Forms & Information

Ask An Expert

Ask an Expert: MRI screening for breast cancer

Q: Are MRI's better than mammograms for detecting breast cancer? Should I be asking my doctor for an MRI with my annual exam?

Answer from the expert staff of breast cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center at Providence Portland Medical Center:

Ask an Expert: Breast self-examinations

Q. I’m a young woman who tries to do breast self exams (BSE's) every month. But I often put them off because they make me so nervous. I just heard that not all health care organizations recommend monthly BSE's. What do you say?

Answer from the expert staff of breast cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center at Providence Portland Medical Center:

Ask an Expert: Tamoxifen vs. Arimidex?

Q: What can you tell me about Arimidex vs. tamoxifen? Should a person on tamoxifen switch to Arimidex? And is there any benefit to taking Arimidex after five years on tamoxifen?

Answer from the expert staff of breast cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center in the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Cancer Center.

Ask an Expert: HRT for breast cancer survivors

Q. I am a breast cancer survivor. Is it safe for me to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

Answer from the expert staff of breast cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center at Providence Portland Medical Center:

Ask an Expert: Breast cancer growth rate

Q: How long does it take for breast cancer to grow? My doctor just examined my breasts a month ago (no lumps), and today I found a lump. Is it possible that breast cancer could have developed so quickly?

Answer from the expert staff of breast cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center at Providence Portland Medical Center:

Ask an Expert: Chemotherapy and insomnia

Q: I'm undergoing chemo, and though I am experiencing heavy-duty fatigue, I am also suffering from insomnia! Sometimes it's hard to fall asleep; other nights I wake up around 3 a.m. for an hour or two. My medical oncologist said chemo can disrupt the sleep-wake cycle and prescribed Ambien. I don't like the idea of relying on a sleeping pill. Anything else I can do?

Answer from Miles Hassell, M.D., director of Providence Integrative Medicine at Providence Cancer Center:

Ask an Expert: Can vitamin D prevent breast cancer?

Q: “A friend forwarded an article to me suggesting that vitamin D can reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. Is this true?”

Answer from Alison Conlin, M.D., medical oncologist, Providence Cancer Center:

Ask an Expert: Why aren’t breast cancers taken out immediately?

Q: “It has been two weeks since I was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal carcinoma, and I have not had my MRI, PET, CT or follow-up. Everyone says, ‘You have time.’ How do they know I have time? How do they know that my cancer cells aren’t dividing right now? Why aren’t breast cancers taken out immediately and patients treated for any cancer spread right away?”

Answer from Stacy Lewis, M.D., medical director, Providence Cancer Center, and oncologist, Providence Oncology and Hematology Care Clinic:

Ask an Expert: Alcohol and breast cancer risk

Q: I enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner each night and thought it was good for my health.  Now I hear having a glass of wine each day can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.  Is that true?

Answer from the expert staff of the Ruth J. Spear Breast Center at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center:

Ask an Expert: When is nipple discharge a concern?

Q: “I am concerned about some discharge from one of my breasts. If I squeeze the nipple, I get a dark greenish fluid. Sometimes it also occurs spontaneously. I mentioned this during my last physical exam, but my mammogram appeared to be OK. Should I do anything else, or just wait for my next mammogram? If it’s nothing to be concerned about, what is causing it?”

Ask an Expert: Soy and flax in hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer survivors

Q. If a hormone-positive breast cancer survivor wants to be proactive in her cure, should she avoid/limit as many phytoestrogens as possible, or just soy and flax, which seem to be high in these estrogen mimics?

Answer from Miles Hassell, M.D., director of Providence Integrative Medicine Program at Providence Cancer Center: 

After breast cancer: Preventing lymphedema

Lymphedema may affect up to 60 percent of women after breast cancer treatment. This abnormal accumulation of fluid, or “edema,” is caused by a blockage of the lymphatic system. Often first noticed as a swelling, heaviness or tightness in the arm, hand, wrist, fingers, breast or torso on the same side as the affected breast, it can happen right after surgery or radiation, or years later.

Forms Instructions

MRI Screening for Women at High Risk for Breast Cancer

Women at high risk of developing breast cancer should receive an annual magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, in addition to their yearly mammogram, beginning as early as age 30, according to guidelines published by the American Cancer Society.

Proprietary Health Article

Vitamin D and breast cancer: Is there a link?

Studies have provided conflicting results, but here’s what we know so far. – By Ali Conlin, M.D., medical oncologist

Breast cancer chemoprevention in the spotlight again

After a tentative start, chemopreventive therapies might return to the forefront.  A recent international study reports promising results. – By Ali Conlin, M.D., medical oncologist

Recommended Resource

Look Good, Feel Better

This website is a free, non-medical service program created to help individuals with cancer look good, improve their self-esteem and manage their treatment and recovery with greater confidence.

Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop

The Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop convened February 24-26, 2003, and the outcomes of the meeting were reviewed and discussed at the joint meeting of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors (BSA) and Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) held March 3, 2003.

CancerCare.org

Cancer Care is a national nonprofit that provides free, professional support services for anyone affected by cancer.

Cancer.net (AKA: People Living with Cancer)

Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology

American Cancer Society Guidelines for Breast Screening with MRI as an Adjunct to Mammography

New evidence on breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) screening has become available since the American Cancer Society (ACS) last issued guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer in 2003. A guideline panel has reviewed this evidence and developed new recommendations for women at different defined levels of risk.

American Cancer Society: Cancer staging

American Cancer Society’s description and explanation of staging cancer. Staging is the process of finding out how much cancer there is in the body and where it is located. It is how the doctor learns the stage of a person's cancer. Doctors use this information to plan treatment and to help find out a person's outlook (prognosis). 

KidsCope.org

The KidsCope website explains the non-profit program designed to help children and families understand the effects of cancer or chemotherapy on a loved one.

National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute home page with links to all cancer topics, clinical trial information, statistics, research and treatment information.

National Lymphedema Network

The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) is an internationally recognized non-profit organization founded in 1988 to provide education and guidance to lymphedema patients, health care professionals and the general public by disseminating information on the prevention and management of primary and secondary lymphedema.