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.
The Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society. It unites and empowers cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their families by helping them make their voices heard in the halls of government.
ACS CAN educates the public, lawmakers, candidates, and the media about the importance of the government’s role in defeating cancer.
The organization publishes non-partisan voter guides. Their candidate forums put lawmakers and candidates on the record to ensure they are accountable for their positions on cancer issues.
It presses lawmakers and candidates to support laws and policies that strengthen the fight against cancer.
Through its efforts, ACS CAN has obtained legislative victories in securing more cancer research dollars, expanding access to early detection, prevention, and treatment; and reducing suffering and death from tobacco.
To learn more or to join, visit http://www.acscan.org or call 1-888-NOW I CAN.