Survivor Spotlight: Lisa Welling

Breast cancer survivor Lisa Welling celebrated her last Chemo treatment at Beebe Tunnell’s Cancer Center on October 23. She and her son just took a much deserved vacation to North Carolina to celebrate being cancer free!

Like hundreds of other women in Delaware who will be newly diagnosed this year, Lisa knows breast cancer isn’t easy. You don’t just bounce back. She was under the assumption that she’d have a double mastectomy and be back to work in a month. That was not the case. She was and still is in a lot of pain.

Now Lisa is ready to give back. Her advise to others, “ask for help”. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to cancer. And a lot of other women have been through this experience before. Lisa wants women to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And as Lisa says, “life is good”. DBCC is proud to honor Lisa in the Survivor Spotlight!

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, the Delaware Breast Cancer Cancer can help. Call us at 302-778-1102 to speak to a peer mentor, get involved in a survivorship program, and learn how we can be a resource to you and your loved ones.
Lisa Wellington

Go PINK! 2013

The 8th Anniversary of Go Pink! was held this past Friday, October 4th! Bayhealth Medical Center and DBCC have partnered to sell tee shirts recognizing breast cancer awareness to individuals and local organizations to facilitate a statewide PINK-out and health fair at Bayhealth’s Women’s Center in Dover that afternoon. We sold a whooping 5,000 shirts this year thanks to your contributions!

Check below for submitted photos of the community celebrating Go Pink Day!

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Jamie sporting her Go Pink tee

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Gray skies, PINK strides at 3rd Annual Race for the Pink Ribbon!

Despite the storm last Thursday evening, our 3rd Annual Race for the Pink Ribbon was deemed a success by all who attended! With over 500 women participating in the festivities, the PINK – out could be seen for miles down the course around the Riverfront.

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Ask the Doctor: Breast Surgery and Reconstruction

Dr. Christine Hannaway is a General Surgeon located in Seaford, DE.  She is a member of the Nanticoke Physician Network and practices at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.  Dr. Hannaway also serves as the Physician Liaison for the Committee on Cancer at Nanticoke Memorial.

Q: How do I make the decision with my doctor to have a mastectomy or lumpectomy?

Many variables come into play when making this decision.  The primary factor will be your cancer diagnosis and predicted aggressiveness of the tumor.  For most early stage breast cancers, mastectomy or lumpectomy can provide equivalent outcomes for prognosis and lifetime risk of recurrence.  However, lumpectomy will require the addition of radiation therapy for invasive cancer diagnoses.  Other factors that may influence your final decision are your lymph node status, your age, your breast size, your desire for reconstruction, and what regimen of adjuvant therapy you will require after surgery.

Understanding each of these variables and discussing them with your surgeon, oncologists and plastic surgeon is the best way to make a decision you are comfortable with.   
Q: What can I expect as recovery time after a lumpectomy vs. mastectomy? How long will I be out of work? How long before I can shower? Drive? Exercise?

On average total recovery time is two to three months with either procedure. If you have an axillary dissection instead of sentinel node, your recovery may be on the longer side. Depending on the type of work you do, expect to be out a minimum of two weeks, more if you need to use your upper body a lot. Driving is restricted at any time you are still using narcotic pain medication. Your ability to fully move your arm on the side of your surgery will also restrict your driving. You may shower as soon as 48 hours after your surgery.If your surgeon placed drains under your skin, you will have to wait until these are removed before showering. Exercising is encouraged immediately after surgery but should be tailored to where you are in your healing stage. Walking, climbing stairs, doing simple activities of daily living can be started right away. You want to avoid high impact exercise for the first few weeks to minimize trauma to your breast or mastectomy site. After two weeks, you will be given special exercise instructions to follow which help you recover range of motion and strength in your arm and chest. 

Q: How long after surgery until I can start chemotherapy or radiation?

The determining factor for starting adjuvant therapy is the healing of your incisions and which order of treatment your oncologist has recommended. With normal wound healing, you may start chemo between 2 and 4 weeks post-op. If you will be treated with hormone receptor antagonists only, your therapy can start even sooner. Radiation therapy usually starts 4-6 weeks post-op. If you have any problems with your wound, treatment will be delayed until these have resolved. Your oncologist and radiation oncologist will be able to outline your treatment schedule in more detail.

Q: What can I do to make myself more comfortable after surgery?

You want to invest in a comfortable post-mastectomy garment regardless if you are having a lumpectomy or mastectomy. These tend to fit like camisoles but open full length in the front. They may have special pockets for your drains. And many will come with different size inserts to pad and fill the area where you had your surgery. These garments are expensive, ranging between $50 and $100; however a portion of the cost may be covered by your insurance. Ask them and be sure to get a prescription for the garment from your surgeon. Area specialty lingerie shops offer these garments for sale. Other good alternatives are zipper front athletic bras or soft full-coverage wireless bras with front closures. Bring your garment and soft slip on clothes to the hospital. Your nurses can help you get dressed that first time. 

One of the most difficult times for any woman with breast cancer is that first time you see yourself after surgery. I encourage my patients to have a good support network in place ahead of time. A close friend, sister, daughter or mother who can be available for you at this time. In addition to your loved ones, reach out to your community through your church, hospital cancer support groups, and the community. Many of these people want to help you. And some may even be women who have already conquered the many challenges you will face, such as the Peer Mentors available through the DBCC.
Q: Should I have surgery and breast reconstruction at the same time?

Whether a woman chooses breast reconstruction depends on the type of surgery she is having as well as her personal preferences. Most commonly, a woman elects reconstruction following a mastectomy, either immediately or delayed. Sometimes a woman may have smaller sized breasts and if choosing a lumpectomy, she may find her breasts to be asymmetrical after healing. In this case, reconstruction might be desired to correct the size difference. This too can be done immediately or in a delayed fashion.  Your choice of when to have the reconstruction will depend on whether you need radiation therapy and your plastic surgeon’s preference for timing of reconstruction relative to your cancer treatment. The type of reconstruction, implant versus tissue transfer, will also influence the timing thus it is important to discuss your reconstruction options with a plastic surgeon early while you are discussing surgical and medical treatment options with your cancer care team.    

Spring Fashion Tips from Great Stuff

It’s officially Spring and it’s time to put away the chunky sweaters and boots and bring out the Spring dresses and sandals. Spring 2013 promises to be a great one for fashion. We searched through all the top fashion magazines and blogs and put together a list of some of the top trends this Spring. You can find many of these items at Great Stuff…and for a lot less than you will at the department stores.

2013 Spring Trends:

  • The prominent color of Spring is green—including a wide range from sour apple green and midori to the blue-greens of cool mint and beach glass.
  • Iridescent accents on skirts, tops, colored trenches and accessories. To achieve this look experiment with pastel color palettes and shades of silver.
  • Focus on easy-breezy pieces that fall away from the body with a totally relaxed feeling. Mix dynamic bright colors with neutrals to achieve a balance.
  • Self expression is another way to wear this season’s colors. Every woman should have an embroidered jacket and some colorful tees in their wardrobe for Spring.
  • Graphic prints were big on the runway this season. From bold patterns to funky animal print, you’re sure to make a statement. Balance it out with some neutral accessories. 
  • All white was big on the runways as well with structured white dresses and skirts. Have some fun with cutout dresses or sheer pieces.
  • Denim never goes out of style. Throw on a cute denim jacket or find an oversized denim shirt to wear as a tunic belted at the waist.

Accessory Trend Report:

  • For necklaces, the chunkier, the better this season! Find some heavy beaded necklaces and pair them with simple tops for a bold statement.
  • Gypsy-like jewelry is also big this season. Lots of colorful beaded necklaces that can be layered and paired with fun, dangling earrings.
  • Tote bags are back in season! Find a structured tote bag with a cool pattern to carry around this Spring.
  • For sunglasses, it’s all about the statement. Find sunglasses that oversized or come in bright colors.

Stop in to Great Stuff today to find these Spring must have items for a fraction of the price. Not fashion savvy? Don’t worry! Great Stuff has a great staff of volunteers who can help you find what you are looking for. Let them be your personal stylist and put together outfits that are perfect for you!

Check out our newly expanded Designer Boutique located under the pink chandelier in the back of the shop. There you will find a special collection of top, high-end designers you love at a fraction of the original price! Now is your chance to purchase that Valentino, St. John, Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior or Burberry item that you always wanted. Do you love accessories? We offer shoes and handbags by Channel, Kate Spade, Coach and many more designers!  Our inventory changes daily, so stop by often to not miss out on your dream fashion item!

And as you are doing your Spring cleaning, remember that you can donate your gently used women’s clothing and accessories to Great Stuff. Donations are tax-deductible and all proceeds benefit the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. Learn more at

DBCC Program Spotlight: Young Survivors in Action

When the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition was founded by a group of volunteers in 1991, one of the first needs they identified was a program for young breast cancer survivors. At the time, there weren’t a lot of resources or groups specifically for young women impacted by breast cancer. And they also felt that they had different needs and questions like “Will I be able to have children after treatment?” or “How do I tell my young children about my cancer?” or “How do I tell someone I’m dating about my breast cancer?”  

The Young Survivors in Action (YSIA)program was started by a group of volunteers who were breast cancer survivors. The group held some events for young survivors and went out and spoke to groups. The main focus was on mentoring young women through their breast cancer journey. “The program morphed into the Peer Mentor Support Program and set a framework for a one-on-one mentoring program for all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients,” said Cathy Holloway, Program Director for Education & Survivorship at DBCC. Today, the Peer Mentor Support Program has trained over 250 peer mentors throughout the state and helps over 200 newly diagnosed women each year.
In the past year, the YSIA program has been offering new programs. “First we held a focus group with young survivors to identify issues they want to hear about,” said Cathy. They agreed that the YSIA program would offer a networking piece in addition to an educational health-related piece. The group is open to all young breast cancer survivors in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. According to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, more than 11,000 women under 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Though that number accounts for less than 5% of breast cancer diagnoses each year, there are 250,000 women 40 and under in the United States living with breast cancer.
The YSIA program currently operates in two locations: New Castle County (including surrounding counties in Pennsylvania) and Kent/Sussex Counties. The groups organize their own programs based on the interests of the group. Programs to date have included a holiday party, a hike and picnic, a talk with a psychologist who provided tips to talk to children about cancer, and a talk on the benefits of juicing.
 “The needs of young survivors can be very different and include concerns about young children, getting pregnant, breastfeeding, dating, body image and sexuality, healthy eating, exercise and more,” said Cathy.  YSIA plans to discuss topics like these in future programs.
YSIA is also active in DBCC events like the Breast Cancer Update, the Monster Miles for a Cause Walk, the Nurture with Nature program, and the DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk. In January, they held a Guest Bartender Night at BBC Tavern & Grille to raise funds for the YSIA program. They are also planning in being involved with the DBCC Night at the Blue Rocks on July 11.
If you are interested in joining the Young Survivors in Action group please contact Cathy Holloway at 302-778-1102 ext. 13.