A Researcher's View of the American Breast Cancer Foundation

In the early 1970's a graduate student doing research at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center knew a woman who was dying of breast cancer. This was long before the appearance of online information, such as that provided by the American Breast Cancer Foundation. The graduate student used to make a point of visiting the breast cancer patient, whenever she was home for a visit. Those visits shaped the student's view of the existing organizations for breast cancer patients.

The ongoing research on breast cancer has uncovered much information. It has allowed organizations such as the American Breast Cancer Foundation to supply breast cancer patients with valuable facts and insights. Researchers have disclosed data that is pertinent to the health of those patients, and also to the continued health of the breast cancer survivors.

Yet anyone involved in cancer research soon discovers that not all of the patients' needs can be satisfied by the collection of important data. In fact, if that data comes to light too quickly, or if it causes abrupt changes in the method for diagnosing and treating breast cancer, then that data can really confuse the breast cancer patient. The alleviation of such confusion has become a chief focus of the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

For example, twenty-five years ago, researchers at M.D. Anderson in Houston Texas thought that a woman's chromosomes might provide a clue to her risk of getting breast cancer. Later molecular biologists confirmed their suspicions, for some women. Yet more recent research has shown that an equally important consideration is the response of a breast tumor to hormone treatment.

About one third of breast cancer patients do not have tumors that respond to hormone treatments. That one third of the breast cancer patients needs the sort of information delivered by the American Breast Cancer Foundation. That one third of the patients needs help with getting all of the relevant facts.

Literature supplied by the American Breast Cancer Foundation can help all breast cancer patients to locate the needed facts. Such literature encourages the patients to write all of their questions in a notebook, and to present those questions to a healthcare provider. Patients are encouraged to seek answers from the healthcare providers, and to learn as much as possible about their treatment options.

Organizations such as the American Breast Cancer Foundation publish details about the symptoms of breast cancer, the diagnosis of breast cancer and the treatment for breast cancer. The Foundation also supplies information regarding the prognosis for breast cancer patients. In addition, it posts on its website reminders to breast cancer survivors.

Both the American Breast Cancer Foundation and the American Breast Cancer Association appreciate the importance of communicating with breast cancer survivors. They do not want those survivors to become complacent. They do not want those survivors to become lax about getting a regular mammogram. They do not want those survivors to abandon their health-conscious approach to daily life.

Organizations such as the American Breast Cancer Association work closely with organizations such as "Team Survivors." That group helps breast cancer survivors to get together, in order to obtain plenty of exercise.  The survivors frequently gather for morning walks or for short bike trips over local roads. In that way the survivors stay in shape and stay healthy.

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