Tag Archives: breast cancer

SHARE Cancer Support – Breast Cancer Organizations, Helplines, Hotlines and Support

New Guest Blog from …SHARE CANCER SUPPORT.  SHARE Cancer Support offers support to women who are survivors or victims of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. SHARE’s mission is similar to LIVEURBESTLIFE in that we strive to offer support to those undergoing cancer treatment or cancer survivors, as well as advocating for good, healthy habits in general. Below you will find information regarding Breast Cancer Organizations, Helplines, Hotlines and Support.

Thank you SHARE Cancer Support for participating in this collaborative effort to better help facilitate support for those in need.


Breast Cancer Organizations, Helplines, Hotlines and Support


If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may need someone to talk to. Although you may have the support of family and friends who can help you face this condition, sometimes it’s nice to speak to someone completely different – including those who have been through what you are currently experiencing. There are a number of breast cancer organizations and charities that can provide you with the assistance you need, and can book you a place on a support group, where you will be able to meet other people who are being treated for breast cancer, along with those who are survivors.


Getting Involved with Breast Cancer Support

The National Breast Cancer Foundation is an organization that specializes in assistance for those who have been diagnosed with this condition. The charity was set up in 1991 by a breast cancer survivor, and today provides a number of resources about the disease, as well as information about fund-raising opportunities. The Breast Cancer Fund specializes in prevention, as well as exposing the risks associated with breast cancer. The website features online seminars, image galleries, resources about the condition, as well as information on how to donate.

SHARE also provides information and support. With SHARE you can learn to become an advocate, volunteering your time, passion and support to those who need you. Learn about special events, volunteering, donating and more with SHARE.

Breast Cancer Helplines

The American Cancer Society also provides a number of resources on their website, as well as a cancer hotline that is open 24 hours a day. You will be able to speak to a company representative if you need some more information about coping with cancer, different treatments that might be available to you, screening information, the importance of prevention, pain control and side effects. SHARE, a cancer charity that provides support for women suffering from ovarian or breast cancer, operates cancer helplines specific to breast cancer and ovarian cancer staffed by survivors of these diseases. SHARE is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest as well, where there is always a group of friends available to get support from and get involved with.

Support Groups

A support group like SHARE for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer can be a great way to meet new people and make some new friends as you learn to cope. You will be able to find out more information about the conditions, and meet those who have faced breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the past. You’ll depend on the support of those women who are currently experiencing the same things you are, and they will depend on you too!


For more information, visit http://www.sharecancersupport.org/


To Boob Or Not To Boob

Many women are confused with the recent changes regarding age recommendations for mammograms. The guidelines have changed with frequency over the years.  Because there is a wealth of information generated through studies and how it is disseminated to the public, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with the latest research and assess where you fall into the mix of things.

When I went to my first social function after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I was amazed at the wide array of information that was floating around the room.  Of course, everyone wanted to know my story. How did you figure it out, what were your symptoms, what’s your family history, had you ever had a mammogram before?  Their responses ended up being just as thought provoking as my answers.

As I began to share my story, I can see the overwhelming wave of confusion settle over my peers’ faces…the mean age in the room was the same as mine.  I had discovered my cancer through my first mammogram at age 38.  After having a mastitis, my doctor recommended a mammogram and ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t anymore underlying infection in my breast.  It would be a good opportunity for a baseline too.  I remember thinking, “If it was relevant to get a baseline in the first place, why wasn’t it mentioned when I was 35”?

Leaving the doctor’s office, I began to remember the time when I was breast-feeding at age 35 and recalling the thought to get a baseline mammogram once the baby was weaned.  Hearing all the past horror stories involving women’s experiences with mammograms, I was not too eager to bring the subject up.  My doctor didn’t bring it up either.  But here I am 3 years later, getting a baseline mammogram anyway.

As I began to recount my story, the first woman chimes in “My doctor doesn’t believe in baseline mammograms, it leads to too many false positives”.  Another mentions that her OB/GYN recommends baseline mammograms at 35 but a lot of times insurance companies won’t cover it.  In the midst of the confusion, a third one says that she thought mammograms weren’t recommended until you were 40 years of age.  “That’s if there isn’t any prior family history, another responds.  If you have family history, you start having mammograms at an earlier age-even 30 years old”.

I was struck by how different and far apart everyone’s information gathering had taken them.  These were all well educated, intelligent, Google-savvy women.  Where does the breakdown in communication lie? If cancer doctors and organizations can’t even agree on what is the right age for a woman’s first mammogram, how could my peers know?

While the American Cancer Society and other cancer organizations still recommend mammograms yearly after the age of 40, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force states that with no prior history, women do not have to start having mammograms until the age of 50 and to repeat the test every two years thereafter.  Studies show that despite more women being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer due to earlier screenings, the number of advanced breast cancer cases has not decreased. Advocates of the Task Force’s recommendations also claim that the risk of women between the ages of 40-50 is so small that it doesn’t warrant the exposure to the radiation.

Unfortunately, I am one of those women who while diagnosed at a young age, had no notable family history at the time of diagnosis and had a very run-of-the-mill type cancer.  The woman that you don’t hear too much about due to the overshadowing of young women who have more aggressive cancer that can sometimes be attributed to genetics and do have familial history of the disease.  Those women who are aware of the risk even at young age and know they should be getting mammograms earlier rather than later.

Aside from my diagnosis, I also know several women between the age of 40-50 who all had no family history and non-aggressive breast cancer.  If I know this many people already, how many other women are out there who fit this same profile? Women who will wait 10 years to get their first mammograms, many who will be perfectly fine, but some who will not.

There is so much miscommunication on the pro’s and cons of mammograms.  I would employ anyone who is concerned about waiting longer to get a mammogram to have a dialogue with your doctor.  There may be options and information that you are not aware of that may consequently lead to better decision-making regarding your age appropriate imaging needs.

Living a Healthy Life After Cancer

My name is April and I am an almost 3 year breast cancer survivor!  When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was overwhelmed with all of the information presented to me.  Making sense of lab reports and attending doctor’s appointments while establishing a plan for my treatment and ultimate recovery proved to be a daunting task.

As a newly diagnosed cancer patient, you tend to get fixated on the immediacy of what life has thrown at you.  So much so, that it is hard to see what is important down the road too.  After my head stopped spinning full of information and impending decisions, I chose and implemented a treatment plan forging my way into recovery—my journey into the future.  This should be the easy part, right?  As I distanced myself farther away from the immediate dangers of a cancer diagnosis, whispers of fortitude began to surface.  What was I going to do now?  I have had the surgery, the first step to a cancer free life.  I am now taking the hormone therapy, America’s conventional medical answer for keeping hormone- positive breast cancer at bay.  Still, the farther I delved into my newfound cancer free life; I started to wonder what other kinds of preventative measures I could instill into my life in order to ensure my continual good health I have worked so hard to achieve.

There are numerous studies out there, asserting how and why diet and exercise are essential in our every day lives.  They become even more important when you have a history of cancer. People who exercise have lower incidence of breast cancer.  Many holistic practitioners maintain that by eating the right foods you can actually decrease your risk for cancer by avoiding foods that fuel cancer growth and promote poor eating habits.  By extension, poor eating habits can lead to obesity, which in turn also increases your risk for breast cancer. These are all valid reasons why a preventative philosophy is key to safeguarding a healthy life after cancer.  As for me, for the most part I adopted a healthy lifestyle including moderate exercise and reasonable eating habits from a young age.  However, my cancer diagnosis has only reinforced the need for continuing those conscious health choices today more than ever.

In my personal time, I volunteer on a breast cancer helpline that focuses on providing, women and loved ones affected by breast cancer, help in finding resources and emotional support they need during their journey through breast cancer.  Often times topics of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal treatment come up in conversation but nutrition is often overlooked.   Eating healthy can be an empowering experience in your life that can positively impact not only on the present, but the future too.

I have decided to take life’s challenge of becoming a healthier me by eating right and exercising, making better health choices along the way.  No matter whether you are a cancer survivor or not, I hope you will join me in a healthier tomorrow too.

Coping with cancer… LEARN and live your best life…

L       Listen To Your Body—  Always be intuned to your body.  If I had a penny for every time I have heard a person say that their “inner voice” was tugging at their shirtsleeve or they just had a weird feeling about something, I would be one rich person.  If it just doesn’t sit right with you, get it checked out.

E     Educate YourselfKnowledge is power.  The more information you have on what your diagnosis is the better decisions you can make in terms of treatment plans, preparing your family and making work decisions, just to name a few.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but it will make things much more manageable in the long run.

A     Act ResponsiblyGetting a cancer diagnosis may make you want to run for the hills. But it is important to put into perspective how this all intertwines within your life.  Think about what you can do to reach the best possible outcome for you and your family and loved ones.  As much as cancer physically hurts the patient herself, it really isn’t just about the patient but the network which surrounds her too.  Make family- centered responsible decisions which encompass the best interests of everyone walking on this journey with you.

R    Reach OutCancer can throw you some curveballs.  You don’t need to do this alone.  There are many support groups that can help you find other people who are going through similar situations as you.  Family and friends are also a strong support in time of need.  It will benefit you to tap into these resources as you muddle your way through this process.  Don’t feel guilty asking for help. People embrace such opportunities to lend a helping hand as it gives them some comfort in being able to do something to show they care during this time of need.

N    Never Give Up HopeThere are times when you just don’t know if you can make it one more day.  Never give up hope that a better future is around the corner waiting for you.  Research is always coming up with new drugs, different surgical procedures and innovative approaches on how to tackle this disease.  Try and stay strong and positive as studies show that this leads to better outcomes in patients. 

LEARN…kept me sane as I made my way through this journey called life and my detour known as breast cancer.  I hope that it will help make a little better sense of yours too. Learn and live your best life…