Tag Archives: breast cancer

Breast cancer survivors create dragon boat racing team to raise funds


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Paddle for the Cure Dragon Boat Club


A new Queens-based dragon boat racing team is hoping to beat breast cancer by paddling.

The Paddle for the Cure Dragon Boat Club, a group comprised mostly of breast cancer survivors from the borough, is training in the World’s Fair Marina for competitions this year to support cancer research, while creating bonds with others who bested the disease.

The group, which is partnering with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, formed last year after breast cancer survivor Leah Salmorin reached out to trainer James Ma during a Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure fundraising event.

Dragon boat racing is an effective remedy for breast cancer survivors, because contrary to the prior belief that after surgery people shouldn’t exercise, the paddling helps women regain strength in their arms, according to Ma. Also, dragon boat racing is a fun sport that gives women a chance to interact and trade stories instead of exercising in a boring gym area.

“From experience working with them, they usually gravitate towards the sport and try to regain control of their lives after cancer,” said Ma, now president and coach of the club. “Each time they paddle, the race is already won as they enrich their lives by gaining strength and dignity.”

The club began weekly Saturday morning practices in May, hoping to compete in races in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Florida later this year.

They are collecting donations through events for equipment, and 20 percent of the funds raised will go to the New York City affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The team will hold a bowling fundraising event on August 26 at Bowlmor Lanes in Manhattan that is open to everyone.

The club is run “by survivors for survivors,” but the group is open to anyone who would like to participate.

When Rockaway Beach resident Kelly Kelley, who beat breast cancer in 2007, received an email about the team, she felt it might be a refreshing experience to give it a try.

A tennis coach at The Mary Louise Academy in Jamaica, Kelley said she thought it would be a great fit because she likes sports and water.

And although drills were difficult for the women when she first started, she reminded her teammates that they beat cancer and can stand up against anything.

“We are a new team, we are new to the sport, so we have to work hard if we want to progress,” Kelley said. “I tell the other women, ‘Listen, it’s not worse than chemotherapy.’”

 

 

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Star of Queens: Kellyann Tobin, volunteer, SHAREing & CAREing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Red head 2

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Kellyann Tobin started volunteering two years ago with SHAREing & CAREing, a nonprofit organization based in Astoria that offers grassroots support services to breast and ovarian cancer patients and their families through counseling, educational forums and advocacy services throughout the city. Formed in 1994, it not only provides breast health outreach, education, support and advocacy services for medically underserved and uninsured women, but has also evolved to serve the emerging needs of cancer survivors of both women and men of all ages.

After first creating biographies and other write-ups for its website, Tobin began doing patient outreach, taking individuals to and from chemotherapy, running errands for patients, doing office work, and whatever else the organization needed from volunteers.

Tobin, a registered nurse, also goes into high schools to educate students to give them to tools to educate their parents about cancer awareness. “It’s never too early to start good health practices,” Tobin said.

Her work as an RN and her mother’s battle with breast cancer in the past inspired her to volunteer with SHAREing & CAREing. “I’ve been blessed in life and it’s time for me to give back. It has been so fulfilling,” Tobin said.

“At this age we should not have anyone die from breast cancer. If it’s caught early enough it doesn’t have to be fatal,” she added.

Tobin notes that SHAREing & CAREing is the only local nonprofit that offers these types of services for free. “They don’t have to be afraid to ask any questions and we’ll be there,” she said.

BACKGROUND: Tobin was born and raised in Astoria and never left. She has been an RN for about four years, specializing in psychiatric, mental health nursing and trauma. Tobin originally worked in set design and special effects, but after taking care of her grandparents, including her grandfather who had end-stage renal disease, and who always said she should become a nurse, she changed fields. After becoming a nurse, she decided she wanted to work in the underserved community of the south Bronx.

FAVORITE MEMORY: One time, Tobin was doing outreach at St. John’s Preparatory School in Astoria, where she encountered a student who was scared to do self-breast examinations and to discuss the disease with her mother, until she spoke to her. “[The girl said she] wanted to become a nurse because of me,” Tobin said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Funding is one of the biggest challenges the organization faces.

“There is so much more we want to do for patients but there are limited resources,” she said. Though the organization wants to go above and beyond with patients, it is difficult when there are so many. “But when you don’t have the finances you figure out a way to do it,” she said.

 

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Five things everyone should know about breast cancer and mammograms


| editorial@queenscourier.com

COURTESY NORTH SHORE-LIJ HEALTH SYSTEM

October is breast cancer awareness month. In order to create greater awareness about this insidious disease, North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Myra F. Barginear, MD, shares the important things everyone should know about breast cancer and mammography so that every woman and her family members can become more knowledgeable about the disease and learn how they can best protect themselves and the people they love.

Barginear’s “Top Five Things Everyone Should Know about Breast Cancer”:

1. About 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year in American women.

2. The breast is the most common site of cancer in women. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.

3. Mammograms save lives. Mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation. Current guidelines from the American College of Radiology, the American Cancer Society, and the Society for Breast Imaging recommend that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40 — even if they have no symptoms or family history of breast cancer.

4. Breast cancer survival depends on the stage of disease. There are 4 stages. The best survival is observed in women with early-stage disease.

5. The annual risk of a 70-year-old woman being diagnosed with breast cancer is three times that of a 40-year-old woman.

She emphasizes the importance of getting an annual mammography once a woman turns 40.

“Mammographies have helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by nearly one-third since 1990,” Barginear explained. “Of all the years of life saved by mammography, 40 percent are for women in their 40s.” She added that75 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk. “Even for women over 50, skipping a mammogram every other year would miss up to 30 percent of cancers.”

For more information on breast cancer and mammography visit the North Shore-LIJ Health System Facebook page during the month of October.

What is breast cancer?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Every day, cells in your body divide, grow and die. Most of the time cells divide and grow in an orderly manner. But sometimes cells grow out of control. This kind of growth of cells forms a mass or lump called a tumor. Tumors are either benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancerous. When these tumors are removed, they typically do not reappear. The cells of a benign tumor do not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant tumors are made of abnormal cells and are cancerous. Malignant tumor cells can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. A malignant tumor that develops in the breast is called breast cancer.

To grow, malignant breast tumors need to be fed. They get nourishment by developing new blood vessels in a process called angiogenesis. The new blood vessels supply the tumor with nutrients that promote growth.

As the malignant breast tumor grows, it can expand into nearby tissue. This process is called invasion. Cells can also break away from the primary, or main tumor, and spread to other parts of the body. The cells spread by traveling through the blood stream and/or lymphatic system. This process is called metastasis.

When malignant breast cells appear in a new location, they begin to divide and grow out of control again as they create another tumor. Even though the new tumor is growing in another part of the body, it is still called breast cancer. The most common locations of metastatic breast cancer are the lungs, liver, bones and brain.

Cells can grow out of control before any symptoms of the disease appear. That is why breast screening to find early changes is so important. If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and improved chance for survival.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® recommends that women 40 years and older have a mammogram every year. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, talk with your doctor about your personal risk, including when to start getting mammograms and how often to have them.

If your mother or sister had breast cancer before menopause, you may need to start getting mammograms or other tests and yearly clinical breast exams before age 40. It is important for all women to have clinical breast exams at least every three years starting at age 20 and every year after age 40.

What affects your risk of getting breast cancer?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The causes of breast cancer are not fully known. However, researchers have identified a number of factors that increase one’s chances of getting breast cancer. These are called risk factors. Risk factors do not cause breast cancer, but can increase the chances of getting breast cancer. Some women have many risk factors, but never get breast cancer. And, some women have no risk factors aside from being a woman and getting older, and still get the disease. Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk.

There are some risk factors you can control, and others you cannot. Even if you do not have any of these risk factors, you can still develop breast cancer.

Factors that may increase your risk of breast cancer

Age: a major factor

A woman’s chance of getting breast cancer increases with age. Your chance by your current age is:

age 20 1 in 1,681

age 30 1 in 232

age 40 1 in 69

age 50 1 in 42

age 60 1 in 29

age 70 1 in 27

Lifetime 1 in 8

Source: American Cancer Society

Other factors:

• having an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 breast cancer genes

• a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer

• a family history of breast cancer

• having high breast density on a mammogram

• having a previous biopsy showing hyperplasia

• lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)

• being exposed to large amounts of radiation at a young age

• never having children

• having your first child after age 35

• high levels of blood androgrens or estrogens

• postmenopausal hormone use (current or recent use) of estrogen or estrogen plus progestin

• being overweight after menopause or gaining weight as an adult

• high bone density

• having more than one drink of alcohol per day

• starting menopause after age 55

• being younger than 12 at the time of your first period

• current or recent use of birth control pills

Warning signs of breast cancer


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Due to the increased use of mammography, most women in the United States are diagnosed at an early stage of breast cancer, before symptoms appear. However, not all breast cancers are found through mammography. The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a change in the look or feel of the breast, a change in the look or feel of the nipple and nipple discharge.

If you have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider. In most cases, these changes are not cancer. For example, breast pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer. However, the only way to know for sure is to see your provider. If breast cancer is present, it is best to find it at an early stage, when the cancer is most treatable.

Breast lumps or lumpiness

Many women may find that their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture. For some women, the lumpiness is more pronounced than for others. In most cases, this lumpiness is no cause to worry.

If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and feels like your other breast, then it is probably normal breast tissue. Lumps that feel harder or different from the rest of the breast (or the other breast) or that feel like a change are a concern. When this type of lump is found, it may be a sign of breast cancer or a benign breast condition (such as a cyst or fibroadenoma).

See your health care provider if:

• You find a new lump or any change that feels different from the rest of your breast.

• You find a new lump or any change that feels different from your other breast.

• Feel something that is different from what you felt before.

If you are unsure whether you should have a lump checked, it is best to see your provider. Although a lump may be nothing to worry about, you will have the peace of mind that it has been checked.

Nipple discharge

Liquid leaking from your nipple (nipple discharge) can be troubling, but it is rarely a sign of cancer. Discharge can be your body’s natural reaction when the nipple is squeezed. Signs of a more serious condition, such as breast cancer, include:

• Discharge that occurs without squeezing the nipple

• Discharge that occurs in only one breast

• Discharge that has blood in it or is clear (not milky)

Nipple discharge can also be caused by an infection or another condition that needs medical treatment. For these reasons, if you have any nipple discharge, see your health care provider.

 

Things to consider before breast cancer treatment


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Fertility options for younger women

Having a child after treatment ends

Some breast cancer treatments can affect fertility. If you wish to have a child after treatment ends, talk to your health care provider (and if possible, a fertility specialist) before treatment begins.

General considerations

Chemotherapy can weaken your immune system, so it is important to consider a few things before starting treatment.

Flu shot

If your treatment will occur during flu season, it is important to get a flu shot before treatment begins. The flu shot now protects against the seasonal flu and H1N1 (swine) flu. To learn more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Pap test

Women may wish to have a gynecological exam before starting chemotherapy. A positive result on a Pap test (Pap smear) almost always requires a slightly invasive follow-up procedure. Because chemotherapy can weaken the immune system, this procedure should take place before treatment starts. Chemotherapy can also interfere with the results of a Pap test.

Dental visits

You should postpone routine dental visits until chemotherapy is over. Sometimes dental work can cause an infection in your mouth. Infections can be harder to treat when your immune system is weakened by chemotherapy.

If you have dental work or a cleaning that cannot wait until after treatment ends, you should go to the dentist before chemotherapy begins.

Travel

Although the above precautions are important, you should not feel the need to postpone activities such as travel. In general, it is safe to travel by plane, train or bus while undergoing chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy weakens your immune system. If you travel during your chemotherapy, it’s a good idea to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often to avoid infection.

Deciding Between Mastectomy and Lumpectomy


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure

It may be hard to decide whether to have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy (also called breast conserving surgery). First, talk to your surgeon and see if you are a candidate for lumpectomy plus radiation, or if you need a mastectomy. If both are options, weigh the risks and benefits of each surgery and choose the one that is right for you.

Neoadjuvant therapy and surgery options

Even if you are not a candidate for lumpectomy upfront, your oncologist may discuss neoadjuvant (preoperative) therapy. For some women, neoadjuvant therapy may shrink the tumor enough so a lumpectomy becomes an option instead of a mastectomy.

Survival and recurrence with lumpectomy and mastectomy

Survival

Overall survival with lumpectomy plus radiation is the same as with mastectomy

Recurrence

With lumpectomy, there is a slightly higher rate of the cancer returning in the breast (called recurrence or local recurrence) Any recurrence must be treated.

The risk of cancer spreading to other organs (called metastasis and the main cause of breast cancer death) is the same for both procedures

Risks and benefits of mastectomy and lumpectomy

There are risks and benefits to consider when choosing between mastectomy and lumpectomy plus radiation. The main benefit of lumpectomy with radiation is that the breast is preserved as much as possible.

A potential benefit of mastectomy is that radiation therapy may be avoided. Although some women will need radiation therapy after mastectomy, many will not. (Ask your health care team if you are likely to avoid radiation therapy if you have a mastectomy.) If you do not need radiation therapy, you avoid its side effects and the daily trips to a treatment center. If you live in an area without access to radiation treatment centers, or if you cannot have radiation therapy, this is an important benefit.

With either type of surgery, you are likely to have temporary soreness in your chest, armpit and shoulder.

If lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary nodes) are removed during surgery, you may also have some numbness in your arm and there is some risk of lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition where fluid collects in the arm (or other area such as the hand, fingers, chest or back), causing it to swell.

Talking to your health care provider about surgery options

It is important to learn about your surgery options and talk openly with your health care provider about your treatment. You should feel confident you are getting the best treatment possible. Never hesitate to seek a second or even a third opinion from providers at different hospitals or practices. This is especially important if you are not satisfied with the rationale for your treatment plan.

Breast cancer survivors: After the treatment


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Susan G. Komen for the Cure

There are over 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today (more than any other group of cancer survivors) While it’s tragic so many people have had breast cancer, the sheer number of survivors shows the great strides that have been made in early detection and treatment. Today, most breast cancer survivors lead long and fulfilling lives.

After breast cancer treatment ends, many people are afraid they still have cancer or that it will come back. These fears are normal. For some people, talking to a counselor or joining a support group can be helpful. Your health care provider may be able to help you find a counselor or support group.

There are things you can do to help lower your risk of recurrence. If you are being treated with hormone therapy (tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors), taking the drugs as prescribed not only lowers the risk of the first cancer coming back but also lowers the risk of getting a second primary breast cancer.

Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise may also play a role in breast cancer survival.

For more information, visit ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/aftertreatment.html.

Delta helps in the fight against breast cancer


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY OF DKC PUBLIC RELATIONS

LaGuardia’s Delta terminal was pretty in pink for the arrival of the “Breast Cancer One” survivor charter flight.

On Thursday, September 20, LaGuardia welcomed the “pink plane” in from Atlanta. More than 140 Delta employee cancer survivors from 35 different locations around the world made the trip, and were greeted in Terminal D by tons of pink balloons, ceiling decorations and pink lemonade refreshments.

“This lifts your spirits. It doesn’t make you feel your pain, it just absolutely encourages you,” said Angie Trimble, a breast cancer survivor who was aboard the flight.

Delta has been involved with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) since 2005, and together they have raised over $5 million towards research funding, contributing to the $380 million raised by the foundation since its beginning.

A year ago, BCRF unfortunately lost its founder, Evelyn Lauder, to the disease. Thursday, Delta proudly unveiled a new addition to the “pink plane”: an emblem baring Evelyn’s signature, printed name and title, appropriately emblazoned in pink writing.

“This year, we dedicate our pink plane to the memory of Evelyn Lauder. We continue to be inspired by her tireless commitment and determination in the fight to find a cure for breast cancer,” said Joanne Smith, senior vice president of In-Flight service.

The distinctive pink plane has flown around the world to “highlight and help raise awareness and funds for lifesaving research efforts,” said Smith.

BCRF acting chairman and the late Evelyn’s husband, Leonard Lauder, made the trip to LaGuardia to carry his wife’s message and mission.

“Your enthusiasm for the support of this great organization . . . you can make a difference,” he said. “The people in this room will make the difference.”

To continue to raise research funds, the “pink plane” along with all Delta flights and the Delta Sky Clubs will sell pink products including pink lemonade and pink headsets, distributed by Delta employees dressed in pink uniforms, through the month of October.

In addition, during October, Delta’s administrative headquarters will be illuminated in pink lighting in support of BCRF. Delta will also donate $1 to the foundation for the first 50,000 new “likes” on the Delta Facebook page.

“Together, we are going to make sure that this disease is eradicated,” said Lauder.

New law to help breast cancer detection


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Monday that requires mammography services to inform patients if dense breast tissue is found during an exam. The law was created to help improve breast cancer detection. Studies have shown that women with dense breast tissue may have a higher risk of developing the disease. It also makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer through a mammogram.

“Any sort of a law that raises awareness about breast cancer, educates the patients and makes them more proactive about their health is wonderful,” said Dr. Susan Lee, acting director of the New York Hospital Queens Breast Center.

If patients find out that their breast tissue is dense, they should talk to their physician, and figure out what is the best way to screen for breast cancer, she added.

The law, which doesn’t go into effect for 179 days, could lead to more ultrasound screening, and require more training and facilities to meet those demands, said Lee.

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Judge Rules Synagogue Terror Plot Case Will Move Forward 

A judge will allow the criminal case against a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up synagogues around the city to go forward. Lawyers representing Ahmed Ferhani, 26, were asking the judge to dismiss the case, arguing the charges against him are based on insufficient evidence and that he was entrapped. Read more: [NY1] 

A Queens NYPD official warns about dangers of ATM ‘skimmers’ 

A Queens NYPD official is warning residents about an ATM scheme that could lead to some unwanted withdrawals. Sophisticated swindlers attached skimmers to the ATM machines at an undisclosed bank on Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach last month, police officials said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Queen boy publishes book to help raise money for cancer research 

When a hospital reached out to a Queens woman to ask if they could use her case of breast cancer to help find a cure, her son wanted to find a way to give back to the hospital. At 12 years old, DaeQuan Morrison decided to publish a book that he had written two years earlier for his fifth-grade class and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Feinstein Medical Institute, where his mother Patricia was taking part in a clinical trial. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Rockaway Beach Community Torn Over Beach Rebuilding Project 

Huge mounds of sand are at the center of a debate on Rockaway Beach. The mounds have been offering protection to a building there for the past six months, but a new plan to use the sand to shore up an eroded section of beach 30 blocks to the south has residents in an uproar. Read more: [1010wins] 

Richmond Hill merchants say J-train subway construction is hurting business

A construction site near the elevated 111th St. J train stop in Richmond Hill has been a massive headache for neighboring businesses, local merchants say. The site, where workers are painting and reinforcing the overhead tracks, has caused tremendous losses in revenue, business owners said, because of issues with parking, noise, and equipment blocking store facades. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 

Free lectures on breast health


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, New York Hospital Queens will be offering free lectures about breast health and cancer at The Bay Terrace shopping center in Bayside.

Upcoming speakers and dates will be:

*Tuesday, October 18 at 6 p.m.– Susan Lee, M.D. Acting Director, Breast Center, New York Hospital Queens, will present a lecture entitled “Breast Healthcare and Screening.” Lindsey Alico, genetic counselor, will present a lecture entitled “Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer and How You Can Determine Your Risk.” Jacqueline Xouris, director, Community Health Outreach, N.Y.S. Cancer Services Program of Eastern Queens will speak about the New York State Cancer Services Program. A breast cancer survivor will speak about her experiences.

*Monday, October 24 at 6 p.m. – Margaret Chen, MD, assistant director, Breast Center, New York Hospital Queens, will present a lecture entitled, “Breast Healthcare and Screening.” Jacqueline Xouris, director, Community Health Outreach, N.Y.S. Cancer Services Program of Eastern Queens, will speak about the New York State Cancer Services Program. A breast cancer survivor will speak about her experiences.

The presentations will be in the vacant corner store on the upper level, directly across from the Bayview Dry Cleaners and next to Villiagio Tanning Salon. Bay Terrace is located at 212-75/77 26th Avenue.

It is not necessary to RSVP. Refreshments will be served.

If you require any additional information, call Debra Pagano Cohen, director, Community and Government Affairs, at 718-670-1586.