'Breast Cancer Journey' Empowers Women at All Stages of DiseaseOct 2, 2013
The American Cancer Society has updated its book for women with breast cancer to help them live better through every stage of the disease.
Breast Cancer Journey: The Essential Guide to Treatment and Recovery is now in its third edition. It includes the latest advances in treatment, current guidance for coping with side effects, breast reconstruction options, family and relationship issues, and more. The book offers expert advice to educate women with breast cancer about their disease and help them cope with the physical and emotional demands of treatment and recovery.
Breast Cancer Journey was written for the newly diagnosed woman with breast cancer, but also includes information for women in every stage of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, according to co-author Terri Ades, DNP, FNP-BC, AOCN, American Cancer Society director of cancer information.
“Our focus is on the treatment and post-treatment aspects of breast cancer, and we’ve included an expanded section on survivorship issues,” said Ades. “Today more women with breast cancer are being cured, and those who are not cured are living for many more years with breast cancer. Being informed about diagnosis and treatment options and post-treatment recovery will help women maintain as healthy a life as possible.”
Anticipating needs during and after treatment
Ades said she and the other authors worked hard to make the book easy for readers to understand and easy to find the information they need. “We tried to put ourselves into their shoes – understanding what the woman with breast cancer is experiencing and what her needs might be.”
That meant writing in plain language with less medical jargon and an intuitive layout that allows the reader to find what she’s looking for quickly. A series of questions to ask the doctor are highlighted throughout the book. According to Ades, bringing a list of questions to medical visits is more than a reminder – it also empowers women and helps them feel more in control of their experience.
Since the last edition was published in 2004, significant advances in treatment have led to more options for women. The book reflects that in expanded sections on treatment and side effects. This includes information on lymphedema, how to weigh benefits and risks of treatments, newer techniques for breast reconstruction, and more information about the emotional aspects of the disease.
Ades added, “Today we want to be sure women who are considering families after diagnosis have information on infertility. We address intimacy to a greater extent because having a diagnosis of breast cancer can affect how a woman feels about herself and her sexuality. Relationships with other people are an important aspect of her breast cancer experience. And although lymphedema is not a new concern, information about it and how to manage it is new.”
Through her clinical practice, Ades has worked with many women facing breast cancer, and at the American Cancer Society she leads the group of oncology professionals who develop the Society’s highly regarded breast cancer information online and in print. Breast Cancer Journey’s authors include Ruth O’Regan, MD, an internationally recognized medical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer; Sheryl G. A. Gabram-Mendola, MD, FACS, Chief of Surgery at Grady Health Systems, who prior to this position focused her practice on women with breast cancer; and American Cancer Society staff Rick Alteri, MD, Joan Kramer, MD, and Kimberly Stump-Sutliff, MSN, RN, AOCNS who are responsible for the Society’s cancer information that so many people depend on to help them with their cancer experience.
“We wanted a team who had the expertise to understand women’s needs, who could write it in a way that women will find easy to understand, and who had the compassion and sensitivity to let women know that we do care.” said Ades.