Hello, Warriors! Welcome to The Breast Place blog and thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit! We appreciate our readers to the utmost degree, as we do our patients. If this is your first visit to The Breast Place blog, we welcome you. We cover a range of topics here. From breast cancer management to anti-aging skin treatments to helpful tips for maximizing your overall health and wellness—The Breast Place is committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you! Our offices are open and our staff is prepared to answer any questions you may have about your health, your breast cancer risk, and how to reach your aesthetic goals.
At The Breast Place, we offer several oncoplastic surgical procedures, such as natural reconstruction, nipple-sparing mastectomy, Hidden Scar™, implant reconstruction, and breast lift with or without reduction. Oncoplastic surgery is distinct from both breast cancer surgery and plastic surgery–though you initially assume oncoplastic surgery to be a mixture of both. Rather, the aim of oncoplastic breast surgery is “to achieve good aesthetic outcomes for women with breast cancers who would have unacceptable outcomes with other BCS techniques, and in addition, enable breast-conserving surgery for larger breast cancers.” While breast cancer surgery prioritizes the eradication of cancerous tissue and plastic surgery prioritizes the cosmetic appearance of the breasts, oncoplastic surgery takes both of these aspects into account when planning for the final outcome. You can find out more information about what to look for in an Oncoplastic surgeon here.
Our last article discussed easy self-care tips to incorporate into your routine. Self-care refers to the process of taking care of oneself through healthy habits and behaviors. Small tasks like going for a short walk or treating yourself to a warm bubble bath are forms of self-care. Things like journaling, taking a short break from social media, learning something new, and taking time to pamper yourself are all simple ways you can care for yourself. If you are interested in learning more about these techniques, check out our last post!
Before we dive into today’s topic, we’d like to make you aware of a few promotions available at The Breast Place this March. Spring is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by treating yourself? We’re offering a free EltaMD product with the purchase of Laser Genetics. You can also get double the Alle Rewards when you get Botox or Juvederm! Learn more about that rewards program here. This month we are offering Botox for just $10 per unit, and we will be donating $1 for every unit of Botox to our charity of the quarter. This quarter, we are donating proceeds to the Lonon Foundation, which is a charity dedicated to helping children affected by their parent or caregiver’s cancer diagnosis. You can find out more about the Lonon Foundation here. If you haven’t received a breast screening in a while, we encourage you to schedule one. (You can perform a self-exam in the meantime using this resource.) Overall, we encourage you to use this month to practice self-care techniques and take time to pamper yourself whenever possible.
Today, we’ll be discussing some common signs and symptoms of breast cancer, as well as rarer signs that you should watch out for. Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in women but it is not unique to the gender, although less than 1% of all breast cancers are found in men. Risk factors can be genetic or based on family history, but other social factors can play a part as well, such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Having regular breast cancer screenings such as mammograms is important, but they do not detect every type of breast cancer. Breast cancer signs and symptoms can vary, and some types of breast cancers produce no symptoms. With that being said, it is important to be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel, so that you can identify any changes. It is important to note that breasts are not uniform– What is “normal” is different for every woman. We encourage you to stick around if you are interested in knowing more about the possible symptoms of breast cancer. Let’s get informed!
New Lumps or Masses
The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast or the underarm. A painless, hard mass is more likely to be cancer, but cancer can also come in the form of soft and tender lumps. Most cancerous lumps have irregular edges, are immobile (don’t move when pushed), and grow over time. Cancerous lumps will not always meet all of these criteria. These lumps may or may not be visible. It is important to note that not all lumps or masses are breast cancer. In fact, the majority of lumps and masses are non-cancerous. Many lumps found in the breast are caused by other medical conditions, such as cysts or fibrocystic breast conditions. If you notice a new lump or mass, you should get it checked by your doctor.
Changes of the Skin
There are a few different changes of the breast skin that you should be aware of. The swelling or thickening of any part of the breast could be a sign of breast cancer, even if no lump is felt. This may also be on or around the nipples. You should also take note of any redness, irritated or flaky skin on any part of the breast and nipples, including scaly skin. Another change to watch for is dimpling of the skin. Dimpling can be a sign that something is pulling on the breast tissue. This can look like a single indent, or can appear similar to that of an orange peel. Nipple retraction is also something to watch for. When this occurs, the nipple is turned inward or pulled in. There may or may not be pain associated with nipple retraction. Any changes to the skin of the breast area should be addressed.
Nipple discharge, other than breast milk, can be an early symptom of breast cancer. This is a rare symptom of an early form of breast cancer that starts in the milk ducts. Typically, discharge that is clear (especially if only coming from one breast) or bloody is most commonly associated with breast cancer. Discharge may come out on its own, or may only occur if you squeeze the nipple. Nipple discharge is most often caused by a benign condition, but should still be addressed with your doctor, especially if it is accompanied by other changes in the breast or nipples.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Lymph Nodes are small structures that are part of the body’s immune system. They filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid and contain white blood cells that help the body fight infection and disease. They are located in various parts of the body including the neck, armpit, chest, and groin. Swollen lymph nodes in the armpit can be a sign of breast cancer.
These are just some of the possible signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Doing regular self-breast exams and getting regular screenings are important in detecting early signs of breast cancer. Check out our post about self-breast exams and our post about mammograms here for more information. Any changes in the breasts, including changes in size or shape of the breasts, should be addressed immediately. If you visit a doctor with any of these symptoms, a clinical exam will be performed and your doctor may also order tests such as a biopsy, mammogram, or ultrasound. You can find a guide to different types of breast imaging here.
Once again, it is also important to remember that various benign conditions can cause similar symptoms. We hope you found this article helpful. Here at The Breast Place, we offer breast imaging services and provide consultations, clinical breast exams, and dedicated treatment plans. We strongly encourage you to reach out to us for a consultation if you have any questions or concerns about changes in your breasts. We are committed to empowering women, and we are proud to offer treatments and products to help you look and feel your best. Thank you for taking the time to read today’s article and we hope you’ll check back in for future posts about treatments, wellness, and more!
This special post is the wonderful work of Amy Gesell, a survivor who received treatment at The Breast Place. Amy was kind enough to write about her experience, from her initial diagnosis through her recovery. What we stand to gain from listening to the accounts of survivors is a deeper understanding of how cancer diagnoses affect mental health, how community is an essential aspect of the healing process, and the importance of regular screenings. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our incredible survivors. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your story!
"In January of this year, I went to my GP for a “check-in and a check-up” about my physical AND mental health. I’d been unusually moody, short-tempered, was hungry all the time, gaining weight…all things we sort of chalked up to my age (46). Having no solid history on when women in my family begin menopause, I naturally assumed that this was where I was headed.
Also, I’d been having pain in the left side of my chest, which left me wondering if I was headed for heart trouble. But there was also something else…this odd undercurrent that something was definitely NOT okay. I just couldn’t effectively communicate what that feeling was, so I was left stomping around my house, angry and frustrated, which is a complete 180 degree turn from my normal personality.
It was THAT feeling, the one that I couldn’t express, that caused my husband to encourage me to make an appointment with his doctor.
I resisted, initially. We live in a very rural area and it is a major pain to go in to town, get to know a new doctor, etc. Plus, I’d seen a different physician in that town once, years before, who was nice enough, but the follow up was lacking, so I never bothered to go back. Plus, I was sort of raised with this weird distaste for hypochondria. I had a cousin who thought she was dying every time she had a cold…she still thinks that way…and we still make fun of her for it. My point being - my belief was that if you’re not REALLY sick, don’t pester the doctor.
My husband’s encouragement and his concern over my mental health as well as my overall physical health helped me override this aversion to physicians and I agreed that he could make an appointment for me to see his physician, Dr. Gunther Rencken…who has literally turned out to be a life saver.
I walked into Dr. Rencken’s office with notebook and a litany of complaints. He patiently went through them one by one, helping me understand that I wasn’t going crazy. But, when we started to discuss my chest pain, he asked me the most important question of my life:
“When was your last mammogram?”
“Well, I had one last year. And it was normal. Well…normal for me. I mean, the guy called me back for more imaging, at which time he told me that he saw a spot that was probably just scar tissue from a previous lumpectomy of what was a benign tumor.”
And truly, I wasn’t worried at the time. I have fibrocystic breasts and for the whole of my life, had been running to physicians about the latest “lump,” only to discover it was “just a cyst.” I expected this to be the answer to all of my lumps for the rest of my life.
Besides, I’d always read that chest pain was NOT a sign of breast cancer…right?
My new doc then did something unexpected. He asked me to consider allowing him to, since I was already there, give me a breast exam (with a nurse present, of course) and especially the breast that had “the scar tissue.” I agreed and the look on his face as he palpated my left breast woke that little voice that had been begging for my attention for months: something, in fact, was not right.
He tried to reassure me by saying “Look, this could be nothing. It could absolutely be scar tissue. But rather than subject you to another mammogram, I’m going to refer you to a great doctor that specializes in this. Would you be willing to go see her? She is in Charleston, but it will be worth your time.”
I agreed. I received a phone call from Dr. Jennifer Beatty’s office at The Breast Place that very afternoon and they put me on the books ASAP.
A week later, I was in her office, oscillating between fear (OMG, I could have breast cancer) and shame (OMG, I’m making a big deal over nothing.)
Dr. Beatty and her staff did (and still do) everything within their power to alleviate you of any shame or embarrassment you may be feeling.
They also allow you to accept your fear. It’s shocking to realize how powerful you can become when you are given permission and/or the support to look into the face of your fear and say “I feel you.” Because, oddly, the minute you accept that you are afraid, the fear subsides a bit. Your heart rate slows. You breathe deeper.
And I was breathing deeply when Dr. Beatty showed me what she was seeing on my ultrasound.
I was breathing deeply when Dr. Beatty performed a painless (and when I say painless, I mean ZERO pain) needle biopsy.
And I took a deep breath when she personally called me, less than 24 hours later, to tell me that I did, indeed, have invasive ductal carcinoma.
It was really late in the afternoon and my husband was in the shower. I left him a note saying that I was going to the barn. And I did.
I swept, I cleaned the windows in the tack room, I polished the wood on the walls, cleaned some tack and watched the sun touch down on the horizon and wash everything in gold. How could this horrible moment be so beautiful? Not everyone may have this experience, and I’m sorry for that. But truly, the only thing I could do in that moment was be quiet, be gentle, and appreciate the beauty of the sun going down.
It took me four more hours after returning home to screw up the courage to tell my husband. Only two years prior, he’d lost both of his parents to cancer, 12 weeks apart, not knowing until their last days that they had cancer. (His mother, a rare and fast spreading uterine cancer and his father, a tough old Texan who’d had cancer for some time and had simply never shared that fact with his
family.) When I said the word “carcinoma” to him, he grew very pale and asked me what that meant. It took me days to realize that he thought that it meant that I was going to die…and soon. My heart broke for him more than my own. I mean, I love myself and I don’t want to die any time soon and certainly not from THIS, but it was in that moment that I realized that, no matter the outcome, he was going to suffer, too.
Dr. Beatty is a take charge, no b.s. leader and I am convinced that this is why I have fared so well. She and Dr. Rencken had me with orders for CT scans, MRI and bone scans before we made our plan of attack. Once the scans gave us the all clear, we moved forward with the plan of:
Nipple sparing mastectomy of the left breast.
Two weeks healing time (my tumor was really close to the skin, so we wanted some time to get the blood flowing to all the right places) and a replacement implant.
I’d be on the beach by the end of the summer!
But life, as we have already learned, holds lots of surprises for us. The presence of cancer cells were found in one of the lymph nodes removed during my mastectomy…so our plans had to change and another soldier was engaged to help me keep marching forward.
Dr. Beatty worked with Dr. Yannis Bellil, an oncologist in Charleston. We then changed our plan of attack. To use his terminology, we, via mastectomy, had “plucked the dandelion from the green at the Masters Course (golf reference).” Now, we had to cast about to make sure no more dandelions were going to pop up.
I engaged in four sessions of chemotherapy, each delivered three weeks apart.
Some women tough it out and it doesn’t disrupt their lives in the slightest.
Some women have days where they’re bad, but some good.
Some women stay very near a toilet and refuse food and water and have to get fluids administered to them every time they show up for chemo because…well…that’s just how their bodies handle it. (Me. I was that woman.)
To say that chemo was hard on me is an understatement. I don’t know why I didn’t handle it well, but for the three weeks between, I did not eat for two and then ate like Michael Phelps prepping for the Olympics for the third in order to maintain a good weight. I lost weight, but never so much that medical intervention was necessary. Also, I would have odd reactions two weeks in: my lips and eyes would swell as if stung by bees or something. So EXTRA steroids always had to be on hand.
There were days when I thought:
“Yep. You’re dying. This is it. They were wrong. You’re a dead duck.”
And as the chemotherapy dissipated from my system, I’d get strong again and think “What the hell was that? You’re not a dead duck! You’re a roaring tiger! A bucking, Hancock-bred chestnut mare! (Horse people will get that.) You’re FINE.”
And then we’d start all over again.
Speaking of which, I don’t ever WANT to do it again…but looking at the quality of my life right now, I would do it all over again in a heart beat.
Then came radiation! Ahhhhh! Radiation! The longest shortest treatment of one’s cancer life! Every day, I would make the 1.5 hour drive to Charleston, kick back and practically fall asleep as the radiation techs told me to “breathe in, hold it, breathe out.” (Which I still hear in my sleep…) Between my radiation oncologist, Dr. Clay’s, bright and funny attitude and the incredibly kind staff, radiation was a breeze. Costco sized tubs of Aquaphor helped my skin stay pretty unscathed, too. I’ve heard that some women suffer terribly during radiation. I am fortunately not one of those women.
I am what Dr. Rencken promised me.
I am what Dr. Beatty promised me.
I am what Dr. Bellil promised me.
I am what Dr. Clay promised me.
I am what I promised my husband I would be:
I am okay.
Do I have days where the panic hits me and I stress over whether it’s coming back for me?
Do I work myself into a frenzy over things like “toxins” in everything from my water to my cosmetics?
Am I afraid that if I indulge in a full-fat, whole milk vanilla latte, that an army of cancer cells will awaken and attack me once more?
Am I obsessing over how close to perfect my plastic surgeon can make my breasts look after having been through so much trauma?
Absolutely. (And on some days, absolutely not. If it ever came down to “Living Flat vs. Dying with Curves,” I’m choosing living flat. I understand that not everyone will understand that, but it’s my own choice.)
Do I get that awful crushing feeling in my chest when I hear that someone that I even tangentially know has died from breast cancer? Or that I get sick to my stomach when I remember that one of my “cancer buddies” has metastatic breast cancer and there’s nothing anyone can do other than what they’re already doing? Yes, yes, and yes.
Also, I need to say this: my cancer was a slow growing type and I probably had it for quite some time before I was diagnosed. I am still not fully recovered from chemo and surgeries, but I still PHYSICALLY feel better than I have in two years. I suspect that the phantom “exhaustion” I was feeling for the two years prior to my diagnosis had something to do with the fact that I had cancer. Maybe. Maybe not.
Oh! And the hair thing? Shit. I thought it was going to break my heart. It didn’t. I may never have “mermaid hair” again, but I didn’t look terrible bald, I didn’t look bad in the “GI Jane stage,” and, frankly, it’s been fun wearing wigs with hats on occasion. (Wigs alone didn’t work for me. They always looked “wiggy.” This may not be the case for everyone!)
If you’re still reading this, here are some things I want you to know:
Yes. I still hate a hypochondriac…but what I think about hypochondriacs isn’t any of your business. IF YOU FEEL OFF, GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR.
If you have a family history of not just breast cancer, but ANY gynecological issues (PPMD, raging PMS, heavy bleeding, fibroids, etc.) ask your physician about what you can do for earlier screenings for breast and other gynecological cancer. Correlation is not causation, but I am convinced that my life-long hormonal issues absolutely have something to do with me being susceptible to the type of cancer I had. If I’m wrong, your doctor can tell you…BUT ASK.
Get to know your breasts. If you have a fibroid issue like I did, ask your physician to help you learn about the difference in the “feel” of a cyst vs. “something else.” And always schedule an appointment if something new pops up. Don’t feel that you’re “a bother.”
DOCTORS WANT TO HELP YOU. And they would love to help you before the situation is dire. So please, don’t forget regular check ups…hell, schedule them on your birthday as one friend of mine does. That way, you never skip it!
I will admit that I have some ways to go before I feel that I can “move on” from this. I’ll be looking into the face of fear every day for at least the next five years before I can breathe easy again. I’m on a hormone blocker, menopause hit me like a ton of bricks, but shockingly, I am not miserable.
And I will never be miserable again.
My doctors went out of their way, they worked hard, they organized, they pulled together, they DROVE ME through the scariest thing that has ever happened to me and by doing so, gave me the power to keep putting one foot in front of the other when I was weak and to swing out with every jab and punch I had when I was strong. I owe it to THEM and to MYSELF to take the life I have left and enjoy it. Despite the occasional fears, control issues and neuroses that pop up, I am still happy. I am healthier every day, and I am alive.
Hello, Warriors! Thank you for taking time out of your active schedule to visit The Breast Place blog. Welcome! We hope you’re feeling well and taking advantage of the wonderful fall weather gracing our lovely city. If this is your first visit to The Breast Place blog, we cover a range of topics here. From breast cancer management to anti-aging skin treatments to helpful tips for maximizing your overall health and wellness, The Breast Place is committed to sharing the best health practices and treatment options with you!
Our previous posts about male breast cancer and breast reconstruction surgery are available for your reading pleasure! Increasing awareness for male breast cancer, as well as identifying the differences in how male breast cancer presents in comparison to female breast cancer, is part of our attempt to catch cancer early. That’s what Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all about! Likewise, informing women of their reconstruction options post-mastectomy, as well as reminding women of the communities available for sharing their experiences, is part of our attempt to support survivors. If you’re interested in those efforts or know someone you might benefit from those articles, definitely give them a read!
Today, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to take a closer look at how this observance was formed, its history, and who this observance has helped. After a brief history lesson, stick around for a few interesting statistics and ways you can help support the numerous charities operating this October. As well, we’d like to remind you that Botox for Breasts is currently running a charitable promotion which The Breast Place is taking part in. For every unit of Botox, one dollar will be donated to help support breast cancer survivors! We hope to see you in the office soon!
Without further ado, let’s discover how Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created!
The History Behind Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also known as NBCAM, is an observance recognized worldwide annually. Various charities band together every October to raise money for continued research and treatment development. While finding a cure for breast cancer is the ultimate goal, the month also serves to increase awareness for breast cancer, encourage preventative measures, and increase the number of early diagnosis. The awareness part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month promotes self-breast exams and breast imaging, which increases men and women’s likelihood of being diagnosed in the early stages of the disease. This, in turn, can save lives.
Founded in 1985, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a relatively new addition to the list of national observances. Developed by the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of what is now AstraZeneca, both institutions sought to make mammograms a staple in the fight against breast cancer.
Where does the pink ribbon come in? The pink ribbon which is commonly associated with Breast Cancer Awareness Month actually wasn’t introduced until later. First, in 1991, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, currently the largest breast cancer organization in the United States, passed out pink ribbons at a race for breast cancer survivors in New York City. Then, in 1993, the Senior Corporate Vice President of Estée Lauder, Evelyn Lauder, founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The pink ribbon began as a symbol for this specific institution. As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month gained popularity and notoriety, the pink ribbon became a symbol for the movement and has been used by companies to show support for breast cancer charities. It is also used to celebrate survivors and remember those who have been lost to breast cancer.
Every year, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrated in a host of ways. In 2010, Delta Air Lines painted a Boeing 767-432ER with the pink ribbon. In 2017, the White House was lit pink in honor of the observance. Similarly, in 2011, 10 Downing Street (where the British Prime Minister lives and works) was illuminated pink. The National Football League in the United States outfit their field with pink lines, while comic strip artists use pink for one day of the month. These pink promotions bring further awareness to the month and remind people to volunteer!
In the later part of this article, we’ll name a few ways you can give to charity in October to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
The Statistics Concerning Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The purpose of Breast Cancer Awareness Month being to educate people about early detection and promote breast health, has the observance actually had any impact on breast cancer survival? We’re happy to be able to say… Yes, it has! The rate of death among breast cancer patients has been steadily declining since 1990, in part because of increased awareness, increased screening, and better treatment options. While breast cancer is still the most common cancer diagnosed in women (after skin cancer), 63% of cases are diagnosed in the localized stage. And, because the cancer has not spread, the five-year survival rate is 99%. That’s amazing! The rate of death from breast cancer among women fifty and over has declined at an even more rapid rate than for those under fifty. We hope this trend continues!
A study into the effect of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a private hospital yielded interesting results! The study was split into two groups: women who sought screening between the months of February and September and those who sought screenings in the month of October. These two groups were referred to as the non-BCAM group and BCAM group, respectively. The non-BCAM group, with 69 women, was half the size of the BCAM group, with 129 women. The study concluded public awareness campaigns do lead to an increased rate of screening. However, they also pointed out, with routine screening programs becoming more widespread, this may not make much of a difference in the rate of diagnosis. Which is really the goal of Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Ways You Can Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month
There are so many wonderful ways you can support Breast Cancer Awareness in the month of October. (Although, there’s no rule that says you can't do it all year!) Most people associate the month with charity walks and runs. These races rely on donations to raise funds for research and the development of improved breast cancer treatments. If you’re physically and financially able, you may be able to contribute your time or money to these events! Or, if you prefer to just give money, there are dozens of charities who will use your dollars to fund necessary initiatives. If you aren’t physically or financially able to donate your time or money, no worries! There are other ways for you to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
First: wear pink! It’s all about awareness in October and you increase awareness by wearing clothes associated with breast cancer. Read up on breast cancer. Equip yourself with information. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women. Every 2 minutes, a female is diagnosed with breast cancer. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Only 5-10% of people diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history. Speak with your friends about regular screenings. Demystify the act of going to the doctor, performing a self-exam, and having a mammogram for those you love.
You can also volunteer with the American Cancer Society (ACS) or another program to help increase breast cancer awareness in your local community. If you know someone with cancer, help make their lives a bit easier by organizing meal deliveries or rides to appointments. Be sure to ask first! Listen to the experiences of breast cancer survivors and those who have lost someone to breast cancer with an open mind and a kind heart.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity for everyone to come together, as a community, and uplift those who are currently struggling or have struggled with breast cancer. As we fight towards a cure, there’s things we can do to help others stay healthy and live long lives. We hope you’ll do your part this October for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Of course, The Breast Place is committed to increased breast cancer awareness. That’s why we offer free consultations with our highly trained staff and advanced breast imaging services. We also offer family history and genetic testing services through AmbryCARE, for those who have a history of breast cancer in their family and believe that may be predisposed to genetic mutations. Our kind staff are here to help walk you through every step of the way. Give us a call or fill out one of the contact forms scattered around our website and we’ll be in touch! Thank you for reading and we hope you’ll return for our future articles!
Good morning Warriors and welcome back to The Breast Place’s blog! We hope you’ve been recuperating these past few weeks and are up and at’em today! If you’re new here though, I’d like to take a moment to introduce ourselves.
We are The Breast Place; a team of individuals in Charleston, SC that aim to assist with treatment, management, and after care for health challenges men and women face such as breast cancer, body contouring, scar revisions, wrinkles, and general education. Breast cancer management and treatment is one of our more significant services, as you could probably tell from our name, but empowering women is our focus!
Since our team here specializes in both malignant and benign breast disease, we wanted to take some time to describe what breast cancer management and treatment looks like to the common person. Life is challenging alone, and when you throw breast cancer in the mix it can sometimes seem impossible- but don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’re here to listen and support you in your fight against breast cancer, every step of the way.
So, what are some common breast cancer management methods or breast cancer treatments? Well, breast cancer can be treated in many ways and it all comes down to what kind of cancer it is and how much it has spread to other areas in your body. Most times, people with breast cancer may get a combination of treatment methods to help them win the fight with this disease.
Common treatment options for breast cancer are:
Surgery is typically known as the simpler approach where doctors and surgeons cut out the cancerous tissue directly. Chemotherapy is most commonly associated with cancer treatments these days, but the way it works is by shrinking or killing cancer cells. This medicinal treatment can sometimes be pills or intravenously. Hormone therapy essentially practices preventing the cancer cells from getting the hormones they would need to grow by blocking that off. Biological therapy empowers your immune system to fight the cancer cells more effectively, and can also be used to manage the side effects from other treatments listed. Last but not least, radiation therapy utilizes high-energy rays to kill the cancer cells over time.
Though these are the professional and medical treatments for breast cancer, what happens when the treatments are over and you go home? Breast cancer management is more than just your regular doctor’s appointment, there are things to take note and care of when those treatments are all said and done. These professional treatments may help send the cancer into remission or manage it well, but unpleasant side effects are not uncommon.
With any combination of the listed breast cancer treatments, your body is putting up a fight! It’s important to acknowledge that and take care of yourself as much as possible. Become the epitome of ‘self care’ during these times, and remember to be gentle with yourself. Some side effects you may experience after breast cancer treatments are fatigue, headaches, pain, menopausal symptoms, memory loss, and poor sleep. Give your body what it needs to heal itself and keep going by taking a look at this list of self care ideas and advice!
To take time and consideration for your mind, we recommend finding the best self care method for you! Self care is less about trendy behaviors and activities and more about what works best for you and your lifestyle. You may be an outdoorsy person where gardening, park trips, beach trips, hiking, picnics, or even just reading or drawing outside makes you happy. Or perhaps you’re an extroverted person who loves being around people! Concerts, public activities, fairs or festivals, networking, clubs, and friend/family gatherings would suit you well. Either way, your favorite hobbies are typically the best route to go when you’re needing self-care. Some of our favorite ways to indulge self care and resting your mind are spa days, massages, beach trips, and meditation!
If these things are difficult or are becoming difficult, remember to be kind to yourself as you're going through treatments and aftercare. You are a warrior and part of what makes you strong in this fight is that you’re not alone- the support structure around you made up of your friends, family, and our team here at The Breast Place are here!
Keep going and take care, Warriors!
While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is five months away still, we try to educate and spread awareness as much as we can all year round. Today, we are going to be talking about self-breast examinations and everything you need to know about them!
Hello warriors, readers, patients, and friends! We are so glad you're joining us today for our first blog of May! It is a new season, a new spring, a new time in Charleston, and all of it comes with a new sense of hope and strength within it. We hope each of you reading this today feels that feeling with us, and we hope you know that no matter where you are in your journey, we are here to help and support you. First and foremost, we are here to help empower our amazing patients and to help them through their diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. This will never be a path you walk alone. We also offer many specialized services right here in our Charleston offices including abnormal breast imaging, family history and genetic testing, oncoplastic surgery, scar revision, body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser hair removal, lactation, and much more. If you're looking for the premier breast specialists in Charleston, SC, you've found us!
While Breast Cancer Awareness Month is still officially five months away, we try to honor it every day by spreading awareness, talking about the realities of breast cancer for women of all ages, and trying to use every opportunity we can to educate everyone we meet. Today, in honor of this idea, we are going to be talking about self-breast exams; what they are, the best way to go about giving yourself the best exam, and some common myths you might not know! For those new to The Breast Place, welcome! We are here to support you and your breasts at every stage of your life. We've mentioned this in past blogs, but self-breast exams can be one of the most successful first steps in preventing cancer and catching it in its early stages. Self-breast exams are important for women throughout their lives but can be extremely beneficial for younger women with very thick breast tissue. Having thick breast tissue can make it almost impossible for a mammogram to work on women younger than 40. In many situations, self-breast exams can be one of the only ways that cancer can be caught in women younger than 40, and can be an amazing lifesaver. At The Breast Place, we perform clinical breast exams, family history risk assessment, breast ultrasounds, biopsies including fine needle aspirations, and needle core biopsies in the office. However, sometimes your overall experience and reason why you find us at The Breast Palace can begin with a self-breast examination. Today, we will be focusing on self-breast exams so you can successfully carry out this life-saving procedure on yourself!
What Is A Self Breast Exam?
As it is stated in its name, a self-breast exam is an at-home self-inspection of your beasts to see if there are any changes or abnormalities that have appeared within your breasts. The best way to do a fully successful breast exam is to use both your eyes and hands to determine if there are any changes to the overall feel and look of your breasts. If you do see any changes, it is best to speak to your doctor right away. Please note that, according to the Mayo Clinic, that almost all changes found during a self-breast exam for your breasts appear due to benign causes. However, this never means that you should ignore any changes that might appear. It means you still need to share this information with your doctor and have them determine what should happen next. It is still possible that some changes may mean something serious, like breast cancer.
Why Should I Give Myself Self Breast Exams?
While breast cancer to this day is still considered something that is only found in women who have gone through menopause, we need to break that stigma! Giving yourself self-breast exams and understanding their importance can help with this! A self-exam or even just examining your breasts on your own can be a huge help with discovering cancer early. This can mean that if cancer is caught and treated earlier, it is more likely to be treated successfully! When self-exams are paired with regular physical exams, they can help make a huge impact on your life and safety. Also remember that giving yourself a breast exam costs you nothing but a little time, and that time is well worth spending on yourself!
How Do I Give Myself A Self Breast Examination?
Now that you know a little bit more about self-breast exams and why they are so important, it's time to understand how best to go about giving yourself a breast exam. This way they can be as efficient, effective, and successful as possible.
What To Expect From A Self Breast Exam
While reading about how to give yourself a self-breast exam may teach you how to do it, that doesn't mean you know exactly what to expect or what it might feel like. Here are a few more extra tips and pieces of insight that might make the whole process a little easier and help prepare you a little more.
Myths About Self Breast Exams & More
Just like we've debunked many different things on our blogs before, there are myths about self-breast exams and other related topics that need to be debunked too. The list below is full of myths to avoid and not worry about while going through your life and caring for your breasts. However, if you do have any questions or concerns even after reading this list and the whole blog, please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with us!
Warriors, fight your battles and be strong while doing so. You have the tools now to begin the battle and to keep yourself as prepared and ahead of the diagnosis as possible. Your health is in your hands, quite literally. Please take the time to dedicate a self-breast exam to your schedule every month. In the long run, it might be the biggest key in catching the first sign or stages of cancer that could appear in your body! Until next time, stay safe and be well out there. We understand life is challenging. We are here to listen, support, treat, and help make life a little easier.
The connection between a healthy lifestyle and healthy breasts is incredible. Not only can it help prevent breast cancer, but it can also help increase your odds of beating the disease and not letting it come back!
Hello warriors, readers, and faithful friends! Spring is here and the taste of summer is right around the corner. We've all been getting out more and more as it becomes safer to do so and as the weather allows. There is nothing like a beautiful walk through downtown, on the beach, through one of our many state parks, or one of our many historical sites. The Lowcountry offers so much that it's just calling for us to get up and get out right now! It's also an incredible mecca for foodies and all-natural purveyors! You can find every kind of delicious meal prepared at one of our many fine dining locations or buy it fresh out of the ocean and right off the farm. Healthy lifestyle choices can help you enjoy the beautiful Lowcountry life, make you feel amazing, and it can help you prevent breast cancer, help you defeat it, and make sure it never comes back!
Breast cancer is a reality we all face. While some have a genetically higher chance of getting it than others, this silent killer doesn't discriminate. It picks and chooses at will. For those who have had breast cancer and are fighting to make sure it never returns, this battle is a constant worry. While we fight to discover a cure, there are things you can do right now, small changes in your lifestyle, to make whatever battle you might be fighting more successful. It's a tough battle, one that we try to educate everyone we possibly can about. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, affecting more than one and a half million women every year, with more than three million breast cancer survivors in the US alone right now. With numbers like that, it's an overwhelming thought if there is anything we can do to help make a difference in this battle. While there is no cancer-preventing food or specific exercise, a healthy lifestyle and many factors that go along with it correlates with being able to lower your overall risk. Any chances you can take to lower your risk are worth considering and implementing, and we are here to help you with the rest!
There are some things about our bodies and our health that are out of our control. However, when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, our health is in our hands and we have the choice and the ability to care for ourselves. As health guru, fitness trainer, and ex-Rockette Amanda Kloots says "exercising is a privilege that we have every day. Getting up and moving our bodies is a gift." Let's celebrate that we are the incredible, powerful unique women that we are and that we can help our bodies fight against cancer with small daily changes and choices. We are here for you along the way, during your fight, and after. If you would like to begin or if you have any questions about our services including family history and genetic testing, survivorship, scar revision, body contouring, facial rejuvenation, laser hair removal, or lactation, please contact us today! Until next time, get up and get moving. You have another day to make healthy choices!
While mammograms are a yearly procedure that we recommend for our patients that are in their 40's and beyond, there can still be so much mystery in what a mammogram is, how to prepare for one, and what to expect after the experience itself. Today, we are dedicating this blog to everything you need to know about the realities of a mammogram inside and out. We will also be talking about the before, during, and after process of getting one!
Hello warriors! Welcome back to the Breast Place Blog! It has been a very exciting few weeks with a visit from our friend Amanda Syfriend, making appearances at the #pinkintherink hockey game with the South Carolina Stingrays, and supporting an incredible local charity called Share our Suzy. Share our Suzy, for our readers new to the charity, helps local breast cancer patients pay for utility bills, groceries, wigs, childcare, and much more. We are constantly fighting for, supporting, and educating those who are fighting and those who could one day fight if we don't find a cure fast enough. This is one of the many reasons why we invest our time and efforts into our social media pages and our blog, we want to share and spread awareness, support our community, and do everything we can to help. We appreciate all of our readers, followers, and supporters for their love and kindness they've shown to each of these platforms, and we applaud you for helping us achieve these goals, spread our message, and help lift up our warriors and fighters. With a whole year under our belts since the pandemic has started, we are coming out exhausted in more ways than one. There is still so much unknown and we hope that as time goes on, we continue to see a light at the end of the tunnel together. Let's continue to stay safe and make safe choices for our loved ones.
Our last few blogs have been dedicated to our products and services that you can find when you visit our offices, their amazing results, and the power they can give to your self-esteem and self-confidence. Today, we are going to be circling back and talking directly about services related to breast cancer and the prevention of it. Today, we are going to be talking about mammograms. While they should become part of your regular yearly checkups once you're over the age of 40, there are still so many people who aren't getting them and so many who are unaware and unsure about what the whole process entails. Today, we are going to continue to use this platform as a tool for education to clear up any questions and confusion about mammograms, and to persuade you to get them if you're not already doing so.
Mammograms are done both for screening and diagnostic purposes. Once your doctor begins to advise you to start getting them, usually around the time you turn 40, these mammograms are used to detect any changes in the breast in women who have shown no previous signs or symptoms of cancer. This can help detect cancer before clinical signs begin. A diagnostic mammogram is used to investigate anything unusual that has appeared in a woman's breast including lumps, pain, changes in skin appearance, and more. This mammogram will include more images than a normal screening. According to the American Cancer Society, women with a normal risk of cancer should receive a mammogram every year starting at age 45 until age 54, while the Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening every two years, starting at age 50 until 74. Those with a higher risk of breast cancer will benefit from starting mammograms sooner, and it is best to speak to your doctor about when best to begin your mammogram process. During the mammogram itself, a patient's breasts will be compressed between two separate hard surfaces to help spread out the breast tissue. This will help the X-ray capture images of the breasts. Once the breasts have been compressed, an X-ray takes black and white photos of the breasts that will then be examined by your doctor for any signs of abnormalities or cancer.
If you have any more questions about mammograms and the experience of getting one, please do not hesitate to reach out! We are here to answer any questions and calm any worries. Until next time warriors, stay strong and keep fighting!
While the new year approaches, why not take the time to give back to yourself in the healthiest, easiest, and safest ways possible? With truSculpt iD, one of our premier services, we can help you reach your goals today!
Hello warriors, friends, readers, and all of our supporters! Welcome back to the blog, one of the very last for 2020. We hope the holiday season has been a good one for you and your loved ones, and that you remain healthy and happy while continuing to make safe decisions. With the coming new year, we wanted to switch gears a little in this blog and chat about one of the many premier services that we proudly offer all of our patients, geared to helping you feel your best with ease, truSculpt iD! We are here today to talk a little bit more about the process and the many benefits it can offer your mind, body, and sense of self! Let's talk a little bit about what truSculpt iD is and what it focuses on. We've talked a little bit about truSculpt in the past, but today we wanted to dive deeper into what it can offer and give you in simple, pain-free, and easy treatments. You work hard to take care of your body, what happens when your body just doesn't want to cooperate even with all the hard work you are giving back to it? Also, we live in a world where we want things to happen fast and we want fast results. Thankfully, truSculpt can help provide us with that.
Coolscuplting, its predecessor, does offer its own unique technique of helping with weight loss, but only to a certain extent. What is Coolscupting? It is a type of freezing technology that is non-surgical and reduces pockets of fat in trouble spots in your body. It is only cleared to help 9 spots in the body by the FDA. The body does not like the cold and will eliminate frozen and dead cells from the procedure within one to three months, which according to Coolsculpt will help with a 20-25% reduction of fat in the areas you have chosen to target. They state that it is for individuals that are near their ideal body weight, who want to lose just a little more to finally reach their goals. It is not a weight-loss treatment.
The idea that it is not an evasive procedure and it is non-surgical is appealing. However, it is targeted at a certain group of people, leaving out quite a population who might want to be treated. It also is only approved for certain parts of the body, and this is where the benefits of coolsculpting end and the benefits of truSculpt iD begin.
After babies or challenges in life, unwanted fat can hang around no matter how hard you work. In as little as 15 minutes per treatment, you can target those unwanted areas on your lunch break with no downtime and resume your daily activities immediately. The muffin top, love handles, lower abdomen, and “bra-fat” can all be treated with noninvasive body contouring done in the office.
Everyone wants to lose weight fast and create their ideal body with the least invasive option. truSculpt iD from Cutera is a non-invasive fat removal device for quick fat loss. Shape your body by addressing stubborn fat areas directly. truSculpt iD uses the latest body sculpting technology personalized to fit anyone and unlike other devices on the market, there's almost no limit to the areas that can be treated. Studies on truSculpt iD have proven an average of 24% fat loss in a single treatment per area. Unlike Coolsculpting, truSculpt iD not only kills fat cells with every treatment but its innovative heat-based technology addresses skin laxity and helps to firm up the skin so that as the fat cells die off and the area treated becomes smaller, the skin tightens rather than remaining saggy giving that excess skin appearance. If you are concerned with saggy skin following weight loss, a single treatment could help to not only help you get rid of those last few inches but to tighten that skin as well. If Coolsculpt is not the option for you due to cold intolerance or not wanting to be pinched between the paddles, call to schedule a consultation to learn more about truSculpt iD from Cutera.
Now that you know a little bit more about truSculpt and its processes, let's talk a little bit more about its many benefits!
There you have it, readers! The many safe and exciting benefits of truSculpt iD. If you have been considering this treatment and have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out and contact us today. At the very beginning of a new year, why not treat yourself to what could potentially be a one-time gift that continues to keep on giving throughout your life! Look and feel your best with no pain, no downtime, and nothing standing in your way!
All of us at The Breast Place wanted to take a moment and thank each of you for your love and support through this year. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, your kindness, and for staying with us through this year. We look forward to continuing to support our warriors, patients, friends, and clients as best we can through the rest of this year, into the next, and beyond. We are here to support you and the community we are so proud to be apart of. We wish you all a very merry holiday a wonderful new year!
The 2020 holidays have been and will continue to be difficult for all of us. Not being able to travel, see our loved ones, or do many of our favorite traditions is going to be strange. While it might be hard, it might be incredibly beneficial for everyone going through and living with a cancer diagnosis.
Hello, warriors, friends, and dear readers! We know the holiday season can be incredibly difficult for you and for many reasons. While going through your cancer treatments you begin to ask those dark lurking questions; how will this affect my family? How long do I have left? Am I going to beat this? When the holidays come around, these questions tend to get a little darker; what will the holidays be like after I'm gone? Is this my last Christmas? How many more holidays do I have left? While we will try to do everything we can to help comfort and support you on this difficult journey, we also know that sometimes even the most comforting words and actions can't touch those dark places and dark thoughts. However, that doesn't mean we are going to stop our positivity and hope that we want to share with you anytime soon. This blog is going to be a few different things; something to help cheer you up, give you some hope, provide some insight to your loved ones and our readers, and to give everyone a little perspective. We've now all heard it one too many times, that this year is going to be different from all the rest. Through all the difficulties this year has given us, and the fact that this will be hard to spend the holidays apart, this might be something good for all of our warriors going through their treatments, diagnosis, and those living in their survivorship.
The holidays without cancer are already hard difficult; you're constantly running around, shopping, worrying about seeing everyone, making plans, cooking, attending all the holiday events, and trying to make everyone happy. The holidays with cancer are even more difficult. Its all of your normal holiday stress combined with always being tired, feeling sick, having to say no to things and dealing with the guilt that comes with that, being sick, not being able to taste or eat your favorite foods, not being able to participate in your favorite activities, and more. It's a lot, and when your family and friends outside of your close and supportive care group and team don't quite understand this, it makes it even more difficult. We don't need to go into any more detail, because you already understand this. You're living this right now and you've been going through it ever since you were diagnosed. However, this year might be a little different
A Holiday To Pause
For the past nine months our lives, what's safe, and how we are living has all changed. For our warriors and those in survivorship and remission, you've had to be extra safe, as have your immediate members of your bubble and everyone who lives with you. You are making even fewer trips outside of your house, you could be working from home, seeing a very limited amount of people, you may have been going into doctors appointments and treatments alone, faced canceled and rescheduled doctors appointments, spent a lot of time on Zoom, and more. Now that the holidays are here and the pandemic numbers haven't improved but have instead continued to grow, everyone is starting to see changes. Our favorite Christmas gatherings have been canceled or made virtual, large gatherings are still not recommended, traveling is still not recommended, and it is still recommended that you limit your exposure and stay home as much as possible. While this is devastating for so many, this is something that needs to be observed by our warriors and their families.
While choosing to be healthy and staying healthy, you are also protecting others by limiting your exposure. You can take the opportunity of not being able to gather and travel this year to rest and enjoy the holidays how you choose instead of stressing yourself out. You can slow down and create new traditions with your loved ones inside your bubble and create unique ones with all the family you'll be seeing virtually this year. If your treatments are difficult over the holidays and you're sick, feeling ill, or are exhausted you don't have to make up any excuses or feel bad about not being able to attend a holiday function. As difficult as the holidays are, as difficult as this year has been, take this time to rest, recover, fight, heal, and keep yourself safe while the world is on pause. We do urge you to remember this: please understand to be even more conscious for our warriors who don't have the immune system or strength to battle off what we are all trying to fight off and avoid. Remember, they are already fighting a battle. Don't give them another one to fight.
To our dear care teams and family members who make up the family bubbles for all of our warriors, we know this time of year is difficult for you as well, and that 2020 has not made that any easier. Please continue to be safe and to practice all of your safety measures because this isn't just for you. You're doing all of this and being safe for them and everyone else you see this holiday season. Even if it is difficult to say no and you choose to celebrate safely this year, that is the best gift you can give to everyone. With that on your mind, we also wanted to share a few more ideas on how to help your loved ones going through this holiday. We also wanted to share some ideas and tips for our warriors to remember, too!
We know this time of year is difficult. We know this blog might come off a little strangely, but we are searching for and highlighting all the silver linings that we can find. We are here for you, fighting for you, and very much in this boat with you this holiday season. If anything, please remember these things when walking away from the blog today:
Through the difficulties of this year, your battle with breast cancer and remission, the holidays, the pandemic, and everything in between, we are here. We are here to help comfort, help with your healing, and help you feel better in as many ways as possible. Keep searing for your silver linings and let's carry them into the new year!
While we offer so many different kinds of services for our warriors and anyone who comes into our offices, skincare and body care is a big part of what's important to us and what we give to our patients every day!
Hello to all of our warriors, friends, supporters, and readers! We are so thrilled you're back reading the blog and here to read more about the many different ways The Breast Place can make you feel better, look better, and how you can enjoy a little more out of your everyday life. In our last blog, we debunked some of the top myths about botox, and it got us thinking about all of the products, services, and merchandise we offer here at The Breast Place for all of our patients and patrons. It also got us thinking that we needed to remind all of our readers that everyone is welcome to come visit and work with us. Our offices aren't limited to a certain age group, and we are open to anyone who wants to make their bodies feel and look better. We are here for those incredible warriors who are fighting every day against that tyrant silent killer, breast cancer, and for those who are looking to support their body's natural health to make them feel better with a multitude of skin and body care. So, that inspired us to give a little blog overview on some of our many services and why they are both important and beneficial to those who get them!
2. Body Contouring
No matter how hard you work out, no matter how much you diet, and after going through some very big life changes like having a baby, your body will always decide what it wants to do with the fat in your body. Somehow, it always tends to stay in the places we hate the most, and no amount of push-ups, crunches, mountain climbers, or burpees can chase it away. After any life challenge or natural challenge, unwanted fat can hang around no matter how hard you work. In as little as 15 minutes per treatment, you can target those unwanted areas on your lunch break with no downtime and resume your daily activities right away! The muffin top, love handles, lower abdomen, and "bra-fat" can be treated with our non-invasive body contouring done in the office. Outside of these wonderful benefits, what are some other benefits that body contouring can give you?
You live your life to the fullest and through each trial and celebration that comes with it. While we all work hard to care for our skin and to let it age how we choose, our bodies and our skin makes those decisions. That's where facial rejuvenation comes into play. To keep you looking young even after the effects of treatment, raising children, menopause, or surviving life’s challenges, we now offer facial rejuvenation services, Botox/Dysport, and dermal fillers! Laser resurfacing is used to address pigmentation issues like melasma and sunspots, micro-needling with radiofrequency is to promote collagen rebuilding and with no downtime. Laser resurfacing is the newest technology aiding in rejuvenation and antiaging. If you are concerned with fine lines, wrinkles or redness like rosacea, our Cutera Excel V+ laser treatments are right for you. Paired with the best skin products for optimal results, we hope to empower you to look and feel your best at all times. Outside of all this incredible information, what are some more positive benefits of facial rejuvenation?
There you have it! An insider's look into just three of our many services and products. Can you believe the number of benefits that come from just these three services? There are so many wonderful reasons why these and all of our services are incredibly beneficial for all of our patrons, warriors, and friends that come to our offices! If you have any questions about these or any of our services, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to speak with you about the many ways we could help improve your life with one or all of our treatments. While this blog was dedicated to skincare and much more, we are still the best breast cancer center in Charleston! Be well out there, we know that you're fighting hard. You are not alone in this, and you never will be!