Below are the list of topics covered in this book, available at the Don and Cathy Jacobs Health Education Center at the University of Kentucky.


Part 1: Understanding Breast Cancer

Chapter 1: What is Cancer?

What is breast cancer?

Normal breast tissue

The lymphatic system

Benign breast conditions

Types of breast cancer

  1. In Situ breast cancer
  2. Infiltrating (or Invasive) Carcinoma
  3. Inflammatory carcinoma
  4. Paget Disease of the Nipple
  5. Lymphoma
  6. Sarcoma
  7. Malignant Phyllodes Tumor

Chapter 2: Who Gets Breast Cancer?

Why Me?

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

  1. Risk Factors That Cannot be Changed
  2. Lifestyle-Related Factors and Breast Cancer risk
  3. Factors Whose Impact is Uncertain Or Controversial
  4. Myths About Breast Cancer Risk

Chapter 3: Your Breast Cancer Workup

Doctor visit and Examination

Breast Imaging Tests

  1. Mammograms
  2. Breast Ultrasound
  3. Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  4. Ductogram

Breast Biopsy

  1. Needle Biopsy
  2. Surgical Biopsy
  3. Tests of Biopsy Samples

Other Tests After Cancer Has Been Diagnosed

  1. Chest X-Ray
  2. Bone Scan
  3. Computed Tomography
  4. Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  5. Position Emission Tomography
  6. Blood Tests

Part II: Preparing For Treatment

Chapter 4: Understanding Your Diagnosis

The Biopsy Pathology Report

Understanding Your Pathology Report

Breast Cancer Staging

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM System

Summary of Breast Cancer Stages

Understanding Your Prognosis

Survival Statistics

Chapter 5: Coping with Your Diagnosis and Moving Forward

Moving Forward After Diangosis

Making Informed Decisions

Getting the Support You Need

Talking to Friends and Family

For Parents: Helping Children Understand a Cancer Diagnosis

Talking to Children About Cancer

Helping Children Cope

Recognizing Signs of Problems

Chapter 6: Making the Medical System Work For You

Your Medical Team

Who Your Medical Team Is and What it Does

Finding a Doctor and Treatment Facility

Evaluating Doctors’ Practices

Getting a Second Opinion

Participating in Your Medical Care

Understanding your rights as a patient

Designating Your Primary Caregiver

Communicating With Your Medical Team

Maintaining Your Medical Information

Part III: Treatment

Chapter 7: Exploring Treatment Options

Making Informed Decisions About Treatment Choices

Consulting Your Medical Team

Types of Treatment for Breast Cancer

Treatment Options Local Vs. Systemic Treatments

Side Effects of Treatment

Chapter 8: Surgery

Will I Lose My Breast?

Breast Conserving Surgery


Choosing Between Breast-Conserving Surgery and Mastectomy

Lymph Node Surgery

  1. Ancillary Lymph Node Dissection
  2. Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  3. Possible Side Effects of Lymph Node Surgery

What to Expect with Surgery

Before Surgery


After Surgery

The Surgery Pathology Report

Chapter 9: Other Treatments for Breast Cancer

Radiation Therapy

  1. External Beam Radiation Therapy
  2. Brachytherapy (Internal Radiation Therapy)
  3. Possible Side Effects of Radiation Therapy


  1. The Purpose of Chemotherapy
  2. Chemotherapy Options
  3. How Chemotherapy is Given
  4. Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Hormone Therapy

  1. Options for Hormone Therapy
  2. Who Should Get Hormone Therapy

Targeted Therapy

  1. Drugs that Target the HER2/neu Protein

Drugs to Protect the Bones


RANKL Inhibitors

Chapter 10: Treatment Options Based on Your Situation

Treatment of Stage 0 (Noninvasive) Breast Cancer

Lobular Carcinoma in Situ

Ductal Carcinoma in Situ

Treatment of Invasive Breast Cancer By Stage

  1. Stage I Breast Cancer
  2. Stage II Breast Cancer
  3. Stage III Breast Cancer
  4. Stage IV Breast Cancer
  5. Treatment of Inflammatory Breast Cancer
  6. Treatment of Advanced Cancer that Progresses After Treatment

Pregnancy and Breast Cancer Treatment

  1. Treatment During Pregnancy
  2. Breastfeeding During Cancer Treatment

Chapter 11: Clinical Trials

What are clinical trials?

  1. Who Can Take Part in a Clinical Trial?
  2. Things to Think About When Deciding to Take Part in a Clinical Trial

Clinical Trials of Treatments

  1. Phases of Clinical Trials

How Can I Learn More About Clinical Trials?

  1. Clinical Trial Lists
  2. Clinical Trial Matching Services

Taking Part in a Clinical Trial

  1. Informed Consent
  2. Taking Part in the Study

Chapter 12: Complementary and Alternative Therapies

What are Complementary and Alternative Therapies?

  1. Talking to Your Doctor About Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Researching Complementary and Alternative Therapies

  1. Complementary Therapies
  2. Alternative Therapies

Part IV: Living with the Effects of Treatment

Chapter 13: Coping with the Symptoms and Side Effects

Short Term Side Effects of Cancer and Treatment

  1. Appetite and Weight Changes
  2. Constipation and diarrhea
  3. Fatigue
  4. Hair Loss
  5. Mouth Sores and Sore Throat
  6. Nail Changes
  7. Nausea and Vomiting
  8. Pain
  9. Skin Changes
  10. Sleep Problems

Long Term Side Effects

  1. Changes in Memory and Concentration
  2. Sexual and Reproductive Changes
  3. Fertility and Pregnancy After Treatment
  4. Lymphedema

Chapter 14: Staying Emotionally Healthy During Treatment

Acknowledging Your Feelings

  1. Expressing Feelings
  2. Managing Depression
  3. Asking For Help
  4. Rebuilding Self-Esteem
  5. Coping Strategies

Chapter 15: Breast Reconstruction and Prostheses

Considering Reconstruction

  1. Who Can Have Breast Reconstruction
  2. Timing of Breast Reconstruction

Types of Breast Reconstruction

  1. Breast Implant Procedures
  2. Natural Tissue Reconstruction
  3. Nipple and Areola Reconstruction

What to Expect After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

  1. Checking for Recurrence After Breast Reconstruction

Alternatives to Breast Reconstruction

Part V: Practical Matters: Work, Insurance, Finances

Chapter 16: Employment and Workplace Issues

  1. Telling Coworkers
  2. Preparing for Time Away from Work

Chapter 17: Insurance and Your Rights

  1. Keeping Records of Insurance and Medical Care Costs
  2. Managing Your Health Insurance
    1. Getting Answers to Insurance-Related Questions
    2. Handling Claim Denials
    3. Government Funded Health Plans
    4. Patient Assistance Programs
    5. Options for the Hard-to-Insure
    6. Options for the Uninsured

Chapter 18: Finances and Cancer Treatment

Managing Your Finances and Staying Organized

  1. Using a Financial Planner
  2. Making a Financial Plan
  3. Planning Your Estate
  4. Locating Sources of Financial Help

Special Caregiver’s Section: Supporting the Woman with Cancer

Supporting the Woman With Cancer

Supporting Your Loved One

  1. Talking About Cancer
  2. Support During Diagnosis
  3. Support During Treatment

Transitioning to Recovery

  1. Intimacy for spouses and partners

The Challenges of Caregiving

  1. Balancing Caregiving and your other responsibilities
  2. Taking care of yourself

Adjusting to Life After Cancer

Part VI: Life After Cancer

Chapter 19: Taking Care of Yourself After Cancer: Health and Wellness

Creating a Wellness Plan

  1. What is a Wellness Plan?

Long-Term Follow Up Care

  1. Mammograms
  2. Clinical Breast Exams
  3. Breast Self-Examination

Maintaining Your Health and Making Positive Lifestyle Changes

  1. Nutrition, Breast Cancer, and General Health and Wellness

Chapter 20: Emotional Wellness After Treatment: Moving On

Life After Breast Cancer

  1. Feeling Alone
  2. Staying Emotionally Healthy
  3. Dealing With Stress
  4. Dealing with Depression and Anxiety
  5. Strengthening Your Spirit

Channeling Your Energy

  1. Volunteering
  2. Advocating for Change
  3. Facing Your Future

Chapter 21: Intimacy After Cancer Treatment

Re-Establishing Intimacy with Your Partner

  1. Adjusting to Body Changes
  2. Sexuality
  3. Getting Back On Track With Your Partner
  4. Intimacy After Breast Surgery

Dating After Breast Cancer

  1. Talking About Your Cancer
  2. The Possibility of Rejection
  3. Improving Your Social Life

Chapter 22: The Possibility of Facing Cancer Again

What is Recurrence and Why Does it Happen?

  1. Types of Recurrence

The Importance of Follow Up Care

  1. Reducing Your Risk
  2. Other Cancers

Dealing with a Recurrence or Second Cancer Diagnosis

  1. The Importance of Emotional Support
  2. Treatment for Local Recurrence or a Second Cancer
  3. Treatment of Lymph Node Recurrence
  4. Advanced and Metastatic Cancer

Appendix A

  1. American Cancer Society Reccommendations for Early Breast Cancer Detection
    1. Women without Breast Symptoms

Appendix B

  1. Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act

Appendix C

  1. Benign Breast Conditions and their Link to Breast Cancer Risk

Appendix D

  1. American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention

Resource Guide










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