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Breast cancer causes the West family to evaluate everything

The West family has dedicated their lives to Breast Health Awareness and to Breast Cancer Treatment, but even they were rocked by a cancer diagnosis.

Dr. John West, Director of Surgery at Breastlink Orange, has treated thousands of patients, written numerous peer-reviewed articles, founded the Breast Health Awareness Foundation and authored the book “Prevent, Survive, Thrive.” His wife Jan is a registered nurse who has spent her life teaching women how to perform breast self-exams, and their son, Dr. Justin West, is Medical Director of Breast Reconstruction and Plastic Surgery at Breastlink.

When Jan was diagnosed with breast cancer, the family was forced to confront their own vulnerabilities and humanity. Read how […]

By |April 5, 2018|Categories: Breast Cancer|0 Comments

Breast Cancer Risk Reduction

A recent report by Carlo La Vecchia, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Milan, indicated that if women were to eat less and exercise more, their risk of developing breast cancer would be reduced by as much as 30 percent. Their findings, which are in general agreement with multiple other studies, indicate that regular, vigorous exercise and maintenance of normal weight are associated with significant reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer. This is a very important finding and deserves the attention it is receiving.  It is common for both physicians and patients to blame cancer diagnoses on unavoidable influences, such as family history, or some yet to be identified environmental factor, such as DDT or Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR).

Thinking of breast cancer as a disease that may be influenced by our behavior is a positive way of dealing with the issue.  Since being a woman is the single biggest risk factor for developing breast cancer, and the average life­time risk for a woman is one in eight, all women should be aware of the things they can do to lower their  risk.  The […]

Beginning Breast Cancer Screening at 50 Misses 20 Percent of Cancers

Delaying breast cancer screening until age 50 misses 20 percent of breast cancers, according to a study published by the American Journal of Roentgenology. The study examined 32,762 mammograms from women aged 40-79, as well as their prognosis and attendant risk factors. Of that group, 808 women received biopsies and 224 were diagnosed with breast cancer. Though the majority of breast cancers were found in women over 50, 18.8 percent were found in women 40-49.

Breast Cancer Controversy

This finding contradicts the breast cancer screening guidelines issued by the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government panel that recommends medical practices to doctors and healthcare groups. In 2016, they […]

Can Stress Cause Cancer?

Cancer patients are often left with feelings of extreme helplessness. This experience of hopelessness, in addition to feeling overwhelmed by social and often financial constraints, can culminate in a state of severe psychosocial stress – or simply “stress.” While stress in and of itself can significantly detract from quality of life, research has also linked stress in cancer patients with decreased survival.

What is “Stress?”

In 1936, an Austro-Hungarian scientist named Hans Selye published the first treatise on stress. Through a combination of lab work and observation, he discovered what he called a “non-specific response of the body to any demand for change,” but which he later dubbed “stress.” The stress response […]

How Yoga Helps Breast Cancer

It’s hard to stay active when you have breast cancer. Fatigue, distress, and nausea are just a few of the reasons why cancer patients give up exercise, has been shown to reduce chronic pain, boost energy, and even help reduce some medication-associated side effects. If you’re having trouble staying active, consider yoga. It’s a gentle exercise that can accommodate people of every age and condition. Pace and intensity can be adjusted to fit your physical needs, and studies have shown that cancer patients who practice yoga benefit in multiple ways.

How Yoga Helps Breast Cancer Patients

Indian priests known as Brahmans created yoga 5,000 years ago, as a way to strengthen the […]

What is “Chemo Brain”?

“Chemo brain” is a side effect of cancer treatment. It mostly affects patients who receive chemotherapy, but it can affect other cancer patients as well. Patients describe it as a “fog” that makes it hard to think clearly. Fortunately, “chemo brain” only affects patients while they’re being treated for cancer. Symptoms appear when treatment starts and fades after it’s finished. Though sometimes these symptoms can linger for several months or several years following treatment, most patients make a full recovery and suffer no or very minimal long-term side effects.

What are the Symptoms of “Chemo Brain?”

“Chemo brain” impairs your ability to think. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  1. Difficulty […]
By |September 16, 2016|Categories: Breast Cancer|0 Comments

Addressing Some Questions About Breast Cancer

One of the things I love most about my job is the opportunity afforded to me to be involved in educating patients. Every year, Susan G. Komen® Orange County hosts a series of educational lectures to help patients better understand breast cancer. Events such as these offer me an opportunity to reach out to many at once. This year, I was honored to speak as part of this series to help answer some questions about breast cancer. For those who were unable to attend, some of the topics discussed are addressed below. […]

What is Lobular Breast Cancer?

When patients are diagnosed with breast cancer or other breast conditions, they may not always understand the terms used. There are several different kinds of breast cancer in addition to various other health conditions affecting the breasts. To better understand their breast health and to inform health care decisions, women should familiarize themselves with the anatomy of the breast and some breast-related health care terms.

Anatomy of the Breast

The female breast is mostly composed of adipose tissue, a type of connective tissue made up of fat cells. A network of lobes, lobules and ducts run through each breast. There are normally between 12 and 20 lobes within each breast and each […]

Breast Cancer and Genetics

In true Hollywood fashion, when a celebrity speaks the masses listen.

That’s precisely what happened when Angelina Jolie penned an editorial in The New York Times that shined the spotlight on breast cancer and genetics, specifically genes that can cause the disease.

Quickly dubbed the “Angelina Jolie Effect,” the number of women requesting a blood test to reveal if they’re carriers of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has nearly doubled since the editorial’s 2013 publication, according to various studies including one by the online journal Breast Cancer Research.

Although inherited factors account for less than 5 percent of breast cancer cases, individuals […]

Early Signs of Breast Cancer

Identifying the early signs of breast cancer can significantly increase your chances of recovery and cure from this disease. Though many breast cancers are detectable only through a mammogram or other imaging studies, a significant number of early diagnoses have come as the result of patients recognizing one or more common breast cancer signs. […]

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