Page 1

Volume 1, Issue 1

November 24, 2009

Breast Cancer L










About Breast Cancer

Gschmeissner, Steve. “Cancer Bleb.” 2009. Online Image. New Book of Knowledge. 15 November 2009. <http://nbk.grolier. com/cgi -bin/media?templatename=/ encyc/media.html&assetid=genbk 07021&assettype=0mp>.

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E :

Lower the Risk


Early Detecting is Key


Treatments Options


Fact vs. Fiction


Significance of Pink Ribbon


Bibliography and Resources


Cancer, the second leading cause of death in the US, begins when the reproduction of cells does not occur as it should (7). Either the body makes too many when they are not needed, or old cells do not die. The extra growth of cells forms a tumor. Breast cancer specifically is when a tumor grows in the breast tissue. Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women in America, with about 178,480 new cases in 2007 (2). Over 80% of cases occur in postmenopausal women (6), meanAge ing a woman Under 45 who 45 and older has Under 55 gone through 55 and older meno-

pause and no longer has her menstrual periods. There are about 43,500 women who die from breast cancer each year (6). Also, there are about 1,600 men are diagnosed with breast cancer, and around 400 deaths each year in the U.S (6). Women are naturally at a higher risk to be diagnosed with breast cancer then men are. In addition to that, there are a few uncontrollable things that add to a woman’s risk. These include age, late menopause, breast density, and family history (2). If a woman

Number of Cases 23,790 216,720 79,100

has a family history of breast cancer on her mother or father’s side, her risk of getting breast cancer is higher. There are two breast cancer gene mutations, discovered in 1990, called BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 (6). They are hereditary, and have been found in families with multiple cases of breast cancer (6).

It’s important for women to be aware if they have a family history of breast cancer. That way, they can be attentive about their actions and health. There are many precautionary measures that can and should be taken, Number of Deaths such as staying physically 2,830 fit and having an annual 37,630 mammogram 9,140 (2).



Under 65



65 and older


23,510 (2)

Artist Unknown. Pink Crystal Ribbon Angel. Date Created Unknown. Online Image. Headcovers Unlimited. 8 November 2009. <http://>.

P a g e


B r e a s t

C a n c e r

Lower the Risk There is no way to prevent breast cancer, but there are a few factors that women can control that lower their risk of being diagnosed. 1. Do Not Smoke: Research shows that smoking leads to many different diseases, including breast cancer. Also, smoking can lead to complications when getting treated for breast cancer (5).

2. Good Nutrition: A good diet increases the body’s ability to perform, while bad nutrition greatly hinders the body’s ability to function properly (5). When fighting breast cancer, a woman’s body needs to be in top condition (5). 3. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Overweight women have an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast can-

“Sometimes I feel like people worry that I’m fragile, and I hate that.” (10)

cer and a higher risk of having reoccurring breast cancer (5). 4. Exercise Regularly: Research shows that getting 5 hours of exercise weekly can lower a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer (5). Exercise helps the immune system ease treatment side effects (5).

Artist Unknown. “Apple.” Date Created Unknown. Online Image. WPClipart. 21 November 2009. <http://www. _2.png>.

Early Detection is Key

Artist Unknown. “Mammogram.” Date Taken Unknown. Online Image. Flickr. 20 November 2009. < turtles-r-us/3189240385/>.

Breast cancer is easiest to treat in it’s early stages, however, breast cancer rarely shows any symptoms when it’s in it’s earliest stages (2). There are different ways to detect breast cancer, including a clinical breast examination, a self breast examination, DNA testing, and mammogram screenings. DNA testing searches DNA for the two breast cancer genes. The American Cancer Society recommends

that women between the ages of 20 and 39 have a clinical breast examination every three years and to have a self breast examination every month (2). In clinical breast examinations, the breast is felt by the examiner for its shape, texture, lumps, and how deep the lumps are (2). The same takes place for a self breast examination, except a woman does so herself. For women 40 and older, it’s recom-

mended to continue clinical and self breast examinations, but to also have an annual mammogram (2). Mammography is a xray procedure that shows the inside of the breast (2). Mammograms detect 80-90% of tumors that have not shown symptoms yet (2). Utilizing mammogram screenings has increased the number of small tumors found (6).

Treatments Options There are many different ways to treat breast cancer, and what might work well for one person might not work for another. The different options are surgery, targeted therapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery, the most common treatment for breast cancer, is performed in one of two ways. One way is a breastsparing surgery, which removes

the cancer but not the breast (12). Another way is a mastectomy, where almost the entire breast is removed (6). Targeted therapy is when the patient takes medicine that block the growth of cancer cells (12). In hormone therapy, also called antihormone treatment, cancer cells are kept from the hormones they need to survive and grow (12). Radiation therapy, both external and internal, uses a high-energy rays to kill off

cancer cells in the part of the body that is affected. Sometimes, it’s used after surgery to kill off remaining cancer cells. For external radiation, the most common type of radiation for breast cancer, comes from a machine outside the body. For internal radiation, thin tubes are placed into the breast and a radioactive substance is put into the tube (12).

V o l u m e

1 ,

I ss u e


P a g e

Chemotherapy uses drugs given to the patient through a vein or a pill to kill cancer cells. It kills aggressive cancer cells, but can also kill normal cells. Sometimes, a combination of methods must be used to rid a per-

son of his/her cancer. Each form of treatment has different side effects, depending on the patient and the dosage of the substance. The most common side effect for radiation therapy is for


the skin around the breast to become dry, itchy, red, and tender (12). Most patients who have chemotherapy lose their hair and some of their blood cells (12).

Fact vs. Fiction Fiction: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk. (3)

though the younger you are the lower your risk is. (3)

ally, some research shows that caffeine decreases your risk. (13)

Fact: 80% of women who are diagnosed do not have a family history (3), though it does increase your risk.

Fiction: All women have a 1-in-8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. (13)

Fiction: Only women get breast cancer. (3)

Fiction: Older women do not have to worry about being diagnosed. (3)

Fact: Under the age of 30, a woman’s risk is 1-in-233 (13). By the time she’s reached 85, her risk goes up to 1-in-8. (13)

Fact: The older you are, the higher risk you are. (3) Fiction: Women under 40 years old do not get breast cancer. (3) Fact: You can be diagnosed at any age,

Fiction: Coffee increases your risk of getting breast cancer. (3) Fact: This has been proven false. Actu-

Fact: There are about 1,600 men diagnosed with breast cancer in the US each year. (6) Fiction: If your mammogram report is negative, there is nothing to worry about. (13) Fact: Mammograms fail to detect about 10-20% of breast cancers. (13)

“Fear was my motivating factor to do whatever it took to mitigate this disease.” (10)

Pink Ribbon: Symbol of Survival At Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure in Washington, DC on June 16, 1990, pink visors were handed out to participants. Also, some people were seen wearing pink ribbons (11). In 1991,during the New York City running race promoting breast cancer, pink breast cancer ribbons were distributed for the first time (11). When it was introduced, dona-

tions increased by about $25 million and mammogram screenings increased by 50% (11). From this point on, the pink ribbon has been a way for families of breast cancer victims to make others aware of the disease (11). The pink breast cancer ribbon is everywhere from shoes to bagels to re-usable shopping bags. Overall, the introduction

of the pink ribbon has spread breast cancer awareness significantly, but some people believe that it has become too commercialized (9). For example, Avon adds have raised about $450 million for breast cancer awareness, but advertising focuses on finding a cure and not on prevention (9).

Artist Unknown. Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Car Magnet. Date Created Unknown. The Pink Ribbon Shop. 8 November 2009. <http:// productimages/magnet.jpg>.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. American Cancer Society. 29 September 2009. American Cancer Society21 November 2009. < content/CRI_2_2_2X_What_causes_breast_cancer_5.asp?sitearea=>. 2. “Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2007-2008.” American Cancer Society. 2008. 22 November 2009. < downloads/STT/BCFF-Final.pdf>. 3. “Breast Cancer Myths.” Feminist Majority Foundation. 2009. 15 November 2009. <>. 4. "Cancer cells." National Cancer Institute. 15 October 2009. 7 November 2009. < 3>. 5. “Changes You Can Make to Lower Your Risk.” 26 November 2009. 21 November 2009. < risk/everyone/lower_risk.jsp>. 6. Cohen, Leonard A. "breast cancer." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. 2009. Grolier Online. 21 Nov. 2009 < cgi-bin/article?assetid=0041787-0>. 7. DaVita, Jr., Vincent T., and Susan Molloy Hubbard. "Cancer." Reviewed by Barbara Burtness. The New Book of Knowledge®. 2009. Grolier Online. 15 Nov. 2009 <>. 8. Krakoff, Irwin H. "Cancer (disease)." Encyclopedia Americana. 2009. Grolier Online. 15 Nov. 2009 < 3770-00>. 9. Jeff. “Professor Challenges Audience to Think Beyond Pink Ribbons.” Blog Entry. MediaMouse. 10 April 2007. 19 November 2009. <>. 10. Peltason, Ruth. I Am Not My Breast Cancer. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. 46-88. 11. “Pink Ribbon.” Pink Ribbon International. 2009. 15 November 2009. <>. 12. “Treatment.” National Cancer Institute. 15 October 2009. 19 November 2009. < breast/page8#d>. 13. “25 Breast Cancer Myths and Misunderstandings.” 2009. 15 November 2009. < condition-article/0,,20215568,00.html>.

For Additional Information Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Grolier Encyclopedia

5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250

“breast cancer”

Dallas, TX 75244

Author: Leonard A. Cohen

Phone: 1-877-465-6636 I’m Not My Breast Cancer


Author: Ruth Peltason St. Louis Breast Cancer Coalition P.O. Box 411095 St. Louis, MO 63141 Phone: 314-989-1111 Website:

Artist Unknown. Breast Cancer Heart. 5 October. Online Image. Diva Village. 8 November 2009. <http://www. _heart_web907.jpg>.

National Cancer Institute: http:// breast/page1

Health Project  

health project

Health Project  

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