Breast Cancer Awareness Month Roundup

Armen Hareyan's picture

We are nearing the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here is a quick roundup of some breast cancer news, facts, and posts.

Did you do a post on breast cancer awareness? Do you understand the risk factors for breast cancer? Are you at a high risk? Do you worry about breast cancer? Have you been keeping up with your mammograms and self exams?

From Team Tracy

Breast Cancer Facts:
1. Each year, more than 182,000 American women learn they have breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die.

2. Each year, more than 11,000 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer.

3. The use of early detection methods to catch cancer in the early stages greatly increases a woman's chance of long-term survival.

The Breast Cancer Risks

1. A woman's risk for breast cancer increases with age.
2. A family history of breast cancer increases a woman's risk.
1. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer patients have a hereditary form of the disease.
2. A woman's risk of cancer significantly increases if they inherit an alternation in the genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 (short for breast cancer 1 and breast cancer 2)
3. Menstrual periods that started early in life (before age 12) or ended late in life (after age 51)
4. Use of post-menopausal hormonal therapies
5. Never having children or having a first child after the age of 30
6. Consuming one or more alcoholic drinks daily
7. Smoking
8. Having a sedentary lifestyle (little exercise)
9. Caucasian (non-Hispanic), Native Hawaiian, and African-American women are more likely to develop breast cancer than women of other ethnicities.

Breast Cancer Deaths for Chicago Blacks Doubles that of Whites

In 1980, black women and white women in Chicago with breast cancer were equally likely to die.

Since then, death rates for white patients have improved dramatically. But that is not the case for their African-American counterparts, who are now dying at a rate 116 percent higher than whites, according to data released Wednesday by the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.

Moreover, the gap has widened. Last year, the group analyzed data through 2003 and found a 68 percent higher death rate for black women. The latest study, conducted by researchers at Sinai Urban Health Institute, looked at vital records through 2005, obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Experts say genetics or biology alone cannot explain the difference. The racial gap in Chicago was twice that of the United States and sevenfold that of New York City.

3-D Doppler Ultrasound Helps ID Breast Cancers

Radiologists can now better distinguish malignant and benign breast masses by using three-dimensional power Doppler ultrasound, a new report says.

Blood flow through malignant breast masses is often higher compared with normal tissue or benign masses. The Doppler ultrasound allows radiologists to detect vessels with higher flow speeds, which likely indicate cancer.

The study will be published in the November issue of Radiology.


From Starting Out in Your 20’s and Behond

At 36, Christina had to face a decision that no one wants to even comprehend – whether or not to remove her breasts. I agree with her drastic choice to remove both – I don’t know if I could do the radiation, either. Christina’s oncologist was also on and shared some riveting stats that each of you should be aware of:

-A mammogram is not the only option. For those of us with dense breasts, we may also need an MRI, which is an ultrasound. The MRI can pick up things the mammogram may miss. Ask your doctor if you have dense breasts. It’s a basic question and this will help you determine what tests you may need in the future.

-Insurance companies do NOT pay for MRIs. This needs to change.

-The Susan B. Komen Foundations’s raised $1 Billion for cancer research thus far. Outstanding.

-Getting breast cancer is not completely genetic.

Women are getting breast cancer in their 20s. Do you check yourself? Are you seeing your gynecologist every year for a check-up?

From Look and Live

It is fair to say that most of us know someone with cancer, or we have personally dealt with the disease in one way or another. By now, you’ve seen the pink ribbons, received an e-mail about breast cancer, or may have possibly participated in some kind of awareness activity.

One woman who lived through breast cancer and was able to talk about it was the late Ms. Isabel Law, a 26-year breast cancer survivor and nurse who worked with cancer patients. I never knew Ms. Law but I got to know her spirit through her daughter, Tamara, a childhood friend of my friend, Shana (See “Who Are Your Peeps?”). I was blown away when Shana called me on Sunday, Sept. 14 to tell me Ms. Law had passed away. Via e-mail, Tami had kept me abreast of her mother’s progress, and only a few days earlier, had notified me that she was leaving the hospital after heart surgery. “What happened?” I went back to the e-mails and there was just one praise report after another. “How?”

The family and her doctors have questions that have yet to be answered, but what is known for sure, is that Isabel Law fought a good fight and finished her course.

Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story

For Breast Cancer Awareness month I wanted to showcase a story of a breast cancer survivor. I think it’s important to keep these courageous women in the spotlight to be a beacon of hope to others who may have just been diagnosed or are actively being treated for the disease. It should be a word of warning to women everywhere that no matter who you are or how old you are, cancer does not discriminate.

Also See:

Taking Care of Your “Girls”

Recipe: Pink Cupcake Bites for Breast Cancer Awareness

Caffeine and Breast Cancer

Study Says Coffee Shrinks Your Boobs?

I believe the most important thing to take away from Breast Cancer Awareness month is…It’s not just about pink, and it’s not just about October. It’s important to be aware and stay aware of breast cancer, all year long…It’s more than just an October thing, and more than just a pink thing.