American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Journey: The Essential Guide to Treatment and Recovery by Ruth O’Regan, M.D, Sheryl G.A.Mendola, M.D, Terri Ades, Rick Alteri, M.D, Joan L. Kramer, M.D, Kimberly A. Stump-Sutliff, MSN


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










American Cancer Society Breast Cancer: Clear and Simple: All Your Questions Answered


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


  1. About this book
  2. How to use this book

1. Finding Out You Have Breast Cancer

What Now?

Don’t Rush

2. What will happen to me?

Will I be okay?

Will I lose my breast?

What if I need to have my breast removed?

Will I be in pain?

My friend had breast cancer. Will my experience be the same as hers?

My loved one had another kind of cancer. Should I expect my experience to be the same as hers?

3. What is Breast Cancer?

How cancer starts

More facts about breast cancer

Why me?

Is it my fault I have breast cancer?

I don’t feel sick, do I really have cancer?


How serious is my cancer?

How do the doctors know how serious my cancer is?

What does “cancer grade” mean?

What does “cancer stage” mean?

The doctor has said my breast cancer has spread. What does that mean?

Do my doctors know how well I will respond to treatment?

What is meant by the word “prognosis”?

Why doesn’t the doctor use the word “cure”?

Do I need a second opinion?

Won’t the first doctor be mad if I want to talk to someone else?

Questions to ask the doctor who told you about your cancer

4. Treating your breast cancer

Who will help with my cancer treatment?

Can I choose my doctor?

What should I think about when choosing a doctor?

Where will I go for treatment?

Who else will care for me?

Questions to ask a doctor who may treat you

5. How to talk with your doctor

What’s the best way to treat my breast cancer?

  1. What kind of treatment will I get?
  2. How do I know whether my doctor is suggesting the best treatment?
  3. Should I consider genetic testing?
  4. What should I do if I have an inherited genetic mutation?
  5. How is surgery used to treat breast cancer?
  6. What is the role of the lymph system in breast cancer?
  7. How do I decide between mastectomy and lumpectomy?

Questions to think about when deciding which surgery is best for you

What should I expect after a mastectomy?

What to ask about caring for yourself after a mastectomy

What should I expect after a lumpectomy?

What to ask  about caring for yourself after a lumpectomy

6. What are other treatments for breast cancer?

  1. How is radiation therapy used to treat breast cancer?
  2. How is chemotherapy used to treat breast cancer?
  3. How is hormone therapy used to treat breast cancer?
  4. How is targeted therapy used to treat breast cancer?
  5. How is bone directed therapy used to treat breast cancer?
  6. What should I know about herbs, supplements and special diets to treat breast cancer?

Making your treatment choices

What is a clinical trial?

Questions to ask the doctor about treatments

Side effects of chemotherapy

What do I need to know about side effects from treatment?

  1. What are side effects?
  2. Will treatment make me feel sick?
  3. Will I lose my hair?
  4. Will I feel tired?
  5. What is lymphedema? Will I get it?
  6. Could I have other side effects?
  7. Is there help for any pain I might have?
  8. Can I cope with side effects like pain without medicine?
  9. Will I be able to have children after treatment

Questions to ask the doctor about side effects

What should I know about paying for treatment?

  1. How can I get help to pay for treatment?
  2. What do Medicare and Medicaid pay for?
  3. Are there other groups that can help me pay for treatment and other costs?
  4. What if I can’t pay my bills?
  5. What is private health insurance? What does it pay for?
  6. What if my insurance claim is turned down?

Questions to ask the hospital billing department or insurance company

What is a breast cancer survivor?

How will cancer treatment affect me and my loved ones?

  1. Does anyone feel the way I do?
  2. How can I be more in control of my life?

Keeping a journal may help

  1. How can I find help and support?
  2. I told my family I have breast cancer. Why are they acting strangely?
  3. How will cancer affect my friendships?
  4. How will cancer affect my life at home?
  5. Can anyone help with my daily challenges?

Questions to ask a doctor, nurse or social worker about life during treatment?

  1. How will cancer and treatment affect my work?
  2. Is it better to work during treatment or take time off?
  3. Should I tell people at work that I have cancer?
  4. Could I lose my job if I have to take time off?
  5. How can I get ready to take time off from work?
  6. Can I get help with money if I have to take time off work?

Recovering from treatment

What if my breast was removed?

  1. Will I ever get used to the changes in my body?
  2. What are my choices after mastectomy?
  3. I may want to have a surgery to make a new breast. Without surgery, how can I look like I have two breasts?
  4. What should I know about a breast form?

What is breast reconstruction surgery?

  1. Can I have breast reconstruction surgery?
  2. What should I know about breast reconstruction?

Questions to ask about breast reconstruction

Is my cancer gone forever?

  1. What if my cancer comes back?
  2. Can I lower my chancers that the cancer comes back?
  3. How will I know if my cancer comes back?
  4. When should I call the doctor?

Questions to ask about cancer and cancer coming back?

How can I be close to someone after cancer and treatment?

  1. How will cancer and treatment affect my sex life?
  2. Should I talk about my cancer with someone new I’m dating?

How can I stay healthy from now on?

  1. How can I keep my body healthy?
  2. How can I eat right after cancer treatment?
  3. How should I exercise after cancer treatment?

How can I get back to living my life?

  1. Can I live a normal life again?
  2. What do I do now?

More Information

  1. Can you help me understand breast cancer risk?
    1. What does it mean if I’m at risk for breast cancer?
    2. What risk factors raise a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer?
    3. Are other women in my family more at risk of getting breast cancer?
    4. Can anything lower a person’s chances of getting breast cancer?
    5. I’ve heard that breast implants can increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Is that true?
    6. How can I have breast cancer if no one in my family has had it?
  2. More about cancer stages
    1. On the pathology report, what do the letters T, N, and M and the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 mean?
    2. A nurse says that I have III A breast cancer. How do the letters T,N.M and 0-4 relate to that stage?
    3. What are the differences between my IIB breast cancer and my friend’s IIIB breast cancer?

Your medical team


Resource Guide










American Cancer Society: Cancer Caregiving A-to-Z: An At-Home Guide for Patients and Families


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


Anxiety and Fear

Appetite (Poor or Loss of)

Blood Counts

Blood in Stool

Blood in Urine

Bone Marrow or Stem Cell Transplants


Clinical Trials





Difficulty Moving





Fluid and Dehydration

Grooming and Appearance

Hair Loss

Health Insurance


Hospice Care



Leg Cramps

Mouth Bleeding

Mouth Dryness

Mouth Sores

Nausea and Vomiting



Radiation Therapy



Shortness of Breath

Skin Color Changes

Skin Dryness

Skin Sores (Pressure Sores)

Sleep Problems

Steroids and Hormones

Stomas (Ostomies)

Swallowing Problems



Treatments at Home

Tubes and Intravenous (IV) Lines

Weight Changes



Additional Resources





American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Family Caregiving


Below is a list of topics covered in this book located at the Don and Cathy Jacobs Health Education Center at the University of Kentucky.

American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Family Caregiving

Topics covered, according to the Complete Guide to Family Caregiving book

Part 1: Care management

1.Being an Effective Caregiver

2. Helping Children Understand

3. Coordinating care across many settings

4. Receiving help from the community

5. Receiving information from medical staff

6. Financial help

Part II: Emotional Response to Cancer Treatment

7. Anxiety

8. Depression

Part III: Physical Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

9. Nausea and Vomiting

10. Diarrhea

11. Constipation

12. Fever and Infections

13. Pain

14. Mouth Problems

15. Skin Problems

16. Loss of Appetite

17. Bleeding

18. Tiredness and Fatigue

19. Sleep Problems

20. Hair Loss

21. Mobility Problems and Falls

22. Veins and Vein Punctures

23.Confusion and Seizures

Part IV: Living with Longer-Term Side Effects

24. Lymphedema

25. Ostomies and Prostheses

26. Sexual Issues

Part V: Transitioning from Curing to Caring

27. Palliative Care and the Caregiver

28. Patient Symptoms and how to help

Appendix A: Cancer Treatments and Clinical Trials


Radiation Therapy


Bone Marrow and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplants


Targeted Therapy

Hormonal Therapy

Clinical Trials