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
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
At age 37, April was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She endured 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation, as well as a mastectomy. Her life centered on her two young daughters and the hair salon she ran and owned. The cancer and its treatment were devastating enough, but matters got worse when she had to give up her work at the salon because of symptoms and side effects.
“Being a hairdresser was always something I wanted to be even as a kid. I was the girl putting curlers in my cat’s hair for practice. Not being able to work was really hard,” says April.
Her cancer doctor recognized that April could use an extra layer of support to deal with nausea and hot flashes, pain that made standing difficult for more than a few seconds at a time, and the emotional toll it was taking on her. The doctor referred April to a medical specialty to help her address these symptoms. The ultimate goal was to get her back to the job she loved.
This is April’s Palliative Care Story. … 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
When Amy Berman of New York City was diagnosed with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer, she learned that only a small percentage of people with her diagnosis survive to five years. That was five-and-a-half years ago, and Amy is still here. In fact, she is as active and fulfilled as she has ever been. She credits palliative care with keeping her healthy and lively as she deals with her illness. This is a story about making difficult but informed decisions. This is a story about finding happiness in the moment. … Read More