recommendation: BreastCancer.org