Ending Breast Cancer Disparities

Ending Breast Cancer Disparities

Each October, when breast cancer awareness month comes around, I find myself thinking about “awareness” and what the messages need to be. Most of us know breast cancer exists, but how deep is our understanding of where we are with this disease? Do we know what is needed to make real progress and save more lives?

One of the most critical breast cancer awareness messages is about the urgent need to end breast cancer disparities.

The National Cancer Institute defines cancer health disparities as “adverse differences between certain population groups in cancer measures.” Such measures include, for example, number of new cases, number of deaths, and cancer-related health complications.

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Medical Cannabis: How Can it Help in Cancer Care?

It’s long been known that products derived from the cannabis, or marijuana, plant can help relieve symptoms and treatment side effects associated with a number of diseases, including cancer. Responding to public pressure in recent years, many states have legalized medical cannabis.  The state where I live, Virginia, legalized medical cannabis products this year.

There’s also legislation in Congress that would legalize cannabis under federal law, with action in the House of Representatives expected before the end of the year. Continue reading

Cancer Treatment and COVID-19: What Are the Risks?

Cancer Treatment and COVID-19: What Are the Risks?As we come to the end of the long summer of 2020, we’ve now been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for roughly six months here in the United States. We still don’t know when it will end. Vaccines and treatments are under development, but when they will be available remains uncertain.

In the meantime, cancer isn’t going away. And delays in treatment that occurred early on may be part of the collateral damage from this pandemic. Continue reading

Cancer and COVID-19: Latest Helpful Resources

Coping with Cancer and COVID-19In my most recent post, I shared links to a number of articles and sites that provide information on cancer and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last two weeks, much more information has been published on a variety of sites to help inform those of us who are dealing with cancer in this difficult time.

Here are links to several more resources that seem especially helpful, along with a brief description of what’s covered in each.

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Cancer and Coping With the COVID-19 Crisis: Helpful Resources

Cancer and Coping with the COVID-19 CrisisThese are stressful and uncertain times, as the world races to try to curtail the spread of the coronavirus and to develop a vaccine to prevent it.

While the crisis is overwhelmingly on our minds, cancer isn’t going away. Those currently dealing with cancer have no choice but to continue to deal with it in the best way possible right now.

In this post, I’m sharing links to a number of articles and sites that provide relevant information on cancer and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

Ending Surprise Medical Billing

Ending Surprise Medical BillingI remember how terrifying it was to hear the diagnosis of breast cancer. At the age of 35, I had to face a potentially life-threatening diagnosis, major surgery and chemotherapy after that.

If that wasn’t enough, what if I had woken up after my mastectomy only to discover that I had a bill for thousands of dollars that my insurance wouldn’t cover and I couldn’t pay?

Many women today are facing that very situation. Continue reading

6 Frequently Used Cancer Terms: What Do They Actually Mean?

Understanding frequently used cancer terminologyWhen I read news articles about cancer research, I often find myself annoyed by the confusing way in which terminology about cancer and cancer research in used.

In cancer language, it’s not unusual for the medical or scientific meaning of a word to be different from the way the same word is understood in everyday language.

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Toxic Exposures and Cancer Risk: Findings From Two Recent Studies

Endocrine disrupters and cancer riskTwo recent studies have come out with some interesting and important findings about exposures to endocrine disrupters and our risks for cancer.

One widely-reported study examined the risks for breast cancer associated with the use of hair dyes, which contain endocrine disrupters.

And another study looked at the way exposures to endocrine disrupters are measured. This study was not as widely publicized, but its findings could potentially be very significant. Continue reading