A Voice in the Breast Cancer Community

Follow-Up Radiation and the Sandwich Generation

You’re driving your kids to gymnastics practice, preparing for a presentation at work, and making sure your mom remembers to take her medication. Sound familiar?

If so, you’re part of the “sandwich generation,” caught between the needs of elderly parents and dependent children, all while keeping your own life on track. For most women in the sandwich generation, this is a challenge in itself. Add in regular appointments for radiation treatment, and anyone is likely to feel spread too thin.

In this blog article, we’re talking about life in the sandwich generation and what it means for women recovering from early-stage breast cancer. If that sounds like you or someone you know, keep reading.

Making the Sandwich Generation

Pew Research Center defines the sandwich generation as a group comprised of middle-aged adults who have a living parent over 65 and who are still raising children.1 As the average life span has increased and more women are choosing to have children later in life, the sandwich generation has grown to encompass about 47 percent of middle-aged adults.2

Men and women are equally likely to be part of the sandwich generation, though the work of caregiving falls unequally upon women. They are more than twice as likely as men to be responsible for providing financial, emotional, and caregiving support to their families, according to Pew Research Center.1 Furthermore, the majority of caregivers hold down full- or part-time jobs in addition to providing care.3 As a result, women in the sandwich generation must perform a constant juggling act, balancing the needs of their children and parents with their own lives and careers.

That’s why the inconvenience of many post-lumpectomy radiation treatments presents a real challenge for women in the sandwich generation who are struggling with early-stage breast cancer.

Follow-Up Radiation Takes Too Long

Typically, women who have a lumpectomy after being diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer are advised to follow up with radiation therapy. But this treatment “requires a serious time commitment.…treatments take up to an hour, five days a week, for up to seven weeks,” according to researchers.4 For women in the sandwich generation, however, time is in short supply, making treatment difficult.

According to the Journal of Community Health, the biggest obstacle to women getting adequate breast cancer treatment is time away from family and work.5 Specifically because of worries about time, women were more likely to skip recommended follow-up radiation treatments after a lumpectomy, researchers found.6 For women in the sandwich generation, convenient follow-up radiation is critical.

Financial Constraints of Extended Treatment

Women in the sandwich generation also play a significant role in providing financial support to their families. A recent study by TD Ameritrade found that one-fifth of Americans in the sandwich generation are providing financial assistance to a parent and/or child.6 Unfortunately, taking time away from work for protracted breast cancer radiation treatments can add financial stress. Women need follow-up radiation treatments that allow them to continue working as normal in order to support their family members financially as they also protect their own health.

A Follow-Up Radiation Option That Fits the Sandwich Generation

Breast Microseed Treatment®, a one-time, one-hour procedure, is ideal for women caught in the sandwich generation who need a convenient, precise radiation option. It uses an FDA-cleared device to deliver low-dose-rate radiation to a targeted area, limiting risk to surrounding tissues and organs. Furthermore, Breast Microseed Treatment is over in a single one-hour procedure, but its five-year survival rate is similar to other follow-up radiation options on the market, and its patient satisfaction rate is an excellent 98 percent.9

With Breast Microseed Treatment, women in the sandwich generation can continue to meet their ongoing caretaking responsibilities—with the peace of mind that they’re not neglecting their own health in the process.

[Source Citations / Footnotes]

1. Taylor P, Parker K, Patten E, Motel S. The sandwich generation: rising financial burdens for middle-aged Americans. Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends. January 30, 2013. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/01/Sandwich_Generation_Report_FINAL_1-29.pdf. Accessed December 5, 2016.

2. Larsen D. What is the sandwich generation? A Place for Mom website, Senior Living Blog. October 5, 2015. http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/10-05-15-what-is-the-sandwich-generation/. Accessed December 5, 2016.

3. Caregiver statistics: work and caregiving. Family Caregiver Alliance website. https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-statistics-work-and-caregiving. Accessed December 5, 2016.

4. Raven K. Women may skip radiation therapy over child care concerns. Reuters website, Health News section. January 1, 2014. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-radiation-therapy-child-care-idUSBREA000BG20140101. Accessed December 5, 2016.

5. Patel K, Kanu M, Liu J, et al. Factors influencing breast cancer screening in low-income African Americans in Tennessee. J Community Health. 2014:39(5):943-950. doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9834-x.

6. http://www.amtd.com/newsroom/press-releases/press-release-details/2015/Supporting-Adult-Kids-Aging-Parents-Costs-American-Family-Budgets-630-Billion-a-Year/default.aspx

7. Pignol JP, Caudrelier JM, Crook J, McCann C, Truong P, Verkooijen HA. Report on the clinical outcomes of permanent breast seed implant for early-stage breast cancers. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015;93(3):614-621. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.07.2266.

Concure Oncology®

Dedicated to helping you put cancer behind you so you can get back to your life faster, with the peace of mind that comes from following the appropriate breast cancer treatment to help prevent a recurrence.

Kevin Kelley
Chief Executive Officer


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