Breast Cancer and You
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
Breast self-exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms are all important factors in early detection of breast health issues. The first step to good breast health is being educated and self-aware of your breasts on a monthly basis. Being self-aware includes visual knowledge of your breasts, as well as how they feel. Women who get their period should examine their breasts the week following the end of their menstrual flow. Women who do not have a period should pick the same week each month to examine their breasts.
Signs and Symptoms of breast cancer
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, you should consult with your health care professional:
- The most common symptom is a new lump or mass
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- Skin irritation, dimpling, redness or rash
- Breast or nipple pain
- New onset of nipple inversion (nipple turns inward into the breast)
- Clear or bloody nipple discharge
Risk factors of breast cancer
No one is immune to breast cancer, but there are certain risk factors that make it more likely to develop breast cancer. Having a risk factor, or several risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. Some risk factors include:
||Breast cancer is uncommon before age 40 and most common after age 60.
||Family history of breast cancer in a mother, sister or daughter, especially if it occurred before age 50.
|Early Menstrual Periods
||Early age of onset menstrual periods (before age 10).
||Late age of onset of menopause (after age 55).
|Late Child Birthing
||The older the age a woman has her first child, the higher the risk of breast cancer.
|Hormone Replacement Therapy
||The use of combination hormone replacement therapy (estrogens) in post-menopausal women.
|Lack of Physical Exercise
||Evidence shows that physical activity in the form of exercise reduces breast cancer risk.
||Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer because most of woman’s estrogen comes from fat tissue.
||Alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women have no more than 1 alcoholic drink a day.
Breast Cancer and Mercy
At Mercy, we take a stand daily to help those women fighting the battle, to educate others about early detection and strive for better outcomes for all of our patients. When it comes to breast cancer care, there’s no substitute for experience, leading-edge technology and comprehensive services. The highly-trained physicians and staff at Mercy are dedicated to helping every step of the way, from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship.
Mercy's care team is made up of:
Together, these areas offer:
- Digital mammograms at four convenient locations;
- The first dedicated breast health center in central Iowa – Katzmann Breast Center;
- Iowa’s only CyberKnife® radiosurgery center – delivering radiation to difficult-to-target areas of the body, treating many inoperable tumors with no anesthesia or recovery time necessary;
- Nutritional counseling and support, with one of Des Moines’ only certified oncology dietitian; and
- Survivorship services and wellness programs.
If you have a breast health concern, let our team of experts provide you with the care and support you deserve.