Jo Brand, Dame Eileen Atkins, Olivia Newton John, Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Saunders are just some of the celebrities who have beaten breast cancer. There is also a surprising name: that of actor Richard Roundtree who is living proof that breast cancer does not just happen to women and who discovered a lump in his right breast in 1993 and campaigns today for greater awareness of breast cancer in men.
Those people are celebrities so their cancer is high profile, but most women know of a friend or relative who has been diagnosed and treated. Information is the best weapon in the war against cancer so we hope that these resources are helpful to you, or someone you know, who has breast cancer or is supporting or caring for someone who has.
An excellent first resource for those diagnosed, or concerned about, breast cancer are two books: ‘What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer’ by John Lee, MD for an overview of the causes of breast cancer and how to prevent and treat it and ‘Cancer’ by Patrick Holford for information on all types of the disease.
Help and Support
While it is true that many people who have cancer get the support they need from their families and friends it may be limited as it can difficult for them to fully understand what you are going through. Whether you have close friends and family support or not support groups are there to help, with many different types offering various therapies. These include:
- Counselling sessions and complementary therapies
- Organised activities
- Talking groups offering the opportunity to chat to others, share experiences and helpful hints
These groups may be general, or for a specific type of cancer such as breast cancer. They vary in nature, but often a health professional is involved with a support group to help with the running of it, and gives talks and general advice.
These are not just for the patient, but are usually also open to family, friends and carers as they also need help and support. These groups can often help them make more sense of what is happening and give them information and advice on how to help.
Not everyone likes to be in a group, and may prefer one-to-one discussions. This is usually available from the major cancer organisations, for patients or carers, and usually via telephone.
If you are not sure of where your nearest group is then your own GP, or oncologogy unit at your local hospital should be able to provide you with a list.
The Internet has been hugely helpful in opening up sources of help and support and that may be your first port of call. These national organisations are all dedicated to helping women cope with breast cancer and are an invaluable resource.
Cancer Research UK – http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org
They offer clear and straightforward information on all aspects of cancer from diagnosis to treatment. You can contact the nurses anytime between Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm on freephone 0808 800 4040:
Macmillan – http://www.macmillan.org.uk/
Macmillan supports over 900 independent cancer support groups and organisations across the UK, giving you an opportunity to talk to people who understand what you’re going through.
By joining a cancer support group you can spend time with people who share or understand your experience. It’s an opportunity for you to talk about your deepest concerns, and know they will be met with acceptance and understanding. This simple act of sharing can make an enormous difference to the way you feel.
You can also call their support team from Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm on 0808 800 0000
Health Talk Online – http://www.healthtalkonline.org/
If you want to listen to the stories of people like you, then this website lets you share in more than 2,000 people’s experiences of over 60 health-related conditions and illnesses, including breast cancer. With a video introduction from Jon Snow, these personal stories of health and illness will enable patients, families, carers and healthcare professionals to benefit from the experiences of others. You can watch video or listen to audio clips of the interviews, read about people’s experiences if you prefer and find reliable information about specific conditions, treatment choices and support.
Conventional treatment relies on drugs such as Tamoxifen, chemotherapy and radiotherapy and the Cancer Research website has revealed that every year radiotherapy helps cure more people than chemotherapy. However because of shortages in staff and equipment not every woman will be offered radiotherapy as an option.
Alternative treatments tend to focus on alleviating the symptoms of chemotherapy and here both homoeopathy and acupuncture have proved helpful to many. There are many suggested alternative treatments and one website for further information is http://www.pennybrohncancercare.org/ They offer specialist support including complementary therapies, advice & counselling for people living with cancer & their supporters. All services are offered free of charge and they are the pioneers in complementary cancer care using the Bristol Approach which consists of a programme of lifestyle advice, information, complementary therapies and self-help techniques.
Many women with a family predisposition to breast cancer can use bioidentical natural progesterone to reduce their risk and to help with post treatment menopause symptoms. It has no side effects or withdrawal symptoms and is safe to use.
The main main functions of progesterone is to oppose excess oestrogen, which is at the root of breast cancer, and bioidentical doctors recommend it both before as a preventive or after alongside any treatment such chemotherapy or drugs such as Tamoxifen. Natural progesterone is known to have the effect of dampening down the stimulating effect of oestrogen breast tissues –and this is exactly what you wish to achieve to give yourself maximum protection against breast cancer.
These articles show the benefits of using bioidentical natural progesterone for breast cancer: