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.


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, will answer 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.

September 1, 2015

Good nutrition is an important part of caring for yourself after a breast cancer diagnosis. But eating right isn’t always easy. You may be wondering how certain vitamins and supplements could help you to feel, and be, healthier. Learning more about these substances, and how to take them safely, could help you manage treatment side effects and prevent recurrence.

In September, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, answered your questions about vitamins and supplements.

August 1, 2015

Metastatic breast cancer requires ongoing care and ongoing costs. You may be worried about what insurance will and will not cover, what you will have to pay out-of-pocket and how you will manage your other financial obligations while paying for breast cancer treatment. Learning about what resources are available to you and making a plan can help you prepare for, and lessen, the costs of metastatic breast cancer.

In August, Living Beyond Breast Cancer experts Joanna L. Fawzy Morales, Esq, and Amy Niles, MBA, answered your questions about how to stay afloat financially while having ongoing treatment.

July 1, 2015

About 15 to 25 percent of breast cancers are triple-negative, meaning that unlike other breast cancers, they do not grow because of estrogen, progesterone or a protein called HER2.

This July, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Rita Nanda, MD, answered your questions about triple-negative breast cancer – how it's different from other types of breast cancer, what treatments are available, what research is happening and how it applies to you.