Monday, May 5, 2014

Preparing for Breast Cancer Treatment

Here you are at the Breast Care Center waiting to talk with one of the Breast Surgeons about your recent diagnosis of Breast Cancer.   How OVERWHELMING is this!   Hopefully, once you sit down and discuss the diagnosis and the next steps with the surgeon who will be able to get your thoughts around this diagnosis.
There are many very important things to consider and our surgeons are excellent guides and listeners and will address all your concerns.

Our Nurse Navigator is here for you, too!

So, if all that is not enough to think about, I am going to give you a few more things to think about.
These items are also listed on the Susan G. Komen website and the American Cancer Society website.

Flu shots  

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend everyone age 6 months and older, including breast cancer suvivors and their caregivers should receive the seasonal  flu  shot.   People currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer and long-term survivors are at higher risk for complications from the seasonal flu.   You should get the shot when it is available.. NOT the nasal spray vaccine. 


  • Some breast cancer treatments will affect your fertility or your ability to become pregnant.  If you wish to consider a pregnancy after treatment talk with a fertility specialist before your treatment begins so you know all your options.

GYN exam

  • Talk with your gynecologist and make sure you are updated with your pap smears and exam. Chemotherapy may interfere with pap smear results and this test should be done prior to chemotherapy treatments.  Your gynecologist is also an important member of your Survivorship Team. 

Dental Visits

  • If you will need chemotherapy treatments it is best to do dental cleanings prior to treatment or after treatment has ended. Your immune system is weakened by chemotherapy and you would be more prone to an infection in your mouth during treatments. 


  • In general, it is safe to travel during  chemotherapy treatments.   Discuss this with your Oncologist (another important member of your Survivorship Team) .  Remember your immune system is weakened so washing of your hands frequently is recommended and using hand sanitizer. 

Massage Therapy

  • Many health care professionals recognize that massage can be a useful noninvasive addition to standard medical therapy to help decrease stress , anxiety, depression, pain and fatigue.    Massage therapy should be provided by a Trained Professional with expertise in working safely with people with cancer and cancer survivors.   
  • It is important to let your massage therapist know that you have cancer as they may need to refer you to a specialist.  You should also let you Oncologist know that you are receiving massage therapy.
  • There is concerns that in theory, tissue manipulation on or near a tumor area should be avoided.  Medications you may be taking may lower your platelet count or thin your blood causing increased risks of bruising.  
  • There is no evidence that massage can slow or reverse the growth or spread of cancer, but it is promising at helping to improve quality of life. 

I am sure you may have more questions as you go down this new path and we are here to help and answer your questions!