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How to Manage Pain Medications During Breast Cancer Treatment B reast cancer researchers have worked tirelessly over the last several decades as they work to eradicate the disease once and for all. While breast cancer still affects millions of women across the globe each year, advancements in treating the disease have dramatically improved five-year survival rates, providing patients and their families with hope as well as a realistic expectation of a long, healthy life after cancer. According to Breastcancer.org, women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and beyond have an array of treatment options to fight their disease. That marks a stark contrast from recent history, when treatment options were considerably more limited. Though treatment options have expanded and improved survival rates, women diagnosed with breast cancer can still expect to confront some side effects as they navigate their way through treatment. Pain is one of the more common symptoms breast cancer patients experience, both before diagnosis and during treatment. In fact, breast cancer treatment plans typically include strategies to address pain. Breastcancer.org notes that most breast cancer patients can get complete relief for B their pain. However, it may take some time before the right formula is found and patients can return to enjoying daily activities. The American Cancer Society notes that medication is typically part of cancer patients’ pain treatment plans. Breast cancer patients unaccustomed to taking medication each day can consider these tips to effectively manage their medications as they progress through their treatments. • Take your medication on a regular schedule. The ACS advises cancer patients who have been diagnosed with chronic pain to take their medications around the clock on a schedule, rather than taking it only when pain is severe. Schedules can be adjusted, but patients should not do so on their own. Pain medication schedules should only be adjusted after speaking with a physician. • Familiarize yourself with pain medication side effects. Pain medications may produce side effects such as sleepiness and dizziness. The ACS notes that these symptoms typically improve after a few days, but cancer patients must recognize the threat they pose. Patients may need help getting up or walking, and the ACS discourages patients from driving while on pain medication until they are sure of the effects of the medicine. • Do not crush or break pills. Many medicines are time-release medications in pill form. Taking broken or crushed pills can be very dangerous. Only patients who get the go-ahead from their physicians to take crushed or broken pills should do so. • Monitor your side effects. No two people are the same, so some cancer patients may react differently to pain medications than others. Keep track of any abnormalities and side effects you experience while taking pain medicine. Discuss them with your cancer care team during each doctor visit, and report severe or uncomfortable symptoms to your physician immediately. Pain medication can help breast cancer patients overcome a common side effect of both their disease and their treatments. Learning to manage pain medications is vital for patients as they recover from their disease. Symptoms of Male Breast Cancer reast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed among the female population. Though breast cancer may seem like a disease that’s exclusive to women, breast cancer can affect men as well. While they have a smaller concentration than women, men have breast tissue, which means it’s possible for them to develop breast cancer. Male breast cancer is most common in older men, but it is important that men recognize that the disease can strike them at any age. • Discharge from the nipple, which may be clear or blood-tinged The American Cancer Society advises that sometimes breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling in these locations. The protrusion may be noticeable even before the original tumor in the breast is large enough to be felt. Men should realize that enlargements or issues affecting both breasts (not on just one side) typically is not cancer. Enlargement or changes to Signs and Symptoms Men with breast cancer experience symptoms that both breasts in men can be caused by weight gain, are similar to those experienced by women. Possible medications or heavy alcohol consumption. signs to be aware of include: Types of Male Breast Cancer Various types of breast cancer can affect men, • Skin dimpling or puckering • A lump or swelling, which is typically (but not according to the Mayo Clinic: • Ductal carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the always) painless milk ducts. Nearly all male breast cancer is • Nipple retraction ductal carcinoma. • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin • Lobular carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands. This type is rare in men because they have few lobules in their breast tissue. Especially rare types of breast cancer that can occur in men include Paget’s disease of the nipple and inflammatory breast cancer. Diagnosis BreastCancer.org says that a small study of breast cancer in men found that the average time between first symptoms and diagnosis was about 19 months. This can be startling because early diagnosis can be vital to survival. Through the realization that breast cancer can happen to men and more education and awareness, men can feel more comfortable about discussing changes to breast tissue with their doctors. Male breast cancer is a very real occurrence, albeit a rare one. It is important that men take any abnormalities in their chests seriously. Tax planning & preparaTion for businesses & individuals Certified Public Accountants Council Bluffs • Glenwood • Avoca • Omaha 712-322-8734 www.schroer-cpa.com McMullen Ford Is Proud to Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month Architectural Specialty Products for General Contractors STEVE & JOANN EPPERSON, PHIL EPPERSON, MICHELLE KIA (712) 322-0308 1159 E. Pierce St., Council Bluffs, IA 51503 712-366-0531 • www.McMullenFord.com • 3401 South Expressway, Council Bluffs, IA Store Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00am-8:00pm • Saturday 8:00am-6:00pm Saint Albert alumni: Steve (‘75) & JoAnn Epperson (‘75) Phil Epperson (‘00), Michelle Kia (‘03) Screening is a life saver Methodist Jennie Edmundson has been named a Screening Center of Excellence for its ongoing commitment to responsible lung cancer screening. Low dose CT screening for lung cancer carried out safely, efficiently and equitably can save tens of thousands of lives every year by finding lung cancer early—when it is most treatable and curable. ©2020 Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, an affiliate of Methodist Health System

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