Archive for July, 2011

PBCC Patient Advocacy

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:56 am | 112 comments.

Diana reached the maximum coverage limit through her insurance before she had won her battle with breast cancer.  Despite an earlier denial of free treatment/Medicaid through PA’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Treatment Program because she had sufficient health insurance at the time, the PBCC encouraged her to apply again. She was approved for the program due to her “underinsured” status, and received coverage for her medical needs.

The PBCC advocates for all women and their families across PA. Our legislative victories have created changes that provide mammograms for uninsured women, insurance coverage for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy, free treatment for breast cancer for uninsured and underinsured women, and funding for PA researchers working to find a cure. We are also here to advocate for women who might otherwise fall through the cracks in the health care system, who don’t know about available resources or how to access them.

Every day we hear from women who need guidance about how to navigate their way through an overwhelming maze of obstacles to medical care. Whenever we pick up the phone we know the caller might be a woman whose insurance company doesn’t want to cover the procedure that her doctor wants her to have. Or maybe her job is in jeopardy if she has to take time off from work for treatment. Or she has no health insurance and doesn’t know there are programs for which she might qualify.

Some days we are providing information about national, state, or local agencies that will provide the service she needs. Often we are explaining a complicated program in a way that makes it seem less confusing. Always, we can be a reassuring voice providing a personal touch in a world of voice mail and computer-generated phone responses.

If you or someone you know is facing an obstacle to their care that the PBCC may be able to help you overcome, please contact our Patient Advocate, Dolores Magro at

Survivor Spotlight – Nicole Shaffer – Lititz, PA

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:55 am | 1338 comments.

Nicole with husband Dave and their children Blair, Brandon, and Brady.

Nicole Shaffer was familiar with the PBCC years before her breast cancer diagnosis. Nicole, an occupational health nurse practitioner at Johnson & Johnson in Lititz,  participated in the annual Freshburst Race to benefit the PBCC in 2007. In December 2008 at the age of 35, Nicole found a lump in her breast.

A mammogram and an ultrasound both came back negative, but she wasn’t satisfied. That lump bothered her and she followed up with a surgeon and had an MRI. The surgeon confirmed that she had DCIS and Nicole had a bi-lateral mastectomy.

She has expanded her commitment to the PBCC, representing Lancaster County in our traveling photo exhibit, and co-presenting the workshop “Young Survivorship: Finding Your New Normal” at the 2010 PBCC Annual Conference.

Nicole believes that her purpose in life is to help other women. She was always a compassionate nurse but now where cancer is involved she finds herself reaching out even more. She never misses an opportunity to remind a woman to listen to her own body. Those initial tests Nicole had were read as negative but she knew something was wrong.

Nicole is now director of occupational health and wellness for North America with Pfizer. She and her husband Dave have three boys ages 9, 7 and 5. She loves to cook, spend time with her family hiking, biking and just being outside.

Reconstructive Surgery Update: Silicone Breast Implants Not ‘Lifetime Devices’

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:54 am | 105 comments.

According to a recent FDA report, silicone breast implants are not made to last a lifetime.  Potentially half of all women who receive them for reconstruction – and 20% of women who receive the implants for augmentation — will need the implants removed within 10 years.

The conclusion was reached after the FDA examined data from post-approval studies and from its own adverse event reporting system, in conjunction with completing a literature review. Capsular contracture, reoperation, and implant removal were found to be the most frequent adverse outcomes with silicone implants. Other common adverse events of which women should be aware include implant rupture, wrinkling, asymmetry, scarring, pain, and infection. The longer the women had implants, the more likely they were to have complications.

While it is important to note that the data is preliminary, the implants did not appear to cause breast cancer, reproductive problems, or connective tissue disease.  If you experience any of these difficulties or complications, talk with your doctor about your options.

Request for Applications for Refunds for Research Grants

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:53 am | 1021 comments.

Are you a breast or cervical cancer researcher in PA looking for additional funds? Dr. Marius Sudol, shown left,  is a past recipient of a PBCC Refunds for Breast &?Cervical Cancer Research grant – and you could be next! $50,000 competitive grants are now available to PA researchers who apply. Thanks to Pennsylvania taxpayers generously donating their state tax refunds, over $2.8 million has been raised and every penny is given out in grants to cutting edge researchers.

Please visit for the full Request for Application and budget forms. Letters of intent are due to the PBCC by July 29th, and full proposals are due August 30th. The grant period is January 1, 2012 to December 30, 2012.

We encourage all breast and cervical cancer researchers to apply. Help spread the word to your personal and professional network about this opportunity. Please contact PBCC Program Director, Jennifer Pensinger at if you have any questions.

Home Run Derby in Full Swing!

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:52 am | 104 comments.

We kicked off the Home Run Derby with a rally at the Capitol in Harrisburg and have been on the road in the PBCC pink van ever since! Batters across the state have been stepping up to the plate with their family, friends, and coworkers in the stands to support them. Why don’t you come out and add your voice to the crowd?

If you live near one of the locations taking part in the Home Run Derby, we’d love it if you’d come out to show your support. Baseball fans, breast cancer survivors, community leaders and their families have been inspired to cheer on the teams and enjoy a day out at the ballpark while doing it. Who knows, maybe you’ll be motivated to be the one in the batter’s box next year?

So check out our website to find a location near you or to browse pictures from where we’ve already taken a swing against breast cancer. We’re still on the road for another couple of weeks, so keep your eyes out for our pink van, too! (If you see us on a highway near you, be sure to wave!)

PBCC Conference Awardees Announced

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:51 am | 123 comments.

Join us in honoring the 2011 PBCC Conference Award Recipients on Tuesday, October 11! Dr. Thomas G. Frazier, Medical Director of the Main Line Health – Bryn Mawr Comprehensive Breast Center, and Mimi Barash Coppersmith, Chairman of The Barash Group, will receive the Pink Ribbon Award. Dr. Susan Domchek of the Abramson Cancer Center and the University of Pennsylvania will be presented with the Potamkin Award.


The Shining Light Award will be given to Grassroots Partners Rob Ziemba and Jon Jehrio for their continued support of the PBCC through an annual ice hockey event featuring the Hanson Brothers. These deserving individuals have each made significant contributions to the fight against breast cancer. Their contributions vary in nature, with some battling the disease in a medical setting through treating patients or conducting research while others participate through advocacy or fundraising efforts. Want to be a part of the celebration? Register now to receive the early bird rate on your registration.

President’s Corner – Study Affirms Mammograms Save Lives

Posted By on July 15th, 2011 at 8:50 am | 121 comments.

A recent study published in Radiology affirmed what we at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition have advocated for years – mammograms save lives. The study – which spanned 29 years and followed 130,000 women in two communities in Sweden – found that deaths from breast cancer declined 30% among the group of women who received regular screening as opposed to the group that did not.

This news supports the longstanding position of the PBCC that early detection saves lives. In 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a recommendation against routine mammograms for women in their 40s and also recommended that women in their 50s be screened every two years instead of annually. At that time, the PBCC strongly disagreed with the Task Force and instead encouraged women over 40 to continue to schedule annual mammograms.

It is our hope that this new data will encourage the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to reconsider their previous recommendation so that women aren’t receiving mixed messages on the importance of mammograms and early detection to overall prognosis and treatment.

Highest Score in 2011 at the Washington Wild Things

Posted By on July 11th, 2011 at 12:38 pm | 107 comments.

Winning Team: Neuman's CrewNow yes, this was only the third Take a Swing Against Breast Cancer home run derby in 2011. But our winning team broke the 2,000 point mark! There is no other way to say it…WOW! Take a look at our scoreboard from CONSOL Energy Park.

Single Batters out at the Washington Wild Things:

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy Stopped By CONSOL Energy ParkWe also had two home runs at CONSOL Energy Park! Joe Oliphant from Neuman’s Crew and Bill Klenoshek from Enterprise Car Rental Team 2 both tipped it over the outfield fence. Congratulations!

Special thanks to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy and PA Rep. Brandon Neuman for stepping up to the plate at the Washington Wild Things!

Thank you to the teams, volunteers, and the Washington Wild Things staff for making Saturday’s visit a success! Check out the article about our winning team, Neuman’s Crew, over on the Canon-McMillan Patch website. And browse through the photos from Saturday’s event.