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.


February 1, 2017

Breast cancer treatments can save lives. But they can also have side effects. One serious potential side effect of some breast cancer treatments is heart damage. But you and your healthcare providers can take action to protect your heart.

In February, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Gretchen G. Kimmick, MD, MS will answer your questions about heart health, including how different breast cancer treatments can affect your heart, how to keep your heart strong after a breast cancer diagnosis, and more. 

January 3, 2017

For hundreds or even thousands of years, people with cancer have relied on complementary therapies to manage side effects of cancer and its treatments. These therapies can involve nutrition, mind-body practices, artistic expression and certain forms of exercise. Only in the last few decades have these methods, now collectively called integrative therapies, become an accepted part of mainstream Western medical care.

Dwight L. McKee, MD presented at a November 2016 Living Beyond Breast Cancer program called Treating the Whole You: Integrative Care and Breast Cancer. More audience questions were submitted than could be answered during the program, so Dr. McKee agreed to answer some of those questions here. He also took new questions from you about integrative therapies, from supplements to take and foods to avoid, to how mindfulness and self-expression can help you feel better during cancer treatment, and more.

December 1, 2016

Breast cancer and its treatments can make working difficult or impossible. This can have serious effects on your career and your financial health. But having information about your rights and about what resources available to you can help you get through this tough time.

In December, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Joanna L. Fawzy Morales, Esq answered your questions about your finances and your career, from your legal rights as an employee, to social security disability benefits, to where to turn for financial aid, and more.

November 1, 2016

Breast cancer is often thought about as one disease. But in reality, different breast cancers grow for different reasons and need different treatments. There are three main subtypes of breast cancer: hormone receptor-positive, HER2-positive and triple-negative. Do you know your subtype?

Researchers have created therapies specific to certain subtypes to best treat each type of the disease. They’re always learning more about these subtypes, trying to find new subtypes, and working to create new treatments.

In November, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Debu Tripathy, MD answered your questions about breast cancer subtypes.

October 1, 2016

Do people in your family have breast cancer, including you? Were you young when you were diagnosed? Does a man in your family have breast cancer?

You may have heard that certain risk factors suggest that the cancer may be related to a gene mutation, an error in a gene’s DNA. Maybe you’ve already had genetic testing and know you carry a mutation. Or, maybe you’ve thought about getting a genetic test, but you’re not sure which kind of test is right for you.

Genetics researchers are constantly finding new connections between the way genes behave and their role in causing breast cancer and other cancers. In October, Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Marianne Lotito, MS, LCGC, a genetic counselor from Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington, answered your questions about what’s new in breast cancer genetic research, what your results may mean, when to get testing, and what to do once you have your test results.

September 1, 2016

You’re the one with breast cancer. But your loved ones are going through this with you, too. On top of worrying about your health, you may worry how the disease will affect your relationships – with your romantic partner, your parents, kids, friends and co-workers.

Nobody understands this better than people who have experienced it themselves. So in September, Living Beyond Breast Cancer presented a panel of women who have been diagnosed with different stages of breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer. They answered your questions about keeping relationships strong after a breast cancer diagnosis, from talking to your loved ones about how cancer affects your (and their) emotions, and deciding how much to tell neighbors or co-workers about what you’re going through; to talking to kids about cancer, and keeping a romantic relationship going when serious health concerns are taking up so much of your time, energy and money.