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Registration Only $20 During October! 5K Untimed Run, 3K Walk, and Virtual Our Bold Goal: Toreduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50% in the U.S. by 2026

February 9, 2019 |||| KomenBatonRouge.org |||| 225-615-8740



Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate




Survivor: Early detection becomes a wake-up call Doctor suggests scheduling mammogram during birth month BY LORI TUCKER


Early detection becomes a wake-up call ..2 Breast & GYN Pavilion offers call line............2 Komen’s October awareness events.................2 Physician sees breast cancer in new light as a husband ..................................................................3 Baton Rouge Clinic committed to high quality care .........................................................................3 Is there breast cancer in your family tree?....4 Menopause can be a factor in cancer risk, treatment ...............................................................4 A journey from a Twinkle to a Celebrity..5 Understanding clinical trials .............................6 Trial comparing 2D, 3D imaging available .....6 Breast cancer survival rates soar.....................6 Survivor sees need for accurate data .......7 Baton Rouge General’s Pink Pumpkin Patch..7 Professional foodie regains joy of eating.8 Survivor’s family goes into caregiver mode ................................................................8 Message of hope from two Acadiana women .............................................................9 You’ve got to play the card you’re dealt ...9 Survivor learns accepting help is OK .....10 Breast cancer diagnosis threatened bride’s fertility ..........................................................11 What to expect before and after breast surgery.................................................................11 Survivor: Get your mammogram ............13 Tips on how to juggle work, cancer treatment.. ................................................................................13 Making it through with friends and faith ... ........................................................................14 Ochsner focuses on breast health for a lifetime .................................................................15 Breast Center of Acadiana welcomes new radiologist............................................................15 Exercise, stress relief help during treatment.. 15 Breast cancer survivors share their journeys in these stories.

About the Power of Pink 2018 The Power of Pink is an advertising special section produced by The Advocate’s marketing department for October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Section editor: Lori Tucker, ltucker@theadvocate.com Cover design: Brian Golden Cover photo credits The Acadiana Advocate, Dr. Barry Bohn The Advocate, Colette Dean

Livingston Parish resident Freda Baughman is thankful that Woman’s Hospital’s Mobile Mammography Coach made it easy for her to get a mammogram last December. In early January, someone from Woman’s Hospital called her. “They wanted to look at it a bit more in depth,” Baughman recalled. That’s when a biopsy revealed breast cancer. “I was in the zero stage, so they caught it very early,” Baughman said. The term Stage 0 is used for abnormal cells that have not become invasive, but which may spread. Most Freda experts agree Baughman that Stage 0 cancer should be treated promptly rather than waiting to see if the cells will become invasive. Since her diagnosis, Baughman has had a lumpectomy at Woman’s Hospital and radiation treatment at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Hammond. Knowing that early detection was on her side, Baughman has become an advocate for mammography. When she encounters someone who says she’d rather not know, Baughman responds that the sooner one knows the better. “Don’t gamble with your life,” Baughman said. For Baughman, who has lived on the edge of the town of Livingston for 25 years, the mammography facilities closest to her home are in Baton Rouge or Hammond, so putting off a mammogram would be the easiest path to take. Uneven distribution of mammography services is a barrier to screening in many of south Louisiana’s small communities and rural areas. However, anyone can get behind on regular screening for breast cancer for a variety of reasons. Cynthia Rabalais, executive director of the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion at Woman’s Hospital, said it’s easy to get too busy and lose track of time since your last mammogram. “Didn’t I do that the other day? And, then, it turns out the ‘other day’ was two years ago,” Rabalais said. She added that it’s true not only of mammograms that could lead to early detection of breast cancer, but also dental checkups, pap smears, wellness exams, colonoscopies, and other screening and preventative measures. Breast specialist Dr. Lauren Zatarain with Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, says she tells her patients to schedule their an-


One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast self-awareness and regular screening mammograms, based on medical advice and your personal and family health history are key to early detection and the best outcomes. nual wellness exam and mammogram in their birth month, since people remember their own birthday. “It’s important to screen every year is in order to diagnose breast cancer in a very early stage when it is most curable,” Rabalais said. “That’s the best we can do for ourselves,” Rabalais said.

When to get screened

As a physician, Zatarain said she recommends that women with an average risk of developing breast cancer have the opportunity to begin regular mammograms at age 40 and continue until their life expectancy is under 10 years. Zatarain said women whose lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is greater than 20 percent may be advised by their physician to consider a different type of breast cancer screening, such as MRIs. Family history is one of the factors considered in assessing risk, but not necessarily the determining factor, Zatarain said. One way to estimate your own risk is using The National Cancer Institute’s online tool on its secure website, https://bcrisktool.cancer.gov/. “There’s no set end date,” Zatarain said. Studies indicate that physiological age, based Mobile mammography on overall health and physiBaughman says she was overology matters more in this due for a mammogram when instance than actual age, she her primary care physician at added. RKM Primary Care Clinic in Livingston suggested she take Breast self-awareness advantage of the next visit of As a physician, Zatarain en- the Mammography Coach at courages breast awareness RKM. “That bus was a godsend. I — each woman should know where the normal bumps are in probably wouldn’t have gone her own breasts. “It doesn’t re- into Baton Rouge [for a mamquire a specific kind of exam to mogram],” Baughman said. At

Perfectly Pink kicks off Komen’s October events Susan G. Komen® Baton Rouge will host its 8th annual Perfectly Pink, A Luncheon for Life on Sunday, Oct. 7, at L’Auberge Casino and Hotel from noon to 3:30 pm. The Perfectly Pink Luncheon features a fashion show featuring local breast cancer survivors and hosted by Dillard’s Mall of Louisiana. It also includes a silent auction, wine pull, and an everpopular survivor countdown. Adrian Lee Ph.D., Susan G. Komen® research scholar, will be the featured speaker for the event. Lee is director of the Woman’s Cancer Research Center, co-leader of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program, and professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology at the University of Pittsburg Cancer Institute. Angela Miller, Komen Baton Rouge executive director, said “The Perfectly Pink Luncheon is a wonderful celebration of breast cancer survivors and those living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. We are

very much looking forward to all the festivities including Dr. Lee’s information about his research in breast cancer metastasis. We are honored to have such a renowned Komen Scholar come and share about his important work in layman’s terms.” Here are other breast cancer awareness opportunities with Komen during October.

9 and plan to start the walking portion with a brass band and a second line. We can’t wait!”

Worship in Pink

Worship in Pink invites faithbased organizations to join with Komen Baton Rouge in spreading the message that early breast cancer detection saves lives. The program is designed to open the lines of communication about breast health, proRace registration begins mote breast cancer education, Susan G. Komen Baton Rouge and celebrate the lives of those Race for the Cure® registration who have fought and are fightopened on Monday, Oct. 1. The ing against this terrible disease. 2019 Race will be Saturday, Feb. 9, at AZ Young Park in ‘Giving War’ downtown Baton Rouge. Race A “Giving War” between Suregistrants can enter for only san G. Komen® Baton Rouge $20 during October. “We want and Susan G. Komen® North everyone to be aware of the Central Alabama will begin on date change for the 2019 Race,” Monday, Oct. 22, and conclude Miller said. “Race for the Cure on Saturday, Nov. 3. The winis held traditionally on the first ner of the online giving comSaturday in March. The com- petition will be determined by ing year’s event would have which of the two affiliates reconflicted with Mardi Gras, so ceives the highest fundraising we chose an alternate date. We total. “I encourage everyone to moved the event to February visit www.KomenBatonRouge.

find a cancer,” she said. Sometimes, a woman’s partner may have breast awareness for that patient and be the first to notice a lump, she added. In 2015, the American Cancer Society took the controversial step of dropping breast selfexams from its recommended guidelines after recommending them for decades. The reason given was that the often-detailed directions for self-exams could be anxiety-producing, and research had not found them effective. “It’s scary to think ‘am I doing this exam properly,’” Zatarain said. Women should be looking for any breast changes, including: • a lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area • swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast • change in the size or shape of the breast • dimpling or puckering of the skin • itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple • pulling-in of your nipple or other parts of the breast • nipple discharge that starts suddenly • new pain in one spot that doesn’t go away.

RACE DATE CHANGE The 2019 Race for the Cure will be Saturday, Feb. 9, beginning at AZ Young Park in downtown Baton Rouge.The event traditionally is in March, but was moved to avoid conflicting with Mardi Gras events. org and make a donation of any size to prove the point that Louisianans are the most generous people of all the states!,” Miller said. To purchase tickets, register, or for a full list of Komen Baton Rouge’s events and programs, visit www.KomenBatonRouge. org or call (225) 615-8740. The deadline for purchasing tickets for the Perfectly Pink Luncheon was Friday, Oct. 5. Seating is limited. Connect with Komen Baton Rouge on Facebook at facebook.com/KomenBatonRouge, Twitter at KomenBatonRouge, and Instagram at komenbr.

52, she considers the experience a wake-up call. Since then, she’s researched “what food to put in your body” and focuses on staying away from sugar, eating lots of vegetables and counting calories. Mobile mammography fills in a crucial gap for women like Baughman in many of south Louisiana’s small towns and rural areas, where permanent mammography services are sparse. Actually a partnership between Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins–Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, the mobile medical unit provides mammograms and clinical breast exams in parking lots and different neighborhoods in 11 parishes. Benjamin says a nurse serves as a patient navigator, making followup appointments and helping locate transportation, if needed. The navigator’s role is to make the process easier for patients, Benjamin said. For Baughman, that December visit to the Mammography Coach took about half an hour, and the experience was positive. “The inside of the coach was very nice,” Baughman said. “The nurses were very professional.” The mobile medical unit screens 2,000 women each year, finding 25 cases of cancer, said Johnnay Benjamin, director of early detection and education for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. When the program began in 2002, the emphasis was on reaching people without insurance, she said, so not everyone realizes the mobile unit also provides screening to those with insurance or who can afford to pay.

Breast & GYN Pavilion offers call line Individuals diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer or who have questions about the disease often need help quickly. The CancerAnswer Call Line is a new, free service from Breast & GYN Cancer Pavilion partners Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins–Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center. It offers guidance to help ease the fear and anxiety for anyone diagnosed with breast or GYN cancer and their caregivers. “We know from experience that when information and assistance are timely and accessible, people diagnosed with cancer and their families experience much less stress. And since caregivers and family members often have just as many questions as patients, we want to be sure to offer this resource to everyone affected,” said Cynthia Rabalais, executive director of the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion. Some of the questions patients or loved ones might have include:

• What are my next steps? • What type of doctor do I need? • What should I be doing before my first appointment? • What does this mean for me and my family? • Will my hair fall out? • Where can I get the most specialized care? • Where can we find support? • How do we get a second opinion? The CancerAnswer Call Line is supported by a team of professionals dedicated to enhancing cancer care, including patient navigators, oncology-certified social workers, as well as clinicians. The line will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. To speak with someone about breast and gynecologic cancer questions within one business day, call the CancerAnswer Call Line at (225) 2157600. To learn more about the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion, visit sisterhoodstrong.org.

The Advocate





Sunday, October 7, 2018



Physician sees cancer in new light as a husband BY RACHELE SMITH

Special to the Advocate

As a specialist in breast surgical oncology, Dr. Everett Bonner has traveled with his patients and their families along one of life’s most arduous journeys: the discovery and treatment of breast cancer. But today, he is not just walking alongside them. It’s become personal. In March, Bonner’s wife, Allyson, was diagnosed with Stage 3b breast cancer. As he supports his wife and their three children through their

own breast cancal profession“Patients and their c e r j o u r n e y, als helping his families experience wife, Bonner Bonner has a deeper insight said he “gets real feelings, real into the pain, pain and real joy, and how families confusion, and lean on every yes, even those those feelings can just word.” get crushed with the rare moments He said this of spontaneous diagnosis of cancer.” e x p e r i e n c e , joy and humor which he emDR. EVERETT BONNER JR., that a stressful phasized he situation like doesn’t want to breast oncologist this can bring. see his wife go “I know now through, has what it means to made him a betbe the family of a patient, and I ter doctor. understand there’s pain there, “It’s helped me not just emtoo,” he said. pathize but really connect From listening to the medi- to the family, especially the

spouses, of my patients. I have a better appreciation for the caregivers,” he explained. Bonner noted that sometimes it’s easy for physicians to get so caught up in treating the disease and wanting the best outcomes for their patients, that they can lose sight of the person. “Patients and their families experience real feelings, real pain and real joy, and those feelings can just get crushed with the diagnosis of cancer,” Bonner said. As a medical doctor who has devoted his practice to treating breast cancer, Bonner said

he has now found himself “living with breast cancer 24/7.” But he remarked he feels fortunate to have spent his career learning about the disease and knows he is well-prepared to help his wife. Ironically, he does struggle with one thing. Bonner admitted that sometimes knowing too much about breast cancer can hinder him when it comes to being a supportive husband. But he’s working on that. “It’s just a weird dynamic. I have all of this knowledge about breast cancer, and sometimes when my wife asks me a question, I have to step back

from the ‘doctor answer’ and think how a husband would answer that question,” he said, adding, “sometimes those answers can be different.” Since her diagnosis some six months ago, Bonner noted his wife has had a good response to her chemotherapy regime. He recognizes that new treatment options are helping more and more women, but yet some myths, such as those about who can get breast cancer, still remain. “That’s why information is key and publications like ‘Power in Pink’ and others are so important,” Bonner said.

Baton Rouge Clinic committed to high quality care Imaging Center for Women offers 3D mammography The Baton Rouge Clinic, the community’s premier provider of health care services, is committed to providing high quality care for our patients. Our services span all aspects of evaluation and intervention. The Baton Rouge Clinic is pleased to announce our Imaging Center for Women, dedicated to the evaluation and diagnosis of breast diseases. We now offer state of the art 3D digital mammography or Tomosynthesis and Ultrasound in a comfortable and private environment. During your annual physical with your internist, we can also conveniently offer on-site 3D screening mammography services. At your request, prior mammography films can be obtained from outside physicians and facilities. Top five benefits of 3D mammography: 1) More accurate detection: By minimizing the impact of overlapping breast tissue, 3D mam-

mography can make a tumor easier to see. Reviewing multiple images can potentially help doctors find more cancers than with 2D images alone. 2) Earlier diagnosis: Overlapping tissue can hide small cancers in a 2D scan. However, with 3D mammography, the image “slices” can be analyzed one by one. This means 3D mammography may potentially help detect cancers earlier than conventional mammography. 3) Better detection in dense breast tissue: Dense breast tissue, often found in younger women, can cause shadows due to overlapping tissue, which sometimes hides tumors from traditional 2D mammography. 3D mammography takes images of the breast from multiple angles, thereby offering a cutting-edge look through and around breast tissue. 4) Less anxiety: 3D mammography can help reduce false alarms. The improved accuracy in diagnosing abnormal structures offered by a 3D view of the breast decreases the number of unnecessary callbacks to women for additional scans and biopsies. 5) Safe and effective: During a 3D

mammogram, women will ex- microcalcifications perience a negligible amount of • Breast Cancer risk assessadditional radiation, compared ment with a standard mammogram. • Genetic Counseling and Testing (BRCA1 & 2, as well as Breast cancer treatment full genetic panels) The Baton Rouge Clinic is • Specializes in Nipple and also home to one of the region’s Skin Sparing Mastectomies, only Board Certified Surgeons, Simple Mastectomy, Modified Fellowship Trained Surgical Radical Mastectomy, Sentinel Breast Oncologist, Dr. Ever- Lymph Node Biopsy, Axillary ett J. Bonner Jr. Dr. Bonner Lymph Node Dissections and trained at Memorial Sloan Ket- Breast Conserving Surgery • Chemotherapeutic infusion tering Cancer Center, which has been voted as one of the ports (Mediports/Powerports) • High Risk Breast Cancer top two Cancer Centers every year for the last 29 years in U.S. Clinic to include monitoring and risk-reduction breast surNews & World Report. Some of the Breast Cancer gery Surgical Services that we offer • Oncoplastic Techniques and are: Hidden Scar Breast Surgery • Specialized treatment of ev• Male Breast Cancer Surery type of breast cancer with gery and Surgical Treatment the latest therapies of Male Benign Breast Disease • Personalized therapies (Gynecomastia) based on the individual and the cancer’s specific genetic Fighting cancer together makeup Along with providing the • Minimally Invasive Ultra- highest quality of care for sound, Stereotactic and Open our patients, the Baton Rouge surgical breast biopsies Clinic participates annually in • Second opinions Baton Rouge’s Susan G. Komen • Evaluation and treatment Race for the Cure. This annual of benign breast disease to in- event increases awareness in clude: cyst, fibrocystic changes, the community and plays a breast pain, fibroadenomas, and large part in raising funds to


Dr. Everett Bonner Jr., board certified surgeon, fellowship trained surgical breast oncologist, trained at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. help fight breast cancer. This past March we were the largest corporate sponsor, with over 100 Clinic employees and family members including physicians, nurses, and administrative staff, turning out to raise

awareness for the cause. The Baton Rouge Clinic is uniquely poised to continue the fight against breast cancer with women of this region. Together we can ensure your healthiest future possible.

is uniquely poised to continue the fight against breast cancer with the women of this region. Together we can ensure your healthiest future possible.

The Baton Rouge Clinic’s NEW h new Imaging Center for f Women has h The two Genius™ 3D Mammography™ machines.

Why Choose The Genius™ 3D Exam? The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam provides better, earlier breast cancer detection compared to 2D alone. The only mammogram FDA approves as superior for women with dense breasts. It finds 20-65% more invasive breast cancers than 2D mammography alone. Genius™ exams have also been proven to reduce unnecessary callbacks by up to 40%.

Key Facts 1 IN 8 WOMEN Willdevelop developbreast breastcancer cancerinin Will herlifetime. lifetime. her

8 OUT OF 9 WOMEN Diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history But,with withearly earlydetection, detection,the the But, five-year five-yearsurvival survivalrate rateisisalmost almost100% 100% The Baton Rouge Clinic is home to one of the region’s only fellowship-trained breast cancer surgeons:

Everett J. Bonner, Jr., M.D. Specialist in Surgical Breast Oncology

• Completed MD studies at LSU-New Orleans Medical School • Completed Fellowship in Surgical Breast Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center • Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at Tulane School of Medicine • Specializes in treatment and diagnosis of Breast Cancer and Benign Breast Disease • Active Staff Privileges at OLOL, BR General and Woman’s Hospital

For additional information please contact The Baton Rouge Clinic at (225) 769-4044 • 7373 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808 • www.BatonRougeClinic.com



Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate


Is there breast cancer in your family tree? Cancer genetic testing sheds light on level of risk for some individuals yet has limitations.


Special to the Advocate What’s your risk of developing breast cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, the average risk for a woman in the United States to develop breast cancer is 12 percent. Statistically, this means that at some point in her life, one woman out of every eight will be diagnosed with breast cancer. But how do you know if you’re the “one”? For women with a family history of breast cancer or other types of cancer, genetic testing may be the answer. Hillary Wienpahl, a certified genetic counselor at Woman’s Hospital, said genetic testing can determine if “a hereditary predisposition to cancer is present.” According to Wienpahl, genetic testing uses a blood (or

occasionally a saliva) sample to see if there are mutations within the 22,000 genes that make up every cell within a person’s body. “Every gene has its own job in the body. Certain genes serve as a kind of protective mechanism against cancer. If one of those genes has a mutation, it increases the risk for developing cancer. A mutation is a change in a gene that causes it to not work properly,” she said. What happens if a mutation is found? Does that mean a breast cancer diagnosis is imminent? Not necessarily. It can, however, clarify a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer, Wienpahl explained. “And it can help guide screening recommendations for that woman, like the type of screening and how frequently screening should be performed,” she added. Everett Bonner, a specialist in breast surgical oncology, said genetic testing begins with a thorough medical history of both the patient and the patient’s family. When researching relatives, any present or past cancer, especially breast, prostate, pancreatic or ovarian cancers, are noted. Other important factors include the age each cancer was detected, any diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer and breast cancer with any known Ashkenazi Jewish descent. “Knowing these points in your history and your family’s history can determine if you are an appropriate person to be screened,” he said, adding that when it comes to genetic testing, one aspect most people overlook is the strong link between breast cancer and ovarian cancer. “If you have a personal history of ovarian cancer or a mother or close relative with ovarian cancer then that actually puts you at a higher risk for developing breast cancer than breast cancer itself,” Bonner said. He explained that while the average woman’s risk for breast cancer starts at 12 percent, the risk for a woman with ovarian cancer can jump as high as 80 percent for breast cancer by the time she is 80 years old. What about a woman already diagnosed with breast cancer? Can she benefit from genetic testing in determining her risk for ovarian cancer? One of the problems with ovarian cancer is not many screen modalities can catch it, according to Bonner.

However, a woman who has a mutation in BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, two common genes typically tested for breast cancer, runs a higher risk of having ovarian cancer. “In that case, your risk goes from an extremely low risk for the average woman to between 40 percent to 60 percent,” said Bonner. While having knowledge of a person’s risks through genetic testing can help in making present and future health decisions, Bonner cautioned about what to do when a gene mutation doesn’t exist. “The patient’s entire personal and family history needs to be included in genetic counseling. Just because a test was okay doesn’t mean there is no risk,” Bonner said, adding that genetic testing is an evolving field with medical and technological advances constantly being made. However, while genetic testing provides valuable information, it is not for everyone. Using some rough statistics noted while completing a fellowship in surgical breast oncology at Memorial SloanKettering Cancer Center in New York, Bonner explained further. “A woman who is of nonJewish descent and of the average risk, her risk for having a mutation for breast cancer is at .25 percent. A woman of Ashkenazi Jewish descent is about 2.5 percent of having a mutation, and a woman of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with a family history of breast cancer has a 25 percent risk of having a mutation,” he said. For anyone (woman or man) wanting to know their risk for breast cancer or any other cancer, Bonner emphasized knowing their personal and family histories first. In addition, he suggested contacting a medical professional who specializes in genetic counseling and testing if there are any questions or concerns. He also noted there are some websites that can provide good information, such as the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), but he cautioned some internet sites can be commercial and not research-based, which can cause needless confusion or concern. Ultimately, Bonner said it is the patient and the patient’s family, working in consultation with their doctor, who must decide the best way to use genetic testing and the best way to proceed with its results.

Menopause can be a factor in cancer risk, treatment Metro Media

diminish in a woman’s body after menopause sets in. HowMenopause occurs when a ever, NIH’s Women’s Health woman’s reproductive cycle Initiative Study has found that is over and she can no longer women undergoing HRT have produce offspring. For many a higher risk of breast cancer, women, menopause occurs among other conditions. around age 50. WebMD also says evidence While menopause itself is suggests that the longer a not a risk for woman is exWomen who want to p o s e d t o f e breast or other cancers, it’s imlower their risk for male hormones, portant to know various cancers are w h e t h e r i t ’s that some sympmade by urged to eat healthy those tom treatments the body, taken diets, quit smoking as a drug or and other factors and maintain healthy delivered by a can increase the patch, the more risk for cancer body weights. likely she is to among menodevelop breast pausal women. A woman going through cancer. That means that HRT perimenopause, the transi- can increase breast cancer tion into menopause, or meno- risk and also indicates that pause may experience various the longer a woman remains symptoms, which can range fertile the greater her risk for from hair loss to food cravings certain cancers. Females who began mento hot flashes to vaginal dryness. Some women undergo struating before age 12 or combined hormone therapy, entered menopause after age also called hormone replace- 55 will have had many ovulament therapy, or HRT, to help tions. This increases the risk relieve menopausal symptoms of uterine, breast and ovarian such as hot flashes and osteo- cancers, states the American porosis. This therapy replaces Society of Clinical Oncology. estrogen and progestin, which It also may impact a woman’s

chances of developing endometrial cancer. Gaining weight after menopause can also increase a woman’s risk of breast can-

Bring your lawn chair. Stay afterwards for lunch.

cer, states the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight or even losing a little weight can be beneficial.

Women who enter menopause are not necessarily at a higher risk for breast cancer, but some factors tied to menopause can play a role. Females

who want to lower their risk for various cancers are urged to eat healthy diets, quit smoking and maintain healthy body weights. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

All Saints Day Mass in the Park Thursday, November 1st 2018 11:00 AM

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Breast Cancer Awareness In loving memory of

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The Advocate





Sunday, October 7, 2018



A journey from a Twinkle to a Celebrity BY CHANTE WARREN Special to The Advocate

Here’s a bit of clariďŹ cation. No, Twinkle Daniels’ ďŹ rst name is not a nickname. “I was the twinkle in my mom’s eye, the ďŹ rst born,â€? said Daniels of her birth name. The true nickname she earned in fall 2015, “celebrity,â€? followed her cancer diagnosis, invasive ductal carcinoma, an invasive form of cancer which makes up 80 percent of breast cancer diagnosed. Doctors removed Daniels’ left breast in November and in 2016 she started chemotherapy. She lost her hair and experienced physical and emotional changes, she said. Still, she wore her stilettos and glamour wigs, earning her the nickname, “celebrityâ€? at Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, she said. “I went to chemo like I was on the red carpet,â€? Daniels said. It made her feel like a champion in the face of her battle with cancer, she said. Daniels, 50, of Baton Rouge and a Ville Platte native, is a divorced mother of two and active grandmother of four grandchildren ages 9, 7, 5 and 3. She brings her grandchildren to events sponsored by Mary Bird Perkins and American Cancer Society of Baton Rouge. Through the cancer therapy sessions and support programs, Daniels has learned to share her struggles. “It encourages me to want to speak out to other women who have been through what I’ve been through and it gets me through that ‘you have breast cancer mode,’â€? Daniels said. She faced another scare in June when Daniels’ said doctors found a lump in her right breast. Her fears were allayed once she learned it was scar tissue from a previous breast reduction surgery, she said. Still, Daniels said she wants to eventually remove her remaining breast. The scare reminded her of

Twinkle Daniels, cancer survivor, poses on the walkway of the Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, left, where she is called ‘celebrity’ because of the glamour she brings from wearing stilettos, dressy outfits and wigs. Right, when her workplace held a cancer survivor’s breakfast last fall, Daniels displayed her more whimsical side.

Twinkle Daniels, breast cancer survivor, celebrates her ‘Nifty 50’ birthday celebration last summer on June 30. her worst fear in summer 2015 when she felt a different sickness from anything she’d experienced. She remembered the feeling of “something was forming in my body.� She underwent screening in October and doctors found a lump about the size of a quarter or larger. “When they called me, I kind of knew. The doctor said I had an aggressive cancer. I had a fog over my whole body. I was numb and walking

and talking,â€? she recalled. Daniels’ usual smile and warm personality remained, but it was challenging, she explained. “People see the huge smile, the funny person and the people person. But there is hurt and pain behind the smile,â€? she said. Her home ooded during the 2016 ood and insurance did not cover the damaged contents of her home, she said. Chemo

treatments continued during the aftermath of the ood and an old friend, who became her boyfriend, accompanied her to many of her treatments and the pair stayed in temporary housing while Daniels’ home was under repair. She credited her boyfriend for encouraging her to dress up for her chemo appointments. “My boyfriend said ‘you’re not going to go there dressed like anything,’â€? he told her. His encouragement reminded Daniels’ to get “dressed upâ€? as she once had before cancer. Those dress-up days also helped her push through the stressful renovation work including after her contractor bailed on her and did not complete the work, she said. Chemo treatments were difďŹ cult and

taking off from work to tend to renovations at her home proved a challenge, she said. She admitted the cancer and the ood put her life in disarray. “It’s like I lost myself a little bit,â€? she said. “During the cancer, I lost my house. Thank God I didn’t lose my family.â€? Daniels’ strong will to ďŹ ght has kept her vigilant. “God puts things in your life to make you stronger. I’ll keep pushing,â€? she said. Though life has not been the same since her cancer diagnosis, the “disarrayâ€? helps her seek help. “I’m going to these (cancer survivor) functions to give me hope and it lets me know it’s Ok to go on and live your life,â€? While sometimes Daniels’ admits she feels like she is “gasp-

ing for air these three years,� she knows that she must swim and not sink. “I’m a Christian and a strong believer in God. I’m not negative, but I think about ‘what if’ or ‘why is this happening?’ or ‘why didn’t I do it like that because I know it can reoccur,� Daniels said. “But I also think, with God, anything is possible and without God, you have nothing...I get off track, but as long as I focus on his word on a daily basis. I know God knows what I need and he’ll do it in his given time.� Looking ahead, Daniels wants to travel and one day move to another state. “Traveling is therapeutic. And when I’m with family or my girlfriends, it helps and we build each other up,� she said.

Louisiana vs. Alabama

Giving Challenge




Donate at www.KomenBatonRouge.org Monday, October 22 - November 3 Donate to your chosen Komen Affiliate and help determine the winner of the Louisiana vs. Alabama Giving Challenge.

Make a donation of $50 or more by Wednesday, October 31 to be eligible to win a tailgating or watch party prize pack from Creole Cabana!

...Geaux Komen Baton Rouge! To purchase tickets, register, or for a full list of Komen Baton Rouge’s events and programs, visit www.KomenBatonRouge.org or call 225-615-8740. Susan G. Komen Baton Rouge provides breast health educational materials to congregation’s within the Greater Baton Rouge area.




Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate


Understanding clinical trials Willing patients play important role in research BY LORI TUCKER

publicity since eligibility for some trials limits the number of qualified participants. Those interested in Clinical trials are an important clinical trials are advised to use the component of research into breast internet to research active trials. cancer and have led to the adoption of new therapies in both the treat- Q&A with an oncologist ment and prevention of breast canThe Advocate asked Dr. Jay cer. Brooks, chairman of the DepartWhen it comes to the question ment of Hematology and Oncology of whether or not to participate for Ochsner Medical Center-Baton in a clinical trial, it’s important to Rouge. Brooks to answer some comseparate myth from reality and to mon questions about clinical trials. discuss the pros and cons with your Here are his emailed answers. physician. Even women who have never been diagnosed with breast What role do clinical trials play in the treatcancer can participate in trials ment and prevention of breast cancer? seeking the best methods for early “Clinical trials have led to the detection. adoption of new therapies in both Many south Louisiana cancer the treatment and prevention of care centers participate in clinical cancer. Ochsner has led the way in trials. Ocshner Health Systems, this continuously over the last 30 Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of years. Today, we have a large numLake Cancer Center and Baton ber of trials through the National Rouge General Pennington Cancer Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project Center all list clinical trials on their ,which is the longest running rewebsites. search trial in the United States. As with any medical treatment, NSABP has led the way in the espatients are advised to discuss both tablishment of breast conservation the potential benefits and risks in- as the standard of care for women volved with clinical trials with their with breast cancer.” physician before deciding whether or not to participate. Who should consider being in a breast cancer Not all trials receive widespread clinical trial? What would be the benefits of


participating in a trial? “All patients are potentially candidates and should discuss trials with their physician. Not all cancer care facilities have access to clinical trials. Patients can research active trials on the internet and talk to their doctor. A physician should never talk you into or out of a trial, instead refer you to the trial to see if you are eligible. If you are eligible, then the decision should rest on the patient with advice from their physician.” Are clinical trials only for people with advanced cancer? What about people who have a family history of breast cancer or other high risk factors but have not been diagnosed with cancer? “Many research trials are for patients with early-stage cancer and those have led to major advances in the prevention of cancer returning. We have a large number of research trials for patients with advanced cancers, but the majority of patients are being treated in earlier stages to try to prevent their cancer from returning.” Do patients in clinical trials receive the same treatment and care that they would if they were not in a trial? Would treatment in a clinical trial be safe? “There are several different phas-

es in research trials. Ochsner offers trials in several phases, but a majority are Phase 3. These trials are where the standard of care is compared to the standard of care PLUS a new treatment. A large number of trials exist that are Phase 2. This is where new drugs being studied are introduced to larger groups of people. Phase 1 trials, which Ochsner has available through our precision medicine program, are where new drugs are given to patients, usually for the first time.” What are some common myths about clinical trials, and what is your response to them as a physician? “The most common misconception is that you are a ‘guinea pig.’ Studies have demonstrated that patients who participate in research trials actually do better in terms of their outcomes. Some of this may be a result of healthier overall patients being selected for research trials. However, if myself or a family member needed treatment, then I would strongly recommend research trials as the best option. You’re not only getting advice from the physician, but your individual case is reviewed for eligibility in order to determine the best course

WHERE TO GET INFO BreastCancerTrials.org n This nonprofit service offers an online tool to help match patients with trials, including people with metastatic breast cancer. It claims to list all of the U.S.-based trials on ClinicalTrials.gov and Cancer.gov currently looking for volunteers. ClinicalTrials.gov n Provides information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies on a wide range of diseases and conditions. Driving Miss Darby Foundation n This foundation supports patients with breast cancer who are actively participating in a breast cancer trial at a state-licensed medical facility and have incurred expenses related to trial participation. www.drivingmissdarby.org Susan G. Komen’s Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline n To speak to a Komen clinical trial information oncology social worker or specialist, call 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday. (Available in Spanish.) Email to: clinicaltrialinfo@komen.org

Trial comparing 2D, 3D imaging available at 2 area hospitals Advocate staff report Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins–Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center are now enrolling women in the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial, a large, randomized trial comparing two FDA-approved types of digital mammography. Woman’s and the Cancer Center are the only southeast Louisiana sites to offer this trial, which could impact breast cancer screening standards for generations to come. The trial will compare: 1. Standard digital (2D) versus Tomosynthesis (3D) to determine which method results in a long-term reduction of breast cancer mortality. The trial is being conducted at leading breast cancer screening sites across the U.S. and Canada and will include 165,000 participants. Devery Pierce was one of the first patients to register for TMIST when she visited Woman’s Hospital for her annual mammogram. She jumped at

the opportunity to participate in the trial after a breast cancer scare years ago, which happened soon after giving birth to her first daughter. Pierce also had family members diagnosed with cancer and a grandmother who succumbed to breast cancer. “I was fortunate and didn’t have cancer, but I’ve stayed diligent about having annual mammograms over the past 20 years. I’ve passed the importance of breast cancer screenings down to my daughters, and if there’s a way I can give back by participating in this trial, I’m happy to do so,” said Pierce. “I’ve donated blood, plasma and platelets for many years, and participating in TMIST was something else I could do that wouldn’t require any extra time nor money, but would potentially help countless numbers of people.” Key information on TMIST includes: • The trial is for healthy women ages 45 to 74 who are already planning to get routine mammograms.

• Participants will be randomly assigned to get either 2D or 3D screening for the next five years at Woman’s Hospital or Woman’s Mammography Coach. • Participants will be asked to voluntarily contribute blood samples and swabs of cells from inside the mouth to build a biorepository. Participation in the collection of these specimens is not a requirement to participate in the screening mammogram portion of the study. • Researchers will also analyze tissue collected from women who have biopsies because of mammogram findings during the trial. This aspect of the project will improve the understanding of the biology of breast cancers detected through screening. • Most women in the study will be screened annually. Postmenopausal women who do not have certain risk factors for breast cancer will be screened every two years. All participants will be followed until the end of the study in 2025.

“The goal of Woman’s and the Cancer Center’s partnership is to bring advanced, more coordinated breast and gynecologic cancer care to the region, and also to contribute to the larger body of knowledge that will enhance breast cancer mammography standards for all women,” said James F. Ruiz, M.D., radiologist and TMIST principal investigator. “Together, through a ‘master research agreement,’ and by combining both organizations’ expertise, we are delivering many breakthrough clinical trials such as TMIST, as well as other medical and radiation oncology and survivorship research studies.”

through the National Cancer Institute that includes Mary Bird Perkins–Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Center–New Orleans and LSU Health Sciences Center– Shreveport, collectively known as the Gulf South Minority Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program (GSMU-NCORP). GS-MU-NCORP was competitively selected for this collaborative initiative in 2014 to improve cancer treatments in Louisiana through clinical trials, especially for underserved populations. “Through the Cancer Center’s extensive statewide network and in partnership with Woman’s, more trials will be to breast and gyneMore trials become available available cologic cancer patients,” said Woman’s has also joined Dr. Lauren Zatarain, medical a statewide collaboration oncologist, Mary Bird Perkins.

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Breast cancer survival rates soar Metro Media A breast cancer diagnosis can be a devastating blow. Underlying a patient’s initial questions about treatment are concerns about how cancer will affect their lives and also about their own mortality. An estimated 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,960 new cases of non-invasive, or in situ, breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the U.S. this year, according to Breastcancer.org. The good news is that breast cancer incidence rates began decreasing in 2000 after increasing for the previous two decades. In addition, death

rates from breast cancer have been decreasing steadily since 1989. The National Cancer Institute says that the change in age-adjusted mortality rates are an indicator of the progress being made in the fight against breast cancer. The most recent SEER Cancer Statistics Review released in April 2018 indicates cancer death rates among women decreased by 1.4 percent per year between the years of 2006 and 2015. The American Cancer Society says that decreasing death rates among major cancer types, including prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast cancers, are driving

the overall shift in survival. The ACS says breast cancer death rates among women declined by 39 percent from 1989 to 2015. That progress is attributed to improvements in early detection and treatment protocols. For anyone doing the math, over the last 25 years or so, 322,000 lives have been saved from breast cancer. Increased knowledge about breast cancer, early detection through examinations and mammography and improved treatments are helping to drive up the survival rates of breast cancer. Although this does not make diagnosis any less scary, it does offer hope to those recently diagnosed.

“In conjunction with Woman’s, the Cancer Center is bringing more than 20 national trials for breast and gynecologic cancers that cover the cancer care continuum. More studies will be available in the days and weeks ahead. At this time, we have a breast trial for nearly every woman who walks through our doors and we continue to build our gynecologic portfolio as well.” For more information on TMIST or other clinical trials, visit www.SisterhoodStrong. org or call (225) 215-1353. TMIST was co-developed by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (www.ecog-acrin. org/tmist) and the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer. gov/tmist), part of the National Institutes of Health. ECOGACRIN is leading the trial.


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The Advocate





Sunday, October 7, 2018



Survivor sees need for accurate data BY COLETTE DEAN

Special to The Advocate Tolair Jones juggles a busy life as a middle school special education teacher, a wife, and mother of three young girls. But she makes time to serve as an advocate for cancer patients whenever she can. “God left me here for a reason. My purpose and reason is to bring comfort and awareness to others,� Jones said. At age 30, Jones was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma. Then, she learned she was pregnant. After a prayerful time, she pleaded with her physicians to help save the pregnancy. It was decided that Jones could follow an abbreviated course of treatment; immediately after the birth of her daughter Jasmine, at 33 weeks, she began an 8-month course of chemotherapy treatment. After healing from her disease, Jones was delighted to add two more daughters to her family with

the birth of Jaylen and Jordan. Fourteen years later, during a routine mammogram screening, she was called back to take another view. “I thought the reason there was a blur on the scan was because I looked down, and remember thinking, ‘I should have had her take another view again while I was in there,’ � she said. During the follow-up ultrasound, Jones said she could tell the by way the technician was clicking and enlarging the scan that something was wrong. Her diagnosis was Stage I invasive breast cancer. “I was not expecting to hear that,� she said. Due to her past illness, and after gathering many opinions from other breast cancer survivors, Jones decided to get a double mastectomy. “My breasts had served me well. I had been able to nurse my babies, and I wanted to defeat any odds of it coming back again,� she said.

She went through more rounds of chemotherapy and was once again pronounced cancer-free.

Supporting accurate data Since then, Jones has tried to help others who are in the cancer ďŹ ght. She participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and at Komen’s Capitol Day, she joined others in urging lawmakers to designate more funding to the Louisiana Tumor Registry so the state can continue to collect accurate data about all types of cancer. “There’s still a high percentage of African American women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at later stages, because they don’t have the education to know they need to seek attention,â€? she said. Jones grew up in St. James Parish, sometimes referred to as “Cancer Alley,â€? and it disturbs her whenever she visits her hometown. “Over 100 people have died in my hometown since I have been diagnosed with cancer. They’ve died

from all types of cancer. Every time I hear about another diagnosis or that someone has died, it brings tears to my eyes,â€? she said. “I don’t know what it is. Is it our food? Our water?â€? she asked. Jones has participated in several rallies in the community to help bring attention to the issue. Ever-grateful for the help and information she received from other survivors when she was coping with her cancer diagnosis, Jones said she too tries to share her story with others. And opportunities present themselves in many ways. One day, in the restroom of a movie theater, she overheard two survivors discussing their surgeries and she joined in the discussion. “It wasn’t long before we were all raising up our shirts, showing our scars, and sharing our stories,â€? she laughed. “I want what I went through to beneďŹ t others. I’m not meant to be comfortable, but to be a comfort,â€? she said.


Joining Tolair Jones for a selfie at the 2018 Komen Race are her husband Bruce Jones (far back) with daughters Jaylen and Jasmine and, from left behind Tolair, her sisters Shelita Monconduit and Lesia Smith, niece Chelsie Brown and sister Rene Brown.

BRG’s Pop-up Pink Pumpkin Patch promotes breast cancer awareness


Baton Rouge General’s pink pumpkin patch opened recently at Picardy Avenue and Bluebonnet Boulevard. A special pink hybrid pumpkin promotes breast cancer awareness.

Thousands of pink pumpkins mysteriously popped up on Baton Rouge General’s Bluebonnet campus over the weekend as a breast cancer awareness initiative to promote the importance of mammogram screenings. Pink pumpkins?! At a handful of farms across the country, farmers are growing a special hybrid of pumpkins in a muted pink color to aid in raising breast cancer awareness. These unique pumpkins are grown using Porcelain Doll pumpkin seeds. “Breast cancer deaths have dropped dramatically in the past two decades, thanks to better treatment, greater awareness and more women getting mammograms,� said BRG President and CEO Edgardo Tenreiro. “We want to continue to keep mammogram screening top of mind

for women, and our pink pumpkin patch is a fun reminder.â€? Women in the U.S. have a 1-in-8 lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. A mammogram can often ďŹ nd or detect breast cancer early, when it’s small, and even before a lump can be felt. Women over 40 should talk to their doctor about their risk for breast cancer and when they should schedule a mammogram. Early detection of breast cancer by mammography leads to a greater range of treatment options, including less-extensive surgery and fewer serious side effects. The public is invited to visit the pink pumpkin patch at Bluebonnet Boulevard and Picardy Avenue, take photos, and bring home a free pink pumpkin to display. The patch

will remain open until all of the pumpkins are gone. “We want to see pink pumpkins on every porch in Baton Rouge,â€? Tenreiro said. “Spread the word and place a pink pumpkin on your porch this fall to promote breast cancer awareness or to honor someone you know that might be ďŹ ghting cancer.â€? To schedule a mammogram, visit protectyourpumpkins. com or call 769-1847. You can also register for BRG’s mammogram screening event on Oct. 27, but spots are limited. Mammos & Mimosas provides clinical breast exams and mammograms to women who have not had a screening in the last year. The event also includes morning brunch, mimosas, live music, swag bags and more. Visit BRGeneral.org/mammos for more information.

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Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate


Professional foodie regains joy of eating Survivor says chemo’s effect on taste was the ‘worst’ part BY COLETTE DEAN

Special to The Advocate Kay Ewing has been a professional foodie for almost 30 years. Through the years, the local cookbook author was known for her all-inclusive cooking classes, “Kay Ewing’s Everyday Gourmet Cooking School.” Anxious participants from Baton Rouge and surrounding areas lined up in advance to sign up for the quarterly-held classes. So it was more alarming to her than most when she lost her sense of taste, smell, and appetite during chemotherapy treatments following a diagnosis of HER2/neu breast cancer in March 2017. Ewing had a mastectomy, which she admitted, “That was the easy part.” “For me, it was the chemotherapy that was the worst,” she said. Side effects from chemotherapy are different for very patient, and Ewing had been told to expect some of them. But the aversion to foods she had always loved was extreme. “I always had a high sense of smell and taste, so maybe that’s why it was so hard for me during the chemotherapy,” she said. Ewing said she couldn’t tolerate anything made with flour, which included her beloved pasta, breads, crackers, cookies, and baked goods, all foods of which she had once created recipes. “I couldn’t tolerate any amount of coffee, cheese, nuts, or chocolate, and I’m a chocoholic!” she said. Husband, Tim, a retired family practice physician, would try and make her eat a malt every day to help her get some nutrition during the worst days. “All I kept thinking was my one goal was to be able to eat and taste again,” she said. Robin Strate, a registered dietitian with the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion at Woman’s Hospital and the Woman’s Center for Wellness, is familiar with Ewing’s plight. Strate routinely helps patients undergo-

ing chemotherapy for all types of cancer try to maintain their nutrition. Strate and her colleagues offer a class series on “Surviving Cancer, Living Well: Cancer Nutrition,” which addresses plant-based nutrition, cooking, grocery store tours, and guidelines on what foods to limit and foods to avoid. Strate said, “Taste changes, diarrhea, nausea are common side effects of chemotherapy. During this time, it’s also most crucial to make sure nutritional needs are being met,” she said. Strate said she tries to meet with patients before their first treatments and between treatment cycles to offer help and guidance. During the course of treatment, Strate said she teaches food safety and food-handling practices, which are of utmost importance during this time due to the chemo patient’s immune suppression during treatment. Washing produce and avoiding cross-contamination with foods is important for someone who is neutropenic, or has a low white blood cell count, which weakens the immune system and increases infection risks. For purchased food, this means re-washing pre-washed foods such as bagged carrots and lettuces. Between treatments, Ewing said she was able to tolerate raw fruits, avocado, and grilled chicken. She found a sweet potato loaded with butter and sugar tolerable and it helped give her calories. “During my chemo appointments, we had these wonderful volunteers bring around snacks and drinks for all of us. I felt like I was on an airplane when I was there. It was disappointing I couldn’t eat anything,” she said. Post-chemo treatments, Ewing said she knew she was getting better when she was finally able to enjoy fresh pasta with tomato sauce. Now she is back to normal and eating the foods she has always loved. “I’m back to getting my chocolate fix every day,” she said.


For cookbook author Kay Ewing, a challenging side effect of chemotherapy was an aversion to the foods she always loved. Now, she’s back to normal and enjoying food again. Robin Strate, a registered dietitian with the Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion at Woman’s Hospital and the Woman’s Center for Wellness, prepares food for a class on nutrition for cancer patients. People undergoing chemotherapy need to be extra careful about safe food-handling and getting the nutrients that they need.

Cookbook by Holly Clegg focuses on nutrition during treatment

In 2001, the first edition of Eating Well Through Cancer, a cookbook written by co-authors Holly Clegg and Dr. Gerald Miletello, was published with the goal of helping patients undergoing chemotherapy and their caregivers with nutrition. Since that time, the book has been highly recommended to cancer patients by local registered dietitians. The book has undergone revisions and expansions, and includes meal ideas for patients undergoing chemotherapy the day of and post treatment as well as foods to help combat neutropenia, nausea, constipation, and sore mouth or throat as well as tips for caregivers. Clegg, a food columnist for The Advocate’s EatPlayLive section, was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer and has been undergoing treatment since late August.

Survivor’s family goes into caregiver mode BY CHERÉ COEN

Special to The Advocate Hearing a doctor say the word “cancer” strikes fear in the heart. For Dr. Delores CormierZenon, a geometry teacher at Lafayette Christian Academy, the experience was no different. “After you hear that word, nothing after that you hear,” she said. “My first response was oh my God, my kids.” But as the doctor explained her breast cancer diagnosis to Cormier-Zenon, she felt her head being lifted up. That’s when she saw the cross on the wall. “And I thought, you have been chosen,” she explained. “It’s like God knew this was going to happen. He paved the way.” Cormier-Zenon used her faith to guide her through every step of the process, from diagnosis to healing. “I think every experience is unique, to the point where you are called, a calling for you to walk through it,” she said. “I knew that God had me. I can’t explain but I knew that God had me. He chose me to walk the passion.” Cormier-Zenon’s diagnosis required chemotherapy before and after her surgery, plus radiation, and she has nothing but praise and gratitude for her “entourage” of doctors and nurses. Something else she attributes to faith and God is how everything fell into place. Her husband would be home on days when he wasn’t supposed to be, days when she needed him. An appointment would appear when the schedule was full. “It was interesting, the events, as they went on,” she said. Through it all, family was by her side. At the time, her

‘Hope’ by Christian Zenon tells the story of his mother’s surgery, chemotherapy and the family’s faith that she would be cured from his point of view as a teenager. PROVIDED PHOTOS

Delores Cormier-Zenon with her son Corey Zenon, who was a high school senior when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I never had to go to chemo by myself. They were just there, in the space.” DELORES CORMIER-ZENON, breast cancer survivor youngest son, Christian, was 12 and her oldest son, Corey, was a senior at Teurlings High School. “They immediately went into caregiver mode,” she explained, cooking her breakfast, making sure she had the right foods and being protective of who visited so she wouldn’t pick up viruses. Christian Zenon even moved a cot into her room. “It brought me comfort so I could sleep,” she said. Her mother and husband contributed and her brother, La-

fayette neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Cormier, who used to live out of town, drove in for her procedures, sometimes driving all night, she said. “I never had to go to chemo by myself,” Cormier-Zenon said with a smile. “They were just there, in the space.” At the time of her surgery and therapy, Cormier-Zenon was working toward her doctorate at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She tried to continue working as before but realized she had to slow down. It was a

Delores Cormier-Zenon shares a hug with her son, Christian Zenon, who wrote “Hope,” a book about his experiences with his mother, which gives his view as teenager about his mother’s surgery, chemotherapy and the family’s faith that she would be cured. lesson she learned for life, she said. “I was still trying to be Wonder Woman,” she explained. “So, I slowed down and tried to smell the roses.” Cormier-Zenon’s been cancer

free eight years this December. She’s learned to eat right, exercise, find balance in life and watch her stress levels. She makes time every morning to attend Mass with her mother. “Taking time to love life is

important,” she said. “Time in God’s presence and I do that daily. It’s also important that I connect with family. I think the cancer deepened my relationships, especially with my children.” Her youngest son, Christian, wrote a book titled “Hope,” about his experiences with his mom, whom he calls his “best friend.” It’s a teenager’s view of his mother going through cancer surgery and treatment and their faith that she would be cured. Cormier-Zenon gives the heart-warming book to anyone going through cancer treatments. The books are available at Miles Perret Cancer Services and the American Cancer Society. “I try to support them,” she said of cancer patients. “Tell them you can beat this, just keep the faith. I’m blessed to be here and to share my story and hopefully inspire others not to give up.”

The Advocate

Message of Hope





Sunday, October 7, 2018



Breast cancer used to feel like the end of the world — not any more BY PATRICIA GANNON fete@theadvocate.com

Alexa John was 44 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at a routine annual mammogram. “I never felt a lump,” she said. “I was offered an ultrasound and they caught it really early.” “I’ve spent way too much of my forties in doctors’ offices.” Younger than 50 is considered young for breast cancer. She counts among her saving graces Dr. Kenneth Odinet and the Miles Perret Center. “He [Odinet] was my first phone call,” she said. “He reassured me and gave great referrals. The Miles Perret Center sent me a box of things I might need for surgery. A tank top, a crossword puzzle book, — it’s good to keep your mind going — a small handmade pillow, contact information for Miles Perret, and a big binder, presectioned to organize whoever’s helping you out.” “I was very impressed.” The Miles Perret Center provides services to individuals and their families surviving or living with cancer. Via Mobile Miles, their reach extends to Acadia, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes. In addition to their services such as mastectomy items, medical


Claire Bohn stands in front of a Thousand Origami Cranes, a group of one thousand origami paper cranes held together by strings, at the Miles Perret Center in Lafayette An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods.


Alexa John, who was 44 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, is coming up on her 5-year milestone.

supplies, treatment care kits and a wig room, it provides programs and support groups. The Center is not income-based. “They have books, numbing creams, mobile services — Crowley, Opelousas, New Iberia — their schedule is on the Internet, even a wig free of charge.” Surgeon Jason Breaux and Odinet worked together and planned the surgery, a double

mastectomy. “When you’re early, they can begin the ‘plastic’,” she said. “Breaux I had to find through Odinet. It’s important to have a good relationship with doctors so you can ask the hard questions.” John is coming up on her 5-year milestone, a point which she takes great pride in reaching. Joseph Brierre is her oncologist at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. “He’s amazing, realistic and compassionate. And good at calling my other doctors on the phone.” Diagnosed originally by Dr. Gary Matthews of the Breast Center of Acadiana, she also credits Pink Ribbon Divas, started by three patients Matthews asked to get together and talk about issues. “They are so supportive and welcoming, an eclectic mix of the most

encouraging, informative women,” said John. “They’re willing to share to help you. And they’re hilarious.” “Doctors can be helpful, but it’s the women further down the line willing to tell their stories and take your hand when you can’t even focus. You feel very alone.” But if ever there was a Braveheart, it’s Claire Bohn. Diagnosed for the first time in 1994 at age 50, the doctor’s wife is proof breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. “Rich, poor, tall or small. It enters all our lives,” she said. “What happens, happens.” She should know. This is her third time. “I was 50 in February and diagnosed in April. Twenty years went by — travel, my children, family — then after my 70th birthday, a different type of

breast cancer. After surgery and reconstruction in 2014, no one ever said it would return. That’s the mystery.” Now at 74, Bohn has been diagnosed with yet another aggressive type of breast cancer. She has undergone a lumpectomy and is currently undergoing radiation. The odds are only one and a half percent that cancer will return after a mastectomy. “It never metastasized any of the three times. I’m very fortunate,” she said. Bohn also used surgeon Jason Breaux, who performed her lumpectomy, while medical oncologist Michael Cain and radiation oncologist Perri Prellop comprise the rest of her team. Both Cain and Prellop are from Baton Rouge now practicing in Lafayette. She says three times is tough,

but her medical care is excellent. “Lafayette General is the best hospital in the world, I’ve been there many times for complications. The oncology department at Burdon Riehl also, and CyberKnife Services for radiation.” Bohn now takes the drug Tamoxofen orally. She’s also taking yoga for health and relaxation at the Miles Perret Center. “I’ve been in there when whole families have come for guidance,” she said. “They’re wonderful, all different types of women. Men as well.” Despite her rare diagnosis, she’s chosen to be a beacon of hope for all women. “I want to invite everyone reading this to my 100th birthday party at Charley G’s,” she said. “I’m cancer-free now and I’ll be cancer-free then.”

Survivor: ‘You’ve got to play the card you’re dealt BY CLAIRE SALINAS

Special to The Advocate Brittney Boudreaux was an average 27-year-old, focused on achieving her career goals as a clinical nurse manager in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital, until Christmas Eve 2016 when she discovered a lump in her breast. After making an appointment with her gynecologist and undergoing further testing, Boudreaux was advised to have a biopsy, and her results came back positive for breast cancer. Boudreaux had always relied on the support of her close-knit family, but even they were shaken by the news. “We have always been a really close family and relied heavily on our faith, but when you’re tested like that it can be a defining moment,” said Boudreaux. “It’s interesting to see how those morals and values you’ve been instilled with come into play when you’re up against a wall.” Her family’s involvement in her treatment was key to keeping her spirits up throughout the process. “My dad and mom would get a car in Lafayette on Thursday, my younger sister would drive in from Shreveport and my twin sister would come in from Baton Rouge,” said Boudreaux. “They would drive to Houston where I had my treatments, we would get a hotel room to chill out in and drive back to Lafayette to recover for the weekend, before my dad drove me back to Houston.” Keeping a routine throughout the process was key for Boudreaux, and something she advocates to others going through the chemo process. “I remember after we got my diagnosis, my mom told me, ‘You have to go back to work, I have to go back to work and we have to continue on,’ ” said Boudreaux. “You have to play the cards you’re dealt. My younger sister was an anchor through a lot of it, because she wouldn’t let us have a pity party.” Although she received her diagnosis while living and working in Houston, Boudreaux and


Brittany Boudreaux poses with a big smile on her last day of radiation treatment. her family received immense support from the Acadiana community during her treatment. She and her family have always been involved in giving back to the area, and her dad, Gerald Boudreaux, serves as the Louisiana state senator for District 24 and also serves as the director of the Parks and Recreation Department for Lafayette Consolidated Government. “Miles Perret Cancer Services sent me a care package with some really cute hats and a remedy book for things people with breast cancer commonly experience,” said Boudreaux. “My dad is on the board there, so we are actually very close with them, and it came full circle to have been a volunteer with them as a kid and now to be getting packages from

them.” Looking back on her experience, Boudreaux advises other people going through treatment to “trust your process.” “You have to know that you’re in this only for a little while and better days are coming,” said Boudreaux. “Things aren’t going to be perfect and you’re going to ask yourself why me so many times, but you’re going to come out of this.” Boudreaux hopes her story will inspire others to press through breast cancer, especially if they were diagnosed unexpectedly. “You could be in the prime of your life, trying to reach your goals and hit this bump in the road, but I hope people who go through this look at me and know they can make it out,” said Boudreaux.

The Boudreaux family celebrates when Brittany, right, completes chemotherapy with an Adios to Chemo party. She’s joined, from left, by her father Gerald, twin sister Whittney, mother Carlos and younger sister Hallie.



Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate


Survivor learns accepting help is OK BY RACHELE SMITH

and their families handle the physical, emotional and financial struggles of cancer. For Jun Lee, taking advan“I wasn’t interested in Cantage of her employer’s health cer Services at first,” she said, care incentive paid off in more explaining her only association ways than one. with the organization was it Last summer, Lee scheduled provided wigs and high-nutria yearly mammogram exam. tional drinks, such as “Boost,” It’s something she routinely to cancer patients. did, and since her employer of“I didn’t need any of that,” fered a stipend for having the Lee admitted. screening, it also meant she But it seemed like Cancer would receive an extra $100 Services just kept coming up on her radar. Not only did oththat month. “I looked forward to that ex- er health professionals tell her tra money,” she said, laughing. about the various free services But at that time, Lee was also and events the organization taking charge of her health provides, but she also heard more. She had recently started about it while on the job. a new healthy “Not many “I come from 13 people knew lifestyle, and as siblings, and while my what I was going the day of her screening apthrough at work, oldest sister is the but my superviproached, she planner, I’m the one was making betsors did,” said that keeps everyone ter food choices Lee, who added calm. It was hard. I and exercising that one of her thought I was more. supervisors is “I was losing the father of bullet proof.” weight and feelWhitney Craig, JUN LEE, the director of ing great. Had breast cancer survivor Cancer Services. it not been for “One day, he a fire we expegave me her rienced at my card,” she said. home last year, This time, Lee and the fact that I needed the money, I don’t decided to call; it had been six know if I would have gone for months since her diagnosis. “I just wish I would have the screening then,” she admitmade that call when I was first ted. Today, she’s glad that stipend told about Cancer Services. was offered — shortly after They helped me so much,” said Lee’s screening in August 2017, Lee. An independent nonprofit, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Cancer Services provides an breast cancer. “I was mad [with the diagno- array of assistance for cancer sis]. I was taking care of my- patients and their families. Some of these services include self,” Lee said. “I was just so mad and an- tangible items, such as walkgry,” she added. ers, wheelchairs, bath chairs, But even as she grappled and yes, even wigs and supplewith the news, Lee knew she ment nutrition, said Craig. also had to tell her family. “All of our services are free “That was the tough part,” of charge, not because someone she said, explaining that while is needy, but because cancer is her husband and children were expensive. No matter where told immediately, she didn’t let you are in life, if you are blue her brothers and sisters know collar, white collar, rich, poor, until two months after the di- whatever; it’s expensive and these services help fill those agnosis. “I come from 13 siblings, and gaps,” said Craig. In addition to tangible items, while my oldest sister is the planner, I’m the one that keeps Cancer Services also provides everyone calm. It was hard. I counseling, both individual and thought I was bullet proof,” Lee group, for patients and their said. family members. During the next months, Lee Craig said the organization learned about her treatment sponsors several camps that plan. Alongside details of a can especially benefit children. double mastectomy, chemo- These camps include Camp therapy and radiation, she was Care, a summer day camp for also told about Cancer Servic- children with cancer and their es, a local organization work- siblings; Camp Climb, a suming in partnership with Mary mer day camp for children Bird Perkins-Our Lake of Lake with a parent in treatment; Cancer Center to help patients Camp Spotlight, a theater camp

Special to the Advocate


ABOVE: Jun Lee, left, poses with a tiger statue during an outing to an LSU baseball game. Attending, from left, were Jan Lee, Jacqueline Lee, Delana Singleton, and Danielle Singleton. The Children and Family Program at Cancer Services gives families opportunities to relax and have fun while a loved one is undergoing cancer treatment. presented by Manship Theater and Cancer Services for children affected by cancer; and Camp Erin, an overnight camp for children who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Craig noted that these camps help children and teens know they are not alone, and “they can feel what they feel.” In addition to physical and emotional assistance, Craig said Cancer Services also provides financial help to patients in need. The organization is able to provide these free programs, which include family events to places like Skate Galaxy and LSU baseball games, thanks to grants and fundraising efforts, Craig explained. Last month, “Gala Goes Gatsby,” a fundraising bash highlighting the joint efforts of Cancer Services and Mary Bird Perkins-0ur Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, premiered. Craig explained that it is only through generous donations from others that Lee and her family and the thousands of other people affected by cancer in our community can be served.

Komen website lists area resources Staff report In the fight against breast cancer, it’s not always clear where to find help. Jennifer Cortes with Susan G. Komen Baton Rouge recommends Komen Baton Rouge’s website for information about resources in Baton Rouge and surrounding parishes. Cortes, mission and strategic outreach coordinator, says the listings on the website are updated frequently, so check often. The information is provided in Eng-

lish and Spanish. Listings include government resources, free screening and mammography services, transportation, meals, food pantries, lodging, medication and copay assistance programs, financial assistance, organizations providing support, support groups and educational information.

ON THE INTERNET: komenbatonrouge.org Look for the pull-down menu under About Breast Cancer for the

link to Local Resources for You. HELPLINE: Komen’s Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EMAIL: Komen’s provides free, professional support services to anyone with breast cancer questions or concerns, including people diagnosed with breast cancer and their families at helpline@komen.org.

BRG boutique offers cancer-related items Staff report Baton Rouge General opened The Healing Boutique in March. The Healing Boutique is a full-service retail store specializing in cancer-related items that span the full spectrum of cancer patient needs. Patients and their loved ones can find helpful products at the shop, from pillows and journals to lotions and hats, to eyebrow kits, wigs and prosthetics. “Everyone thinks of hair loss and wigs when they think of cancer, but even day-to-day tasks like eating meals can be incredibly difficult once treatment starts,” said Dr. Gerald Miletello, oncologist. “Now after patients visit the clinic, I can direct them to the same building for items that will provide relief.” Located in the Baton Rouge General gift shop, The Healing Boutique offers patients a private entrance, private dressing

the 30,000-square foot expansion of the hospital’s Pennington Cancer Center slated to be complete in 2019. “The vision for The Healing Boutique started years ago when Dr. Miletello recognized a need to offer resources to both men and women with all types of cancer,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, president and CEO of BRG. “As of today, this is the only space of its kind in the area that’s open after 5 p.m. and on weekends – but even this is just a start. As we learn more about what will help cancer paPROVIDED PHOTO tients during recovery, we hope to expand and offer even more In a setting providing privacy, products.” The Healing Boutique in Baton The Healing Boutique is loRouge General offers items cated at Baton Rouge General – Bluebonnet, 8585 Picardy appropriate for a variety of Avenue, near Entrance 2. Valet cancer-related needs. parking is available. Learn more at brgeneral.org/ room, and individual appoint- healingboutique, call (225) 763ments as necessary. The shop is 4144, or visit the shop on Instaalso conveniently located near gram: @healingboutique.

“Going through cancer is scary,” said Lee. “But when I was going through chemotherapy, Cancer Services helped calm me down. I just can’t say enough wonderful things about the people who work there,” she added. Just a few months ago, Lee completed her treatment plan. Her hair is now growing back, and her spirits are high. So, what’s next? Lee said she is scheduled to have breast reconstruction surgery in January. “A new year, a new you,” noted Craig, smiling, as she listened to Lee talk about the future. “Yes, indeed,” added Lee, laughing. “Yes, indeed.”

Joshua ‘JRob’ Roberts with GymFit gives directions to Jun Lee’s daughters Jacqueline Lee, left, and Jan Lee, right, during a Cancer Services sponsored outing to GymFit.

The Advocate


Breast cancer diagnosis threatened bride’s fertility Emily McIntosh was on top of the world in the winter of 2013. Just 25 years old and in her fourth year of medical school at LSU-Shreveport, she had just matched in her chosen field of ophthalmology and would begin her residency in Memphis in just six short months. But Emily had more than a residency to be excited about. She was also engaged to fellow med school classmate Philippe Prouet. As the new year unfolded, the Farmerville native was busy planning the final details of her wedding that would be in early May, around the time that she and Philippe would graduate from medical school. But a nagging lump in her breast overshadowed her excitement of graduation and nuptials. After self-detecting the lump a year and a half earlier, Emily had consulted a physician. An ultrasound revealed a small fibrous mass, but her physician felt it appeared benign. He decided to watch it and advised her to come back every six months. Now, on the verge of major life events, Emily decided she couldn’t live with the uncertainty any longer and pushed for a biopsy. It came back as infiltrating ductal breast carcinoma, one of the most common types of breast cancers. What happened next seems like a blur. Diagnosed on a Thursday, Emily and Philippe quickly looked at her options. “I was determined to go through with the wedding in May and start my residency on time,” says Emily, which meant beginning treatment as quickly as possible. As medical students, they

knew that chemotherapy and radiation could potentially make her sterile. In the midst of their medical training, “kids weren’t even on our radar,” says Emily. But, they needed to consider a way to preserve her fertility now for that possibility later. For women in their 20s and early 30s, fertility preservation before cancer treatment most often means using advanced cryopreservation techniques to freeze a woman’s oocytes, or unfertilized eggs, for future use. During an egg freezing cycle, a woman will go through many of the same steps that are involved with in vitro fertilization used to treat infertility issues. These steps include stimulating the ovaries over several weeks with heavy doses of hormones and then surgically removing the matured eggs. After egg retrieval, the eggs are cultured for a few hours and then frozen the same day. Deciding this was the right option for them, Emily and Philippe immediately contacted a fertility clinic in Dallas, but were told they couldn’t fit Emily in for a month. Philippe, whose mother had passed away from acute myeloid leukemia, understood that timing was critical. Speaking with his aunt who lived in Lafayette where Philippe had also grown up, she told him about her former high school classmate, Dr. John Storment, who was back practicing as a reproductive endocrinologist in the city. “Aunt Julie quickly connected us with Dr. Storment and he agreed to meet us on that Sunday in his office, just three days after her biopsy,” remem-




Sunday, October 7, 2018



What to expect before and after breast surgery easy access. Some women also opt to get fitted for post-op Mastectomy is a treatment garments, including a lymphfor women diagnosed with edema sleeve. Lymphedema is breast cancer or those who are a swelling of the area, and it genetically predisposed to can- is a common side effect. It is cer. The removal of one or both helpful to be prepared before breasts, mastectomy surgery such items are needed. may involve removing just the breast tissue or, in some cases, After surgery the lymph nodes as well. Mastectomy surgeries typiAs with any surgery, the sur- cally last between two and geon will provide instructions three hours. Some may last about medically advised steps longer if reconstruction is to prepare for surgery. Many performed at the same time. hospitals provide a patient nav- Patients will be admitted to igator who will be available to a hospital stay for a day or answer questions. The process two and moved to a recovery of recovering is different for room, and will need to be driveveryone, and not all mastec- en home upon discharge. tomies are the same. Surgery Expect to be bandaged and and recovery interrupt normal possibly have a surgical drain routines, so patients have non- at the wound site. The nonprofmedical issues to plan for as it resource Breastcancer.org well. says the drain usually remains Here is a general idea of what in place one to two weeks after patients can expect before and surgery. Fluid will have to be after mastectomy surgery. emptied from the detachable drain bulb a few times per day. Before surgery Sutures that are dissolvable A mastectomy is performed will not require removal. Patients should follow the under general anesthesia. Therefore, patients should ex- recovery plans outlined by pect to undergo routine physi- their doctors. Rest is most cal exams and may require a important during this time, so surgical pre-clearance from a do not overdo exercise or othdoctor and the surgical hospi- er activities, although some tal or center. Blood tests and movements to relieve shoulan EKG may be ordered as der stiffness may be advised. well. Pain, numbness, itching, and Prior to surgery, patients myriad other symptoms may are advised to make plans occur. Take pain medications for childcare, meal prepara- only as needed and directed. tion, shopping, work require- Weakness is expected in the ments, and more. As mastec- arms and shoulders. Ask for tomy is an invasive procedure, help lifting, moving or pickpatients may experience pain ing up items. and fatigue after surgery. Emotional side effects can Planning well before the sur- be just as profound as physigery date can relieve some cal ones. Fear of the cancer, stress and help patients focus body image issues and a sense on their recoveries. of loss can occur. Having a After surgery, patients will strong support team can help, be more comfortable wearing as can speaking with a profesclothing that is loose around sional counselor. the arms and chest. Part of It can take several weeks planning for a smooth recov- to start feeling like oneself ery may include checking again after mastectomy surone’s closets for comfortable gery. Women should not hold clothes and shopping, if a themselves up to anyone else’s patient doesn’t already have standards and be patient and such items. Zip-up tops or hopeful because this challengthose with front buttons afford ing time is temporary. Metro Media


Emily McIntosh and Philippe Prouet were engaged to be married when she learned she had breast cancer. Concerned that treatment would affect her fertility, the couple turned to Fertility Answers to preserve their options. After a year of treatment, Emily became pregnant on her own, and the couple have 4-year-old twins Parker and Graham. bered Philippe. Two weeks after first consulting with Dr. Storment, Emily successfully cryopreserved nine oocytes at the Fertility Answers clinic in Lafayette. Nine possible chances of creating her and Philippe’s future family. She then began eight intense months of chemotherapy followed by radiation and Tamoxifen interspersed with a wedding and residency. What happened after treatment she can only describe as a complete miracle. After nearly a year of treatment, she became pregnant on her own unexpectedly with twins, her body still recovering from the assault of chemotherapy and

radiation. Five years since Emily became cancer free, 4-year-old twins Parker and Graham keep Emily busy. She’s an ophthalmologist at the VA hospital in Memphis while Philippe finishes his last year in a hematology/oncology fellowship. Next summer, the Prouet family has plans to relocate to Lafayette where Philippe and Emily will both begin practicing medicine. “We definitely want more children,” says Emily. “We’re even considering adoption.” But, those nine frozen eggs give her some comfort and hope that additions to her family will always be possible.



Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate

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The Advocate





Sunday, October 7, 2018



Survivor: Get your mammogram School secretary stays optimistic during preventative chemotherapy


Special to The Advocate Mary Guilbeau, of Scott, wasn’t thinking of cancer when her doctor found a lump in her left breast. Her mammogram 11 months before had been clear. She also didn’t worry. She had suffered with fibrosis and cysts in the past, noncancerous or benign changes in breast tissue that feel hard to the touch. None of those had turned out cancerous. Further tests, ultrasound and a MRI proved otherwise, however. In fact, the MRI showed two lumps, which meant surgery and postsurgery treatment would be more involved than what her doctor had thought on ďŹ rst diagnosis. “This was a shocker,â€? she said. “It was simple at ďŹ rst but then it got complicated.â€? Once Guilbeau had breast cancer surgery, her oncologist, Dr. Molly Thomas, recommended weeks of chemotherapy, a post-operative drug

treatment applied to patients for chemo is to have a cup of to kill cancer cells lingering chipped ice,� Guilbeau said. in the body. The treatment is Guilbeau, 69, has worked effective, but as a secretary Mary Guilbeau, who at Katharine because it kills good cells as laughs a lot and has Drexel Elemenwell as bad can a contagious smile, tary in Brouscause a host of ard for 29 wrapped her head in syears side effects, with 38 scarves and hats and years in public such as fatigue, carried on. hair loss, nauschools. Her sea and infeccancer didn’t tion. stop her from “She recommended four working. “If I had chemo on Thurschemos every three weeks as preventative,� Guilbeau day, I would go to work on explained. “At first, I didn’t Friday,� she said. want chemo because if you’re Her hair fell out the second not sick and then you go get round of chemo and she lost sick with chemo.� her nails. In between chemo It was an all-day event for treatments she experienced Guilbeau’s chemo treatments, problems with swallowing she said, involving intra- and a lack of taste. But Guilvenous infusions through a beau, who laughs a lot and has catheter in her chest — one a contagious smile, wrapped Guilbeau calls a “port� — that her head in scarves and hats lasted about three or more and carried on. She received hours. The staff at the Cancer both from Miles Perret CanCenter of Acadiana made pa- cer Services in Lafayette, tients comfortable, she added, which offers free wigs, hats, offering televisions, snacks, turbans and scarves for candrinks and chipped ice. cer patients, but Guilbeau “They say the best thing also had a nice collection of

caps at home, something she had been collecting for years. One unexpected health condition was migraine headaches. Guilbeau hadn’t experienced those in years but they returned when her doctor took her off hormone pills. “Anything that has to do with hormones, I can’t take,� she said, adding that years of hormone therapy starting with menopause may have been the reason for her breast cancer. The past year has been difficult for Guilbeau because she lives alone; her husband passed away eight years ago, following her parents’ deaths. But she remains optimistic and visits the Lafayette Carmelites every month to pray for family, cancer patients and those who have passed. As for that yearly mammogram, Guilbeau insists it’s necessary, even if cancer will pop up before the year is over. “Everybody’s different,� she said. “I wouldn’t discourage anybody. Do your mammogram.�


Mary Guilbeau, of Scott, didn’t expect her physician to find a lump 11 months after getting a clear mammogram. Her cap collection has been handy while she’s going through preventative chemotherapy.

Tips on how to juggle work, breast cancer treatment Simple tricks help minimize the impact of memory loss, difficulty concentrating Metro Media Many women diagnosed with breast cancer have to juggle both cancer treatment and their careers. Data from the National Cancer Institute indicates that breast cancer rates in women begin to increase after age 40, meaning many women diagnosed with breast cancer have to juggle both their disease and their careers. While age is a risk factor for breast cancer, the disease also can strike women

in their 20s. Breast cancer treatments can produce some cognitive side effects that affect thinking and memory. Memory loss and difďŹ culty concentrating are two such side effects that can make it difďŹ cult for working women to do their jobs while being treated for breast cancer. Professional women diagnosed with breast cancer may be able to take advantage of short- and long-term disability programs that provide a

percentage of their incomes if they are diagnosed with an illness that prevents them from doing their jobs. In addition, Breastcancer. org notes that, in the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to maintain their benefits and keep their jobs while taking up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to heal from serious health conditions. Despite those options, many women may want to continue working while receiving treatment for breast cancer. Such women can heed the following tips, courtesy of Breastcancer.org, to overcome any cognitive effects

of treatment so they can con- might not be so reliable while tinue to perform their jobs women are being treated capably. for breast cancer. Make use of the calendar function on Start taking notes your smartphone or tablet to Start taking notes during note deadlines, even setting meetings, important work-re- alerts so you receive routine lated conversations and even reminders when important doctor’s appointments to coun- dates are coming up. ter any issues with memory. Make and routinely update a Keep such notes on a tablet or smartphone so they can be to-do list quickly and easily accessed Some professional women throughout the day. diagnosed with breast cancer may be juggling work, Write down deadlines and treatment and their famiwork schedules lies. Keeping a to-do list and Accomplished professionals checking items off as they’re may keep lists of deadlines completed can help women and work schedules in their effectively manage such jugheads, but that internal list gling acts and save time.

Set realistic goals Breast cancer treatment can produce a host of side effects, including fatigue. So women who plan to continue working during treatment should be sure to set realistic goals that take into account the effects that treatment may have on their energy levels. If need be, delegate more tasks and ask for more help. Many women continue working while being treated for breast cancer. A few simple adjustments can help such women overcome many treatment-related obstacles.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month

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Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate


Making it through with friends and faith Breast cancer survivor helps others stay strong BY CLAIRE SALINAS

you go through though, and every time I got sick, God would send people to help me through it,â€? said Martin. Her ďŹ rst bout with breast cancer was quite severe, but thanks to friends and neighbors, Martin had everything she needed during her tough season. “I had one friend who would take me to all my appointments, took me out to eat after, drove me to the hospital for surgery and took me to get my prescription and pay for it,â€? said Martin. “I had another friend who kept me at her house for three weeks and wouldn’t let me pay for food while I was there. She had to shower me, and she would get people from our church to take me to my appointments.â€? Martin’s second round of breast cancer wasn’t quite as severe, but the support she received during that time was just as strong as the ďŹ rst time around, with neighbors doing things like mowing her grass, checking in on her and bringing her food. Martin also received supplies and support from Miles Perret Cancer Services during both

Special to The Advocate Having cancer three different times has taught 72-year-old Jeanette Martin a thing or two about what it means to rely on friends and her faith to get her through tough times. Unfortunately for Martin cancer runs in her family. Her mother died of breast cancer when Jeanette was just 3 years old, her dad had cancer, her grandmother had uterine cancer and her cousin had pancreatic cancer. “I found out during a mammogram,â€? said Martin. “They thought it was nothing much, because it was the size of a pea and when the other doctor came in to check he couldn’t even ďŹ nd it. They took out 18 lymph nodes and three were positive.â€? Twice, Martin was diagnosed with breast cancer. Each time, the support she received from friends, neighbors, church members and community organizations gave her exactly what she needed during her sickness. “I really feel God uses whatever

rounds of breast cancer and stays connected to the organization to this day. Every day she keeps her own and others spirits up by getting in some moderate exercise and visiting Miles Perrett to encourage others dealing with cancer. “I pray for a lot of people who are just starting out on their journey and give them some healing scriptures,� said Martin. “When something happens to you in life, it makes you feel more compassionate and loving, so I always give those people my number, so they can call me if they need encouragement.� When it comes to advice she gives to others on their cancer journey, Martin is convinced that aside from good medical care, God is the only answer. “The Bible says you can have whatever you say, but instead people are saying what they have,� said Martin. “The devil would come tell me, ‘You think you’re going to live?’, but I quoted the scriptures. Have faith, trust in God, he healed me three times so there’s nothing too big that he can’t heal you of.�


Jeanette Martin, shown wearing a Games of Acadiana T-shirt, survived two rounds of breast cancer with the help of caring people and her faith.

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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Lord,

You have taught me that faith as small as a mustard seed can grow into an amazing tree. Today I give you my little seed of faith. I place it firmly in the ground of your word. I water it with truth. The warmth of your love will make it grow. Today I ask by faith that you would bring healing to those with cancer. I place my trust in you. May this seed sow healing into every area where the tumour has emerged. May it grow into a strong work, redeeming and restoring with great strength and power.

Duncan Realty has FAITH to get you HOME, and we have Faith that God will see you through this time in your life.



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337.806.7723 337.849.7879


Hope for the future

Kim Mai Pham REALTOR

PHAMTASTIC TO CLOSED! Cell:337-322-8682 kpham@vaneatonromero.com

Sheri O. Bajat

RealtorÂŽ ABR, SRS, HSE cell# 337-658-2584 sheri.bajat@gmail.com



Monica Dumesnil, RealtorÂŽ


337-254-7812 Cell • 337-291-4724 Direct 233-9700 OfďŹ ce

Robins Real Esta te Yo u r Re a l E s t a t e S p e c i a l i s t !

O f f i c e: 337— 351— 34 57 14 4 5 N a p o l e o n Ave, S u n s e t, L A Licensed in LA

Breast cancer survivor Gauthier Real Estate, Inc. Cell: 337-344-7833 Office: 337-856-0056

Yo u r Re a l E s t a t e S p e c i a l i s t !

Licensed in Louisiana

CHANTELL JENKINS, REALTOR 216 Rue Louis XIV, Lafayette, LA 70508 www.DuncanRealtyProfessionals.com

O f f i c e: 337- 351- 34 57 14 4 5 N a p o l e o n Ave, S u n s e t, L A Licensed in LA

337.849.7879 337.781.1034


Supporting the Fight Juanita B. Hollier Realtor ÂŽ cell# 337-288-5488 juanita.hollier@yahoo.com www.robinsrealestate.net/juanita

Yo u r Re a l E s t a t e S p e c i a l i s t !

Office: 337-233-9700

hope Duncan Realty Professionals, LLC

Robins Real Esta te

support the fight Eloise Gauthier

C: 337.230.3472

O: 337.993.1414 Ext. 511 monica@trahangroup.com




Van Eaton & Romero, Inc., 2000 Kaliste Saloom Rd. #101, Lafayette, LA 70508

Stacie R. Sibille Broker/Realtor ÂŽ ABR, SRS, ePRO, SFR cell# 337-351-4931 robinsrealestate@ymail.com www.robinsrealestate.net

Robins Real Esta te Licensed in Louisiana Each office individually Owned and Operated

Shannon Higginbotham, RealtorŽ Cell: 337-412-4628 •Office: 337-484-1184 6413 Johnston St., Suite 500 Lafayette

O f f i c e: 337- 351- 34 57 14 4 5 N a p o l e o n Ave, S u n s e t, L A Licensed in LA

Kathy Dyson

Owner / Broker

337.652.6236 337.893.6236

direct office Kathy Dyson Realty LLC

203 South St. Charles Abbeville, Louisiana 70510 www.kathydysonrealty.com Licensed in Louisiana, USA

The Advocate


Ochsner focuses on breast health throughout a woman’s life Knowing your family cancer history is one of the keys to understanding your risk of breast cancer, says Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of the Department of Hematology and Oncology for Ochsner Medical Center-Baton Rouge. It may come as a surprise to some of his patients that Brooks wants to know about any kind of cancer in the family, whether on Mom’s or Dad’s side, even male relatives who have had prostate cancer. Genes linked to breast cancer risk can be passed down by either a woman or a man, Brooks explained, but the pattern may not be obvious in families with few women. “Talk to your family,” Brooks said. “The whole family tree opens up dramatically.” A family history of cancer

isn’t unusual, considering that one out of three people will get cancer in their lifetime. Brooks credited Betty Ford as a trailblazer by talking about her alcoholism and breast cancer, both often cloaked in silence by past generations. “Being upfront and being honest about cancer in our society has helped reduce cancer death rates tremendously,” Brooks said.

Breast self-awareness Another key for early detection of breast cancer is breast self-awareness, Brooks said. “You know your body and breasts better than anyone else. If something is out of the ordinary, that’s something that should be brought to someone’s attention.” Women who are still menstruating

typically experience some changes in their breasts with their monthly cycle, but they also are aware when changes aren’t normal for them, he said. There isn’t one method of self-exam that’s proven as better than others, but regular exams are important, he said. A significant risk factor for breast and other cancers is being overweight or obese, Brooks said. He cited a 2014 study, which found that overweight and obesity were estimated to cause 40 percent of all cancers in the U.S. The study also says that being obese or overweight may also increase the likelihood of dying from cancer.

throughout a woman’s life,” Brooks said. With every mammogram, a woman receives a calculation of her breast cancer risk. If a woman’s risk is high, she meets with a nurse navigator to learn what she can to do to reduce her risk of breast cancer. This information also goes into her medical record, which is available to any physician treating her within the Ochsner system. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, Ochsner takes a team approach to her care, involving a group of physicians and specialists, who have access to all of her medical file, so everyone involved in her care has the same information, Brooks said. In the Breast health at Ochsner cancer center, often a patient “We, as a very large system, will see multiple physicians on try to address breast health the same visit.




Sunday, October 7, 2018



Exercise, stress relief help during treatment dividends for cancer patients. Exercise may help keep canAfter the initial shock of a cer, particularly breast cancer, cancer diagnosis has worn off in remission. Exercise also can and treatment begins, patients affect the following: can begin their first steps to• balance wards recovery and maintain• control weight ing their quality of life. • self-esteem • strength of bones Treating cancer can become • lessening risk of blood clots a full-time job and one that • reduction of nausea and can have a significant impact on the quality of life of the pa- fatigue tient and his or her loved ones. According to the Mayo Clin- Stress reduction ic, stress, pain and fatigue can Cancer patients also can severely diminish quality of benefit from therapies that life during and after cancer promote the reduction of treatment. Family members stress and anxiety. The Mayo caring for cancer patients also Clinic studied formal sesmay experience diminished sions that promoted physical quality of life. therapy, coping strategies or Some strategies during and addressing spiritual concerns, after treatment can help can- and deep breathing or guided cer patients and their caregiv- imagery to reduce stress. ers keep a high quality of life. Those who engaged in these therapies showed marked imExercise provement at a critical time in Exercise pays numerous care.

Metro Media

Breast Center of Acadiana welcomes new radiologist When Dr. Gary Mathews founded Breast Center of Acadiana in 2008 his goal was to consistently offer the highest quality breast health services to the women of our community. Now, 10 years later, Breast Center of Acadiana is the only independent breast center in the region, offering state-of-the-art breast imaging technology combined with patient-focused, compassionate care. “Our patients are our reason for being,” states Dr. Mathews. “Everything we do is about making sure they receive the care and attention they deserve.” In order to meet the needs of his ever-increasing base of patients, Dr. Mathews is extremely pleased to welcome a second physician to Breast Center of Acadiana — Dr. Krystal S. Smith, of Montgomery, Alabama. Following an extensive

search, Dr. Smith was selected not only because of her impeccable qualifications as a fellowship-trained breast imaging specialist, but also because of her heartfelt and sincere dedication to individualized patient care. As an independent, freestanding breast center, appointments at Breast Center of Acadiana are easy to schedule, and a routine screening mammogram takes only 15 to 30 minutes. For those needing further testing or follow-up, Dr. Mathews and Dr. Smith — along with their excellent support team — handle all the details, walking patients through every step of the process. “Dr. Smith brings extraordinary clinical expertise to our team,” Dr. Mathews states. “She is also a genuinely caring and compassionate person. I know all of our patients will

respond favorably to her.” A cancer survivor herself, Dr. Smith understands what her patients diagnosed with breast cancer go through. “I know it can be overwhelming at times,” she explains, “but I let my patients know from the moment we first meet that I am going to be there for them every step of the way.” A graduate of the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Smith completed her residency in radiology and also completed a fellowship in breast imaging, both at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After serving as an assistant professor in breast imaging for a year at the University of Mississippi, she practiced radiology with a large radiology group in Montgomery. Along with traditional mammography, breast MRI, ultra-

sound and biopsy, Dr. Smith is also skilled in breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography). She appreciates that the technology helps to reduce unnecessary call backs for patients and sees it as a valuable tool for improving the accuracy of diagnoses. Breast Center of Acadiana will begin offering 3D mammography in early 2019. For her part, Dr. Smith is excited about joining the team at Breast Center of Acadiana. She grew up not far from New Orleans and is looking forward to living in south Louisiana. “My family and I are delighted to be in Lafayette,” she explained. “We just love how open and friendly everyone here is. And the food is pretty great, too!” To learn more about Breast Center of Acadiana, visit http:// breastcenterofacadiana.com. To make an appointment, call (337) 504-5000.

Center supports breast cancer awareness Throughout the year, Breast Center of Acadiana participates in Breast Cancer Awareness Activities, including: • 2018 Presenting Sponsor of the Annual Breast Health Symposium coming up on Oct. 10. • Loyal sponsor of the annual Save the Ta-Tas breast cancer awareness event and fundraiser. • Celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness month in the office with a different theme each week, such as “Peace, Love and a Cure,” “Kiss Cancer Goodbye!,” “Let’s Tackle Breast Cancer,” etc. The office is decorated according

Dr. Krystal S. Smith

Solely Dedicated to Breast Imaging & Diagnosis

to the theme. Center staff and doctors enjoy dressing according to the theme that week. Patients receive giveaways coordinated with the theme and patients who are breast cancer survivors receive special gifts. • The Breast Center sponsors and participates in the Miles Perret Games of Acadiana every year to benefit Miles Perret Cancer Services, a local resource center for individuals and their families fighting, surviving and living with cancer. • BCA is privileged to provide a meeting place at its office for breast cancer survivor support groups.



Sunday, October 7, 2018




The Advocate





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Profile for The Advocate

Power of Pink - Acadiana 2018  

Power of Pink - Acadiana 2018