Who is at risk
of developing breast cancer?
Although there are some women who are at higher risk, the fact is
all women are at risk for breast cancer. However, the risk
increases greatly after the age of 40. In fact, two-thirds of
breast cancers are found in women over the age of 50.
That's why it is so important to follow the three-step plan for
preventive care as mentioned below.
1. Monthly breast
2. Annual clinical
examination by a physician or trained nurse.
according to your age and recommendation of your doctor
breast abnormalities, such as cysts, be detected through breast
self-exams and mammograms?
breast cancer at its earliest stages is the main target of routine
breast care, other benign conditions, such as fibrocystic breasts,
are often discovered through routine care. And remember, most
breast lumps are found to be benign.
At what age
should a woman start doing monthly breast self-exams?
A woman should
begin practicing breast self-examination early in her life as soon
as she begins developing breasts. She should continue the practice
throughout her life, even during pregnancy and after menopause.
BSE should be done at the same time every month. An important
benefit of doing regular BSEs is that it teaches women to know
their breasts so that they recognize changes should one occur.
should women see a doctor for a professional examination?
examination by a doctor trained to evaluate breast problems should
be part of every woman's annual physical examination.
It is recommended
to have clinical breast examination as follows:
Women, ages 20-39
- every three years.
Women, ages 40 and
over - annually.
What is a
A mammogram is a
low-dose x-ray of the breasts, performed to find any abnormalities
or changes in the breast. It is one of the most common imaging
techniques done today. A mammogram can detect cancer or other
problems before a lump becomes large enough to be felt, as well as
to assist in the diagnosis of other breast problems. More advanced
imaging procedures, for difficult to diagnose cases, include
stereotactic imaging and ultrasound.
40 and over, should have a mammogram annually
Are there any
high risks for women developing breast cancer?
Breast cancer is a
threat to every woman. Some have a family history of the disease
or might be described as being in a high risk group but most of
the women who get breast cancer are struck by the disease without
prior conditions or unhealthy lifestyles.
If lumps are
detected early, what are survival changes?
If the cancer is
detected early, while the tumor is still small, it can often be
removed with very good survival chances for the woman. Presently
there are three methods that are widely used to detect breast
cancer as early as possible.
1.The first is a
breast self-exam performed by each woman once a month when it is
convenient for her. Many cancers that are detected early are
pointed out to a doctor by a patient who has discovered the lump
during BSE. Regular breast self-exams help women establish a
baseline of knowledge, which an understanding of how their breast
feel normally. There may be quite a few harmless lumps discovered
in the breast. The one to be suspicious of is an unusual or new
mass or one that seems to be growing. Doctors can show women how
to perform a BSE and what to look for during the exam.
2.The second method
of early breast cancer detection is a doctor's exam of the breast
by palpation to decide whether or not a lump is unusual or
3.The third method
is a mammogram or x-ray picture of the breast. The x-ray picture
is a shadow image of all the structures in the breast. Cancerous
growth has characteristic structures, like a collection of small
spots in a ring or a star shaped structure, that radiologists are
trained to recognize. Some of the cancers can not be felt during a
self-exam or a doctor's exam but do show up as a shadow on the
Are women more
at risk of developing breast cancer as they age?
Yes. The chances
of getting cancer increase with a woman's age, and although there
has been much talk in the media concerning new guidelines, it is
generally recommended for women over forty to have a mammogram
every other year and women over fifty to have a mammogram every
year. Just like the palpation by the woman or her doctor, the
mammogram is most useful if there is a baseline of a normal view
to compare the x-ray with. Mammograms are considered to be very
successful in detecting cancers. However, they are not guaranteed
100% to find every cancer.
when a suspicious lump is detected on a mammogram?
The doctor and the
patient together make a decision to either proceed with a needle
biopsy – a procedure where a small piece of the lump is excised
for further examination and identification by a Pathologist in a
laboratory. Their second choice is to do another mammogram in
about six months to see if the lump has grown any. Having a
suspicious lump can be frightening to any woman. A needle biopsy
offers a fast answer to whether a lump is benign or not, but is in
invasive, somewhat painful and leaves scars in the breast that
make future mammograms more difficult to interpret.
Does the size
or shape of a woman’s breast make a difference during mammography?
Some women have
what are called radiodense breasts and x-rays do not transmit
through them very well. Radiodense breasts cause a shadow to be
created in the x-ray image. The problem this creates, is that
cancer structures may be hiding beneath these shadow.
Do I need a
mammogram if I have breast implants?
Yes, women with
breast implants should follow the same recommended screening
mammograms as women without breast implants.
cancer to develop in some breast and not in others?
really sure what causes cancer to develop in breast tissue. They
have a number of theories and suspect that a combination of
lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors can increase a
woman's risk for the disease.
Are women with
a "family history" of breast cancer at higher risk?
Women with a
personal or family history of breast cancer are definitely at
higher risk for breast cancer. If you have already had breast
cancer, you are more likely to develop it again in the opposite
breast. If your mother or sister has or had breast cancer,
especially if they developed it at a young age, you are at higher
risk for developing it yourself.
Why is breast
cancer so feared?
The discovery of
a lump in the breast is often one of the most frightening and
feared health problems a woman faces. In part this is because
breast cancer is the most common cancer to afflict women. It is
also feared because it can be disfiguring and, of course, life-threatenin