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Breast Health


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Important information on breast health, breast cancer and preventative measures any woman can take.

Important information on breast health, breast cancer and preventative measures any woman can take.

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  • 1. Breast Cancer Awareness
    Office of Health Education and Promotion
    Health Services
    University of New Hampshire UNHHealth
  • 2. 13.2% of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. That means 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
    Source: National Cancer Institute
  • 3. Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer, except for skin cancer.
    Source: National Cancer Institute
  • 4. What is Breast Cancer?
  • 5.
    • Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast.
    • 6. Breast cancer is considered a heterogeneous disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves.
    • 7. Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.
    • 8. A breast cancer diagnosis doesn’t always mean an end. It can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts, and finding hope.
  • Figure 1. Female Breast Cancer - Incidence and Mortality Rates by Age and Race, US, 2000-2004
    Data sources: Incidence - Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, SEER 17 Registries, 2000-2004, Division of Cancer Control and Population Science, National Cancer Institute, 2007. Mortality - National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007. American Cancer Society, Surveillance Research, 2007
  • 9. Top 10 Breast Cancer Myths and Misconceptions
  • 10. Breast Cancer Myth #1
    If you have a risk factor for breast cancer you’re likely to get the disease.
    No one risk factor means you are going to get breast cancer.
    Talk to a Health Services Physician or Nurse Practitioner to learn about your risk factors and how to decrease your risk.
  • 11. Breast Cancer Myth #2
    Breast cancer only affects
    older women.
    Any woman can get breast cancer.
    Growing older is a risk factor for breast cancer.
  • 12. Breast Cancer Myth #3
    If breast cancer doesn’t run in your family, you won’t get it.
    80% of women who get breast cancer have no known family history.
  • 13. Breast Cancer Myth #4
    Only your mother’s family history of breast cancer can affect your risk.
    • Your mother and father’s family history is equally important to understanding your risk or getting breast cancer.
    • 14. Men and Women can get breast cancer. Each year:
    • 15. 240,000 women get breast cancer, 40,000 will die
    • 16. 1,600 men get breast cancer, 400 will die
    • 17. Let your medical clinician know your family history.
  • 18. Breast Cancer Myth #5
    Birth control pills cause
    breast cancer.
    • Most studies do not find a definite increase in breast cancer for women who use birth control pills.
    • 19. Birth control pills have been found to decrease one’s risk of getting ovarian cancer.
  • 20. Breast Cancer Myth #6
    Wearing a bra all the time can cause breast cancer.
    • There has been no research that supports the idea that wearing a bra or underwire bra during the day and at night causes breast cancer.
  • 21. Breast Cancer Myth #7
    Women with small breasts cannot get breast cancer.
    • Having a small breast size does not protect you against cancer.
    • 22. Women who are large breasted and women who are small breasted have the equal risk of getting breast cancer.
  • 23. Breast Cancer Myth #8
    Using antiperspirant can cause breast cancer.
    • There is no evidence that wearing antiperspirant or deodorant can cause breast cancer.
    • 24. This is simply a rumor!
  • 25. Breast Cancer Myth #9
    Having a mammogram prevents breast cancer.
    • Mammography is the only proven screening test that can detect breast cancer early.
    • 26. Mammography DOES NOT reduce breast cancer.
  • 27. Breast Cancer Myth #10
    Being overweight won’t increase your risk of breast cancer.
    Being overweight has been found to increase one’s risk of getting breast cancer. Getting to and staying with a healthy weight is important to reducing your risk of breast cancer.
    Make an appointment with a Health Services Physician, Nurse Practitioner or Nutrition Counselor to determine what an ideal and healthy weight for you is.
  • 28. Women Who Have Fought Breast Cancer: First Lady Betty Ford
    "Maybe if I as First Lady could talk about
    it candidly and without embarrassment,
    many other people would be able to as well.”
    - First Lady Betty Ford
    First Lady Betty Ford, the wife of U.S. President
    Gerald Ford, was one of the first high-profile
    American women to discuss her mastectomy
    She was diagnosed with breast cancer in
    1974 at the age of 56, just weeks after her
    husband's inauguration. She is now 89.
    Source: Reuters, 2007
  • 29. Women Who Have Fought Breast Cancer: Sheryl Crow
    I can safely say my life has changed in every way. I feel keenly aware of how precious and fleeting life is and I hope I will never forget what the experience has taught me...who I am, who I want to be, who I can never be again"
    - Sheryl Crow
    Grammy-winning rock star Sheryl Crow, 45,
    was diagnosed with early-stage breast
    cancer in February 2006 after a routine
    mammogram and underwent radiation.
    She campaigns for women aged over 35 to
    have annual mammograms.
    Source: Reuters, 2007
  • 30. Women Who Have Fought Breast Cancer: Robin Roberts
    “That very night when I went to bed, I did a self breast exam and found something that women everywhere fear: I found a lump."
    - Robin Roberts
    Robin Roberts is co-host of Good Morning
    America. She was diagnosed with breast
    cancer in 2007 and completed
    chemotherapy and radiation in 2008.
    She has since returned to her job.
    Source: New York Post
  • 31. Women Who Have Fought Breast Cancer: Elizabeth Edwards
    "I don't expect my life to be significantly different," she told reporters. "You can see I don't look sickly, I don't feel sickly, I'm as ready as any person can be for that.“
    - Elizabeth Edwards
    Elizabeth Edwards, 58, the wife of U.S. Senator John
    Edwards, was diagnosed with breast cancer in
    November 2004.
    In March, shortly after John Edwards declared
    himself a 2008 Democratic Party presidential
    contender, she announced that her cancer had
    returned. It is not curable but is treatable.
    Source: Reuters, 2007
  • 32. Women Who Have Fought Breast Cancer: Audre Lorde
    "When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."
    - Audre Lorde
    Audre Lorde (1934-1992), poet, won the Walt
    Whitman Citation of Merit in 1991 just a year
    before her death from breast cancer.
    Her chronicles of her battle with the disease, The
    Cancer Journals, is just one of her many
    powerful works. She wrote about finding
    identity and strength in difference.
  • 33. Women Who Have Fought Breast Cancer: Christina Applegate
    “I love living, and I really love my life…Yeah, I'll face challenges, but you can't get any darker than where I've been. So knowing that in my soul gave me the strength to just say, `I have to get out there and make this a positive.'"
    - Christina Applegate
    In 2008 Christina Applegate was diagnosed
    with cancer at age 36.
    The cancer was detected early and
    she had a double mastectomy. She is now
    cancer free.
    Source: Huffington Post, 2008
  • 34. Breast Self-Exams
    • Examining your breasts is an important way to find breast cancer early, when it is most likely to be cured.
    • 35. Not every cancer can be found this way, but it is a critical step you can and should take for yourself.
    • 36. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-exam once a month, several days after your period ends, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen and tender.
  • 5 Steps of a Breast Self Exam
    Step 1
    Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror
    with your shoulders straight and your arms on
    your hips.
    Here's what you should look for:
    • breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
    • 37. breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling.
    If you see any of the following changes, see a
    Physician or Nurse Practitioner at Health Services :
    • dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin.
    • 38. a nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out).
    • 39. redness, soreness, rash, or swelling.
  • 5 Steps of a Breast Self Exam
    Step 2
    Now, raise your arms and look for the same
    Step 3
    While you're at the mirror, gently squeeze
    each nipple between your finger and
    thumb and check for nipple discharge (this
    could be a milky or yellow fluid or blood).
  • 40. 5 Steps of a Breast Self Exam
    Step 4
    • Feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use the first few fingers of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together.
    • 41. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side—from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
    • 42. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. Be sure to feel all the breast tissue.
    • 43. Begin examining each area with a very soft touch, and
    then increase pressure so that you can feel the deeper
    tissue, down to your ribcage.
  • 44. 5 Steps of a Breast Self Exam
    Step 5
    Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or
    sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to
    feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and
    slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower.
    Cover your entire breast, using the same hand
    movements described in Step 4.
    Bring to the attention of a Health Services Physician or Nurse Practitioner any changes in your breast that last over a full months cycle or seem to get worse or more obvious over time.
  • 45. Women in their 20s and 30s should get a clinical breast exam every 3 years.
    Source: American Cancer Society
  • 46. Additional Prevention
    • Regular exercise may reduce risk for all women.
    • 47. A diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables may also reduce risk of breast cancer.
    The best prevention is
    self and clinical breast exams!
  • 48. Breast Cancer Risk Assessment
    The National Cancer’s Institute has an online assessment you can take to determine your risk of breast cancer:
  • 49. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
    You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your kneesfor a hundred miles through the desert repenting.You only have to let the soft animal of your bodylove what it loves.Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.Meanwhile the world goes on.Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rainare moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees,the mountains and the rivers.Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,are heading home again.Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination,calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
    from Dream Work by Mary Oliver published by Atlantic Monthly Press© Mary Oliver
  • 50. Breast Health Resources at Health Services
    Get a clinical breast exam by calling Health
    Services at (603) 862-2856 to make an
    appointment with a medical clinician in the
    Women’s Health Department.
    To learn more about breast cancer, call
    (603) 862-3823 or visit Health Services, Room 249 to
    speak to our Community Health Nurse.