Wellness Wednesday: Breast Cancer Facts and Figures

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Mercy Health System wants you to know the facts about breast cancer and understand that early detection is the key to survival.

Facts about Breast Cancer in the United States

  • BreastCancerOne in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11 percent of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

BreastCancer2A Global Burden

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.

Good News about Breast Cancer Trends

In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

Factors That Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

  • Being older when you first had your menstrual period.
  • Starting menopause at an earlier age.
  • Giving birth to more children, being younger at the birth of your first child, and breastfeeding your children.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.

Factors That Increase Breast Cancer Risk

  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Personal history of breast cancer or non-cancerous breast diseases.
  • Family history of breast cancer (on either your mother’s or father’s side of the family).
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
  • Dense breasts by mammogram.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Night-shift work.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Watch Mercy Health System′s 2016 Pink Glove Dance video and share with your friends!

Wellness Wednesday: There are Breast Cancer Risk Factors You Can Control

Many risk factors can increase your chance of developing breast cancer, but it is not yet known exactly how some of these risk factors cause cells to become cancerous. Hormones seem to play a role in many cases of breast cancer, but just how this happens is not fully understood.

breastcancereventNormal breast cells become cancerous because of changes in DNA. Some DNA changes are inherited. This means they are in every cell in your body and can dramatically increase the risk for developing certain cancers. They are responsible for many of the cancers that run in some families. But most DNA changes related to breast cancer are acquired in breast cells during a woman’s life rather than having been inherited.

There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. You can’t change some factors, such as getting older or your family history. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk, such as changing risk factors that you can control.

Body weight, physical activity and diet have all been linked to breast cancer, so these might be areas where you can take action. Read the American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention to learn more.


“Controllable” Risk Factors

Drinking alcohol

Drinking alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Compared with non-drinkers, women who have 1 alcoholic drink a day have a very small increase in risk. Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who don’t drink alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is known to increase the risk of other cancers, too.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women have no more than one alcoholic drink a day. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

Being overweight or obese

Being overweight or obese after menopause increases breast cancer risk. Before menopause, most estrogen is made in the ovaries, and fat tissue makes only a small amount. After menopause, most of a woman’s estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue after menopause can raise estrogen levels and increase your chance of getting breast cancer. Also, women who are overweight tend to have higher blood insulin levels. Higher insulin levels have been linked to some cancers, including breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society recommends you stay at a healthy weight throughout your life by balancing your food intake with physical activity and avoiding excessive weight gain.

Senior women exercising in the parkPhysical activity

Evidence is growing that exercise reduces breast cancer risk. But how much is needed to make a difference? In one study from the Women’s Health Initiative, as little as 1¼ to 2½ hours per week of brisk walking reduced a woman’s risk by 18 percent. Walking 10 hours a week reduced the risk a little more.

To reduce your risk of breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week.

Having children

Women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall. Having multiple pregnancies and becoming pregnant at an early age reduces overall breast cancer risk  Still, the effect of pregnancy is different for different types of breast cancer.

Breastfeeding

Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, especially if it’s continued for 1½ to 2 years. The explanation for this possible effect may be that breastfeeding reduces a woman’s total number of lifetime menstrual cycles. Women who choose to breastfeed for at even the first several months may also get an added benefit of reducing their breast cancer risk.

Birth control

Studies have found that women using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. Once the pills are stopped, this risk seems to go back to normal over time.

Hormone therapy after menopause

Hormone therapy with estrogen (often combined with progesterone) has been used for many years to help relieve symptoms of menopause and help prevent osteoporosis. There are two main types of hormone therapy.

Combined hormone therapy (HT): Use of HT after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. It may also increase the chances of dying from breast cancer. This increase in risk can be seen with as little as two (2) years of use. Combined HT also increases the likelihood that the cancer may be found at a more advanced stage. The decision to use HT should be made by a woman and her doctor after weighing the possible risks and benefits (including the severity of her menopausal symptoms), and considering her other risk factors for heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Estrogen therapy (ET): The use of estrogen alone after menopause does not seem to increase the risk of breast cancer much, if at all. But when used long term (for more than 10 years), ET has been found to increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer in some studies.


Uncontrollable Risk Factors

The main risk factors for breast cancer are things you cannot change: being a woman, getting older, and having certain gene changes. These make your risk of breast cancer higher. But having a risk factor, or even many, does not mean that you are sure to get the disease.

istock_000006637453_largeBeing a woman

Men can have breast cancer; but this disease is about 100 times more common in women than in men. This might be because men have less of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can promote breast cancer cell growth.

Getting older

As you get older, your risk of breast cancer goes up. Most invasive breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older.

Certain inherited genes

About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, meaning that they result directly from gene defects (called mutations) passed on from a parent.

Early menstruation or late menopause

Women who have had more menstrual cycles because they started menstruating early (before age 12) or because they went through menopause later (after age 55) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. The increase in risk may be due to a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Having radiation to your chest

Women who as children or young adults were treated with radiation therapy to the chest for another cancer have a significantly higher risk for breast cancer. This varies with the patient’s age when they got radiation. And if you had chemotherapy with the radiation, it might have stopped ovarian hormone production for some time, which lowers the risk.


Conclusion

Most women who have one or more breast cancer risk factors never develop breast cancer, while many women with breast cancer have no known risk factors (other than being a woman and growing older). Even when a woman with risk factors develops breast cancer, it’s hard to know just how much these factors might have contributed.

The most important thing is to know your body and ask your doctor about any changes you might notice. Do breast self exams and don′t forget to schedule a mammogram. Preventive screenings are the best way to detect breast cancer early, when it is more easily and successfully treatable. Mammography can detect changes in breast tissue before you can even feel it.

The American Cancer Society released new recommendations* in 2015 for screening mammograms for women at average risk for breast cancer.

Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.

Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening.

Mercy Health System offers free walk-in screening mammograms at Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital each week. No appointment is necessary.

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Walk-In Screening Mammograms

breast-cancer-ribbonSr. Marie Lenahan Wellness Center
Women’s Imaging Suite
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Physician prescription, insurance card and photo ID required.
For more information, call 610.237.2525.

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Walk-In Screening Mammograms

Medical Office Building
Radiology Registration
Wednesdays & Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Physician prescription, insurance card and photo ID required.
For more information, call 610.237.2525.

Sources: American Cancer Society, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

*Leading organizations differ on their recommendations for when to begin screening for mammography. This information should be reviewed with your personal physician to determine when is the right time for you to begin a screening regimen. 


Watch Mercy Health System’s 2016 Pink Glove Dance to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!


More Information

What Is Breast Cancer Screening?
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Young Women
Breast Cancer Risk Factors Breast Cancer Risk Factors [breastcancer.org]
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Risk Factors Table

Wellness Wednesday: Early Detection Saves Lives

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early and studies show that finding breast cancer early saves lives.

Nurse Assisting Patient About To Have A MammogramDuring National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mercy Health System would like to encourage you to care for yourself, or the women in your life, by reminding you of the importance of regular screenings.

The American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that women begin having annual mammograms starting at age 40*. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests beginning annual mammograms at age 50 and women between the ages of 40 and 49 should consult with their health professional about when she should have a mammogram.

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital both provide free Walk-in Mammograms every week. No appointment is necessary. Just bring your insurance card, physician prescription and photo ID.

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Walk-In Screening Mammograms

breast-cancer-ribbonSr. Marie Lenahan Wellness Center
Women’s Imaging Suite
Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Physician prescription, insurance card and photo ID required.
For more information, call 610.237.2525.

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Walk-In Screening Mammograms

Medical Office Building
Radiology Registration
Wednesdays & Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Physician prescription, insurance card and photo ID required.
For more information, call 610.237.2525.

It is also recommended that women have a clinical breast exam every three years during their 20s and 30s and every year over the age of 40. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away. Breast self-exams are an option for women starting in their 20s.

There are certain circumstances under which you should consult your Primary Care Physician (PCP) before scheduling a mammogram. If you are pregnant or have been breastfeeding during the last six months, call your doctor and ask if a mammogram would be appropriate.

To find a Mercy Health physician, visit our website at www.mercyhealth.org/find-a-doctor.

* The American Cancer Society issued new guidelines for breast cancer screenings in October 2015. Read the CNN news report.


Watch Mercy Health System′s 2016 Pink Glove Dance video and share with your friends!


More Information:

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/screening.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/pdf/breastcancerfactsheet.pdf

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/

http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast

Wellness Wednesday: Breast Cancer Facts and Risk Factors

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Mercy Health System wants you to know the facts about breast cancer and understand that early detection is the key to survival.

Facts about Breast Cancer in the United States

  • BreastCancerOne in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women.
  • Each year it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.
  • Although breast cancer in men is rare, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 will die each year.
  • Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11 percent of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

BreastCancer2A Global Burden

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernization.

Good News about Breast Cancer Trends

In recent years, perhaps coinciding with the decline in prescriptive hormone replacement therapy after menopause, we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part to better due to screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.

Factors That Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

  • Being older when you first had your menstrual period.
  • Starting menopause at an earlier age.
  • Giving birth to more children, being younger at the birth of your first child, and breastfeeding your children.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.

Factors That Increase Breast Cancer Risk

  • Long-term use of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Personal history of breast cancer or non-cancerous breast diseases.
  • Family history of breast cancer (on either your mother’s or father’s side of the family).
  • Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.
  • Dense breasts by mammogram.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Night-shift work.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


For National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mercy Health System colleagues participated in our first Pink Glove Dance. Take a look!

Wellness Wednesday: Regular Screenings Can Help Catch Breast Cancer Early

breast-cancer-ribbonAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early and studies show that finding breast cancer early saves lives.

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mercy Health System would like to encourage you to care for yourself, or the women in your life, by reminding you of the importance of regular screenings.

The American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that women begin having annual mammograms starting at age 40*. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests beginning annual mammograms at age 50 and women between the ages of 40 and 49 should consult with their health professional about when she should have a mammogram.

It is also recommended that women have a clinical breast exam every three years during their 20s and 30s and every year over the age of 40. Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away. Breast self-exams are an option for women starting in their 20s.

There are certain circumstances under which you should consult your Primary Care Physician (PCP) before scheduling a mammogram. If you are pregnant or have been breastfeeding during the last six months, call your doctor and ask if a mammogram would be appropriate.

Having a PCP who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice. If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

To find a Mercy Health physician, visit our website at www.mercyhealth.org/find-a-doctor.

* The American Cancer Society issued new guidelines for breast cancer screenings as of October 21, 2015. Read the CNN news report.


Watch Mercy Health System’s Pink Glove Dance video and share with your friends!


More Information:

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/screening.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/pdf/breastcancerfactsheet.pdf

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/

http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast

Wellness Wednesday: Breast Cancer Prevention Begins with You

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States?

breast-cancer-ribbonOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Mercy Health System would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to care for yourself, and your loved ones, by reminding you of the importance of preventive care.

Thankfully, breast cancer prevention begins with a variety of factors you can control. Including:

  • Managing a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise can help reduce your risk.
  • Breast-feeding. Breast-feeding your children may offer some protection against breast cancer.
  • Hormone therapy. If you′re currently taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms, ask your doctor about options. According to the National Cancer Institute, long-term combination hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Restricting alcohol consumption. Your risk of developing breast cancer rises with an increase in alcohol consumption. Limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.

While taking care of your physical health is a great way to help prevent any disease, so is maintaining a healthy spirit. For example:

  • BCAM-risksStaying positive. Research shows that happiness and optimism are associated with lower rates of breast cancer. Focus on your thoughts—stop negative ones and replace them with positive ones.
  • Managing stress. Utilizing a few stress relievers, like deep breathing, muscle relaxation and keeping a journal, can be helpful in controlling the impact stress has on your body.
  • Maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Don’t stretch yourself too thin—make sure to have time for proper nutrition, sleep, work and play.
  • Creating a circle of support. Maintaining a close network of family and friends can provide you with emotional support when you need it.

Lastly, getting health screenings and tests from your doctor is key in sustaining your health and helping prevent diseases like breast cancer.

Having a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

To find a Mercy physician, go to www.mercyhealth.org/find-a-doctor.


Watch Mercy Health System’s Pink Glove Dance video and share with your friends!


More Information:

Breast Cancer Fact Sheet

Breast Cancer: Know the Risks [infographic]