If you or a loved one have received a breast cancer diagnosis, you know that it can be scary. You may have gone from thinking everything was okay to suddenly needing to decide about surgery and starting treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. On top of this, you may experience symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety, and fatigue. Combined, this may all feel very stressful and overwhelming. You’re not alone. Palliative care can help. … Read More
Tag: real palliative care story
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we are sharing April’s story. April was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer when she was 37 years old. She had 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 30 rounds of radiation, and a mastectomy.
When she was diagnosed, her life was centered around her two young daughters and her hair salon, which she owned and managed. The cancer and its treatment were devastating enough, but matters became worse when she had to stop working at the salon because of symptoms and side effects. … Read More
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Beth Popp, MD
A diagnosis of breast cancer is scary. You’re faced with treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. There can be difficult side effects and symptoms caused by the disease and its treatment, such as pain, nausea, fatigue and anxiety. Many can linger and persist afterwards as well. Things can feel overwhelming.
Palliative care can help. When palliative care teams work in partnership with cancer specialists, people living with breast cancer experience reduced symptoms, better communication and other benefits. Once symptoms are controlled, patients can get back to daily activities. They also have someone to help them plan for the future.
Dr. Beth Popp is a senior faculty member in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She has dedicated her career to improving care and quality of life for cancer patients. Dr. Popp is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Internal Medicine and her Medical Oncology fellowship training at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis.
For Marion, breast cancer and its treatment brought pain and depression that kept her from the things she loved doing. She was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2014. Eventually, Marion’s oncologist referred her to palliative care.
Palliative care (pronounced pal-lee-uh-tiv) is specialized medical care for people living with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and it can be provided along with curative treatment.
“Since I began seeing palliative care, I am much more aware of living purposefully, of spending my time doing things that mean something,” says Marion. … Read More
Cathy, 62, has always loved jogging and doing step aerobics, but her true passion is tending to the flowers in her garden.
“I just love being outside and getting my hands in the dirt,” says Cathy, born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.
Cathy will be the first to tell you that gardening takes both patience and the willingness to start anew when a flower doesn’t grow like she’d hoped. “It’s okay when something doesn’t go your way out there. It’s all about adapting and moving forward,” says Cathy.
Cathy has had to apply those same principles to her own life as well. A diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer in 2012—the second time she had been diagnosed with this illness—halted her active and productive life. She faced an uphill climb of difficult chemotherapy regiments and an uncertain future.
After dealing with painful symptoms from the chemotherapy and the stress of managing the ups and downs of her battle for over four years, she asked for better care from her medical professionals. She was referred to palliative care who now work every day to get her back to her active life.
This is Cathy’s story.