Wendy Freden was diagnosed with stage 1A multifocal invasive breast cancer when she was 44, after feeling a lump in her breast. Now, at 45, she’s cancer free, but getting there took a lot of difficult decisions.

In a post to the Love What Matters Facebook page, Freden wrote her story, from diagnosis to remission, including her decision to get a double mastectomy, as reported by Refinery29.

“I had a diagnostic mammogram [mammogram with an ultrasound] and was immediately scheduled for a biopsy as the radiologist was pretty sure it was malignant,” Freden wrote. “The biopsy revealed I had two different primary invasive cancers connected by a line of ductal cancer [looked like a barbell]. My particular cancer was fed [by] my female hormones estrogen and progesterone. I was flooded with decisions. Lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation, reconstruction.”

For many diagnosed with breast cancer, the decision of whether or not to have a mastectomy can be difficult and emotional. But, as Freden recounts it, the decision was easy.

“For some women, this is an emotional decision, but I had no difficulty requesting a double mastectomy,” she wrote. “I never wanted to hear ‘you have breast cancer’ again. Three weeks after diagnosis, I had a double mastectomy.

Read more of Wendy Freden’s story at this link.

For even more assistance, check out this mastectomy video library providing more answers to questions about diagnosis, treatment and what to expect, maintained by breast cancer expert Dr. Jay Harness at BreastCancerAnswers.com for your use.

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Because many women struggle to find the perfect post-mastectomy sports bra once they return to their old fitness routines, Athleta has designed a new bra to make women in recovery or remission far more comfortable, in this report from Cosmopolitan magazine.

Known as the Empower bra [soon to be available at Athleta.com], it features super-soft fabrics and a front zip that don’t aggravate sensitive scar tissue, expanding pockets to secure post-mastectomy prosthetics, and adjustable straps to accommodate for variance in breast size after surgery.

The new design will be officially released Sept. 25, which you will be able to find here, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Learn more in Cosmopolitan.

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There are many factors to consider when facing breast cancer, including deciding on a course of treatment and potential surgery and reconstruction, as reported in this media link.

Now, a new study suggests the type of surgery used to treat breast cancer also affects post-operative sex life.

Research published in The Annals of Surgical Oncology aimed to examine the long-term consequences of surgery to treat breast cancer, focusing on the impact on appearance and sexuality.

The study surveyed women who had surgery for invasive breast cancer or ductal carcinoma — including lumpectomy, mastectomy alone and mastectomy with reconstruction — about their satisfaction with the appearance of their breast, their comfort with a partner seeing the breast without clothing and how important they feel their breast is in intimacy and sex, both before and after their surgery.

Dr. Jennifer S. Gass, chief of surgery at Women & Infants Hospital and the head of the research team behind the study, noted in a news release that in an era when more early-stage breast cancer patients are opting for a mastectomy, there had not been previous research addressing breast-specific sensuality — in other words, the breast’s role during sexual intimacy.

To learn more, read the results of the study.

And, in the above video, watch as breast cancer expert Dr. Jay Harness, together with moderator Lisa Schneider-Cipriano, herself recovered from breast cancer, address the topic of sex after breast cancer and offer resources for breast cancer patients who don’t feel like themselves.

Posted in Breast Cancer Surgery, Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Patients Speak, Research News, Video, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , | Comments Off

Doctors and medical organizations often advise that past a certain age, older adults can forgo various screening tests for cancer. But many patients, no matter how old or sick they may be, are reluctant to abandon tests they’ve long been told can be lifesaving, according to this report in the New York Times.

A new online survey published in JAMA, of randomly selected participants clearly showed that women are more aware of the benefits of mammography screening than its harms.

If, for example, a mammogram falsely detects a lesion — a not infrequent occurrence — the false-positive result may cause not only serious emotional distress but also lead to a surgical biopsy, which carries its own risks. And by the time they’ve had 10 mammograms, nearly half of women will experience a false-positive finding.

Read more about mammogram screening guidelines, and mammography benefits and harms, in the New York Times, and in the study published in JAMA.

Posted in Doctor-Patient Relationship, Early Detection, Information Strength, Mammograms, Newly diagnosed breast cancer, Research News, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , | Comments Off

Breast cancer can have an impact on many aspects of your daily life. While every woman copes with her diagnosis differently, breast cancer blogs can provide you information about the latest breast cancer breakthroughs, educational information, and support.

In addition to this one, according to a report in Medical News Today a selection of the best breast cancer blogs includes:


CancerWise, and


Learn about more recommended breast cancer information blogs in Medical News Today.

Posted in Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Online Resource, Patients Speak, Research News, We Live You®: The Latest | Comments Off

Surgeons performing mastectomies can offer a form of the procedure – labeled nipple-sparing mastectomy – allowing women to retain the nipple for use in breast reconstruction.

Now, a reassuring study finds that nipple sparing mastectomy doesn’t raise a woman’s risk for breast cancer recurrence.

“More women are requesting nipple-sparing mastectomy because of the superior cosmetic results. But doctors don’t want to take any chances with breast cancer patients’ safety for the sake of cosmetic improvement,” explained lead researcher Dr. Barbara Smith. She’s a surgical oncologist and director of the breast program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“Our study, which has one of the longest reported follow-ups after therapeutic nipple-sparing mastectomy in the United States, provides additional support that it’s safe to leave the nipple intact during mastectomy with only a few exceptions,” she said in a news release from the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. It published the findings online July 17.

To learn more, read the full media release of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and, in the video above, watch breast cancer expert Dr. Jay Harness discuss the safety of nipple-sparing breast cancer surgery, long before the recent study.

Posted in Dr. Jay Harness Expertise, Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy, Oncoplastic Reconstruction, Research News, Video, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , | Comments Off

“Chemo drunk is a feeling I can’t justly describe with words and adjectives.”

So begins this first person breast cancer account appearing in Breast Cancer News, authored by Susan Miller, who also writes for her personal cancer blog.

The author continues:

“Chemo is an experience we’re mostly unprepared to handle. My first few times were terrifying and I didn’t know what I was doing or what to expect. So, I’d like to share seven things I wish I had known about chemo before I started.”

Read Susan Miller’s list of 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Chemotherapy at this link.

Posted in Chemotherapy, Doctor-Patient Relationship, Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Patients Speak, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged | Comments Off

While a cancer diagnoses is traumatic in the moment, too often patients are left traumatized afterward by their encounter with cancer.

Cancer patients commonly walk away from life-saving chemotherapy and radiation treatments having developed post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly known by the acronym PTSD, as reported by WRAL-TV of Raleigh-Durham.

In response to this after-effect, Duke University has created the Cancer Distress Coach app to help.

Based on a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs app designed for members of the military, the Distress Coach app is helping those who’ve encountered cancer. Downloadable on Android and iOS, Duke’s new medical application has the potential to be adopted by clinical centers worldwide.

According to the App research team, the Distress Coach App helps users to:

1. Learn about symptoms and available resources
2. Understand your level of stress
3. Gain coping skills to manage your stress in the moment
4. Build a network of support

In the above video, watch one cancer patient who participated in the pilot program for Duke’s new PTSD app, and the App’s researcher, speak about their experience with the project.

Learn more at the Duke University Cancer Distress Coach Mobile App page at this link.

Posted in Emotional Reconstruction®, Information Strength, Online Resource, Patients Speak, Video, We Live You®: The Latest | Tagged , , , | Comments Off