Among the myriad resources available for women with breast cancer, Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) is a winner.
Founded in 1991 by Marisa C. Weiss, MD, a radiation oncologist, the organization offers a library of free guides and booklets, a breast cancer helpline, conferences, live 90-minute panel discussions available in person or online, webinars, and an online writing program to help breast cancer patients express themselves.
In addition, LBBC offers a small quantity of life grants and a nutrition education workshop series for women in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Specialized programs includes those for young women, men, African-Americans, and LGBT people.
Their medical board includes doctors specializing in palliative care, radiation oncology, integrative cancer treatment, and breast cancer research. Other professionals include clinical social workers and professors of family medicine and community health.
LBBC is nationally recognized and relies on volunteers and donors to enable them to offer their services for free.
For more information, visit their website at http://www.lbbc.org or find them on social media.
Since it’s breast cancer awareness month, let’s talk about mammograms.
Mammography uses low-energy X-rays to detect breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses or microcalcifications.
About seven percent of women screened have a “false positive” and receive further testing. (I’ve had this twice.) Mammography can also miss cancer and have a “false negative” reading for about ten percent of those screened.
Ultrasound is used for further evaluation of masses found on mammography. Other detection tools include ductography, positron emission mammography (PEM) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Researchers are investigating other procedures, including tomosynthesis.
Digital mammography uses digital receptors and computers instead of X-ray film. The resulting computer-screen images permit more manipulation so radiologists can review the results more clearly. This technology is a spin-off of that developed by NASA for the Hubble Space Telescope.
3D mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis (DBA) creates a 3D image of the breast using X-rays When used in addition to usual mammography, it results in more positive tests, but it more than doubles the radiation exposure.
Mammography can trace its history back to the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Rontgen in 1895. In the late 1950s, Robert Egan devised a method of screening mammography for the first time. Use of the “Egan technique” spread after a 1966 study demonstrated the impact of mammograms on mortality and treatment.
A 2016 review of the United States Preventative Services Task Force found that mammography results in an eight to thirty-three percent decrease in breast cancer mortality in different age groups. It currently recommends mammography every two years between the ages of 50 and 74.
Here are some unusual ways that organizations are raising money for cancer research:
Whoops! Bakery is dyeing all 21 flavors of its macarons pink from October 19 to 21. For each box of macarons sold that weekend (and all macarons sold online in October), Whoops! will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Website is http://www.bywhoops.com.
And look in May for Speed Rack USA, the all-female speed-bartending competition. One hundred percent of proceeds from the events in various cities goes to breast education, prevention, and research. Website is http://www.speedrack.net.
Speaking of May, there is a month-long celebration of Gamay wine which raises money for pancreatic cancer research. Max Kuller began Ga May in 2015 as a tribute to his father, who passed away from pancreatic cancer. Restaurants, wine retailers, distributors, and vintners in the Washington DC area raised $15,000 in 2015 for the Lustgarten Foundation to Cure Pancreatic Cancer. Website is http://www.lustgarten.org.
Where did I learn this information? From Wine Enthusiast and Food Network magazines. Who knew?