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Clinician’s Corner: Prevention– Mammograms save lives

Prevention– Mammograms save lives

The newest recommendations from the American Cancer Society recommends all women should begin having yearly mammograms at age 45 and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. Women should talk to their health professional if they have any symptoms or changes in their breasts, or if breast cancer runs in their family. Some patients as young as 40 years of age can begin annual mammograms.

Breast Self-Exams (BSE)- a smaller role in detection

Research has shown that BSE plays a small role in finding breast cancer compared with finding a breast lump by chance or simply being aware of what is normal for each woman. Some women feel very comfortable doing BSE regularly (usually monthly after their period) which involves a systematic step-by-step approach to examining the look and feel of one’s breasts. Other women are more comfortable simply feeling their breasts in a less systematic approach, such as while showering or getting dressed or doing an occasional thorough exam.

The American Cancer Society does not recommend clinical breast examination for breast cancer screening among average-risk women at any age. (source JAMA)

Reducing Risk of Breast Cancer

  • Keep a healthy weight and exercise regularly (at least four hours a week).
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, or limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one per day.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals that are carcinogenic
  • Reduce exposure to radiation during medical tests like mammograms, X-rays, CT scans, and PET scans.
  • Discuss with prescriber about hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives and the risks associated with therapy. Remember for estrogen replacement… lowest possible dose for shortest period of time.
  • Breastfeeding may be protective

What about the guys?    (source: American Cancer Society)

  • About 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2018
  • Treatment: mastectomy is indicated but follow-up with radiation or chemotherapy is not as definitive as it is for women. Most breast cancer in men is treated the same as in women.
  • About 480 men will die from breast cancer in 2018
  • Overall odds of a male getting breast cancer is 1:833
  • Overall odds of a woman getting breast cancer are 1:8
  • White males are 1/100th as likely to die of breast cancer compared to white women, while black men are 1/70th as likely as black women to die from breast cancer.

Our area is blessed with several treatment options for breast cancer. From Johnstown to Altoona to Tyrone are skilled surgeons and radiologists that can provide your necessary treatments.  At Thompson Pharmacy we’re here to help provide you with information about the medications and their role in treatment and prevention of breast cancer.  In the coming weeks we will discuss those prescriptions.  Go ahead and ask… at Thompson Pharmacy it’s all for YOU!