Learning about Breast Cancer
Knowledge is power when it comes to coping with a cancer diagnosis, and the most important thing for you to know is that early detection is crucial for survival. At Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center, we’re here to answer your questions and serve as your breast cancer experts.
*One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Also, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the United States and it’s the second leading cause of death.
In Indiana, there are 4,000 new cases of breast cancer a year with more than 1,000 deaths. The two major risk factors include age and sex. It is more common in women, but men can be diagnosed, especially if their father or grandfather was diagnosed.
What’s your risk?
As women age, the risk of breast cancer increases. However, breast cancer can occur in younger women. Last year in the US, more than 13,000 cases were diagnosed in women under the age of 40. African American women have a higher incidence before the age of 40. The latest numbers show that 95% of breast cancer cases occur in women 40 and older. Incidence is higher in non-Hispanic whites, but the death rate was higher in African American women of all ages.
Other risk factors include:
• A patient having the BRCA 1,2 gene mutation
• Family history of breast cancer, (more than one immediate member), ovarian, even pancreatic cancer, especially at an early age (pre-premenopausal)
Signs/symptoms of breast cancer
• Heaviness or pain of the breast
• Nipple changes: bloody discharge
• Lump or swelling under the arm
• Mammogram every year starting at age 40
• Clinical breast exam every three years starting at age 20, then every one year starting at age 40
• Breast self-examination: (optional) monthly starting in the 20s
• Other tests such as breast ultrasound and MRI may be recommended based on density of breast tissue, age, and other risk factors
There are many different types of breast cancer but the most common types include ductal and lobular.
Early detection through screening
is critical to survival
Breast cancer can be detected early when it is Stage 0 (ductal or lobular in situations where it lacks invasiveness). Survival rate depends of the stage at which it was diagnosed and treated. Five year survival rate for Stage 0 is 98%.
Your breast care team
When the results of a mammogram indicate the need for a breast biopsy, you may be very anxious about the process and what lies ahead. Parkview’s breast care team provides support for women during this time of uncertainty.
Every woman who has a breast biopsy at the Breast Diagnostic Center meets with a member of the Parkview breast care team. The team consists of an advanced practice nurse who specializes in cancer care and two patient navigators. Members of the team not only answer questions about breast health and cancer, but also connect patients like you with resources and services specific to your needs.
You’re encouraged to contact them with questions and concerns at (260) 266-9100.
*Information provided by the American Cancer Society.