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Clinician’s Corner: Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer

Prevention– Mammograms save lives

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women should have mammograms every two years from age 50 to 74 years. 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. He or she may recommend mammograms before age 50 or more often than usual.

Breast Self-Exams- a smaller role in decection

Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s. Women should be told about the benefits and limitations of BSE. Women should report any breast changes to their health professional right away.

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.

Sometimes, women are so concerned about “doing it right” that they become stressed over the technique. Doing BSE regularly is one way for women to know how their breasts normally look and feel and to notice any changes. The goal, with or without BSE, is to report any breast changes to a doctor or nurse right away

Common Types of Breast Cancer

Ductal carcinoma. The most common kind of breast cancer. It begins in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, also called the lining of the breast ducts.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The abnormal cancer cells are only in the lining of the milk ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.

Invasive ductal carcinoma. The abnormal cancer cells break through the ducts and spread into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.

Lobular carcinoma. In this kind of breast cancer, the cancer cells begin in the lobes, or lobules, of the breast. Lobules are the glands that make milk.

Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). The cancer cells are found only in the breast lobules. Lobular carcinoma in situ, or LCIS, does not spread to other tissues.

Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body

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.

Breastfeed your babies, if possible

More statistics — in 2012 (most recent data available)

224,147 women and 2,125 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer.

41,150 women and 405 men in the United States died from breast cancer.


Have a great day on the bench.

Pete Kreckel Thompson Pharmacy

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