Breast Cancer: Burke Health Asks If You Are At Risk

October 26, 2022 /// 3 Min Read

Article Published 10/26/2022 by The True Citizen in Waynesboro, Georgia.



Breast Cancer: Burke Health Asks If You Are At Risk

Convenient appointments using state-of-the-art 3D technology can be performed right here in Waynesboro at the new Burke Imaging building at the Burke Health campus.

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, accounting for 30% of all diagnosed cancers. In addition, early onset breast cancer, breast cancer in women under 45, accounts for approximately 10% of new breast cancer cases in the United States. Each year in the US, about 264,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 42,000 lose the battle to the disease. Although not common, about 1 out of every 100 breast cancers in the US are found in men.

Younger women tend to experience a more aggressive disease, a higher risk of recurrence and death, and more long-term survivorship issues than older women. Mammograms are the best way to detect breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include Any change in the size or shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, discharge other than breast milk, a new lump in the breast or underarm.

If anyone has any signs or symptoms that worry them, they should schedule an appointment to see their doctor immediately. A healthcare provider also plays a critical role in identifying patients with elevated hereditary risks and can aid in the detection of early-onset breast cancer among women. Some main factors that affect the chance of getting breast cancer include being a woman, being 50 years of age or older (although cancer also affects younger women), and having changes toBRCA1 or BRCA 2 genes.

According to the American Cancer Society, women who are at high risk for early-onset breast cancer include those who have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child), second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, nieces, or grandparents), or third-degree relative, which includes first cousins, with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, a lifetime risk of breast cancer of about 20% to 25% or greater, according to risk assessment tools based mainly on family history, had radiation therapy to the chest between 10-30 years, and have Li-Fraumeni syndrome, Cowden syndrome, or Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, or have first-degree relatives with one of these syndromes.

Lowering the risk

Lifestyle changes can lower the risk such as: keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol or drinking in moderation, talking to a doctor about the risk associated with hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, and breastfeeding children, if possible.

It is essential to talk to a doctor about risks for breast cancer, perform regular self exams at home and get regular screenings as recommended by a physician. Regular screenings, although not a task many look forward to, are critical to early detection and potentially lifesaving.

“Together we can combat breast cancer within our community during breast cancer awareness month,” said Lacey Zorn, Director of Community Outreach. “Contact your physician and ask for a referral to get your annual mammogram taken care of or discuss your potential cancer risks.”