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100 Questions & Answers About Breast Cancer, Third Edition

Author(s): Zora K. Brown, Breast Cancer Resource Committee/Rise, Sister, Rise, Integris Health - Cancer Awareness Program Services/Breast Cancer Resource Committee/Rise, Sister, Rise
Karl K. Boatman, MD, Clinical Program Director, INTEGRIS Health Breast Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • ISBN-13: 9780763760076
  • Paperback    260 pages      © 2009
Price: $22.95 US List
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Newly Revised and Updated!


Whether you're a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient, a survivor, or a friend or relative of either, this book offers help. The only text to provide both the patient’s and doctor’s views, this completely updated third edition of this best-selling book gives you up-to-date, authoritative, practical answers to your questions about breast cancer, including risk factors and prevention, diagnosis and treatment options, post-treatment quality of life, sources of support, and much more. Now including an entire new section on the impact of cancer on sexuality, intimacy and fertility, 100 Questions & Answers About Breast Cancer, Third Edition is written by a prominent breast cancer advocate and survivor and by a cancer surgeon.The book is an invaluable resource for anyone coping with the physical and emotional turmoil of this frightening disease.

Part 1: The Basics

  • What is cancer?
  • Will I die if I get breast cancer? Is it true that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women?
  • What causes breast cancer? How do I determine whether I’m at risk?
  • Does breast cancer only affect breast tissue? Are there different types of breast cancer?
  • What are the different types of breast cancer? What is the difference between invasive and noninvasive cancers?
  • There are different types of breast cancers, so are there also different types of benign breast problems?

Part 2: Risk Factors and Prevention

  • What risk factors are most important in determining my likelihood of getting cancer?
  • My breasts are always lumpy. Does this mean I have cancer, or that I’m at a higher risk of getting cancer?
  • How does estrogen relate to breast cancer? Can birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy put me at risk?
  • I’ve heard a lot of different theories about what causes breast cancer. How do I tell which factors should concern me? Should I do research?
  • Is there anything I can do to prevent breast cancer?
  • What is a breast self-examination (BSE), and why should I perform one? When should I start doing BSE? How often should I do BSEs?
  • How do I perform a breast self-examination (BSE)?
  • What is a clinical breast exam (CBE)? How often should I get a CBE?
  • What is the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool?
  • Do mammograms prevent breast cancer? Who should get one, and why?
  • If mammograms are so good at detecting non-symptomatic tumors, why should I continue doing breast self-examinations?
  • How do genes affect breast cancer risk? Is there a “breast cancer gene”? Does every woman with an altered breast cancer gene get cancer?
  • What is genetic testing for cancer risk?  What should I consider before getting tested?  What can I do if I have an altered gene? Will getting a genetic test affect my health insurance coverage?  Can they refuse to cover me if the test is positive?  Where can I get more information about genetic testing?  What questions should I ask?

Part 3: Diagnosis

  • I’ve found a lump in my breast. What do I do now?
  • I don’t have insurance, but my doctor wants to me to have a mammogram to check out a suspicious lump. How can I get one if I can’t afford it?
  •  How is a mammogram performed? Is it uncomfortable? Does it hurt?
  • What might show up on a mammogram, and what results should concern me?
  • Why do I need a biopsy if a mammogram has located a mass?

Part 4: Treatment - Surgical, Radiation, Chemotherapy and Hormonal Therapies and Other Therapies

  • What do I do if it turns out I do have cancer?
  • What are the options available for the treatment of breast cancer?
  • A friend suggested I get a second opinion.  Should I? If so, how?
  • What things should I consider when making treatment choices?
  • The pathologist’s report uses categories of “grade” and “stage” in describing my cancer. What do these mean? Which is more important?
  • What is the difference between cancer and recurrent cancer? How is recurrence prevented or treated?
  • Why do I need a team of doctors to treat me? Who are they? How do I choose my team of doctors?
  • What is the difference between local and systemic treatment?
  • Should I have a bone scan before my breast surgery? What will it tell?


  • What is a mastectomy and how does it differ from a lumpectomy? Why would I choose one over the other?
  • How do I prepare for surgery? What can I expect after surgery, and how long will it take to recover?
  • I’m not a candidate for lumpectomy, so the surgeon is recommending total mastectomy. Is it possible to reconstruct my breast?
  •  What are the options for breast reconstruction, and how do I know which one to choose? Does insurance cover it, or will I have to pay for breast reconstruction?
  • What is lymphedema, and how is it treated? 
  •  How do I know if I’ll get lymphedema? Is there anything I can do to prevent it?


  • What is radiation therapy?
  • Are there different kinds of radiation therapy?
  • How do I prepare for radiation therapy and what happens when I receive it? What are the common side effects, and how do I deal with them?
  • How does internal radiation therapy differ from external radiation therapy?

Chemotherapy and Hormonal Therapy

  • What is chemotherapy? How is hormonal therapy different?
  • What are the drugs most commonly used to treat breast cancer? How do they compare to other treatments?
  • I’ve heard dreadful stories about chemotherapy.  What are some of the side effects, and how can they be alleviated?
  • What can I do about fatigue? Why do I have more energy some days, less on others?
  • What is a clinical trial? Should I consider joining a clinical trial?
  • What is meant by hormonal therapy?

Other Therapies

  • I had a radical mastectomy years ago, and my doctor says I should take tamoxifen now. What is it? Are there any side effects with tamoxifen?
  • What is meant by adjuvant therapy? Is it the same as alternative therapy?
  • Are there alternative or herbal treatments for breast cancer and its side effects? Do they work?
  • What happens if the treatment doesn’t work? What happens if the cancer comes back?

Part 5: Coping with Treatment and Side Effects

  • How can I relieve the pain associated with treatment?
  • What happens if the dose of pain medication I get isn’t enough? Are pain drugs addictive?
  • What can I do to deal with hair loss?
  • Do meditation and guided imaging really help prevent recurrences?
  • Where do I find treatment that will take a holistic approach to healing?
  • Do women’s support groups really help? Isn’t the discussion depressing?
  • Can I put off surgery while I take an extended vacation?
  • I can’t afford the medicine for chemotherapy; can I use half the dose? Where can I find help with the expense if I don’t have insurance?
  • Can I use something for nausea from the chemotherapy? Does marijuana help me find relief?
  • I got my diagnosis through Medicaid. Will Medicaid also cover my treatment?
  • When all else fails, how do I prepare myself and my family for my death?
  • Are there legal steps I can take to make my wishes known in case I’m not able to speak for myself near the end?







Zora K. Brown-Breast Cancer Resource Committee/Rise, Sister, Rise, Integris Health - Cancer Awareness Program Services/Breast Cancer Resource Committee/Rise, Sister, Rise

Zora Brown is Special Assistant to the President’s Office for Health and Minority Initiatives at Integris Health, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Ms. Brown is founder and chairperson of Cancer Awareness Program Services (CAPS) and the Breast Cancer Resource Committee (BCRC) and founder of Rise, Sister, Rise, a breast cancer support group model for African American women. In 1996, she organized Men in Action Against Breast Cancer, a support arm of the Breast Cancer Resource Committee.  In 2002 Ms. Brown, along with her nieces, founded SASSi™ (Sisters Accessing Skills for Survival and Intervention). Ms. Brown is an outspoken advocate for minority and women’s health issues; presenting at both national and international forums.   She appears regularly on the networks and CNN and other media as an expert on women’s health. 

Karl K. Boatman, MD-Clinical Program Director, INTEGRIS Health Breast Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Karl K. Boatman, M.D. is the clinical program director for the INTEGRIS Health Comprehensive Breast Center in Oklahoma City, OK.  He has devoted his entire professional career to the study and treatment of cancer.  He is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, Society of Surgical Oncology, American Society of Breast Surgeons, American Cancer Society, and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project.  He has received numerous awards and honors and has published extensively. 

  • "What an inspiring book! Expert information, practical advice, and guidance for survivors at all phases but especially for those newly diagnosed.  100 Questions and Answers About Breast Cancer, 3e is a book that reminds me that my diagnosis was not a death sentence. I believe this book offers practical and sound advice that bridges the gap between the medical and emotional worlds of survivorship as it empowers the reader!"

    -N.M. James, Educator
    Breast Cancer Survivor


    "The facts are these:  Women get diagnosed with breast cancer; we have questions; and, we want immediate answers -   What a wonderful guide for any woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  100 Questions and Answers About Breast Cancer reveals many of the questions women have upon hearing the frightening words 'You have breast cancer.'  This jewel of a book will help you navigate the minefield of questions about your diagnosis and bring needed understanding."


    -Donna Lawrence, M.S.

    Certified Life Coach

    Breast Cancer Survivor



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