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Be a Survivor - Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment

Be a Survivor - Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment

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Be a Survivor - Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment

4/5 (1 évaluation)
366 pages
1 heure
Mar 4, 2015


Complete • Accurate • Reassuring Be a Survivor-Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment is a unique book designed to empower the newly diagnosed patient and her family, to help them regain control of their lives, and show them how to find the most effective treatments available. Reflecting the combined wisdom of more than twenty leading medical experts, Be a Survivor includes clear explanations, color graphics, lists of questions to ask your healthcare professionals, and candid testimonials by patients who have “been there before.- The book spans the entire breast cancer experience--from dealing with your initial feelings, to the latest treatments, to life after cancer, and a section for the significant other or the caretaker. Three factor make this book unique: • Copious color illustrations, found in almost no other book on the topic, that help readers understand the concepts. • Patient testimonials help make the information more relevant to the reader's everyday life. • The information represents a multi-specialty, multi-center combination of experts in various fields of breast cancer, rather than the views of a single author who may be a surgeon, or an oncologist.
Mar 4, 2015

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Be a Survivor - Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment - Vladimir Lange

Be a Survivor

Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment

Fifth Edition

Fully Revised

Be a Survivor™

Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment — 5th ed.

Vladimir Lange, M.D.

© Copyright 2009, 2010 by Lange Productions. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without written permission. For information contact Lange Productions, 7661 Curson Terrace; Los Angeles, CA 90046. 1-888-LANGE-88

ISBN 978-0-9819489-0-4

Third printing, Fifth edition, January 2010

A CIP record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.

Printed in the United States of America

Be a Survivor

Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment

Fifth Edition

Fully Revised



This book is not a substitute for professional medical care.

Only your personal physician can evaluate your case and make a recommendation regarding your treatment. Do not use this book as an alternative to the treatment recommended.

We have made every effort to provide information that is accurate at the time of publication, but new findings may invalidate some of what has been presented. Always consult your healthcare provider for the most current recommendations.

To Mandy,

Chad, and Christy


Graphic Artists:

Tim Doherty

Christina Lange

Nigel Lizaranzu

Sam Yano

Contributing Writer:

Christina Lange


Steven Bradford

Chad Lange, MD


William H. Goodson III, MD

Cathy Masamitsu

Candace Moorman, MPH

Betsy Mullen

Carol Reed

Table of Contents



A Twenty Year Retrospective

How to Use This Book

Facts to Remember About Cancer


Understanding Your Feelings

Communicating With Others

Assembling Your Support Network

Support Groups

Your Healthcare Team

Gathering Information

Overview of Treatment Options


Breast Anatomy and Function

How Breasts Grow and Change

What is Breast Cancer?

Types of Breast Cancer

How Cancer Spreads



Tumor Testing

The Pathology Report

Additional Tests




Is Lumpectomy Right for Me?


Immediate Reconstruction

Recovery After Mastectomy

Exercises After Mastectomy

Is Mastectomy Right for Me?

Lumpectomy or Mastectomy?

Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy


Reconstruction Options

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Reconstruction With Implants

Reconstruction With Your Own Tissues

Which is Right for Me?

External Breast Forms


What is Radiation Therapy?

External Beam Radiation Therapy

How Treatment is Given

Side Effects ofExternal Beam Radiation Therapy


Intraoperative Radiation Therapy, IORT


What is Chemotherapy?

How Chemotherapy Works

How Chemotherapy is Given

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Other Side Effects

Common Chemotherapy Drugs


How Does Hormone Therapy Work?

Side Effects of Hormone Therapy

Who Should Be Treated?



Side Effects of Targeted Therapy

The Future


Complementary Therapies

Alternative Treatments


What is DCIS?

Mastectomy or Lumpectomy?

Radiation Therapy or Not?

Treatment of DCIS

Your Team


How are Trials Conducted?

Participating in a Trial

Is a Trial Right for Me?


Emotional Recovery

Clinical Depression

Physical Recovery

Intimacy and Sexuality

Side Effects of Treatment


Resuming Sexual Activity

Single After Breast Cancer

Being a Young Survivor

Getting Involved

Recommendations for Your Family Members

Genetic Testing


What is Breast Cancer?

Understanding Your Feelings

What Do I Do Now?

What She Needs from Youchapter14.html#ch14-1

Meeting Your Own Needs


Recurrent Breast Cancer

Treatment of Advanced / Metastatic Breast Cancer

Coping with Advanced Breast Cancer


General Resources


Professional Organizations


Books and Pamphlets

Videos and DVD's





This book was developed with the invaluable assistance

of the following leading experts:

Terri Ades, M.S., R.N.

Leslie Botnick, M.D.

R. James Brenner, M.D., J.D.

Kristin Brill, M.D.

Aman Buzdar, M.D.

Cathy Coleman, R.N., O.C.N.

Helen Crothers, M.S.W.

Barbara Fowble, M.D.

William H. Goodson, III, M.D.

William H. Hindle, M.D.

Soram Singh Khalsa, M.D.

Lydia Komarnicky, M.D.

Gail Lebovic, M.D.

Joshua Levine, M.D.

Silvana Martino, D.O.

Stephen Mathes, M.D.

Shirley McKenzie, R.N., P.H.N.

Candace Moorman, M.P.H.

Betsy Mullen

Juliann Reiland, M.D.

Anne Rosenberg, M.D.

Christy A. Russell, M.D.

Karen Schmitt, R.N.

Barbara L. Smith, M.D., Ph.D.

David Spiegel, M.D.

Lisa Summerlot, R.N., O.C.N.

Marilou Terpenning, M.D.

Victor Vogel, M.D.

Deane Wolcott, M.D.


...to the survivors and their loved ones for sharing their stories.

Your insight will enlighten, and your words will inspire,

those who follow you on this journey.

Barbara Anabo

Lou Gideon

Marilyn Lange

Christina Lange

Cathy Masamitsu

Monica Olmos

Sandra Snow

Vicki Tashman


This book is based on three decades of professional experience creating educational programs about breast cancer, and on my personal experience dealing with breast cancer as the husband of a survivor.

A list of the names of all those who helped me, encouraged me, and taught me during these years would be longer than the book itself. I thank all of them for their time and kind support.

Several of them deserve special gratitude.

My most sincere thanks go to my valued consultants, recognized experts in their fields, who contributed their time and knowledge to make this book informative, accurate, and up-to-date. It is particularly gratifying that two of them, William Goodson and David Spiegel, are my friends and classmates from Harvard Medical School days. Bill reviewed the manuscript from cover to cover, with surgical precision, spotting areas that needed enhancement.

Three of the consultants, Lisa Summerlot, Karen Schmitt, and Candace Moorman, contributed their extensive experience in dealing with breast cancer patients.

Lisa helped write the scripts and overcome the production stumbling blocks for many of the video programs on which the book is based.

Karen reviewed the entire opus from introduction to credits, mercilessly pointing out where my style did not measure up.

And Candace challenged me by saying at first that the world did not need another breast cancer book, then rewarded me by admitting that she wished she had this book when she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself.

Thank you! Each of you made the book better.

I also want to thank the survivors and their families, who gave freely oftheir time and candidly shared their stories.

My deep gratitude to Carol Reed who contributed her extensive experience and boundless energy to keep this book within the sights of those who could most benefit from it.

My love and gratitude to our children, Chad and Christy, for always being there for me, for their Mom, and for each other. And most of all, my love and admiration to Mandy, who has survived her battle with breast cancer and remains in my life as a shining beacon, a powerful inspiration, and a valued critic.


to the Fifth Edition

A Twenty-Year Retrospective

Twenty years ago, my wife and I were celebrating a wedding anniversary at a romantic getaway. Dinner, flowers, candles... and a little wire sticking out of her left breast. Yes, that is how breast cancers were marked back then - with a wire, in a breast localization procedure, the day before the surgery. The wire would help the surgeon find the tumor the following morning.

The image of that little wire brings back memories too painful to revisit. We thought our world would come to an end. My wife struggled with the possibility of losing her life. I was faced with the prospect of losing the woman I love, and the challenge of raising two teenagers alone.

It is now twenty years later. Mandy is alive, well, and as energetic as ever. The teenagers are adults, one of them a physician, the other an award-winning writer and art critic. Mandy attended all their birthdays parties and graduations -milestones that we thought she would never see.

Mandy survives 20 years to attend our son’s

medical school graduation

Mandy's breast cancer experience has helped us focus on the things that are truly important in life, and overlook the daily nuisances that have no significance in one's ultimate happiness. I use the good china every day, Mandy jokes.

Be a Survivor

The experience also led to creating Be a Survivor — Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment.

Despite the fact that both of us are physicians, we were totally overwhelmed by the the torrent of information that was thrown at us on the day the diagnosis was announced. In medical school, we had learned about radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery... Yet during the initial meeting with our healthcare team, we sat there, wondering whether these people were speaking Greek or Latin. It was weeks before we were able to unravel all the details and ramifications, and begin deciding on a course of treatment.

This book, and the video on which it is based, were created to help you and your loved ones better understand what you are facing, and participate in your treatment and recovery.

The book is a balanced, objective presentation of the latest information, developed in consultation with dozens of top experts in the field. We also include candid comments by patients and their partners—the women and men who have been there and whose voices can help you understand your own feelings and frustrations at this difficult time.

How To Use This Book

The book is organized in the sequence that mirrors your path through treatment and recovery.

First, we've provided a few suggestions on how to cope with your diagnosis—coming to grips with your feelings so you can think and evaluate the facts. There are tips on what to tell your family, friends, and co-workers about your diagnosis, and how to assemble a network of support to help you get through the tough times.

Next is an overview of breast cancer treatment. If you only read one section in this book, make sure it's this one. It will help you understand how the different aspects of your treatment fit together, so you can see your options more clearly.

The majority of the book consists of a detailed description of the various procedures and treatments you may encounter: diagnostic procedures, such as biopsy; surgery, including mastectomy, lumpectomy, and reconstruction techniques; and adjuvant therapies, such as radiation, hormonal therapy, targeted therapy and chemotherapy. We have included information on complementary treatments, such as relaxation, visualization, and acupuncture, which may be valuable additions to your battle with cancer.

The book also will help you make a smooth transition from treatment to recovery, both emotionally and physically. It will show you how to follow-up with your doctor, and how to keep yourself healthy.

There is an important chapter devoted to your partner—husband, boyfriend or special man or woman in your life. It not only teaches them how to provide support for you, but also speaks directly to the needs of your partner during this time.

Each chapter includes lists of questions you might want to ask your healthcare professionals. For your convenience, these questions are repeated at the end of the book. You can tear out the pages, or take the whole book with you on office visits to help you communicate more effectively.

At the end of the book we've included several useful reference sections, such as a glossary of important breast cancer terms, a library listing of other books on the subject, and a resource section with names, numbers, and website addresses of reputable organizations.

Let us hope that the day will come when your daughters, and ours, will find this book, and all other books on the topic, out of print.

We wish you a speedy recovery.

Facing Breast Cancer

Understanding Your Feelings

You have breast cancer. These may be the most frightening words you've ever heard. You may feel scared, angry, crushed—or in complete denial. You probably won't remember anything your physician tells you, and will have no idea how to begin dealing with your problem.

First of all, realize that a diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence. Breast cancer is a very treatable disease, and survival rates today are higher than ever before. There are more than two and a half million women who have been handed the same diagnosis many years ago, and are still leading happy, productive lives.

The best approach you can take is to resolve, right now, that you will do everything you can to be successful in your battle against breast cancer. Tell yourself that losing this battle is simply not an option. This positive attitude will be your best ally.

On the following pages we will discuss the initial steps you need to take to reclaim control over the situation:

When I heard the doctor say breast cancer it was like going underwater.

Everything started to move in slow motion, and I couldn’t hear anything more.

I don’t remember how I called my husband, how we drove home.

And only when I got to my bedroom, only then I started to cry.

• Understand your feelings

• Decide how, when, and with whom to share the news

• Assemble a support network

• Gather the information you need

• Actively participate in planning your treatment.

When you get that diagnosis, go ahead and cry your eyes out.

Cry your eyes out right then, so that you’re not bottling up that emotion.

It’s so terrifying, that for a while you feel as though you’re in a fog, and"

that if you come out of this fog, something terrible is going to happen.

So, cry it, vent it, talk it out, and then find out what you can do to help yourself.

Learning that you have breast cancer is an experience that is probably unlike any other in your life. Don't try to suppress the turmoil that you are experiencing. Cry, get angry, shout. Show whatever emotion helps you, because there is no right or wrong response, and you are entitled to feel whatever you are feeling.

The first few weeks after your diagnosis may be the hardest to handle. On some days, questions like Will I die? or Will my husband still love me? will invade your mind and incapacitate you. On other days, you will be overcome with joy just to hear a single piece of good news. This emotional roller coaster may be difficult to manage, no matter how strong you are. Don't be too hard on yourself if your emotions slip out of your control every once in a while. You don't need to be a superwoman in perfect balance all the time.

Find someone you can talk to about what you are experiencing. This should be a mature, well-adjusted person who can listen without passing judgment. Sometimes very close friends or family members may be too involved in the situation to remain objective. At least initially, it may be best to speak to someone who is more objective, and doesn't have a need to make it all better.

A good resource for talking about your feelings may be another woman who had breast cancer, or an organized group of breast cancer survivors who meet regularly to offer mutual support, and an opportunity for open communication.

In addition, don't be embarrassed to seek professional help. Group or individual counseling can help you come to grips with your feelings, so you can start on the road to recovery.

Communicating With Your Partner

In a misguided attempt to protect your loved one, you may try to hide your emotions from him. Don't. It is far better to involve your partner as soon as possible, so the two of you can find strength in each other, and learn from the beginning how you can work as a team in the weeks and months to come.


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