If you’re a younger woman with breast cancer, you may be concerned about how the disease and treatment may affect your fertility and your future ability to have children.
There are a number of fertility preservation options open to younger women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Below, Dr Mary Birdsall, a fertility specialist with Fertility Associates, outlines the options currently available.
No two breast cancer journeys are exactly alike, but knowing what other women have gone through can mean we don’t feel so alone.
BCAC is proud to host a collection of stories from women who’ve had breast cancer, in which they tell of their experiences, how they felt and how they coped with treatment and diagnosis.
Read about Mandy Carter who was diagnosed with HER2 Positive breast cancer in 2007, when she was in her late thirties. Back then Herceptin wasn’t fully funded and Mandy had to pay tens of thousands of dollars for treatment. She also took a petition to Parliament asking for this vital drug to be funded.
A study is currently underway through the University of Auckland to look at the psychological impact of fears about cancer recurrence in women who’ve been treated for breast cancer.
The research project will involve up to 130 New Zealand women who have been treated for breast cancer and is being run by doctoral student, Loshni Rogers.
It is hoped the research will help to improve the psychological services available to women who have had or are going through breast cancer.
Speaking with other women who have breast cancer can be a great support as you go through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Now, you can now connect with others who have had breast cancer on the BCAC website – thanks to a joint initiative between BCAC and the Cancer Society of New Zealand.
The breast cancer thread of the Society’s internet forum, CancerChat, can now be accessed on the BCAC site.
BCAC committee member, Gillian Wintrup, says the forum means that no matter where you are in New Zealand, you can connect with other women who have breast cancer.
I am 54 years old and six years ago when I was doing a breast self examination , I realised that something had changed in my right breast.
It had always been “harder” than the left but I had that checked years before. However, for the last few years, my GP had flagged the upper part of my right breast as an area to ultrasound after my mammogram.
I had started having mammograms at 45 paying for them myself as I had large breasts. However, mammograms and ultrasounds were always clear.
SNAC-2 is a trial comparing two operations for detecting cancer cells in the lymph nodes of women with early breast cancer.
The two operations are:
- axillary clearance
- sentinel node biopsy.
The status of the axillary or armpit lymph nodes remains the most important indicator of outcome for women with breast cancer and helps predict the need for further treatment (e.g. chemo or radiotherapy).
Women aged 40 years and over who have had surgery for early stage invasive breast cancer are invited to take part in this research study, called RAPID.
Research has shown that breast conserving surgery (removing part of the breast) followed by radiation treatment is as effective as mastectomy (removing the entire breast).
Radiation treatment after surgery improves the chances of not developing further cancer in the affected breast.
In an effort to improve the convenience and the quality of life of patients who receive breast radiation, researchers have looked at shorter radiation schedules. The RAPID study compares two different schedules of radiation treatment.
The shock of a new diagnosis; the challenge of treatment; and the relief of survival make for powerful viewing in a new series of web videos exploring Kiwi experiences of breast cancer.
Kiwi Stories of Breast Cancer has been produced by the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) and features 15 women and men talking candidly about diagnosis, treatment and recovery from breast cancer. You can view their stories here.
BCAC deputy chair, Dr. Chris Walsh, says the web videos are a first - giving New Zealanders the opportunity to see and hear the breast cancer stories of fellow Kiwis at the click of a mouse.
Cancer patients are being urged to get their free seasonal influenza
vaccination before the Government’s subsidised campaign ends on July 31.
Health officials from the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG) say that many
vulnerable people are still not protected from this serious disease.
NISG spokesperson and virologist, Dr Lance Jennings says it is particularly important
for a large percentage of people to be vaccinated this year to minimise the spread of
influenza, including the pandemic HINI 09 (swine flu) which is still in circulation, H3N2
and B viruses.
Dr Jennings says the usual peak for influenza is in July and August.
28 June 2011
In early May BCAC re-launched their website following several months of research, writing and development. The new website is a comprehensive resource supplying detailed information about breast cancer - the most common form of cancer to affect New Zealand women.
As well as explaining who and what BCAC does, the website provides information about the early detection of breast cancer, the diagnosis and treatment of the disease and support if you have been diagnosed.