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DID YOU KNOW?

There is a breast cancer support group the third Monday of every month from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at The Galion Mammography Center at 1200 State Route 598 in Galion. Call 419-468-0845 for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Because Time Matters

Avita Health System patients who receive an abnormal mammogram reading now have the option of benefitting from a hands-on Nurse Navigator, who will lead them through the maze of cancer treatment decisions, fears, and questions. Melody Joice, RN, BSN, Avita’s Nurse Navigator, is helping patients "navigate" their way through their cancer diagnosis.

A Nurse Navigator is a trained nurse who has experience working with people facing breast cancer and who possesses an understanding of how challenging the journey can be. Nurse Navigators become a patient’s personal coach, assisting them through the complex maze of medical terminology, screening and treatment options, medical providers and other resources that soon become a part of the patient’s daily life once a cancer diagnosis is made.

The assistance of a Nurse Navigator may not be right for every woman. Patients are encouraged to consult with their physician when deciding on a course of action with breast cancer.

For further information, contact Melody Joice at her Galion office at 419-468-0845 or her Bucyrus office at 419-563-9831.

To schedule a mammogram in either Galion or Bucyrus call:

  • Galion at 419-468-8227
  • Bucyrus at 419-563-9327
  • Thursday evening and Saturday appointments now available!

 

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer begins with uncontrolled growth of cells in the breast. These cells form a tumor which may be detected by mammography before it can be felt.  Normal breast tissue consists of milk-producing lobules, ducts that carry milk to the nipple, and stroma (fatty tissue and ligaments surrounding the ducts and lobules, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels).  Most breast cancers start in the ducts.

How common is breast cancer?

Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. 

What are the signs of breast cancer?

Signs of breast cancer may include

  • Lump in breast or under the arm
  • Change in size or shape of breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Change in the color or texture of the skin of the breast or nipple
  • Focal breast pain
 

These symptoms may be also be caused by benign (not cancer) conditions.

What causes breast cancer?

Normal breast cells become cancerous because of gene mutations or damage to a cell’s DNA.

Some gene mutations are inherited. This means the DNA changes are in every cell in your body and can increase the risk for developing certain cancers. They are to blame for many of the cancers that run in some families.

However, most DNA changes related to breast cancer are acquired in breast cells during a woman's life rather than having been inherited.  These acquired mutations may be caused by factors like radiation exposure or contact with cancer-causing agents.  The causes of most acquired gene mutations that could lead to breast cancer are unknown.

Is breast cancer preventable?

It is possible to identify risk factors and make lifestyle changes that can lower risk; however, about 70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors, meaning that breast cancer occurs mostly by chance and from as yet unknown factors.

Risk factors that cannot be changed

  • Being female
  • Getting older
  • Certain inherited genes
  • Family history of breast cancer 
  • Personal history of breast cancer
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Dense breast tissue
  • Starting menstruation before age 12
  • Menopause after age 55
  • Some benign breast conditions
  • Radiation therapy to the chest as a child or young adult
  • Exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES)


However, there are many modifiable lifestyle factors that can decrease breast cancer risk.

  • Alcohol consumption-drinking more than one alcoholic drink per day increases breast cancer risk
  • Obesity-weight gain after menopause increases breast cancer risk. 
  • Physical activity-exercise reduces breast cancer risk
  • Having children-women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall.
  • Birth control- studies have found that women using birth control pills have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. Once the pills are stopped, this risk seems to go back to normal over time. 
  • Hormone replacement therapy(HRT)-discuss with your doctor your breast cancer risk vs. benefit with HRT
 

I have no family history of breast cancer.  Do I still need screening mammography?

Inherited gene mutations account for only 5-10% of breast cancers diagnosed in the United States.  Most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of breast cancer.  All women are at risk of breast cancer and should discuss with their doctors their personal risk factors and when to begin screening.

Breast cancer runs in my father’s family.  Does this increase my risk?

When looking at family history, it’s also important to consider your father’s side of the family as this is equally important as your mother’s side in determining your personal risk for developing breast cancer.

Will surgery cause cancer to spread?

Surgery does not cause cancers and there is no evidence that surgery causes cancers to spread.

Can cancer be caused by antiperspirants or underwire bras?

There is no scientific evidence for this.

Should I be concerned about radiation exposure from annual mammograms?

It is true that radiation is used in mammography; however, the amount of exposure is so small that there is not much, if any, impact on breast cancer risk.

Can men get breast cancer?

Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen.  Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men.  In 2016, about 2600 men are expected to be diagnosed with the disease.  The lifetime risk is about 1 in 1000.

When should I begin screening for breast cancer?

The American Cancer Society recommends the following guidelines for women at average risk.

Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so. The risks of screening as well as the potential benefits should be considered.

Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

Women age 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or have the choice to continue yearly screening.

Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors and when you should begin screening mammography

All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms associated with breast cancer screening.  They should also be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.