Mercy: Excellence. Every Day in Every Way.
  • Find Physicians
Breast Cancer Awareness

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.

Early detection
The first step to good breast health is being educated and examining your breasts regularly. Breast self-exams, clinical breast exams and mammograms are all important factors in early detection of breast health issues.   

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

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 Menopause

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

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.

For more information and tips on your breast health, click here.

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:
- Mercy Mammography
- Katzmann Breast Center
- Mercy Cancer Center

Together, these areas offer:
- Digital mammograms at four convenient locations;
- The only dedicated breast health center in central Iowa – Katzmann Breast Center;
- Iowa’s only CyberKnife® radiosurgery center – delivers 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;
- Survivorship services and wellness programs; and
- Iowa’s only cancer center selected as a participating site in the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP).

If you have a breast health concern, let our team of experts provide you with the care and support you deserve. At Mercy, we strive for Excellence. Every Day in Every Way.  

* PDF documents require Adobe Reader.

1111 6th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 (515) 247-3121
© Copyright 2014 Mercy Medical Center. All Rights Reserved