Breast cancer awareness: What women need to know

September 28, 2016
Mammograms showing a normal breast (left) and a cancerous breast (right). Credit: Wikipedia.

As national Breast Cancer Awareness Months begins next week, breast health expert Dr. Sharon Koehler of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine, says women need to know the following five things:

1. Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women (after ). It's the most common noncutaneous cancer in U.S. women, with an estimated 61,000 cases of in situ disease, 246,660 cases of , and 40,450 deaths expected in 2016.

2. Early detection saves lives.

3. Mammograms are the best screening tool for .

4. 85% of women with breast cancer do not die of their disease; in fact, nearly 100% of women diagnosed with stage 0 & 1 have a nearly 100% 5-year survival.

5. Everyone with breast cancer has a tailored treatment designed for them. All breast cancers are NOT treated the same.

Koehler advises women to learn more about screening from the Susan G. Komen organization.

Koehler say there are common myths about breast cancer that must be dispelled to help patients and their families. These include:

1. Every lump in the breast is a cancer.
TRUTH: Nine out of ten masses biopsied are benign (not cancer).

2. I don't have breast cancer because no one in my family has ever been diagnosed with breast cancer.
TRUTH: Eight out of every 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer, do not have a family history of breast cancer.

3. If I get breast cancer, I am likely going to die from the disease.
TRUTH: Approximately 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not die of the disease. Survival is influenced most by stage at diagnosis.

4. Breast cancer is treated by removing my breast.
TRUTH: Removal of the entire breast is one option, but just removing all of the cancer and leaving the healthy breast tissue is often also an option.

5. All women with breast cancer will need chemotherapy.
TRUTH: Chemotherapy is used in some women with breast cancer but not everyone must have chemotherapy. The earlier the stage, the less likely you will need chemotherapy.

6. I don't have cancer, I feel fine.
TRUTH: Breast cancer often has no symptoms and may simply be seen on a mammogram.

Finally, Koehler offers four simple things women can do to improve their breast health:

1. Speak with your doctor about breast cancer screening.

2. Take note of any changes in your breasts such as masses or thickening, skin abnormalities, nipple discharge, enlarged nodes in your arm pit and report them to your doctor.

3. Avoid hormone replacement therapy.

4. Maintain a healthy weight.

Explore further: Breast cancer mortality lower in women who breastfeed

Related Stories

Breast cancer mortality lower in women who breastfeed

August 31, 2016
A new study of women 20 years after undergoing surgery for primary breast cancer shows that breastfeeding for longer than 6 months is associated with a better survival rate. Among breast cancer survivors who breastfed for ...

Men develop breast cancer, too

July 8, 2014
(HealthDay)—While rare, breast cancer does occur in men and is often diagnosed at a later age and stage than in women, experts say.

Women with diabetes more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer

March 24, 2015
Diabetes is associated with more advanced stage breast cancer, according to a new study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's College Hospital.

What to know if breast cancer runs in your family

October 7, 2014
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in women. A woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 12 percent (1 of every 8 women). Breast cancer risk is higher among women whose close blood relatives ...

Family history of breast cancer doesn't mean a poor prognosis for women who develop the disease

May 20, 2015
A new large study finds that women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and have a family history of the disease face no worse of a prognosis after treatment than other women with breast cancer. The study, which was published ...

Video: Is that double mastectomy really necessary?

October 24, 2014
When Angeline Vuong, 27,was diagnosed with cancer in one breast earlier this year, her first reaction was "A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY. NOW. " Turns out, she's far from alone: a recent JAMA study of 190,000 breast cancer cases in ...

Recommended for you

New bowel cancer drug target discovered

October 17, 2017
Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered a new drug target for bowel cancer that is specific to tumour cells and therefore less toxic than conventional therapies.

Using artificial intelligence to improve early breast cancer detection

October 17, 2017
Every year 40,000 women die from breast cancer in the U.S. alone. When cancers are found early, they can often be cured. Mammograms are the best test available, but they're still imperfect and often result in false positive ...

Many pelvic tumors in women may have common origin—fallopian tubes

October 17, 2017
Most—and possibly all—ovarian cancers start, not in ovaries, but instead in the fallopian tubes attached to them.

Researchers find novel mechanism of resistance to anti-cancer drugs

October 17, 2017
The targeted anti-cancer therapies cetuximab and panitumumab are mainstays of treatment for advanced colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, many patients have tumors ...

Biology of childhood brain tumor subtypes offers clues to precision treatments

October 17, 2017
Researchers investigating pediatric low-grade gliomas (PLGG), the most common type of brain tumor in children, have discovered key biological differences in how mutated genes combine with other genes to drive this childhood ...

New assay may boost targeted treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

October 17, 2017
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive cancer and the most frequently diagnosed non-Hodgkin lymphoma worldwide (nearly 40% of cases). Recent advancements indicate that both the prognosis and choice of treatment ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.