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November 6, 2012 | David Lazarus
Ann Walton-Teter was diagnosed with breast cancer in September. About a month later, she was informed by her health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, that her coverage had been canceled because of a missed payment. Anthem would eventually admit that it was mistaken. But Walton-Teter, 43, had to battle the insurance giant to have her coverage restored just as she was recovering from a double mastectomy and preparing for chemotherapy. In other words, the Santa Monica resident had to go up against a corporate bureaucracy while she was at her weakest and most vulnerable - a situation that plays out time after time nationwide as insurers challenge patients' claims or doctors' prescriptions in the midst of medical crises.
November 5, 2012 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Sharon Osbourne has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a mutated gene indicating a much higher risk of breast cancer, "The Talk" panelist has revealed to a British magazine. "For me, it wasn't a big decision, it was a no-brainer," she told Hello! "I didn't want to live the rest of my life with that shadow hanging over me. I want to be around for a long time and be a grandmother to Pearl. " Osbourne had previously battled colon cancer, and had her breast implants removed a year ago, declaring well in advance that once removed, the implants would be husband Ozzy Osbourne's to use as a paperweight.
September 12, 2012 | By Christie D'Zurilla
Kathy Bates has beaten cancer yet again, she revealed Wednesday. "Hey All, sorry for the long silence," she said in a two-part Twitter message. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 months ago & am recovering from a double mastectomy. ... I don't miss my breasts as much as I miss Harry's Law. ;-) Thanks for all the sweet tweets. Y'all kept me going. " The "Titanic" actress was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003, an experience she discussed in the video above, for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.
September 5, 2012 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Judy Blume blogged Wednesday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. She's now recuperating after a successful mastectomy. Blume, 74, is the author of wildly popular books for children and young adults, including "Deenie," "Forever," "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing," "Blubber" and "Freckle Juice. " She appeared at the L.A. Times Festival of Books in April; she was diagnosed with cancer in June. Because she opted to get a mastectomy, she met with a reconstructive surgeon.
May 1, 2012 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Brachytherapy is an increasingly popular option for women with early-stage breast cancer. After a lumpectomy to remove abnormal tissue, doctors insert either a series of tubes or a catheter attached to a small balloon into the breast. A radioactive source is then delivered to the surgical site, where it can kill off any remaining cancer cells within about 1 centimeter. After five days of treatment, the tubes or catheter can be removed. As this site from UCLA's Department of Radiation Oncology explains, brachytherapy allows doctors to irradiate the breast “from the inside out,” unlike the traditional method of applying radiation to the entire breast with an external beam.
December 6, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
TV personality Giuliana Rancic announced Monday she's decided to have a double mastectomy after undergoing a double lumpectomy for breast cancer. Rancic's husband Bill told the "Today" show that despite having the lumpectomies not all cancer cells were eradicated. That prompted the decision to forgo yet another lumpectomy and radiation and try a more drastic approach. Whether or not a woman decides to under go a double, or contralateral, mastectomy depends on a number of factors, said Dr. Gregory Senofsky, breast cancer surgeon and assistant director of the Margie Petersen Breast Center at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica.
December 5, 2011
A roundup of entertainment headlines for Monday. Giuliana Rancic is getting a double mastectomy after a two lumpectomies failed to eradicate her breast cancer. ( Huffington Post ) Kennedy Center Honors recipient Neil Diamond led President Obama,  Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Barbara Cook, Sonny Rollins and more in a Kennedy Center Honors sing-along of "Sweet Caroline. " ( Los Angeles Times ) Madonna will perform in the Super Bowl halftime show. ( Los Angeles Times )
October 1, 2011 | By Amanda Mascarelli, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Breast cancer is no longer considered a single disease. New molecular tools are allowing doctors to see what is going on inside tumors with much greater accuracy, enabling them to tailor their therapeutic approach to fit the traits of each cancer and the needs of each patient, as the women below illustrate. Sailing through Name: Caryl Engstrom Current age: 51 Home: Los Angeles Diagnosis: Stage 2B breast cancer that was ER-positive Age at diagnosis: 49 Engstrom had a mastectomy, followed by five months of a combination chemotherapy known as ACT (which includes the drugs Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxotere)
September 23, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Wanda Sykes has revealed to talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that she had a double mastectomy this year after doctors found evidence of early-stage breast cancer in her left breast. As she explains on the program set to air on Monday, it all started with routine breast-reduction surgery. But then pathologists discovered that she had ductal carcinoma in situ, also known as DCIS. “I was very, very lucky, because DCIS is basically stage zero cancer,” Sykes told DeGeneres.
June 27, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Radiation after a mastectomy for advanced breast cancer is part of the standard treatment guidelines. But more than a decade after the lifesaving value of radiation was confirmed, about half of all women who should get radiation therapy aren't getting it, researchers reported Monday. In the mid-1990s, several studies confirmed that mastectomy patients with advanced breast cancer have better outcomes if they undergo radiation after surgery. Initially, the medical community seemed to pay attention to the findings.
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