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Sat, Jan 11 1:34pm · Cancer Related Brain Fog: How do you cope with it? in Breast Cancer

@merpreb @roch
Such a good article on the subject of chemo-brain… with lots of other good resources, as well. Many thanks!

Fri, Jan 10 12:23pm · Breast cancer: Normal? It's taking so long to start treatment in Breast Cancer

Couldn't agree more. One oncologist with whom I conferred for a second opinion said, and I quote, "I go first, and then if there's time, you can ask your questions." It was post-chemo and I was in no mood. I walked. Another with whom I asked for a second opinion, started yelling at my questions. He viewed my questions as arguing with his opinion. I settled for a doctor who may not be the best at his craft, but we have great conversations where I actually receive the information that I seek, even when I may not like the answers.

And, yes… the healthcare system is in crisis. Students aren't opting for medical degrees because of the loan-debt burden; we have doctor and nurse shortages everywhere so we are trying to import them to fill the needs; at the same time, hospitals are cutting costs, particularly personnel expenses; insurance reimbursements to medical facilities and physicians are creeping down as insurance premiums and deductibles move up; the Baby Boomers are mostly retired now, and the birth rate is at a standstill; drugs availability is strained, and some companies are making cancer drugs so expensive that no one can afford them. At the same time, and in my view, we also have poisoned our nest with pesticides and other chemicals in the water and food chain, increasing cancers in the population. To top it off, I recently read that, those of us who were put on a combination of estrogen and progesterone for menopausal syndromes (and there were many of us), can expect greatly increased risks for breast cancer for twenty years or more after stopping it. It's s sobering situation.

Mon, Jan 6 7:00pm · Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole in Breast Cancer

Great excerpt (and news)! As a triple-positive bc patient, I always wonder if such news applies to me, however… and such trials/studies rarely get into the subtype differences. (Triple positives often are resistant to chemo and AI benefits, for example, and yet we end up taking both!).

Mon, Jan 6 5:38pm · Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole in Breast Cancer

I had no side effects (it was recommended by the nurse practitioner in my oncologist's office), and yes, I divided up (and continue to do so) the doses between morning and evening. For me, it's been preferable to Rogaine which made a mess of my hair the few times I tried it. [I also lost my toe and finger nails to chemo, and Biotin helped them grow back rather quickly without expected splits and chips.]

Obviously, you'll want to check with your PCP and oncologist before taking any new (to you) supplement and its dosage, especially if you're diabetic.

Interestingly (to me), many doctors are not aware of what biotin and other supplements can do to lab assays. I found out, quite by accident. About six months after starting biotin, a neurologist ordered a thyroid test for me. The results said I was hyperthyroid. My PCP said my thyroid felt fine to him, but then ordered an ultrasound of it, and referred me to an endocrinologist. I couldn't believe that I was hyperthyroid and decided to research it on the web where I found that, until ap. 2016, endocrinologists (and others) were unaware of the effects of biotin on thyroid tests, and had been treating those people for hyperthyroidism (which is quite serious)! In an agreement with my PCP, I stopped taking all supplements for a week and, sure enough, the next thyroid assays were quite normal. Ever since then, I go off of 95% of my supplements before any lab test, and the results for several measures are much improved over those when on supplements.

Why doctors don't understand the above and require this is a curiosity to me….

Sat, Jan 4 9:12am · Male breast cancer: Anyone other men out there with breast cancer? in Breast Cancer

Dear Robbie. Although I'm a woman, I can sympathize and identify with how overwhelming a breast cancer diagnosis, and its subsequent treatment can be. While you wait to find a support group here, you may be interested in an excellent overview of male breast cancer from the American Cancer Society at Best of luck to you on this journey.

Dec 27, 2019 · anastrozole and dry eyes in Breast Cancer

Hi Emily… between aging and the anastrozole, dry eyes are a problem for me, too. My ophthalmalogist recommended Systane Gel Drops, specifically, and I found that they helped a lot.

Dec 22, 2019 · Chronic Pain after Stage 4 Breast Cancer Surgery, Chemo and Radiation in Breast Cancer

A word about surgeons in general — I have found them to be like other specialists in that you can't ask them about anything but their specialty (a specific kind of surgery), and don't even hint that perhaps there was a problem with their work. That being said, in my area, everything seems to be targeted to specialties. For example, one can't go to a rheumatologist for (in my case) Trigger Thumb and hand arthritis. I was sent to a hand specialist/surgeon. Can't go to the rheumatologist for arthritis in my spine… was sent to a spine specialist/surgeon… and neither specialist chooses to talk about exercises which may be helpful: for those, you must be referred to a physical therapist. Vascular specialists may or may not have in-depth knowledge of lymphedema treatment. My dentist now just works on cavities… no extractions or gum health issues. For these, you go to a dental surgeon and to a periodontist (who also does the implant, if you have an extraction by the dental surgeon….). The oncologist simply suggests other specialists. Have nerve damage from the chemo? Go see a neurologist (who knows nothing about chemo damage). Have lung or heart issues from the targeted therapy? See a pulmonologist or cardiologist (who know nothing about targeted therapy). Having trouble with the hormone therapy? See an endocrinologist… etc.

And who is left to try to pull all this together into a comprehensive plan? One's poor PCP who isn't trained in the fine points of all these specialties and is trying his/her best to get us to equilibrium.

Considering the increased rates of cancer nationwide, every regional hospital needs specialists who are well-versed in oncology issues… and that's not happening. God help the patients with poor health insurance!

Dec 20, 2019 · Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole in Breast Cancer

YOU are terrific!