Sunday, October 27, 2013

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Go Pink!

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, physicians, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.

Dr. Jennifer Walden, a leading local female plastic surgeon based in Austin, Texas, spoke with KXAN's Brian Sanders recently to provide this public service message and speak to the following points to help women detect breast cancer at its earliest stages since 1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer:

Organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend that you:

  • Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
  • Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer
  • Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk
  • Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
  • Know how your breasts look and feel and report any changes to your health care provider right away
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices that may reduce your risk of breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and limiting alcohol intake


Breast Self-Exam (BSE) Instructional Tool

Breast self-exam (BSE) is a tool that may help you learn what is normal for you. BSE involves looking at and feeling your breasts. Women who practice BSE should also be sure to get mammograms and clinical breast exams at the appropriate age. BSE should not be substituted for these screening tests.

Breast Implants and Mammography
Mammography is a safe and effective screening tool for women who have breast implants. However, it is important for a woman with implants to inform the radiologist before the procedure is performed so that the mammography machine can be specially positioned to avoid full compression of the implant. Additional views called Eklund views help the radiologist to see the breast tissue as the implant is pushed toward the chest wall away from the breast tissue since breast implants can obscure mammography to a certain extent.

Dr. Walden’s own mother was diagnosed with cancer at age 68 and is now considered cured, so Walden has a personal connection to breast cancer. Her mom later had both mastectomy and breast reconstruction. A screening mammogram saved her life!

Dr. Walden also discusses the newest techniques of augmentation of breasts with the body's own fat (called fat transfer), and what this means for mammography and breast cancer detection. Some say it can hinder cancer detections or even stimulate breast cancer through signaling pathways and stem cells. Dr. Walden provides the latest medical updates on this new procedure.

Please see more information on Dr. Walden's Breast Cancer Awareness webpage.

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