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Conference Scholarships and Travel Grants Available through Cary Massa Fund

Posted By on August 16th, 2016 at 1:47 pm | 0 comments.

Cary Massa portraitThe PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference is educational, inspirational and FUN! Make a day of it! Want to attend, but can’t afford the registration fee? Scholarships are available through the Cary Massa Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The Cary Massa Memorial Scholarship Fund has allowed hundreds of women to attend the Conference, free of charge.

Cary was a wife, a mother, a friend, a fighter and a shining light to those around her. She passed away from breast cancer in 2006, but Cary’s husband, Robert, her family, friends and fellow members of the ABCs Support Group have chosen to preserve her memory through the fund. To learn more about Cary’s legacy, click here to watch the video.

Click here to apply for a scholarship through the Cary Massa Fund

New for 2016: Caregivers are eligible for a special registration fee of $25. Nurses, social workers and radiologic techs who attend will receive 3 FREE continuing education hours!

This activity has been submitted to Pennsylvania State Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. Pennsylvania State Nurses Association is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This educational activity has been submitted to NASW-PA for CE approval
This educational activity has been submitted to the ASRT for CE approval

 

First in the Nation: Governor Wolf Signs Statement Covering 3D Mammograms in PA

Posted By on August 16th, 2016 at 10:15 am | 0 comments.

Pat and Governor Wolf rounded cornersOn October 5, 2015, Governor Tom Wolf made Pennsylvania the first state in the nation to require insurance coverage of 3D screening mammograms for women insured under PA law. First Lady Frances Wolf made the historic announcement almost one year ago at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference in Harrisburg. Now, 3D screenings mammograms are covered at no additional cost to insured women and women covered through Medicaid.

To mark the 1st anniversary of the groundbreaking news, the PBCC is informing women across the state about how to access 3D screening mammograms in their area. We’ve launched a 1-question survey of all mammography centers. At our Conference October 10, we will release a list of the Pennsylvania 3D mammography centers. The list will also be published on our website, in our Frontline newsletter and right here in PinkLink.

Do you work for a mammography center that offers 3D screening mammograms? Don’t miss the list! Take the survey now and make sure your facility is listed as a 3D mammography provider.

Take the survey button

PBCC Photo Exhibit Participant Stresses Importance of Early Detection, Screenings

Posted By on August 16th, 2016 at 10:07 am | 0 comments.

Dorothy Klyap for PL

Dorothy Klyap, Indiana County

I heard so many horror stories but my story was nothing like that. My regular yearly mammogram found my breast cancer in May 2010 and no one ever wants to hear those words, “you have breast cancer.” What is amazing now is that when I look back on it, it has taught me so much.

After chemo treatment, I couldn’t eat for the first two days but I never got sick. I must really have an angel on my shoulder. My husband Jim attended every one of my treatments with me. Our son who lives in Montana flew home to be with me through my first chemo treatment. Our daughter lives nearby and she’s the one who always pushed me to get mammograms, and she’s the one who brought me meals.

I first learned about the PBCC through my nurse navigator. Since then I was honored to be asked to represent Indiana County in the PBCC’s traveling photo exhibit, along with Maria Swinconis and Mary Waugaman. I was a guest at the 2015 conference and heard the announcement that 3D mammograms are now covered by insurance, and I called to tell my daughter that news right away. Indiana Hospital just got 3D mammograms and I said, “Honey, go get that mammogram!” I learned so much at that conference. There were things I forgot to ask my doctor and I was able to bring home so much medical information.

We live in a beautiful home on 40 acres the woods. There is a property connected to ours with a house that had been empty for over seven years. Sometimes during treatment, I’d go back there and sit on the rickety steps where my husband couldn’t see me crying. I dreamed of owning that house and now I do! I put every bit of paint and wallpaper on it myself. My husband wanted to name it Dorothy’s Dream House but I’m calling it B & J Retreat after my daughter Bridget and son Jimmy. We rent it out by the night or by the week. My beautician is planning to hold meditation classes there.

My favorite things to do are sewing and gardening. I just bought fabric to make drapes for my living room. I have vegetables and flowers in my garden and everyone laughs at this but I love getting on my tractor and mowing the grass. That’s my meditation time. Two weeks from now I’m having knee surgery. The surgeon wanted to have a physical therapist work with me until he heard that my husband and I cut down two big trees on Saturday. He said, “You do enough. You won’t need a therapist.” I don’t stop.

Governor Wolf Signs Bill Covering Oral Cancer Treatment for PA Patients

Posted By on July 14th, 2016 at 9:43 am | 0 comments.
PBCC Director of Patient Advocacy Dolores Magro spoke with oral chemo parity bill author Rep. Matt Baker at a recent press conference held by the PA Cancer Treatment Fairness Coalition at the State Capitol.

PBCC Director of Patient Advocacy Dolores Magro spoke with oral chemo parity bill author Rep. Matt Baker at a recent press conference held by the PA Cancer Treatment Fairness Coalition at the State Capitol.

Governor Tom Wolf just signed a bill that helps with the high costs of oral cancer treatment for patients in Pennsylvania. Rep. Matt Baker’s House Bill 60 specifically addresses the cost disparity between intravenous and oral cancer treatments. Previously, oral cancer medication was covered under an insurer’s pharmacy (drug) benefit, often requiring patients to pay thousands of dollars per month, out-of-pocket. Now, oral treatments will be covered the same as intravenous medications on an insurer’s medical benefit, which means patients will only be required to make a fixed co-payment.

Rep. Baker, a 2015 PBCC Pink Ribbon Awardee, authored the oral cancer treatment parity bill and has been working to pass the legislation for years. The following legislators were also instrumental in the passage of the bill: Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, Senate sponsor of oral cancer treatment parity legislation, Sen. Pat Vance, chair, Senate Health and Public Welfare Committee, Sen. Don White, chair, Senate Banking and Insurance Committee and Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, chair, House Cancer Caucus.
“This legislation was a long time in coming. With more than 80,000 people per year receiving a cancer diagnosis in Pennsylvania, we needed to step up and make sure everyone has access to the best and most cutting-edge cancer treatments”
Rep Matt Baker, (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter)
Author of Act 37, oral cancer treatment parity law

“Oral cancer treatment is the wave of the future,” said PBCC President Pat Halpin-Murphy. “We commend Governor Wolf for signing this law and we congratulate Rep. Baker for his commitment to the thousands of cancer patients this will impact across Pennsylvania. This will truly save lives.”

According to Rep. Baker, Pennsylvania now joins more than 40 states and Washington, D.C., in having enacted legislation to control out-of-pocket oral cancer treatment costs for patients.

Connect and Learn: Attend the 2016 PBCC Conference!

Posted By on July 14th, 2016 at 9:26 am | 0 comments.

patheadshotforplby Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder

The people you meet, the relationships you build and the knowledge you gain from the PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference make it a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Want to be a part of it? We invite you to join us Monday, October 10, 2016 at the Hilton Harrisburg for a day of connection, education and fun.

This year’s workshops will cover everything from survivorship to lymphedema to palliative care to yoga, meditation and more. Are you caring for a loved one with breast cancer? New for 2016: The PBCC offers a special caregiver registration for $25. Simply list the survivor you’ll be joining and attend at the discounted rate. Thanks to the generosity of our incredible Grassroots Partners, we are able to offer 3 FREE Continuing Education credits for nurses, social workers and radiologic technologists.

Plus, don’t forget to mark your calendars for our free Pink Party Sunday, October 9 at 6pm. Kick off the Conference in style as we honor Grassroots Partners and breast cancer survivors!

Pull quote for pres corner

To help you learn more about what to expect at this year’s PBCC Conference, click on the short video below.

Conference video thumbnail 2

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LOL! Laughter is Best Medicine for Dauphin County Survivor

Posted By on July 14th, 2016 at 9:26 am | 0 comments.

Susan Blackstock, Dauphin County

Susan Blackstock Survivor Spotlight for PL

Susan’s workplace, Amerihealth Caritas, hosts a Pink Week which has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the PBCC’s programs and services!

My beautiful sister Janet was a hospice nurse for many years.  She would tell her patients that her sister Susan was the luckiest person she had ever met. That’s because I was doing the unhealthiest thing a person can do. I was smoking when I discovered a lump the size of a baby pea in my breast.

In March 2007 I learned that I had breast cancer.  I might have had a clue about that since it runs in my family, but I truly never thought I’d get it.  My sister Karen says I live with the pixies and that I completely deny anything unpleasant.  That true, but I wasn’t so much in denial that I didn’t get regular mammograms. For years I said it will skip us, my sisters and girl cousins and me, and by the time my nieces get older they will have cured it, but that didn’t happen.  So I learned that I would be living without the two things that entered a room before me since the age of 15.  They were big, and heavy, and incredibly squishy soft; I loved them.  Unfortunately, the girls had to go. I remember standing in the shower the morning of my surgery and washing them for the last time, and I could not visualize what it would be like without them.

I thought I would never leave the house without the fake ones in.  I learned that was wrong too.  Those jokers itch and when you’re healing you don’t want something itchy next to your skin.  So I started going out without them. Suddenly my belly seemed enormous whereas before it, it had provided a kind of resting place for my boobies…I told you they were heavy.  I also learned something really awesome in the process, not wearing a bra is GREAT!!!  Seriously, it rocks.

I learned during that first year that I would assess my life in terms of quality and not longevity and therefore I would not take chemotherapy.  This decision confused and even angered people who love me, but it’s my life and I need to live it as I see fit. It was not because I did not want to lose my hair.  It was because chemo is a horrible thing to go through, and I simply did not want to do it if I did not absolutely have to.

I learned that beauty can be painful with the first step of my reconstruction.  When the expanders went in and I could not roll over to get out of bed, I was freaking out because it hurt like a beast.  I learned that when you cough or sneeze after a procedure like this, you make sure you fold your arms over your chest, covering your new breasts.

I learned that I did not want to be seen as a victim to this thing that invaded my fairy-like existence.  So I chose to ignore the unpleasantness and plow forward.  I talked openly about my situation so others would feel at ease.  If I felt weird about it, they might also.  I asked people if they wanted to feel my chest once the expanders were in; men and women both. I never asked why me, because I already knew the answer.  Why not you Susie baby, why not you?  God does not make mistakes, and bad stuff happens all of the time to people who don’t deserve it.  That is life.  No one’s life is pain free.  Maybe I got it because I had the strength and support to handle it.  God knows why and I don’t need the details.  Suffice it to say, I get a new rack out of the deal that will never sag. So let’s call it a day.

After a while it was my turn to give back.  So I started with some wonderful people in my company, Ameriheath Caritas to raise money for the PBCC.  Every year in October we hold a week of activities called Pink Week to raise awareness and funds for the PBCC. People are very generous and we raise over $5,000 each year! It is my great pleasure to do so because the PBCC is committed to finding a cure.

The most important thing I learned is that I was loved.  I knew I was loved before this happened, but that year all of the love I had in my life leapt on me, threw me down on the bed, and kissed me all over my face. People called me, cooked me a freezer full of meals, sent cards, flowers, and gifts.  They cleaned my house and did my laundry.  They held my hand and changed my dressings.  They kept my dog while I recovered and gave me sick time so I would still get paid.  They laughed with me and held me and told me I was beautiful. You can have a wonderful life after cancer because, if you’re like me, you learn to say what you mean, to do what you say and to know that you need to do what you really want to because life is not a do over, this is it.  You make the most you can out of it while you can.

VP’s Moonshot Summit Focuses on Future of Cancer Prevention, Treatment

Posted By on July 14th, 2016 at 9:25 am | 0 comments.

Moonshot Summit for PL roundedPBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy was among doctors, patients and advocates invited to the Cancer Moonshot Summit at Fox Chase Cancer Center on June 29. The national effort spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden aims to advance cancer research, increase patient access to treatment and to support patients across the country.

The ultimate goal of the Cancer Moonshot is to double the rate of progress toward a cure for cancer. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition was honored to be part of this historic event!

Click here to watch Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks from the summit.

Click here to watch the recording of Fox Chase’s moonshot summit.

 

Survivor Diagnosed at 40, Husband Becomes Caregiver for Second Time

Posted By on June 15th, 2016 at 9:03 am | 0 comments.

Nicole-Lee-survivor-spotlightThis month’s survivor spotlight, Nicole Lee, had a 6-month-old little boy when she went for her first mammogram. At age 40, she heard the words “you have breast cancer” and her first reaction was concern for her husband.

“Ryan cannot go through this again.”

Ryan, Nicole’s husband, lost his first wife to breast cancer. She was diagnosed when their twin sons were the exact same age as Nicole’s son Ashton – 6 months old.

Nicole Lee, Montgomery County

My life seemed perfect.  I was working as an operating room nurse at a big trauma hospital and living life to its fullest. I was single and happy with wonderful friends and family. I was having lots of fun going out, attending destination weddings, vacations, social functions; whatever was going on, I was there.  I did feel like there was just one thing missing.  I wanted to fall in love and share my life with someone. But my expectations were so high!  If someone was worthy of my heart they’d have to fulfill my long list of criteria and fit into my life. Then I met Ryan. It was the closest thing I’ve ever felt to love at first sight.  He made me laugh.  He was brilliant, witty, adventurous, kind, caring, and ambitious.

I also immediately fell in love with his two six-year old twin boys, Ethan and Brandon.  Ryan had lost his late wife to breast cancer in 2008.  She was diagnosed when she was 32 and the boys were only six months old.  She passed away only three years later.  But Ryan was in a very good place now.  He had done his grieving and had opened his heart and was ready to love again. I felt like the boys needed a mom and this was where I was meant to be in life.  I was even happier than I had ever been!  My family opened their hearts to the boys. I adopted the boys and in 2013 we got married on a beautiful beach in Cancun with 60 of our friends and family. We went about life holding nothing back.  With Ryan’s history, he did not want to miss out on anything.  It had been a tough few years for Ryan when his late wife was sick then as a single Dad.  He now had such a zest for life and it went right along with my philosophy.

Nicole Lee family

Nicole’s husband Ryan with their sons Ashton, Ethan and Brandon

After our wedding- I had started to feel like I wanted to have a baby.  Ryan was hesitant but he eventually said yes.   I think he wasn’t sure it would really happen. I wasn’t either.  But five months after our wedding I was pregnant and I was the happiest pregnant person ever to walk the earth.  I had an easy pregnancy and delivery. We had a healthy, beautiful baby boy, Ashton.  I cherished every moment with him.  I loved being his mom as well as a mom to Brandon and Ethan.  We were very lucky to have my mom come and help whenever we needed her.  She was just as in love with the baby and the boys as I was and loved to come and give me breaks. When Ashton was six months old I decided to stop breast feeding.

Since I had turned 40 a few months prior I had scheduled my first mammogram. After my mom came down to stay with me, I suddenly didn’t feel like going to the appointment.  I just didn’t want to leave the baby and figured I could wait a few more months. “Just go”, my mom said.  “I’m here so just go get it done”.  Off I went and I felt strangely excited like it was sort of a rite of passage. I was 40 years old with a baby and I felt good about where my life was.

That day would change everything.  My husband who is an Einstein radiologist and his friend and colleague, Dr. Deb Copit, head of Women’s Imaging at Einstein, greeted me, and I felt flattered she was there to welcome me and that she’d read my first mammogram. I headed to the room where the scans were then taken.  Then she told me what I never thought I’d hear.  She said I had breast cancer.  My immediate reaction was “Ryan cannot go through this again”.  I never thought this would happen to me, and this couldn’t happen to Ryan twice. I was diagnosed when our baby was six months old, the exact age that the boys were when Ryan’s late wife was diagnosed.  The similarity was eerie and unbelievable. The days after that are still blur.  I

Dr. Jennifer Simmons - Chief of Breast Surgery, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, shares Nicole's story at a recent opening reception for the PBCC's Photo Exhibit, 67 Women 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania at Einstein.

Dr. Jennifer Simmons – Chief of Breast Surgery, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, shares Nicole’s story at a recent opening reception for the PBCC’s Photo Exhibit, 67 Women 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania at Einstein.

met Dr. Jen Simmons and she was amazing.  We actually cried together on that day I was diagnosed.  She was there not just as a breast surgeon but as a therapist and a sounding board.  It was a very dark time and very tough for my husband. Going through this once was hard enough but twice? I just prayed I’d be ok because the boys could not lose another mom and now we had a baby too.

My husband went into “clinical mode”, and was there for every meeting.  He made sure every aspect of my treatment was smooth and timely.  I can’t say enough about the wonderful treatment I had at Einstein.  I quickly began chemotherapy.  Dr. Biermann, Michele Dooley, Barb Heinzmann and all the nurses in the oncology department were unbelievable.  They were like a family to me and as much as I dreaded the chemo, I was happy seeing those faces when I arrived.  I decided to save my hair with cold caps so my husband and the boys would not see me as looking sick.  The regimen for the cold caps was very rigorous.  My Dad with the help of Ryan facilitated the hats for me at every chemotherapy session.  I wore the caps for NINE hours each time.  It was a huge amount of physical work so a different friend each time would come to help out in addition to my Dad and Ryan.  My mom came down to stay for every chemo to take care of the kids as I was sick for a while each time. After five months of chemo my MRI showed a “complete pathologic response” meaning all the cancer was gone.  This was truly a miracle.  I still was faced with a double mastectomy and reconstruction but the good news gave me extra strength.  It was a very tough time but I got through it with the help of my family. I don’t know how people do it without support.  My family and friends were there for me beyond my expectations.  Other survivors, acquaintances and friends I didn’t even know I had came out of nowhere.  My husband, my parents and my husband’s sister were there for every chemotherapy and surgery and I really didn’t worry about a thing except getting myself through it.  It was difficult to put our wonderful life on hold and have to be faced with battling cancer.  It’s been almost a year now for me and I’m doing great.  You never know what will happen in life and I never take anything for granted. I pray that I will live a long, healthy life. My husband and I are back to our normal life again.  I know this was a big bump in the road but looking at things now, my life is still perfect.