Ocean's Experts Focus On Breast Health: Fact vs. Fiction

Contact:Donna Sellmann

Ocean's Experts Focus On Breast Health: Fact vs. Fiction

This is a time of year when women often have questions regarding breast cancer, the significance of early detection, and treatment. Experts at the Women's Imaging Pavilion at Ocean Medical Center stress that the initial effort to take breast health into consideration is a great choice for any woman to make.

Breast Cancer affects women everyday. According to the American Cancer Society, this year about 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States. This could be a friend, a relative, or prehaps even you. The good news is that diagnosis and treatment options are helping women win the battle against breast cancer. Knowledge is power, so take the time to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to breast health. Fact vs. Fiction

Fiction: Breast cancer only affects older women Fact: While it's true that the risk of breast cancer increases as we grow older, breast cancer can occur at any age. Up to age 39, one woman in 231 will get breast cancer; from age 40-59, the risk is one in 25; from age 60-79, the risk is one in 15. No matter what your age, every woman should be educated on good breast heatlh. Fiction: If you have a risk factor for breast cancer, you're likely to get the disease Fact: Getting breast cancer is not a certainty, even if you have one of the stronger risk factors, like a breast cancer gene abnormality. A person's lifesyle can also be considered a risk factor such as childbirth ,drinking, weight, and excersie. Other risk factors include gender, race, and family history. Women are encouraged to talk to their doctors to determine if you are at an increased risk or to have any proactive testing or screening.

Fiction: If breast cancer doesn't run in your family, you won't get it. Fact: Every woman has some risk of breast cancer. About 80% of women who get breast cancer have no known family history of the disease. Increasing age is the biggest single risk factor for breast cancer. If you are concerned, discuss your family history with your physician or a genetic counselor.

Fiction: I'm at high risk for breast cancer and there's nothing I can do about it. Fact: There are several effective ways to reduce-but not eliminate-the risk of breast cancer in women at high risk. Options include lifestyle changes (minimize alcohol consumption, stop smoking, exercise regularly); medication (tamoxifen, also called Nolvadex); and in cases of very high risk, surgery may be offered (prophylactic mastectomies, and for some women, prophylactic ovary removal). Be sure that you have consulted with a physician or genetic counselor before making assumptions about your level of risk.

Fiction: A breast cancer diagnosis is an automatic death sentence. Fact: 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no signs of cancer spreading beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment. Mammograms are an important tool to help detect breast cancer sooner. Women should schedule a mammogram annually.

Fiction: A monthly breast self-exam is the best way to diagnose breast cancer. Fact: Although breast examinations by you or your healthcare provider are important, mammography is the most reliable way to find breast cancer as early as possible, when it is most curable. Women should be comfortable and know their body. Doing self-exams on a regular basis can be helpful to recognize any changes that might develop between annual mammograms. Contact your physician if you feel a lump, have puckering of the skin on the breast, or experience any unusual discharge from the nipple.

Remember, it is important to make your breast health a priority in your life. The Women's Imaging Pavilion at Ocean Medical Center offers women the quality you expect in a comfortable, serene setting. With the latest technology such as digital mammography, and a dedicated breast radiologist and experienced staff, exceptional care is close to home. Ocean also offers genetics counseling for individuals who want to better understand their family history and risk factors. For more information visit, OceanMedialCenter.com or call the Women's Imaging Pavilion at 732-836-4083 to schedule and appointment for a mammogram.

Ocean Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a 281-bed non-profit community hospital located in Brick New Jersey, providing health care programs and services in all major medical disciplines, including maternity; oncology; orthopedics and rehabilitation; general, neurological, thoracic, and vascular surgery; cardiology; dialysis; and emergency and critical care services. The Medical Center features Magnet award winning nurses and is a proud affiliate of University of Pennsylvania Cancer Network. Ocean Medical Center also operates the state's first Satellite Emergency Department in Point Pleasant, called the Ocean Care Center. For more information, call the Meridian Health Line at 1-800-560-9990 or log on to our web site at www.OceanMedicalCenter.com.