The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that each year over 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed and over 40,000 patients will die from the disease. Breast cancer is truly an epidemic among women and we don't know why.
A lump is detected, which is usually single, firm, and most often painless.
A portion of the skin on the breast or underarm swells and has an unusual appearance.
Veins on the skin surface become more prominent on one breast.
The breast nipple becomes inverted, develops a rash, changes in skin texture, or has a discharge other than breast milk.
A depression is found in an area of the breast surface.
Women's breasts can develop some degree of lumpiness, but only a small percentage of lumps are malignant.
While a history of breast cancer in the family may lead to increased risk, most breast cancers are diagnosed in women with no family history. If you have a family history of breast cancer, this should be discussed with your doctor.
"Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram." —National Breast Cancer Foundation
Did you know that there is a cheap, effective therapy to prevent breast cancer that has no side effects and that this treatment also reduces the recurrence of disease among breast cancer survivors? It's true and you're already doing it. Exercise, such as walking, reduces the risk of developing cancers in general and recent studies have proven that moderate exercise prevents breast cancer.
While doctors aren't exactly sure how exercising reduces the risk of breast cancer, they do know that obesity is linked to cancer and that overweight women have higher levels of estrogen, a hormone that supports the growth of the most common type of breast cancer. We all know that exercise and eating fewer calories are the keys to weight loss, but women of all sizes and ages can reduce the risk of breast cancer by exercising.
In a variety of recent medical studies, we have learned that regular exercise started as young as twelve will reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by as much as 23%. Breast cancer survivors who walk or enjoy other moderate forms of exercising three to five hours per week are 50% less likely to die of breast cancer that those who are sedentary.
No matter your age, all women benefit from exercise and the more consistent you are, the more you gain in terms of protection. The most benefit results from a moderate- intensity activity such as brisk walking for thirty minutes a day, five days a week. That's a two mile walk with Leslie- something most of us can achieve or work up to.
There is good news regarding breast cancer. Early detection through self breast exams and yearly mammography saves lives and now, we have a simple, safe, and effective weapon against this deadly disease: exercise. I encourage each of you to keep walking - it could save your life. Remember, I believe in good health and believe in it for you!
The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that each year, over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 die. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year.
If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 96%. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram.
The National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that women in their forties and older have mammograms every one to two years. A complete early detection plan also includes regular clinical breast examinations by a trained medical professional. Monthly breast self-exams are suggested in addition.
For more information about breast cancer, see our About Breast Cancer page or this Healthology page.
The incidence of breast cancer is very low in a person's twenties, gradually increases and plateaus at the age of forty-five, and increases dramatically after age fifty. Fifty percent of breast cancer is diagnosed in women over sixty-five, indicating the ongoing necessity of yearly screening throughout a woman's life.
Breast cancer is considered a heterogeneous disease, meaning that it is a different disease in different women, a different disease in different age groups, and has different cell populations within the tumor itself. Generally, breast cancer is a much more aggressive disease in younger women. Autopsy studies show that 2% of the population has undiagnosed breast cancer at the time of death. Older women typically have much less aggressive disease than younger women.
Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
One woman in eight who lives to age 85 will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55.
Seventy percent of all breast cancers are found through breast self-exams. Not all lumps are detectable by touch. We recommend regular mammograms and monthly breast self-exams.
Eight out of ten breast lumps are not cancerous. If you find a lump, don't panic-call your doctor for an appointment.
Mammography is a low-dose X-ray examination that can detect breast cancer up to two years before it is large enough to be felt.
When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 96%. This is good news! Over 2 million breast cancer survivors are alive in America today.
Early onset of menses and late menopause: Onset of the menstrual cycle prior to the age of 12 and menopause after 50 causes increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Diets high in saturated fat: The types of fat are important. Monounsaturated fats such as canola oil and olive oil do not appear to increase the risk of developing breast cancer like polyunsaturated fats, corn oil, and meat.
An Early Breast Cancer Detection Plan should include:
Clinical breast examinations every three years from ages 20-39, then every year thereafter.
Monthly breast self-examinations beginning at age 20. Look for any changes in your breasts.
Baseline mammogram by the age of 40.
Mammogram every one to two years for women 40-49, depending on previous findings.
Mammogram every year for women 50 and older.
A personal calendar to record your self-exams, mammograms, and doctor appointments.
A low-fat diet, regular exercise, and no smoking or drinking.
How to Conduct a Breast Self-Exam
In the shower: Fingers flat, move gently over every part of each breast. Use your right hand to examine left breast, left hand for right breast.
Check for any lump, hard knot or thickening. Carefully observe any changes in your breasts.
Before a mirror: Inspect your breasts with arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in contour of each breast, a swelling, a dimpling of skin or changes in the nipple. Then rest palm on hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match — few women's breasts do.
Lying down: Place pillow under right shoulder, right arm behind your head. With fingers of left hand flat, press right breast gently in small circular motions, moving vertically or in a circular pattern covering the entire breast. Use light, medium and firm pressure. Squeeze nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
MYTH: Finding a lump in your breast means you have breast cancer.