Pink Ribbon Blog

     In this first blog posting of the Pink Ribbon Survivors Network, I have collected my thoughts as to five themes that can explain why we have started this website and our motivation for its success.

        1.)  Online learning certainly represents the future of dissemination of information in our society.  Thus we set out to create three online libraries dedicated to issues of breast cancer survivorship from three separate perspectives:  the survivor, the primary healthcare provider, and the cancer care professional.

        2.)  Our project makes the assumption that interested, educated persons with issues, a mission in mind, or just curiosity, will pursue self-directed education.  In an open society, persons don't want to be given simple answers, but want to learn for themselves.  Our project believes that persons will pursue self-directed education, therefore our task is the organized assembly of three online libraries devoted to these three groups interested in learning more about breast cancer survivorship.

        3.) We have observed that the different cancer care professionals ( doctors, nurses, nurse navigators, and social workers) each maintain separate clinical literature.  This isolates each professional group's observations into separate "information silos," which are not shared for a common goal of serving breast cancer survivors.  Therefore, we have created an inter-disciplinary clinical library of breast cancer survivorship issues by drawing from the literature of these different cancer care professions.  We believe that a "synergy of ideas" will be possible when observations from the perspective of different cancer care disciplines are housed on a single online library resource.  

        4.)  It is clear that an organized breast cancer survivorship library for primary health care providers needs to be available.  We note the increasing complexity of medical and psychosocial issues regarding breast cancer survivorship.  Additionally, we recognize that oncology professionals will be transitioning more care of breast cancer survivors to their primary care colleagues.  Therefore, our goal is to create a concise and comprehensive online survivorship library for the primary health care provider.  Standards of follow up care, and nationally recognized Guidelines will be an important feature of this library.

       5.)  We wish to provide a service to society as professionals and community activitists in a non-profit organization.  We pledge to avoid bias in our information, to prevent commercial interests from influencing our content, and to protect our users  from solicitation.  At a time when women play a central role in individual families and in society in general, we recognize the importance of improving the lives of breast cancer survivors through online education.

       Thank you for being part of this project through your use of this online resource.

Rob Fisher, MD  Co-Founder and  Organizational President, The Pink Ribbon Survivors Network (Rob@PinkRibbonSurvivorsNetwork.org), February, 2013.

          


Resiliency After Breast Cancer

     The topic of Resiliency as it relates to dealing with the challenges of breast cancer will be the featured topic discussed by Susan Ash-Lee, MSW, on November 18, 2018 at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado.  Susan is theClinical Director of Oncology Social Work and Genetic Counseling for Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.  Having devoted 17 years to the field of Psycho-Social support service in Oncology, Susan is an award winning counselor.

Yoga for Cancer Recovery

      Yoga for Cancer Recovery is a new class offered by Claire Petretti Marti, RYT-500 yoga instructor and breast cancer survivor.  Her classes are held at the Kindness Yoga Studio in Denver, Colorado on Wednesdays at 10 AM.  

      Claire began teaching Yoga for Cancer Recovery in 2010, while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.  Practicing and teaching yoga were vital components in her journey back to radiant health.  Yoga prvided Claire a sanctuary in which to heal and she is excited to be able to share this with others underoing treatment and beyond.  Claire teaches Yoga for Cancer Recovery classes at Kindness Yoga in Denver and also works with clients privately in their homes or in the hospital.

Skin Care Considerations for Survivorship

     Pink Ribbon Survivors Network is fortunate to feature a series of blog articles from professional skincare specialist, Tara Germain, M.Ed, L.E., L.M.T. who advises clients at Simply Moore Skin Care and Make up Studio in the Cherry Creek North section of Denver, CO.  This is the first article written by Tara which utilizes her expertise to advise Survivors as to skin care and make up techniques.

     Treating cancer with chemotherapy helps to diminish cancer cells, but can also cause many unwanted side effects such as hair loss, dry/irritated skin, uneven complexion, and brittle nails.  Most people think of dry skin as just a cosmetic inconvenience, but severely dry skin can lead to inflammation and the disruption of the skin's protective function which can lead to infection.  Rather than waiting to address symptoms until after treatment starts, patients can take steps to minimize skin problems throughout treatment.

Breast Cancer is hard for the Survivor, but "How's your support network handling it?"

    We well understand the physical and psychosocial struggle that Survivors face, but now attention is being directed to the stress that one's supporters face.  How do they cope "with the desire to help, the feeing of helplessness, hopelessness, and the navigation between too much and too little attention???

Survivors Guilt- by Catherine F. Lutz

     Telling my kids that I had breast cancer was incredibly painful. But watching their eyes fill with tears as my son asked me to "promise that I was not going to die!"  was unbearable.  My daugher, Alyssa put things into perspective when one day she asked: " Mommy R Your Boobies Broken?"  Outloud I responded, "Yes my Boobies are broken, but they will be fixed."  I remember the smile on her face and the giggle after she asked me about my boobies, and I laughed so hard that I ended up crying.

Empower Your Recovery: a new multi-session group program for breast cancer survivors

"Empower Your Recovery," has been developed by The Pink Ribbon Survivors Network as a 5 session group discussion session for breast cancer survivors.  The purpose is to provide perspective on the process of healing following the conclusion of the active phase of breast cancer treatment.  These sessions are designed to be lead by a knowledgeable Social Worker, who is experienced in issues facing breast cancer patients. Each session utiilizes material in the Curriculum for Recovery Library of the Pink Ribbon Survivors Network.  The five session topics are listed below:

Cancer is a Big Word to Explain to Kids !!!

     On August 19, 2010, I received the dreaded phone call- "YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER."  Yes, the immediate devastation takes your breath away as you realize that the bottom of your world just dropped out from underneath you.  The the storm of emotional turmoil and despair hits you like a ton of bricks as you see the end of your life flash before your eyes.  That's what I envisioned: my death leaving my husband, Richard without a wife and my children, Matthew and Alyssa without a mother.  Then you begin battling with anger, disbelief, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, and feelings of impending doom.  This psychological terror plays itself out over and over again in your mind until exhaustion consumes you.  And if that was not enough, I had to find the strength and courage to call my husband with the horrible news........

Patient Driven Research- The Artemis Project

      Survivors have you ever wondered who decided what aspect of breast cancer will be studied?  Did you ever want a say in it?  Well, your time may have come.  The Artemis Project was created in 2011 and is sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBBC.org).  NBCC created a deadline of the year 2020 " to design and implement research plans an interact through an infrastructure maintained by NBCC that allows collaborations to thrive and progress rapidly."  

      Dr. H. Kim Lylerly, a Professor of Surgery at Duke University, and who is part of the Artemis Project compares this collaboration to the "highly coordinated Apollo space project" that resulted in the 1969 moon landing (Harris, 2014).  Sounds perfect, right?  Depends upon who you ask.

      Getting to the moon was an engineering project that was complex, but involved science that was completely understood.  In a blog response to Harris, Kenneth Rubenstein points out that there is still a knowledge gap of understanding of how to attack breast cancer that we increasingly understand.   He does believe that a more coordinated effort would be preferrable to the current approach where research results are not always shared.  If you want to see how much research is being done, check out the list of 286,769 basic university-based breast cancer studies on PubMed Breast Cancer Studies.