WOMEN AND BREAST CANCER

What is breast cancer?
   Breast cancer is a disease of breast tissue caused by the uncontrolled replication of abnormal cells (malignancy).

Statistics
Most common cancer among women, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2007.
Second leading cause of cancer deaths in women after lung cancer. About 40,910 breast cancer deaths are expected in 2007.
The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is over 80% in all age groups-much higher than lung, ovarian and colon cancers. Death rates have been dropping steadily since 1990 because of earlier detection and advances in treatment.

Risk Factors
Female (men do get breast cancer)
Family history of breast cancer
Previous cancer in any body site
Exposure to radiation sources
Early onset of menstruation
Late onset of menopause
Obesity
Diabetes
Hypertension
Chronic cystic disease of the breast
First childbirth past age 40
Risk increases with age
Breast changes - being diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma
Exposure to estrogen
Excessive alcohol intake
Excessive calorie and fat intake

Signs and Symptoms
New lump in the breast or in the armpit
Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area
Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area
Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
Any change in the size or the shape of the breast
Pain in any area of the breast
Many people do not have any signs or symptoms at all

Treatment
   The treatment for breast cancer is determined by the type of cancer and location. Most types of cancer will require chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some cancers can be treated with a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy. Other types require a radical mastectomy on one or both sides.

Preventative Measures
Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and control your weight.
Know your family history of breast cancer. If you have a mother, sister, or daughter with breast cancer, ask your doctor about how you can lower your risk.
Research the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy.
Limit consumption of alcohol.
Perform routine self breast exams.
Schedule a screening mammography as recommended by your physician.

WNH Services
Screening and diagnostic mammography
Digital imaging (MRI, CT, nuclear medicine, ultrasound)
Pathology and clinical laboratories
Winfield Cancer Center (chemotherapy and radiation therapy)
Surgical services
Home health services

WNH Physicians
Health Professionals by Specialty

Resources
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Imaginis - Breast Cancer Resource

DONNA'S STORY
In 2001, in the middle of her treatment for breast cancer, Donna Homan gave an interview for William Newton Hospital's community newsletter. To read this touching interview, click here: Donna's Story .