Tag Archive | type of breast cancer

Is Heartburn Troubling you?


Heartburn, also known as gastric reflux or indigestion, happens after you eat and food is in your stomach. In the stomach, food is broken down by acids. Usually these acids stay in your stomach because a valve blocks the acids from going up the esophagus. Sometimes this valve doesn’t work properly because the muscle weakens. When this happens, gastric acids can travel up the esophagus and cause a burning sensation — this is heartburn. When these acids travel up into the mouth and then down into the lungs, they can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of heartburn and GERD include:

  • irritating burning sensation in the chest or throat
  • middle back pain
  • coughing spells
  • bitter, acidic taste in the mouth
  • an increase in the burning sensation while lying down

Breast cancer treatments that can cause heartburn and GERD are:

Bisphosphonates, medicines that are used to protect bones during breast cancer treatment, also may cause heartburn and GERD.

Heartburn also can be caused by some pain medications you may be taking during breast cancer treatment, including NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen (one brand name: Advil).

Managing heartburn and GERD

Symptoms of heartburn and GERD can be the same as some symptoms of serious medical conditions such as a heart attack, stomach ulcer, and gall bladder and pancreatic problems. Talk to your doctor right away if you’re heartburn or GERG symptoms.

To reduce your risk of heartburn and GERD, you also can:

  • Avoid highly acidic and caffeinated foods and drinkssuch as citrus fruits, fatty and fried foods, garlic, onions, mint, spicy foods, tomato-based foods, carbonated drinks, and vinegar.
  • Lose weight. Being overweight can increase the risk of heartburn.
  • Limit alcohol use. Alcohol can upset your stomach and cause heartburn.
  • Reduce stress through exercise, meditation, or massage.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Prop up your head while sleeping. Sleep with your head on two or more pillows. Or, try putting wooden blocks under the two feet of the bed closest to the headboard to slant your bed down. This will help keep the gastric acids from traveling up the esophagus.
  • Don’t wear tight clothes or belts. Looser clothing can help alleviate some heartburn symptoms.
  • Avoid unnecessary bending. Bending at the waist can send stomach acids into the esophagus.
  • Slowly eat small amounts of food, to better let your stomach digest.
  • Don’t lie down after a meal. And don’t eat 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed.
  • Talk to your doctor about prescription or over-the-counter medications that can help your heartburn.
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Questions to Ask My Doctor About Breast Cancer

Extracted from www.cancer.org

Being told you have breast cancer can be scary and stressful. You probably have many questions and concerns. Learning about the disease, how it is treated, and how this information might apply to you is a lot to do on your own. You might need some help.  American Cancer Society can give you general information about this disease and its treatment, but your doctor is the best source of information about your situation.

It is important for you to be able to talk frankly and openly with your cancer care team.  They want to answer all of your questions, no matter how minor they might seem to you.  But it helps if you know what to ask. Here are some questions that you can use to help you better understand this cancer and your options. Don’t be afraid to take notes and tell the doctors or nurses when you don’t understand what they’re saying.  The questions are grouped by how far along you are in the cancer experience. Not all of these questions will apply to you, but they should help get you started.

For more information on breast cancer please contact the American Cancer Society toll free at 1-800-227-2345 or online at www.cancer.org.

When you’re told you have breast cancer

1. Exactly what type of breast cancer do I have?

2. How do I get a copy of my pathology report?

3. Has the cancer spread to my lymph nodes or other organs?

4. What is the cancer’s stage? What does that mean?

5. How does this affect my treatment options and long-term outcome (prognosis)?

6. What are my chances of survival, based on my cancer as you see it?

7. How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?

8. Will I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?

9. What are my treatment choices?

10. What treatment do you recommend and why?

11. What is the goal of my treatment?

12. Should I think about genetic testing?

13. Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that?

14. Should I think about taking part in a clinical trial?

 When deciding on a treatment plan

1. What are the chances the cancer will come back after this treatment?

2. What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?

3. Will I go through menopause as a result of the treatment?

4. Will I be able to have children after treatment? How about breast feeding?

5. How much will I have to pay for treatment? Will my insurance cover any of it?

6. How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?

7. What risks and side effects should I expect?

8. What can I do to reduce the side effects of the treatment?

9. How will treatment affect my daily activities?

10. Will I lose my hair? If so, what can I do about it?

11. If treatment includes surgery:

  • · Tell me about breast reconstruction. Is breast reconstruction surgery an option if I want it?  What would it involve in my case?
  • · Can I have reconstruction at the same time as the surgery to remove the cancer? What are the pros and cons of having it done right away or waiting until later?
  • · Will you have to take out lymph nodes?

12. What will my breasts look and feel like after my treatment? Will I have normal feeling in them?

13. Will the treatment hurt? Will I have any scars?

 Before treatment

1. Will I need a breast form (prosthesis), and if so, where can I get one?

2. What should I do to get ready for treatment?

3. Will I need blood transfusions?

4. Should I change what I eat or make other lifestyle changes?

 During treatment

Once you have decided on treatment, you will need to know what to expect and what to look for. All of these questions may not apply to you, but asking the ones that do may be helpful.

1. How will we know if the treatment is working?

2. Is there anything I can do to manage side effects?

3. What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?

4. How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?

5. Do I need to change what I eat during treatment?

6. Are there any limits on what I can do? Will I be able to work during treatment?

7. What kind of exercise should I do, and how often?

8. Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?

9. Will I need special tests, such as imaging scans or blood tests, and how often?

 After treatment

1. Do I need a special diet after treatment?

2. Are there any limits on what I can do?

3. What kind of exercise should I do now?

4. What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

5. How often will I need to have follow-up exams and imaging tests?

6. What blood tests will I need?

7. How will I know if the cancer has come back? What should I watch for?

8. What are my options if the cancer comes back?