Thursday, 05 October 2017 19:16

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Written by Dr. Daliah Wachs
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Dr. Daliah undergoing a 3-D mammogram to screen for breast cancer Dr. Daliah undergoing a 3-D mammogram to screen for breast cancer

Celebrities such as Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Olivia Newton-John, Christina Applegate and Rita Wilson have revealed their breast cancer diagnoses, helping raise awareness for the most common cancer to affect women.  It’s the second most common cause of cancer death in females.

How common is breast cancer?

 

1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer of the course of their lifetime. According to BreastCancer.org, an estimated 252,710 cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the US with 63,410 cases of non-invasive breast cancer.

40,610 of these women are expected to die this year of breast cancer.

How is breast cancer staged?

 

Breast cancer is staged based on size of the tumor, if lymph nodes are affected and whether the cancer has spread to distant areas of the body.  Prognosis varies greatly on the stage.

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IMAGE ABOVE FROM JOHNSTON HEALTH

 

Is family history a huge factor?

 

85% of breast cancer cases occur in women with NO family history.

Screening of breast cancer

 

Mammograms are the first line screening tool for breast cancer and are currently recommended biennial for women aged 50-74.  However for those at higher risk, mammogram screening should start earlier, with possible follow-up ultrasound, and be performed more regularly.

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3-D MAMMOGRAM IMAGE

What are the risk factors for breast cancer?

 

Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Age greater than 50

  • Family History

  • BRAC1 and BRAC2 genetic mutations

  • Alcohol use

  • Never been pregnant or becoming pregnant for the first time over 35 years old

  • Early menarche at age 11 or younger

  • Obesity, especially after menopause

  • Dense breasts

  • Lack of physical activity

  • Use of oral contraceptives

  • Previous “precancerous” tumors such as atypical hyperplasia

  • DES exposure

  • Previous radiation therapy

 

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 Daliah Wachs is a guest contributor to GCN news. Doctor Wachs is an MD,  FAAFP and a Board Certified Family Physician.    The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.