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 abnormalities. 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 8/14/2014 10:00:00 AM
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine identified a new gene mutation, called PALB2, that could lead to breast cancer. Individuals with the gene had a 30 percent chance of developing breast cancer by age 70. PALB2 is now the third gene mutation to be linked to breast cancer. The first two, BRCA1 and BRCA2, were identified in the 90s.
Having a gene mutation does not mean that you will develop breast cancer, but it does increase your cancer risk. Breast surgeons and oncologists work with genetic counselors to determine the level of risk and what can be done to minimize that risk. continue reading ...
Written by on 6/16/2014 12:00:00 PM
Ovarian cancer risk decreases in women with the BRCA gene mutations if they have breast-fed, taken birth control pills or had their fallopian tubes tied.
A new review study by University of Pennsylvania researchers looked at 44 different medical studies. Women with the BRCA1 gene mutation that breast fed or had a tubal ligation had a lower risk for ovarian cancer. Those women who use birth control pills and have BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations had lower rates of ovarian cancer. continue reading ...
Written by on 2/27/2014 7:00:00 PM
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology studied nearly 5,800 women with specific genetic mutations called BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Researchers found that women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations who proactively had their ovaries removed reduced their risk of ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancer by 80 percent, and their overall risk of death by 77 percent.
BRCA stands for breast cancer susceptibility genes, a class of genes that are tumor suppressors. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
According to the study, women with BRCA1 mutations should have preventive ovarian surgery (known as prophylactic oophorectomy) by age 35, because waiting past that age is shown to increase the risk of ovarian cancer. continue reading ...