Written by on 10/6/2014 12:30:00 PM
Claudia Davis, RN, OCN, CBCN, is an oncology nurse navigator at Community Health Network.
There is a lot of information about mammograms available to women, but sorting through the information can be overwhelming. Claudia Davis, registered nurse and manager of the nurse navigator program at Community Healthy Network, answered some of the most common questions about mammograms.
What exactly is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. The results are recorded on x-ray film or directly into a computer for a radiologist to examine. A mammogram allows the doctor to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during a breast exam.
How is a mammogram performed?
A mammogram is performed on an x-ray machine. A radiologic technician, places your breasts, one at a time, between an x-ray plate and a plastic plate. These plates are attached to the x-ray machine and compress the breasts to flatten them. This spreads the breast tissue out to obtain a clearer picture.
Most often, two pictures are taken of each breast — one from the side and one from above. A screening mammogram only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish.
When should I start getting mammograms?
The American Cancer Society and American College of Gynecology recommend women get their first screening mammogram at age 40. continue reading ...
Written by on 10/1/2014 9:30:00 AM
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - dedicated to increasing awareness about one of the biggest cancer threats to women. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2014 alone, 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States. Additionally, 62,570 cases of carcinoma situ (a non-invasive and early form of breast cancer) will be diagnosed.
Although the disease is predominantly seen in women, men are not immune. In fact, in 2014, more than 2,300 men are expected to be newly diagnosed with the disease.
- Increasing age (risk almost doubles after age 60)
- Inherited genetic mutations (BRCA1 and/or BRCA2)
- Personal or family history of breast cancer
- Extremely high breast-tissue density as seen on mammograms
- Biopsy-confirmed atypical hyperplasia
- Having Li-Fraumeni or Cowden syndromes
- Never having children or having one's first child after the age of 30
- Being overweight or physically inactive, or becoming obese after menopause
Discovering breast cancer in its early stages greatly increases treatment options and survival rates. Regular screening mammograms and breast self-exams are extremely important. Simple lifestyle changes can also help you defend your body against breast cancer. continue reading ...
Written by on 8/12/2014 6:00:00 AM
Chances for survival vary by stage of breast cancer. Non-invasive (stage 0) and early stage invasive breast cancers (stages I and II) have a better prognosis than later stage cancers (stage III and IV). And, cancer that has not spread beyond the breast has a better prognosis than cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes.
Catching cancer at its earliest stage only increases a patient's chances for survival. Courtney Larson, a Community Cancer Care patient, knows a thing or two about the importance of early detection of breast cancer: It saved her life.
Larson was performing a breast self-exam when she discovered a suspicious lump. Concerned, she followed up with her physician. A diagnostic mammogram was performed and revealed Larson had breast cancer.
After surgery to remove her cancerous tumor, six rounds of chemotherapy and thirty rounds of radiation treatment, Larson was declared cancer-free. But her passion to keep fighting cancer did not end there. continue reading ...
Written by on 7/3/2014 6:00:00 AM
A cancer diagnosis can be extremely emotional, and making sense of health information can also be overwhelming. That is why Community has a dedicated cancer care team and oncology nurse navigators to help cancer patients on their journey.
We sat down with breast health navigator, Sharon Bronnenberg, RN, BSN, OCN, CBCN, to talk about the role an oncology navigator plays in a cancer treatment.
What does a oncology nurse navigator do?
I act as a guide, resource, advocate, educator and liaison for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their family. As an oncology navigator with a focus on breast health, my goal is to get answers to all of their questions so that we allay their fears.
I am a consistent caregiver throughout the cancer journey, coordinating appointments and schedules, and providing resources and information. But the most important thing I do is provide support and hope.
What should a cancer patient expect the first time they meet you?
When I meet with a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient I make sure they know their plan of care, as well as the other doctors that they will be seeing. continue reading ...
Written by on 4/7/2014 10:00:00 AM
A 30-year follow-up study of more than 12,000 women shows if they took fertility drugs (clomiphene citrate or gonadotropins) this treatment did not increase their risk for developing breast cancer.
Previous studies have reported conflicting results, from increased and decreased risk, to no association. Overall, during the 30-year period, only 749 of the women in this study were diagnosed with breast cancer. continue reading ...