“Cancer was a piece of cake,” Virginia Harrod says. “It was the lymphedema that almost killed me.”
NPR reports that nine months after Harrod’s mastectomy, her cat scratched her hand. She wasn’t concerned at first, but her doctor “recognized her symptoms as a serious and advancing infection.”
Harrod was in the hospital for eight days, and that’s when she first learned she had lymphedema. Over the next 10 months, she was readmitted twice more with dangerous infections.
Lymphedema (secondary/acquired) is a common complication of breast cancer treatment, but it gets short shrift from doctors when patients are assessing treatment risks. My experience confirms this research finding.
Continue reading “Lymph node transfer is a viable treatment for severe lymphedema”
After seven treatments (21 to go) at Seattle Proton Therapy Center, I’ve learned patience and humor are key.
I keep reminding myself that there’s a particle accelerator somewhere “up there” and that the physics alone should make this awesome. But awesome doesn’t keep the blood flowing to my left arm when I’m stuck in an awkward “don’t move” position for a half-hour while the techs coax the machine out of a work stoppage!
Continue reading “Proton therapy: one-quarter down”
It’s not really day one, because that was two weeks earlier, when I had my initial visit and setup.
This is day one of my proton therapy treatment. There are 27 to go.
Continue reading “Proton therapy: day one”
It’s impossible to think about chemotherapy as a treatment for breast cancer without concurrently thinking:
The treatment should not be worse than the disease
Continue reading “The role of chemotherapy in breast cancer treatment”
The most common forms of breast cancer are hormone-receptor positive (estrogen and/or progesterone). The goal of endocrine (hormonal) therapy is to reduce the amount of estrogen available to those cancer cells.
Continue reading “What is endocrine therapy?”