Friday, April 26, 2013

DBCC Staff Profile: Laura Nadel

DBCC is a state-wide, local nonprofit with offices in all three counties. We have 17 full- and part-time staff members who work together to provide programs and services in the community. We will begin to profile staff members individually to get to know more about what they do for DBCC and the community.

Laura Nadel, Women's Mobile Health Screening Program Coordinator

Hometown: I’m originally from Rock Hall, MD and currently live in Magnolia, DE.
Laura and her daughters

Background: I graduated in 1998 from Wesley College in Dover, DE with a BA in Communications.  After college I moved to the Philadelphia area (with my future husband) where I worked in advertising at Earle Palmer Brown and then as a consultant for Comcast Corporate Communications in their internal advertising/creative services department.  My husband and I moved back to Dover, DE in November 2003 to care for his mother who was very ill with pancreatic cancer.  After she passed away, it made me want to work in a field that focused more on helping people.  In January of 2006, I left my job at the Delaware State News and came to work for Women’s Mobile Health Screening (WMHS).

WMHS is a subsidiary of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition that provides mammography services to low income, unisured and underinsured women through the State of Delaware's Screening for Life Program. The mobile mammography van is owned by the State of Delaware. You can learn more here.

What do you do at DBCC? I’m the program coordinator for WMHS.  I schedule private screening sites for the van and maintain our relationships with all of our monthly screening partners like Westside Family Healthcare and Claymont Community Center.  I enroll clients into Screening for Life (SFL), and manage all of the mammography van screening data and results.

Favorite hobby? Spending time with my family.  I’m a water girl, so I love boating on the Chesapeake Bay and teaching my girls how to crab, fish and water ski!

Favorite place to go in Delaware?  I enjoy all of the Delaware beach towns, they are each unique and we visit them quite frequently for day trips. 

Favorite part about working at DBCC?  Enrolling women into the Screening for Life (SFL) program.  Many times women don’t know that there are programs available to help pay for necessary preventative screenings (clinical breast exams, pelvic exam, mammogram and colonoscopy).   When they find out that they qualify for SFL they are truly thankful and it makes me feel good to know that I helped them to obtain coverage for these screenings and in essence, removed a barrier.  

Laura is leaving the organization in May 2013 and had this to say, "I have very much enjoyed working here for the past 7 ½ years and I’m so proud to have been a part of the Women’s Mobile Health Screening team and DBCC.  This is such a wonderful organization filled with great people and I wish you all much success in the future!"

On behalf of all the women and men we serve, DBCC would like to thank Laura for her years of service and her passion and dedication to helping women obtain their breast cancer screenings. Thank you Laura!

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.    

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

DBCC Staff Profile: Carolina Vano Johnson

DBCC is a state-wide, local nonprofit with offices in all three counties. We have 17 full- and part-time staff members who work together to provide programs and services in the community. We will begin to profile staff members individually to get to know more about what they do for DBCC and the community.

Carolina Vano Johnson, Bilingual Scheduler

Hometown: Since I moved to the US two years ago I have lived in Clayton, DE but I am originally from Alcoy, Alicante a nice little town on the east coast of Spain surrounded by mountains.
Carolina in her hometown in Spain

Background: I have a Bachelors degree in Economics and Business Administration and also a Masters degree in Internationalization of Enterprises. I have always worked in the administration and financial departments for small companies and large corporations.  Though I have years of experience in those fields I have had difficulty finding employment in the US. Fortunately one day I found this job listing in the newspaper and so I thought…”this may be my chance.” DBCC gave me the opportunity I was looking for to prove myself here and now this occasion has turned into a very rewarding experience. 

What do you do at DBCC? I am a bilingual Spanish-English scheduler and sometimes I translate for our Spanish patients on the mammography van. 

Favorite hobby? I love spending time with my family and enjoying the nature here in Delaware. There are lots of Natural Parks so we try not to miss any opportunity we have to go camping, trekking, riding bicycles, watching wild life and fishing in the Delaware Bay. 

Favorite place to go in Delaware? Bombay Hook and Cape Henlopen--all seasons, they are both gorgeous!

Favorite part about working at DBCC? Working at DBCC is the most grateful job I have ever had. Not only because of the great team that I have the opportunity to work with everyday who go above and beyond in the fight against breast cancer, but also because of all the support and gratitude of all the women that I have the pleasure to speak with everyday.

To contact Carolina, please email cjohnson (at)

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

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.