“Let’s Get This Party Started” Fearless Philadelphia Breast Cancer Survivor Faces New Battle

Posted By on February 2nd, 2018 at 9:20 am | 0 comments.

 

Glynis Rhodes, Philadelphia
Diagnosed in 2007

HOW WAS YOUR BREAST CANCER FOUND?
That was with a regular annual mammogram in 2007. I had a lumpectomy and chemo and radiation. I’d been doing well until October 22, 2017 when I diagnosed with uterine cancer which we think may have been a result of some of the chemotherapy drugs. I’m back in chemo but this time it will be every week for 18 weeks with lower doses of chemo. That’ll be better on my body, easier to tolerate. With both diagnoses, whatever the doctor said … boom, boom, boom, I said let’s get this party started.

WHO SUPPORTED YOU THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY?
I had all the support in the world! My mother came and stayed with me for nine months, which was one of the best times of my entire life. We were always close, but being a grown-up and having my mother take care of me made me fall in love with her all over again. My Jehovah’s Witness congregation and my friends not only brought food and treats but also flowers for my mom. They would come and sit with me so she could go out and still do things like get her hair done. The staff at Hahnemann Hospital was phenomenal. I’ve been with them for ten years now and they’ve become like family. When I got my chemo schedule I sent it out and I have a different person going to each appointment from January through April with me.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW ABOUT THE PBCC?
The oncology social worker at the hospital put me in touch with Living Beyond Breast Cancer and some of the women I met there introduced me to the PA Breast Cancer Coalition. My first PBCC conferences were in 2016 and 2017 and I received scholarships both years. I wouldn’t have been able to come otherwise. The first year I wore a little pink and black tutu to the Pink Party and I won the costume contest!

TELL US WHAT YOU LIKED MOST ABOUT THE CONFERENCE.
The speakers were knowledgeable but presented the information in a way that wasn’t over your head. There were topics you could use in your everyday life. I could go home and feel like I absorbed everything and would be able to share it.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN?
It’s important to talk and it’s important to listen. Do not let anyone rob you of how you feel and don’t let anyone else put their story on you. We need to watch what we say to one another. My hair never grew back and every once in a while someone will say that it’s the style now. I don’t want to hear that it’s the style. When it’s not your choice, it’s not a style. And don’t tell me I have a beautiful head. I want hair on top of it like yours.

DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHOSE FRIEND OR LOVED ONE IS DIAGNOSED?
It’s not rocket science but you can move mountains when you try. If you’re miles away, send them a card to let them know you’re there for them. Or send them a little gift card that they can use to put gas in their car. I even needed people to read to me because one of the medications made my eyes too watery to read. A little tenderness and thoughtfulness will go a long way.

WHAT IF THE PBCC DIDN’T EXIST?
People would die. Plain and simple. You offer lifesaving programs and information about mammograms and coverage for treatment that people wouldn’t even know about otherwise.

Our 2018 PBCC Research Grant Winners are…

Posted By on January 23rd, 2018 at 8:30 am | 0 comments.

Some of the best and brightest minds in breast cancer research are working right here in our state. Without funding for their projects, our scientists cannot move forward. That’s where the PBCC’s Research Grants Initiative comes in. In 2018, we are proud to award $200,000 to the following breast cancer researchers:

David Cormode, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

Sean Knecht, PhD
Instructor
School of Engineering, Technology and Professional Programs
Penn State University

Steffi Oesterreich, PhD
Professor & Vice Chair
Precision and Translational Pharmacology
Magee-Womens Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Wendie Berg, PhD, MD, FACR
Professor of Radiology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Our 2018 research grant recipients are studying better detection for breast cancer, genetics and breast density. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition remains focused on supporting scientists working to find the cause of and cure for breast cancer. Want to bring us closer to that cure? Donate your state income tax refund to the PBCC on Line 32 and every penny will support Pennsylvania breast cancer researchers!

FDA Approves 1st Drug for Advanced Breast Cancer Caused by BRCA1, BRCA2 Mutations

Posted By on January 21st, 2018 at 9:10 am | 0 comments.

Previous PBCC Research Award winner Dr. Susan Domchek co-led study

It’s a breakthrough for advanced breast cancer patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved its first treatment for advanced breast cancer caused by the inherited mutations. The drug, Lynparza (olaparib tablets), was previously approved to treat advanced ovarian cancer caused by mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2.

University of Pennsylvania researcher and previous PBCC Research Award winner Dr. Susan Domchek co-led the study that led to the drug’s approval for breast cancer. Dr. Domchek calls the drug’s approval a significant advance for those women with triple-negative breast cancer and a BRCA mutation.

FREE Bras for Medicare Recipients Facing Breast Cancer

Posted By on January 20th, 2018 at 10:27 am | 0 comments.

Did you know? Medicare covers post-mastectomy or lumpectomy bras. Doctors may order FREE bras (up to $30 each) for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy and are covered under Medicare. Medicare covers the first $30 of each bra and the woman is responsible for any costs above that amount. Survivors who have had reconstructive surgery are also eligible for free bras. More information to come in future PBCC publications!

Lancaster City Police K-9 Unit Takes a “Bite Out of Breast Cancer”

Posted By on January 16th, 2018 at 2:26 pm | 0 comments.

Taking a Bite Out of Cancer, the Lancaster City Police K-9 and Mounted Units held a special fundraiser for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition in October 2017. Officers sold pink t-shirts in honor of breast cancer awareness month, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the PBCC’s life-saving work throughout the state. The first annual campaign was a doggone success, with a total of $562 going to our programs and services for breast cancer survivors in PA! The PBCC staff was thrilled when the K-9 unit stopped by our office to deliver the donation with dogs in tow! Thank you to Officers Alexander, Reppert, Hatfield and Bradley for bringing K-9s Axel, Stryker, Zoltan and Wodan to our headquarters in Lebanon for this presentation, and to Sargent Michael Gerace for spearheading this unique campaign! The PBCC is honored to be the recipients of this meaningful gift.

VIDEO: Comcast Interviews PBCC on Importance of 3D Mammograms

Posted By on November 30th, 2017 at 10:41 am | 0 comments.

PBCC President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy recently sat down with Jill Horner of Comcast Newsmakers to talk about the importance of free 3D mammography and early detection of breast cancer.

3D screening mammograms are FREE for all women insured under Pennsylvania law. Thanks to Governor Tom Wolf, PA is the first state in the nation to offer this technology at no additional cost to the woman. So… why not get one?

3D mammograms offer better detection and fewer callbacks. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition provides the only online database of 3D mammography centers in the state, by location. Currently, 213 facilities in Pennsylvania offer 3D mammograms. Click here to find a center near you.

FDA Approves Pill for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Posted By on November 7th, 2017 at 10:06 am | 0 comments.

Patients with metastatic breast cancer have a new FDA-approved treatment option. Federal regulators approved the drug, Verzenio, which blocks enzymes that promote the growth of cancer cells for women with HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. This new drug is targeted specifically for survivors who have not responded to hormone therapy.

To read the complete article, click here.

 

Snyder County Survivor Finds Joy in Helping Others Across Country

Posted By on July 31st, 2017 at 3:29 pm | 0 comments.

Mary Jo Borrelli, Snyder County

After a family celebration in August 2000 at Shenandoah National Park, I needed antibiotics for insect bites. I thought I had an inflamed insect bite under one arm and went to my doctor who said let’s do a mammogram. It turned out that I had a tumor on the outside of the left breast.  I opted for sentinel node biopsy, lumpectomy, and pre-adjuvant therapy with andriamycin.

I’ve been dutifully getting mammograms and this past year was in survivor mode. My sister has an ascending aortic aneurism and I thought I should pay attention and have tests for that. The radiologist found something on my spine. After almost 17 years, breast cancer has come to my spine. I’m now in the METAMORPH study at Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania. The study examines markers in blood, bone marrow, and tumor tissue to understand and track the changes that occur as disease progresses.

I first learned about the PBCC when some newly diagnosed friends were going to the October conference. They had a real hunger to learn more about breast cancer. Without the PBCC, many women would not know the treatment options available to them. I worked for the Department of Public Welfare for my whole career and I know how difficult it is for women to access information and care, and to advocate for themselves.

When I retired from the state, I became a disaster reservist for the U.S. Small Business Administration. I was able to help businesses and homeowners recover from disasters like Hurricane Sandy. It’s a great experience, helping people and seeing so much of our beautiful country while doing it. I’m on a very regular treatment schedule now, which will be once a month starting in August, and my medical team is optimistic I’ll soon be able to return to that disaster reservist work! Meanwhile, I enjoy my beautiful garden around my house, and my two little Maltese dogs who were rescues.