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- Nurse Barb
It’s fall and you know what that means, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here’s 3 facts about Breast Cancer every woman needs to know.
# 1 Did you know that for every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram that:
The vast majority of women who are screened will have reassuring results, with very few needing further imaging or testing.
#2 Women with Increased Breast Density may need additional screening.
When breast tissue is dense, it appears white on a mammogram. Unfortunately, breast cancer also appears white, so in a traditional mammogram, trying to find a breast cancer can be like trying to find a snowflake in a snowstorm.
This is an image from a mammogram of a what very dense breast tissue looks like.
Can you spot the breast cancer?
Recently, I gave viewers a behind the scenes look at some of the innovations taking place at the Breast Health Center at El Camino Hospital.
Imagine how the Internet of Everything could change how we diagnose breast cancer!
This documentary, Detected follows the development of an amazing wearable technology that detects teeny tiny temperature changes within breast tissue and sends information via your smart phone to your physician about whether there is a concern for an increased risk of breast cancer.
Now imagine women around the world who don’t have access to mammograms and yet where cell phones are literally a lifeline. Now the Internet of Everything can help women who don’t even wear bras find worrisome risks and governments with few resources devise programs to screen women at highest risk so that precious resources can be used for treatments.
Welcome to a new world in Breast Cancer Screening. The movie, Detected, from Ironbound films, was shown in Austin at the South by Southwest Film festival. View the trailer here.
The photo on the left is my mom Peggy Dehn. She was 25 here and in 7 short years at age 32, she would be a mom of 3 and find a lump in her L breast. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Later we found out that she carried a variant of the BRCA 1 genetic mutation.
In 1962, when she was diagnosed, the best option was to have a radical Halsted mastectomy for which was done at Bethesda Naval Hospital. As a survivor for another 46+ years, (more…)
Last night a friend of mine brought over her mammogram report and asked me what it meant and what she should do. She had been informed that her breasts were dense, but wasn’t told what it meant, what the next steps were and what she should do.
Though there’s a law on the books in many states that requires that women be notified of their breast density, often their health care providers aren’t making recommendations about what they should do next.
Can Women find Confidence After Breast Cancer Surgery?
“Life-changing” and “traumatic” are words many patients use to describe their breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately, through medical advances, women can often be cured of their cancers, joining a resilient and growing group of breast cancer survivors. They can also explore a variety of procedures to reconstruct their missing breasts, building confidence after a challenging time in their lives.
This is a guest post by Dr. Sean Wright, MD., F.A.C.S., a reconstructive plastic surgeon who trained at Harvard and is now practicing in the Philadelphia area. We’re featuring a variety of guest authors and perspectives on health issues and are delighted to share his piece with you. (more…)
This bra, that I decorated myself after a trip to Michaels, helps remind me that you can’t always tell by looking what’s inside with just a mammogram. And, likewise a clinical exam or self breast exam may miss an early breast cancer.
Finding breast cancer as early as possible
As a clinician, I worry about missing an early breast cancer that could be lurking within or may be too difficult to see on a mammogram. Don’t get me wrong, mammograms are the First and Best step for breast cancer screening and yet, there are times when we must look differently and go beyond so that we find breast cancer as early as possible. (more…)
I was talking to 2 friends the other day, who both had double mastectomies for advanced breast cancer. Kim and (not their real names) had complete reconstruction and neither one had been able to save their nipples.
They were both talking about how difficult it is to have one nipple that’s horizontal and points straight ahead like a headlight, and the other that’s off in it’s own direction, like a wandering and wayward child.
A breast can be so shocking that it may be hard to know where to begin when talking to the doctor. It’s common to feel completely tongue-tied, wondering if it’s okay to even let the things you’re thinking about cross your lips. For example, the first question on your mind may be “Is it curable?” The doctor may not be able to give you a definitive answer, but asking the question allows you to begin planning for the future and start a conversation about what’s to come.
20 Essential Questions
For all medical appointments, it’s a good idea to bring a pen and paper to take notes, (more…)
By Rachel Pappas, Freelance Writer
Hope can keep you going when you’ve got a life-threatening illness. That’s why the idea of participating in a clinical trial on a potentially promising new cancer drug appealed to me.
But it scared me too. With any study, there are unknowns and risks. “What do you think of the study”? I asked my oncologist when she told me about the project. “I think it’s a good opportunity to possibly advance medicine. I want to see breast cancer cured.”.
If this treatment, lxibepilone, ends up making a huge difference, it could be the first medical breakthrough in over a decade for the disease I had – Triple Negative Breast Cancer – a very aggressive disease with a high risk for re-occurrence.
My oncologist’s sister is in a similar trial for the same illness. That scored big with me – along with her true belief that the study drug is, at the least, as good as the conventional therapy. I signed the trial consent form on the spot, hearing all that I needed (or maybe wanted) to know.