Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer globally and the leading cause of cancer-related death in women. However, the incidence of breast cancer has somewhat stabilized over the past few decades, and breast cancer mortality appears to be declining, suggesting a benefit from the combination of early detection and more effective treatment
From a surgical standpoint, said Dr. Gradishar, axillary lymph node dissection was the standard of care in 1996. Today, the less invasive sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is the standard of care for patients with early-stage breast cancer to determine spread of the disease, which has removed the risk of unnecessary extensive lymph node removal, as well as decreased the risks of post-surgical complications.
"How we thought about adjuvant therapy has changed," said Dr. Gradishar. "Physicians used to look at the number of nodes as a determinant of whether a patient was a candidate for chemotherapy, as well as what kind of chemotherapy was appropriate. Now we use genomic profiling to influence our decision-making. Additionally, the chemotherapy regimens have changed and endocrine therapy options have expanded, as has the duration of therapy."
Indeed, genomic testing and targeted therapies have changed the course of breast cancer treatment. In particular, according to Dr. Gradishar, 20 years ago human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2)-positive disease was not listed in the guidelines, and today the NCCN Guidelines recommendations include a cadre of successful neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapies for people with HER2-positive disease.
The pharmaceutical industry has historically invested enormous amounts of money into identifying and engaging with those medical influencers who can potentially make or break its new therapies. These ‘super influencer’ doctors, known as Key Opinion Leaders are the ones other prescribers look to for guidance.
Cancer changes a person’s healthcare needs forever, and NCCS believes every person with cancer should receive written care plans and summaries that follows them from the time they are diagnosed through all their years of their survivorship.
New Cancer Therapy Comes of Age, But Cost Can Be a "Toxic" Side Effect
A raft of new cancer drugs promise better, longer-lasting treatments with fewer adverse side effects—but their high cost is a growing concern. Drugs that help the body's own immune cells fight tumors are expected to be used in multi-drug cocktails, pushing the price of therapies costing more than $100,000 a year even higher. At the same time, other expensive medicines are being combined to produce impressive results fighting diseases including breast and skin cancer.
Surviving Caregiving As the cancer survivor population has grown and cancer treatment has become increasingly outpatient, caregivers have assumed more responsibility not only for the diagnostic and treatment phases of cancer, but also for the medical and psychosocial issues of survivorship, often forgoing their own health and well-being.Surviving Caregiving As the cancer survivor population has grown and cancer treatment has become increasingly outpatient, caregivers have assumed more responsibility not only for the diagnostic and treatment phases of cancer, but also for the medical and psychosocial issues of survivorship, often forgoing their own health and well-being.Even after treatment ends, cancer impacts caregivers as well as patients.
Heather Swift's insight:
Surviving Caregiving As the cancer survivor population has grown and cancer treatment has become increasingly outpatient, caregivers have assumed more responsibility not only for the diagnostic and treatment phases of cancer, but also for the medical and psychosocial issues of survivorship, often forgoing their own health and well-being.
(Reuters Health) – Among early-stage breast cancer patients in the U.S., black women are less likely than white women to take their prescribed hormone medications, according to a new study that partly - but not entirely - blames economic disparities between races.
Conclusions There is an extensive body of literature examining the use of social media in patient and caregiver populations. Much of this work is descriptive; however, with such widespread use, evaluations of effectiveness are required. In studies that have examined effectiveness, positive conclusions are often reported, despite non-significant findings.
Just about anyone who’s seen a healthcare bill knows that the process is, at a minimum, confusing. With the seemingly endless back-and-fourth between insurance and the provider on arbitrary pricing,...
The LIVESTRONG Foundation unites, inspires and empowers people affected by cancer. We provide free support services to anyone fighting cancer today.
Heather Swift's insight:
The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. Created in 1997, the Foundation is known for providing free cancer support services and advocating for policies that improve access to care and quality of life. Known for its powerful brand – LIVESTRONG – the Foundation has become a symbol of hope and inspiration around the world. Since its inception, the Foundation has served 2.8 million people affected by the disease and raised more than $580 million to support cancer survivors. One of America's top non-profit organizations, the Foundation has been recognized by industry leaders including Charity Navigator, the National Health Council and the Better Business Bureau for its excellent governance, high standards and transparency. For more information, visit LIVESTRONG.org.
These plans can help survivors and their loved ones understand their cancer treatment and follow-up needs. They put survivors in a better position to advocate for themselves, monitor their health, and participate in decisions about their future care – not just their cancer treatment and its side effects, but also their social and emotional needs. Cancer care plans are an essential component of quality cancer care.
The Know Yourself Worksheet helps patients prepare for a visit to their doctor and discuss their preferences with their family and health care team.
Heather Swift's insight:
Take Charge of Your CareIt starts with a conversation...
In 2013, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report on the quality of cancer care. The report emphasized the importance of engaged patients and shared decision-making. NCCS has echoed this call by creating two simple tools to help patients advocate for their care and communicate with their doctor -- the Know Yourself Questionnaire and Essential Questions to Ask Your Doctor.
Good communication is important for patients who want to work with their doctors to decide on a treatment plan and make their needs and wishes known.
Spanish eBook version now available! The Silver Lining Companion Guide: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer is available free, thanks to the generosity of Allstate. The Silver Lining Companion Guide is a practical and supportive resource to help everyone impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis. Author Hollye Jacobs, a nurse and breast cancer survivor, offers practical, realistic and hopeful advice that …
Heather Swift's insight:
Hollye and Allstate Insurance Company are partnering to provide 250,000 copies of The Silver Lining Companion Guide free of charge to anyone facing a diagnosis of breast cancer. This guide was specially created to provide important information, practical tips and inspiration for those navigating through every stage of treatment and recovery.
The guide will be available for download in English and Spanish on any e-reader. Additionally, print copies will be available at Cancer Support Community affiliate locations and other distribution centers.
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