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The Breast Chek Kit Teams Up With American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast CancerBreast Chek, Inc. is excited  and honored to team up with the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for the 2013 National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

This is an incredible opportunity for us to unite with ACS to honor survivors, those still in the fight and to raise awareness about what we do 24-7/365 days a year—Educate and Raise Awareness That Early Detection saves Lives while raising money to help the American Cancer Society continue valuable research and so much more.

To help make more of an impact and benefit the cause we are offering a 35% discount on individual sales of  The Breast Chek Kit during the month of October with $2.00 of every sale going to the  Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

If you’re in the Atlanta area join us and the Striders With Purpose team to Making Strides Toward A World With More Birthdays!

October 12th -Cobb County- 7am Glover Park  & October 26th, 9am – Centennial Olympic Park  

                                        SEE YOU THERE!

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We are excited to invite you to download our “FREE”  NEW APP now AVAILABLE on Google Play for Android! Coming soon to the APPLE APP STORE!


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The Self Breast Exam – It can save your life

I often ask my patients, “Are you routinely feeling your breasts?”  The answers I commonly get are:

My breasts are always lumpy.

I don’t know what I am supposed to be feeling for.

I am too afraid to do it.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many women find their own breast cancers by feeling a lump in their breast.  40% of breast cancers are found through feeling a lump or changes noticed in the breast by patients.  Some women come in when the cancer is quite large, but many have found them when they have been small.  I am often surprised at how good patients are at finding masses in their breasts.  Many of them are young as well.  For example, one 40 year old woman felt a 7 mm cancer in her breast, one that was hard to see on mammography because of her implants. (Stage 1 tumor size is under 2 cm. I consider anything under 1 cm to be really small!)  Also, small cancers can hide on mammograms in your normal breast tissue and many women are able to feel their breast cancers before they will manifest on mammograms.

If you are younger than 40 years old, it is really the only way to detect breast cancer, as screening mammograms are recommended beginning at age 40.  I saw a 36 year old who noticed a tiny bit of dimpling of the skin on her breast and could feel a 6 mm lump.  When I did her mammogram, half her breast was filled with DCIS and in the middle of it, there was a small invasive cancer, which is what she felt.  If she had waited until 40 for her screening mammogram, she would probably have metastatic breast cancer.  Instead, she saved her own life.

So, how to I respond to my patients?

My breasts are always lumpy.  That is normal.  Most women’s breasts are lumpy.  You need to get to know what your normal lumps and bumps are, so that if something changes or a new lump shows up, you will know that it is different.

I don’t know what I am supposed to be feeling for.  You don’t have to know what cancer feels like.  You just have to know when something is different.  I advise my patients to feel their breasts once a month.  If you are still having regular periods, do it 3-5 days after you first get your period.  You breasts tend to swell right before you get your period, so any lumps or bumps or benign things, such as cysts, will tend to be more pronounced at that time.  These tend to go away or lessen after your period.  If you feel something new, don’t freak out.  Come back to it in a few weeks and if you can go right back to the same area and feel it without any difficulty, then you need to have imaging done.  Don’t feel your breasts too often either, or you will not be able to appreciate change.  You know how your parents notice how big your children have grown because they don’t see them every day?  It’s the same thing with feeling your breasts.

I’m too afraid to do it.  Why?  If you get to know your breasts now, there is nothing to be afraid of.   Not all masses are cancer.  The important thing is you might be able to find a cancer when it is smaller.  Do you want to wait until there is cancer sticking out of your breast (which I have seen many women in denial do)?  You could very well save your own life.

Here are the reasons why I recommend doing self breast examination:

1.  It doesn’t cost you anything to do it.

 

2.  It rarely leads to unnecessary procedures.

 

3.  It allows your breasts to be checked at monthly intervals instead of yearly as with mammograms.

4.  It covers the areas that mammograms and ultrasounds might miss.  I had one patient who had a negative mammogram.  She came in a few days after her mammogram complaining of a lump.  I though it might have been related to trauma from the mammogram as her breasts were fatty and really easy to read.  Well, it was a cancer.  Even after I knew where it was, we still had trouble getting that part of the breast onto the mammogram.  She saved her own life.

5.  You will be better at it than your doctor (who feels a lot of women’s breasts but only yours once a year).

In my opinion, there is almost no downside to doing it.  There was one patient who insisted that there was something that felt different in one of her breasts.  She had a mammogram and ultrasound done which were negative.  She was told by several people that there was nothing there and not to worry about it.  She finally convinced a breast surgeon to do a surgical biopsy and guess what?  He found an invasive lobular cancer (which is often difficult to detect with mammogram and ultrasound).  She saved her own life.

You could save your own life too.  In this day and age, none of the tests we have are perfect.  So we should try to use everything we’ve got to help find cancers when they are small and the self breast exam is one of those tools.

 

Posted in Breast Cancer

More younger women die of breast cancer, mammograms advised

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 18.7 million mammograms ordered or provided throughout 2010. But in this most recent study, the researchers say there is a significant lack of mammography in women under the age of 50.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston conducted an analysis of the value of mammography screening, using a technique called “failure analysis.”

This technique evaluates breast cancer cases backward from death, in order to determine correlations at diagnosis, rather than looking forward from the beginning of a study.

Invasive breast cancer cases that were diagnosed at Partners HealthCare Hospitals in Boston between 1990 and 1999 were evaluated for the study. The researchers analyzed the patients’:

Demographics

  • Mammography use
  • Surgical and pathology reports, and
  • Recurrence and death dates.

 

Half of breast cancer deaths in under-50s

Out of 609 confirmed deaths from breast cancer, only 29% of the women had been screened with mammography, while 71% were unscreened.

Of all breast cancer deaths, 13% occurred in women over the age of 70, while 50% occurred in women under the age of 50.

The women diagnosed with breast cancer who then died were a median age of 49 at diagnosis. Those who died from any other cause had a median diagnosis age of 72.

Dr. Blake Cady, professor of surgery (emeritus) of Harvard Medical School, says:

“The biological nature of breast cancer in young women is more aggressive, while breast cancer in older women tends to be more indolent.

This suggests that less frequent screening in older women, but more frequent screening in younger women, may be more biologically based, practical, and cost effective.”

 

Mammograms provide increased survival rates

 

Patient undergoing mammogram
This study shows that 50% of all breast cancer deaths occur in women under the age of 50, giving merit to the idea that younger women should have mammograms.

 

The study also showed that since the introduction of breast cancer screening in 1969, survival from the disease has significantly increased.

In 1969, 50% of women who had breast cancer died 12.5 years after diagnosis, compared with only 9.3% of women from this study, who were diagnosed between 1990 and 1999.

“This is a remarkable achievement, and the fact that 71% of the women who died were women who were not participating in screening clearly supports the importance of early detection,” adds Daniel Kopans of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

‘More focus’ on screening younger women

In 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force proposed that mammography should be limited to women aged between 50 and 74. But research from the Mayo Clinic last year revealed that the number of women in their 40s who have mammographies has dropped by 6% nationwide since the recommendation.

The researchers say that given the findings of this research, there should be less focus on ensuring older patients are screened, and more focus on younger women.

“Detecting and treating breast cancer in younger women to prevent death may further increase the disease-free life years saved,” say the study authors.

“Our findings suggest decreasing the intensity of efforts to screen women older than 69 years while concomitantly emphasizing efforts to screen younger women in particular.”

However, other studies have shunned the use of mammograms. Research from The Dartmouth Institute for Healthy Policy & Clinical Practice in Lebanon suggested that mammograms are ineffective at lowering breast cancer death rates and that the process can lead to over-diagnosis.