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Monday, October 15, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to post some useful information and links.  It is very important that women over the age of 40 receive a yearly mammogram.  Depending on family history, some women start even earlier than that.  It is vital to have regular mammograms as well as regular breast self-examination.  The earlier cancer is found the easier it is to treat.  If caught early enough, chemotherapy is not needed.  Common treatment for early cancer is radiation therapy as well as tamoxifen or other hormonal therapy.

If you do not have insurance, many local health departments or community organizations offer free or low cost screening.  Also, the Susan B. Komen Foundation can help.   Komen Affiliates fund breast cancer education, screening and treatment projects for those who need it most.  Find information at
Common kinds of breast cancer are—
 - Ductal carcinoma. The most common kind of breast cancer. It begins in the cells that line the milk ducts in the breast, also called the lining of the breast ducts.
       - Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The abnormal cancer cells are only in the lining of the milk ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.
       - Invasive ductal carcinoma. The abnormal cancer cells break through the ducts and spread into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
- Lobular carcinoma. In this kind of breast cancer, the cancer cells begin in the lobes, or lobules, of the breast. Lobules are the glands that make milk.
        - Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS). The cancer cells are found only in the breast lobules. Lobular carcinoma in situ, or LCIS, does not spread to other tissues.
       - Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These invasive cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
(Above descriptions are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
For more information, check out these links:
Breast Cancer (PDQ): Treatment (National Cancer Institute)
 http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP)
Breast Cancer (MedlinePlus health topic)

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