SELLERSVILLE, Pa., October 4, 2013 – There are currently more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. During breast cancer awareness month this October, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Grand View Hospital encourage women to be screened for breast cancer. Beginning October 7 and continuing through the entire month, Grand View will offer expanded hours at its Sellersville Outpatient Center to accommodate the increased mammography volume. Patients can call central scheduling at 215-453-4100 or visit www.gvh.org to “pledge to get your mammogram today”.
Are you at risk?
There are avoidable and non-avoidable factors affecting your risk of breast cancer. Age (risk increases with age), family history of breast cancer, race and menstrual period history are factors that cannot be changed but can help a woman know if she should be closely observed for breast cancer. Birth control pills, hormone therapy after menopause or not having children are additional factors that may increase the risk of breast cancer, which can be avoided.
However it’s important to remember that having a risk factor does not mean that one will develop breast cancer. Many women never develop the disease despite having an increased risk; while others who have no apparent risk factors may be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Symptoms to watch for
While some patients may notice a lump, area of thickening, dimple in the breast, swelling, redness, or pain of the breast, others may not experience any outward signs or symptoms of breast cancer because the lump may be too small and go unnoticed.
“Screening is vital in helping us find if cancer is present before any symptoms may occur,” says Kathryn Evers, M.D., director of mammography at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Screening for breast cancer
Three tests are typically used to screen for breast cancer. The mammogram is an X-ray of the breasts that finds tumors too small to feel. Its detection ability depends on tumor size and breast tissue density. A clinical breast exam is a manual exam performed by a health-care professional (the breast will be examined for changes in size or shape and then will be felt for lumps). A breast self-exam is a manual exam that a woman can do on her own.
“Most women who get breast cancer do not have an identified risk factor, so all women over the age of 40 should get screened,” advises Evers.
The American Cancer Society recommends:
- Women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year to screen for breast cancer.
- Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular health exam every three years, and for women 40 and older, every year.
- Breast self-exam is an option for women starting in their 20s.
- Some women at high risk for breast cancer due to family history, genetic predisposition, or certain other factors should have screening with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in addition to a yearly mammogram.
“While MRI is more sensitive than a mammogram, it can produce a higher number of false-positive results, which may lead to unneeded biopsies and other tests,” explains Evers. “It is generally not recommended as a breast screening tool on its own because it also can miss some cancers that a mammogram would detect.”
“It is important to talk with your doctor about breast cancer screening and what is right for you,” adds Evers. “If you are concerned about your risk of cancer or your family’s risk, you also may want to make an appointment with Fox Chase’s Risk Assessment Program or check to see if a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners hospital near you offers cancer risk assessment services.”
As a Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner, Grand View has early access to new research discoveries on cancer prevention and treatment. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners is a select group of community hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey affiliated with Fox Chase Cancer Center—part of Temple Health— to provide the latest in cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in their own communities. Fox Chase Cancer Center Partners offers patients, families, and their physicians enhanced resources to deal with the burden of cancer, including the newest clinical trials.
About Grand View Hospital
Grand View Hospital, Bucks County’s first hospital, has provided residents of Bucks and Montgomery counties with comprehensive healthcare services since 1913. Now a century strong, Grand View offers a range of inpatient and outpatient care—particularly emphasizing the areas of surgery and orthopaedics, women’s and children’s health, heart and vascular care, and cancer treatment. For more information about services and programs, visit www.gvh.org.