Skip to main content

Sponsored Content

Understanding a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Aug 30, 2016 04:31AM ● Published by Family Features

Whether it’s October or not, breast cancer is one of the most recognized cancers in the world. Thanks to massive public awareness campaigns, nearly everyone understands the significance behind a pink ribbon, but how many can say they have breast cancer knowledge beyond pink?


The truth is, breast cancer is extremely complex and not a one-size-fits-all disease. It’s classified into different types based on the unique biology of each tumor, including the size, whether and where it’s spread, how it looks under the microscope and what’s causing it to grow at the cellular level, according to the American Cancer Society. Understanding the various biological features is critical, as they help determine treatment decisions and directly affect patient outcomes.

As breast cancer survivor Pamela Cunningham knows all too well, knowledge is power when navigating a breast cancer journey. When diagnosed with Stage II HER2-positive early breast cancer, an aggressive type of the disease, Cunningham said that while she understood there were different stages, she was shocked to discover there were so many different types.

In fact, her mother had faced breast cancer several years earlier and neither Cunningham nor her father knew what kind her mother had.

To better understand her diagnosis, she talked with friends who had faced similar situations and even sought a second opinion. After learning more, Cunningham felt confident in her decision to receive a treatment regimen that helped shrink her tumor prior to undergoing surgery to remove it.

I'm really thankful I went the way I did,” Cunningham said. “I would advise other women to do their own research, find out the available treatments and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about all of your options and possible side effects.”

Cunningham and her oncologist, Dr. Karen Tedesco of New York Oncology Hematology, offer the following tips to help patients more fully understand how to approach a breast cancer diagnosis.

  1. Strength in Numbers: The news of a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly overwhelming to patients and their loved ones. Make the most of the first few doctor appointments by bringing a friend outside of the immediate family to ensure the information is being absorbed and the right questions are being asked.
  1. Build a Support Team: In addition to family and friends, it’s important to have a strong health care and surrounding support team. Seek out nurse navigators, local breast support groups and financial assistance to ensure you’re properly informed and have all the resources you need. Do not hesitate to consider a second opinion until you feel 100 percent confident in your health care team and treatment plan.
  1. Understand Your Diagnosis: Learning about your specific type of breast cancer is essential because the unique biology of your tumor can directly impact your breast cancer journey. Knowing the four S’s – stage, size, status and subtype – of your tumor can help you better understand your diagnosis and the treatment options available to you.
  1. Ask Questions, Then Ask More: Consider asking your doctor the following questions: Are you eligible for clinical trials? Are there special treatments geared toward your specific type of breast cancer? Do I need surgery? Does surgery have to be the first step? Being actively involved can help ensure each patient receives the best treatment option for them.

For more tips to take on a breast cancer diagnosis and to better understand the four S’s, visit gene.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by Genentech

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cabarrus Magazine's free newsletter to catch every headline

Family Features Family Features Lifestyle
  • A VET TOGETHER

    10/17/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    • Join Cabarrus Veterans Coalition the first Tuesday of each month at Carm’s for free coffee and ...


  • SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies

    10/17/2017
    11:30AM — 02:00PM

    South Carolina's Fastest Growing Companies competition is the Annual ranking of the Palmetto Stat...


  • SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies

    10/17/2017
    11:30AM — 02:00PM

    South Carolina's Fastest Growing Companies competition is the Annual ranking of the Palmetto Stat...


  • Thriller Dance Lessons

    10/17/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Ever wanted to learn the King of Pop’s famous Thriller dance? Now’s your chance! Head over to the...


  • COOKSMART/EATSMART COOKING SCHOOL

    10/17/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Thursday evenings, October 12,19,26 and November 2 * 6-8:30 p.m. * $50 NC Cooperative Extensi...


  • TODDLER STORY TIME

    10/19/2017
    10:30AM

    • Children from walking age to three years old with caregiver. Songs, stories, finger plays follo...


  • View Trailer, More Info & Register on our Event Page. This 43-minute film goes behind the fi...


  • COOKSMART/EATSMART COOKING SCHOOL

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    Thursday evenings, October 12,19,26 and November 2 * 6-8:30 p.m. * $50 NC Cooperative Extensi...


  • Music on Means

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    To hear it, you might think you just stepped into Motown. To breathe it, you smell a tropical bre...


  • Cook Smart/Eat Smart

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    This popular hands-on cooking class teaches more than 24 cooking techniques to make meal planning...


  • Brush Lettering 101

    10/19/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join Leah Benfield, with Little Dot Artworks, and Hive for a Brush Lettering Workshop. We will go...


  • View Trailer, More Info & Register on our Event Page. This 43-minute film goes behind the fi...


  • Music on Means

    10/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    To hear it, you might think you just stepped into Motown. To breathe it, you smell a tropical bre...


  • Brush Lettering 101

    10/19/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join Leah Benfield, with Little Dot Artworks, and Hive for a Brush Lettering Workshop. We will go...


  • 5th Bi-Annual Harrisburg ARTwalk!

    10/21/2017
    11:00AM — 07:00PM

    New Artists - Food & Entertainment! This year The 5th Annual Harrisburg ARTWalk continues it's gr...


  • Fall Festival & Movie in the Park

    10/21/2017
    03:00PM — 09:00PM

    Fall Festival begins at 3 p.m. Movie (Monsters Inc.) begins at 6:30 p.m. Come dressed in your...


  • 10th Rotary Annual Seafood Festival

    10/21/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Cabarrus Rotary Charitable Works presents the 10th Rotary Annual Seafood Festival to raise funds ...


  • Movie Night Double Feature

    10/21/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us for movie night on the farm featuring “Curious George: A Halloween Boofest” and “Curious ...


  • Just say "no" to electronics and hand held devices and step back in time to see the marvels of ea...


  • Thriller Dance Lessons

    10/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Ever wanted to learn the King of Pop’s famous Thriller dance? Now’s your chance! Head over to the...


  • Trick or Treat in the Park

    10/27/2017
    05:30PM — 09:00PM

    Games * Candy * Food * Inflatables * Costume Contests * and More! Hundreds of costumed trick o...


  • Thriller Masquerade Ball

    10/27/2017
    08:00PM — 11:00PM

    This event celebrates the fun tradition of the carnival season. Attendees are invited to dress up...


  • Pumpkins in the Patch & Candy in the Corn

    10/28/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Come out dressed in your Halloween costumes or attire. Trick or treat around the farm. This event...


  • Already the Carolinas' largest costume party, the Carolina Renaissance Festival becomes the place...


  • Come out to our third annual Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival and Candy Crawl! We will have ar...


  • Halloween Fun Fest

    10/28/2017
    03:00PM — 06:00PM

    Our annual Halloween Fun Fest in Downtown Salisbury will bring ghoulish fun to residents and visi...


  • Gold Hill Ghost Tour

    10/28/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Enjoy a fun night of ghost stories at one of the most haunted sites in Rowan County. Ghost storie...


  • Pumpkins in the Patch & Candy in the Corn

    10/29/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Come out dressed in your Halloween costumes or attire. Trick or treat around the farm. This event...


  • Already the Carolinas' largest costume party, the Carolina Renaissance Festival becomes the place...


  • Candy Crawl

    10/31/2017
    03:00PM — 05:00PM

    Local merchants provide trick-or-treating and family-friendly entertainment on Union Street in Do...


  • Sweet Street at the Park

    10/31/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    Sweet Street is a family-friendly trunk or treat festival. There will be food, games, activities,...


  • Fall Plant Sale

    11/02/2017
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Garden now for spring blooms! Plants will be available for pick up between 9am and 5pm on Nove...


  • Cook Smart/Eat Smart

    11/02/2017
    06:00PM — 08:30PM

    This popular hands-on cooking class teaches more than 24 cooking techniques to make meal planning...


  • World of Outlaws World Finals

    11/03/2017
    06:00PM — 11:00PM

    The most prestigious dirt racing event in the country, the Nov. 2-4 World of Outlaws World Finals...


  • Battle for the Bell

    11/03/2017
    07:30PM

    Come watch the battle starting at 7:30. There will be tailgating beforehand, so be sure to stop b...


  • Hops & Heat Beer and Chili Festival

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Join us for an afternoon of Beer, Bands, and Buckets of Chili in Downtown Concord! Live music ...


  • Hops & Heat Beer and Chili Festival

    11/04/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Make the best chili in town? Prove it! Join us Saturday November 4th from 1 - 5:00 p.m. in Downto...


  • Fall Back 5K

    11/05/2017
    01:50AM

    The inaugural Fall Back 5K is a new and exciting run event in the City of Kannapolis which starts...


Get Cabarrus Magazine Delivered to Your Door!

Subscribe today!

Proudly Brought To You By These Community Sponsors