For the girls

For the girls

The Official Blog of Here for the girls

, March 06, 2020 | More Post by

48, diagnosed at 46

No family history, No known genetic mutation

Joyce noticed a divot in her right breast and mentioned it at her annual exam. After receiving a stern lecture from her gynecologist about keeping up with her annual mammograms, Joyce promised to get one. Within a week of the mammogram, and with her husband (who had rushed home from a work trip) by her side, Joyce received a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer. During treatment that included chemo, a lumpectomy, and radiation, Joyce continued her full-time work in communications while being mom to her active 11-year-old son. “I am a professional communicator, but it was hard for me to tell people about the diagnosis,” she says. A dear friend encouraged her to share her story, and this helped her get the love and support she needed from “Team Joyce,” her tribe of friends and family. She’d like to use her skills as a communicator to give hope and inspiration to other women facing breast cancer – some of which she found for herself in the calendar theme. “As a cancer survivor-in-progress, I find the stories of how women in the 1920s had the fortitude and willpower to make it through a war, overcome adversity, and create a new way for themselves to be so inspiring.”

, March 06, 2020 | More Post by

As an organization that serves young women affected by breast cancer, we make sure to keep up with the latest news so we know what our women face when it comes to treatment and beyond. In this blog series, we will share the month’s news that we feel is most interesting and relevant.

February 22: Waiting between 31 and 90 days to first treatment after diagnosis with breast cancer may be beneficial for doctors and patients who want a more extensive diagnostic plan and additional time to make decisions, according to the results of a new study. Importantly, this waiting period is not expected to compromise survival rates, according to the data. The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) has the whole story HERE.

February 25: The intake of dairy milk is associated with a greater risk of breast cancer in women — up to 80% depending on the amount consumed — according to a new study. Consuming as little as 1/4 to 1/3 cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30% in the study, and by drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50%. For those drinking two to three cups per day, the risk increased further to 70% to 80%. Read the full story on Science Daily HERE.

February 26: A novel blood test that uses gold nanoparticles to detect cancer has also been shown to identify signals released by cancer cells which could result in earlier diagnosis and better treatment. The discovery could lead to more effective, personalized cancer therapy by allowing oncologists to rapidly determine how treatment is progressing. Read the full story in Medical Express HERE.

February 26: The immunotherapy drug Keytruda might offer a new treatment option to women with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease, according to a clinical trial. Get details in HealthDay HERE.

February 28: Regular exercise can benefit black cancer survivors’ physical and mental health, but most don’t get the recommended amount of activity, according to new study of 1,500 black survivors of the four most common cancers. For most cancers, black patients have a higher risk of dying from their disease than other racial or ethnic groups, but lower levels of physical activity, researchers said. Read the whole article on HealthDay HERE.

, February 05, 2020 | More Post by

Shawnna 41, diagnosed at 39

No family history, PALB2 genetic mutation

Shawnna, mother of three and military wife, felt a lump one day when crossing her arms and quickly sought testing that revealed stage 3B triple negative breast cancer. As a nurse, she’d worked with many breast cancer patients, including Ms. April 2020, but she never expected the tables to turn. “I thought I knew what it was like until I was diagnosed and had to have a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, and radiation,” Shawnna said. Joining H4TG was a natural step. Having introduced many of her patients to them, she understood how crucial H4TG could be during and after breast cancer treatment. Now she has experienced and continues to benefit from the special loving support H4TG offers. As the nurse who became the patient, Shawnna has this unique perspective to share. The 1920s represent to Shawnna the dawn of the new woman and changing attitudes towards their roles and abilities and epitomizes a favorite quote, “Rise up.” Since her diagnosis, Shawnna feels she is a new woman, too, saying, “I am more comfortable with myself than ever before. I realized my worth, my strength, and what I have to offer this world.” This focus on personal well-being is one message she’d like to share with other survivors.

, February 03, 2020 | More Post by

As an organization that serves young women affected by breast cancer, we make sure to keep up with the latest news so we know what our women face when it comes to treatment and beyond. In this blog series, we will share the month’s news that we feel is most interesting and relevant.

Jan. 7: Google’s latest artificial intelligence tool designed to analyze mammograms might be as effective as human radiologists (or better), but critics question whether researchers are applying A.I. to the right problem when it comes to finding and treating breast cancer. Read a detailed article on the possible pros and cons of this tool in the Smithsonian Magazine HERE.

Jan. 11: Recent experiments in mouse models have shown that injecting an inactivated flu virus into cancer tumors makes them shrink and boosts the effectiveness of immunotherapy. Read more about this new research in Medical News Today HERE.

Jan. 17: Minority women with breast cancer are less likely to have insurance, which could lower their odds of survival, according to a new study. The study found that whites were more likely to have insurance when they were diagnosed than blacks, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics. Lack of insurance is a major cause of delayed breast cancer screening and treatment among women in minority groups, researchers noted. Being uninsured or underinsured accounted for nearly half of the gap in later-stage diagnosis between white and minority women. Read more in an article from Health Day HERE.

Jan. 24: A recent article in the journal Medical Hypotheses advises that eating yogurt may help reduce the risk of breast cancer. The suggestion is based on research that indicates that yogurt contains beneficial bacteria which dampens inflammation and is similar to the bacteria found in breastfeeding mothers. Read more about this link between eating yogurt and breast cancer risk on Science Daily HERE.

Jan. 30: The closing of rural hospitals and specialty care units is causing many people, including breast cancer patients, to seek treatment far from home. A study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health recently found that U.S. rural breast cancer patients typically travel three times farther than urban women for radiation therapy to treat their disease. Read more about this treatment disparity on the University of Minnesota website HERE.

Jan. 30:  A new study from New York might completely change how triple negative breast cancer is classified and treated. Researchers have discovered that the molecular mechanisms involved in triple negative breast cancer are more closely related to non-breast cancers, and two specific gene mutations may be responsible for the tumor development. If the therapy suggested in the study is successful, it would very likely lead to the reclassification of triple negative breast cancer. Read more in Clinical OMICs HERE.

 

, January 24, 2020 | More Post by
Dear Friends of H4TG,
Happy New Year!  As we close out 2019, we thank you — our community, partners, and friends — for your work and tireless commitment to moving our mission forward.  Your support of our efforts positively impacted our success. Let’s take a look at some H4TG milestones!
In 2019 YOU helped us to:Enhance our staff by adding a licensed clinical social worker. Her role is to work closely with the H4TG program team to: 1) provide subject matter expertise for both the staff and trained facilitator teams in navigating challenges they face in helping women with a breast cancer diagnosis and 2) assist in developing initiatives resulting in improved program excellence.
  • Develop a program initiative designed for our members with stage IV, incurable breast cancer to address the unique needs they face. To start, we hosted our first annual You’re in Charge metastatic retreat in June. The retreat provided educational and informational sessions to help members plan for the future while helping them enjoy the now.
  • Develop a program initiative centered on supporting our members through educational sessions.  These sessions are designed to focus on specific breast cancer related topics, such as reconstruction surgery or women’s health.  Sessions are presented by our partners in the medical community or subject matter experts in a particular field and help answer many of the questions our women have.
  • Develop a bereavement process to honor the memory of our members whose lives have been cut short by breast cancer. We honor their passing through our new In Our Hearts life celebration program. The program includes a memorial to the deceased member on our In Our Hearts web page, inclusion of the deceased member’s name in our annual ceremony, and inclusion in our annual In Our Hearts glass memorial sculpture.
  • Increase our grant and foundation funding by 65% to support the efforts of our program initiatives.
We enter 2020 with a sense of enthusiasm for the goals set for the year and determination to continually improve our program services. Here for the Girls offers what is important to our members – a shared experience, unconditional acceptance, inclusive relationships, and knowledge that provides a sense of empowerment. 
Stay tuned for news on:New service offerings tied to the 2019 initiative for women with a metastatic diagnosis (incurable stage IV)
  • Launch of an improved online presence to include a robust private portal just for our members
  • Launch of the Transitional Phases of Support Model (TPSM) and related app that will better identify the support requirements of our members based on their individual needs and circumstances
We are incredibly fortunate to have such great partnerships within the communities we serve. As always, we thank you and appreciate your commitment to our women, and we look forward to the upcoming year.
Sincerely,
Chris Schwab, Executive Director
Category: Blog

, January 24, 2020 | More Post by

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

Every year the H4TG Team brainstorms and establishes new organization-wide goals. Several goals are mission-related, which means they are set to directly impact our members (aka Boobers!). We are extremely excited about the road ahead for 2020, especially with new program service offerings that will provide more opportunities for social and emotional support and education for all our members, and expanded programs for our members with metastatic breast cancer.

Interested in ways YOU can get involved to make a difference at H4TG? If you are a survivor, join the Boober! Shaping the Future Committee! This Boober!-only committee meets on a quarterly basis to discuss mission-related topics that directly impact the future of H4TG. To date, the committee has helped shape the member communication process, the bereavement process, encouraged the establishment new service offerings for members with metastatic breast cancer plus much MORE! The only requirement for joining the committee is that you need to be a current member (Boober!).

If you are not a survivor/member, you can get involved and support our mission by becoming a volunteer (we have MANY opportunities for this!) or becoming a donor/sponsor.

Please contact us at support@hereforthegirls.org to learn more about any of these opportunities!

, January 08, 2020 | More Post by

Age 39, diagnosed at 37

No family history, no known genetic mutation

After a routine mammogram screening due to having dense breasts, Hope, who works as a counselor, was called back in for a 3D mammogram and ultrasound that led to a biopsy and then a stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis. Shocked to hear the diagnosis, she recalls returning to her car right after the appointment holding a binder full of information from the nurse and asking herself, did they just say I have cancer? She was scheduled to receive her Ph. D in Organizational Leadership after her lumpectomy and just as she was heading into four rounds of chemo. Determined twalk across the stage for her graduation, she pushed back the chemo until after receiving her diploma. Radiation treatment followed chemo. Hope’s name reflects her attitude in life. During treatment, Hope always kept a smile on her face and in her heart, and it was important to her that her friends and family shared her positive energy. When thinking about the 1920s, Hope says she appreciates history for its lessons. “My hope is that history won’t repeat itself with the negatives but rather that we learn from them, grow, and have the tools needed to do and be better.” Now, Hope is using her history of breast cancer to help others. 

, December 24, 2019 | More Post by

As an organization that serves young women affected by breast cancer, we make sure to keep up with the latest news so we know what our women face when it comes to treatment and beyond. In this blog series, we will share the month’s news that we feel is most interesting and relevant.

Dec. 4: Scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that women who use permanent hair dye and chemical hair straighteners have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t use these products. The study published in the International Journal of Cancer and suggests that breast cancer risk increased with more frequent use of these chemical hair products. Read more on the National Institute for Health website HERE.

Dec. 9: A recent study indicates that even light to moderate alcohol consumption was associated with elevated cancer (including breast cancer) risks. In the study published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the overall cancer risk appeared to be the lowest at zero alcohol consumption. Science Daily has the whole story HERE.

Dec. 12: A research team has previously shown that fatty particles from the bloodstream may boost the growth of breast cancer cells. They now show that the fat particles bind to the breast cancer cell surface and are then taken into the cell, providing a large supply of fuel that drives growth of the cancer cells. Read the whole article in Science Daily HERE.

Dec. 16: Many U.S. women with breast cancer ultimately die of other causes, a new study finds, highlighting the need for survivors and their doctors to pay attention to overall health. In the new study, researchers found that among breast cancer patients who died five to 10 years after their diagnosis, only 38% of deaths were caused by the disease. HealthDay has the full article HERE.

Dec. 17: A large new study finds that women who lost weight after age 50 and kept it off had a lower risk of breast cancer than women whose weight remained stable. Women with sustained weight loss had a lower risk of breast cancer than those whose weight remained the same, and the more weight a woman lost, the lower her risk of breast cancer. See the full story HERE in HealthDay.

Dec. 23: Patients with breast cancer who use supplements during chemotherapy may be at an increased risk of recurrence and death, a new study suggests.Use of dietary supplements that boost levels of antioxidants, iron, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids appeared to lower the effectiveness of chemotherapy, researchers reported. Read the full article in Reuters HERE.

, December 17, 2019 | More Post by

Welcome to our blog series, “Mission Moment!” It’s a snapshot of the impact our mission and programs have on the women we serve. If you have any questions about Here for the Girls support services and programs, email the program team at support@hereforthegirls.org!

We are in the midst of our annual appeal which doubles your donation now through the end of 2019! Curious to know where you money goes? Well, for starters, $0.81 of every dollar goes directly to our mission which is to improve the lives of young women affected by breast cancer. But wait, what does that really mean? It means that your donation will do amazing things… here are just some of ways:

  • Provide social and emotional support for our members through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond
  • Provide a social work support team to help navigate the complexities of a breast cancer diagnosis and how it impacts our members
  • Provide in-depth training for a team of facilitators that lead our in-person monthly support gatherings
  • Provide tools and guidance of how to re-balance yourself after a breast cancer diagnosis

Every dollar counts so please consider contributing to H4TG by donating to our annual appeal today! Donations can be made at hereforthegirls.org/annualappeal.

, December 06, 2019 | More Post by

Debra, 33, diagnosed at 29

No family history, no known genetic mutation 

Debra, a newlywed and mother to a young stepson, accidentally found a lump while resting in bed. Because of Debra’s age, her ob/gyn wasn’t concerned but ordered a mammogram, “just in case.” In this case, it was Stage 4 breast cancer, having already spread to other organs. She immediately underwent chemotherapy infusions, two lumpectomies, and radiation. She remains in active treatment to delay the spread and states her current occupation is “trying to stay alive.” Debra says while cancer has stolen so much from her, such as the ability to bear children and peace of mind, she has found some positives, including the H4TG sisterhood. She has learned to put her dreams first, knowing she might not have a long life to achieve them. A passionate dressage rider, Debra describes her horse Jacob as “my heart and soul.” So just as the princess in the Goose Girl is ultimately saved by her talking horse, Debra feels Jacob is her lifesaver. “He never has anything to say, he’s just always a shoulder to cry on, a big clown to lick me when I’m feeling down.” Her dream is to achieve the riding level necessary for her and Jacob to win a U.S. Dressage Federation silver medal.

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