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After menopause, obesity increases risk as well. But, the ACS explains the risk of breast cancer related to weight is complex, and those who were overweight as a child may not be affected. Also, waist area fat may be more significant in increasing risk than fat in other parts of the body such as hips and thighs. A study by the Women’s Health Initiative says walking briskly 1.25 to 2.5 hours each week can reduce risk by 18%. For women with average risk factors, clinical breast exams should be done every one to three years starting at age 20. At age 40, clinical exams should be done annually. Women with greater risk factors should have exams more often. Early trials found mammography reduced breast cancer death rates by 25%. But some statistics have overstated mammography’s role in the reduction of breast cancer death rates. This is because increased use of mammograms occurred along with much improved treatments, and medical experts believe treatments have likely played the greater role in reducing deaths. Still, what is known is that among women in the United States, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Though various studies If you notice any of these reveal mammography screening symptoms, consult your health care provider to seems to have very limited usefulrule out breast cancer. ness among women under 40, it is


nonetheless moderately effective • A new lump that feels different from the rest for detection in women ages 40 of your breast 49, and is most effective for those • Nipple discharge that in the 50-69 age group. occurs without squeezIt is now known there are at ing the nipple least four types and subtypes of • A lump inside the breast breast cancer. Mammography or in underarm area often does not detect the more • Breast swelling, lethal types until they are in the warmth, or redness • Breast skin dimpling or later stages. puckering “Ductal carcinoma in-situ • Scaly or itchy sore or [DCIS] accounts for approximately rash on the nipple 20% of mammographically detect• Any part of your breast ed breast cancers. As screening pulling inward mammography has become • Pain in one spot more prevalent, the rate of DCIS that doesn’t detection has increased.” Doctor go away Deanna Attai, explains, DCIS is also referred to as noninvasive, or Stage 0 breast cancer. It is primarily diagnosed by screening mammogram, as it often does not form a palpable lump. Some medical experts say DCIS is really not a form of cancer at all and by referring to it as such results in overly aggressive treatment. The likelihood of low grade DCIS developing into invasive breast cancer is only 16%, while high grade DCIS has a 60% chance over 10 years. The problem, however, is there is currently no way to determine which cases of DCIS will ultimately develop into breast cancer. This creates a major dilemma. The results of recent studies have revealed several needs. First, more studies are needed to better answer questions about approach to both detection and treatment. Additionally, better screening techniques should be developed for detecting the more deadly forms of breast cancer. And finally, mammography screening for breast cancer should be based on informed decisions and individualized plans taking into account a woman’s age, risk factors, and both the advantages and disadvantages of mammograms for each woman’s unique situation. SP

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Suburban Parent CFL, October 2017  
Suburban Parent CFL, October 2017