Image

9:15 PM / Saturday March 2, 2024

23 Sep 2016

Understanding a breast cancer diagnosis

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
September 23, 2016 Category: Health Posted by:

Family Features

Whether it’s October or not, breast cancer is one of the most recognized cancers in the world. Thanks to massive public awareness campaigns, nearly everyone understands the significance behind a pink ribbon, but how many can say they have breast cancer knowledge beyond pink?

The truth is, breast cancer is extremely complex and not a one-size-fits-all disease. It’s classified into different types based on the unique biology of each tumor, including the size, whether and where it’s spread, how it looks under the microscope and what’s causing it to grow at the cellular level, according to the American Cancer Society. Understanding the various biological features is critical, as they help determine treatment decisions and directly affect patient outcomes.

As breast cancer survivor Pamela Cunningham knows all too well, knowledge is power when navigating a breast cancer journey. When diagnosed with Stage II HER2-positive early breast cancer, an aggressive type of the disease, Cunningham said that while she understood there were different stages, she was shocked to discover there were so many different types.

In fact, her mother had faced breast cancer several years earlier and neither Cunningham nor her father knew what kind her mother had.

To better understand her diagnosis, she talked with friends who had faced similar situations and even sought a second opinion. After learning more, Cunningham felt confident in her decision to receive a treatment regimen that helped shrink her tumor prior to undergoing surgery to remove it.

“I’m really thankful I went the way I did,” Cunningham said. “I would advise other women to do their own research, find out the available treatments and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about all of your options and possible side effects.”

Cunningham and her oncologist, Dr. Karen Tedesco of New York Oncology Hematology, offer the following tips to help patients more fully understand how to approach a breast cancer diagnosis.

1) Strength in Numbers: The news of a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly overwhelming to patients and their loved ones. Make the most of the first few doctor appointments by bringing a friend outside of the immediate family to ensure the information is being absorbed and the right questions are being asked.

2) Build a Support Team: In addition to family and friends, it’s important to have a strong health care and surrounding support team. Seek out nurse navigators, local breast support groups and financial assistance to ensure you’re properly informed and have all the resources you need. Do not hesitate to consider a second opinion until you feel 100 percent confident in your health care team and treatment plan.

3) Understand Your Diagnosis: Learning about your specific type of breast cancer is essential because the unique biology of your tumor can directly impact your breast cancer journey. Knowing the four S’s – stage, size, status and subtype – of your tumor can help you better understand your diagnosis and the treatment options available to you.

4) Ask Questions, Then Ask More: Consider asking your doctor the following questions: Are you eligible for clinical trials? Are there special treatments geared toward your specific type of breast cancer? Do I need surgery? Does surgery have to be the first step? Being actively involved can help ensure each patient receives the best treatment option for them.

For more tips to take on a breast cancer diagnosis and to better understand the four S’s, visit gene.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Genentech

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Philly NAACP

Philadelphia NAACP News

February 18, 2024

Tweet Email Tweet Email Related Posts Philadelphia NAACP news as of Feb. 2 Philadelphia NAACP Branch News...

Color Of Money

Commentary: Carpenters Union’s apprenticeship diversity push can lead to success and job fulfilment in the construction industry

March 2, 2024

Tweet Email By Treyvon Ratcliff Hayes ABOVE PHOTO: Treyvon Ratcliff Hayes, a Philadelphia public high school graduate,...

Health

Six tips to improve sleep quality for overall well-being

March 2, 2024

Tweet Email FAMILY FEATURES Despite a rising number of people searching for the term “sleep” in 2023,...

Sports

Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl 2024 

February 12, 2024

Tweet Email The Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beat the San Francisco 49ers, becoming the 2024 Super Bowl champions. The...

Fur Babies Rule!

Dog grooming advice to keep pets clean and healthy

March 2, 2024

Tweet Email FAMILY FEATURESRegular grooming can keep your dog looking and smelling his or her best, but...

Seniors

‘Soaring’ over hills or ‘playing’ with puppies, study finds seniors enjoy virtual reality

February 23, 2024

Tweet Email By Terry Spencerassociated press POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — Retired Army Col. Farrell Patrick taught computer...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff