According to the United States National Cancer Institute:
- 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives.
- In 2010, there will be an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women, and an estimated 39,840 women will die from the disease.
- Breast cancer risk in women increases with age, but it is also dependent on a variety of other risk factors.
- Approximately 85% of women who develop breast cancer do not have a family history.
- When detected early, the five year survival rate is estimated at 98%.
Most breast cancer does not usually cause pain. However, please contact our office if you experience persistent breast pain or any of the following breast changes or symptoms:
- Lumps or thickening in the breast or underarm area.
- Changes in size or shape of the breast.
- Lump with an edge similar to a marble or pea and not freely movable.
- Nipple tenderness, turning inward, or nipple discharge.
- Skin around the breast, areola and nipple that becomes scaly, red, swollen with a “pitting” appearance similar to the skin of an orange.
Clinical Breast Examination
A clinical breast examination will be performed by Dr. McLaughlin at your annual gynecologic examination or new patient appointment and/ or when a concern or change is expressed the patient.
Self Breast Examination
Self breast examinations provide an opportunity for women to become familiar with their breast so that changes can be detected early. Many breast problems are first discovered by women themselves. Women’s Specialty Health Centers recommends performing self breast examinations, monthly, at the end of your menstrual period (when a women’s breast may be less swollen or tender). For women who no longer have a period, we recommend self breast examinations to be performed the first day of each month.
Dr. McLaughlin recommends that patients undergo their first mammogram at age 35 (earlier with a family history), and yearly thereafter.
Most often a mammogram will be ordered as a “yearly screening mammogram,” which means that the mammogram is used purely as a means of screening for breast changes in women who have no signs of breast cancer. Most screening mammograms involve two x-ray views of each breast.
Occasionally, a “diagnostic mammogram” will be ordered if breast changes have been noted on the screening mammogram; or if a clinical breast examination and/or self breast examination indicates a change. Diagnostic mammograms involve additional x-ray views and images of the breast.
MRI of the Breast
MRI’s of the breast imaging uses a magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the internal breast structures to evaluate: Tumor locations, identify early breast cancer, further evaluate abnormal mammograms and ultrasounds, detect cancer that may have spread further in the breast or chest, breast density, enlarged ducts, presence of enlarged lymph nodes, cysts, and recurrence of tumors.
The risk for breast cancer in women doubles if a first degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) has been diagnosed with breast cancer (especially before age 40).
BRAC Analysis, a simple blood test by Myriad Genetics, assesses a woman’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer based on detection of mutations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes.
Recently this test has become the standard of care in identification of individuals with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer and is currently being offered at Women’s Specialty Health Centers.
Both Dr. McLaughlin and Nurse Practitioner, Kristi Marsella are educators and guest speakers for Myriad Genetics testing where they are actively involved in counseling women, as well as other physicians, about the hereditary risk factors and testing for breast cancer.