Archive for the ‘Pink Link’ Category

Survivor Spotlight: Lynne Weber

Posted By on September 16th, 2016 at 8:30 am | 0 comments.

lynne-weber-for-plLynne Weber, Cumberland County

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer one month before I was. Other than that, we had no family history. I felt like I was sucker-punching my Mom and my Dad, knocking the wind out of them so soon after my sister’s news. Mine was found through a routine screening mammogram in January 2014. Initially I had a lumpectomy but since it had spread to the lymph nodes, rather than stage 1 it was stage 3. I had chemo then a double mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction.

Throughout treatment I attended a support group and in addition to that had incredible support from friends and family. My mother came out for my surgery, friends came to be with me, and the people at HACC (Harrisburg Area Community College) were flexible and accommodating for my schedule. And once we figured out what I could eat during chemo, my significant other John made sure we always had those foods ready. That was mostly what I called the “white diet,” … mashed potatoes and mild things.

I love to read and to garden and kept that up during treatment. Now that I’m feeling better I like to travel. This summer I went to Romania with a group from HACC. A colleague teaches a course looking at child development in Romania and the students learn about our system compared to theirs. I was able to join them as the second faculty member. It was really powerful for the students, and for me. I was glad to be healthy enough to go.

One interesting thing is that when all my hair fell out, I didn’t really mind being bald. I had wigs and hats and everything but I actually thought being bald was kind of cool. Usually a wore a hat outside because I didn’t want my head to be sunburned but I didn’t feel like I always needed to be wearing a perfect wig. I wasn’t prepared for losing my eyebrows though!

My advice to other women is this: The doctors are doing their job and you have to do yours as a patient. Eat healthy and exercise even if you don’t want to. I made sure I walked and even ran a little bit. Some research has come out indicating that the chemo might even work better if you’re exercising. Going through breast cancer treatment taught me that I’m stronger than I knew I was. When you’re looking at surgery, radiation, more surgery, you can think there’s no way I can go through all that. Now it seems like a long time ago. I’ve learned to value my time and how I spend it.

Cutting Out Chemo? Genetic Test Could Reduce Need for Chemotherapy Among Some Breast Cancer Patients

Posted By on September 1st, 2016 at 9:35 am | 0 comments.

Cutting chemo for PLResearchers say they have found a gene that could cut chemo for some breast cancer patients. According to the European study, published in New England Journal of Medicine, a test called MammaPrint that examines 70 genes can determine whether a patient is high or low risk for recurrence. Researchers studied a group of 1,500 women with breast cancer that had not spread to the lymph nodes.  One group of women considered high risk based on the genetic testing received chemo. The other group, deemed low risk, did not. After 5 years, scientists say survival rates for the two groups were similar. The women who did not receive chemo had a 95 percent survival rate.

According to the findings, nearly half of women with breast cancer who are classified as high risk based on clinical factors may not need chemo. Researchers say, however, the choice to include chemotherapy as part of a treatment regimen remains an individualized decision between doctors and patients. To read more on this study, click here.

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.

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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.