Sunday, May 31, 2009

Drug Combinations may Raise Risk for Breast Cancer Survivors

An article posted by Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press on May 31, 2009 gives reference to a Study reported Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

The Study, being the largest to look at this issue, found that using some antidepressants can prevent the cancer drug tamoxifen for working properly.

The study states Breast Cancer survivors risk having their disease come back if they use certain antidepressants while also taking the cancer prevention drug tamoxifen. Tomaxifen cuts in half the chances of a breast cancer recurrence. Because hormone pills are not considered safe after breast cancer, many women also take antidepressants for hot flashes caused by tomaxifen. The new study found that using these interfering drugs - including Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft - can virtually wipe out the benefit tamoxifen provides.

Many doctors question the magnitude of harm from combining these medicines. A smaller study did not show this problem.

The Bottom Line is the same: Not all antidepressants pose this problem and women should talk to their doctors about which ones are best for them.

you can read another article on the report: Some Antidepressants May Thwart Tamoxifen's Effect on Breast Cancer here

Take care and stay healthy, Leigh

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, Lifetime TV, Petition

I received the email listed below and thought everyone should read it!!!

As a Breast Cancer Patient who went through a Mastectomy not quite 2 years ago I was shocked to hear what the insurance companies are doing. The thought that I could have been sent home a few hours after having surgery (I did go home the next day) is really scary.

I would never have been able to comprehend and retain the information that was given to me the next day if I had only a couple hours. I would not have been able to check my drains or empty them. I would not have been able to change my bandages. I was barely able to say my name.

Please, Think about all the women in your life, Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Best Friends, Co-workers and all women. This Information affects them all. 1 in every 3 women will get Breast Cancer and could be put in this position.

Please Go to the website and follow the instructions listed below:


The U. S. Forum is pleased to pass along the following item from an active member of the Forum Women helping Women. The choice of action is yours of course.

Thank you,Dr. Mary Ann Roldan, U.S. Forum Chairman 2008-2010

It really does only take about 20 seconds, please fill out the form for yourself and the rest of us. K.R. (NM)

Proposed Mastectomy Law Change

(Written by a surgeon);

I'll never forget the look in my patient’s eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies. So there I sat with my patient giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank you' they muttered.

A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.This Mastectomy Bill is in Congress now. It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important. Please take the time and do it really quick!

The Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill is important legislation for all women. Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you're receiving this, it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to go to vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the same.

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through mastectomy' where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support.. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name and zip code number.

This takes about 2 seconds. PLEASE PASS THIS ON to your 20 friends.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ginger Capsules Ease Chemo Nausea

In a study released May 14th by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Ginger helped tame one of the most dreaded side effects of cancer treatments - nausea from chemotherapy.

The federally funded study found people who started taking ginger capsules several days before a chemo infusion had fewer and less severe bouts of nausea afterwards than others who were given dummy capsules.

But this does not apply to ginger ale. Many sodas and cookies contain only flavoring - not real ginger.

The study tested a drug-like ginger root extract and it is not know if people could get the same benefits from ginger teas or the powdered ginger sold as a spice.

Some cancer patients cut treatment short or refuse chemo altogether because of nausea, hurting their chances of beating the disease.

Ginger capsules may offer a cheap, simple way to fight nausea.

Always talk with your doctor before taking anything.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Elizabeth Edwards on the Today Show, reactions.

I was watching the Today Show and Elizabeth Edwards was on talking about her husband's affair and her decision to talk about it. Later that day I was watching another show and an interviewer was discussing her with 2 different ladies and they were saying she should not have done the interview. That it made her look weak. They talked like she should have just left her husband and been done with him.

Elizabeth Edwards and John Edwards have been through a lot together. She has supported him through his campaigns, all the way up to going for the White House. They have lost a child together and instead of falling apart they grew stronger. The Edwards have 2 more children.

Do I condone John Edwards affair with another woman. By no means do I think it was the right thing to do. The fact that Elizabeth Edwards loves her husband and forgives him is a testament to her strength. Meanwhile she has gone through Breast cancer and it is no longer in remission, she has been handed a death sentence but without a date.

Should she take her children and leave her husband? Should she try to make a good family life for them with their father so that when she is gone they will have the support they need?

If Elizabeth Edwards can decide that staying with her husband and having a family together is the right thing for herself and for her children, then who are we to criticize her. If you are not in her shoes, gone through what she is going through, then where do you get off saying anything. As far as her interview she is hoping people will understand her decisions and support them because they are the decisions she has made for herself and her family

I know everyone says that there have been many strides made in combating cancer and everyone should have hope. That is all good and well for someone who does not have cancer to say. Everyday you wonder will it come back and if it does how long will I have to live. How will my family deal with the lose? How will my children overcome the loss of their mother? Will my husband be able to give them the support they will need or will he fall apart? Will family and friends come together at this time to support each other? and so many more questions!

I do not obsess about dying but I would be lying if I did not say that sometimes it crosses my mind.

Every person with cancer has to make decisions that besides affecting themselves also affects the ones they love. Do you have chemo, what about radiation, what if they do not help, what if it comes back and more?

Well, I have had a rant today, I am sorry to seem so dark but I get frustrated with the media sometimes. Maybe it is because I have had so many doctor appointments this week. Just could be mood swing from the femara,(Ha Ha). I am going to go out and smell my roses and take a cup of tea out on the porch and relax. Hope you all have a good afternoon and god bless.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Heart Medications and Doctor Checkups, Cardiologist.

Well, I made it to the Cardiologist last week and what a bummer. I had an echo cardiogram done which everyone told me was OK.

While I was getting the echo my husband was talking with the doctor and told him my coughing was worse and we really needed to do something about it. The doctor said I should have called and told him about it and he would have changed my medication. He seemed to forget that I did tell him about it my last visit.

When I went in to talk to the Doctor about getting off the Ace Inhibitors because of the cough side effect he did not want me to go completely off the medicine. He changed me to Diovan, 40mg, once a day and gave me samples to try. He said coughing was not one of the side effects of this medicine. If that is so why didn't he change me to it last time when I told him about the coughing problem.

My husband and I could not seem to get a straight answer about why I needed to stay on the ace inhibitors except that it lowers my chance of getting congestive heart disease later on. I am worried about what they are doing to me now.

The doctor said it will take 2-4 weeks for the old medication to get out of my system and to call him back in 4 week and let him know what is happening with the cough.

I was reading the patient information sheet that was with my samples and guess what the second major side effect of Diovan is: Coughing. According to the sheet the occurrence is less than with the medicine I was on so hopefully my coughing will diminish.

Sometimes it is frustrating going to number of different doctors as one will say one thing and then another will say the opposite.

As a cancer patient it is said that you have a family of doctors: your primary care (the one you go to for colds, flu, etc), your surgeon (biopsies, ultrasounds, surgeries, etc), your oncologist (blood work, chemo, etc), your cardiologist ( heart related problems), and all the other specialist they can come up with.

How is it suppose to be a family of doctors if the doctors do not tell each other what the other is doing? How are you suppose to understand and feel secure when you get conflicting advice?

Well, as you can see I am feeling a little frustrated right now and I have to stop or I will really get upset. And that would raise my blood pressure. Which might not be bad since the #1 side effect of the new medication is low blood pressure. OH WELL!

Good health and god bless to you all, and hang in there if you are going thru what I have been.

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Relay for Life" for the American Cancer Society here Tonight!

Well, we have our local "Relay for Life" for the American Cancer Society here starting tonight. It will run through the evening and finish up tomorrow. I am hoping the weather will be OK even though they are predicting rain and storms. We have had so much rain I wish it would stop and let the ground dry up a little bit. As they are having the Relay for Life on a large Soccer field, I hope it is not too soaked. I will be walking for as long as I can.

The Relay for Life is a major fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. They do so much good work from providing transportation for cancer patients, housing when patients and families must go out of town for consultation or treatment. ACS provides funds for research for many different types of cancers. ACS has helped many people in our communities across this great land.

If you have a Relay for Life coming up in your area I hope you will participate and have a good time while helping so many others.

Good luck to all the participants and our Thanks go out to all the volunteers and organizations that have helped this year and all years past. Good health to all and god bless.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Visiting Cardiologist to get off Ace Inhibitors from Cancer Treatments

Wednesday I go to the Cardiologist for an Echo cardiogram. I have to talk to him about getting off the Ace Inhibitors as one of the side effects is a cough. A dry hacking cough that after almost 2 years feels worse to me than the reason I started taking them. When you take Herceptin it can effect how your heart pumps blood (the strength of the pumping action). With the combination of a beta blocker and ace inhibitor my cardiologist was able to get my reading back up high enough for me to finish the full treatment (52 weeks) with Herceptin. I finished that two months ago and I really hope that when I see him Wednesday he will be able to take me off the Ace Inhibitors. I had already been taking the beta blockers due to a rise in my pulse rate when I was put on Taxol but I was only given the ace inhibitor last July. When it first started making me cough I thought it might be allergies so I went to the ENT and he gave me a prescription for Singular ($100.00 for 30 days). I tried it but did not make that much difference. My oncologist office had a new doctor start and I was transferred to him. The first time I saw him I told him about the cough and he said it was from the Ace Inhibitor. Telling me it was a common side effect. My surgeon told me the same thing last time I saw him. Well, now the coughing has gotten so bad that to me it is worse than the heart problem. I cough all day long. Anytime I have to talk for any length of time my throat wants to make me cough. You know that tiny little "I have a Hair in my Throat" cough that just won't go away. You suck on throat lozenges, take cough medicine, hot tea, anything to try to make it go away. I have sucked on so many cough drops I have gained 10 pounds in the last 6 months. And menthol drops make it worse. Well, enough complaining, I just plan to get off these and maybe I will quit coughing and will also be able to sleep. Haven't done much of that in the past 9 months because of the cough. If anyone has had this type of problem and has a solution to it please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it.
Good health to you all, Leigh