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.

          


"My place in this world is to be involved with support for young women with breast cancer...."

"The most important thing training taught me was that my place in this world is to be involved with education of and support for any young woman who has heard that crashing sentence: You have breast cancer !"   This quote is from a breast cancer survivor who recently completed training in the Become a Young Advocate with Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer"s (www.LBBC.org) Young Women's Initiative is hosting the Young Advocate Training Program in Denver on July 14-16, 2016.  This program is designed for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45.  For this upcoming training, young women from Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas and Oklahoma are invited to apply.

The Young Advocate Program: A Training Program to Consider for Survivors under age 45

      The Young Advocate Program will be hosted in Denver, Colorado July 14-16, 2016 and is a unique opportunity for breast cancer survivors interested in taking the next step in personal involvement in communty programs in support of Survivorship.  This program is one of many excellent programs provided by Living Beyond Breast Cancer (www.LBBC.org). 

Empower Your Recovery

Empower Your Recovery:  A Program for Healing and Growth for Living Beyond Cancer

     Pink Ribbon Survivors Network and Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers have collaborated to develop a 5 week in person program created to address the needs of those who are navigating the shift from being a patient to post-treatment survivorship.  This five week program is designed to be hosted in local cancer centers by Social Work and other trained professionals acting as facilitators for the small group discussion-oriented program.

"Doctor, What are My Chances?......."

Perhaps every breast cancer survivor has wondered, and every clinician has wondered what is the risk of breast cancer recurrence over the survivor's lifespan.  What data is available, and does it reflect decades of follow up?

Lymphedema: Arm Your Understanding with the Latest Clinical Data

     As a physician, I have long accepted the need to avoid standard clinical procedures on the arm that is on the same side of a woman's breast cancer.  This would include blood pressure measurements, blood draws, IV administration, etc.  Some of the clinical "wisdom" associated with this standard practice dates back to the usage of the Radical Mastectomy as the accepted surgical technique for breast cancer.  This concept originated in the early 1900's.  Has there been any recent clinical study of these clinical limitations?

Breast Cancer Recovery Immediately Post-op

     Issues in Breast Cancer Recovery need to include the immediate post-operative period.  We can all relate to the patient after breast surgery with a fresh surgical incision, a surgical drain in place, and those first few days, a desperate sense of wanting a warm shower, as part of the initial recovery process.   Despite that desire, there is the need to avoid water contamination that might introduce a bacterial infection into the fresh surgical wound.  The solution voiced by many clinicians seems impractical:  "Use a trash bag, and cuts some holes for the head and arms."

    Fortunately, The Shower Shirt  was developed by an inventive woman, Lisa Crittes who faced this post-operative issue in 2009.

Controlling Cancer through Diet, Exercise and Supplements:

     Health care professionals and individuals are eager to learn of the connection between food intake (what we should and shoudn't consume) and it's long term relation to cancer.  Conclusions and concrete advice are hard to come by.

"A Journey into the Wilderness of Survivorship....."

".....in some ways, the hardest part of my cancer experience began once the cancer was gone."

      With that quote, I introduce you to the essay of a young woman, in her mid-20's, who struggles to find sense and purpose in her life after cancer treatment in New York City.  Though she does not have breast cancer, her struggle is just the same.  Additionally, she conveys the sense of aloneness that I know many face in cancer survivorship.