The Breast Cancer Checklist

For the Media


Scientific American Molecules to Medicine Blog, October 11, 2012, by Dr. Judy Stone

“I am extremely impressed by Fern's thoroughness and the ease of use of her book. Her suggestions are applicable to many cancer or general surgical patients. The Breast Cancer Checklist is chock full of great ideas for women and their families! Many are things that I wouldn't have occurred to me or that I haven't seen elsewhere.

The Breast Cancer Checklist is a great resource and contains a wealth of practical information. I will suggest it to my oncologist friends for all their patients, not just those with breast cancer.”

Marijke: Nurse Turned Writer Blog

“Fern Reiss is the author of The Breast Cancer Checklist, a new book that she wrote to help people who have been just diagnosed with breast cancer. But it's more than that. It's also a good book for people with cancer, period. … I think [it] is a valuable and much-needed resource for people who are embarking on their cancer-treatment journey.”

Press Releases

New Breast Cancer Checklist Book Offers Easy-to-Use Checklist System for Managing Treatment

(BOSTON)—With National Breast Cancer Awareness Month just around the corner, the new Breast Cancer Checklist book by Fern Reiss offers an easy-to-use guide with checklists for what to do before, during, and after breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It covers a range of medical, personal, and practical advice, including:

  • Get a dental appointment before you start treatment, when you'll be immuno-compromised
  • Talk to your surgeon about cryo-preserving your tumor, so that should you ever need it for a personalized cancer vaccine, you have the option available
  • Schedule your surgery for the second half of your menstrual cycle, which improves outcomes
  • Talk to your child's teachers, so they're alert for mood swings or special needs
  • On plane flights, wear a compression sleeve to prevent lymphedema
  • Try a netted bath loofah, instead of a heavier prosthesis, for swimming; they're very light and dry more easily
  • Avoid grapefruit and echinacea, both of which impede the effects of chemotherapy
  • If you're taking tamoxifen, avoid soy, which can stop tamoxifen's ability to halt tumor growth
  • Sign up for a meal organizing system like so friends and family can help in providing your food needs
  • Check into whether you're entitled to 12 weeks of medical leave without losing your benefits or position
  • Sign up for one of the dozens of free spas or retreat vacations available to breast cancer survivors

The book's easy-to-use checklists track personal information such as medical, insurance, and scheduling details, as well as covering not-to-be-missed details of lymphedema management, infusion ports, tamoxifen, herceptin, and managing work during treatment.

Reiss, who was diagnosed two years ago, began working on the project when she couldn't find a book that would get her through treatment. “There are many exhaustive - and exhausting! - books on breast cancer,” she said, “but I couldn't find any that just told me what I needed to know and let me track the myriad of details easily.”

The book includes everything from checklists of equipment and clothing designed to make your life easier, to freebies including free restaurant meals, free housecleaning services, free headcoverings and makeup, and free retreats and spa vacations available to breast cancer survivors.

Find it in bookstores, via Amazon, and at


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