The Breast Cancer Survival Manual: A Step-By-Step Guide for Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer by John Link, M.D. Author of Take Charge of Your Breast Cancer
The Breast Cancer Survival Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide for Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer by John Link, M.D.

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The updated edition of the essential resource for the 250,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women from thirty-five to fifty-four years of age, and few things are as terrifying and confusing as a diagnosis of this disease. The fifth edition of The Breast Cancer Survival Manual is a concise, information-packed guide that is newly revised to contain all of the latest findings to help the woman facing treatment feel informed and empowered. John Link, M.D., a pioneer developer of Breastlink Medical Group in Southern California includes the most current medical advice on

  • Tamoxifen, Herceptin, and other chemotherapy options
  • The growing importance of HER2 oncogene testing
  • Clinical research trials under way that could broaden treatment options
  • The role of preventive drugs and prophylactic mastectomy for those with high genetic risk
  • Sentinel lymph node sampling, a method of local control soon to become standard

Of course, all of the basic information included in the previous editions—the nature and biology of breast cancer, choosing a treatment team, managing side effects, and optimizing medication—are here as well, making this the best book of its kind on the market.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
Breast Cancer Basics

can•cer noun \’kan(t)-sər\ : a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis

Before beginning our discussion about cancer of the breast, I want to give you some very basic information about cancer in general and how its unique characteristics compare to a normal cell.

Normal body cells can:

  • Reproduce themselves EXACTLY
  • Stop reproducing at the right moment
  • Stick together in the correct place
  • Self-destruct if a mistake occurs or they are damaged
  • Mature and become specialized
  • Die (they are programmed to do so), and when appropriate they are renewed by like cells

Cancer cells are different from normal cells in the following ways:

  • Cancer cells don’t stop reproducing
  • Cancer cells don’t obey signals from other cells
  • Cancer cells don’t stick together; they can break off and float away
  • Cancer cells stay immature and don’t specialize, so they become more and more primitive, and they reproduce quickly and haphazardly
  • Cancers cells lose their programmed death pathway

In this chapter we are going to explore the nature of breast cancer. It is a mystery to us why the female breast is vulnerable to developing cancer. It may have something to do with monthly cycling of glandular cells, yet more than half of breast cancers develop in older women after the breast glands have come to rest. We know that cancer tends to occur in organs with cells that are constantly cycling through cell renewal. The replacement of a cell requires the production of a new set of genes, and this process can lead to mistakes (mutations) that the cell is unable to repair. The mistakes can then be repeated, causing a cell to grow according to a new blueprint in a process that is out of control, and this process results in cancer.

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About the Author

Dr. John Link, M.D. Author of The Breast Cancer Survival Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide for Women with Newly Diagnosed Breast CancerDr. John Link, M.D.
Renowned breast oncologist, researcher and author was one of the first medical oncologiststo specialize exclusively in the treatment of breast cancer patients. At his breast care centers located throughout Southern California, Dr. Link and his team focus on accurate diagnosis based on the new classifications of breast cancer, and development of tailored treatment plans that incorporate the latest scientific and genomic information available for your specific cancer type. All of which help you to achieve your optimal survival plan.