Friday, 20 July 2007

Keeping abreast of things...

Breast cancer is a major concern under women and rightly so. And, as in all things, education is important in order for us to protect ourselves.


An estimated 182 800 new cases of malignant breast cancer were diagnosed in 2000.

An estimated amount of 42 2000 women died from breast cancer in 2000.

You stand the best chance of survival through early detection of breast cancer by regular monthly breast self-exams and yearly mammograms after the age of 40.

Ninety-six percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer-free after five years.

One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.

A woman dies every 13 minutes of breast cancer

Breast cancer usually shows upon first in a woman’s mammogram, before it can be felt or any other symptoms show.

Risks for breast cancer include a family history, atypical hyperplasia, delaying pregnancy until after age 30 or never becoming pregnant, early menstruation (before age 12), late menopause (after age 55), current use or use in the last ten years of oral contraceptives, and daily consumption of alcohol.

Seventy-seven percent of breast cancer incidents are women over 50.

Breast cancer is the major fatality factor in women’s cancer between the ages of 15 and 54, and the second cuase of cancer deaths in women 55 to 74.

Over eighty percent of lumps are not malignant but benign, such as fibrocystosis.

Oral contraceptives can cause a slight increase in the risk for breast cancer.

You are never too young to develop breast cancer! You should start self-exams by the age of twenty in order to catch possible breast cancer early enough to be treated.

Breast Cancer Myths

1. Myth: Young women do not get breast cancer.
Fact: Yes, the risk for breast cancer increases as you age, but the fact is that women of all ages are at risk to develop breast cancer.

2. Myth: If there is no incident of breast cancer within your family you do not have to worry about breast cancer.
Fact: The fact is that the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a familial history of cancer. Your risk is however significantly higher should your mother, sister or grandmother have or have had breast cancer. See: Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool

3. Myth: I don’t have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene so I’m sure breast cancer is not in my future.
Fact: Don’t fool yourself! Not having a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene does not mean you won’t get breast cancer. Actually, the truth is that almost all women (90 to 95 percent) diagnosed with breast cancer have neither a family history nor mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, according to the American Cancer Society.
See: Understanding the BRCA Gene and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

4. Myth: Breast cancer is preventable.
Fact: Although a drug classified as an antiestrogen called, Tamoxifen may decrease breast cancer risk in certain women, the cause of breast cancer remains unknown and is not completely preventable. The real key to surviving breast cancer is early detection and treatment.

5. Myth: Having yearly mammograms will expose me to too much radiation and cancer will occur as a result.
Fact: According to the American College of Radiology, the benefits of annual mammograms far outweigh any risks that may occur because of the minute amount of radiation used during this screening and diagnostic procedure.

6. Myth: I’m not going to breastfeed because breastfeeding would increase my risk of getting breast cancer.
Fact: Just the opposite is true. Breastfeeding may actually decrease the risk of perimenopausal breast cancer.

Self examination:

Here's How:

1. Stand in front of a mirror. Look for any changes such as puckering, changes in size or shape, dimpling, or changes in your skin texture.
2. Look for changes to the shape or texture of your nipples. Gently squeeze each nipple and look for discharge.

3. Repeat these steps with your hands on your hips, over your head, and at your side.
4. Raise your right arm and examine your every part of your left breast. Move in increasingly smaller circles, from the outside in, using the pads of your index and middle fingers.

5. Gently press and feel for lumps or thickenings.

6. Using body cream, if neccessary, continue to circle and gently massage the area outside your breast and under your arm.

7. Repeat with your left arm and right breast.

8. Lay down. Put a pillow under your right shoulder, and your right hand behind your head. Again gently massage and feel your breast for lumps or other changes.
9. Repeat with towel under left shoulder with left hand behind head.


1. Menstruating women should do breast self-exam a few days after their periods end. Women who use oral contraceptives should do breast self exam on the first day of a new pill pack.

2. Post-menopausal non-menstruating women should pick a day and do breast self exam on the same day each month. Notify your physician immediately if you notice any changes or lumps.

3. Breast self exam should be a routine part of every woman's life. Talk to your daughters about the importance of breast self exam so it will become a routine part of their lives.

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