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Stronger together Breast Cancer Awareness Edition

News Press Stillwater

Tuesday, October 5, 2021


Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Faith and support fuels the fight There are common themes cancer survivors and fighters have when going through the battles. They lean on faith, will and others. It’s hard to go it alone. Of the fighters and survivors we’ve spoken to throughout the years, they say their support system meant everything to them. Eileen Gile told us in 2019 about the terrific group of friends she had. “If you’re dealing with it, the support group is a wonderful thing to have. We think we’re the only ones going through it and we’re certainly not. It’s just amazing to me the people that I saw at support groups, who I didn’t dream were going through this. It makes you a little more compassionate with people,” she said. “I would suggest people who do have it, reach out and don’t try to deal with it yourself. You need people. It was about the third chemo treatment that my hair started coming out. A wig is a wonderful thing, don’t hesitate to get a wig, keep yourself so you do want to go out. You need to keep yourself as active as much as you can.” Kendra Kilpatrick, the Stillwater Girls Basketball coach, continues her fight drawing strength from her faith and family. “I’ve said this before, but if it wasn’t for, one, my faith in Christ, and, two, the support of people around me, I couldn’t have gone through

this process,” she told the News Press. Susan Coltharp, an elementary teacher, would have kids bring her little gifts or teddy bears. And, even when the kids weren’t so little any more they still remember. “A student I had when he was in kindergarten, he’s a senior now, he got my number and he’s been texting me,” Coltharp said in 2019. “They’re coming out of everywhere. As a teacher you know how the kids are in your life and their parents are in your life and you think of them as ‘your kids’ even when they’re long gone but you don’t realize how much until something like this. It’s been amazing.” And sometimes, the help isn’t as obvious or easy to come by. Stillwater’s Joanne Hamilton was told she was lucky. She caught her cancer early and didn’t struggle financially. “When I left, the doctor said to me, ‘you are so lucky to have good insurance. You can just walk out of here.’ That sort of stuck with me,” Hamilton said. “It started me thinking, ‘I am lucky.’ Not everybody is this lucky. It just sort of evolved from that.” So she would help financially time to time with donations to the Stillwater Medical Foundation, then created an endowment to help women and families JASON ELMQUIST/STILLWATER NEWS PRESS who might struggle financialKendra Kilpatrick gets a high-five from Stillwater long snapper Osker Erlich. Kilpatrick and her ly with the process. – Beau Simmons family were honorary captains for last week’s game. Also shown is daughter Riley.

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Stillwater Junior High School cheerleaders show support for Pink Out Week. Shown are: Kylee Williams, Abbie Rivero, Alison Duhon, Captain, Bella Kate Hughes and Sunny Toehay. Middle, from left to right: Madison Scoles, Reese Russell, Scotlynn Doty, Joselyn Nugent and Emma Lawson. Back row, left to right: Emma Coulter, Makinley Hubbard, Andrea Austin, Ashlyn Phillips, Bella Bird. Coaches: Rebecca Palmatory and Lauren Duhon.

The role staging plays in diagnoses A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and people who receive such news may be flooded with a wide range of emotions. When delivering such a diagnosis, doctors share vital information about their patients’ disease. Those details can go a long way toward easing patients’ concerns. Staging is an important component of cancer treatment. The National Cancer Institute notes that stage refers to the extent of the cancer,

including how large the tumor is and whether or not it has spread, or metastasized. Learning the stage of the cancer, which is typically expressed on a scale of 0 through 4, helps doctors understand how serious the cancer is and the patient’s chances of survival. Staging also is used to plan treatments and potentially identify clinical trials that may serve as treatment options. The American Joint Committee on Cancer oversees the breast cancer staging system

and uses the TNM system. notes that three clinical characteristics, referred to as “T, N and M,” are used to calculate the stage of the cancer: • the size of the tumor and whether or not is has grown into nearby tissue (T). • whether the cancer is in the lymph nodes (N). • whether the cancer has spread, or metastasized, into other parts of the body beyond the breast (M). Additional charac-

teristics were added to the AJCC’s TNM breast cancer staging system in 2018. Though this has made determining the stage of breast cancer more complex, notes that it’s also made staging more accurate. That improved accuracy increases the likelihood that doctors will choose the most effective treatment plan for their patients, which should ease those patients’ concerns as they begin treatment. Staging is complex,

and patients should know that staging alone does not dictate prognosis. The following breakdown, courtesy of the NCI, is a brief description of the five stages of cancer (stages 0 through 4). Stage 0: This is diagnosed when abnormal cells are present but have not spread to nearby tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ, or CIS. CIS is not cancer, but it may become cancer.

Stages 1-3: Cancer is present in these stages. The higher the number, the larger the tumor is and the more it has spread into nearby tissues. Stage 4: The cancer has spread into distant parts of the body. A more detailed description of breast cancer stages can be found at www.breastcancer. org/symptoms/diagnosis/ staging. More information about staging is also available at www.

What are the different types of breast cancer? parts of the breast tissue. This is why IDC is characterized as “invasive.” Though IDC can affect people, including men, of any age, the ACS notes that the majority of IDC cases are in women age 55 and older. Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) The NBCF describes IBC as an “aggressive and fast-growing breast cancer.” notes that IBC is rare, as data from the ACS indicates that only about 1% of all breast cancers in the United States are inflammatory breast cancers. Many breast cancers begin with the formation of a lump, but reports that IBC usually begins with reddening and swelling of the breast, and symptoms can worsen considerably within days or even hours. That underscores the importance of

seeking prompt treatment should any symptoms present themselves. Metastatic breast cancer Metastatic breast cancer may be referred to as stage 4 breast cancer. When a woman is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, that means the cancer has spread, or metastasized, into other parts of the body. The NBCF indicates that metastatic breast cancer usually spreads to the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary depending on where the cancer has spread. For example, if the cancer has spread to the lungs, women may experience a chronic cough or be unable to get a full breath. These are not the only types of breast cancer. A more extensive breakdown can be found at www.


Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) DCIS is a noninvasive cancer that is diagnosed when abnormal cells have been found in the lining of the breast milk duct. The National Breast Cancer Foundation notes that DCIS is a highly treatable cancer. That’s because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any surrounding breast tissue. The American Cancer Society notes that roughly 20% of new breast cancer cases are instances of DCIS. Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) IDC is the most common type of breast cancer. The NBCF reports that between 70% and 80% of all breast cancer diagnoses are instances of IDC. An IDC diagnosis means that cancer began growing in the milk ducts but has since spread into other

Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, more than 2.3 million women across the globe were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. The BCRF also notes that breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide. Breast cancer statistics can give the impression that each of the millions of women diagnosed with the disease is fighting the same battle, but breast cancer is something of an umbrella term. In fact, there are various types of breast cancer, including ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer. Learning about each type of breast cancer can help women and their families gain a greater understanding of this disease.

Breaking down cancer surgeries


Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Doctors will discuss a host of treatment options upon diagnosing a patient with breast cancer. The course of treatment is ultimately determined by various factors, including the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Doctors and patients now have more treatment options than ever before, and many women confronting breast cancer will undergo a combination of treatments en route to beating their disease. The National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. reports that surgery is

the most common form of treatment for breast cancer. Surgical procedures vary, and the following rundown can help women understand their options.

Lumpectomy The NBCF notes that a lumpectomy procedure typically removes the least amount of breast tissue necessary to get the tumor out. Surgeons also will remove a small amount or margin of surrounding tissue, but not the breast. The American Cancer Society notes that a lumpecto-

my is classified as a breast-conserving surgery. The NBCF describes a lumpectomy as the least invasive breast cancer surgery and notes that the procedure is highly effective.

Mastectomy Surgeons remove the entire breast during a mastectomy. The online medical resource Verywell Health notes that there are reasons for and against getting a double mastectomy, and some women who must have one breast removed also have the

Early detection saves lives. Cancer screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies, can help doctors find and treat several types of cancer early before they cause symptoms. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for cancer and whether a screening would be appropriate for you. Detecting cancer early gives you a better chance at beating it.

other healthy breast removed. There are various types of mastectomies, including skin-sparing mastectomy, simple mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy and partial mastectomy. Each type is different, and what’s recommended to one patient may not be recommended to another. Doctors who recommend mastectomy can break down each option so patients can make the most informed decision possible.

Additional procedures Doctors may need

to perform some additional procedures after breast cancer patients undergo a lumpectomy or mastectomy. In such instances, doctors may remove and examine lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread and to what extent it has spread. The NBCF notes that a sentinel lymph node biopsy is performed so doctors can examine the lymph node closest to the tumor, as this is where cancer cells are most likely to have spread. Identifying the sentinel lymph node involves injecting dye or radioac-

tive substances into the tissue. The lymph nodes that are most susceptible to cancer will be marked by the dye or substances injected. Doctors may perform an axillary node dissection, which involves the removal of the axillary lymph nodes located in the underarm. Lymph nodes do not always need to be removed, but doctors will often conduct a sentinel node biopsy or an axillary node dissection when performing a lumpectomy or mastectomy. – MetroCreative


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Journalist’s experience helps navigate choices took the time to do her research. It’s for that reason she and her husband still have their house. and while living on short-term disability insurance was “no picnic,” things could have been a lot worse. “It takes very little to be hit with huge bills,” Fox said. So, to Fox, proper insurance coverage is an issue she is passionate about. She encourages all women to make sure they’re covered – and expresses frustration with the rollback of Affordable Care Act requirements that have now limited her choices on the open market. But insurance and financial burden is just one of the overwhelming demands placed on a

patient. Recovering from surgery, then chemotherapy, then reconstructive surgery, and – in Fox’s case – further surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes based on a risk assessment, all while caring for her family, is something “you can’t do on your own.” Fox recalled a “round robin” meeting after she was diagnosed at the Breast Health Center at Lahey Outpatient Center in Danvers. She was given a gift bag that contained a prayer shawl. “I don’t need a prayer shawl,” she recalled thinking. But the advice and support, the ability to reach out for answers, was priceless as she underwent her treatments and surgeries

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at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham & Womens Faulkner Hospital in Boston. “It’s really helpful, no matter what,” Fox said. “There are lots of people in the breast cancer community that are going to be able to answer those questions. You have to accept help from people. You can’t go it alone.” Fox had discovered that she had a BRCA1 mutation, and that people on both sides of her father’s family and one side of her mother’s family had BRCA cancers. So she was alert to changes that could be a problem. She believes that two bouts of mastitis a few years earlier while breastfeeding had triggered

something inside her ducts. Fox had undergone an ultrasound on her breasts, which were dense, in March 2019. Nothing of concern was noted. But by August, there was a grade 3, aggressive tumor. and between Aug. 7 and Oct. 9, it grew from 1.3 centimeters to 1.5 centimeters. “I was very lucky,” Fox said. A node biopsy confirmed that the cancer hadn’t spread, and she didn’t have to undergo radiation. The removal of her ovaries sent her into early menopause. She’s now dealing with all that that entails. Two pieces of advice she offers are to get into physical therapy as soon as possible and make

time to exercise. Fox has always believed in clean food and clean products. She’s been reading ingredient labels since the age of 12. So the idea of starting a business that sells a natural product was appealing. “Doing this business with my family was something that was full of hope,” she said. Fox and Gove have sold Rocket Fuel Pesto at farmers markets in Beverly, Salem, Newburyport and Cambridge. They started out using a commercial kitchen in Amesbury for production but recently began using the kitchen facilities at The Community House in Hamilton. – CNHI


Stillwater Women’s Clinic encourages you to get your yearly mammogram. The sooner breast cancer is detected the better chance you have of beating it.

Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021


Aug. 7, 2019, was supposed to be a beach day for her and her daughter, Andrea Fox recalled last month. It ended with Fox, 43 at the time, curled up on her bed, sobbing, surrounded by her then-4-year-old daughter’s stuffed animals, the little girl hoping they would bring some comfort. A little more than two years, three surgeries and a round of chemotherapy later, Fox has plenty of reasons to smile. “That was rock bottom,” said the Beverly (Mass.) resident, now 45. Fox shared her story as she was getting ready for the Beverly Farmers Market, one of several local markets where she; her husband, Liam Gove; and their daughter, Isla, now 6, sell their Rocket Fuel Pesto. It’s not a path the veteran freelance and trade journalist expected to take in life. But her career had in many ways prepared her for the battle she was about to face. Fox had written for trade publications covering the insurance industry. So she was familiar with coverage codes. A few years earlier, long before she had even an inkling that she would develop cancer, her employer had given her the option of a medical stipend in lieu of participating in the company’s group insurance. She took it. Her husband worked as a chef, an occupation not known for generous benefit packages. On the open market, she found a plan that would minimize out-of-pocket costs. She’s thankful she

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Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021


Cancer medicines zeroing in on cell targets By Randy Griffith JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Just a few years ago, if a new drug showed promise in one type of cancer, researchers would start randomly trying it with other cancers. With advances in the understanding of cancer cells at the molecular level, Dr. Michael D. Voloshin said scientists can identify how the drug is interacting with specific cell components and look for other cancers with similar features. “They are finding more of the targeting,” Voloshin said at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at John P. Murtha Pavilion, 337 Somerset St. “They can actually look at the mechanics involved and target the medicine to that situation.” Voloshin is a medical oncologist at the Johnstown facility. He treats breast cancer patients with the latest developments in chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. The options are constantly expanding, as scientists learn more about the inner workings of cancer cells and normal cells. “We are breaking those cells apart,” Voloshin said. “What materials we are finding in those cells we are categorizing to find things that we can use for treatment.” He pointed to two developments in the past


Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021



Dr. Rashid Awan, director of clinical services; Dr. Michael Voloshin, and nurse practitioner Michelle Shaffer discuss the latest breast cancer treatment advances in UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Johnstown, Pa. year that could impact breast cancer patients with traditionally hardto-treat cancers. One study showed that the drug alpelisib can help some patients with hormone receptor–positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–negative cancer, abbreviated as HR+/HER- cancer. “If they have the hormone PIK3CA mutation, that used to be a sign they do well,” Voloshin said. “Now there is a medicine, alpelisib. Used in conjunction with the medicine we have been using has it shown an effective response.” Voloshin also pointed to several studies showing the potential

benefits of PARP inhibitors for triple-negative breast cancer and for patients with the inherited BRCA genes. PARP stands for poly-ADP ribose polymerase, a protein that helps damaged cells repair themselves. PARP inhibitors stop the PARP from repairing cancer cells. “It’s encouraging,” Voloshin said. “We are now getting the right medicine to the right patient. You have a mutation, you can aim for that.” Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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Donating wisely during Breast Cancer Awareness Month millions of dollars for breast cancer research each year, often by purchasing “pink ribbon” items. However, just because a charity is advertising that proceeds benefit breast cancer research or awareness does not automatically mean that you are donating wisely. When deciding which charity to donate to, be sure to ask critical questions such as: How much money goes to breast cancer programs and services? What breast cancer programs or services are supported by the organization? Is the money being used for breast cancer awareness or breast cancer research? If awareness, what are the efforts made to raise awareness and to what effect? If research, what aspects of breast cancer are being researched,

and how are the findings contributing to ending breast cancer? BBB recommends exercising caution when choosing a charity to support and offers the following tips from BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance: Shop smart. Some companies donate a portion of the sale of specific items designated with pink ribbons or packaging. When shopping for “pink ribbon” items, see if the promotion is transparent about which charity it will benefit and how much of the purchase will be donated. Watch out for vague claims of proceeds benefiting unspecified charities. Check the charity. Charities accredited with BBB Wise Giving Alliance meet the 20 BBB Charity Standards. If you are considering a donation to a charity that

is not familiar to you, go to to view its charity report or find trustworthy organizations to donate to. When researching a charity, pay close attention to its name, as some questionable charities may use names similar to those of established organizations. Participate carefully. Some charities host fundraising events in addition to marketing promotions. If this interests you, gather all the important information before signing up. Is there a participation fee or are you required to sign up a minimum number of sponsors? Is the event being hosted in-person or virtual and, if in-person, what procedures are being followed to minimize the spread of COVID-19? Always research the charity or group organizing the event before you register.

Take action. If your preferred charity is not holding any events or promotions during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, contact them directly to see how you can volunteer or donate on your own time. Every type of contribution helps! To view charity reports and find more wise giving tips, visit ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bu-

reau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico. – Better Business Bureau

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Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Every October, countries worldwide observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, focused on increasing support and awareness of one the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast cancer is the most common cancer among U.S. women. Yet, the World Health Organization does offer some promising data; while rates of total breast cancer cases per year are projected to continue to increase through 2040 in the U.S., premature death rates are projected to decrease. Despite the decrease, estimated to continue through 2030, there is still no cure, and funds are needed to advance research efforts. There are countless ways to contribute, and consumers help raise

Rare, but breast cancer can hit men By Will Broaddus


Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

CNHI News Service

HAVERVILL, Massachusetts – The main difference between male and female breast cancer is that men get it far less often than women, accounting for less than 1% of all cases. Haverhill native Ric Page is one of those rare cases. He was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and fought it for three years. “Cancer is cancer, and the way it grows and takes hold knows no gender,” he said. Page also knows that, while 1% of one year’s worth of breast cancer diagnoses means thousands of men get the disease every year, that fact remains obscured. “Most people are shocked that breast cancer is not just for women,” he said. But the relative rarity of male cases also gives a unique relevance to a blog that Page kept during his years with the disease, “My Challenge,” which records his daily struggles with breast cancer, tests and treatments. “When this first started, many friends and family wanted to know things, and I got sick of saying the same thing over and over,” Page said. “So I decided I would have one repository that people could look at at their leisure.” Page, who lives a mile from where he grew up, has had a dual career as a musician and state employee. He is retired now after working for


Ric Page shares his experiences with breast and bladder cancer on his blog. many years at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, where he was eventually promoted to deputy registrar, and he also applied his managerial skills in several other government agencies. That means he had a lot of co-workers who followed his blog because they were concerned about his health, “which was nice,” Page said. The procedures he describes in entries included a mastectomy and sentinel node removal at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, followed by an “edge” cleanup or second surgery to get rid of all the cancer cells. In addition, Page underwent 12 weeks of chemotherapy, along with breast and nipple reconstruction, and received a nipple tattoo. These were followed by what he describes as “five years of chemo-lite.”

“Enough stuff transpired that I figured, I’m going to capture this,” Page said. “I would sit down and do it. To me, writing comes easily and so I would just do it and look at it after. I’m my own editor.” There are 13 entries in March 2015, the first month he started writing, and these are followed by 119 more in the years that followed, all chronicling what it means to live with cancer. “It was therapeutic for me to be able to do it,” Page said. It was also therapeutic for Page to go back and reread what he had written, and recall details about what he endured that he had forgotten. “Going through it helped me take some of the negativity of the whole experience and turn it into something positive,” he said. Primarily, that was

to let other people with cancer know that “you can survive this,” a message that he started to share in his music. Beginning in 1968, Page’s musical career consisted of playing guitar, keyboards and bass in bands, usually with his brother, while adapting his sound to changing tastes. “At first, in the early ‘70s, it was a precursor to disco, which was funk and bump,” he said. “Then it went to disco. Then it went to Southern rock. Then it went into mainstream rock, then top 40 dance music.” That progression overlapped with 20 years in a “general business” band called Family Affair that played anything from jazz standards to whatever was new, at weddings, college parents’ weekends and other “events with food.” “Family Affair, at the time, they were the premier general business band out there,” Page said. He still plays in some bands, but Page started to perform solo during his recovery, and he tackles cancer in a number of songs that he wrote and recorded for a CD, “Tales From the Big C.” “Some of them were so difficult for me to play and sing and record because it brought me back there,” Page said. “But when I do those songs live, I get some good feedback from people. Some give me a hug and say, ‘I’m sorry you had to go

through that. That song is so heart-wrenching.’” It has been especially gratifying for him to connect with other men who have survived breast cancer, who often feel stigmatized by their diagnosis, which has led to their isolation. “A lot of men don’t want to admit they have breast cancer,” Page said. He has learned a lot about cancer since his diagnosis, but said that it has also reminded him how little he knows about the disease. But Page said the hormones, testosterone and estrogen, are both present in everyone’s body, and his cancer was “estrogen fed,” leading to the abnormal growth in his breast. “Everyone has cancer, but the body is amazing enough that it knows that it doesn’t belong, so it attacks it and gets rid of it,” Page said. “But some cancer cells are sticky, and they happen to stick to a wall and grow, and that’s when there are problems.” He wonders if some medications he took may have contributed to the development of his disease. But he knows for sure that cancer has been a scourge in his family, in which Page is the middle child among seven siblings. “My eldest sister had breast cancer, my mother had breast cancer, and my youngest sister has breast cancer and is in radiation therapy now,” he said. “Hers was small enough she could have a lumpectomy.”

Page is also confident about the link between his chemotherapy, which stopped in the fall of 2015, and the cataracts he started to develop a few months later, which finally led to surgery this year. In an ironic development, one of his early scans revealed that he had an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA, an enlargement of the aorta that can be fatal if it bursts. “That’s why the doctor said, ‘Your cancer saved your life,’” Page said. “My mother died from triple A, but I must have forgotten it.” The hereditary condition was unrelated to his cancer. His uncle also had surgery for AAA, which Page describes as “one of those things you don’t know you have until it’s too late.” But while Page thought he was done with cancer when he closed his blog in 2017, he returned to writing entries after he noticed blood in his urine, then discovered in June that he has bladder cancer. “As my sister says, all my warranties are expiring at the same time,” he said. Page has a cystectomy scheduled for October and ends his most recent blog entry, on Sept. 13, with a promise that there will be “More to come!” “My Challenge,” which can be read at http:// rrpage0952.blogspot. com, has received more than 12,000 visits since it started.

Breast cancer: What you can do By Shawna Sharp APRN, FNP-C, UT Health East Texas Physicians in Henderson

the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, weight changes, medications and age. If you have any signs or symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your healthcare provider right away.

What you can do: Primary Prevention There is no way to completely prevent breast cancer, but there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances. • Maintain a healthy weight. • Exercise 3-5 times per week. • Do not drink alcohol or limit alcohol intake. • If you are taking hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your healthcare provider about the risks and find out if it is right for you. • Breastfeed your children for at least three months, if possible. • If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to lower your risk. Staying healthy throughout your life will lower your risk of developing cancer and improve your chances of surviving cancer if it occurs.

All women need to be informed by their healthcare provider about the best screening options for them. This could include self-breast exams, clinical breast exams, mammograms, ultrasounds and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast. Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is likely easier to treat. Talk to your healthcare provider about which breast cancer screening tests are right for you and when you should have them.

Where Can I Get Screened? You can be screened for breast cancer at a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office. If you want to be screened for breast cancer, call your healthcare provider’s office. They can help you schedule an appointment for screening and/ or a wellness exam. Most health insurance plans are required to cover screening mammograms every one to two years for women beginning at age 40 with no out-of-pocket cost (like a co-pay, deductible or co-insurance).

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Secondary Prevention

Finding breast cancer early, when it’s small, has not spread and might be easier to treat, can help prevent deaths from the disease. Getting regular screening tests is the most reliable way to find breast cancer early. Sometimes, breast cancer is found after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. This is why regular breast cancer screening is so important. Breast cancer screening means checking a woman’s breasts for cancer before there are signs or symptoms of the disease.

Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is a disease in which the cells in the body grow out of control. Second to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. There are nearly 250,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women and 2,300 in men every single year in the U.S. Even with the death rate declining, approximately 42,000 women and 510 men die each year from breast cancer. A breast consists of three main parts: lobules, ducts and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue consists of fibrous and fatty tissue and surrounds and holds everything together within the breast. Most breast cancers originate in the ducts or lobules, but can develop in any part of the breast. There are several different kinds of breast cancer, but the most common are invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. • Invasive ductal carcinoma – The cancer cells grow outside the

ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body through blood and lymph vessels. • Invasive lobular carcinoma – Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are nearby. These invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body through blood and lymph vessels. There are several other less common kinds of breast cancer, such as Paget’s disease, external icon medullary, mucinous and inflammatory breast cancer. Warning signs of breast cancer: • A new lump in the breast or underarm (armpit) • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast • Pain in any area of the breast Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. Normal variances in the breast occur with

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Stillwater NewsPress • Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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