Breast cancer awareness
Early detection saves lives
It is estimated that one out of every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in the course of her life.* Although the number of deaths from the disease has been declining, breast cancer causes more deaths in American women than any cancer other than lung cancer. Early detection is a powerful weapon against the disease. Whether you're 20 years old or 70, there are steps you can take to detect breast cancer early, giving yourself a better chance of beating the disease.
Three types of screening
In its early phases, breast cancer often doesn't cause pain or easily noticeable symptoms. That's why it can be so important to check for breast cancer even if you feel fine. Being proactive about your health screenings can save your life.
- Breast self-exam. Beginning at age 20, you may consider starting a routine of breast self-exam, which means checking your own breasts and underarms once a month for lumps or changes in size and shape. The more familiar you are with the feel of your natural tissue, the more likely you are to notice changes. Be sure to report any changes to your doctor right away.
- Clinical breast exam. A clinical breast exam is done by a doctor or nurse who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or abnormalities. Women age 20 to 39 should schedule a clinical breast exam at least once every three years. At age 40, talk to your doctor about beginning a regimen of yearly clinical breast exams.
- Mammogram. A mammogram, or X-ray of the breasts, is the best method for detecting breast cancer before there are outward signs. Having regular mammograms can lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. The American Cancer Society made a new reccomendation this month that women age 45 and older, get a mammogram every one to two years. Your doctor can help you develop a schedule that takes into account your family history, the findings of previous screenings and your risk factors.**
Assess your risk
The two biggest risk factors for breast cancer are beyond your control. These factors are your gender and your age. Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men, and as a woman ages, her chances of developing breast cancer increase.
Another risk factor is family history. If you have a mother, sister or daughter who has had breast cancer, your risk of developing the disease doubles. However, most women who develop breast cancer (85%) do not have a family history of the disease.***
Lifestyle choices also affect your risk. Maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active and limit your alcohol consumption to help reduce your chances of developing breast cancer.
Genetic risk assessment
For those who are at high risk for or diagnosed with breast cancer, Enloe Comprehensive Breast Care offers individualized services. Advanced practice nurses with training in genetic cancer risk assessment can provide a lifetime cancer risk assessment, evaluation for hereditary cancer syndrome, genetic testing and follow up. Your primary care physician can set up an appointment for an initial meeting with an advance practice nurse at ECBC.
These services are complemented, as needed, by nurse navigation, which is guidance through the process of diagnosis, treatment and survivorship; as well as breast surgical services, considered the primary treatment for breast cancer. Surgeons with ECBC perform both diagnostic and therapeutic breast surgery; and patients can be referred to plastic surgeons for reconstructive breast surgery.
Enloe comprehensive breast care
welcomes Dr. Karen Ching
We are pleased to welcome Breast Surgeon Karen Ching, M.D., FACS, breast surgeon, to Enloe's Medical Staff. Dr. Ching has joined Lydia Schrader, M.D., FACS, at Enloe Comprehensive Breast Care (ECBC). ECBC has recently moved to a beautiful new location, on the second floor of Chico Breast Care Center located at 1720 Esplanade. For more information, visit www.enloe.org/ecbc or call ECBC at (530) 332-4530.