Breast Health – What you should knowEarly detection saves lives! Screening tests can find breast cancer in its earlier stages, when the cancer treatment is easier and the chances of survival are highest. But, there are also things you can do to help improve your chances of early detection and lower your risk.
During our community outreach women often asked “How can I protect myself from getting breast cancer?” We can best answer this question by helping you with these four easy steps to lower your risk of breast cancer.
1. Know (and understand) Your Risk
- Talk to your family to learn about your family health history.
- Talk to your health care provider about your personal risk of breast cancer.
Risk factors do not cause breast cancer, but they increase the chances that you may get breast cancer. There are many risk factors linked to breast cancer. Some of these risk factors increase risk a lot. Others increase risk by only a little.
2. Get Screened
- Ask your health care provider which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk.
- We recommend women have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk.
- Also recommended is a clinical breast exam at least every three years starting at the age of 20, and every year starting at age 40.
The best screening tool we have today for early breast cancer detection is the mammogram. A mammogram can find breast cancer when it is small and easier to treat. Sometimes breast cancer can be felt, but not seen on a mammogram. This is why the clinical breast exam is equally important in your cancer prevention routine.
3. Know Your Normal
- Learn how your breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider.
- Perform a Breast Self-Assessment monthly. Preferably 72-hours after the last day of your menstrual cycle. If you no longer have menstrual cycle, then pick the same date each month.
There is no “standard” breast size, shape or feel. Each person is unique. So, it’s important to become familiar with the way your breasts normally look and feel. Knowing what is normal for you may help you see or feel changes in your breasts.
If you notice any change from your normal, see your health care provider. It’s important to note that the warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women.
The most common symptoms are: a lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area; swelling, warmth redness or darkening of the breast; change in the size or shape of the breast; dimpling or puckering of the skin; itchy, scaly or sore rash on the nipple, pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast; nipple discharge that starts suddenly; new pain in one spot that does not go away.
4. Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Add exercise into your routine
- Limit alcohol intake
- Limit postmenopausal hormone use
- Breastfeed, if you can
Healthy lifestyle choices are about taking responsibility and making smart health choices for today and for your future. Eating right, getting physically fit, emotional wellness, spiritual wellness and prevention are all a part of creating a healthy lifestyle.
For more information on mammogram screening or our Breast Health outreach program resources please call Angelia Freeman, Program Manager at 541-673-2267 or email Angelia at AFreeman@CCCRoseburg.org
WHAT ALL WOMEN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BREAST HEALTHWhat Is Breast Cancer?
Cells in the body normally divide (reproduce) only when new cells are needed. Sometimes, cells grow and divide out of control, which creates a mass of tissue called a tumor. If the cells that are growing out of control are normal cells, the tumor is called benign (not cancerous.) If however, the cells that are growing out of control are abnormal and does not function like the body's normal cells, the tumor is called malignant (cancerous).
What Causes Breast Cancer?
We do not know what causes breast cancer, although we do know that certain risk factors may put you at higher risk of developing it. A person's age, genetic factors, gender, personal health history and diet all contribute to breast cancer risk.
Who Gets Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. About 215,990 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2004. About 40,110 women will die from the disease this year. Right now there are slightly over 2 million women living in the U.S. who have been treated for breast cancer. (Source: American Cancer Society) Although this may sound frightening, research reveals that breast cancer death rates are going down. This decline is likely the result of earlier detection and improved treatment.
Using a machine and x-ray film made especially for breast tissue; a technician compresses the breast and takes pictures from at least two different angles, creating a set of images for each of your breasts. This set of images is called a mammogram. Breast tissue appears white and opaque and fatty tissue appears darker and translucent. In a screening mammogram, the breast is x-rayed from top to bottom and from side to side. A diagnostic mammogram focuses in on a particular lump or area of abnormal tissue.
Why Do I Need A Mammogram?
Mammography is your best defense against breast cancer because it can detect the disease in its early stages, before it can be felt during a breast examination. Mammograms can evaluate any unusual changes in the breast. A mammogram can help your healthcare provider decide if a lump, growth or change in your breast needs further testing.
How Should I Prepare For A Mammogram?
- Inform your health care provider or the technician performing the test if you are pregnant or think that you may be.
- No dietary changes are necessary. Take your medicines as usual.
- Do not wear body powder, cream, deodorant or lotion on your chest the day of the test. These substances may interfere with the x-rays.
- You will be asked to remove all clothing above the waist and you will be given a gown to wear. You may want to wear a two-piece outfit the day of the test.
- You will be asked to remove all jewelry.
What Should I Expect During My Mammogram?
- A registered mammography technologist performs the test (all DIA mammography techs are women). A certified DIA radiologist specialized in interpreting imaging studies will read the x-rays.
- You will be asked to stand in front of an X-ray machine. A technician will place your breast between two radiographic breast supports. The supports will be pressed together, gently flattening the breast. By compressing the breast, the health-care provider can get a clear picture while using a low dose of radiation. The discomfort felt from this pressure will only last for a few seconds. Compression is necessary to obtain the clearest possible picture with the least amount of radiation. To minimize discomfort during compression, you may want to schedule your appointment seven to 10 days after the start of your period, when your breasts are least likely to be tender.
- The breast will be imaged in several positions to enable the radiologist to visualize all breast tissue adequately. For a routine breast screening, two pictures are taken of each breast. This examination takes about 20 minutes.
What is Digital Mammography?
DIA offers this state-of-the-art technology so that our patients receive the extraordinary care they deserve. Digital mammography makes it possible for images to be transferred to a computer screen so they can be electronically enhanced. Your doctor can zoom in, magnify and optimize different parts of the breast tissue. This improves readability and interpretation of your images. Also, digital allows images to be stored and transferred electronically (no film). Mercy Medical Center Outpatient Imaging offers DIA mammography.
LUNG INFORMATION FOR EVERYONE (L.I.F.E)Breathing new life into lung care
The Community Cancer Center is breathing new life into lung care by taking steps to implement lung health education through the Douglas County community. This includes easier access to lung health resources and targeted nicotine awareness and tobacco education for youth ages six - fourteen. We also work to build strong partnerships between the medical community and the public in an effort to increase awareness and promote advocacy for better lung health. Together, we are helping to improve everyone’s well-being and transform lung care.
Lung cancer is so prevalent that a new person is diagnosed with the disease every two minutes, and twice as many women die from lung cancer each year as die from breast cancer.
- You don't need to be a smoker to get Lung Cancer
- Early stage Lung Cancer may show no symptoms
The most important thing to know about lung cancer is that early in the disease it often produces no signs or symptoms at all. 4That is why it is critical to get screened as soon as possible if you are at risk. In some patients, certain symptoms may appear that indicate the potential presence of lung cancer:
• Chronic cough • Shortness of breath
• Chest pain • Coughing up blood
• Hoarse voice • Chronic fatigue
• Headaches • Painful lumps
Remember; don’t wait for symptoms to appear. If you have one or more risk factors in the Lung Cancer Screening Criteria, please contact your health care provider.
Lung Cancer Screening Resources
Today the most common way to screen for lung cancer is with a low-dose CT (Computed Tomography) scan. The CT machine takes a detailed picture of your lungs that helps your physician locate anything abnormal. The scan takes less than 30 seconds and can detect extremely small nodules – which mean cancer can be found in its earliest stages when it’s most treatable.
For more information on lung cancer screening we encourage you to visit with your healthcare provider.
Not On Tobacco (N-O-T)Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) is an American Lung Association content designed program delivered and hosted by the Community Cancer Center, and Its program volunteers, held in our local schools throughout Douglas County.
N-O-T is specifically designed to help teens ages 14 – 19 to:
- Stop smoking or reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke
- Increase their healthy lifestyle behaviors
- Improve their life-management skills
Teens Against Tobacco Use (T.A.T.U)Teens Against Tobacco use (T.A.T.U.) is a tobacco education program designed to help teens develop strong leadership skills while influencing younger children to live tobacco-free lifestyles. High school-aged youth are trained to teach tobacco use prevention lessons to elementary and middle-school aged youth; discourage tobacco use among their peers; and advocate for changes in tobacco-related attitudes and policies in their communities.
More information about our smoking education programs which will be implemented Spring 2016 is coming soon!
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society’s estimates for prostate cancer in the United States for 2015 are:
- About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer
- About 27,540 deaths from prostate cancer
- About 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 38 will die of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
Should I Be Screened?
The question of screening is a personal and complex one. It’s important for each man to talk with his doctor about whether prostate cancer screening is right for him.
When Should I Start Screening?
When to start screening is generally based on individual risk, with age 40 being a reasonable time to start screening for those at highest risk (genetic predispositions or strong family histories of prostate cancer at a young age). For otherwise healthy men at high risk (positive family history or African American men), starting at age 40-45 is reasonable.
Guidelines differ for men at average risk. Some recommend an initial PSA and DRE at age 40, and others recommend starting at age 50. In general, all men should create a proactive prostate health plan that is right for them based on their lifestyle and family history.
You can find a useful resource for making screening decisions at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site or by talking about your risk factors and options with your health care provider.
ABOUT THE PROSTATE
The more you know about the normal development and function of the prostate, where it’s located, and what it’s attached to, the better you can understand how prostate cancer develops and impacts a man’s life over time—due either to cancer growth or as a result of treatments.
The normal prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut. It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum.
The prostate is not essential for life, but it’s important for reproduction. It seems to supply substances that facilitate fertilization and sperm transit and survival.
The prostate is divided into several anatomic regions, or zones. Most prostate cancer develops from the peripheral zone near the rectum. That’s why a digital rectal exam (DRE) is a useful screening test.
What are Your Risk Factors?
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 7 men. But who is most at risk of getting prostate cancer and why?
There are several major factors that influence risk, and some of them unfortunately cannot be changed.
Age: The older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although only 1 in 10,000 men under age 40 will be diagnosed, the rate shoots up to 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 14 for ages 60 to 69.
In fact, more than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. The average age at diagnosis of prostate cancer in the United States is 69 years. After that age, the chance of developing prostate cancer becomes more common than any other cancer in men or women.
Race: African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer compared with Caucasian men and are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease. Conversely, Asian men who live in Asia have the lowest risk
SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Not everyone experiences symptoms of prostate cancer. Many times, signs of prostate cancer are first detected by a doctor during a routine check-up.
Some men, however, will experience changes in urinary or sexual function that might indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
These symptoms include:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Blood in urine or semen
- Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
You should consult with your health care provider if you experience any of the symptoms. Because these symptoms can also indicate the presence of other diseases or disorders, such as BPH or prostatitis, men will undergo a thorough work-up to determine the underlying cause.
The ultimate goal is to prevent men from developing prostate cancer. Although significant progress has been made and genetic and environmental risk factors for prostate cancer have been identified, the evidence is not strong enough for conclusive recommendations.
To understand how to prevent prostate cancer, one must first understand what causes it. There are four major factors that influence one's risk for developing prostate cancer. These are Age, Race, Family History and Where you live. These factors are difficult or impossible to change, however, there are many things that men can do to reduce or delay their risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Minimize the amount of fat intake from red meat and dairy.
- Watch the amount of calcium intake.
- Eat more fish.
- Eat more tomatoes and cruciferous veggies.
- Avoid smoking for many reasons.
- Seek medical treatment for stress, high blood pressure or cholesterol and depression
- Avoid over-supplementation.
- Relax more and enjoy life.
- Engage in early screening and talk with your health care provider about your risks.