Ask the Expert

Our ask-the-expert series will help answer your questions about breast cancer, whether you are newly diagnosed, in treatment or years beyond treatment.

Each month, we ask a breast cancer expert to respond to your questions on a specific topic during an ask-the-expert residency. Answers to select questions will be posted on our website on an ongoing basis throughout the month.


May 1, 2016

Learning you have breast cancer can be overwhelming. You’re hearing new words, meeting new people and making treatment decisions, all while trying to live your life in as normal a way as possible.

Nobody understands this better than people who have experienced it themselves. So this May, Living Beyond Breast Cancer presents a panel of women who have been diagnosed at different ages, with different subtypes and stages of breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer. They will answer your questions about being newly diagnosed with breast cancer, from talking to others about your diagnosis and putting together a healthcare team you trust, to working through worries and fears and continuing to live well.

April 1, 2016

Breast cancer isn't only a medical issue. It can also come with a variety of legal issues. Knowing more about laws related to treatments, insurance, employment and other topics can help you get the best care while protecting your family, your money and your career.

In April, a Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert, lawyer Stephanie Fajuri, JD, answered your questions about legal concerns related to breast cancer.

March 1, 2016

Hormonal therapy is medicine or surgery that lowers the amount of estrogen in the body. Your doctor may also call this type of treatment endocrine or anti-estrogen therapy. It is used for cancers that are hormone receptor-positive, meaning they depend on estrogen or progesterone to grow. Hormonal therapy is used to lower the risk of recurrence in early-stage breast cancer and to slow growth in 
metastatic breast cancer.

In March, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Jennifer L.A. Armstrong, MD, will answer your questions about hormonal therapy, including what treatments may be used, who may get it, why it may be offered and how it could affect the rest of your treatment and your risk of recurrence.

December 1, 2015

Breast cancer treatment given before breast surgery, to shrink tumors or slow cancer spread, is called neoadjuvant therapy. Not everyone gets neoadjuvant therapy, but for many people, it is a good treatment option. Neoadjuvant therapy may be used to shrink a tumor to allow you to have lumpectomy instead of mastectomy. New studies are also looking at how a cancer’s response to treatment before surgery might impact treatment after surgery.

This Winter, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Rena Callahan, MD, answered your questions about neoadjuvant therapy, including what treatments may be used, who may get it, why it may be offered and how it could affect the rest of your treatment and your risk of recurrence.

November 1, 2015

Radiation therapy is a common treatment for breast cancer. It can lower the risk of cancer returning. Whether you’ve heard other people talk about radiation therapy, your doctor has recommended it, you’re receiving it now or you’ve finished receiving it, you may have questions. 

In November, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Rachel Rabinovitch, MD, answered your questions about radiation therapy, from how it works and when it’s needed to what side effects it may cause.

October 1, 2015

A breast cancer diagnosis of any stage has a major impact on all parts of your life – not only your physical health. Juggling your everyday life with your treatment and other medical appointments can be difficult.

In October, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Drucilla Brethwaite, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, answered your questions about where to go for emotional and practical support, how to balance your everyday life with breast cancer treatment, how to communicate the news of your diagnosis to different people in your life, ways to ask for help, and methods to organize your finances.